I. Moved by Mercy is the theme to Respect Life Month this October! Whether it lasts for a brief moment or for 100 years, each of our lives is a good and wonderful gift. At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s unconditional love and extravagant mercy. Our relationships on earth are meant to help us and others grow in more perfect love which embraces forgiveness and mercy. The consistent ethic of life demands societal protection of the nurturing of life from conception to natural death. It forms a bridge between anti-abortion concerns and social justice concerns as the right of life is connected with quality of life in all its stages. All of us are sinners. Yet, Pope Francis calls mercy a “bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness” (MV #2). We are meant to depend on one another, serve each other in humility, and walk together in times of suffering.
Experiencing suffering–or watching another suffer–is one of the hardest human experiences. But we are not alone. Christ experienced suffering more deeply than we can comprehend, and our own suffering can be meaningful when we unite it with His. Jesus is with us every step of the way, giving us the grace we need. God invites us to embrace the lives we have been given, for as long as they are given. Life is a gift from God and so is His mercy. “Only God is the Master of Life!” (The Gospel of life, #55, JPII). As the Father loves us, so do his children. Just as the Father is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.
While abortion is a central issue of the consistent ethic, it cannot be an unqualified single issue. Abortion, rather, is linked with other interconnected issues–health care of the terminally ill, warfare, infertility, care for the earth, suicide, capital punishment. It is linked with quality-of-life issues–hunger, poverty, unemployment, living conditions, immigration, tax policies, welfare, nutrition and feeding programs. Catholic social teaching is rooted in a single pivotal truth pivotal truth–the dignity of the human person. It affirms that the human person is both sacred and social (Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, #12).” For more information, cf www.usccb.org/pro-life, www.hopeafterabortion.org, www.faithfulcitizenship.org.
II. LIFE CHAIN: on this Respect Life Sunday, October 2nd , beginning at 2pm, the Cathedral parishioners have been assigned the Northwest corner of Frederica St. & Parrish Ave. to join others throughout the city and beyond to stand up for LIFE. Signs will be made available. You may wish to bring a chair to sit. We will meet in the Cathedral parking lot and walk to our spot. Why not be a strong link in this fragile Life chain?
III. St. Francis is Bigger than a Birdbath! As the son of a wealthy Italian merchant in Assisi, Francis (1182–1226) was destined for grand homes, exquisite clothing, and find food-the “good life.” After a conversion experience he relinquished the trappings of this world to minister to lepers and preach to the spiritually hungry. His home was the earth; his clothing, humility; and his identity– that of an impoverished beggar seeking God. Many young men joined Francis in this “new way of life”, leading to the foundation of the frati minori (“lesser brothers”), which eventually became known as the Friars Minor.
One of the most popular Saints in Church history, he showed an outstanding love of creation as exemplified in his famous “Canticle of the Sun.”
We are blessed to have a Pope who embraces not only his name, but also the values of St. Francis of Assisi, and to have several Franciscan Sisters ministering in our Diocese, including Sr. Consolata and Sr. Antonia as members of Saint Stephen Cathedral faith community. Celebrate Mass this Tuesday, October 4, on the Feast of St. Francis.
IV. Devotion of Rosary–Month of October: Pope John Paul II called the rosary “the school of Mary,” a special devotion that teaches us about the profoundly close relationship Mary shared with her son, Jesus. More than this, praying the rosary invites us into this relationship, nurturing our faith and deepening our understanding of who Jesus Christ was/is for the world. The Church celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary, Friday, Oct. 7, in order to honor Mary’s example and guid-ance to her Son and we learn in her school how to open our lives to her son Jesus, and how to imitate his example of sharing God’s love with the world.
Rosaries, along with pamphlets with the mysteries, and how to pray the rosary are at the Church doors during the month of October, thanks to our Cathedral Rosary Club.