"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
|St. Francis of Assisi, Feast Day, October 4th|
Every year in October, the Catholic Church celebrates World Mission Day. This year it will be on Sunday, October 19. The Pope's Message for the Day, dated June 8, the Solemnity of Pentecost, follows:
"... Today vast numbers of people still do not know Jesus Christ. For this reason, the mission ad gentes continues to be most urgent. All the members of the Church are called to participate in this mission, for the Church is missionary by her very nature: she was born 'to go forth.' World Mission Day is a privileged moment when the faithful of various continents engage in prayer and concrete gestures of solidarity in support of the young Churches in mission lands. It is a celebration of grace and joy. A celebration of grace, because the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, offers wisdom and strength to those who are obedient to His action. A celebration of joy, because Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, sent to evangelize the world, supports and accompanies our missionary efforts. This joy of Jesus and missionary disciples leads me to propose a biblical icon, which we find in the Gospel of Luke (cf. 10:21-23).
"1. The Evangelist tells us that the Lord sent the seventy-two disciples two by two into cities and villages to proclaim that the Kingdom of God was near, and to prepare people to meet Jesus. After carrying out this mission of preaching, the disciples returned full of joy: joy is a dominant theme of this first and unforgettable missionary experience. Yet the divine Master told them: 'Do not rejoice because the demons are subject to you; but rejoice because your names are written in heaven. At that very moment Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: ' "I give You praise, Father..." ' And, turning to the disciples in private he said, ' "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see" ' (Lk 10:20-21, 23).
"Luke presents three scenes. Jesus speaks first to His disciples, then to the Father, and then again to the disciples. Jesus wanted to let the disciples share His joy, different and greater than anything they had previously experienced.
"2. The disciples were filled with joy, excited about their power to set people free from demons. But Jesus cautioned them to rejoice not so much for the power they had received, but for the love they had received, 'because your names are written in heaven' (Lk 10:20). The disciples were given an experience of God's love, but also the possibility of sharing that love. And this experience is a cause for gratitude and joy in the heart of Jesus. Luke saw this jubilation in a perspective of the trinitarian communion: 'Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit,' turning to the Father and praising Him. This moment of deep joy springs from Jesus' immense filial love for His Father, Lord of heaven and earth, who hid these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to the childlike (cf. Lk 10:21). God has both hidden and revealed, and in this prayer of praise it is His revealing which stands out. What is it that God has revealed and hidden? The mysteries of His Kingdom, the manifestation of divine lordship in Jesus, and the victory over Satan.
"God has hidden this from those who are all too full of themselves and who claim to know everything already. They are blinded by their presumptuousness and they leave no room for God. One can easily think of some of Jesus' contemporaries whom he repeatedly admonished, but the danger is one that always exists and concerns us too. The 'little ones,' for their part, are the humble, the simple, the poor, the marginalized, those without voice, those weary and burdened, whom Jesus pronounced 'blessed.' We readily think of Mary, Joseph, the fishermen of Galilee, and the disciples whom Jesus called as He went preaching.
"3. 'Yes, Father, for such has been Your gracious will' (Lk 10:21). These words of Jesus must be understood as referring to His inner exultation. The word 'gracious' describes the Father's saving and benevolent plan for humanity. It was this divine graciousness that made Jesus rejoice, for the Father willed to love people with the same love that He has for His Son. Luke also alludes to the similar exultation of Mary: 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit exults in God my Savior' (Lk 1:47). This is the Good News that leads to salvation. Mary, bearing in her womb Jesus, the evangelizer par excellence, met Elizabeth and rejoiced in the Holy Spirit as she sang her Magnificat. Jesus, seeing the success of His disciples' mission and their resulting joy, rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and addressed His Father in prayer. In both cases, it is joy for the working of salvation, for the love with which the Father loves His Son comes down to us, and through the Holy Spirit fills us and grants us a share in the trinitarian life.
"The Father is the source of joy. The Son is its manifestation, and the Holy Spirit its giver. Immediately after praising the Father, so the evangelist Matthew tells us, Jesus says: 'Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light' (Mt 11:28-30). 'The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept His offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew' (Evangelii Gaudium, 1).
"The Virgin Mary had a unique experience of this encounter with Jesus, and thus became 'causa nostrae laetitiae". The disciples, for their part, received the call to follow Jesus and to be sent by Him to preach the Gospel (cf. Mk 3:14), and so they were filled with joy. Why shouldn't we too enter this flood of joy?
"4. 'The great danger in today's world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience' (Evangelii Gaudium, 2). Humanity greatly needs to lay hold of the salvation brought by Christ. His disciples are those who allow themselves to be seized ever more by the love of Jesus and marked by the fire of passion for the Kingdom of God and the proclamation of the joy of the Gospel. All the Lord's disciples are called to nurture the joy of evangelization. The Bishops, as those primarily responsible for this proclamation, have the task of promoting the unity of the local Church in her missionary commitment. They are called to acknowledge that the joy of communicating Jesus Christ is expressed in a concern to proclaim Him in the most distant places, as well as in a constant outreach to the peripheries of their own territory, where great numbers of the poor are waiting for this message.
"Many parts of the world are experiencing a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Often this is due to the absence of contagious apostolic fervor in communities which lack enthusiasm and thus fail to attract. The joy of the Gospel is born of the encounter with Christ and from sharing with the poor. For this reason I encourage parish communities, associations, and groups to live an intense fraternal life, grounded in love for Jesus and concern for the needs of the most disadvantaged. Wherever there is joy, enthusiasm and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations arise. Among these vocations, we should not overlook lay vocations to mission. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the lay faithful in the Church, as well as a recognition that they are called to take an increasingly important role in the spread of the Gospel. Consequently they need to be given a suitable training for the sake of an effective apostolic activity.
"5. 'God loves a cheerful giver' (2 Cor 9:7). World Mission Day is also an occasion to rekindle the desire and the moral obligation to take joyful part in the mission ad gentes. A monetary contribution on the part of individuals is the sign of a self-offering, first to the Lord and then to others; in this way a material offering can become a means for the evangelization of humanity built on love.
"Dear brothers and sisters, on this World Mission Day my thoughts turn to all the local Churches. Let us not be robbed of the joy of evangelization! I invite you to immerse yourself in the joy of the Gospel and nurture a love that can light up your vocation and your mission. I urge each of you to recall, as if you were making an interior pilgrimage, that 'first love' with which the Lord Jesus Christ warmed your heart, not for the sake of nostalgia but in order to persevere in joy. The Lord's disciples persevere in joy when they sense His presence, do His will and share with others their faith, hope, and evangelical charity.
"Let us pray through the intercession of Mary, the model of humble and joyful evangelization, that the Church may become a welcoming home, a mother for all peoples, and the source of rebirth for our world."
Make Me An Instrument Of Your Peace
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; 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; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, addressed a UN meeting on the human rights situation in Iraq. He spoke to the 22nd Special Session of the Human Rights Council on September 1. His remarks follow:
"1. In several regions of the world there are centers of violence - Northern Iraq in particular - that challenge the local and international communities to renew their efforts in the pursuit for peace. Even prior to considerations of international humanitarian law and the laws of war, and no matter the circumstances, an indispensable requirement is respect for the inviolable dignity of the human person, which is the foundation of all human rights. The tragic failure to uphold such basic rights is evident in the self-proclaimed destructive entity, the so-called 'Islamic State' group (ISIS). People are decapitated as they stand for their belief; women are violated without mercy, and sold like slaves on the market; children are forced into combat; prisoners are slaughtered against all juridical provisions.
"2. The responsibility of international protection, especially when a government is not able to ensure the safety of victims, certainly applies to this case, and concrete steps need to be taken with urgency and resolve in order to stop the unjust aggressor, to reestablish a just peace and to protect all vulnerable groups of society. Adequate steps must be taken to achieve these goals.
"3. All regional and international actors must explicitly condemn the brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized behavior of the criminal groups fighting in Eastern Syria and Northern Iraq.
"4. The responsibility to protect has to be taken in good faith, within the framework of international law and humanitarian law. Civil society in general, and religious and ethnic communities in particular, should not become an instrument of regional and international geopolitical games. Nor should they be viewed as an 'object of indifference' because of their religious identity or because other players consider them to be a 'negligible.' Protection is not effective, if not protection.
"5. The appropriate United Nations agencies, in collaboration with local authorities, must provide adequate humanitarian aid, food, water, medicines, and shelter to those who are fleeing violence. This aid, however, should be a temporary emergency assistance. The forcibly displaced Christians, Yazidis, and other groups forcibly displaced, have the right to return to their homes, receive assistance for the rebuilding of their houses and places of worship, and live in safety.
"6. Blocking the flow of arms and the underground oil market, as well as any indirect political support, of the so-called 'Islamic State' group, will help put an end to the violence.
"7. The perpetrators of these crimes against humanity must be pursued with determination. They must not be allowed to act with impunity, thereby risking a repetition of the atrocities that have been committed by the so-called 'Islamic State' group.
"8. As Pope Francis stressed in his letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: 'The violent attacks [...] cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity by protecting those affected or threatened by violence and assuring the necessary and urgent assistance for the many displaced people as well as their safe return to their cities and their homes.' What is happening today in Iraq has happened in the past and could happen tomorrow in other places. Experience teaches us that an insufficient response, or even worse, total inaction, often results in further escalation of violence. Failing to protect all Iraqi citizens, allowing them to become innocent victims of these criminals in an atmosphere of empty words, amounting to a global silence, will have tragic consequences for Iraq, for its neighboring countries, and the rest of the world. It will also be a serious blow to the credibility of those groups and individuals who strive to uphold human rights and humanitarian law. In particular, the leaders of different religions bear a special responsibility to make it clear that no religion can justify these morally reprehensible and cruel and barbaric crimes, and to remind everyone that as one human family, we are our brother's keeper."
(The following is the 2014 Labor Day Statement from the chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami. It is reprinted with permission of the USCCB.)
This year Pope Francis canonized Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II. Both made immense contributions to the social teaching of the Church on the dignity of labor and its importance to human flourishing. St. John Paul II called work "probably the essential key to the whole social question" (Laborem Exercens, No. 3) and St. John XXIII stressed workers are "entitled to a wage that is determined in accordance with the precepts of justice" (Pacem in Terris, No. 20).
Pope Francis added to this tradition that work "is fundamental to the dignity of a person.... [It] 'anoints' us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God... gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, [and] to contribute to the growth of one's own nation." Work helps us realize our humanity and is necessary for human flourishing. Work is not a punishment for sin but rather a means by which we make a gift of ourselves to each other and our communities. We simply cannot advance the common good without decent work and a strong commitment to solidarity.
Labor Day gives us the chance to see how work in America matches up to the lofty ideals of our Catholic tradition. This year, some Americans who have found stability and security are breathing a sigh of relief. Sporadic economic growth, a falling unemployment rate, and more consistent job creation suggest that the country may finally be healing economically after years of suffering and pain. For those men and women, and their children, this is good news.
Digging a little deeper, however, reveals enduring hardship for millions of workers and their families. The poverty rate remains high, as 46 million Americans struggle to make ends meet. The economy continues to fail in producing enough decent jobs for everyone who is able to work, despite the increasing numbers of retiring baby boomers. There are twice as many unemployed job seekers as there are available jobs, and that does not include the seven million part-time workers who want to work full-time. Millions more, especially the long-term unemployed, are discouraged and dejected.
More concerning is that our young adults have borne the brunt of this crisis of unemployment and under-employment. The unemploy-ment rate for young adults in America, at over 13 percent, is more than double the national average (6.2 percent). For those fortunate enough to have jobs, many pay poorly. Greater numbers of debt-strapped college graduates move back in with their parents, while high school graduates and others may have less debt but very few decent job opportunities. Pope Francis has reserved some of his strongest language for speaking about young adult unemployment, calling it "evil," an "atrocity," and emblematic of the "throwaway culture."
The situation is even worse in other parts of the world, with young adult joblessness reaching up to three and four times the national average even in places like England and Australia. In some countries, three-fourths of young people who work have resorted to the unstable and sometimes dangerous informal economy in an attempt to make ends meet. Pope Francis has said young people "call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future." (Evangelii Gaudium, No. 108). We need to do more to nurture hopefulness and provide our young adults with skills, support, and opportunities to flourish. We need to do more to nurture this hopefulness and provide our young adults with skills, support, and opportunities to flourish.
Meaningful and decent work is vital if young adults hope to form healthy and stable families. Work and family life "must be properly united and must properly permeate each other. In a way, work is a condition for making it possible to found a family, since the family requires the means of subsistence which man normally gains through work" (Laborem Exercens, No. 10). Research is bearing out the consequences of neglecting this relationship: marriage rates have declined by close to 20 percent in the last 40 years, and the birth rate is the lowest on record. Among young adults, the decline in marriage has been steeper, at 40 percent. Although not the only reason, many young adults, because they are unable to find decent work, are delaying marriage and starting a family.
Our challenge this Labor Day is to rise to the challenge of solidarity posed by Jesus when he commanded, "[L]ove one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another" (Jn 13:34). The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples" (No. 1941). Since each of us is made in the image of God and bound by His love, possessing a profound human dignity, we have an obligation to love and honor that dignity in one another, and especially in our work.
What would our communities, parishes, and country look like if we all recommitted to each other and the common good? If, instead of lamenting the dwindling hopes of our young people, we create institutions, relationships, and an economy that nurture human flourishing? If, instead of bickering about ideologies, people acknowledged the human dignity of others and worked together?
At their best, labor unions and institutions like them embody solidarity and subsidiarity while advancing the common good. They help workers "not only have more, but above all be more... [and] realize their humanity more fully in every respect" (Laborem Exercens, No. 20). Yes, unions and worker associations are imperfect, as are all human institutions. But the right of workers to freely associate is supported by Church teaching in order to protect workers and move them--especially younger ones, through mentoring and apprenticeships--into decent jobs with just wages.
As a nation of immigrants, we recognize that a vibrant and just economy requires the contributions of everyone. Those who come seeking decent work to support their families by and large complement, rather than displace, American workers. But we need to fix our broken immigration system to stop the exploitation and marginalization of millions of people as well as address the development needs of other countries. In doing so we would also level the playing field among workers, provide more opportunity for all who can work, and bring about a needed "change of attitude toward migrants and refugees" (Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees).
Supporting policies and institutions that create decent jobs, pay just wages, and support family formation and stability will also honor the dignity of workers. Raising the minimum wage, more and better workforce training programs, and smarter regulations that minimize negative unintended consequences would be good places to start.
In doing this we follow the lead of Pope Francis in rejecting an economy of exclusion and embracing an authentic culture of encounter. Our younger generations are counting on us to leave them a world better than the one we inherited.
RESOURCES © 2014 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
For parish resources, check out this Labor Day Supplemental Aid.
Catholic Social Teaching on Labor: A Primer
Primer on Poverty, an Option for the Poor, and the Common Good
The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) is the long-awaited teaching of Pope Francis on the proclamation of the Gospel. Pope Francis is calling upon the Church and the world with encouragement to begin a new chapter in evangelization. This dynamic document is written in the plain, everyday language for which the pope has become famous.
Selected Quotes of Pope Francis by Subject
Sr. Mary Eucharista, a member of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, will never forget Pope Benedict XVI. As she and her community watched his installation in 2005, some of the sisters objected and insisted the radio be turned off, others were confused, while she and a few others recognized him as the Pope.
"We knew we needed to go," she says. "But it wasn't easy. We had to leave the other sisters and a home we loved; a place many of us had been part of since we were kids. In the minds of the sisters we had left behind, we had become part of the 'enemy' Church."
They were at that time sisters in the schismatic sedevacantist Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, where they had believed that the popes since Vatican II were invalid. The name comes from the Lation for "empty seat" (sede vacante). With the blessing of Bishop William Skylstad, the sisters now teach and work at the Immaculate Heart Retreat center in Spokane. The Association's name includes their long-held devotion to the Blessed Mother, but also their desire to be in communion with the Catholic Church.
While retaining their dark navy blue full habits, the sisters now wear white veils trimmed in blue to honor the Blessed Mother as well as Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, whose visit in 2006 also contributed to in their reversion.
"As a diocese, we welcome the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church to our Catholic family here in Eastern Washington," said Bishop Skylstad. "Their discernment, which has led them back to the Church, their courage, and their deep faith have truly been inspiring to me personally."
For Mother Kathryn Joseph, it was a conversation she had with her brother, Mike Duddy, that changed her mind. He had taught philosophy at St. Michael's Academy and secretly made the journey back to the Church, until he was later fired.
"There are many small, independent sedevantist groups like the Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen and the better known Society of Pius X," Duddy says. The groups are not in any way unified, however, and fight amongst themselves
Mother Kathryn Joseph says honestly, "I had an epiphany. I realized that I had been wrong for 35 years. But I was happy to have been proven wrong." We have been forty years in the desert, another sister said.
"It's been painful for all the sisters — for those who felt the need to leave and those who remain here," said Sr. Mary Dominica. "We've been a family for so many years," she said. "We feel like they are still our sisters."
Sr. Marie Vianney, one of the nuns who has remained with the congregation, explains, "It's inconceivable that I could think ill of them. This isn't an 'us against them' things." "We all have different ways in dealing with the current crisis in the church."
When some visited Rome it "was not what we had been told," explains St. Francis Marie. "Every church was full. There was modesty, Confessions, Masses. We saw an extraordinary pilgrimage of holiness."
They had been taught that the Church had changed her doctrines. "That's very troubling, when you're told that truth is unchanging. Christ is the unchanging truth," she said.
"I feel great joy in knowing I'm a part of the Church," said Mother de Lourdes. "I was not willfully outside."
"We did this because of the promises of Christ to his Church: that it was founded on Peter, and that Christ would be with them for all days," said Mother de Lourdes. " 'The Promises of Christ:' I could not get that out of my mind. Christ is eternal truth. Upon that rock (Peter) He built His Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail ... The Church has gone through so many stormy periods, but it cannot be destroyed because Christ is with His Church."
The reconciliation ironically flows directly from the true ecumenical spirit of Vatican II says Father Connal. "We didn't compromise our principles as Catholics. We made certain demands of them in light of our Faith. They fulfilled those requirements. We approached our separated brethren through honey rather than vinegar. We aren't changing our teaching, we're changing our approach."
Since their return to full communion with the Church in 2008 they have had a few sisters join other orders and some novices join theirs. There is an Adopt-a-nun program and Project Joseph for the building of a convent. "As the reality of new members joining us grows every day, the necessity of a convent follows," the site http://sistersofinaryme.org says.
Their apostolate incudes Religious education as they themselves catch up on decades of papal documents, Youth and Retreat Ministry. "With Mary, the Mother of the Church, [they] communicate the knowledge, love, and hope of the Risen Christ and His Church through communal charity and joyful evangelization."
The connection with EWTN continues. St. Joanna and her mother, Esther Ranelli, an Amish convert, were interviewed by Dr. Ray Guarendi on "Living Right with Dr. Ray" earlier this year. Sr. Mary Eucharista appeared on an Al Kresta's "Kresta in the Afternoon" and Teresa Tomeo's "Catholic Connection."
(Editor note: Mr. Bigon writes from Texas. We welcome contributions from prisoners. We would like to hear from a variety of prisoners.)
I sit on the edge of my bunk, my head tilted down staring at a spot on the floor, my mind drifts to what I could be doing. A flashing thought of the freedom I have lost begins to take foot in my consciousness. Disappointment, some folks may even call it anger, slowly rises in my heart as I realize what I traded for the life that brought me to prison.
Before I allow my emotions to take hold, I question myself as to what true freedom really is. The answer comes back to me as peace, even happiness. Sure, I long for family and an honest job. Yet, did I really have true freedom in that world beyond the fence? In that world, I had what I wanted and could do what I wanted Be that as it may, there was a nagging, a filthiness that bothered my conscience. It rattled my soul.
I was a Christian and at the same time very much a sinner. Even though I may have appeared successful to friends and the community, in the innermost recesses of my soul, I was in a word, rotten. Freedom was not a liberty I enjoyed. I was a slave to my human desires.
Since then I have come to see Jesus as the answer to my slavery. In quiet moments, I meditate on the fact that Christ is the one who gives true freedom. My sins are forgiven, my soul is at peace, my conscience is clear. Galatians 5:1 tells us "for freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery." I know that the yoke of slavery is heavy. Why would I want that again? The freedom of heart, mind, and soul that Christ has given me is freedom that exists on both sides of the fence.
I pray that that freedom may be yours, too.
The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People issued a Message for World Tourism Day, which is observed each September 27. The Message, dated July 1, follows:
"1. Like every year, World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27. An event promoted annually by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the theme for this year's commemoration is 'Tourism and Community Development,' Keenly aware of the social and economic importance of tourism today, the Holy See wishes to accompany this phenomenon from its own realm, particularly in the context of evangelization.
"In its Global Code of Ethics, the UNWTO says that tourism must be a beneficial activity for destination communities: 'Local populations should be associated with tourism activities and share equitably in the economic, social, and cultural benefits they generate, and particularly in the creation of direct and indirect jobs resulting from them.' That is, it calls on both realities to establish a reciprocal relationship, which leads to mutual enrichment.
"The notion of "community development" is closely linked to a broader concept that is part of the Church's Social Teaching, which is 'integral human development.' It is through this latter term that we understand and interpret the former. In this regard, the words of Pope Paul VI are quite illuminating. In his Encyclical Populorum Progressio, he stated that 'the development we speak of here cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be well rounded; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man.'
"How tourism can contribute to this development? To this end, integral human development and, thus, community development in the field of tourism should be directed towards achieving a balanced progress that is sustainable and respectful in three areas: economic, social, and environmental. By 'environmental,' we mean both the ecological and cultural context.
"2. Tourism is a key driver of economic development, given its major contribution to GDP (between 3% and 5% worldwide), employment (between 7% and 8% of the jobs), and exports (30% of global exports of services).
At present, the world is experiencing a diversification in the number of destinations, as anywhere in the world has the potential to become a tourist destination. Therefore, tourism is one of the most viable and sustainable options to reduce poverty in the most deprived areas. If properly developed, it can be a valuable instrument for progress, job creation, infrastructure development, and economic growth.
"As highlighted by Pope Francis, we are conscious that 'human dignity is linked to work,' and as such we are asked to address the problem of unemployment with 'the tools of creativity and solidarity.' In that vein, tourism appears to be one of the sectors with the most capacity to generate a wide range of 'creative' jobs with greater ease. These jobs could benefit the most disadvantaged groups, including women, youth, or certain ethnic minorities.
"It is imperative that the economic benefits of tourism reach all sectors of local society, and have a direct impact on families, while at the same time take full advantage of local human resources. It is also essential that these benefits follow ethical criteria that are, above all, respectful to people both at a community level and to each person, and avoid 'a purely economic conception of society that seeks selfish benefit, regardless of the parameters of social justice.' No one can build his prosperity at the expense of others.
"The benefits of a tourism promoting 'community development' cannot be reduced to economics alone: there are other dimensions of equal or greater importance. Among these include: cultural enrichment, opportunities for human encounter, the creation of 'relational goods,' the promotion of mutual respect and tolerance, the collaboration between public and private entities, the strengthening of the social fibre and civil society, the improvement of the community's social conditions, the stimulus to sustainable economic and social development, and the promotion of career training for young people, to name but a few.
"3. The local community must be the main actor in tourism development. They must make it their own, with the active presence of government, social partners, and civic bodies. It is important that appropriate coordination and participation structures are created, which promote dialogue, make agreements, complement efforts, and establish common goals and identify solutions based on consensus. Tourism development is not to do something 'for' the community, but rather, 'with' the community.
"Furthermore, a tourist destination is not only a beautiful landscape or a comfortable infrastructure, but it is, above all, a local community with their own physical environment and culture. It is necessary to promote a tourism that develops in harmony with the community that welcomes people into its space, with its traditional and cultural forms, with its heritage and lifestyles. And in this respectful encounter, the local population and visitors can establish a productive dialogue which will promote tolerance, respect, and mutual understanding.
"The local community should feel called upon to safeguard its natural and cultural heritage, embracing it, taking pride in it, respecting and adding value to it, so that they can share this heritage with tourists and transmit it to future generations.
"Also, the Christians of that community must be capable of displaying their art, traditions, history, and moral and spiritual values, but, above all, the faith that lies at the root of all these things and gives them meaning.
"4. The Church, expert in humanity, wishes to collaborate on this path towards an integral human and community development, to offer its Christian vision of development, offering 'her distinctive contribution: a global perspective on man and human realities.'
"From our faith, we can provide the sense of the person, community and fraternity, solidarity, seeking justice, of being called upon as stewards (not owners) of Creation and, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, continue to collaborate in Christ's work.
"Following what Pope Benedict XVI asked of those committed to the pastoral care of tourism, we must increase our efforts in order to 'shed light on this reality using the social teaching of the Church and promote a culture of ethical and responsible tourism, in such a way that it will respect the dignity of persons and of peoples, be open to all, be just, sustainable and ecological.'
"With great pleasure, we note how the Church has recognized the potential of the tourism industry in many parts of the world and set up simple but effective projects.
"There are a growing number of Christian associations that organize responsible tourism to less developed destinations as well as those that promote the so-called 'solidarity or volunteer tourism' which enable people to put their vacation time to good use on a project in developing countries.
"Also worth mentioning are programs for sustainable and equitable tourism in disadvantaged areas promoted by Episcopal Conferences, dioceses, or religious congregations, which accompany local communities, helping them to create opportunities for reflection, promoting education and training, giving advice and collaborating on project design and encouraging dialogue with the authorities and other groups. This type of experience has led to the creation of a tourism managed by local communities, through partnerships and specialized micro tourism (accommodation, restaurants, guides, craft production, etc.).
"Beyond this, there are many parishes in tourist destinations that host visitors, offering liturgical, educational, and cultural events, with the hope that the holidays 'are of benefit to their human and spiritual growth, in the firm conviction that even in this time we cannot forget God who never forgets us.' To do this, parishes seek to develop a 'friendly pastoral care' which allows them to welcome people with a spirit of openness and fraternity, and project the image of a lively and welcoming community. And for this hospitality to be more effective, we need to create a more effective collaboration with other relevant sectors.
"These pastoral proposals are becoming more important, especially as a type of 'experiential tourism' grows. This type of tourism seeks to establish links with local people and enable visitors to feel like another member of the community, participating in their daily lives, placing value on contact and dialogue.
"The Church's involvement in the field of tourism has resulted in numerous projects, emerging from a multitude of experiences thanks to the effort, enthusiasm, and creativity of so many priests, religious, and lay people who work for the socio-economic, cultural, and spiritual development of the local community, and help them to look with hope to the future.
"In recognition that its primary mission is evangelization, the Church offers its often humble collaboration to respond to the specific circumstances of people, especially the most needy. And this, from the conviction that 'we also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise.'
 World Tourism Organization, Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, October 1, 1999, Art. 5, para.1
 Pope Paul VI, Encyclical " Populorum Progressio", March 26, 1967, n.14
 Cf. World Tourism Organization & World Council on Travel & Tourism, Open Letter to Heads of State and Government on Travel and Tourism
 Pope Francis, Address to Managers and Workers at the Steel Mills of Terni and the Faithful of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia, March 20, 2014
 Pope Francis, Papal Audience, May 1, 2013
 "Rich countries have shown the ability to create material well-being, but often at the expense of man and the weaker social classes." (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, April 2, 2004, n.374)
 Pope Paul VI, Encyclical " Populorum Progressio", March 26, 1967, n.13
 Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the VII World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism, Cancún (Mexico), April 23-27, 2012.
 VII World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism, Final Declaration, Cancún (Mexico), April 23-27, 2012.
 Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium", November 24, 2013, n.61
The community of Sant'Egidio organized an international peace meeting in Antwerp, Belgium, from September 7-9. Pope Francis sent a message to the meeting in a August 26 letter to the bishop of Antwerp. His message follows:
"I ask you kindly to convey my warm greetings and best wishes to the representatives of the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities and the many world religious leaders gathered in Antwerp from September 7 to 9, 2014 for the International Meeting for Peace. I thank the Diocese of Antwerp and the Community of Sant'Egidio for having organized this meeting in which men and women of different religious traditions are gathered together in a pilgrimage of prayer and dialogue inspired by the 'spirit of Assisi.'
"The theme of this year - Peace is the Future - recalls the tragic outbreak of the First World War a hundred years ago, and evokes a future in which mutual respect, dialogue, and cooperation will help to banish the grim spectre of armed conflict. In these days when many people in the world who need to be helped to find the way of peace, this anniversary teaches us that war is never a satisfactory means to repair the injustices and achieve a balanced solution to the political and social discord. In the end all war, as stated Pope Benedict XV in 1917, is a 'senseless slaughter.' The war drags people into a spiral of violence that later proves to be difficult to control; demolishes what generations have worked to build and prepare the way for injustice and conflict even worse.
"If we think of the countless conflicts and wars, declared and undeclared, which today afflict the human family and ruin the lives of young people and the elderly, poisoning lasting relationships of coexistence between different ethnic and religious groups and forcing families and whole communities into exile , it is clear that, along with all the men and women of good will, we can not remain passive in the face of so much suffering, so many 'senseless slaughters.'
"It is in this sense that our various religious traditions may, in the 'spirit of Assisi' to contribute to peace. We can do this with the power of prayer. All of us realize that prayer and dialogue are deeply interrelated and mutually enriching. I hope that these days of prayer and dialogue serve to remind us that the quest for peace and understanding through prayer can create lasting bonds of unity and prevail over the passions of war. The war is never necessary nor inevitable. You can always find an alternative: it is the path of dialogue, encounter, and sincere search for truth.
"It is high time that the leaders of religions cooperate effectively work to heal the wounds, to resolve conflicts, and to seek peace. Peace is the sure sign of commitment to the cause of God. Religious leaders are called to be men and women of peace. They are able to promote a culture of peace and of the meeting, when other options fail or falter. We must be peacemakers and our communities must be schools of respect and dialogue with those of other ethnic or religious groups, places where we learn to overcome the tensions, to promote equitable and peaceful relations between peoples and social groups, and build a better future for generations to come.
"With these sentiments, I invoke upon all those who take part in the Meeting and all those who support them with their prayers, the abundant blessings of the God of Peace (cf.. Rom 15,33)."
Do you show your religion in your actions? The following paragraphs, from born-again Meyer to Catholic Pavone, are like an intricate puzzle, waiting for you to put together.
"One of the common concerns priests have in regards to speaking about abortion is that they don't want to hurt the women in the congregation who have had abortions" (Pavone 68).
"Churches are to be the backbone of God's work for the needs. If your church isn't doing enough for the unborn and their mothers then perhaps God is calling you to step forward and help your church and its leaders take on this vital ministry" (Alcorn 113).
"It is one thing for a person to make a mistake, or even fail, but it is another things to watch human beings disintegrate before your very eyes because there were no resources or interior support in the midst of the pressure" (MacDonald 21).
"If someone in your community does not go to church and never goes to a pubic pro-life talk, how and where will they hear the message that abortion is violent and must be stopped" (Pavone 26)?
"There are unwanted pregnancies but there is no such thing as an unwanted child. Nearly 1.3 million American families want to adopt. Some say that the scarcity of adopted babies is a source of major depression. There is such a demand for babies that a black market has developed where babies are sold for as much as $50,000. Not just "normal" babies are wanted. Many people request special needs babies, including that with down-syndrome and spina bifida" (Alcorn 87).
"Tens of thousands of churches donate time, money, food, and house repairs and even the kind of help needy pregnant women, single mothers, and low income families need. Countless pro-lifers adopt children after they are born, These efforts comprise the single longest grass-roots volunteer movement in history" (Alcorn 21).
"Adoption is a positive alternative that avoids the responsibility of child raising, while saving a life and making a family happy" (Alcorn 97).
"Something as simple as the words we use can have a real impact on keeping abortion vulnerable women away from the killing centers. If we consider babies a blessing, no matter how they were conceived, we begin to give the new mother the emotional support she needs to realize that life is the only choice" (Morana 186-187).
"The Christian community should speak positively and show high regard for young women who release their children for adoption. We should publicly honor adoptive parents and bless adopted children. We should celebrate adoption in our churches to help women realize adoption is the courageous choice and one that both they and their child will later be profoundly thankful for" (Alcorn 100).
"Fr. Frank Pavone recalls the words of a post-abortive woman who said to him, 'Father I have pain when I hear about abortion, but please keep preaching about it because it consoles me greatly to know that someone could be spared the whole journey of grief I have had to go through" (Pavone 69).
"God already knows what is wrong with you. He is ready and willing and able to bring about the changes that need to be made in you and your life. He will bring you to maturity and perfection, if you will just ask him and trust him to do so" (Meyer 69).
"For the most part you are worrying about all the things that happened to you in the past, things that you cannot change. You are worrying about mistakes and failures that you think have destroyed the one chance you might have of a future. That's where grace comes in. God says that he has mountains of grace stored up" (Meyer 88).
"Right now you may be finding yourself in desperate need of a richer, fuller measure of God's abiding grace. If so, call on God and he will provide for you all of the grace you need to see you through the challenge to ultimate victory. Although God does not waste his grace in most difficult of times" (Meyer 91).
"To be a pro-life is to pro-woman. We do not say, 'Love the baby and forget about the mother.' Rather, we say, 'Why can't we live them both?' We can and we must. To harm one is to harm the other; to love and serve one is to love and serve the other" (Pavone 74).
You have read and have completed the "choose life" puzzle paragraphs which may be celebrated no matter what your religion.
Alcorn, Randy. Why Pro-life? Oregon, Eternal Perspectives Ministries, 2004, Pages 2, 87, 100, and 113
MacDonald, Gordon. Ordering Your Private World, New York, Oliver Nelson, 1985, Page 21
Meyer, Joyce. If Not For The Grace Of God, Oklahoma, Harrison House, 1995, Pages 65, 88, and 91
Morana, Janet. Recall Abortion, North Carolina, Saint Benedict Press, 2013, Pages 186 and 187
Pavone, Fr. Frank A. Ending Abortion: Not Just Fighting It, New Jersey, Catholic Book Publishing Corp., 2006, Pages 26, 68, 69, and 74
(A Christian Perspective on World News)
Vatican City (VIS) – In his greetings in various languages, following his catechesis during the September 3 general audience, the Pope addressed Arab-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Iraq, reminding them that the Church is a mother and therefore, like all mothers, know how to accompany her child when in need, to seek him out when he is lost, and to 'defend the defenseless and persecuted.' 'Today, I especially wish to assure the latter, the defenseless and persecuted, of my closeness – you are in the heart of the Church, the Church suffers with you and is proud of you, proud to have sons and daughters like you. You are the strength and the concrete and authentic example of her message of salvation, forgiveness and love. I embrace all of you, all of you. May the Lord bless you and protect you always.'
He went on to address Polish-speaking pilgrims and recalled that, during these days various cities in Poland commemorate the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. 'Let us entrust to God's mercy those who lost their lives for the love of their homeland and their brothers, and let us invoke the gift of peace in all the nations of Europe and throughout the world, by the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace.'
Finally, he greeted the faithful from the Italian diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia, to whom he expressed his concerns regarding the difficult situation experienced by many families in Terni due to the plans of the Thyssenkrupp Corporation, and renewed his appeal that 'the logic of profit may not prevail, but rather that of solidarity and justice. The person and his or her dignity is at the heart of every issue, including that of work. We must not joke about work. Those who, for the sake of money, business, and greater profit, leave people without work, must be aware that this means removing their dignity.'
(Source: Vatican Information Service)
Vatican City (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolences on behalf of the Holy Father to Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura, Burundi, for the killing of three Italian Xaverian Missionary sisters, Sunday September 7, in their convent in Kamenge, north of the capital Bujumbura.
Cardinal Parolin writes, "His Holiness Pope Francis has learned with great sadness of the murder of three nuns, Sister Bernadetta Bogiann, Sister Lucia Pulici, and Sister Olga Raschietti, who were in the pastoral service of the parish of Saint Guido Maria Conforti in Bujumbura. The Holy Father begs the Lord to welcome into His kingdom of peace and light these three faithful and devout nuns. In these tragic circumstances, he expresses his closeness to their religious community, to the families of the victims, and the entire diocesan community. He imparts the comfort of a heartfelt and affectionate apostolic blessing to all those affected by their sudden loss. I join the Holy Father in offering my condolences and wish to assure those close to the departed Sisters of my fervent prayers."
The Secretary of State also sent another telegram to Sister Ines Frizza, superior general of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary, in which he expresses his sadness for the tragic death of the missionaries and "assures his heartfelt participation in the profound suffering of the Congregation for the loss of such dedicated sisters." The Holy Father, "in the hope that the blood they have shed may become the seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples, raises fervent prayers for the eternal repose of their souls and for their generous witness of the Gospel. To their families, the entire Institute and those who mourn their loss, he imparts the comfort of his apostolic blessing," the Cardinal concludes.
(Source: Vatican Information Service)
Vatican City (VIS) – At midday on September 1 the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, and commented on the day's Gospel reading in which Jesus, "after having confirmed that Peter and the other eleven believed in Him as the Messiah and the Son of God, began to explain to them that He had to go to Jerusalem where He would suffer greatly, be killed, and rise again on the third day." He remarked, "It is a critical moment in which Jesus' and the disciples' method of thinking emerges."
Jesus reproaches Peter – He puts him "back in line" because he does not think "as God does, but as human beings do," and without realizing that he is assuming the role of Satan, the tempter.
The Apostle Paul also insists upon this theme in this Sunday's liturgy in his Letter to the Romans, when he affirms that Christians must not conform to this world without transforming it to discern the will of God.
"In effect," he continued, "we Christians live in the world, fully integrated in the social and cultural reality of our time, and it is right that it is so; however, this carries the risk that we become 'worldly,' that the salt loses its flavor, as Jesus would say; that is, that the Christian is 'watered down,' losing the inspiration of newness that comes from the Lord and the Holy Spirit. Instead, they should be the opposite: when the strength of the Gospel remains alive in Christians, they can transform "mankind's criteria of judgement, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration, and models of life," emphasized the Pope, quoting Paul VI.
"It is sad to meet Christians who are watered down, like wine; you cannot tell whether they are Christians or worldly, like watered wine; it is impossible to tell whether it is wine or water. It is sad to meet Christians who are no longer the salt of the earth … because they have committed themselves to the spirit of this world, that is, they have become worldly. Therefore, it is necessary to renew oneself continuously, to draw lymph from the Gospel … by reading and meditating the Gospel every day, so the word of Jesus may always be present in our life," emphasized the Pontiff, reminding those present always to carry a copy of the Gospel with their pockets or handbags, and to read a passage every day.
Renewal also comes from participation in Sunday Mass, "where we find the Lord in the community, listening to His Word, and receiving the Eucharist which unites us to Him and one another," as well as in days of retreat and spiritual exercises.
He concluded, "Thanks to these gifts from the Lord, we can conform not to the world, but to Christ, and to follow Him on His path, the path of 'losing one's own life' in order to find it — offering it for love and in love — and this involves sacrifice, even unto the cross – to receive it again purified, freed of selfishness and from the debt of death, full of eternity."
(Source: Vatican Information Service)
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.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com