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Jan 302017
 

by Fr. Robert J Carr

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Cardinal O’Malley preaching at Sacred Heart Shrine, Columbia Heights, Washington, DC

Columbia Heights, Washington, DC–Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, celebrated Mass at the Sacred Heart Shrine in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC on Friday to kick off the Archdiocese’s participation in the annual March for Life in the United States’ Capital.

Proclaiming that “Every life is precious,” the Boston Archbishop and member of the Pope’s group of Cardinal advisors called for a community rooted in solidarity. Approximately, one thousand parishioners from Massachusetts listened as the beloved Capuchin friar built upon a theme of caring for all at birth and death. He described the recent celebration of the Sacrament of the Sick with one of the founders of the Ice Bucket Challenge who is in the last stages of ALS, commonly known in the US as Lou Gehrig’s disease and he used the experience to call to reject assisted suicide.

“Hitler,” the Cardinal said “promoted mercy killing.” He added that it sends a dangerous signal that those with disabilities are better off dead.

“We need each other at the beginning and end of our lives.” he emphasized. “This is why we are here.”

“Mercy and compassion are not the acts of ending the suffering person’s life,” He said. “Mercy and Compassion are really taking care of people and letting people take care of us.”

Suffering, he explained, is a call for all to care for those with disabilities and for the yet to be born. The prelate countered that in a country where extreme individualism is a virtue, caring for others at their birth and at their death is the call of solidarity.

The Cardinal said that according to Cardinal Carlo Martini the once archbishop of Milan who died in 2012, the Gospels show that Jesus had a higher priority for caring for the suffering than he did for preaching.

He ended his talk by citing three people that had inspired him greatly, Nellie Gray, the founder of the March for Life in Washington, DC. The first march was by about twenty-thousand people, according to Cardinal O’Malley, since then, he explained, it has reached over a half a million.

Mother Theresa whom he said  “touched the lives of thousand and thousands of people.”through the order she founded.

Finally, he spoke about Dorothy Day, whom he met at the Catholic Worker House in Washington, DC when he was a young priest. Day who is a declared Servant of God, the first step toward canonization, was a a convert to Catholicism who had both an abortion and later a child out of wedlock, but who came to the Catholic faith and became devout a great advocate of social justice. Day, a journalist and one-time contemporary to US playwright Eugene O’Neil, embraced the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as the guide to Catholic action.

Citing these three, the prelate stated that each one of us can make a difference.

“At the beginning and end of life we need each other.” he said.

“Our task is to turn the crowd into the community.” he proclaimed speaking of the powerful effect of caring for others.

“My hope and my prayer for us today is that we know that God has put us here for a purpose.”

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Fr. Matt Williams surrounded by marchers on the March for Life in Washington, DC

The mass began with Boston Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Director, Father Matt Williams, teaching that “Witness to life starts with the Eucharist.” He added “the first aspect of being pro-life is being fully alive with the life you have been given.”

The march, which took place later in the day, had hundreds of thousands, if not over a half a million, participants who marched from the far end of the Washington Mall, not far from the White House, to the US Supreme Court. The march memorializes the decision of the US Supreme Court to legalize abortion in January of 1973. Among those who spoke at the pre-march rally was Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence, a Catholic and former governor of the US state of Indiana. Pence is the first Vice-President to speak to the marchers. No president has spoken at the rally.

This was 44th march.

SIDEBAR

BOSTON STRONG: WE CHOOSE LIFE!

by Fr. Robert J Carr

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Mother Olga and Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, with Boston marchers in front of theUS Supreme Court Building, Friday

Washington, DC–Members of the Archdiocese of Boston’s contingent to the March for Life in Washington, DC, came up with a chant for the event. Led by youth ministry  director Fr. Matt Williams, who began yelling: “Boston Strong.” Participants, including hundreds of youth, responded: “We Choose Life.”

“Boston Strong,” a slogan common in the New England city, began in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that hit that community on Patriot’s Day 2013 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The event is dramatized well in the recently released movie Patriot’s Day. “Boston Strong” remains the slogan for the city.

The Boston group contained about one thousand participants of various ages and walks of life, from Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop to adult laity, priests, bishops, nuns, brothers and sisters and hundreds of youth and young adults and even a teen with Down’s Syndrome. Among the participants was Mother Olga, a convert to Catholicism and a native Iranian who formed her own order the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth now based in Quincy, Massachusetts. She and Fr. Matt Williams led a prayer in front of the Supreme Court building for the nation and a call for an end to abortion here in the US. They included a prayer for the intercession of St. Frances Cabrini (interred in New York City) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (interred in Emmitsburg, Maryland) and all of the American saints. The prayer was the culmination of the Archdiocese’s participation in the event in Washington for 2017.

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500 of the 1000 marchers from the Archdiocese of Boston on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, prior to the March for Life

Photo credits: George Martell, Archdiocese of Boston

 Posted by at 01:01
Apr 142016
 

joyoflove

We are grateful to our Holy Father, Pope Francis for the gift of his Apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia, On Love in the Family.”  He has given us a lengthy and significant teaching on the Joy of Love.  This is a document that demands a careful reading and reflection from Catholics everywhere, and it is sure to bear great fruit.  Pope Francis shows himself to be the gentle, merciful pastor who urges us all to take the time to meditate on the importance of families, for as he says, “The welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church.” (AL 31)
Amoris Laetitia brings together the deliberations of the two Synods on the family convoked by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2015, and draws on a long history of Church teaching.  This Apostolic Exhortation numbers over three hundred twenty five paragraphs, and it is not intended to be read and implemented too hastily.  In the introduction to the document, Pope Francis notes that no one should rush through reading the text, but that the greatest benefit will come if each part is read “patiently and carefully”, paying particular attention to those parts dealing with the specific needs of the reader. (AL 7)  Rather than try to draw immediate conclusions from the text, we are urged to reflect upon it and to ponder, patiently and carefully, what the teachings will mean for the Church and for her ministry to families.

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, in which the Church celebrates the love and unending mercy of God, Amoris Laetitia is a joyful invitation for families to live the works of mercy and to receive the gift of God’s healing where there is sin and brokenness.  As he has done time and again, Pope Francis challenges us to approach the weak with compassion, to “enter into the reality of other people’s lives and to know the power of tenderness.” (AL 308) It is my fervent desire that we will read Amoris Laetitia patiently and carefully, so as to benefit from the richness of its teaching.

Archdiocese of Boston, MA USA

 Posted by at 01:01
Jun 232015
 

We can not be afraid to ask God where He is

With this “Embrace of São Paulo,” we say we want the good of all, we want to embrace each with love and have the desire to spread the Word of God.

I want you to take the theme of this conference home: “God is acting, who can reverse it” (Isaiah 43.13). What should be the Christian’s attitude in today’s world? It must be courage, coming from the power of faith, an act of parresia. What was old has passed; now the new has come, and whoever is in Christ is a new creation.

Today’s (Sunday June 21) reading speaks of people who believed without leaving old habits. St. Paul, however, draws our attention to say that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. What is the gift of the Holy Spirit of being courageous? It is the gift of fortitude. We really need this gift today, not to abandon our faith and not to  follow the easy way.

Jesus told the apostles: “He who wants to follow me take his cross and follow me.” To follow Jesus we must carry the cross.

I want to refer to the Gospel and to today’s readings because they have something in common.The first reading tells the story of Job, a friend of God, righteous man who has undergone several tests. In the Bible, we see clearly that is the enemy of the Lord who tests him; then comes a time when it begins to balance in the faith of God and address some things, including he complains: “God, where are you”. So it is with us, we go through difficulties and even a question we ask ourselves, “Where is God?” We can not be afraid to ask God where He is..

The Lord come to the aid of Job and answers: “Who shut the sea with doors when it gushed vehemently the womb, when I gave the cloud the garment and thick darkness by bands; when I scored their limits and put doors and locks, and said, ‘Thus far you will come, and no farther;Here ends the arrogance of your waves’? “; with this, the Lord meant to Job who was with him, asking him not to give up.

The Gospel shows Jesus at the end of the day, being tired, Jesus asked the apostles to cross the sea. They went. There was a storm, the apostles were afraid and woke Jesus. The Lord stood up and ordered the sea and the winds calm down. The apostles asked: “Who is He?”.They had not yet understood who was the Son of God. It is the same one who put limits to the sea, who created heaven and earth. Jesus asked them why they were afraid if He is always with them. We are afraid when we do not trust.

With time and gradually, the apostles understood who Jesus was. Gradually, we will also understand that Christ is the one who gives us courage that does not let us walk alone and is with us.

How many times did God say to the people and to those whom He has chosen for the mission: “I am with you”?

Our culture and mindset cause us to solve everything alone, so living trust in God is very difficult.The Lord has given us the ability to accomplish things, but we can not solve everything alone because we can forget the ways that He has shown us. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.A saint of the Church says we should do everything as if it depended only on us, and pray as if everything depended on God.

We can not want to solve everything by force, it is always good to stop and think where God wants to lead us. He is with us to show us the way. Thank Him for all that is in us. We must live with the proposal of today’s readings, leaving everything old to experience the joy of what is new.

Portuguese Transcription and adaptation: Rogéria Nair

 

Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer


Metropolitan Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil

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