Do You Recognize This Man? Sunday's Times Union included a beautifully written and perceptive message from Chris Churchill about Fred Rogers. He penned it after seeing the recently released movie on Mister Rogers. I grew up in Mister Roger's Neighborhood and his message was instilled (I hope) in me. As Chris Churchill points out - that message seems to have become lost in our present day. Whether you agree with what Chris writes (and most often I do agree) I strongly encourage you to read this important message. It provides a unique opportunity to reflect on how we live our daily life.
Because there has been so much information in the media recently about the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, many of you may be receiving inquiries from parishioners for pastoral guidance on this difficult issue. Below is the statement issued by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, June 13 on behalf of all U.S. bishops, including Bishop Scharfenberger. You may want to share this statement with your people via your parish bulletin, website or other means: "At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General's recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life. “Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration's zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."
Pope’s Morning Homily: Worldly Patterns Promise Everything & Give Nothing Do not remain attached to worldly ways of thinking and behavior. You know better. Hence, claim your freedom by embracing your call to holiness. According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on the day’s reading from the First Letter of Peter which urges Christians to be holy in every aspect of their conduct. In the homily, Francis discussed that call to holiness and the importance of moving away from our worldly way of thinking and behavior that formerly enslaved us. “The call to holiness, which is the normal call, is our call to live as a Christian, namely living as a Christian is the same as saying ‘living as a saint’. Many times we think of holiness as something extraordinary, like having visions or lofty prayers … or some think that being holy means having a face like that in a cameo … no. Being holy is something else. It is to proceed along this path that the Lord tells us about holiness.” “And what is it, to proceed along the path of holiness?” the Pope asked. “Peter says it,” he answered, “‘Put all your hope in that grace that will be given to you when Jesus Christ manifests Himself.'” Walking towards holiness, the Pontiff said, means proceeding towards that grace, that encounter with Jesus Christ. Like walking towards the light, Francis highlighted that many times we don’t see the road well, because the light dazzles us. “But we are not mistaken, noted the Pope, “because we see the light and we know the way”. When you walk with the light behind you, you can see the road well, but in reality there is shadow, not light, in front of you.” The Pope urged Christians not to go back to their worldly patterns of behaving. Stressing so many things enslave us, the Jesuit Pope stressed that for Christians to walk toward holiness, they need “to be free and to feel free.” Do Not It is for this reason, he said, that Peter urges us not to conform “to the desires of our former ignorance.” In his First Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul say: “Do not conform,” which means don’t get involved in worldly patterns of behavior. “This is the correct translation of this advice – do not adopt the worldly patterns, – do not adopt those patterns of behavior, that worldly way of thinking, that way of thinking and judging that the world offers you because this deprives you of freedom. To proceed towards holiness, the Pope stressed, one must be free: free to go forward, looking at the light, going forward. “When we return, as he says here, to the way of life we had before our encounter with Jesus Christ or when we return to those patterns of worldly behavior, we lose our freedom.” “In moments of trials and tribulations, we always are tempted to look back, to look at the worldly patterns of behavior, at the patterns that we had before setting out the path towards salvation: without freedom. And without freedom one cannot be holy.” “Freedom is the condition for moving forward while looking at the light ahead of us. Do not adopt the worldly patterns of behavior, walk forward, looking at the light that is the promise, in hope; this is the promise like the people of God in the desert: when they looked forward everything went fine; when they were nostalgic because they could no longer eat the good things they formerly had, they made mistakes and forgot that they had no freedom back there.” Called Daily to Holiness The Lord, the Pope reminded, calls us to holiness every day. To know if we are on our way to this call, the Pope said there are two parameters. “First of all, if we look towards the light of the Lord in the hope of finding it and, then if when the trials come, we look ahead and do not lose our freedom by taking refuge in worldly patterns of behavior, which promise you everything and give you nothing.” “You will be holy because I am holy: this is the Lord’s commandment.” Pope Francis concluded, praying God to grant us the grace to understand correctly what the path of holiness is.
Recently read an article detailing some of the material presented by Cardinal Cupich at the University of Cambridge's Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry annual lecture. The author states "Cupich's Feb. 9 remarks are among the strongest and most theologically developed explanations of the meaning and method of Amoris Laetitia yet offered by a U.S. prelate."
This is a modest effort at a "blog" my attempt to offer some brief reflections each day that come from various sources that I find interesting - primarily the daily reflections of Pope Francis as found on Zenit and Rome Reports. Fr. John