The gentle sunshine coaxed the Yellow Knockout Roses into bloom, with many more buds to come. After one recent rocky year, they seem pretty hardy, resistant to mildew and blackspot and unlike their red and pink knockout cousins, have plenty of intoxicating fragrance.
Thank you to our 8th Graders for hosting a delightful Parishioner Luncheon yesterday to show their gratitude for the parish's support of our school. Our Kindergarten, first and second grade students also impressed the guests with their singing, praying and Pledge of Allegiance.
The Knights of Columbus have commissioned an icon of Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians. She is shown holding the child Jesus with faithful from around the world seeking protection under her maternal mantle. The feast of Our Lady Help of Christians itself was promulgated by Pope Pius VII after his release from imprisonment following Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.
So many Christians, including Catholics around the world are being persecuted for their faith at peril of their lives. Priests, religious and lay faithful are martyred with barely a notice in the mainstream media. American Catholics are being ridiculed for our beliefs, which are seen by some as disqualifying for juridical or public office.
Mary's protection is still urgently sought to help inspire Christians to speak out against oppression and defend religious liberty around the world.
The readings from Acts of the Apostles at morning Mass have been highlighting the difficulty the early church had in reconciling Jewish Law with the reception of Gentile converts as believers of Jesus, followers of the The Way. Did Gentiles need to convert to Judaism or was Jesus seen as replacing the Jewish commandments with his two commandments of love?
The early church reached a compromise, releasing Gentile converts from the necessity of circumcision and most of the Jewish dietary proscriptions, but retaining a prohibition against eating meat sacrificed to idols. Most scholars agree that it took still longer for faithful Jews and baptized Christians to diverge into completely separate religious groups.