I. Day of Fasting and Prayer for the legal protection of unborn children. Since January 22, 1973, with the Supreme Court decision, Roe versus Wade, making abortion legal in the United States, there have been millions of lives lost by the sin of abortion. In the Mass for Peace and Justice, we pray that all governments, especially our own, seek a truly just society, one in which the common good of all people, including the most vulnerable, is sought. We also pray for stronger emotional and financial support for those women, mostly poor, who do give birth. Our church believes that once the egg and the sperm unite to form the zygote, that potential human life needs to be protected and nourished. Some of the most staunch anti-abortion supporters, are women who have had a painful, emotional and moral experience of abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard, is a retreat which offers women, and men who have facilitated abortion, forgiveness and healing. Many others have been trained to answer calls on the “Opportunities for Life,” 24-7 hotline which gives confidential, non-judgmental, and emotional support for untimely pregnancies, sponsored by the Kentucky bishops. As your pastor, I ask you to make this day, Monday, January 22, a day of fasting and prayer.
II. Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul: today’s feast celebrates God’s triumph, even in the most unlikely circumstances. Before Paul encounters the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, he is Saul, dedicated to viciously persecuting the followers of Jesus Christ. Although certainly astonishing, the conversion of Paul is also deeply inspiring, for it tells us that God does not hold our mistakes and sins against us, but rather calls us to turn our minds and hearts to follow his Son instead. The conversion of Paul, celebrated on January 25 on the last day (18th to 25th) of week of “Prayer for Christian Unity,” is proof that no one is too far beyond the call of the Lord to follow, and that in Christ, change for the better is always possible.
III. “Repentance” or “Metanoia” (literally, a change of mind), in Jesus’ language, means to make 180° change of direction in our lives. He challenges us to rethink our notion of who God is and how God acts toward us in the light of our sins. In Jesus, God is breaking into our worlds of isolation and indifference and calling us to faith in Jesus. Repentance asks that we make a complete turnaround in our lives toward God. So we ask ourselves: what real direction and big change has to make in my life? What will be the first step towards that kind of change?
IV. Feast of Saint Angela Merici: Based upon a vision, Angela founded a group of consecrated women known as the Ursulines, dedicated to the education of young women, especially the poor. They were named after the fourth century martyr and protector of women, Saint Ursula, to whom Saint Angela had a special devotion from an early age. Unlike the traditional customs practiced by those in religious orders, the members of this community did not wear habits, take vows , or live behind an enclosure. The women often resided with their own families, but met for instruction. We are grateful to our Mount Saint Joseph Ursuline Sisters who have made such a difference in our Diocese and beyond.
“The GRACE promised us is given, not that we may KNOW more, but that we may DO BETTER.”
John Henry Cardinal Newman
From the Pastor. . .
Your 2017 Tithing Statement for tax purposes will be mailed to you by the end of this month. If you have any questions or clarifications about what you have given to continue the mission of the Christ’s Church at St. Stephen Cathedral, please contact our business manager, Eddie McFarland at our parish office (direct phone, 270-852-8426). This gives me a wonderful opportunity to thank you for your generosity—the Cathedral could not exist without your monetary contributions, as well as your ministry involvement. God will not be out done in generosity! Your generosity inspires me!