The Pastor's Pen
Having just completed participation in the wonderful events celebrating the elevation of Archbishop Dolan to the ranks of Cardinal, we now can call him Eminence, the official English title of a Cardinal of the Church. He, along with twenty two other clerics, were raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday, February 18 at St. Peter’s Basilica. As part of the ceremony, each Cardinal renewed and deepened their promise of obedience to the Holy Father and received the “red hat” and ring of a Cardinal.
I have found that there are certain fundamental practices and principles of Christian living that everyone can follow and improve on to strengthen their relationship with God and His Church. These fundamentals are rooted in Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Catholic Church.
The Discovering Christ course is going very well at both St. Lawrence and Sacred Heart. This past week we look at the questions from Jesus, “Who do the people say that I am” and “Who do you say that I am?” Combining these questions with this weekend’s Gospel where Jesus tells the man that he heals, “See that you tell no one anything,” I am urged to write about the person of Jesus and who he is.
I thought I’d spend this article making sure you are informed about three topics that have been on my mind and of interest to all of you. First is the subject of the recent decision by the President and the Office of Health and Human Services of the Federal Government to mandate health insurance plans to cover contraception and sterilization, including health plans for religious institutions such as schools and hospitals. What the Federal Government is doing is forcing a mandate upon religious bodies despite its direct contradiction with our held religious beliefs and morals.
During this past week we honored a great saint of the Church: St. Francis de Sales. St. Francis de Sales was born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, on August 21, 1567; he died at Lyons, on December 28, 1622. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII in 1665 and was proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX, in 1877.
His writings are very wise and extremely practical. I recommend you read one of his great works called The Introduction to the Devout Life. I share with you a few excerpts here:
In 2006 the book “Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust” by Immaculee Ilibagiza was published.
You have all heard the exciting and happy news that Archbishop Dolan has been elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI. The announcement came out January 6 in Rome and it is a cause of great rejoicing for the Archdiocese of New York and the Catholic community in the United States.
I devote this week’s article to two topics, one of gratitude and one of making you aware of an initiative that is happening in the Archdiocese of New York later this month.
As we complete the Octave of Christmas today with the Feast of the Holy Family, I share with you some wisdom from one of the Fathers of the Church. St. Leo the Great, who died in 461 A.D., was a Pope who was well known for his wisdom and sound teaching as the Vicar of Christ on earth. In a homily delivered on Christmas Day during his pontificate, Pope Leo wrote the following reflections on the mystery of the Incarnation and its effect on us:
On this Christmas Day, I share with you some beautiful words of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI from his Encyclical Letter, Spes Salvi, In Hope We Were Saved. Knowing that Jesus Christ is the source of our hope, a theological virtue, the Pope also realizes that Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother, is a wonderful example of hope for all of us. He writes, “With a hymn composed in the eighth or ninth century, thus for over a thousand years, the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as ‘Star of the Sea’: Ave maris stella.