St. Stephen Cathedral Mass
Blessed Sacrament Chapel Mass
Published on October 12th, 2012
The campaigning continues, the presidential debates have begun, and we citizens have a weighty responsibility to carry. As I mentioned in a Sunday homily two weeks ago, I hope that each of us is praying about the upcoming election – praying for our country, praying for the candidates, praying for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we enter the polls. The truth is that no political party and no individual candidate supports all the values that the Catholic Church upholds and promotes. We must each have a properly informed conscience and then vote accordingly. The US Bishops state: “The formation of conscience includes several elements. First, there is a desire to embrace goodness and truth. For Catholics, this begins with a willingness and openness to seek the truth and what is right by studying Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is also important to examine the facts and background information about various choices. Finally, prayerful reflection is essential to discern the will of God. Catholics must also understand that, if they fail to form their consciences, they can make erroneous judgments.” I am happy to inform you that on October 29th Deacon Curry, Fr. Brandon and I will hold a panel discussion on the topic of “Forming conscience for Faithful Citizenship.” I hope that you will find this helpful.
As you know, every fall we conduct a Mass count on three consecutive week-ends in an effort to gauge the number of people (percentage of parishioners) coming to Mass on Sunday. Our parish average was 49% this year. That means that less than half of our registered members are not coming here for Mass. That is a real concern for me. If I thought they were all going elsewhere I would not be as concerned, but there is little evidence to suggest that the other 51% are all going to Mass. This is but one of the reasons that our Holy Father has called for a Year of Faith and is leading the Church into a reflection on new evangelization.
At last week’s canon law convention, I assumed the presidency of the society (following my election as vice-president/president-elect last October). I am very honored to serve in this capacity, and I do so with the blessings of Bishop Medley and the support of Fr. Brandon and the parish staff. In this role, I will be away from the parish multiple times in the coming year (including last month’s trip to New Zealand). Please know that my absence is not an indication of my desire to be away from you, but is part of my responsibility as a priest to be of service to the larger Church. I am grateful for your understanding and your prayers.
Love, Fr. John