Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

Great Resource for the Holy Father’s Encyclical

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

With all that has been in written in the past several weeks about the Holy Father’s new encyclical on “Care of Our Common Home,” I was delighted to find a wonderfully informative edition of the e-newsletter, Carbon Rangers, published by Brother Kevin Cawley, FSC, Executive Director of the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College, New Rochelle, New York. This edition is dedicated to the encyclical.

In addition to Brother Kevin’s commentary, you’ll find some very thoughtful pieces by others involved in ecological issues. I have subscribed to Carbon Rangers for several years and I think you, too, would find it educational. Look for the “subscribe prompt” in the body of the newsletter.

Of course, the best thing is to read Laudato Si since, unlike many other encyclicals, it is addressed to all of us, not an elite few people. And, as I have said before, catechetical leaders could fashion a very interesting family catechesis event based on the encyclical.

Have a great Fourth of July as we wish the United States a happy 239th birthday.

New York Catholics demonstrate their authentic, generous faith

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

It takes just one or two days of frigid air for the philanthropic nature of New York’s Catholics to blossom. Providing food, shelter and clothing to those less fortunate is a hallmark of our community across the 10 counties of the archdiocese.

That’s why I want to remind you of our own Catholic Charities’ St. Nicholas Project, which helps thousands of needy persons in New York City to receive coats, hats, sweaters, blankets, and other items each Christmas.

The Christmas season is coming up on us even faster than the cold weather and many of you would like to help.  You can donate  funds or otherwise volunteer  to help assure that many of our brothers and sisters will have new, warm clothing.  On Shopping Day, Dec. 13, volunteers will be in K-Mart on Astor Place in Manhattan, using your donation to buy the  items. You can be one of those volunteers. Just e-mail for more information.

New is a very important word. The persons who benefit from the St. Nicholas Project are getting new clothing items and blankets, not hand-me-downs or the results of someone’s closet clean-out (although we should, of course, donate to charitable organizations items that are still wearable and clean). Our brother and sister New Yorkers are receiving Christmas presents.

There is a sentence in Pope Francis’ widely acclaimed apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel. “An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it” (EG183).

It’s been my lifelong experience that the Catholics of New York have that authentic faith They hand on that faith; they transmit the teaching of Jesus and his church to their children (we call this catechizing) when they reach out to help with the St. Nicholas Project and, just as importantly, when they speak up for those whose voices are often ignored or drowned out by the voices of the powerful.

The Angel Schultz

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

It was wonderful yesterday, on their feast day, to hear the Holy Father remind us of our guardian angels, those heavenly companions who watch over and protect us all our lives. The guardian angels probably aren’t at the forefront of our thoughts. I think of them as the “aha” helpers. We remember they are on the job only after they assist us.

If you are of a certain age, you probably had a picture of a guardian angel over your bed to protect you. Angels are very skilled at warding off “ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and other things that go bump in the night” to terrify little children. They are comforting in a storm, whether it is weather related or family discord, and they stand guard against evil. As the pope noted in his homily, they are the little voices in our heads urging us to watch out.

When I was a child, my sisters and I believed we all shared one special guardian angel and we knew that angel’s name. Schultz. The angel’s picture was right there on the wall with her name on it. Angels in our day always seemed to be feminine. My mother knew better than to tell us that we each have our own angel. She knew we’d all argue over whose angel Schultz  was.

Actually, this picture was a beautiful black and white lithograph, which was made in Berlin probably in the early part of the 20th century. Under the angel’s image was a caption: “Schutzengel.” That’s German for guardian angel. Someone misread the caption and ever since, this angel’s name has been Schultz.

Angel Schultz has been on a shelf in one of my closets for many years but just two weeks ago, my sister Nancy, who loved Schultz best, asked for her. So she’s back on duty again in Nancy’s home, still in her original frame.

Remember the prayer to your guardian angel? If not, here it is. Whatever your guardian angel’s name is — you can make up a name; I am sure the angel and the Pope won’t mind – call on that angel.

But remember, Angel Schultz belongs to my family. And she has her hands full with us.

Prayers for Peace

Friday, September 6th, 2013

The Holy Father has made an urgent plea to all the people of the world to set aside tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 7, as a day of prayer and fasting for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria. Here is his statement.  Cardinal Dolan has added his own request to the family of the Archdiocese of New York.

If you are a director or coordinator of a parish religious education program that meets on Saturday, please invite those in your program and their families  to offer their prayers as well.

For those of you who will be in midtown Manhattan tomorrow, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Holy See’s  ambassador to the United Nations, will offer a Mass at 5:30 pm at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Please come and, by all means, invite your family and friends to join you there.



Welcome and dignity for immigrants

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Whenever I pass St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I am reminded of the 19th century Catholic immigrants, who helped to build it with the sweat of their brows and whatever they could give of their paltry economic resources.

For them, the Cathedral was more than a magnificent church building. It was a symbol of their right to make a life for themselves and their families in the United States, and of their resistance to the Nativist movement that tried to prevent them from doing so.

The Catholic Church is on the side of the immigrant and that is why it is important for religious educators and others to be knowledgeable on this topic, particularly these days as the Congress considers immigration reform.  This is part of the church’s social teaching.

Here in the United States, the Church’s support for immigration reform is demonstrated in this statement by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, on June 28 during a telephone press conference with the USCCB leadership. Archbishop Gomez commended the U.S. Senate for its passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill and called for the House of Representatives to do likewise.

Pope Francis himself provided a powerful witness in actions and words in his visit yesterday (Monday) to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. During his mass for those migrants who lost their lives trying to reach this refuge, he addressed the plight of all migrants and their conditions.

“‘Where is your brother?’ the voice of his blood cries even to me, God says. This is not a question addressed to others: it is a question addressed to me, to you, to each one of us.  These our brothers and sisters seek to leave difficult situations in order to find a little serenity and peace, they seek a better place for themselves and for their families – but they found death. How many times do those who seek this not find understanding, do not find welcome, do not find solidarity! And their voices rise up even to God!”

Here is the entire text from Vatican Radio.

The website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a host of other resources for catechists (including the primary catechists of children, their parents) and others interested in learning more about Catholic Social teaching on immigrants and migration.

By the way, your knowledge and articulation of Catholic teaching on immigration will demonstrate that the Catholic Church is certainly not “a one-issue Church” as some have sought to portray us. Justice for the immigrant is now and always will be a high priority for our community of believers in this nation of immigrants.

Francis and Ignatius: connections

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

This post  from Thinking Faith, the British Jesuits’ website, is very timely and not just because our Jesuit pope took the name of St. Francis of Assisi.  You may already know that Ignatius of Loyola esteemed Francis of Assisi.   Father James Hanvy, S.J., explains that affinity through his examination of  the philosophies of these two great saints and the communities they established.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Father Hanvy’s article has a particular relevance for me because of a place where I was yesterday.  I wish you could have been there.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful experience at Mt. Alvernia in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. This spirituality center, situated south of Poughkeepsie, is a ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the New York Province of the Immaculate Conception and offers a range of retreats and other spiritual experiences in the Franciscan tradition. The retreats are primarily for Catholics but those of other beliefs are warmly welcomed.

While I was at Mt. Alvernia, I had the pleasure of spending the day with my colleagues and with Fr. Roch, the retreat director, who led us through Francis’ Canticle of the Sun. It really opened my mind to Francis and how his relationships with his brothers and with Clare, with all of creation actually,  enriched his life and ministry. I began to see the origins of the Ignatian call to find God in all things.  The more Fr. Roch spoke of Francis, the more I understood why Ignatius was drawn to him and why our new Bishop of Rome chose his name.

I had to leave early and could not stay another day but when I returned home, I checked the Mt. Alvernia website.  I suggest you take some time and do likewise. There are retreats upon retreats. Some are overnights. Some are one-day experiences.  There is an experience for almost every need, all delivered with the matchless Franciscan hospitality.  As the Franciscans say, peace and good.

Prayerful Discernment

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Last week, I posted a link to Sr. Patricia’s McCarthy’s wonderful column in Rhode Island Catholic, marking the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical for the world, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth). Like many other Catholics, I was feeling a little out of sorts. Uncertainty will do that.

What a difference a week makes. Yesterday most of my catechetical colleagues and I were up at the crack of dawn to watch the inauguration (am I the only one who smiles at that term?) of our new pope, Francis. When we got to work, albeit a trifle bleary-eyed, we couldn’t talk of anything else. Those of us in ministry were not the only ones mesmerized.  Everybody wanted to know everything that was happening in Vatican City. The media were positively giddy with excitement.

Watching our gracious, gentle but determined Pope Francis being driven around St. Peter’s Square, stopping periodically to kiss children and climbing down to hold a man with cerebral palsy, I couldn’t help smiling about all the speculation that had gone on about who would emerge from the conclave as pope. Very few pundits had Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on their “A” lists. He looked a little surprised himself, standing on the balcony of St. Peter’s last Wednesday.

Yet, in retrospect, everyone realized that no one else could have emerged.  No one else would have been the right one. That was because the Holy Spirit had the vote that counted. The cardinals just had to figure out which man the Spirit had in mind.  That’s called prayerful discernment.

You don’t have to be a cardinal to practice prayerful discernment.  You don’t have to sit in what looked like rather uncomfortable chairs in the Sistine Chapel.  And you certainly don’t have to be selecting a pope.  You might be wondering about a relationship much closer to home, which school to choose for your child, what to do about a job offer that might force you to uproot your family or a decision you have to make for someone who is dependent on you.  Very little in life is not important enough for prayerful discernment. It’s a good habit to develop.

Just for curiosity’s sake, I Google-d the term and came up with some interesting results. Here’s something from Joe Paprocki  on the Loyola Press website.  That seems appropriate, considering we have our first Jesuit pope here. However, you can find many other resources on prayerful discernment.  Try it. You know it works.