I. How Are You at RSVP-ing? It is good to note that before flying into a rage, the king offers his guest multiple chances—there is the initial invitation before the wedding day and then twice personal invitations are given. The second time the king even sends the message, “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast!” Throughout our lives, God offers many invitations to us to be part of His Kingdom and to be fed at His table. Even though we have been invited, we also know that God honors our free will. If we refuse the invitation to the feast, we won’t be forced to join. As we journey closer to the end of our liturgical year, now is a good time to ponder, over this past year, how we have responded to the invitations God has issued in our lives? (Read, discuss, and reflect upon Matthew 22:1-14, and Isaiah 25:6-10a).
II. What Does it Mean to be Pro-Life? It means to honor and defend every single human person without distinction. It means that human beings never lose their God-given dignity no matter what stage of development they are in, no matter how much or how little political power they have, no matter what they have done. It means that we consider all human persons as good IN and OF themselves, apart from what they can or cannot produce. During this Respect Life month, let us renew our commitment to life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society.
III. 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, built in 79 A.D., because Ignatius would not engage in idol worship. His journey to Rome was marked by extensive writing in which he composed seven letters to seven different faith communities as he was “displayed” on his way to Rome to be martyred. 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 Saturday, October 17.
IV. Annual Disciples Response Fund (DRF): If you are registered at a parish in our Diocese, you have received a letter from Bishop Medley asking for support of the Disciples Response Fund annual appeal. The good works funded by the DRF deserve our support, including youth & young adult ministries, parish grants, charitable works, faith enrichment, and clergy and seminarian formation. The theme for the appeal this year is “LIVING in faith + GIVING in gratitude”. 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. Next weekend, October 17/18, is COMMITMENT weekend for this appeal. Your donation makes a difference.
V. Rosary Coast to Coast! On Sunday, October 11 (today) at 3:00pm, our church bells will ring, calling you to gather at our Marian Grotto (between our church and office building). We will be praying the Glorious mysteries of the rosary. Please wear masks and honor social distancing. If you wish to stay in church to pray the rosary, that is fine. Learn more at https://rosarycoasttocoast.com/
VI. Parish Generosity is Amazing! Since the beginning of this fiscal year, July 1, 2020, contributions have been received for three specific areas:
1). Cathedral Food Pantry – $1,465.00;
2). Backpack Ministry – $300.00 (our Backpack Ministry has recently restarted with in-person schooling; parish volunteers have been putting together 30 bags each week for the children at Hager Preschool);
3). Charity Assistance Fund – $4,091.00 For those of you who made donations to this fund in recognition of my 45th Ordination Anniversary (August 9), I thank you and am grateful.
Each of these three contribution opportunities is still available electronically on WeShare. Thank you for your untiring generosity to our Cathedral during this Coronavirus time!