I. Mothers, Grandmothers, and Godmothers: today is a great day to connect with our godmothers as well as our mothers and grandmothers (living and deceased). We remember those who have nurtured, exemplified unconditional love, and have connected us with God. We include prayers for mothers facing challenges, including those who are pregnant, facing infertility issues, mourning, endangered, and more. Many women feel sadness and loss on this day because they have not had a child for which they longed. We give thanks for and honor all those who have nurtured, challenged, cared for, and loved us. Happy Mothers’ Day!
Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, pray for us!
Casting Lots for an Apostle! Because of Judas’ betrayal, it was necessary, according to the Scriptures, for someone who had witnessed Jesus’ Resurrection, to take his place. A group of about 120 brothers and sisters in the faith surfaced the names of two men as candidates: Joseph and Matthias. After discerning prayer, relying upon the power of the Holy Spirit, those gathered cast lots. Thus, Matthias became the new chosen apostle, whose feast we celebrate on May 14. Join us at 9:00 a.m. for a livestreamed Mass honoring St. Matthias!
II. Leprosy and COVID-19: Inspiring & Honorable Witness! Though different, there is a connection in my heart with those ministering to people with the coronavirus and the lepers to whom Saint Damien de Veuster Damien (1840–1889) ministered on the island of Molokai. We have such admiration and respect for those doctors and nurses, chaplains, and other healthcare professionals who are putting their lives on the line to minister to COVID-19 patients. This young Belgium priest by the name of Damien requested to be stationed on the island of Molokai, where the lepers and the diseased were “dropped-off” to die. Outraged by the deplorable conditions of the island, he sought to restore a sense of dignity to the “un-touchables” discarded there. Within a short period of time, the sick were living in clean houses instead of caves, and were given a proper burial upon death rather than being “dumped” into mass graves. Even though the leprosy was highly contagious, Fr. Damien chose to remain in close contact with his people, and align himself even more with the crucified in society. Damien de Veuster (1840-1889) eventually contracted the disease and died from it. So fully did Fr. Damien immerse himself in the grim world of Molokai, that he could say not “You lepers” but “We lepers!” With Jesus praying for us, we serve the world not by setting ourselves apart from others, but by witnessing in their midst. The feast of St. Damien is celebrated on May 10.
III. “12 Keys to Spiritual Vitality”/Mount Saint Joseph: “Powerful Lessons in Living Agelessly” will now begin on June 3 in the Saint Stephen Cathedral Community Center. Registration is through the Retreat Center at Mount Saint Joseph. This is a six-session course with classes on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 a.m.—10:30 a.m. beginning June 3 and ending on July 8. Attendees will learn the 12 “keys” that transform aging from a potentially dismal time into an ageless soul-adventure. This program is based on the writing and research of Dr. Richard Johnson, founder of Senior Adult Ministry and nationally recognized for his pioneering work in Spiritual Gerontology and maturing adult faith formation. The presenter is Maryann Joyce, the new director of Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center, who has studied under Richard Johnson. Each attendee will take an “Educational Faith Assessment Profile” and will receive a profile report. The fee is just $25 per person since part of the cost is being funded by the Disciples Response Fund. Class size is limited to 10, due to current safety guidelines. Call 270-229-0206 or email [email protected] or sign up online – at ursulinesmsj.org/registration-form-for-sponsored-programs.
IV. “Grace Marriage@Home” – We all need some grace and positivity in these unprecedented times. Couples are enduring a lot of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty and many marriages are struggling. In an effort to help married couples draw closer to Jesus and to one another during this time, Grace Marriage will be providing one “Grace Marriage@Home” lesson per week for the next month or so. Couples watch an 8-10 minute teaching video and use a downloadable worksheet to apply the principles to their relationship. It takes about 30-45 minutes a week of undistracted time for a couple to go through each lesson. Links will be posted each week on the Owensboro Diocese Family Life Facebook Page & Grace Marriage Facebook Page.
V. “Be Light” – A Marriage Renewal Date Night Series: The “Be Light” Date Night video series was an overwhelming success (over 1,500 couples across the US and 9 other countries from 142 dioceses participated)! The feedback is that it was exactly what couples needed in this pandemic time and that many marriages have been healed, strengthened, and even saved. Witness to Love will be offering the video series again in mid-May. We had nearly 15 couples from our Diocese participate in this first event, and we hope to have many more the next time. Date to be announced soon.