Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Five Things to Remember on Nov. 21

1.      On Thanksgiving, when we think of pilgrims to America, we might recall that 30 percent of new priests ordained in the United States are foreign-born.  Many gifts to the United States come from beyond our borders.

2.      There are more than 40 lawsuits against the federal mandate forcing private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. Federal judges have issued initial rulings in four cases brought by people of faith who run a business – and in three out of four, the company has won a preliminary injunction against the mandate. This speaks well for a few judges’ understanding of freedom of conscience, which lies at the heart of Freedom of Religion.

3.      Generous Catholics help U.S. dioceses meet basic needs. The U.S. bishops announced Nov. 19 that thanks to the Catholic Home Missions appeal they awarded $8.4 million in grants to 84 mission dioceses in the U.S. The Fairbanks, Alaska diocese, where many villages see a priest only once a month, got $135,000 for training deacons and Eucharistic ministers. The Cheyenne, Wyoming diocese, that has 45 priests to serve 53,000 Catholics spread over 98,000 miles, got $75,000 to help educate 11 seminarians. The El Paso, Texas diocese, where the ratio of priests to Catholics is 1:6,800, got $105,000 for youth and evangelization programs.

4.      Nov. 22 is the feast of St. Cecilia, patroness of musicians. “Singing belongs to one who loves,” said St. Augustine of Hippo. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (para 39) speaks of the importance of singing as a part of worship and notes an ancient proverb: “One who sings well prays twice.”

5.      God loves you.

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