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My People

Vol. 17, Issue 4, April 2004

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14

Crucified and Risen Jesus - Artwork by Joseph Fisher
 Crucified and Risen Jesus — Artwork by Joseph Fisher

Pope Urges Fervent Prayer for Vocations
The Disabled Offer Great Witness
In Defense of Life: Capital Punishment
Just a Few Thoughts
Prison to Praise: Bars of Life
The Passion of the Christ
Letter to the Editors
Pray the News


Pope Urges Fervent Prayer For Vocations

The 41st World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be observed on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 2. In his message for the day, dated November 23, 2003, Pope John Paul II asked all the faithful to "join in fervent prayer for vocations to the priesthood, to the consecrated life, and to missionary service." He pointed out that the strength of their witness "depends on their holiness." The Pope's message follows:

"'Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest' (Lk 10:2).

"These words that Jesus addressed to the Apostles show the attention that the Good Shepherd always paid to His sheep. He does everything so that they 'may have life, and have it abundantly' (Jn 10:10). After His Resurrection, the Lord entrusted His disciples with the responsibility to continue His same mission, so that the Gospel would be proclaimed to men and women of all times. Many are those who have generously responded and continue to respond to the constant invitation of Jesus: 'Follow Me!' (Jn 21:22); they are men and women who accept to place their lives at the complete service of His Kingdom.

"On the occasion of the upcoming 41st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, held traditionally on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, all of the faithful join in fervent prayer for vocations to the priesthood, to the consecrated life, and to missionary service. Indeed, our primary duty is to pray to the 'Lord of the harvest' for those who already follow Christ very closely in the priesthood and religious life, and for those whom He in His mercy continues to call to such important ecclesial service.

Local churches pray for vocations and must continue to do so

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
"Let us pray for vocations!

"In the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte I noted how 'in today's world, despite widespread secularization, there is a widespread demand for spirituality, a demand which expresses itself in a large part as a renewed need for prayer' (n. 33). Our unanimous request to the Lord is inserted into this 'need for prayer' so that He 'send out laborers into His harvest'.

"I acknowledge with joy that in many particular Churches, cenacles of prayer for vocations are being formed. In the major seminaries and in houses of formation of religious and missionary institutes, gatherings are held for this purpose. Numerous families become little 'cenacles' of prayer, helping young people to answer the Divine Master's call with courage and generosity.

"Yes! The vocation to serve Christ alone in His Church is an inestimable gift of the divine goodness, a gift to implore with insistence and trusting humility. The Christian must be always more open to this gift, careful not to waste 'the time of grace' and 'the time of visitation' (cf. Lk 19:44).

"Prayer joined to sacrifice and suffering is of special value. Suffering, lived in one's own body as a completion of what is lacking 'in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His body, the church' (Col 1:24), becomes a very effective form of intercession. Many sick people throughout the world unite their sufferings to the Cross of Christ, imploring for holy vocations. They accompany me spiritually as well, in the Petrine ministry that God has entrusted to me, and offer to the cause of the Gospel a precious contribution, even if it is often completely hidden.

Eucharist is at the heart of all prayer initiatives

"Let us pray for those called to the priesthood and to religious life!

"My heartfelt wish is that prayer for vocations be intensified ever more; prayer that is adoration of the mystery of God and thanksgiving for the 'great things' that He has accomplished and does not cease to carry out, despite human weakness. Contemplative prayer is pervaded with wonder and gratitude for the gift of vocations.

"The Eucharist is at the center of all prayer initiatives. The sacrament of the Altar holds a decisive value for the birth of vocations and for their perseverance, because from Christ's redemptive sacrifice those called are able to draw strength to dedicate themselves entirely to the proclamation of the Gospel. It is good that adoration of the Blessed Sacrament goes hand-in-hand with the Eucharistic Celebration, thus prolonging, in a certain sense, the mystery of the Holy Mass.

Contemplating Christ, truly and substantially present under the species of bread and wine, can give rise in the heart of the person called to the priesthood or to a particular mission in the Church the same enthusiasm that led Peter to exclaim on the mount of the Transfiguration: 'Lord, it is good that we are here!' (Mt 17:4; cf. Mk 9:5; Lk 9:33). This is a privileged way to contemplate the face of Christ with Mary and at the school of Mary, who for her interior disposition can be rightly called "woman of the Eucharist" (Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 53).

"May all Christian communities become 'authentic schools of prayer,' where one prays that laborers may not be lacking in the vast field of apostolic work. It then becomes necessary that the Church accompany with constant spiritual attention those whom God has called and who 'follow the Lamb wherever He goes' (Rv 14:4): I refer to priests, Religious, hermits, consecrated virgins, members of secular institutes in short, all those who have received the gift of the vocation and carry 'this treasure in earthen vessels' (2 Cor 4:7). In the Mystical Body of Christ there is a wide variety of ministries and charisms (cf. 1 Cor 12:12), all of them meant for the sanctification of the Christian people. In the reciprocal attention for holiness, which must animate every member of the Church, it is necessary to pray so that those 'called' remain faithful to their vocation and reach the highest possible degree of evangelical perfection.

Every minister of Christ is called to pray for vocations

"Prayer of those called.

"In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis I stressed that 'a necessary requirement of this pastoral charity towards one's own particular Church and its future ministry is the concern which the priest should have to find, so to speak, someone to replace him in the priesthood' (n. 74). While it is known that God calls those whom He wills (cf. Mk 3:13), it must nevertheless be the concern of every minister of Christ to pray with perseverance for vocations. No one better than he is able to understand the urgency of a generational exchange that guarantees generous and holy persons for the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments.

"Precisely in this prospective, it is more necessary than ever 'to cling steadfastly to the Lord and to personal vocation and mission' (Vita Consecrata, n. 63). The strength of the witness given by those called and their ability to involve others and inspire each of them to entrust his or her own life to Christ depends on their holiness. Such is the way to counteract the reduction in vocations to the consecrated life which threatens the continuance of many apostolic works, especially in mission countries.

"Moreover, the prayer of those called priests and consecrated persons is of special value since it is part of the priestly prayer of Christ. Through them He prays to the Father so that He sanctify and keep in His love those whom, although being in the world, do not belong to it (cf. Jn 17:14-16).

"May the Holy Spirit make the entire Church a praying people who raise their voices to the Heavenly Father to implore holy vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. Let us pray so that those chosen and called by the Lord be faithful and joyful witnesses of the Gospel, to which they have consecrated their existence.

We must turn to the Lord in trust and call upon Him through Mary

"We turn to You, Lord, in trust!
Son of God,
sent by the Father to the
men and women of every time and of
every part of the earth!
We call upon You through Mary,
Your Mother and ours:
may the Church not
lack in vocations,
especially those dedicated in a
special way to Your Kingdom.

"Jesus, only Saviour of mankind!
We pray to You for our
brothers and sisters who have
answered 'yes' to Your
call to the priesthood,
to the consecrated life,
and to the missions.
May their lives be renewed
day by day,
to become a living Gospel.

"Merciful and holy Lord,
continue to send new laborers
into the harvest of Your Kingdom!
Assist those whom You call
to follow You in our day;
contemplating Your face,
may they respond with joy
to the wondrous mission
that You entrust to them
for the good of Your People
and of all men and women.
You Who are God and live
and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever. Amen."


The Disabled Offer Great Witness

Disabled people are humanity's privileged witnesses, Pope John Paul II said in a message, dated January 6, to participants in an International Symposium on the Dignity and Rights of the Mentally Disabled Person held in Rome. In his message, the Pope said:

Disabled persons are fully human subjects with inalienable rights

". . .The starting point for every reflection on disability is rooted in the fundamental convictions of Christian anthropology: even when disabled persons are mentally impaired or when their sensory or intellectual capacity is damaged, they are fully human beings and possess the sacred and inalienable rights that belong to every human creature. Indeed, human beings, independently of the conditions in which they live or of what they are able to express, have a unique dignity and a special value from the very beginning of their life until the moment of natural death. The disabled person, with all the limitations and suffering that scar him or her, forces us to question ourselves, with respect and wisdom, on the mystery of man. In fact, the more we move about in the dark and unknown areas of human reality, the better we understand that it is in the more difficult and disturbing situations that the dignity and grandeur of the human being emerges. The wounded humanity of the disabled challenges us to recognize, accept, and promote in each one of these brothers and sisters of ours the incomparable value of the human being created by God to be a son in the Son.

Human rights cannot be the prerogative of the healthy

"The quality of life in a community is measured largely by its commitment to assist the weaker and needier members with respect for their dignity as men and women. The world of rights cannot only be the prerogative of the healthy. People with disabilities must also be enabled to participate in social life as far as they can, and helped to fulfill all their physical, psychological, and spiritual potential. Only by recognizing the rights of its weakest members can a society claim to be founded on law and justice: the disabled are not different from other people which is why, in recognizing and promoting their dignity and rights, we recognize and promote our own dignity and rights and those of each one of us.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace!
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love.
Where there is doubt . . . faith.
Where there is despair . . . hope.
Where there is darkness . . . light.
Where there is sadness . . . joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . . as to console.
To be understood . . . as to understand.
To be loved . . . as to love.
For it is in giving . . . that we receive.
For it is in pardoning . . . that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying . . . that we are born to eternal life.

— Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

"A society that made room only for its fully functional, completely autonomous, and independent members, would be unworthy of the human being. Discrimination on the basis of effectiveness is just as disgraceful as racial, gender, or religious discrimination. A subtle form of discrimination is also present in politics and educational projects that seek to conceal or deny the deficiencies of disabled people by proposing lifestyles and objectives that do not correspond to their reality and turn out to be unjust and frustrating. Indeed, justice calls for continual and loving attention to the lives of others and a response to the special and different needs of every individual, taking into consideration his or her abilities and limitations.

"The diversity that is due to a person's disability can be integrated into his respective unique individuality, and relatives, teachers, friends, and the whole of society must contribute to this. Thus, for disabled people, as for any other human being, it is not important that they do what others do but that they do what is truly good for them, increasingly making the most of their talents and responding faithfully to their own human and supernatural vocation.

"Recognition of their rights must be followed by a sincere commitment on the part of all to create practical living conditions, structures which provide support, and legal protection that can respond to the needs and dynamics of the growth of disabled persons and of those who are involved in their situation, beginning with their families. Over and above any other consideration or individual or group interest, no effort must be spared in promoting the integral good of these people. Nor can they be denied the support and protection they need, even if this entails a greater financial and social burden. The mentally handicapped need perhaps more attention, affection, understanding, and love than any other sick person: they cannot be left alone, unarmed and defenseless, as it were, in the difficult task of facing life.

Attention to the emotional-sexual dimension of disabled persons

"In this regard, the care of the emotional and sexual dimensions of disabled persons deserves special attention. This aspect is often ignored, glossed over, and reduced or even dealt with ideologically. Instead, the sexual dimension is a constitutive dimension of the human being as such, created in the image of the God of Love and called from the outset to find fulfillment in the encounter with others and in communion. The premise for the emotional-sexual education of disabled persons is inherent in the conviction that their need for love is at least as great as anyone else's. They too need to love and to be loved, they need tenderness, closeness, and intimacy. Unfortunately, the fact is that disabled persons find themselves living these legitimate and natural needs in a disadvantaged situation that becomes more and more obvious as they grow from infancy to adulthood. Despite the damage to the mind and the interpersonal dimension, disabled people seek authentic relationships in which they can find appreciation and recognition as persons.

"The experience of certain Christian communities has shown that an intense and stimulating community life, continuous and discreet educational support, the fostering of friendly contacts with properly trained people, the habit of channeling instincts and developing a healthy sense of modesty as respect for their own personal privacy, often succeeds in restoring the emotional balance of persons with mental disabilities and can lead them to live enriching, fruitful, and satisfying interpersonal relationships. To show disabled persons that we love them means showing them that we value them. Attentive listening, understanding their needs, sharing their suffering, patience in guidance, are some of the ways to introduce the disabled into a human relationship of communion, to enable them to perceive their own value, and make them aware of their capacity for receiving and giving love.

The disabled show us that human life is ultimately found in Christ

"There is no doubt that in revealing the fundamental frailty of the human condition, the disabled person becomes an expression of the tragedy of pain. In this world of ours that approves hedonism and is charmed by ephemeral and deceptive beauty, the difficulties of the disabled are often perceived as a shame or a provocation and their problems as burdens to be removed or resolved as quickly as possible. Disabled people are, instead, living icons of the crucified Son. They reveal the mysterious beauty of the One Who emptied Himself for our sake and made Himself obedient unto death. They show us, over and above all appearances, that the ultimate foundation of human existence is Jesus Christ. It is said, justifiably so, that disabled people are humanity's privileged witnesses. They can teach everyone about the love that saves us; they can become heralds of a new world, no longer dominated by force, violence, and aggression, but by love, solidarity, and acceptance, a new world transfigured by the light of Christ, the Son of God Who became incarnate, Who was crucified and rose for us.

God always takes the part of the marginalized and suffering

"Dear participants in this Symposium, your presence and commitment witness to the world that God is always on the side of the lowly, the poor, the suffering, and the marginalized. By making Himself human and being born in the poverty of a stable, the Son of God proclaimed in Himself the blessedness of the afflicted and shared - in all things save sin - the destiny of man, created in His image. After Calvary, the Cross, embraced with love, becomes the way of life. It teaches each one of us that if we know how to travel with abandoned trust the exhausting, uphill road of human suffering, the joy of the Living Christ which surpasses every desire and every expectation will blossom for us and for our brothers and sisters. . ."



Capital Punishment

Fred H. Summe
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
by Fred H. Summe

Can one who is anti-abortion and who believes in the sanctity of all innocent human life, support capital punishment legislation? The answer is yes.

The Catholic Church has consistently taught that the use of capital punishment by civil authorities was licit.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent (1545-63), the section on the Fifth Commandment, teaches:

"The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to the (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority. . .naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence."

More recently, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, revised addition, reiterates this teaching:

"Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. . .the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor." (Sections 2266 and 2267)

Whether a country or a state should have laws opposing the death penalty is a prudential judgment, on which reasonable Catholic minds can differ. Deterring others from committing serious crimes is a compelling basis for capital punishment. However, does capital punishment really deter crime? In answering this question, Christians who hold the Judeo-Christian principle of the sanctity of all human life can differ.

The Holy Father, in Evangelium Vitae, teaches that the state "ought not to go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity. . .when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society."

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger states: "Thus, where other means for the self-defense of society are possible and adequate, the death penalty may be permitted to disappear."

Whether there are today in the United States other means of self-defense of society that are possible and adequate, is a matter on which Christians can and should debate.

Intrinsically Evil

Abortion, contraception, human cloning and experimentation, euthanasia, assisted suicide, infanticide, sexual activity outside marriage (i.e., adultery, homosexuality, etc.), are all intrinsically evil. They are never, under any circumstances, morally permissible.

On the other hand, capital punishment, properly administered by the State, is not intrinsically evil. Reasonable Catholic minds can differ on whether capital punishment should be used by the state, for what serious crimes, and under what safeguards.

A statement that it is immoral for the civil authorities to use capital punishment contradicts the clear teaching of the Catholic Church, implying the Church has taught and continues to teach that which is immoral to be moral.

Individuals in the anti-abortion movement can and do differ on whether capital punishment should be used. However, to state that those who do not oppose the death penalty are not pro-life would be to state that the Catholic Church is not pro-life.


As to electing those who hold the Judeo-Christian principle of sanctity of all innocent human life, organizations mislead the electorate when they state or imply that a candidate cannot be pro-life unless he holds that organization's position on issues which do not involve acts which have been defined by the Church as intrinsically evil. Candidates who are opposed to abortion, human cloning, etc., are made to appear pro-death by supporting capital punishment or by favoring certain government policies.

Also, candidates who favor legalized abortion, etc., are made to appear to be pro-life, by reason of their position on other issues, which are not in fact the core life issues.

A number of years ago, a newly formed group, Just Life, tried to co-opt the meaning of "pro-life" by homogenizing various issues in a sort of "lowest common denominator" morality test. It published the results of this moral homogenization which then showed as "pro-life" such aggressive pro-abortion leaders as Senators Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum (67% pro-life ratings) and simultaneously gave effective and traditional anti-abortionists poor pro-life ratings: Sen. Jesse Helms (29%), Rep. Henry Hyde (40%), and Rep. Robert Dornan (33%).

"The upshot of all this is trying to put abortion, capital punishment, and war in one package makes chaos of Catholic morals and can lead one to misinterpret God's law so that, at least by omission, one will do what is objectively evil: namely, refuse to defend the innocent," Fr. Richard Roach, S.J., Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University.

Christians need to be involved in the political process, especially in the debate whether capital punishment should be used by the various states or by the federal government.


Just A Few Thoughts

Ray Grothaus
Ray Grothaus
by Ray Grothaus

(Editor's note: This article first appeared in Monthly Shopper and is reprinted with permission.).

Just a few thoughts on compassion.

We think we're pretty smart. We've achieved a good deal of success in our jobs and have a happy, healthy family. We live in a nice house and maybe even drive a fancy car. Sometimes, unfortunately, we can let our station in life go to our heads.

We see a person in shabby clothes and think they're a bum. When a wreck of a car loudly disturbs our peace, we say, "Why don't they get that thing fixed?" It's easy to look down on folks who are less fortunate than us. We think because we wear nicer clothes or have smarter kids that we're somehow better than others. Television shows extol the virtues of the high life. Look good, drive fast, and live hard. Movies are worse as they show everyone that promiscuity is the way to be popular.

Now it's one thing to want to look and be your best. I believe everyone should strive to improve themselves. It's when we tell others how great we are when trouble starts. We can show superiority with words as well as expressions. The sly roll of the eyes or a smirk can send a powerful message. Why not try the words of St. Luke? "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged. For with what measure you judge, you also shall be measured. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned."

That line, "For with what judgment you judge, you also shall be judged," really says it all. When you look at the young parent in tattered jeans struggling with his children, you might be tempted to judge his intelligence or why he can't control his kids. Whatever you do or say is as a mirror. Judge and you'll be judged. Condemn and you'll be condemned.

What about the eighty year old driving so poorly two cars ahead? You could gripe and complain about her inability to keep the car on the right side of the street. But remember Luke's teaching, "Love your neighbors, bless those that curse you, and pray for those who maltreat you." He continues, "Why look at the speck in your brother's eye when you miss the plank in your own?" Our words will all come back to us. Our actions are a reflective glass. But the great thing about this philosophy is that it works both ways. When you're nice to someone, that will return to you also.

"Pardon and you shall be pardoned. Give and it shall be given unto you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over will pour into your life." Now that's exciting! Look in the mirror and what do you see? Whatever it is, that's what you've earned. Practice being kind. A good person produces goodness from the goodness of their heart. Each of us speaks from our heart's abundance so fill yours with love and compassion and watch the blessings pour forth. Just a few thoughts.



Bars Of Life

by R.L. Rainer

(Editor's note: Mr. Rainer writes from Michigan. We would like to hear from a variety of prisoners. We welcome all contributions to this column.)

Were I to walk outside this yard,
Beyond the wire and beyond the bars,
Would that I were upon the street
And there my friends and neighbors greet,

Would they see the blot herein?
Would they forgive my grievous sin?

Mother Teresa

If we pray, we will believe;
If we believe, we will love;
If we love, we will serve

Mother Teresa

If I could walk down a wooden lane,
A canopy of leaves to hide my shame,
If woodland critters ran 'round my feet,
Would they know my heart's sick beat?

If on a sandy beach I could stroll
Among shell and rock along the shoal,
Would shell depart from where I trod?
Would rocks cry out my sin to God?

Would laps of waves around my feet
From my presence quick retreat?
Would gull and tern that circle there
Scold loudly as they beat the air?

Would the sun that once the sky did fill
Quickly dip down and give a chill?
Would that soft cool evening breeze
Refuse my cheek to touch and tease?

When day has gone to night reprise,
Would night's full moon refuse to rise?

If all of this my lot should be
And 'er I not be touched by thee,
From bars afar tho' be my goal,
In prison still would be my soul.

For the bars of life are harder still,
Till thru grace I learn to do thy will.


The Passion Of The Christ

by Dr. Marian Casillas

A scene from the movie The Passion of the Christ © 2003 Icon Distribution Inc.
A scene from the movie The Passion of the Christ © 2003 Icon Distribution Inc.
The movie The Passion of the Christ is a powerful experience that pierces and permeates into one's innermost being, affecting one to the core of one's heart, mind, and soul.

Mel Gibson's depiction of Christ's Passion is exquisite and elaborate in his terribly beautiful masterpiece that had to have been under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.

The movie is a powerfully moving experience that places us there, in the scene. We are not merely viewers; we are eyewitness from beginning to end. The sights and sounds in the spectacle of an innocent man of peace envelop us, Jesus Christ, betrayed and abandoned, scourged and crucified.

The movie is a convincing witness to the truth that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is a movie layered with multifaceted symbolism. There is the violence that is graphic and grotesque, which causes us to want to cringe and cry. There are the subtle flashback images, which affect each one of us personally. Both exteriorly and interiorly, we manifest how greatly we are moved. The juxtaposition of the horrendous pain and suffering of the passion is interspersed with the memorable happier times of the past. This reflects the reality of life; that all life is full of joys and sorrows, light and darkness, truth and lies, happiness and sadness, laughter and tears.

What mother can humanly bear to follow her son to his execution? Only the Blessed Virgin Mary could do it, only by the grace of God, only by the infusion of a supernatural love that is beyond all human understanding. That same kind of love is the love that we need to possess in order for us to follow our path with Jesus.

The diabolical torture is physically and emotionally unbearable, it is inhumane, and it is savage. We get a touch of the tremendous price paid by Christ in carrying not only the cross, but also all of our sins.

The movie is both physically and emotionally draining and exhausting, and yet at the same time paradoxically spiritually introspective and inspirational.

Our pain and suffering only makes sense when it is united to the pain and suffering of Christ.

This movie is a cinematically crafted coup. Each scene is a vignette, a portrait painted, a visual image engraved, a thought to be pondered, a moment to be relived and internalized, a reality not to be easily forgotten much less ignored.

We all would probably much rather prefer the sanitized, ephemeral depiction of the Passion; distant and impersonal instead of up close and personal. We do not want to see. We want to look away. We want to close our eyes. We want to shield ourselves from the brutal, harsh, cruel reality of life and death, which surrounds us. That is the tempter spewing forth his lies, deceptions, denials, and misconceptions. Love is acknowledging reality.

When we open our eyes to see, then we really see the beauty of what is truly beautiful and the ugliness of what is truly ugly in the eyes of God. The only thing that is truly ugly is sin, not the person committing the sin, because the person is loved by God so much that He went through all that and more in order to save that person. It is our thought-sin, our word-sin, and our deed-sin, which refuses to love God and others and rejects the grace offered by God not to sin. Sin is the only truly ugly thing we should see.

We should see our sins. Each time we think a sinful thought, speak a sinful word, or do a sinful deed, another lash whips Christ. It is a heavier burden added to the weight of the Cross He must carry. It is another spit thrown in His Face. That crown of thorns digs deeper in His Head. That nail pounded in His Hands and Feet. That kiss of betrayal by one He calls a friend He loves. It is in the sweating of one more drop of Blood in the Garden of Gethsemani. He takes another excruciating step on the Via Dolorosa toward His Crucifixion. It is another falling down and getting up again. It is the time extended spent hanging on the Cross. Another wound inflicted on a body already torn to shreds. Christ underwent all of this suffering because He loves each one of us intimately in that He would lay down His Life that we might have Life.

The presence of evil is palpable throughout the movie. The haunting portrayal of the evil one is ingenious, in that the devil is both insidious and yet at the same time intriguing in a curiously foreboding, ominous, suspicious, and sinister manner. The devil lurks with cunning, creeps along and makes his way into our lives when and where we are most vulnerable and susceptible.

Individually the devil attacks us as he did Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani. Socially, culturally, and politically he attacks us through our institutions as in the mob gathered to mock and jeer Jesus, Who is Truth.

Our human laws that contradict the Law of God place Truth to death and allow lies to flourish. And not only do these lies become acknowledged and acceptable, but more hideous is that these lies are exalted and entrenched as rights to be proudly flaunted, politically incorrect to be questioned, and never and under no circumstances to be criticized or to be denied. We are to respect God's laws and not be purveyors of perverted social, cultural, or political agendas.

We all know the story of the Passion of Christ, but we must also live the Passion of Christ. This movie is a modern prayerful, meditative, reflective vehicle to assist in our Lenten and Life journey toward reaching our final destiny of Easter Resurrection. Moreover, what a most glorious and majestic resurrection it is for us to be renewed, refreshed, reinvigorated with the ultimate love story of all time.

God bless Mel Gibson for the movie and the persecution he is willing to endure in making his Catholic faith public. He models and exhibits such Christian courage, creativity, and conviction, and from of all people, a Hollywood celebrity. God chose the right man for the right job at the right time. Let us pray that as God's humble instruments we may be the people God made us to be, and to do God's work in our lifetime. Let us also pray for all those who experience the movie The Passion of the Christ, may it truly be a time touched by God's grace.


Letter To The Editors

To the Editors:

Just finished reading My People from cover to cover and thought a note would be in order, especially since you have a request that you'd like to hear from your readers.

Where should I begin? The whole issue is so inspirational Susan's "New Creation" column about a marvelous priest, Father Beiting. His life's story should inspire and encourage many other vocations to serving God in the priesthood.

I loved Ray Grothaus' column too, "Just A Few Thoughts" about following rules for driving and drinking, etc. Well written and so much to the point! Would that Ray's column would be mandatory reading for all youth 16 and up!

The poem from Tyrone Thomas touched me too and I can relate to his vision of heaven.

In our ever-darkening world where truth and reason are hard to find, it is a great gift of God to have My People newspaper come each month.

P.S. If anyone (over 16) hasn't seen The Passion of the Christ yet go, it is the best movie ever made.

Judy Bergh
Sparta, MI


Pray The News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray that a great and fervent prayer will rise to God for vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and missionary service.
  • We pray that Catholics will pray for vocations on a regular basis.
  • We pray for holy priests and religious.
  • We pray for the disabled to be treated with compassion and respect and for appreciation of their unique witness.
  • We pray for an understanding of the Church's teaching in the area of capital punishment.
  • We pray for all those who attend The Passion of the Christ to grow closer to Jesus.
  • We pray for all to have a happy and holy Easter season.


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Copyright © 2016 Presentation Ministries
3230 McHenry Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45211
Phone: (513) 662-5378

Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378,



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