Fraternity, charity, unity, patriotism
We just celebrated a very significant occasion in the life of our country and of the world in the 50th anniversary of the landing of the Apollo 11 Space Mission on the moon. When Buzz Aldrin took the first step upon the moon on July 20, 2069, the capacity of the human person to reach beyond the limits of this world was realized. Eugene Kranz was the director of the Apollo 11 mission and was present this year at the Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C. During his address, President Donald Trump remarked, “Exactly 50 years ago this month, the world watched in awe as Apollo 11 astronauts launched into space with a wake of fire and nerves of steel, and planted our great American flag on the face of the moon. We are thrilled to have here tonight the famous NASA flight director, who lead Mission Control during that historic endeavor – the renowned Gene Kranz.”
We choose to go to the moon
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 space crew, made unprecedented history by completing a voyage to the moon and being the first to land upon it. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this monumental event, we have a great deal to be proud of and upon which to build and reflect. As Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon exclaimed as he made that incredible step, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” A great deal has occurred in our world during the 50 years since that step but the courage, vision and determination which made it possible continue to give us encouragement and hope in the ability of humankind to fulfill its potential as created in the image and likeness of God. The decision to make the voyage to the moon was as unprecedented as the voyage itself.
The greatest treasure of Notre Dame Cathedral
It has been over two months since the tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The two months have brought with them a great deal of understanding of the cathedral, it’s art and its place in history, which are all irreplaceable. The cathedral is a reminder of the pinnacle of God’s creation, which is the human person capable of raising the human mind and heart into the contemplation of God’s beauty through artistic creativity and manual dexterity. The two months have also brought a great deal of hope in the conviction of rebuilding the cathedral as a monument to God and his creation.
The Holy Spirit prays within us
Pentecost marks the beginning of the Church when the Lord sent down upon the apostles the gift of the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit is the culmination of Easter for through it, the mission of Christ continues. Pentecost is not the end of what Jesus had brought about for us but only the beginning. Just as the apostles were able to go forth and accomplish miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit, so does the Spirit work in our lives each day. From a small group of followers of Jesus in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit has enabled the Church to grow to what it is today.
Celebrating Our Lady of La Vang
As every year in our Diocese on the first Sunday of May, we celebrated our annual diocesan Marian Festival. This year, as in so many preceding years, the festival took place at the Rosary Walk of Emmanuel Parish in Delray Beach. While there was a threat of rain, it held off for the entire time we were outdoors at the beautiful Rosary Walk honoring Our Lady. Present were many statues and icons of Mary representing the many diverse cultural backgrounds of our diocese in such a rich manner. The presence of so many of the faithful of our diocese from different nationalities represented well the faith that is present here and the reality that Mary is our mother and relates to all of us in our particular backgrounds and situations. As always, the festival was a moving experience of faith centered on Mary as integral to who we are as the followers of her son in the Catholic Church.
The priest: The now of God
The Gospel passage from St. Luke that was just proclaimed is the same as was proclaimed on the fourth Sunday of this year and upon which Pope Francis reflected at the closing Mass for World Youth Day in Panama. The pope expressed that in it, “Jesus reveals the now of God who comes to meet us and calls us to take part in his now! … This is the now of God. It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face, it is flesh. It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations to show itself. … It is God’s time, that makes every situation and place both right and proper.” The pope reflected that not everyone who heard the words of Jesus felt invited because they could not accept that God could be that real and intimate as he was in Jesus. He warned that the same sentiment can happen with all of us.
Christ is Alive!
The Easter season has recently begun. The celebration of Easter is not just Easter Sunday but a period of 50 days from the celebration of the Easter Vigil until the solemnity of Pentecost. This is a joyful time for all of us to celebrate the reality of the Lord’s Resurrection.
Mary before us in Holy Week
During Holy Week we encounter the Lord as he stands before us in a personal manner as the one who came to redeem us by giving His life, unjustly condemned as a criminal, upon the cross. As the Lord encounters us this week in this most intimate manner, it is well for us to consider carefully our response to him. During Holy Week, many are before us in the Gospels who encounter Jesus and respond to him in the most extreme manners. From his disciples and apostles to Pontius Pilate, the crowd and the soldiers who crucify him, the Lord’s response is always one of love and mercy.
‘Unplanned’ movie offers message of love, conversion
A new movie is to appear in certain theaters March 29, which is most fitting for the season of Lent. The movie is a very personal and moving story of the powerful deception of evil and the more powerful reality of love, conversion, forgiveness, outreach to those in difficult times, the meaning of life and the promise of eternal life. All those elements, so much a part of the Lenten season, are reflected in the movie, “Unplanned,” a true account of a woman who made a complete reversal in regard to her acceptance and facilitation of abortion.
God speaks within us
We just sprang ahead by moving the clock forward one hour. While we have slowly been enjoying evenings of more daylight, the springing ahead one hour made the extra daylight even more obvious. In a certain sense we can say that, by our pushing the clock ahead, the longer days come about by two actions, nature’s and our own. Of course, our part in this change is not only minimal, but also artificial. Nature will continue to make the increasing daylight even more dramatic as spring officially begins on March 20.
God is young, God is old, God is now because God is love
Lent will soon be upon us. We are blessed with a period of 40 days to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter. We do this by looking deeply within ourselves and in a particular way, letting ourselves be turned more to God’s presence in our lives each day. As we prepare to take up certain practices of prayer, penance or almsgiving, we do so that they may help us meet the Lord and grow more in knowing His love. Lent is indeed, as the liturgy proclaims, a joyful time.
The Heart of February–The Heart of it all
February is, in many ways, a transitional month. The holidays are now part of the past and we naturally look to something to engage us. We are blessed in southern Florida with very comfortable weather during the winter months and do not experience the doldrums that the cold and wintry weather can bring to other parts of our country. Furthermore, we look forward to something that helps us appreciate the many gifts and joys of life. Sometimes, the month of February brings with it Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent but that is not the case this year. What always fills February with a change of pace is Valentine’s Day. In fact, Valentine’s Day has been anticipated, through promotions and advertising, almost immediately after Christmas. We can say that Valentine’s Day is truly at the heart of February.
He appointed twelve to be with him
The beginning of this new year, 2019, was a very special time for the bishops of the United States. We gathered together at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, outside of Chicago, for a rather focused retreat. While the bishops of the country gather for a retreat in the springtime every three years, this retreat was suggested by Pope Francis in view of the many issues regarding sexual abuse, which are facing the Church. The pope thought that a period of intense prayer and reflection would be a support to the bishops in regard to their role as successors of the apostles at this present time.
Pope Francis’ birthday cake
We have just entered the new year of 2019. A new year brings a great deal of hope for renewed outlook on life which includes resolutions we sometimes make. As we begin the year and undertake our resolutions, we may liken the occasion of the new year to that of a birthday. Pope Francis recently celebrated his 82nd birthday Dec. 17. He once said that birthdays are the occasion to “remember all that God has done for us,” emphasizing that “memory is an aspect of life,” and that it is “a great misfortune to lose the memory of all that God has done for us.”
The music and art of Christmas
During the Christmas season we hear a great deal of music from popular Christmas songs to beautiful Christmas hymns and moving classical pieces such as Handel’s Messiah. The sounds of Christmas many times move us to happy memories as well as emotional responses, such as the tears that sometimes accompany hearing Silent Night. Music has the ability to touch our hearts and souls and to bring us out of ourselves and sometimes into the presence of God. A few weeks ago, at the conclusion of November, Pope Francis met with church choirs from around the world and reflected that music has the ability to make a deep impression on moments in people’s lives which mark their existence. He expressed that music witnesses “to the profoundness of the Word of God that touches the hearts of people.” He reflected that sacred music points to the beauty of paradise.