Monday, April 27, 2015

Five Things To Remember On April 27

1. Pope Francis has named Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, 64, as Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michael Sheehan, 75, from pastoral governance of that diocese.

2. During the weekend, USCCB President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz opened the March for Marriage in Washington with a speech. You can read it here and and listen to it as well.

3. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal, Catholic Relief Services has committed resources to relief efforts. CRS and their Caritas partners have begun procuring emergency relief materials such as tarpaulins/shelter kits and water, sanitation and hygiene materials. CRS urgently needs help. Donations will help immediate emergency response and allow CRS to reach even more affected families.

4. Pope Francis ordained 19 new priests during the weekend and had some advice for them: no boring homilies.

5. God loves you.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Witnessing to the Beauty of Marriage

The following speech was delivered by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the USCCB, at the March for Marriage in Washington April 25.

My dear friends: Marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. This is a beautiful truth! As Pope Francis has said, “Married life is such a beautiful thing and we must protect it always, protect the children.”Redefining marriage in the law is the greatest social experiment of our time. Children don’t need experiments; they need the love of their mother and father, wherever possible.

In a few days, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the rights of states to protect marriage’s unique meaning. For the Court Justices, we promise our prayers. For our nation, we pledge our dedication to serve the dignity of every human person and to work together to build stronger communities and a better society. Marriage, like the gift of human life itself, cannot be essentially changed or redefined. Strengthening the family founded upon true marriage is essential for the good of all people.

Fairness, equality, and civil rights are values we all hold in common. Butmissing from much of the public conversation has been an honest look at the question of what marriage is. Advancing civil discourse depends not upon false caricatures or tactics of intimidation. Civility demands mutual respect even despite differing viewpoints. There must be room in the public square for the witness of lives inspired by the sacrificial love a husband and wife share for their children.

As a people—a movement—for marriage and the family, we seek to walk with others—especially anyone without a family, single parents, families in difficult circumstances, and those who experience same-sex attraction and their families. Further, it involves drawing near to and praying for those who disagree with us. Every person is a precious gift of God.

But friends, we will not be silenced. And we are not alone. I was grateful this pastThursday to join religious leaders of many faiths in reaffirming our shared commitment to protect marriage and religious freedom. A culture of marriage and family needs to be built. This will entail sacrifice and perseverance, in ways similar to the respect life movement. It will also entail a firm and joyful witness of hope. In the months and years ahead, may our love, patience, and courage open minds and hearts anew to the true beauty of marriage.

Thank you very much for your steadfast witness. May God bless you, the leaders of this nation, and all of our fellow citizens.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five Things To Remember On April 24

1. Pope Francis has appointed Father Edward C. Malesic, 54, bishop of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt, 76, from pastoral governance of that diocese. Father Malesic is a priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and judicial vicar of that diocese.

2. The Central American Minors (CAM) program, a new initiative of the U.S. government which allows children in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to apply for asylum and humanitarian parole in the United States from their home countries, is a tool that helps save children’s lives, said a USCCB representative, April 23.

3. This weekend is the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. Over 80 dioceses in the United States rely on support from this collection. Learn how you can strengthen the Church at home.

4. During a recent homily, Pope Francis said our faith is an encounter with Jesus.

5. God loves you.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five Things To Remember On April 22

1.Father John Crossin looks at the relationship between science and Catholicism and the search for truth.

2. Pope Francis has named Father Brendan Cahill, 51, a priest of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, bishop of Victoria, Texas, and accepted the resignation of Bishop David E. Fellhauer, 75, from pastoral governance of that diocese.

3.Pope Francis says the Sacraments help us to live out the Gospel in his tweet today.

4. Cardinal Francis George's funeral Mass is today. View the Archdiocese of Chicago's tribute page.

5. God loves you.

Walking With Others: Science and Ecumenism

By Father John Crossin, OSFS

This past February, I attended a Workshop on Science and Religion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] in downtown Washington. That day we explored the connection of science with Catholicism and ways to communicate knowledge more effectively.

The intersection of science and religion has been of interest to me for well over a decade. I imagine that this interest goes to back to my college days studying for my degree in mathematics.

These days I see a relationship of this workshop to my daily work with others. In our Secretariat we seek ecumenical and interreligious understanding. To use Pope Francis’ image, we walk with our friends in other religious tradition with mutual respect. We seek to understand their points of view and their values more deeply. We also share our thoughts, value and concerns with them.

In our American culture, science is valued and technology influences almost all aspects of life. Science and technology are the basic framework many people have for viewing the world. It can be an alternative faith or philosophy of life. It seems to me that we can adopt the same attitude of mutual respect with the "believers in science" as we do with our religious colleagues. Science can expand our horizons and deepen our understanding.

Whatever the attitudes of some church officials were centuries ago, certainly the Church nowadays has a great respect for the findings of modern science. These findings are taught thoroughly in Catholic schools.

Our attitude, however, is a critical one. We analyze research findings to see if they have been replicated by others. We realize that there are limits to science. Scientific method is a tool that helps us to discover extraordinary things about our world. It enables modern inventions such as the computer used to type this reflection.

We also are critical of efforts to over-extend science.  Some would make genes, for example, the explanation or everything: "My genes made me do it!" We question whether the extension of legitimate science into a total philosophy of life is legitimate.

Such efforts to broaden scientific understanding are fascinating in some ways. They give us things to think about. But they seem to stretch the truth.

We Catholics, as reasonable people, want to know the truth about material things and truths about life. Thus we converse with our scientific colleagues as we walk along.

Father John Crossin is an Oblate of St. Francis De Sales and executive director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Five Things To Remember On April 22

1. Pope Francis said today that it is the Church's vocation to care for the covenant of marriage.

2. The pope will also be visiting Cuba before his U.S. trip this September.

3. On Earth Day, the pope also said, “I exhort everyone to see the world through the eyes of God the Creator: the earth is an environment to be safeguarded, a garden to be cultivated."

4.The 2015 Catholic Communications Campaign (CCC) will be taken up in many dioceses the weekend of May 16-17. This collection helps support evangelization efforts at home and abroad through a variety of communications platforms, including the Internet, radio, print and social media. “With digital media taking an increased role in our daily lives, it is important that the Church continues using these new mediums as a way to connect with people. This collection makes many communications projects possible and breathes new life into our evangelization efforts,” said Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington, chairman of the USCCB CCC subcommittee

5. God loves you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Five Things To Remember On April 21

1. Pope Francis said in his homily that the Church today is a Church of martyrs.

2. Cardinal Seán O'Malley spoke out yesterday against abortion activists stalling a bill aimed to assist victims of human trafficking.

3. April is a time to promote awareness of child abuse prevention and to learn how the Catholic Church is working to protect children and young people.

4. Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley says Oklahoma City "spirit of caring and kindness" have emerged in the 20 years since a bombing killed 168 people.

5. God loves you.