Saturday, July 30, 2016

Happy Feast Day, St. Ignatius!

Although the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time supersedes the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola liturgically this year, perhaps we could take a moment to remember St. Ignatius on July 31, his Feast Day.  A good way to do this might be to spend a few minutes learning more about the works of the community founded by Ignatius, the Society of Jesus.  This link contains reflections on "Ignatian Ministry," as well as detailed information about the various social justice ministries in which the Jesuits are involved throughout the Provinces of the United States.  None of the reflections will take very long to read; all will provide food for thought and prayer.  By spending just a few minutes of our time reflecting on the role of Jesuits today, we could come a bit closer to that Jesuit ideal of being "men and women for others."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rev. Jacques Hamel, rest in peace

Nice, Munich, Fort Myers, Tokyo . . . and Normandy.  What do these locations have in common? Each has been the site of atrocious acts by terrorists during the past two weeks  -- yes, in only two weeks' time.  We could travel back through the calendar and add so many more names, not only of cities, but of the people whose lives were affected by other people with weapons.  Yesterday's murder of Rev. Jacques Hamel while he was celebrating Mass in Normandy, France (and the injuring of another person) is more than just another horrifying act.  As Catholics who participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass frequently, this murder hits us where we live.  This does not minimize the other attacks for us, but makes them more real.

Again, we ask, "What can we do?"

We continue to pray and to be people of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.  We pray, as does Pope Francis that "the Lord will inspire in all thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity in this new trial."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Day of Prayer for Peace in our Communities

Given the recent incidents of tension and violence in communities across the United States, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has invited all dioceses across the country to unite in a Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities on September 9, the feast of St. Peter Claver.  More information is available here.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

"CST 101" is a 7-part video series presented by the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services on Catholic Social Teaching.  The first installment, released on July 21, 2016, is available here (and is embedded below).

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Remembering Mother Pauline's Final Vow Day

As you may know, the Sisters of Christian Charity have been preparing for the commemoration of the 200th birthday of our Founder, Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt (June 3, 1817 - April 30, 1881).  There are other commemorations that happen along the way, too.  For example, today -- the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel --  is the 150th anniversary of Mother Pauline's final vow day.  On the occasion of the first final profession in the Congregation in 1866, Bishop Conrad Martin said the following, which bears repetition and reflection today.  This is why and how we do what we do:

Speak then in the simplicity of your hearts:  “O great and almighty God!  Lord of heaven and earth!  From you I have received all that I am and all that I have, and I can give to you  nothing in return, O Lord, but what I have received from you;  but just this, O great God, is your boundless mercy, your goodness and love, that you will graciously accept from me what necessarily belongs to you as a voluntary gift, as a sacrifice, so that you can reward me therefore most magnanimously.  Behold, O Lord, with the greatest joy and willingness I offer you all that I am and all that I have for now and for all eternity.  I offer you every possible and every probable part that Ι might possess of the things of this earth, her goods, her honors, her pleasures;  I offer you also the part, which I may legitimately have.  My purpose for offering this to you is, that I might be like unto you, my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who although you are the Master of heaven and earth, have chosen poverty as your Bride and have voluntarily preferred pains and sufferings to the glory and magnificence of this world.  I offer to you and sacrifice to you my body with all its members, so that, in a small measure, at least, I might be like unto my Savior, Who sacrificed His tender and pure Body as a holocaust for me on the Tree of the Cross.  I sacrifice to you, O Lord, my soul with all its powers, especially my heart and my will in imitation of you, O my Savior.  You came on this poor earth to serve and not to be served;  You were obedient not only to your heavenly Father, but to human beings also and even to poor, sinful mortals, yea, even to the greatest criminals, and this unto your death upon the Cross.  All this, O Lord, I offer you now and forever, as I would in the face of death and in the presence of all angels and saints in heaven.  I unite this my offering with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, so that it maybe pleasing and acceptable to the heavenly Father."

Friday, July 15, 2016

Laudato Si Webinar

Catholic Climate Covenant is sponsoring a webinar, "Laudato Si: A Framework for Climate Justice" on Monday, July 25 from 3:00-4:00 pm (EDT). Click here for more information and to register for the webinar.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Liberating a Continent

The documentary film, Liberating a Continent:  John Paul II and the Fall of Communism, was recently released to good reviews.  From the film's website:  One of history’s greatest examples of the triumph of spiritual power over violence and oppression is vividly recounted in Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism, a new documentary film that poignantly captures the intricate role played by John Paul in the collapse of Communism and the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe.

Featuring the unique insights of intellectual and cultural leaders such as papal biographer George Weigel, esteemed Polish historian Norman Davies, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson, John Paul’s lifelong assistant Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Reagan National Security Advisor Richard Allen, and many others–this inspiring film gives an inside look at the improbable downfall of one of history’s most brutal regimes.

Narrated by Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ, Person of Interest) and with original music by Joe Kraemer (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Jack Reacher) this is the incredible story of one man’s unwavering faith born of deep personal suffering, his steadfast defense of the dignity of the human person amidst the horrors of Nazi and Soviet Occupation, and his unyielding belief in the spiritual unity of Europe. Liberating a Continent convincingly reveals how these convictions toppled an evil empire—and how they remain today the moral foundations for a prosperous and free Europe.

July Stop Trafficking Newsletter

The July 2016 issue of the Stop Trafficking newsletter -- highlighting the 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report -- is available here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Novena for Healing

Following a week of violence across the United States, the Knights of Columbus have called for a novena of prayer to heal the wounds and divisions afflicting this country.  They are inviting all "people of good will" to pray the Prayer for Peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi from July 14 - 22.  Click here for more information from the Knights of Columbus website.

Prayer for Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Films for the Fourth and Beyond

Two years ago, Sean Salai, SJ, suggested 12 "Catholic" films for the celebration of the Fourth of July.  These films were chosen because "they celebrate American virtues while making us think critically about American vices.  They manage to inspire us as patriotic Americans, but without glorifying things which may give us a false sense of moral superiority."  Click here to view the list.  Do you agree with the choices?  Are there some films that you have not yet seen?  Perhaps the summer months would provide time to watch one or more of these films.