Today we celebrate the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, taking a break from a Sunday in Ordinary Time. John the Baptist was the final prophet whose message was to prepare for Jesus in the context of repentance and promise. John was called by God from early on, just as we are called in baptism. His role was to point to something, someone, larger than himself. We, too, have been called to do this through the witness of our personal lives. Our calling is far less dramatic, but it is just as real. He is an example and guide for all of us today!
Next weekend, June 30 – July 1, we will celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend’s readings will invite us to join Jesus in living his profound love for all creation — caring for the Earth, accompanying the sick, reaching out to the broken with a generosity that matches his own. Next week will be the first week of July, when summer invites us to relax and renew, we ask for the grace to let the word permeate and guide us, refreshing and energizing our intentions to practice the generous justice of the Lord.
We are in the midst of RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WEEK 2018. We have had a “fortnight (two weeks) for freedom” the past few years. This year the Bishops have asked that we spend a week recognizing Religious Freedom. I gave you the press release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in last week’s bulletin. In the reflection proposed for June 29th, the Bishops write: Religious freedom is for everyone. Religious freedom is rooted in human nature, and therefore it is a fundamental human right. When we speak up for religious freedom, we do so not only for our- selves, but because we are called to defend the dignity of every individual and community that seeks the truth about God, including Muslims, Jews, and others who do not share our Catholic Christian faith. Certainly something to THINK about and PRAY about!
This week I will just provide the prayer intentions for this coming week. Please go to these two websites for more information.
I am repeating today’s intention, in case you missed it last week. Sunday, June 24: We are asked to pray that the Holy Spirit give us the courage to bear witness to the truth of the gospel, even in the face of social and legal pressure.
Monday, June 25: For our sisters and brothers in the Middle East: That through the intercession
of the Apostles, who established these most ancient churches, Christians and all religious minorities would be freed from violent persecution.
Tuesday, June 26: That the Lord protect all migrants and refugees, and that all those who work with people on the move be free to serve.
Wednesday, June 27, the Memorial of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church: That nurses, doctors, therapists, and all ministers of healing be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in their imitation of Christ’s compassion and care for the sick
Thursday, June 28, the Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr: That Catholic schools have the freedom to teach and bear witness to the truth about God and creation.
Friday, June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs: That we work to build a culture that recognizes and respects the dignity of all people.
Catholic Education: The bishops in their reflection for the 28th of June, during Religious Freedom Week propose the following: Education is a central aspect of the Church’s mission. One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to teach. In the U.S., Catholic schools have played an important role in offering hope in impoverished, primarily urban, areas. Catholic schools have been significant anchor institutions in many neighborhoods, and thus they benefit even those who are not their students. Catholic leaders played a leading role in ensuring that African-American children could have access to quality education. Education is what Catholics do, and it is difficult to imagine an America without Catholic schools. Catholic schools need the space – the freedom – to operate in accordance with Catholic convictions if they are to continue to be a source of vitality for our society.
Please pray for Catholic Education here and throughout our country. If you’ve noticed my com- ments for the past several weeks (I didn’t have anything about our school last week), Catholic Education, at this parish in particular and throughout the country in general, is, quite frankly, in trouble. Pray that there be an equitable solution to not only enrollment, but (in some ways) the more important issue of respecting the financial obligations needed to have quality Catholic Education.
New Cardinals: The Pope will have a consistory on Thursday, June 28, for the “creation” of 14 new Cardinals, from (among other places) Iraq, Pakistan, Madagascar, and Japan. (There are also European and Latin American Cardinals being created; none from the US or Canada.) Please pray for these men that they might be strong in their faith, especially in Asia and Africa, and have the courage to continue to announce the Good News of Jesus.
Next Weekend, the annual “Missionary Plan of Cooperation” Missionary:
Fr Sebastian Michael Flory, MS, a LaSalette Missionary, will be here next weekend to make an appeal for the LaSalette Missionaries in 27 countries throughout the world. We welcome Fr Flory. He will be here for Confessions next Saturday, if you wish to go to someone other than one of your parish priests, and will speak at all the Masses. Please see more information elsewhere in the bulletin.
I hope you are having a good summer. Since we have a missionary coming next weekend, I’ll be leaving for a week next Saturday, and will return on July 6th. While still a week away a reminder that our Mass on July 4 will be at 9:00 A.M. A great day to celebrate our Freedom of Religion!
Fr Joe Weber