The pastoral nature of the episcopacy inspires our three bishop publishers to use the Florida Catholic as a forum to shine a light on issues of importance to Catholic faith. Whether reflecting on the different liturgical seasons of the Church, delving into the inspirational lives of the saints, or highlighting the good deeds of the local church, Bishops John Noonan, Gerald M. Barbarito and Frank J. Dewane hope visitors will gain insight from the words offered in their columns.
Advent: A time of interior reflection
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
The season of Advent is a time of interior reflection upon our life in Christ. We anticipate the birth of our savior and realize that our choosing salvation is our inner struggle between good and evil. The season of Advent brings us great light and we ask God to know what is happening within us.
Pope Francis spoke about this inner struggle recently and said, “even saints feel this inner struggle within themselves.” It is not an abstract differential between good and evil. It is a struggle that is within us all and during this season, particularly, we are more focused on this struggle that we might prepare the way of the Lord.
The Baptist follows Mary
This year, Dec. 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, falls on the second Sunday of Advent. Because of the priority of the Sundays of Advent, the solemnity, while not a holy day of obligation this year, is transferred to Monday, Dec. 9. The Mass for the second Sunday of Advent this year includes the Gospel passage from St. Matthew introducing St. John the Baptist. As the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception coincides with the second Sunday of Advent emphasizing St. John the Baptist, it is very appropriate to reflect upon Mary and John, two central figures of Advent, as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas. Mary and John the Baptist were vastly different from each other, but both had the same focus which was to point to Jesus Christ. As we reflect upon Mary and John, it is interesting to note that John the Baptist defers to the message of Mary, especially as she is the one who most perfectly pointed to Christ by living his message fully in her life. There is no question that Mary is the dominant figure of Advent and that the Baptist follows her.
You are called to be ‘A Disciple of Christ’
With Advent on the horizon, we ought to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. This Season of anticipation and longing allows all of us to welcome God’s invitation to become A Disciple of Christ. This brings to mind the disciples in the early Church and the great sacrifice that they lived day in and day out. The call to be A Disciple of Christ thus requires a response from you! It may involve speaking out, giving up certain things in your life, or even taking on extra responsibilities. But the reality is, and Pope Francis has said this well, “We cannot be tepid disciples. The Church needs our courage in order to give witness to truth.”
of Catholic Bishops
Statement on Passage of State-Level Immigration Enforcement (SB 168)
“Today’s passage of state-level immigration enforcement legislation is disheartening. There are many, including members of the Florida Legislature, who are frustrated that Congress has not enacted needed immigration reforms. However, immigration law is, and should remain, in the purview of the federal, not state, government.