Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
It's Pro-Life T-Shirt Day 2008 Today
Paging Geoffrey Chaucer
by Fr. Michael Podhajsky
Known as "The Pilgrim's Prayer", this prayer was prayed during the middle ages, silently, mile after mile, day after day, by pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land
Monday, April 28, 2008
I Guess This Means Rome Is A Healthy Diocese
The other 7, while studying in Rome were from other parts of the world. 6 were from Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) Churches in Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, France, Haiti and India.
The 29th man to be ordained was Abuna (Father) Jarjis Robert Sayd (shown here after vesting) of Iraq for the Chaldean Catholic Church (Chaldean Church of Babylon) in Iraq. For anyone not familiar with the Chaldean Church, it is 1 of the sui iuris Eastern Branches of the Catholic Church. The rite they use is the East Syrian Rite (aka the Chaldean Rite, Assyrian Rite, or Persian Rite). While the majority of the eparchies (dioceses) are in Iraq & Iran, there are 2 in the USA & 1 in Australia for Oceania.
So this brings us back to what Papa Benedetto said about a healthy diocese. Given some dioceses have 0-2 seminarians ordained every year, 22 is definitely healthy. In his address at Vespers before the above Q & A he talked about what a good pastor, esp bishop was like. The bishop is the one who ensures a healthy diocese. Apparently the Bishop of Rome IS doing something right. But then he better be, since that bishop is Papa Benedetto.
After Mass, at the Regina Caeli, he shared the following thoughts about the newly ordained priests in his address to those present:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A few moments ago we concluded a celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica in which I ordained 29 new priests. This is a time every year of special grace and festivity: The lifeblood of the Church and society has been renewed and recirculated in them. If the presence of priests is indispensable for the life of the Church, it is also something precious for all.
In the Acts of the Apostles one reads that the Deacon Philip brought the Gospel to a city of Samaria; the people adhered to his preaching with enthusiasm and also saw the miracles that he worked for the sick; “and there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). As I reminded the new presbyters in the course of the liturgical celebration, this is the meaning of the Church’s missions and particularly the mission of priests: Sowing the joy of the Gospel in the world!
Where Christ is preached with the power of the Holy Spirit and he is accepted with an open soul, society, though it be full of problems, becomes a “city of joy” -- which is also the title of a book about the work of Mother Teresa in Calcutta. This then is the wish I have for the newly ordained priests, for whom I invite all to pray: That where they are sent they may spread the joy and hope that flow from the Gospel.
In truth this is also the message that I brought last week to the United States of America, on an apostolic voyage that had these words as its motto: “Christ our hope.” I give thanks to God for abundantly blessing this singular missionary experience of mine and deigning to make me an instrument of the hope of Christ for that Church and that country. At the same time I thank God because I too was confirmed in hope by American Catholics: Indeed, I discovered a tremendous vitality and a decisive will to live and to witness to the faith in Jesus. Next Wednesday, during the general audience, I will speak more about this visit of mine to America.
Today many Eastern Churches, following the Julian Calendar, celebrate the great solemnity of Easter. I would like to express my fraternal spiritual nearness to these brothers and sisters of ours. I cordially greet them, praying that the God who is one and three will confirm them in the faith, fill them with the splendorous light that emanates from the resurrection of the Lord and to comfort them in the difficult situations that they often find themselves living and witnessing to the Gospel. I invite all to join with me in invoking the Mother of God, that the road of dialogue and collaboration that was started upon sometime ago will soon lead to a more complete communion among all the disciples of Christ, that they may be a luminous sign of hope for all humanity.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Wellington Mara - Pro-Life Hero
Memo to Dr. Mary Graber: Some of Us of Italiano Descent Know the Code Words Also
You’re talking about “those people.”
You’re talking about people whose culture is little known. We have been pretty quiet. We never tried to impose our culture on everyone. We never insisted on putting pictures of ourselves in our native dress into schoolbooks or mandating that our stories and songs be part of the curriculums. (OK mine is better known, but now it isn't PC to be proud of it.)
We tried to maintain our culture without government aid, by forming our own churches and groups, and building Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovenian halls. (ditto for the Italianos)
We never wore buttons declaring “Slav Power” or grouped together for purposes of intimidation or violence.
The power we asked for was the power of the paycheck which we earned in factories, steel mills, coal mines, or by cleaning houses. Yet, we were taken aside and told that because of affirmative action it was no use trying to advance off the assembly line; we were told in “diversity workshops” that people of color had to be promoted over more qualified white people. I know this, Barack, because I have family members and friends who worked in factories.
We used to trudge in to work and change into work clothes, like my father did. He began by knowing only one word of English, “Okay,” which he found to be the most useful one in the language. (Her ancestors & mine also knew they needed to learn how to properly speak English, it was & still IS the language of this country.) When the boss man handed him a broom or pointed to a piece to be welded, he fairly leapt to the task. My uncles were injured in construction and mining accidents, and went back to work. (& back injuries from working on the railroad.)
But what did we get for that, Barack? We paid cash for our houses and kept impeccable yards, yet saw the value of our homes plummet after marauding hoodlums came into our neighborhoods in riots that were celebrated by the intelligentsia in Manhattan penthouses, who saw such violence as justified expressions of outrage over past discrimination. (Interesting fact about job & pay discrimination from 1912. Obama, who was more discriminated against when it came to pay, your ancestors or mine? "In 1912 the average income for a native white American was $14.37 per week, while a Negro earned about $10.66 a week. . . . the southern Italian a meager $9.61. So does that mean I can go to your neighborhood & riot Obama?)
We went to public schools in those same neighborhoods only to be accosted for our skin color and the presumed “privilege” that teachers said we had. Rather than teach us what was good and beautiful about Western Civilization and the country to which our parents had fled, teachers gave us Marxist nonsense, if they bothered to teach at all. Our schoolmates saw the evening news, mimicked their elders by wearing “Black Power” buttons and felt justified in roughing the white kid who didn’t seem tough. Because we were “privileged”—despite washing our fathers’ sooty work clothes while our mothers went off to clean offices and houses in the suburbs—we were not eligible for scholarships, not even to the Catholic schools. Teachers never cut us any slack. Guidance counselors told us to be secretaries or work in the factory, despite our volunteering and demonstration of academic abilities. Our brothers, cousins, and uncles went off to fight in Vietnam, while those from your class took up arms against their campus administrators.
True, we had our problems, as all people do, with such things as alcoholism and family violence, but we handled those ourselves, and never blamed “society” or a history of oppression. Still, many of us did carry legacies from the old country, of hunger and persecution, of watching family members and villagers murdered by atheistic regimes. So we were grateful for the opportunity to work and buy our own little patches of the American Dream. (My ancestors may not have had to deal with atheistic regimes. But they did deal with invaders who persecuted them. They did deal with a legacy of hunger. & the American dream was just as important to them.)
We were happy to use a welding torch, shovel, or broom to get them. We didn’t insist that we should all get college degrees. We didn’t have our documents translated for us or get bilingual instruction. (Ditto!) If we didn’t know English we made sure our children did and we relied on them. (Like I said above!)
Your white friends in San Francisco, Barack, probably had cleaning women like my mother (and me when I accompanied her and then had my own cleaning jobs from age 12). As white people from a certain class and with certain connections, your donors knew that their futures would be secure because of their inheritances and the connections they could make in the media, politics, and business. In fact, it would benefit them in the world of “radical chic” to hang around those like you and support your policies. (Great opportunity to be photographed next to a black person!)
Your black friends there, like your wife, see no end to the amount that this country owes them because of what happened to their ancestors. It makes no difference that many of the whites in previous generations also had experienced persecution and hunger and worked in dangerous, dirty, and degrading jobs. (Like my Grandpa & Great Grandpa.) Or that blacks and Native Americans were among the slave owners. (& I have been judged more than once by blacks because of my skin color. I guess it is OK for them to treat me in a way that is the exact opposite of the "Golden Rule".)
In fact, you and those wealthy donors sneer at white people who have had to do manual labor and who have paid for tuition at community colleges with the money earned that way, while our classmates received special scholarships and government grants—from our taxes. (Where were my special scholarships when I was in college? Yes I got financial aid, based on true need, scholarships based on ability.)
You sneer at those like us who put our faith in God and not in those like you who would presume to know what’s good for us and tell us what to do with our money and our children, and leave us with no ability to defend ourselves.
Well, Barack, coming from your Ivy League world, you would not know much about us. You would not have learned that because we come from people who, rather than letting their communist benefactors redistribute the food, burned the crops in their little fields before they were forcibly “collectivized.” In Slovenia, they fought Tito’s Partisans from the woods and held mass at night when the Communists banned church services. They remember what it’s like to be hungry, ill, and living in little more than huts, while Marshall Tito and his communist cronies lived in villas. Now you live in a Chicago mansion and sneer at those like us who simply want to keep and defend our little three-bedroom ranches. You don’t know what it’s like to have family members die for the right to attend mass. (Dr. Grabar, I suspect you realize that if Obama's Ivy League buddies had their way, Slovenia would still be under Communist rule.)
I know your liberal cronies, Barack; they make me check off my skin color on job applications and ask me during job interviews of how I teach multiculturalism, yet don’t know where Slovenia is on the world map. They couldn’t care less about my culture, nor about Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, or Lithuanian culture. Your supporters often feel free to mock my Slovenian heritage in letters and comments on the Internet when they disagree with me. I guess it’s like being called a “dumb Polack”—something that has never gained quite the opprobrium of other ethnic epithets.
See, Barack, we know the system: Some are more “equal” than others.
And we know how you really feel about the “proletariat.” We know this from our experience either directly or as an inheritance from our parents and grandparents. And that is why we came to America.
Addendum: Many of my non-European correspondents, like those who came from Cuba, agree—as their letters to me indicate.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
This Is What They Mean By Safe & Rare?????
" - An abortion on a 14-year old girl who did not understand what was happening to her. Her traumatic abortion resulted in drug abuse and suicidal thoughts.
Labels: Coercing Abortions
2008 L.I.F.E. Dinner Report
National Day of Prayer - 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Another Voice Speaks Out Against Planned Parenthood
Suffice it to say I am not speaking for the NLA and these opinions are my own. I am writing this column to draw attention to a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, introduced in Congress in March by Rep. Mike Pence (R.- Ind.), who I believe deserves our gratitude.
I bring this up for two reasons: First, I'm directing attention to Supreme Court cases grounded in eugenics, the discredited bio-politics followed by founders and leaders of the birth control movement and specifically, of Planned Parenthood. Eugenics is the alleged science in support of the notion that --- contrary to the Declaration of Independence --- all people are not created equal. Second, as this goes to press, talk radio is boiling with charges against Barack Obama's minister, Rev.Wright, for alleged hate-speech, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism. Wright was caught on camera accusing the U.S. of, among other things, attempted black genocide via AIDS. Mr. Obama apologized. Rev. Wright has not, as far as I know.
It turns out that the Rev. Wright is not a conspiracy-nut as to the general idea of government-backed black genocide, according to a convincing body of research and a recent book by feminist Angela Franks, Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2005). Franks joins the ranks of a growing number of non-feminist (and yes, non-Black-Panther) historians in documenting that the American eugenics movement was greatly in favor of black birth-prevention, a sure-fire way to eliminate the race or severely cut back its ranks and political influence. Eugenicists abhorred the 'differential fertility' of blacks.
The significance of the history of the American Eugenics Society is its personnel overlap with Margaret Sanger's birth control organizations and legislation, plus the Society's supporting role in landmark cases like Roe v. Wade (see my article at www.humanlifereview.org, 'archives, fall 2004'), Griswold v. Connecticut (at least one of the plaintiffs was a eugenicist), Buck v. Bell (eugenic legislation upheld) and even Brown v. Board of Education (citing Gunnar Myrdal's book proposing to eliminate blacks with birth control, while arguing to increase equality to better judge who is 'fit' and who is not). It is not lost on most of us, I dont' know about Rev. Wright, that the government's insistence on providing pervasive access to the Pill in minority communities does in fact help spread AIDS and other infectious diseases by facilitating high-risk relationships.
Franks takes care to explain that eugenics is not always about gas chambers, labor camps and state coercion. In my own research, I found leading eugenicists defining their sick work as a vague quest to improve the hereditary quality of human stock, "using all agencies under social control." You name it --- law, medicine, education, taxation, immigration, war/peace --- the eugenicists consider every sector of society as their perogative to upgrade the gene pool by preventing births from the 'unfit' and 'feebleminded' du jour, and today, by picking and choosing 'approved' human embryos according to genetic acceptability.
Preventing births with contraceptives and abortion became popular in the U.S. after Hitler made forcible sterilizations and gas chambers decidedly unpopular. But Hitler in fact, as researcher Katharine O'Keefe pointed out to me, was boasting in the 1930's that he would eliminate Slavs by "systematic measures to dam their great natural fertility." He argued that this was a way of making inferior races die out "bloodlessly." The links between Hitler and Sanger's American Eugenics Society are too voluminous and repulsive to get into in this letter. It can be recalled, however, that Hitler legalized abortion for Jews, insofar as forcing Jewish abortions in a concentration camp can be considered 'legal.' It can also be recalled that Hitler's forcible sterilization laws of 1933 were modeled after California's forcible sterilization laws, designed by Sanger's colleagues at the American Eugenics Society, who won Constitutional validation in the United States Supreme Court. Buck v. Bell (1929). Still 'good law.'
We know the eugenicists were Sanger's colleagues because she and the next two presidents of Planned Parenthood, William Vogt and Alan Guttmacher --- the latter led through 1974 -- were also members of the American Eugenics Society. Franks documents how the eager members of the Eugenics Society banded together with Sanger to launch her/their vision for publicly-funded birth prevention (Planned Parenthood) targeted to 'the poor' (wink, wink, meaning blacks), along with, of course, how-to classes in schools via SIECUS.
In this column I'm urging the end of public funding for birth prevention (and while I'm at it, the end of tax exemption for birth prevention 'philanthropies'), I point out twin political issues: first, that Social Security allegedly lacks upcoming workers to support my generation of retirees; second, that President Bush alleges we have so severe a labor shortage that we require millions of Mexican workers to fill the gap.
I bring up these issues because almost no one speaks about the striking fact that Planned Parenthood and the American Eugenics Society have cost our country 50 million aborted-American lives, plus the lives of the aborteds' children (another 20 million? 30 million?), plus the lives those who were never conceived because of being prevented. Considering the Biblical scale of this human loss -- which, I add here, has landed disproportionately on blacks and other minorities --- and considering that the Congress and the Courts have propped it up for all these years, the first step is surely to stop the flow of federal funding.
One more thing, Rev.Wright's alleged anti-Semitism, racism and hate-speech do not hold a candle to the anti-Semitism, racism and hate-speech of some of the members of the American Eugenics Society. This is all the more reason that the judiciary and Congress should disavow, no, denounce, Sanger, Planned Parenthood, and eugenics-era programs designed to create a genetic Utopia in America.
Rebecca Messall, Esq.
The Racist Truth About Planned Parenthood is Getting Out
Here is the Fox News report:
(Video added 26 April 2008, 1:55 AM)
Who IS Offering the Real "HOPE"?
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
If They Are Going to Attack Christ, Can't They at Least Come Up With Something Original?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
EARTH DAY - 2008
St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims: part Due
As I noted earlier, this biography is written in such a way that you keep looking forward to what happens next. Whether you are familiar with the real San Francesco or meeting him for the 1st time, this book IS well worth reading.
Monday, April 21, 2008
BUON VIAGGIO PAPA BENEDETTO
& while it is nice to know that some people are reading this blog, I am not doing it only to be read. I am trying to serve Jesus by serving those people he puts in my path via this blog. What makes me happy is not the numbers. It isn't in bringing me attention or glory. My hope is to do what Papa Benedetto challenged, to "preach Christ Jesus & Him crucified". When I speak out on issues I want to challenge people to live the Gospel. I stand up for life & hope & pray that God will bless my humble efforts. If I can bring 1 person to Jesus, if I can bring 1 person hurt by abortion to a place where Jesus can heal him/her, if I can stop 1 abortion, then I am happy. Success is not found in numbers, it is found in doing the will of God. Numbers don't always tell the story. Some people affect a lot of lives but have little to no lasting effect. Others touch few lives, but those they do touch are touched by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the person. & those results have eternal consequences.
Leaving on a Jet Plane
John Fitzgerald Kennedy International Airport
20 April 2008
The time has come for me to bid farewell to your country. These days that I have spent in the United States have been blessed with many memorable experiences of American hospitality, and I wish to express my deep appreciation to all of you for your kind welcome. It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Catholic community here. It was heart-warming to spend time with leaders and representatives of other Christian communities and other religions, and I renew my assurances of respect and esteem to all of you. I am grateful to President Bush for kindly coming to greet me at the start of my visit, and I thank Vice-President Cheney for his presence here as I depart. The civic authorities, workers and volunteers in Washington and New York have given generously of their time and resources in order to ensure the smooth progress of my visit at every stage, and for this I express my profound thanks and appreciation to Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.
Once again I offer prayerful good wishes to the representatives of the see of Baltimore, the first Archdiocese, and those of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville, in this jubilee year. May the Lord continue to bless you in the years ahead. To all my Brother Bishops, to Bishop DiMarzio of this Diocese of Brooklyn, and to the officers and staff of the Episcopal Conference who have contributed in so many ways to the preparation of this visit, I extend my renewed gratitude for their hard work and dedication. With great affection I greet once more the priests and religious, the deacons, the seminarians and young people, and all the faithful in the United States, and I encourage you to continue bearing joyful witness to Christ our Hope, our Risen Lord and Savior, who makes all things new and gives us life in abundance.
One of the high-points of my visit was the opportunity to address the General Assembly of the United Nations, and I thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his kind invitation and welcome. Looking back over the sixty years that have passed since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I give thanks for all that the Organization has been able to achieve in defending and promoting the fundamental rights of every man, woman and child throughout the world, and I encourage people of good will everywhere to continue working tirelessly to promote justice and peaceful co-existence between peoples and nations.
My visit this morning to Ground Zero will remain firmly etched in my memory, as I continue to pray for those who died and for all who suffer in consequence of the tragedy that occurred there in 2001. For all the people of America, and indeed throughout the world, I pray that the future will bring increased fraternity and solidarity, a growth in mutual respect, and a renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father.
With these words, I take my leave, I ask you to remember me in your prayers, and I assure you of my affection and friendship in the Lord. May God bless America!
Pope to America: "Turn Away From the Burden of Sin." i.e. REPENT!!!!!
20 April 2008
In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus tells his Apostles to put their faith in him, for he is "the way, and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6). Christ is the way that leads to the Father, the truth which gives meaning to human existence, and the source of that life which is eternal joy with all the saints in his heavenly Kingdom. Let us take the Lord at his word! Let us renew our faith in him and put all our hope in his promises!
With this encouragement to persevere in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32; Mt 16:17), I greet all of you with great affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his cordial words of welcome in your name. At this Mass, the Church in the United States celebrates the two hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville from the mother See of Baltimore. The presence around this altar of the Successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the fifty states of the Union, eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles.
Our celebration today is also a sign of the impressive growth which God has given to the Church in your country in the past two hundred years. From a small flock like that described in the first reading, the Church in America has been built up in fidelity to the twin commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. In this land of freedom and opportunity, the Church has united a widely diverse flock in the profession of the faith and, through her many educational, charitable and social works, has also contributed significantly to the growth of American society as a whole.
This great accomplishment was not without its challenges. Today's first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks of linguistic and cultural tensions already present within the earliest Church community. At the same time, it shows the power of the word of God, authoritatively proclaimed by the Apostles and received in faith, to create a unity which transcends the divisions arising from human limitations and weakness. Here we are reminded of a fundamental truth: that the Church's unity has no other basis than the Word of God, made flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. All external signs of identity, all structures, associations and programs, valuable or even essential as they may be, ultimately exist only to support and foster the deeper unity which, in Christ, is God's indefectible gift to his Church.
The first reading also makes clear, as we see from the imposition of hands on the first deacons, that the Church's unity is "apostolic". It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call "the obedience of faith" (Rom 1:5; cf. Acts 6:7).
"Authority" … "obedience". To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a "stumbling stone" for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ - "the way and the truth and the life" - we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. "In his will is our peace".
Real freedom, then, is God's gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on "the mind of Christ" (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world. We become the light of the world, the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14), entrusted with the "apostolate" of making our own lives, and the world in which we live, conform ever more fully to God's saving plan.
This magnificent vision of a world being transformed by the liberating truth of the Gospel is reflected in the description of the Church found in today's second reading. The Apostle tells us that Christ, risen from the dead, is the keystone of a great temple which is even now rising in the Spirit. And we, the members of his body, through Baptism have become "living stones" in that temple, sharing in the life of God by grace, blessed with the freedom of the sons of God, and empowered to offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to him (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). And what is this offering which we are called to make, if not to direct our every thought, word and action to the truth of the Gospel and to harness all our energies in the service of God's Kingdom? Only in this way can we build with God, on the one foundation which is Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:11). Only in this way can we build something that will truly endure. Only in this way can our lives find ultimate meaning and bear lasting fruit.
Today we recall the bicentennial of a watershed in the history of the Church in the United States: its first great chapter of growth. In these two hundred years, the face of the Catholic community in your country has changed greatly. We think of the successive waves of immigrants whose traditions have so enriched the Church in America. We think of the strong faith which built up the network of churches, educational, healthcare and social institutions which have long been the hallmark of the Church in this land. We think also of those countless fathers and mothers who passed on the faith to their children, the steady ministry of the many priests who devoted their lives to the care of souls, and the incalculable contribution made by so many men and women religious, who not only taught generations of children how to read and write, but also inspired in them a lifelong desire to know God, to love him and to serve him. How many "spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God" have been offered up in these two centuries! In this land of religious liberty, Catholics found freedom not only to practice their faith, but also to participate fully in civic life, bringing their deepest moral convictions to the public square and cooperating with their neighbors in shaping a vibrant, democratic society. Today's celebration is more than an occasion of gratitude for graces received. It is also a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations.
"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own, to proclaim his glorious works" (1 Pet 2:9). These words of the Apostle Peter do not simply remind us of the dignity which is ours by God's grace; they also challenge us to an ever greater fidelity to the glorious inheritance which we have received in Christ (cf. Eph 1:18). They challenge us to examine our consciences, to purify our hearts, to renew our baptismal commitment to reject Satan and all his empty promises. They challenge us to be a people of joy, heralds of the unfailing hope (cf. Rom 5:5) born of faith in God's word, and trust in his promises.
Each day, throughout this land, you and so many of your neighbors pray to the Father in the Lord's own words: "Thy Kingdom come". This prayer needs to shape the mind and heart of every Christian in this nation. It needs to bear fruit in the way you lead your lives and in the way you build up your families and your communities. It needs to create new "settings of hope" (cf. Spe Salvi, 32ff.) where God's Kingdom becomes present in all its saving power.
Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom also means being constantly alert for the signs of its presence, and working for its growth in every sector of society. It means facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ's victory and a commitment to extending his reign. It means not losing heart in the face of resistance, adversity and scandal. It means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness. It also means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life, since, as the Second Vatican Council put it, "there is no human activity - even in secular affairs - which can be withdrawn from God's dominion" (Lumen Gentium, 36). It means working to enrich American society and culture with the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and never losing sight of that great hope which gives meaning and value to all the other hopes which inspire our lives.
And this, dear friends, is the particular challenge which the Successor of Saint Peter sets before you today. As "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation", follow faithfully in the footsteps of those who have gone before you! Hasten the coming of God's Kingdom in this land! Past generations have left you an impressive legacy. In our day too, the Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding in its prophetic witness in the defense of life, in the education of the young, in care for the poor, the sick and the stranger in your midst. On these solid foundations, the future of the Church in America must even now begin to rise!
Yesterday, not far from here, I was moved by the joy, the hope and the generous love of Christ which I saw on the faces of the many young people assembled in Dunwoodie. They are the Church's future, and they deserve all the prayer and support that you can give them. And so I wish to close by adding a special word of encouragement to them. My dear young friends, like the seven men, "filled with the Spirit and wisdom" whom the Apostles charged with care for the young Church, may you step forward and take up the responsibility which your faith in Christ sets before you! May you find the courage to proclaim Christ, "the same, yesterday, and today and for ever" and the unchanging truths which have their foundation in him (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10; Heb 13:8). These are the truths that set us free! They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world - including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb. In a world where, as Pope John Paul II, speaking in this very place, reminded us, Lazarus continues to stand at our door (Homily at Yankee Stadium, October 2, 1979, No. 7), let your faith and love bear rich fruit in outreach to the poor, the needy and those without a voice. Young men and women of America, I urge you: open your hearts to the Lord's call to follow him in the priesthood and the religious life. Can there be any greater mark of love than this: to follow in the footsteps of Christ, who was willing to lay down his life for his friends (cf. Jn 15:13)?
In today's Gospel, the Lord promises his disciples that they will perform works even greater than his (cf. Jn 14:12). Dear friends, only God in his providence knows what works his grace has yet to bring forth in your lives and in the life of the Church in the United States. Yet Christ's promise fills us with sure hope. Let us now join our prayers to his, as living stones in that spiritual temple which is his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Let us lift our eyes to him, for even now he is preparing for us a place in his Father's house. And empowered by his Holy Spirit, let us work with renewed zeal for the spread of his Kingdom.
"Happy are you who believe!" (cf. 1 Pet 2:7). Let us turn to Jesus! He alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness, the truth who satisfies the deepest longings of every heart, and the life who brings ever new joy and hope, to us and to our world. Amen.
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Queridos hermanos y hermanas en el Señor:
Les saludo con afecto y me alegro de celebrar esta Santa Misa para dar gracias a Dios por el bicentenario del momento en que empezó a desarrollarse la Iglesia Católica en esta Nación. Al mirar el camino de fe recorrido en estos años, no exento también de dificultades, alabamos al Señor por los frutos que la Palabra de Dios ha dado en estas tierras y le manifestamos nuestro deseo de que Cristo, Camino, Verdad y Vida, sea cada vez más conocido y amado.
Aquí, en este País de libertad, quiero proclamar con fuerza que la Palabra de Cristo no elimina nuestras aspiraciones a una vida plena y libre, sino que nos descubre nuestra verdadera dignidad de hijos de Dios y nos alienta a luchar contra todo aquello que nos esclaviza, empezando por nuestro propio egoísmo y caprichos. Al mismo tiempo, nos anima a manifestar nuestra fe a través de nuestra vida de caridad y a hacer que nuestras comunidades eclesiales sean cada día más acogedoras y fraternas.
Sobre todo a los jóvenes les confío asumir el gran reto que entraña creer en Cristo y lograr que esa fe se manifieste en una cercanía efectiva hacia los pobres. También en una respuesta generosa a las llamadas que Él sigue formulando para dejarlo todo y emprender una vida de total consagración a Dios y a la Iglesia, en la vida sacerdotal o religiosa.
Queridos hermanos y hermanas, les invito a mirar el futuro con esperanza, permitiendo que Jesús entre en sus vidas. Solamente Él es el camino que conduce a la felicidad que no acaba, la verdad que satisface las más nobles expectativas humanas y la vida colmada de gozo para bien de la Iglesia y el mundo. Que Dios les bendiga.