Saturday, June 30, 2018

Family Separation

The USCCB's Justice for Immigrants website provides a wealth of information about family separation at the US border -- What are the facts? What can we do to help?  What about legislation and the Executive Order?  Click here to access the site, which includes the following "Prayer for Immigrant Children":

Loving Father, 
in your infinite compassion,
we seek your divine protection for refugee children
who are so often alone and afraid.

Provide solace to those who have been witnesses to
violence and destruction,
who have lost parents, family, friends, home, and all they cherish
due to war or persecution.
Comfort them in their sorrow,
and bring help in their time of need.

Show mercy to unaccompanied migrant children, too, Lord.
Reunite them with their families and loved ones.
Guide those children who are strangers in a foreign land
to a place of peace and safety.
Comfort them in their sorrow,
and bring help in their time of need.

Show us how we might reach out to these precious and 
vulnerable children.
Open our hearts to migrant and refugee children in need,
so that we might see in them your own migrant Son.

Give us courage to stand up in their defense
against those who would do them harm.

For this we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

On the Call to Holiness in Today's World

We continue to share excerpts of Gaudete et Exsultate:
". . . Your personal mission is inseparable from the building of the kingdom. . . . You cannot grow in holiness without committing yourself, body and soul, to giving your best to this endeavor" (n. 25).

"Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world, and become a part of our path to holiness" (n. 26).

"There are times when we are tempted to relegate pastoral engagement or commitment in the world to second place, as if these were 'distractions' along the path to growth in holiness and interior peace.  We can forget that 'life does not have a mission, but is a mission'" (n. 27).

"Anything done out of anxiety, pride or the need to impress others will not lead to holiness" (n. 28).

"The presence of constantly new gadgets, the excitement of travel and an endless array of consumer goods at times leave no room for God's voice to be heard.  We are overwhelmed by words, by superficial pleasures and by an increasing din, filled not by joy but rather by the discontent of those whose lives have lost meaning.  How can we fail to realize the need to stop this rat race and to recover the personal space needed to carry on a heartfelt dialogue with God?  Finding that space may prove painful but it is always fruitful.  Sooner or later, we have to face our true selves and let the Lord enter.  This may not happen unless 'we see ourselves staring into the abyss of a frightful temptation, or have the dizzying sensation of standing on the precipice of utter despair, or find ourselves completely alone or abandoned'" (n. 29).

" . . . [We] tend to absolutize our free time, so that we can give ourselves over completely to the devices that provide us with entertainment or ephemeral pleasures.  As a result, we come to resent our mission, our commitment grows slack and our generous and ready spirit of service begins to flag. . . . We need a spirit of holiness capable of filling both our solitude and our service, our personal life and our evangelizing efforts, so that every moment can be an expression of self-sacrificing love in the Lord's eyes.  In this way, every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to growth in holiness" (n. 30-31).

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

For your July calendar

Here are some dates you might want to remember in July:

  • July 4 - Independence Day
  • July 14 - Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
  • July 22 - Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
  • July 30 - World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
  • July 31 - Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summer Reading Recommendations

As we have done in previous years, we will provide occasional summer reading recommendations with social justice themes.

Our first recommendation is Rutilio Grande: A Table for All by Rhina Guidos (copyright 2018).  According to the Education for Justice description:  "This new biography looks deeply into the life of [Servant of God] Fr. Rutilio Grande, SJ, whose passion for justice for those in poverty shaped Blessed Oscar Romero and many others during the long oppression and conflict in El Salvador."  A reading guide for this book is available here.

This book is a timely addition to our knowledge of the life and work of Oscar Romero, whose canonization will happen in the fall.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

On the Call to Holiness in Today's World

We continue to share excerpts from Gaudete et Exsultate:

"At its core, holiness is experiencing, in union with Christ, the mysteries of his life.  It consists in uniting ourselves to the Lord's death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew with him.  But it can also entail reproducing in our own lives various aspects of Jesus' earthly life: his hidden life, his life in community, his closeness to the outcast, his poverty and other ways in which he showed his self-sacrificing love" (n. 20).

"In the end, it is Christ who loves in us, for 'holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full'" (n. 21).

"What we need to contemplate is the totality of [the lives of the saints], their entire journey of growth in holiness, the reflection of Jesus Christ that emerges when we grasp their overall meaning as a person" (22).

"This is a powerful summons to all of us.  You too need to see the entirety of your life as a mission.  Try to do so by listening to God in prayer and recognizing the signs that he gives you.  Always ask the Spirit what Jesus expects from you at every moment of your life and in every decision you must make, so as to discern its place in the mission you have received.  Allow the Spirit to forge in you the personal mystery that can reflect Jesus Christ in today's world" (n. 23). 

"Let yourself be transformed.  Let yourself be renewed by the Spirit, so that this can happen, lest you fail in your precious mission.  The Lord will bring it to fulfillment despite your mistakes and missteps, provided that you do not abandon the path of love but remain ever open to his supernatural grace, which purifies and enlightens" (n. 24).  

Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 1: Religious Freedom Week

You will recall from our previous post that Religious Freedom Week begins today.  The daily resources from the USCCB are available hereToday's reflection is:

"On this feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, we remember these saints who were martyred in 1535 for standing up for the sanctity of marriage and the freedom of the Church in opposition to England's King Henry VIII.  In our country today, the Church faces challenges to her freedom to serve in healthcare, child welfare services and education.  While we seek to be faithful to Christ by serving our neighbors, ignoring conscience cannot be the condition placed on people of faith for service in the public square.  Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher show us what faithful service looks like.  They loved and served their country.  Yet they rightly recognized that they were being forced to choose between the Church and the king.  They were faithful to the Church.  May their example continue to illuminate the path for us, as we seek to faithfully serve our Church and country."

Prayer: St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, pray for us, and for the protection of religious freedom in America and around the world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 20: World Refugee Day

"New Together" is a Public Service Announcement for World Refugee Day 2018.  At only 1:15 long, it is a very simple, moving message to help us recommit to our prayers and actions for refugees.  (The video is embedded below.  Email subscribers who do not see a video below, please click here to view it on YouTube.)

Today, and every day, let us pray for refugees:

Sheltering God,
You were born in flight,
Your parents anxious and given no rest.
The manner of your birth calls me to
Open-heartedness and sensitivity to the strangers in our midst.
Help me not to flee your challenge.
The violence of the present time teaches me fear of the stranger,
Reluctant to reach out to those who are different.
Grace me this day as I seek
To see you in the faces of those uprooted,
Weary, as they seek refuge and peace.  Amen.
(Copyright, Education for Justice)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fortnight for Freedom/Religious Freedom Week

Remember that the USCCB's "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign runs from June 21-July 4.  Prayer resources and reflections are available here.  Within the Fortnight is Religious Freedom Week, which begins on June 22 (the Feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher).  Resources for Religious Freedom Week are available here.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

On the Call to Holiness in Today's World

We continue reading through Gaudete et Exsultate:

"To be holy does not require a bishop, a priest or a religious.  We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer.  That is not the case.  We are called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves" (n. 14).

"Let the grace of your baptism bear fruit in a path of holiness. Let everything be open to God; turn to him in every situation.  Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life (cf. Gal 5:22-23)" (n. 15).

"This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures.  Here is an example:  a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbor and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts.  But she says in her heart: 'No, I will not speak badly of anyone.' This is a step forward in holiness.  Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love.  That is another sacrifice that brings holiness" (n. 16).

"At times, life presents great challenges.  Through them, the Lord calls us anew to conversion that can make his grace more evident in our lives. . . . At other times, we need only find a more perfect way of doing what we are already doing. . . . [Quoting Cardinal Francois-Xavier Nguyen van Thuan]: "I will seize the occasions that present themselves every day; I will accomplish ordinary actions in an extraordinary way'" (n. 17).

"I this way, led by God's grace, we shape by many gestures the holiness God has willed for us, not as men and women sufficient unto ourselves but rather 'as good stewards of the manifold grace of God'" (n. 18).

Thursday, June 14, 2018

I was a stranger . . .

While we have been praying for the denuclearization talks in North Korea this week, there may have been a few items that we missed regarding immigration:
Please remain informed and prayerful regarding these and other life issues.  Remember the words of Jesus as passed down to us in the Gospel of Matthew: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Culture of Individualism

This morning, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, of the Diocese of Paterson, NJ, was a guest on Relevant Radio's "Morning Air" program.  Click here to listen to Bishop Serratelli's words on the "Culture of Individualism or here to read Bishop Serratelli's column, "The Loss of Freedom in a Culture of Radical Individualism."

Saturday, June 9, 2018

On the Call to Holiness in Today's World

We continue reading through Gaudete et Exsultate:

"'Each in his or her own way' the Council says.  We should not grow discouraged before examples of holiness that appear unattainable.  There are some testimonies that may prove helpful and inspiring, but that we are not meant to copy, for that could even lead us astray from the one specific path that the Lord has in mind for us.  The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7) rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them" (n. 11). 

"In times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigor and important reforms in the Church.  We can mention Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Bridget, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Therese of Lisieux.  But I think too of all those unknown or forgotten women who, each in her own way, sustained and transformed families and communities by the power of their witness" (n. 12).

Monday, June 4, 2018

JPIC Newsbrief

Thanks to Sister Joanne for sending us this Newsbrief from the USG-UISG Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.  Click here to access the newsletter.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pauline at 201

You may remember that last year we commemorated the 200th birthday of the Founder of the Sisters of Christian Charity,  Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt (June 3, 1817- April 30, 1881).  In honor of Mother Pauline's 200th birthday, Sisters participated in mission trips to Uruguay, Argentina, the Philippines and the United States.  Additionally, spiritual preparations occurred for three years prior to the celebration and in last July's "Response 200." Several "Pauline 200" celebrations were held last summer, as well. 

Through these commemorations and celebrations, the Sisters of Christian Charity have been strengthened to continue carrying Pauline's charism throughout the world.  We are grateful to God for Blessed Pauline and for all of those on whose shoulders we stand.

Father in heaven, lead us in the way of  love as you led Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.  Open our hearts to others, that loving them as your Son commanded, we may be one with them in your heavenly kingdom.  Amen.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

On the Call to Holiness in Today's World

We continue reading through Gaudete et Exsultate, the Apostolic Exhortation promulgated in April:

"We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people.  That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual.  Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in a human community.  God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people" (n. 6).

"I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God's people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile.  In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant.  Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God's presence.  We might call them 'the middle class of holiness'" (n. 7).

"[St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross] writes: 'The greatest figures of prophecy and sanctity step forth out of the darkest night.  But for the most part, the formative stream of the mystical life remains invisible.  Certainly the most decisive turning points in world history are substantially co-determined by souls whom no history book ever mentions.  And we will only find out about those souls to whom we owe the decisive turning points in our personal lives on the day when all that is hidden is revealed'" (n. 8).

Friday, June 1, 2018

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for June

The June 2018 issue of Stop Trafficking -- highlighting the trauma suffered by victims of sexual exploitation and the issues involved in their treatment and healing -- is available here.