October 8, 2017

I.  Catholic Refugees: in late October some refugees from the Congo are expected in Owensboro. There is a need for 10-12 Catholics to welcome and mentor them their first 90 days; training is involved. Is anyone from Saint Stephen Cathedral interested? Is Christ calling your name? “Lord, when did we see you away from home, and not care for you?” (Matthew 25:44).  If so, call the office or Al Thompson, 270/316-1552.

II.  Volunteers for St. Benedict Shelter for Homeless Men are needed. Two “companions” are needed for 4 hours shifts, or to help provide meals. Our parish team serves the third Friday, from 8 pm to 8 am Saturday. “Lord, when did we see you homeless, and not tend to your needs?” Contact Laurie Hicks, [email protected].

III.  The Church is Always to be Reformed:”  this well known principle to church historians was re-invigorated by the relatively short pontificate of John XXIII (1958-1963). Known for his modesty and pastoral concern, “Good Pope John” dedicated his ministry to placing the needs of the world at the service of the Church. Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli on November 25, 1881, John XXIII grew up in a small village in the province of Bergamo in northern Italy. Raised in a large family of sharecroppers, young Angelo quickly developed a hunger for justice and human rights.

As “servant of the servants of God,” he refused to be a prisoner of the Vatican, and instead modeled the Good Shepherd, visiting the prisons of Rome, reaching out to the sick, and welcoming visitors of every faith and nation. He surprised the world by announcing the Vatican Council II  on January 25, 1959.
His hope was that the Ecumenical Council would signal a new style for the Church and its authority. John XXIII’s opening words to the Council Fathers reveal this hope: the Church is to employ the “use of the medicine of mercy rather than of severity. . .demonstrating the validity of Her teaching rather than by condemnations. . .by making appropriate changes and by the wise organization of mutual cooperation, the Church will make individuals, families, and peoples really turn their minds to heavenly things.”

On his deathbed, Pope John pointed to the crucifix near his bed and called it “the secret of my ministry:” “no one is excluded from His love, from His forgiveness.”  John XXIII was canonized along with John Paul II by Pope Francis on the second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday), April 27, 2014.

IV.  Violence Begets Violence: as I write, I just heard news that 58 people are confirmed dead in Las Vegas, with over 200 more wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States. It seems to me we are slow learners when it comes to curbing the use of semi automatic weapons in our country (anyone who has a semi automatic weapon is not hunting animals).  As we hear in the Gospel today (Matthew 21:33–43) the Kingdom of God does not involve any kind of violence: we are to root out anything that keeps us from growing in relationship to God and hearing God’s Word; this involves “dying to self” so that we can do God’s will. Let’s pray for all victims of violence.

Respect Life Month

“Love, Pray, Repeat!”   Thank you Trinity United Methodist Church, from their outdoor Church sign.