I. Annual Disciples Response Fund (DRF): If you are registered at a parish in our Diocese, you have probably received a letter from Bishop Medley asking for support of the Disciples Response Fund annual appeal. The good works funded by the DRF appeal deserve our support, including youth & young adult ministries, parish grants, charitable works, faith enrichment, and clergy and seminarian formation. This year our target goal is $26,000, which is the same target as last year. Once our parish exceeds the target goal in DRF contributions, 50% of that surplus will be returned to our parish to be used as we choose. Our parish received a rebate of just over $9,400 from your generosity of last year’s DRF. We have made excellent use of the rebate, including a donation for computer and technology improvements to our parish Saint Vincent de Paul conference to help them better serve those in need, as well as a donation to VOCARE to support vocations, priesthood, and religious life. The theme for the appeal this year is “A Community of Faith.” I continue to be humbled by the prayers, generosity, and service of the Saint Stephen Cathedral faith community! Thank you for your prayerful consideration, and I ask you to be as generous as you can. Your donation makes a difference.
II. Insiders and Outsiders: “And one of the lepers, realizing he had been healed, returned glorifying God in a loud voice, and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him” (Luke 17:11-19). If we, like that leper, realize as we travel through life, that God has spontaneously reached out with healing and forgiveness, and has raised us to the dignity of children in God’s household—and indeed that has already happened—what other prayer need we say but, “Thank You?” Can we name a moment when we felt like an outsider and experienced Jesus’ healing words? Is that something about which we need to give thanks? In turn, who are the outsiders whom we must welcome into our lives and our community?
III. Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World: we will celebrate World Mission Sunday on October 20, 2019. Pope Francis invites the entire Church to support mission dioceses in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Latin America and Europe, where priests, religious and lay leaders serve the world’s most vulnerable communities. Please keep these missions in your prayers and be generous in next week’s collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. We are missionaries in a universal missionary church!
IV. Fed to the Lions: Saint Ignatius of Antioch (c. 37-107), an apostolic father and possible disciple of John the Evangelist, served the community of Antioch as bishop. Living during the anti-Christian reign of Roman emperor Trajan, he was sentenced to be fed to the animals in the Roman Colosseum because he would not engage in the worship of idols. His journey to Rome was marked by extensive writing in which he composed seven letters, as he was bound in chains and “carted” through seven towns, to create fear in “followers of the Way.” These letters, directed to various churches, emphasized the humanity and divinity of Christ, the centrality of Eucharist, and the importance of Church unity. We celebrate his feast on Thursday, October 17. I invite you to our 7:00am or 12:05 (noon) Mass.
V. My Favorite Writer of Good News! Saint Luke the Evangelist (first century) is traditionally known as the author of the Gospel that bears his name as well as the Acts of the Apostles. Luke was a gentile from Antioch in Syria, and his roots show both in his writing style and in his sympathetic treatment of gentiles in the gospel that bears his name. Luke accompanied Paul on some of his evangelizing journeys, and he stayed with Paul while he is in prison in Rome. Some sources claim he was martyred, but it is thought that he died an old man of natural causes. A tradition states that he was the first icon painter, and the black Madonna of Częstochowa is attributed to him. His symbol is an ox or bull because the Lukan Gospel begins with Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, offering a sacrifice in the temple. Luke, patron of Artists and Physicians, is my favorite Scripture writer! Why not give thanks by celebrating Mass (7:00am or 12:05, noon) on his feast day, Friday, October 18.