Bulletin (February 29, 2004)

This weekend our Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a visit of the Divine Mercy image. It shows the Risen Jesus with white and red rays of light streaming from his heart. These colors symbolize the water and blood which flowed from his side – which in turn represent the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist. Below Jesus’ feet are the words, Jezu Upam Tobie, Jesus I trust in you. There will be a Divine Mercy Prayer service on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. It is a great way to celebrate the First Sunday of Lent – a time which calls us to prayer, fasting and works of mercy.

St. Leo the Great pointed out that “the works of mercy are innumerable.” They include not only actions such as visiting the sick and giving money to help the poor, but many other things as well. I want to mention one we don’t normally think of as a work of mercy, namely participating in civic life by voting. The weekend after next, we will have tables set up so that those who are not registered to vote can do so easily.

By participating in civic life, we can help people who are disadvantaged. We can also help shape the moral foundations of our society. It looks like this year one of the big issues before us is “gay marriage.” We should not approach this issue defensively. In one sense it does not matter to us as Christians how society defines marriage. It will not change the meaning given by God both through the Bible and through natural revelation. However, the debate is an opportunity for us to clarify to others and ourselves just what that meaning is.

We need to start from a very honest and humble viewpoint, admitting that we have not valued marriage, as we should. For example, we have too readily accepted cohabitation and divorce as “just the way things are.” We have not done enough to encourage young couples who often feel confused or under attack. Also, we have accepted practices which go against the meaning of marriage. For example, if a person embraces unlimited contraception, in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood, they really do not have much basis for saying anything is wrong with homosexual marriage. Hopefully, the debate over gay marriage will cause us to ask some basic questions about the meaning of human sexuality. Does it have a transcendent value or is it just for individual gratification? Does it have a meaning we can discover – or can we make it mean whatever we want it to?

A man who will help us sort out many of these questions is Fr. John Corapi. Those of you who attended his retreat a year and half ago know that he is a powerful speaker with a life changing message. What he has to say is especially important for young people, but all of us will benefit. Please set aside next Friday evening and all day Saturday (up till the 5 p.m. Mass) for a profitable and exciting experience.

This Sunday at our 11 a.m. Mass, we have the Rite of Sending for our catechumens and candidates. They are: Ken Sanders, Michele Yuhasz, Janet Lewinski, Todd Aylard, James Nelson, Nicole Herron, Zachary Crossley, Jacqueline Keppler and Byron Ohari. Please pray for them as they journey toward the Easter sacraments. On Monday (March 1) they will participate in the Rite of Election at St. James Cathedral.

Speaking of the Cathedral, you are welcome to join Samwise and me for a walk on Saturday, March 13. Just show up at the Roxbury entrance. Hopefully, we won’t need raincoats and umbrellas, but whatever happens, it will be a prayerful and invigorating experience. Each person needs to provide for their own return unless they plan on walking both ways. People under eighteen either need their parents with them or a letter of permission from them. If you wish to sponsor me or any other person on the walk, there are envelopes at the church entrances.

The question has come up whether Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ is too violent for teenagers. Brian Butler, who is the Director of Religious Formation at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metarie, Louisiana and the co-founder of Dumb Ox Productions, had this to say: “Most parents don’t realize how much violence their teenagers see on television and in the movies. The first 35 minutes of Saving Private Ryan were intensely violent, but most of the teens I know were allowed to see it. What’s the difference?

This movie’s violence happens to someone whom we love very much, and some of the violent scenes last a painfully long time. However, my appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice grew immensely as I watched, just as my appreciation for my grandfather’s military service in World War II increased after watching Saving Private Ryan.

It is true that teens should not see this movie alone, and they should absolutely be given a chance to think, pray about, process, and discuss the film. Because of the intensity and length of the violence, I recommend that parents or teachers go to see the film with their teens. But teens really must see the movie. It will change their lives. For those under age 13, I would encourage parents to see the film first and then decide if it is appropriate for their children.”

We are going to have a great event for young people toward the end of Lent. On April 3 lay evangelist Mark Shea will give an all day conference with the theme, “Why be Catholic?” Mark is the father of four boys and is himself a convert to Catholicism. This conference will be important for young people, catechumens and candidates – and anyone who desires to better understand the foundations of our Faith.

Lent is an important time for our Catholic school children. In addition to prayer services in their classrooms and assemblies, they are participating in daily Masses and Stations of the Cross on Wednesday afternoons. Also during Lent, we have Penance services at which individual confessions are available. This year our students have chosen as a Lenten theme, “Cleanse Your Mind & Spirit.” Please pray for Holy Family School children – and for all our children during this time of Lent. Below are some pictures from our school:

We received the following note from the Damey family: “Thank you so much for your love and prayers. The fire at our home was devastating in a lot of ways but the response of love and prayers and help in many different ways touched our hearts deeply. We will be forever grateful. We are keeping you all in our prayers as well as asking God to bless you all 100 fold. Please continue to pray for our unborn baby girl as she gets transfusions as well.”

Este fin de semana los Caballeros de Colón están patrocinando una visita de la imagen de la Misericordia Divina. Muestra a Jesús Resucitado con luz saliendo de su corazón. Los rayos blancos y rojos representan el agua y sangre, es decir los sacramentos de bautismo y Eucaristía. A sus pies hay las palabras, Jezu Upam Tobie, Jesús, Confío en Ti. Habrá un servicio en inglés a las 7:30 p.m. el día domingo. Todos son bienvenidos. Es una buena forma de celebrar el Primer Domingo de Cuaresma – un tiempo que nos llama a la oración, ayuno y obras de misericordia.

San Leo Magno dijo, “las obras de misericordia son innumerables.” Incluyen no solamente acciones como visitar a los enfermos y dar dinero a los pobres, sino muchas otras cosas. Quisiera mencionar algo que normalmente no consideramos una obra de misericordia – es decir, la participación en la vida civil por medio de votar. El segundo fin de semana del mes (12-13 de marzo) habrá mesas para ayudar en la registración para votar. También tendrán información en cuanto a los requisitos y la ciudadanía.

El 5-6 de marzo habrá el retiro dado por el Padre John Corapi. Los que asistieron hace un año y medio saben que es un orador fuerte con un mensaje que puede cambiar la vida. Su mensaje es sobre todo para jóvenes, pero es de beneficio para todos nosotros. Trata de venir el próximo viernes en la noche y todo el día sábado para una experiencia que hará una diferencia enorme para toda la familia.

Les invito ir conmigo y Samwise (mi perrito) en una caminata a la Catedral el día sábado, 13 de marzo. Nos reuniremos en las puertas del templo (calle Roxbury) a las 7 a.m. También les invito no perder la oportunidad de ver la película The Passion of the Christ. Algunos han preguntado si es demasiado violento para adolescentes. En mi columna de inglés se encuentran la opinión de un hombre que trabaja con jóvenes. Él recomienda que los jóvenes vean esta película y que, en cuanto a los niños, los papás la vean primero y deciden si es apto para sus hijitos.