Pray in thanksgiving for the many blessings God has given us, in gratitude for the sacrifices so many have made to preserve our liberty, in vigilance to preserve religious liberty in our nation and in hope that our nation's laws may be consonant with God's plan for all creation.
The Monday after Pentecost is designated for the universal celebration of Mary, Mother of the Church. This title honors her pivotal role as a model disciple in prayer at the foot of the cross and at the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Let us ask Mary to extend her maternal care to our Church so in need of consolation, healing and renewal.
The secular news media has given a lot of recent attention to the pope's approval of changes to the wording of the "Our Father" and the "Gloria." The verse the pope and others found problematic was "and lead us not into temptation" changed in the Italian to "do not abandon us to temptation."
Trenton's Diocesan Office of Worship points out that the changes are approved for the Italian missal texts and that although the same changes had been approved for the translation of the New American Bible (2002), the texts used at Mass in English speaking countries remain unchanged for now.
The entire text of the Our Father requires catechesis for proper understanding, so personally I have a bit of trouble understanding what all the fuss is about. Does God either abandon us or tempt us?
The Irish Monk St. Kevin founded a monastery at Glendalough, pictured in the first photo. The famous tower, whose exact function is not certain, is pictured in the background of the church and cemetery. His statue depicts a famous episode from his life when a bird landed on his arms outstretched in prayer and laid an egg. Kevin reportedly kept praying in that position until the egg hatched.
The writers of the New Testament can hardly have been expected to have a scientific grasp of in-utero development. John the Baptist's recognition of the Lord's visit echoes Elizabeth's his mother's greeting to Mary. In theological and spiritual language, St. Luke conveys that the lives of the unborn deserve respect and protection while in the womb.
The attack took place in the small town of Dablo, about 200 kilometres north of the capital, Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, Africa.
The faithful were leaving church after the 9 AM Mass, when about 20 suspected jihadists on motorcycles encircled the church.
From reports by eyewitnesses, it appears that their target was the 34-year old Burkinabe priest, Father Simeon Yampa, in charge of interreligious dialogue in his diocese. When he tried to escape, the terrorists chased and killed him.
Returning to the church, they forced the faithful to lie on the ground, picked out five of them and shot them.
Dablo mayor, Ousmane Zongo, told Reuters the attackers then burned the church, looted a pharmacy and some other stores, and left.
No one has claimed responsibility but the attacks bore the hallmarks of Islamic extremists who are known to be active in the area.
“The Holy Father has learned with sorrow about the news of the attack on the church in Dablo, Burkina Faso. He prays for the victims, for their families and for the entire Christian community in the country," said a spokesperson for the Vatican.
Jonah was given a nearly impossible job, preaching repentance to the City of Nineveh. And he succeeded. This greatly distressed Jonah, who was rather looking forward to the fire and light show of God's destruction of the city.
Lent is a perfect time for repentance - a change of how we do things with an eager anticipation that our sincere repentance will be accepted by God.
Today's reading from the book of Sirach teaches that wisdom is difficult to attain, surely not as simple as acquiring knowledge. Wisdom requires not only guidance from the Holy Spirit, but a capacity to map our life experiences and the example of others onto the new circumstances in our lives and discern a prudent course of action.
The statue of Sedes Sapientiae, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom shows the peace and serenity of quiet communication between Jesus and Mary that brings true wisdom.
It can be difficult to sort out fact from fiction when it comes to exorcism and demonic possession these days. Hollywood special effects invent or exaggerate signs of demonic activity and minimize the destructive everyday influence of evil.
Nevertheless, Jesus meets a demon on nearly every page of Mark's gospel. He exercises complete control over all the demons - a spiritual truth we can clutch for security and protection during temptation or distress.
St. Peter Damian, Benedictine bishop and Cardinal of the Church preached and wrote at the turn of the first millennium. It was a time when the church was beset with widespread laxity and immorality among clergy against which Damian was a forceful reformer. Let us pray for his guidance on the eve of the Bishops meeting in Rome, for the leaders of the church to be inspired with his courage and zeal.
Jesus' progressive healing of the blind man reminds us that our response to prayer may unfold over time. Continue prayerful engagement with our Lord develops a loving relationship with Him.
Before the fearless moral inventory taking of Lent, it is well to remind ourselves that patience is required on our path to holiness. Seeking holiness is also a stepwise progression towards God.
We don't have much control over our changing environment and we don't select the time or place we are planted. Yet our task as Christians, especially in the present age, is to sink our roots deep in the Word and Christ's presence in His Church and yield much fruit.
In good times and bad times, Christ is the Way.
Pray for our bishops who gather this week for a spiritual retreat at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago for the wisdom, strength and prudence to deal with the abuse scandals besetting the Church.
Both St. Paul and Jesus have encouraging words for us in today's Scriptures: keep trying, be encouraged, don't give up!
Achieving anything worthwhile is difficult - moral goodness is no exception. One important way to keep encouraged is by prayer, especially Eucharistic Adoration.
Stop in and spend some quiet time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays during the day or on Thursday evenings. Even one hour will make a tremendous difference to your entire week.
Thank you to all those parishioners, who having prayed a Mass of Christian Burial this year at Holy Cross for a family member or friend, returned to share Eucharist with us on All Souls Evening. After the homily, each family lit a candle on the Tree of Life in memory of a deceased family member.
Hospitality and refreshments were provided after the mass in the St. Joseph's Room downstairs.
Faithful rosary prayers gathered in the Marian Prayer Garden after the 12 noon mass to pray the rosary in unity with others all across the country for the sanctification and peace of the church and the world.