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My People

Vol. 27, Issue 11, November 2014

"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


Church Without Frontiers, Mother To All

Pope Francis focuses on Jesus concern for the most vulnerable in his message for the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The Message, dated September 3, follows:

"Jesus is 'the evangelist par excellence and the Gospel in person' (ibid., N. Evangelii gaudium , 209). His concern, particularly to the most vulnerable and marginalized, invites everyone to take care of the most vulnerable and to recognize the face of His suffering, especially in victims of new forms of poverty and slavery. The Lord says, 'I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, a stranger and you welcomed Me, naked and you clothed Me, sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me' (Mt 25:35-36). The mission of the Church, a pilgrim on this earth and mother of all, is therefore to love Jesus Christ, worship Him and love Him, especially in the poorest and most abandoned; between them certainly fall migrants and refugees, who are trying to leave behind the harsh living conditions and dangers of every kind. For this reason, the theme for this year's World Day of Migrants and Refugees is: Church without frontiers, Mother to all.

"The Church opens her arms to welcome all people, without distinction or limits, in order to proclaim that 'God is love' (1 Jn 4"8, 16). After His death and resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples the mission to be His witnesses and proclaim the Gospel of joy and mercy. On the day of Pentecost, with courage and enthusiasm, they left the Upper Room; the strength of the Holy Spirit overcame their doubts and uncertainties and enabled all to understand the disciples' preaching in their own language. From the beginning, the Church has been a mother with a heart open to the whole world, and has been without borders. This mission has continued for two thousand years. But even in the first centuries, the missionary proclamation spoke of the universal motherhood of the Church, which has then developed in the writings of the Fathers and taken up by the Second Vatican Council . The Council Fathers spoke of Ecclesia Mater to explain the Church's nature. She begets sons and daughters and 'takes them in and embraces them with her love and in her heart' (Lumen Gentium , 14).

"The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place, or disposable. When living out this motherhood effectively, the Christian community nourishes, guides, and indicates the way, accompanying all with patience, and drawing close to them through prayer and works of mercy.

"Today this takes on a particular significance. In fact, in an age of such vast movements of migration, large numbers of people are leaving their homelands, with a suitcase full of fears and desires, to undertake a hopeful and dangerous trip in search of more humane living conditions. Often, however, such migration gives rise to suspicion and hostility, even in ecclesial communities, prior to any knowledge of the migrants' lives or their stories of persecution and destitution. In such cases, suspicion and prejudice conflict with the biblical commandment of welcoming with respect and solidarity the stranger in need.

"On the other hand, we sense in our conscience the call to touch the human misery and to put into practice the commandment of love that Jesus left us when He identified Himself with the stranger, with the one who suffers, with all the innocent victims of violence and exploitation. Because of the weakness of our nature, however, 'we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord's wounds at arms length' (Evangelii Gaudium , 270).

"The courage born of faith, hope, and love enables us to reduce the distances that separate us from human misery. Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognized in migrants and refugees, in displaced persons and in exiles, and through them He calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches. Pope Paul VI spoke of this when he said that 'the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods with more generously at the service of others' (Octogesima Adveniens 23).

"The multicultural character of society today, for that matter, encourages the church to take on new commitments of solidarity, communion, and evangelization. Migratory movements, in fact, call us to deepen and strengthen the values ​​necessary to guarantee peaceful coexistence between people and cultures. Achieving mere tolerance that respects diversity and ways of sharing between different backgrounds and cultures is not sufficient. This is precisely where the Church contributes to overcoming frontiers and encouraging the 'moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization ... towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world' (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2014.

"Migration movements, however, are on such a scale that only a systematic and active cooperation between states and international organizations can be capable to regulating and managing such movements effectively. For migration affects everyone, not only because of the extent of the phenomenon, but also because of "the social, economic, political, cultural, and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community' (Caritas in Veritate 62).

"At the international agenda, frequent debates take place regarding the appropriateness, methods and required norms to deal with the phenomenon of migration. There are agencies and organizations on the international, national, and local level which work strenuously to serve those seeking a better life through migration. Notwith-standing their generous and laudable efforts, a more decisive and constructive action is required, one which relies on a universal network of collaboration, based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person. This will lead to greater effectiveness in the fight against the shameful and criminal trafficking of human beings, the violation of fundamental rights, and all forms of violence, oppression, and enslavement. Working together, however, requires reciprocity, joint-action, openness, and trust, in the knowledge that 'no country can singlehandedly face the difficulties associated with this phenomenon, which is now so widespread that it affects almost every continent in the twofold movement of immigration and emigration' (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2014).

"It is necessary to respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of charity and cooperation, in such a way as to make the conditions of migrants more humane. At the same time, greater efforts are needed to guarantee the easing of conditions, often brought about by war and famine, which compel whole peoples to leave their native countries.

"Solidarity with migrants and refugees must be accompanied by the courage and creativity necessary to develop a worldwide level, a more just and equitable financial and economic order, as well as an increasing commitment to peace, the indispensable condition for all authentic progress.

"Dear migrants and refugees! You have a special place in the heart of the Church, and you help her to enlarge her heart and to manifest her motherhood towards the entire human family. Do not lose your faith and your hope! Let us think of the Holy Family during the flight in Egypt: Just as the maternal heart of the Blessed Virgin and the kind heart of St. Joseph kept alive the confidence that God would never abandon them, so in you may the same hope in the Lord never be wanting. I entrust you to their protection and I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing."

Migration Challenges Families

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi represented the Vatican at United Nations meeting in Geneva on October 8. The meeting was the 2014 International Dialogue on migration of the International Organization for Migration "Migration and Families." His address follows:

"... The migrant family is a critical component of the growing phenomenon of migration in our globalized world. Thus the Delegation of the Holy See finds it most opportune to have chosen this topic for reflection at the 2014 International Dialogue on Migration (IDM).

"1. Migrants very often move out of concern for the needs of their family; at times, they even risk their lives on flimsy boats or in dangerous deserts in the hope of ensuring their families a decent life as the IOM Report documents. Through their work, the taxes they pay, the new businesses they start, and a variety of services they provide, most migrants offer a positive economic and social contribution to the receiving societies. Women domestic workers, for example, leave their children behind in the home country in order to become caregivers for children, disabled, and elderly persons abroad. While migrants are a positive presence in their host societies, they face the risk that their children and relatives remain in the shadow and deprived of their affection at home. The remittances sent home focus the debate on the financial benefits generated by migrants. While this money is important to improve health and education for the family members left behind, it does not quite compensate for other needs: human affection, a necessary presence to educate in values ​​and integrity, a reference model for responsible behavior, especially for young people. The human emptiness felt when a father or mother emigrates becomes a reminder of the ambivalence of emigration and of the fundamental right to be able to stay at home in dignity. Especially when mothers emigrate, other negative consequences emerge: children's school attendance declines, early marriages of adolescent girls increase, and there is a heightened risk of drug abuse. As Pope Francis recently stated, 'it is necessary to respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of charity and cooperation, in such a way to make the conditions of migrants more humane. At the same time, greater efforts are needed to guarantee the easing of conditions, often brought about by war or famine, which compel whole peoples to leave their native countries.'(1)

"2. Children, therefore, as well as elderly persons and spouses left behind, must become a high priority in any migration policy and debate: they are particularly vulnerable, and hence should receive special protection. Policy and program development should aim at maximizing the benefits of remittances, limiting the negative effects of migration and emphasizing family ties as a primary concern in the management of immigration to the States. The formulation often treats family and labor migration as two distinct realms, 'social' and 'economic.' In reality, the two concepts are closely intertwined.(2) In planning by the international community and in discussions focused on the post-2015 Development Agenda, migration must have a proper place, not only as functional to development and demography, but as a major human rights commitment aimed at safeguarding the dignity of every human person and the centrality of the family.

"3. Indeed an urgently needed immigration reform involves the formulation of a legal framework that helps keep families together. The life and dignity of every human person is lived within the family. All children need their parents. Parents have the responsibility to protect and nurture their children, and yet deported parents are prevented from living out this fundamental vocation. Too many families are now torn apart. By allowing children to emigrate unaccompanied further problems arise as they are exposed to lawlessness and despair. The family structure, however, should be the place where hope, compassion, justice, and mercy are taught more effectively. Family is the basic unit of coexistence, its foundation, and the ultimate remedy against social fragmentation. (3)

"4. Finally, achievable measures could be implemented in a realistic and sensitive manner. Migrants, who are restricted or prevented from traveling home in order to provide personal care for elderly parents or affection to their kin, should be entitled to occasional leaves and should benefit from special prices for their trip home. Interest fees for the transfer of remittances must be lowered. The process to obtain a visa for a spouse or close family members (which in certain countries takes several years) needs to be speeded up. Ad hoc 'family counselors' to serve in regions with a very high rate of migrants should be engaged in order to provide assistance and advice to the members of the family 'left at home' and to facilitate timely reunification of the family. In fact, when return migrants revert to day-to-day interaction with their societies of origin, they experience a 'reverse culture shock.'(4) The changes in family dynamics that result from migration does not end when the migrant returns to the society of origin; in fact, migrants generally return to a family situation that is very different from the previous departure. Family members can become 'strangers' since they have been absent from each others' lives and since relations between them are largely based on the sending of money and goods, or sporadically maintained by new forms of internet communications.

"5. In conclusion, it is mandatory to avoid treating the 'left at home' population merely as passive recipients of the effects of migration. In this context, family migration, needs to be reconceived using frameworks of transnationalism that grant more flexibility to the movement of people, especially in countries where the presence of the family of the migrant workers is legally impeded. Healthy interaction and personal relations among family members are obstructed by borders. States and civil society are prompted by their own future to give priority to the family and thus make migration a more positive experience for all."


1) Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 2015 World Day of Migrants and Refugees

2) Brenda SA Yeoh and Cheng Yi En, Family Migration, p.2)

3) Family Beyond Borders, an open letter from the Bishops of the Border region of Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico).


Letter To The Editors

To the editors,

I was reading the on-line My People and was moved by the article by inmate Edwin Bigon ... (Prison to Praise: Homeboy, Vol 27, Issue 9, September, 2014).

Inmate Edwin Bigon, and other prisoners I have known are a real inspiration. We need this image of an inmate not the brutality of the television prison programs. I write to three inmates one has been released. I have never failed to be amazed at their sincerity and the level of their faith.

Some folks call letter writing a "ministry," it doesn't feel like that, it is just being a friend to someone in a difficult situation. A real "Prison Ministry" is a calling, maybe this is your call. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has a Prison Ministry in our State Correctional Institutions. Essentially, they have created a parish inside the prisons. This includes Mass, sacraments, small faith communities, and RCIA. The volunteers are different at each prison and the cultures of the institutions vary.

I personally will probably never go into a prison. This level of commitment is not for everyone. Consider this your invitation to explore a prison ministry. The saddest thing I ever read was from a lady I wrote to at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, Marysville, Ohio. As she was thanking me for writing, she told me about some other inmates that never get mail or visitors.

Jim Myres, OFS
Cincinnati, Ohio

Celebrate The Elderly

Sunday, September 28 was day of celebration of the elderly in St. Peter's Square. Pilgrims from many countries came to the day organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family. Pope Francis' address follows:

"I thank you for coming in such great numbers! And thank you for this festive welcome: today is your celebration, our celebration! I thank Archbishop Paglia and all those who planned this. I thank especially Pope emeritus Benedict XVI for his presence. I have said many times that I am glad to have him live here in the Vatican, because it is like having a wise grandfather in the house. Thank you!

"I heard the testimonies of several of you, who have presented experiences shared by so many elderly and grandparents! But one was different: that of the brothers from Qaraqosh, who escaped from violent persecution. To them let us all together say a special 'thank you!' It is very beautiful that you came here today: it is a gift for the Church. And we offer you our closeness, our prayer, and concrete help. Violence against the elderly is inhuman, just as that against children. But God does not abandon you; He is with you! With His help you are and you continue to be the memory for your people, as well as for us, for the great family of the Church. Thank you!

"These brothers testify to us that even in the most difficult of trials, the elderly who have the faith are like trees that continue to bear fruit. This holds true in more ordinary situations too, where there can be, however, other temptations and other forms of discrimination. We have listened to several other testimonies.

"In a special way, old age is a time of grace, in which the Lord renews His call to us: He calls us to safeguard and transmit the faith, He calls us to pray, especially to intercede; He calls us to be close to those in need.... The elderly, grandparents have the ability to understand the most difficult of situations: a great ability! And when they pray for these situations, their prayer is strong; it is powerful!

"Grandparents, who have received the blessing to see their children's children (cf. Ps 128:6), are entrusted with a great responsibility: to transmit their life experience, their family history, the history of a community, of a people; to share wisdom with simplicity, and the faith itself - the most precious heritage! Happy is the family who have grandparents close by! A grandfather is a father twice over and a grandmother is a mother twice over. In those Countries where religious persecution has been cruel - I am thinking, for instance, of Albania, where I was last Sunday - in those Countries it was the grandparents who brought the children to be baptized in secret, to give them the faith. Well done! They were brave in persecution and they saved the faith in those Countries!

"But not every older person, grandfather, grandmother, has a family who can take him or her in. And so homes for the elderly are welcome... may they be real homes and not prisons! And may they be for the elderly, and not for the interests of anyone else! They must not be institutions where the elderly live forgotten, hidden, and neglected. I feel close to the many elderly who live in these institutions, and I think with gratitude of those who go to visit and care for them. Homes for the elderly should be the 'lungs' of humanity in a town, a neighborhood, or a parish. They should be the 'sanctuaries' of humanity where one who is old and weak is cared for and protected like a big brother or sister. It is so good to go visit an elderly person! Look at our children: sometimes we see them listless and sad; they go visit an elderly person and become joyful!

"However, the reality is that elderly people are being abandoned: the elderly are so often discarded with an attitude of abandonment, which is actually real and hidden euthanasia! It is the result of a throw away culture which is so harmful to our world. Children are thrown away, young people are thrown away, because they have no work, and the elderly are thrown away with the pretense of maintaining a "'balanced' economy, which has at its center not the human person but money. We are all called to oppose this poisonous, throw away culture!

"We Christians, together with all people of good will, are called to patiently build a more diverse, more welcoming, more humane, more inclusive society that does not need to discard those who are weak in body and mind. On the contrary we need a society which measures its success on how the weak are cared for.

"As Christians and as citizens, we are called to envision, with imagination and wisdom, ways of facing this challenge. A people who does not take care of grandparents, who does not treat them well has no future! Why does it have no future? Because such a people loses its memory and is torn from its roots. But beware: it is your responsibility to keep these roots alive in yourselves with prayer, by reading the Gospel and with works of mercy. In this way we will remain as living trees, that even in old age will not stop bearing fruit. One of the most beautiful aspects of family life, of our human life as a family, is caressing a baby and being caressed by a grandfather and a grandmother. Thank you!"

Terrorism Challenges World

The good God does not need years to accomplish His work of love in a soul; one ray from His Heart can, in an instant, make His flower bloom for eternity.

- St. Therese of Lisieux

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, addressed the United Nations' Security Council at September 24 meeting in New York City. His address follows:

"... My delegation commends the United States of America on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council and commends the convening of this timely open debate on 'Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.'

"... The debate comes at a time when every region of the world is confronted with the dehumanizing impact of terrorism. It is not a phenomenon that only affects some peoples, religions, and regions, but a crime that affects the entire international community. The constant use, and in some regions more and more intense, terrorism reminds us that such a common challenge requires the shared commitment of all nations and all people of good will. Indeed, terrorism represents a fundamental threat to our common and shared humanity since it dehumanizes both perpetrator and victim and seeks to destroy freedom and human dignity rooted in the natural moral order, replacing it instead with the logic of fear, power, and destruction.(1)

"This institution was founded in the wake of an era in which a similar nihilistic vision of human dignity sought to destroy and divide our world. Today, as then, the nations must come together to fulfill our primary responsibility to protect people threatened by violence and direct attacks on their human dignity.(2)

"As Pope St. John Paul II reminded us in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the countries and peoples right to defend against acts of terrorism does not justify simply responding to violence with violence, but rather 'must be exercised within the limits moral and legal in the choice of ends and means. Offenders must be correctly identified, since criminal culpability is always personal and can not be extended to the nation, ethnic group or religion of the terrorists.' In addition, we are discussing the issue within an organism that is part of an international legal framework binding on all countries. Therefore, any action against terrorism beyond the borders of the land that is directly under attack, as defined in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, must be sanctioned by the Security Council. Pacta sunt servanda is one of the central principles of international law.

"International cooperation must also address the root causes of international terrorism which is fed to grow. Moreover, the current terrorist challenge has a strong cultural component. The young people who go abroad to join terrorist organizations often are kids from poor families of immigrants, disappointed by what they perceive as a situation of exclusion and lack of values ​​of some affluent societies. Along with the legal tools and resources to prevent citizens from becoming terrorists, foreign fighters, governments should engage with civil society to address the problems of the communities most at risk of recruitment and radicalization and get their social integration serene and satisfying.

"... The Holy See - which is a sovereign international subject that also represents a world faith community - affirms that people of faith have a resolute responsibility to condemn those who seek to detach faith from reason and to instrumentalize faith as a justification for violence. As Pope France reiterated during his visit to Albania, 'Let no one consider using God as a shield while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression! May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and againist the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all, the right to life and the right of every one to religious freedom(3). But, at the same time, it should be stressed that to end the new terroristic phenomenon, the goal of achieving cultural understanding among peoples and countries, and social justice for all, is indispensable. As Pope Francis stated, 'whenever adherence to a specific religious tradition gives birth to service that shows conviction, generosity, and concern for the whole of society without making distinctions, then there too exists an authentic and mature living out of religious freedom.'(4)..."


1. Cf. Pope John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace, No Peace Without Justice No Justice Without Forgiveness, January 1, 2002, para 4

2. Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with the Members of the General Assembly of Nations United Organization, April 18, 2008

3. Pope Francis, Address at Welcoming Ceremony in Tirana, Albania, September 21, 2014

4. Ibid

Need To Take Action On Global Warming

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressed the UN Summit on Climate on September 23 in New York City.

His statement follows:

"I am pleased to bring you the cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis at this important summit that sees the world's senior government, private sector, and civil society gathered here in order to identify and propose relevant initiatives aimed at addressing the disturbing phenomenon of climate change. It is well-known that climate change raises not only the scientific aspects of environmental or socio-economic, but also moral and ethical, considering that affects everyone, especially the poor, who are most vulnerable to its effects.

"For this reason, the Holy See has often stressed that there is a moral imperative to act, for we all bear the responsibility to protect and to value creation for the good of this and future generations. Pope Francis, from the beginning of his Pontificate, has underlined the importance of 'protecting our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another's detriment' (Addresss to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, March 22, 2013).

"The scientific consensus is rather consistent and it is that, since the second half of the last century, warming of the climate system is unequivocal. It is a very serious problem, as mentioned, has serious consequences for the most vulnerable sectors of society and, of course, for future generations.

"Numerous scientific studies have also highlighted the great risks and socio-economic costs of inaction of the human face of this problem, based on the fact that its main cause seems to be the increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases emissions caused by human activities. Faced with these risks and costs, the overriding virtue of prudence, which requires very deliberate in terms of a careful analysis of the future impacts that involve our actions. This requires a strong commitment from political, economic, and the international community, to which the Holy See wants to contribute, in the awareness that 'the gift of knowledge helps us not to fall into some attitudes excessive or wrong. The first is the risk to consider ourselves masters of creation. Creation is not a property, which we can rule the roost at our pleasure; or, even less, is a property only of some few: creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we will take care of it and harness it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude' (Pope Francis, General Audience, May 21, 2014 ).

"... The long debate on climate change, which gave birth in 1992 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its implementation process, showing how it is an extremely complex. Since then, many things have changed: the dynamics of international relations have led to changed geopolitical contexts, while the scientific tools and information they are extraordinarily refined.

"A principle element which has emerged from the more than thirty years of study on the phenomenon of global warming is increasingly awareness that the entire international community is part of one interdependent human family. The decisions and behaviors of one of the members of this family have profound consequences on other components of the same; there are no boundaries, barriers, walls, policies, within which they can hide to protect a member relative to each other by the effects of global warming. There is no room for the globalization of indifference, exclusion for that economy, for the culture of the gap so often denounced by Pope Francis (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 52, 53, 59 ).

"In the process aims to combat global warming, too often we have seen the prevalence of particular interests or behaviors of so-called 'free-riders' on the common good; too often we have seen a certain mistrust or lack of confidence on the part of the States, as well as the other participating actors. However, if we really want to be effective, you must implement a collective response based on the culture of solidarity, of encounter and dialogue, which should be the basis of the normal interactions within each family, and that demands the full, responsible, and committed collaboration by all, according to their ability and circumstances.

"In this direction, it seems appropriate to recall a concept that has been developed within the bore of the United Nations, that the responsibility to protect. States have a shared responsibility to protect the global climate through action on mitigation, adaptation, and sharing of technology and 'know-how.' But they have mostly a shared responsibility to protect our planet and the human family, ensuring the present and future generation the chance to live in a safe and worthy. The technological bases and operating to promote this shared responsibility are already available or within reach. We have the ability to initiate and strengthen a truly virtuous process that, in a sense, channel activity through adaptation and mitigation land of economic and technological innovation where we can grow two goals between them concatenated to fight poverty and mitigate the effects of climate change.

"The market forces alone, especially if no adequate ethical guidance, however, can not solve the crisis interdependent on global warming, poverty, and exclusion. The biggest challenge lies in the sphere of human values ​​and human dignity; issues that affect the human dignity of individuals and peoples can not be reduced to mere technical problems. In this sense, climate change becomes a matter of justice, respect, and fairness; an issue that should prompt the conscience of each of us.

"... The ethical motivations behind every complex political decision must be clear. At present this means consolidating a profound and far-sighted revision of models and lifestyles, in order to correct their numerous dysfunctions and distortions (cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 32). This is also needed due to the many crises which present society is living in economic, financial, social, cultural, and ethical contexts.

"Within this perspective, an authentic cultural shift is needed which reinforces our formative and education efforts, above all in favor of the young, towards assuming a sense of responsibility towards creation and integral human development for all people, present and future.

"For its part, Vatican City State, though small, is undertaking significant efforts to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels, creating projects for diversification and energy efficiency. However, as indicated by the Holy See Delegation at COP-19 in Warsaw, 'speaking of emissions reduction is useless if we are not ready to change our lifestyle and current dominant models of consumption and production.' The Holy See attaches great importance to the need to spread education to environmental responsibility that also seeks to safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology. There are many Catholic educational institutions, as well as the Episcopal Conferences, dioceses, parishes, and Catholic-inspired NGOs engaged in this field, in the belief that the degradation of nature is directly linked to the culture that shapes human coexistence. Observance of environmental ecology is provided by and is conditioned by the respect of human ecology in the society.

"Confronting seriously the problem of global warming requires not only to strengthen, deepen, and consolidate the political process at the global level, but also to strengthen the commitment of all of us to a profound cultural renewal and the rediscovery of fundamental values ​​on which to build a better future the whole human family. The Holy See is committed in this direction, so that in this context, the international community is guided by the imperative of ethical action, inspired by the principles of solidarity and promotion of the common good, in the awareness that 'the dignity of every human person and the good are common issues that should structure the whole economic policy' (Evangelii Gaudium, 203)..."

Thank God For Blessings

by Leiann Spontaneo

Editor's note: As Thanksgiving approaches, the author shares brief thoughts on thanksgiving and blessings.)

"Jesus gives us the gift of wisdom ... The truth about wisdom is that it has little to do with college degrees and hours of study ... In Christ, we have all the resources and guidance we'll ever need to make wise, godly choices. In Christ we find the fullness of wisdom" (Inman 35).

"The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Gal 5:22-23). These are attributes of blessing ... These qualities are developed in those who are willing to bless" (Kirkwood 110).

"You see people in need almost everyday. Whether they are hungry or hurting, the Bible says to give out of the overflow of love you have received from God. He will work through you as you serve food to those who are hungry, give clothing to those who need covering, offer hope to those who feel hopeless. You can serve them with gentle words and kind deeds. Serving the powerless is a blessing in itself, but it carries a bonus — God's eternal reward" (Currington 38).

"God has blessed every person — every single one — with some gift or ability with which to serve others and bring glory to His name. Some abilities are obvious — they shine brightly in front of everyone — but others move below the radar. They include things like the ability to pray effectively, love the unlovely, listen attentively. Ask God to open your eyes to your special abilities. They are God's blessings to you ... As you use your gifts to bless others, you will be blessed most of all" (8-9).

"The month of November is inextricably linked to the words 'thank you.' Although the magic words are spoken throughout the year, November holidays such as Thanksgiving invite us to pause and reflect upon our individual and collective blessings" (Tagore 36).

"One is borrowing two prayers, from Huffman & Wilde, in Prayers & Blessings, to share with you. The first, from page 140, a prayer, for those, pondering involvement, in the pro-life movement. We need you!!! The last, from page 132, for those pro-lifers who feel their work is not being heard, noticed, or appreciated. Thank you and bless you!!! (1) "For a calling. May the gifts and talents God has given become apparent to you. And with that recognition, may there also arise a clear sense of where to apply them. A career is an important thing. For God's will is your fulfillment; your being in just the right place is the joy of his heart." (2) Bless my work. All work can be good, Lord, for you can upgrade the most mundane, difficult, or nerve-racking job into one that matters. God of all skills and vocations, bless and inspire my work; deliver me from boredom and laziness."

Works Cited:

Currington, Rebecca. Everyday Blessings. Ohio, Barbour, 2007, Pages 8, 9 and 38.

Huffman, Margaret Anne and Gary Wilde. Simple Prayers & Blessings. Illinois, Publications International, Ltd., 1998, Pages 132 & 140.

Inman, Jessica. 101 Things Jesus Has Done For You. Tennessee, Thomas Nelson, 2007, Page 35.

Kirkwood, Kerry. The Power of Blessing. Pennsylvania, Destiny Image, 2010, Page 110.

Tagore, Taz. Seasons of Thanks. New York, Stewart Tabori && Chang, 2005, Page 36.

Light to the Nations

(A Christian Perspective on World News)

war is madness

REDIPUGLIA, ITALY — Pope Francis presided over ceremonies at the Military Cemetery here on September 13 on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of WWI. In his homily, the Pope said:

"After experiencing the beauty of the landscape of this entire area, where men and women work carrying forward their family, where children play, and elders dream ... finding myself here, in this place, near this cemetery, I just have to say: War is a madness.

"As God leads His creation, and we men are called to collaborate with His work, war destroys. It also destroys what God has created more beautiful: the human being. War disrupts everything, even the bond between the brothers. The war is insane, his development plan is the destruction: wanting to develop through the destruction!

"The greed, intolerance, ambition to power ... are the reasons why the decision ahead of war, and these reasons are often justified by an ideology; but first there is passion, there is the impulse distorted. Ideology is a justification, and when there is not an ideology, there is Cain's answer: 'To me it matter?' 'Am I my brother's keeper?' (cf. Gen 4:9). War does not look at anybody: the elderly, children, moms, dads ... 'What does it matter to me?'

"Above the entrance of this cemetery, there hangs in the air those ironic words of war, 'What does it matter to me?' Each one of the dead buried here had their own plans, their own dreams ... but their lives were cut short. Why? Why did humanity say, 'What does it matter to me?'

"Even today, after the second failure of another world war, maybe we can talk of a third war fought 'in pieces,' with crimes, massacres, destruction ...

"In all honesty, the front page of the newspapers should have as its title: 'What does it matter to me?' Cain would say, 'Am I my brother's keeper?'

"This attitude is exactly the opposite of what Jesus asks of us in the Gospel. We listened to: He is the smallest of the brothers: He, the King, the Judge of the world, He is the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner ... Who takes care of his brother, enters the joy of the Lord; those who do not, who with his omission says: 'What does it matter to me?' remains excluded.

"Here and in the cemetery there are many victims. Today we remember them. There is weeping, there is mourning, there is pain. And from here we remember the victims of all wars.

"Even today the victims are many ... How is this possible? It is so because in today's world, behind the scenes, plans geopolitical greed for money and power, there is the arms industry, which seems to be so important!

"And these planners of terror, these organizers of the battle, as well as business owners of the weapons, they have written in their hearts: 'What does it matter to me?'

"It is the task of the wise to recognize the errors, try sorrow, repent, ask for forgiveness, and cry.

"With this 'What does it matter to me?' in their hearts the profiteers of war, perhaps earn so much, but their corrupt heart has lost the ability to cry. Cain did not cry. He could not cry. The shadow of Cain covers us today here in this cemetery. You see here. You see the history from 1914 to the present day. It is also seen in our day.

"With the heart of a son, brother, father, I ask all of you and for all of us to conversion of heart: switch from 'What does it matter to me?' Crying. For all the fallen of the 'senseless massacre,' for all the victims of the madness of war, all the time. Weeping. Brothers and sisters, humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep."

"useless slaughter" remembered

Vatican City (VIS) - A press conference was held October 9 in the Holy Press Office to present the International Congress "Useless Slaughter: Catholics and the Holy See in the First World War", organized by the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences. The speakers were Fr. Bernard Ardura, O. Praem., president of the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences and Professor Roberto Morozzo della Rocca of the "Roma Tre" University.

"The initiative of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences aims to bring together numerous specialists in the field, with the intention of offering a reinterpretation of the conflict not only seen but also experienced by believers, mostly Catholics but also Protestants and Orthodox - and more specifically for the Holy See that, at the time again without territory of its own, and therefore within the territory of Italy, involved in the conflict, sought as far as possible to safeguard its specific nature."

The theme of the congress, "Useless Slaughter", are two words that express the drama of the First World War. One hundred years after the outbreak of the first world war, the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, in collaboration with the Hungarian Academy in Rome and the Commission International d'Histoire et Etudes du Christianisme, have offered the opportunity to review the historiography with particular attention to the commitment of Catholics and the Holy See in the conflict.

Fr. Bernard Ardura explained that although the central theme of the meeting was Catholics and the Holy See in the First World War, the congress also includes interventions from various historians regarding States with predominantly Protestant or Orthodox citizens. It is hoped, he affirmed, that a second Congress will be held in 2018 on the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles which were, at least in part, at the origin of the Second World War and whose repercussions can still be felt at the dawn of the 21st century.

(Source: Vatican Information Service)

Edge To Edge

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 for a spirit of Thanksgiving and generosity.
  • We pray in thanksgiving for all the saints.
  • We pray for an end to war, and violence as we observe 100 years since the outbreak of World War I.
  • We pray for the victory of the civilization of love and life over the culture of death.
  • We pray that we will be welcome and share with others.
  • We pray for a just and humane solution to issues caused by migration.
  • We pray for an end to hunger.
  • We pray that we will reach out to those in need.
  • We pray for the poor souls in Purgatory.

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