Saturday, October 22, 2016
First of all, we welcome back (in a sense, welcome home) clergy and religious who have served the community of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in past decades. As we re-dedicate the Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima, we thank God for the loving dedication that is reflected in your ministry to the people of the parish.
If you are reading this article on Sunday morning, and you were unable to join us for the event on Saturday evening, please take home a holy card printed to mark this occasion in our parish history. Spring 2017 marks the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions to the three children in Portugal: Lucy, Francisco, and Jacinta.
Next, I need to apologize to the St. Mary Parish members of Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Last weekend was “Catholic Daughter Sunday,” At the 8 o’clock Mass, where a substantial number of them were in attendance, I managed to forget to acknowledge them. This group of ladies offers a great deal of service to the parish, throughout the year. Thank you so much, Catholic Daughters! I am sorry for my oversight!
Next, I would like to reiterate a question that I raised in my preaching of last weekend, for each one of us to consider prayerfully: “Do I have non-negotiables in my life? “What are they? Or is any principle or value— or even person— basically “on the table,” as long as a particular circumstance makes it to my perceived advantage to myself? In the context of the manner of conducting one’s life, we can define a non-negotiable as: a principle about the human person that is true always, everywhere, and for all people.
Throughout the centuries, the Church has proclaimed that the value of each human person is divinely bestowed, granted by the very fact of their being conceived and created by God. The sacredness of human life is not relative— not contingent on whether or not their existence — or non-existence— serves a purpose in someone else’s mind. Think of the programmatic extermination of Jewish people and others who, over the course of history, including our own time, have been considered “expendable” by those who hold the cards of power in a particular society. Here are some figures to lead us to spiritual sobriety and ardent prayer:
*Death toll from the War in Syria, to date: c.470,000
*Death toll from Rwanda: up to 800,000
*Death toll from the Holocaust: up to 20 mil.
*Death Toll from abortions in the U.S.*: 53 mil.
Dear brothers and sister, the method of taking someone’s life can be very “sophisticated” or even “sterilized.” The reality of the tragedy doesn’t vary. It is an abomination to the love of the Creator. Please take up the commitment to fasting and prayer in these times. Let us curb our consumption of mainstream media and, as an alternative, feed our minds on the Word of God and the richness of the teachings of our Faith. These will prepare us for the days ahead!