I. Flood Relief for Fr. Sinoj’s Home Parish: The state of Kerala in South India consists of 14 districts with a dense population of 34,523,726 in 15,005 square miles. On August 13, the government declared a red alert for all 14 districts due to an unprecedented climatic depression at the coast of Arabian Sea that continued for three days. By that time almost all the districts were badly affected by the flood and landslides. To avoid the collapsing of dams, 35 out of 39 dams were opened for 3 days, resulting in an historic flood affecting almost 80% of the state. It took seven days to complete the evacuation of the people. As of August 20, 1,078,023 people are in 3,645 relief camps, and the official death toll is 367. This weekend, the Cathedral parish will take up a collection to send to the people of Infant of Jesus Parish, Fr. Sinoj’s home parish; over 90% of their parishioners had homes under water! Be as generous as you can, and above all please keep in prayer Fr. Sinoj’s family and all those affected by these catastrophic conditions.
II. Keeping Safe & Secure Update: Thanks to your generous support, work to replace our front porch is underway. The front entrances of the Cathedral are closed; however, the elevator and the side door entrances are accessible. We appreciate the help of our hospitality ministers as well as your patience and understanding during this project. The restrooms in the downstairs hallway are closed, but the Bridal Suite restrooms (in the Community Center) are open. Plans are underway to obtain portable restrooms which will be available throughout construction. Please join me in praying for the success of our project as we make these necessary improvements, caring for St. Stephen Cathedral now and for future generations. God bless you for your support!
III. Tough Love with Persistent Prayer! Saint Monica (331-387) married Patricius, a pagan man with a violent temper. While she could have become very bitter, her example and prayers finally won Patricius over to conversion at the end of his life. Dignified and beyond gossip, Monica had a calming influence on friends and acquaintances. She is a wonderful example for those who worry about the spiritual welfare of their children—she had three. The oldest, Augustine, turned his back on God and gave himself over over to a life of worldly pleasures, which included fathering a child, Adeodatus, out of wedlock. Monica prayed perseveringly for the conversion of her smart, witty, well-educated son, and never gave up on him. She is a great example for us; she never turned her back on her son no matter how disappointed she was in him. Like her, we need to leave the door open, while at the same time calling one to responsibility for one’s actions. I invite you to Mass Monday, August 27, especially if you have a child away from the church. Monica is the patron saint of mothers.
IV. Never Too Late! In his early thirties, Augustine had a conversion experience as he opened the Scriptures and began to read. His curiosity led him to a teacher named Ambrose, who had a positive spiritual influence on him. Turning from a life of drugs, sex, drinking and broken relationships is a difficult trip. Augustine experienced three years in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, was baptized in 387, beginning a new way of living, dedicating his life to God, never looking back! He was ordained a priest and then called to become the bishop of Hippo in Africa in the year 396. His writings, which helped shape Christianity, formulated theories and doctrines on original sin, just war, human will, the Trinity and Christology. In his autobiography, “Confessions,” Augustine penned, “Late have I loved you, beauty so ancient and ever so new. Late have I loved you.” Why not celebrate Mass on Tuesday, August 28, for someone straying from God.
“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:15b