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My People

Vol. 30, Issue 8, August 2017

"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

TABLE OF CONTENTS

People seeking surival

The epicenter of the food crisis is around south-central Somalia and the capital Mogadishu, where thousands of people are seeking survival in makeshift camps with unsanitary conditions. In the Shanties Dhuyuleh Internally Displaced Persons Camp, Caritas member Trocaire gives food ration cards.

Fight Hunger With Solidarity

Pope Francis sent a message on July 3 to the 40th general conference of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) meeting in Rome.

His message follows:

"... I offer my respectful and cordial greetings to you, and to all the Representatives of the Member States of FAO, as you assemble for the Organization's fortieth Conference.

"My greeting also goes to the Director-General and to the leaders of the other International Organizations present at this meeting, which is called to provide appropriate responses to issues involving the agricultural and food production sector, on which the expectations of millions of people depend.

"1. I regret that I cannot be present with you today, as has been an established tradition dating back to the beginning of FAO's presence in Rome. I have therefore asked Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, to convey to you my message of encouragement and support, as well as my respect and esteem for the demanding task that you must carry out.

"The Holy See closely follows the work of the international community and wishes to assist its efforts to promote not mere progress or development goals in theory, but rather the actual elimination of hunger and malnutrition. All of us realize that the intention to provide everyone with his or her daily bread is not enough. Rather, there is a need to recognize that all have a right to it and they must therefore benefit from it. If the goals we continue to propose still remain distant, that is largely dependent on the lack of a culture of solidarity, which fails to make headway amid other international activities, which often remain bound only to the pragmatism of statistics or the desire for efficiency that lacks the idea of sharing.

"The commitment of each country to increase its own level of nutrition, to improve agricultural activity and the living conditions of the rural population, is embodied in the encouragement of the agricultural sector, in increased production or in the promotion of an effective distribution of food supplies. Yet this is not enough. In effect, what those goals demand is a constant acknowledgment that the right of every person to be free of poverty and hunger depends on the duty of the entire human family to provide practical assistance to those in need.

"Hence, when a country is incapable of offering adequate responses because its degree of development, conditions of poverty, climate changes or situations of insecurity do not permit this, FAO and the other intergovernmental institutions need to be able to intervene specifically and undertake an adequate solidary action. Since the goods that God the Creator has entrusted to us are meant for all, there is an urgent need for solidarity to be the criterion inspiring all forms of cooperation in international relations.

"2. A glance at the current world situation does not offer us a comforting picture. Yet we cannot remain merely preoccupied or, worse, resigned. This moment of evident difficulty must make us even more conscious that hunger and malnutrition are not only natural or structural phenomena in determined geographical areas, but the result of a more complex condition of underdevelopment caused by the indifference of many or the selfishness of a few. The wars, acts of terrorism and forced displacements that increasingly hinder or at least strongly condition even cooperative efforts are not inevitable, but rather the consequence of concrete decisions. We are dealing with a complex mechanism that mainly burdens the most vulnerable, who are not only excluded from the processes of production, but frequently obliged to leave their lands in search of refuge and hope. Likewise, decisions taken in full freedom and conscience determine the data relative to assistance given to poor countries. This continues to decrease daily, in spite of reiterated appeals in the face of ever more devastating crisis situations emerging in different areas of the planet.

"We need to be aware that in these cases the freedom of choice of each must take into account solidarity towards all, in relation to actual needs, and the fulfillment in good faith of commitments undertaken or proclaimed. In this regard, inspired also by the desire to encourage governments, I would like to make a symbolic contribution to the FAO program that provides seeds to rural families in areas affected by the combined effects of conflicts and drought. This gesture is offered in addition to the work that the Church continues to carry out, in accordance with her vocation to stand at the side of the earth's poor and to accompany the effective commitment of all on their behalf.

"This commitment is asked of us today by the 2030 Development Agenda, when it restates the idea that food security is a goal that can no longer be put off. Yet only an effort inspired by authentic solidarity will be capable of eliminating the great number of persons who are undernourished and deprived of the necessities of life. This is a very great challenge for FAO and for all the Institutions of the international community. It is also a challenge that the Church is committed to on the front lines.

"It is my hope that the sessions of this Conference can give renewed impulse to the work of the Organization and provide the practical responses needed and desired by millions of our brothers and sisters. For they see in the activity of FAO not only a technical contribution to increase resources and to distribute the fruits of production, but also a concrete and even unique sign of a fraternity that helps them to look to the future with confidence.

"May Almighty God, who is rich in mercy, bless you and your service, and grant you the strength needed to contribute to the authentic progress of our human family."

Fighting Famine

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Caritas Internationalis. Photos by Amanga Shuchi/Trocaire.)

Somalia is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis with 6.7 million people in need of urgent assistance as severe drought sweeps across East Africa. Caritas is able to save lives but funding means not enough can be done to prevent the food crisis from deepening .

"We expect the situation to get quite bleak," said Paul Healy, Somalia director of Caritas member, Trocaire. "There are 6.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, up from 6.2 million in the past couple of months. Of these 2.5 million will be at crisis phase 5 or famine soon. Critical large-scale assistance is needed to address the crisis."

Finding vein in baby Rahma's hand Community Health Workers at Akara Cholera Treatment Center try to find a vein in baby Rahma's hand in order to administer an IV drip. They are tackling a cholera outbreak in Gedo - with emergency medical assistance, treatment of affected water supplies to stop the spread of the disease, and supplying clean water to 15 schools and three hospitals in the region.

Somalia has been struck by severe drought due to two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. Areas such as central and southern Somalia have registered only a third of their usual seasonal rainfall this year.

"There was some rain but below average in most of the country," Healy said. "Dry conditions are persisting and most livelihoods have been compromised. The majority of animals have died."

Among the worst-affected areas is Gedo in the south-central region of the country. Healy said most agricultural communities have lost their livestock and crops. The drought is forcing thousands of people to leave their homes while humanitarian access is limited in some areas due to insecurity.

"The outlook is bleaker than it was in 2001-2004 when we had the last food crisis," he said. Healy and his team are seeing growing numbers of children and lactating mothers with severe or acute malnutrition.

Staff of Khalil District Hospital A cross section of the staff of Khalil District Hospital. Caritas organization Trocaire has a strong, long-established presence in the Gedo region in southern Somalia. There, they currently fund and run three hospitals, 10 primary health units and four health centers.

"There is no sign that this is going to abate or be resolved until significant rains come later in the year," he said. "The instances of children suffering from severe or acute malnutrition has tripled in the last few months."

Drought-related diseases, such as cholera, have also been creating huge challenges particularly when families are uprooted. "In the month of May our center treated over 19,000 people for cholera and malnutrition," Healy said. "We have treated 5,000 cases of cholera in the past two months.

"We have managed to address the cholera - cases are down to about 80 a day to 4 or 5 admissions, except in Dolow where numbers are still fluctuating. The spread of cholera has been contained and we are managing rapid intervention very successfully."

Caritas and its Irish member Trocaire have been working together to address health and nutrition by providing nutritional supplements, responding to the cholera outbreak and also providing hygiene promotion and cash payments for families.

Adeego Adan Hussein feeding her daughter Caritas monitors and cares for malnutrition through it's health centers, for example at the Dollow Cholera Health Center. Adeego Adan Hussein is assisted by hospital staff in feeding her daughter, Deeqa Ibrahim, with Plumpy Supplement.

Healy says the crisis is seriously underfunded and donations are urgently needed despite the generous response from Caritas organizations in Australia, Canada, Europe, and South-East Asia.

"Caritas is committed to this crisis and it is great to see the support from members around the world," he said. "We want to ensure that the reaction from Caritas is felt by communities who are the most vulnerable and suffering greatly at the moment."

During the 2011 famine, 260,000 people died in Somalia. There are fears that history will repeat itself. Caritas is focusing on simply saving lives of starving children and mothers with the money it has, but severe underfunding means that plans it has to prevent famine from spreading are on hold.

Caritas currently funds 140 aid projects, providing assistance for more than 4.3 million people in need in East Africa. Around two thirds of Caritas programs focus on food security and livelihoods.

Bishops Urge End To Nuclear Weapons

Catholic bishops from the United States and Europe issued a joint declaration on July 6 urging all nations to develop a credible, verifiable, and enforceable strategy for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The document was titled "Nuclear Disarmament: Seeking Human Security."

Bishop Oscar Canter of Los Cruces, NM, chairman of the USCCB committee on International Justice and Peace and Archbishops Jean-Claude Hollerich, president of the European Justice and Peace Commissions.

The document follows:

"For many, the horror of a potential nuclear war receded from consciousness with the end of the Cold War, but recent geopolitical developments remind us that our world remains in grave danger. Even a limited nuclear exchange would have devastating consequences for people and the planet. Tragically, human error or miscalculation could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Moreover, our world has become increasingly multipolar with a variety of threats reaching from terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity to environmental degradation and poverty, which raises doubts about the adequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to these challenges.

"Nuclear disarmament is now on the world's agenda. From June 15 to July 7, the United Nations is hosting a conference 'to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.' The fact that most of the world's nations are participating in this effort testifies to the urgency of their concern, an urgency intensified by the prospect of nuclear terrorism and proliferation, and to the inequality and dissatisfaction of non-nuclear states about the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament efforts.

"The United States and most European nations are not joining these negotiations. Instead of focusing on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, their attention is on the need for a broader security architecture to allow for strategic stability as verifiable reductions are achieved.

Prayer For Young People

Lord Jesus, in journeying towards the Synod, your Church turns her attention to all the young people of the world. We pray that they might boldly take charge of their lives, aim for the most beautiful and profound things of life and always keep their hearts unencumbered. Accompanied by wise and generous guides, help them respond to the call you make to each of them, to realize a proper plan of life and achieve happiness.

Keep their hearts open to dreaming great dreams and make them concerned for the good of others. Like the Beloved Disciple, may they stand at the foot of the Cross, to receive your Mother as a gift from you. May they be witnesses to your Resurrection and be aware that you are at their side as they joyously proclaim you as Lord. Amen.

(In preparation for Synod of Bishops 2018)

"Nuclear states are making significant new investments to modernize nuclear arsenals. These costly programs will divert enormous resources from other pressing needs that build security, including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As Pope Francis has argued powerfully: 'Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health, and the fight against extreme poverty' (December 8, 2014).

"Security is a basic prerequisite for human flourishing. The Church's own teaching affirms that 'the common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order' (Catechism, #1909). A key moral question is: Do nuclear weapons foster security and contribute to genuine peace?

"Pope Francis in his message to the UN Conference on nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations in March 2017 used direct language in answering this question: 'International peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power. Peace must be built on justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human rights, on the protection of creation, on the participation of all in public life, on trust between peoples, on the support of peaceful institutions, on access to education and health, on dialogue and solidarity. From this perspective, we need to go beyond nuclear deterrence: the international community is called upon to adopt forward-looking strategies to promote the goal of peace and stability and to avoid short-sighted approaches to the problems surrounding national and international security.'

"Moreover, in his January 2017 address to the Diplomatic Corps, Pope Francis recalled the longstanding support of the Catholic Church for a ban on nuclear weapons: 'The words of Saint John XXIII in Pacem in Terris continue to ring true: "... Nuclear weapons must be banned." ' The Holy See continues to be an insistent voice of moral reason in support of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

"As pastors and moral teachers, it is beyond our competence to chart out the exact path to a world without nuclear weapons, but we can point with some certainty to decades of frustration with the pace and scope of nuclear disarmament. This frustration has undoubtedly contributed to the effort of many nations to engage in negotiating a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

"The indiscriminate and disproportionate nature of nuclear weapons, compel the world to move beyond nuclear deterrence. We call upon the United States and European nations to work with other nations to map out a credible, verifiable, and enforceable strategy for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. This goal is achievable if all nations, nuclear and non-nuclear alike, work together. We are aware that the path towards a world without nuclear weapons is complex and long, but we think that, in particular, the following steps could make a significant contribution to achieving this goal:

  • to carry further the nonproliferation and disarmament obligations in line with the international legal framework;
  • to reinforce safeguard and control mechanisms at the military, diplomatic, and political levels;
  • to develop and implement with determination measures deepening mutual trust at all levels;
  • to reduce reliance on nuclear deterrence in national and international security strategies in favor of more effective alternatives focusing on human security and peace; and
  • to engage in a global debate in relevant international fora, so as to work for creating and promoting the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.

"We share the hope of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: 'Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states. The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more. They deserve a peaceful world order based on the unity of the human family, grounded on respect, cooperation, solidarity, and compassion. Now is the time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, and so foster a climate of trust and sincere dialogue' (December 7, 2014)."

Author Looks At Pivotal Players

by Michael Halm

Praying with the Pivotal Players

Praying with the Pivotal Players by Amy Welborn has a rare five-star rating on Amazon. All the reviews gave it the maximum. Sunshine Alexander wrote, she "really loved this workbook. It is the perfect companion to the video series," while Lisa Rae called the book an "excellent supplement ... [that] can be enjoyed separately from the DVD series."

Both Welborn's book and Bishop Barron's DVD series from Word on Fire tell the true story behind the Church's most influential people. The DVDs journeys through France, Italy, Spain, England, while the book moved toward a deeper intimacy with the Lord with insights about Jesus, prayer, the Church, and virtue from Sts. Francis of Assisi, the Reformer, Thomas Aquinas, the Theologian, and Catherine of Siena, the Mystic, Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Artist, G. K. Chesterton, the Evangelist, and Blessed John Henry Newman, the Convert.

George Weigel in his review tries to categorize them, "Two are doctors of the Church - and a third may be one day. Several of them inspired successors of St. Peter; another told a pope off in no uncertain terms. Two were Englishmen and converts from Anglicanism: one, will-o-the-wisp slight and the other gargantuan; one the quintessential Oxford don, the other, the quintessential Anglo-eccentric genius. One grew up a wannabe knight errant before his abrupt turn into radical evangelicalism. Each of them was the human analogue to what astrophysicists call a 'singularity.' "

Welborn herself says, "I wrote the book last fall and really enjoyed the process. It gave me an opportunity to immerse myself in the writing of these figures and I learned quite a bit.

The five segments on Frances include the very relevant "Drawing Closer to Christ," "Not an Impossible Ideal," "Living in a Culture of Corruption," "Perfect Joy" and "Francis and Creation."

Aquinas's include the more thoughtful "Theology and Spirituality," "The Existence of God," "The Nature of God," "The Human Person," and "Christ," while Catherine of Siena's look both interiorly and exteriorly, "Self-knowledge," "Holy Desire," and "Charity."

At Word on fire a 13-page sample lesson on Catherine is available. It begins by identifying her as the only lay woman ever declared a doctor of the Church and reports that she died just after her thirty-third birthday. Welborn them quotes from her elegy by Neri dei Pagliaresi.

"Tell me, who will save me now from an evil end?

Who will preserve me from delusions?

Who will guide me when I try to climb?

Who will console me now in my distress?

Who will ask me now: 'Are you now well?'

Who will persuade me that I shall not be damned?"

The Questions for Understanding are: "What evidence do we have that God loved us first, and loves us unconditionally?", "How should we love God?", "In what ways did St. Catherine follow the commandment to 'love one another' during her life on earth?", "What re the characteristics of this type of love?"

Among the Questions for Application are "How can you be sure that you are doing the works that God wants you to do and not those that, in your own ego, you believe are necessary?", "What mission is Christ asking of you now and in the near future?"

Michelangelo's sections move from "Incarnation and Creativity" and "The Life of an Artist" to his art, "David," "the Pietá," and "the Sistine Chapel." Chesterton and Newman's have sections on Joy, sanity, and reason, the ethics of Elfland, the strangeness of man and of Christ, conversion and its price, the development of doctrine, the idea of the university and the grammar of assent.

When We Forget

by Leiann Spontaneo

when we forget photo Credit: Pixabay

So often our prayer life ends after the sermon as we walk out the door. With the stress of work, illness, failed relationships, etc., it is easy to forget the Lord.

Sometimes we don't want to pray or read the Bible or think about God because when we look at the mirror we feel like saying that we are big disappointments and ought to be a lot better by now. In other words, we are at the end of what seems a wasted year again. Well, my friends, we are sinners and don't know God's heart very well.

According to Psalm 103, God obviously helps the needy. Attempt to serve at least one hour each week, at a church or library or the like, to become closer to God and be in communion with Him.

He forgives our sins. Remember God's faithfulness. We are inclined to grumble and growl about our circumstances, but God graciously reminds us that we must remember His provision. A little confusing, but maybe this will make more sense ...

  • Remember how you had mentors and friends to guide you in your faith?
  • Remember how God sustained you during that season of unemployment?
  • Remember that prayer request God answered?
  • Remember how God protected you from making your life a chaotic mess?

What is Psalm 103 telling us?

We are richer than we think, we are more blessed than we know, and we have more than we realize. We frail sinners are rich in the mercy of God.

Remember.

Put People First

Pope Francis urged members of the Group of 20 Nations (G20) to put people at the center of their deliberations. He sent a letter dated June 29 to Angela Merkel, German Chancellor. The G20 Nations met July 7-8 in Hamburg, Germany.

The Pope's letter follows:

"Following our recent meeting in the Vatican, and in response to your thoughtful request, I would like to offer some considerations that, together with all the Pastors of the Catholic Church, I consider important in view of the forthcoming meeting of the G20, which will gather Heads of State and of Government of the Group of major world economies and the highest authorities of the European Union. In doing so, I follow a tradition begun by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2009 on the occasion of the London G20. My Predecessor likewise wrote to Your Excellency in 2006, when Germany held the presidency of the European Union and the G8.

"In the first place, I wish to express to you, and to the leaders assembled in Hamburg, my appreciation for the efforts being made to ensure the governability and stability of the world economy, especially with regard to financial markets, trade, fiscal problems and, more generally, a more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth (cf. G20 Leaders Communique, Hangzhou Summit, September 5, 2016). As is evident from the Summit's program, such efforts are inseparable from the need to address ongoing conflicts and the worldwide problem of migrations.

"In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the programmatic document of my Pontificate addressed to the Catholic faithful, I proposed four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part. These lines of action are evidently part of the age-old wisdom of all humanity; I believe that they can also serve as an aid to reflection for the Hamburg meeting and for the assessment of its outcome.

"Time is greater than space. The gravity, complexity and interconnection of world problems is such that there can be no immediate and completely satisfying solutions. Sadly, the migration crisis, which is inseparable from the issue of poverty and exacerbated by armed conflicts, is proof of this. It is possible, though, to set in motion processes that can offer solutions that are progressive and not traumatic, and which can lead in relatively short order to free circulation and to a settlement of persons that would be to the advantage of all. Nonetheless, this tension between space and time, between limit and fullness, requires an exactly contrary movement in the minds of government leaders and the powerful. An effective solution, necessarily spread over time, will be possible only if the final objective of the process is clearly present in its planning. In the minds and hearts of government leaders, and at every phase of the enactment of political measures, there is a need to give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion, or culture, and to reject armed conflicts.

"At this point, I cannot fail to address to the Heads of State and of Government of the G20, and to the entire world community, a heartfelt appeal for the tragic situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where thirty million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive. A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediately support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development.

"Unity prevails over conflict. The history of humanity, in our own day too, presents us with a vast panorama of current and potential conflicts. War, however, is never a solution. As the hundredth anniversary of Pope Benedict XV's Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples draws near, I feel bound to ask that the world put an end to all these "useless slaughters." The goal of the G20 and of other similar annual meetings is to resolve economic differences peacefully and to agree on common financial and trade rules to allow for the integral development of all, in order to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (cf. Communique of the G20 Hangzhou Summit). Yet that will not be possible unless all parties commit themselves to substantially reducing levels of conflict, halting the present arms race, and renouncing direct or indirect involvement in conflicts, as well as agreeing to discuss sincerely and transparently all their differences. There is a tragic contradiction and inconsistency in the apparent unity expressed in common forums on economic or social issues, and the acceptance, active or passive, of armed conflicts.

"Realities are more important than ideas. The fateful ideologies of the first half of the twentieth century have been replaced by new ideologies of absolute market autonomy and financial speculation (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 56). In their tragic wake, these bring exclusion, waste and even death. The significant political and economic achievements of the past century, on the other hand, were always marked by a sound and prudent pragmatism, guided by the primacy of the human being and the attempt to integrate and coordinate diverse and at times opposed realities, on the basis of respect for each and every citizen. I pray to God that the Hamburg Summit may be illumined by the example of those European and world leaders who consistently gave pride of place to dialogue and the quest of common solutions: Schuman, De Gasperi, Adenauer, Monnet and so many others.

"The whole is greater than the part. Problems need to be resolved concretely and with due attention to their specificity, but such solutions, to be lasting, cannot neglect a broader vision. They must likewise consider eventual repercussions on all countries and their citizens, while respecting the views and opinions of the latter. Here I would repeat the warning that Benedict XVI addressed to the G20 London Summit in 2009. While it is reasonable that G20 Summits should be limited to the small number of countries that represent 90% of the production of wealth and services worldwide, this very situation must prompt the participants to a profound reflection. Those states and individuals whose voice is weakest on the world political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of economic crises for which they bear little or no responsibility. This great majority, which in economic terms counts for only 10% of the whole, is the portion of humanity that has the greatest potential to contribute to the progress of everyone. Consequently, there is need to make constant reference to the United Nations, its programs and associated agencies, and regional organizations, to respect and honor international treaties, and to continue promoting a multilateral approach, so that solutions can be truly universal and lasting, for the benefit of all (cf. Benedict XVI, Letter to the Honorable Gordon Brown, March 30, 2009).

"I offer these considerations as a contribution to the work of the G20, with trust in the spirit of responsible solidarity that guides all those taking part. I ask God's blessings upon the Hamburg meeting and on every effort of the international community to shape a new era of development that is innovative, interconnected, sustainable, environmentally respectful and inclusive of all peoples and all individuals (cf. Communique of the G20 Hangzhou Summit).

"I take this occasion to assure Your Excellency of my high consideration and esteem."

Light to the Nations

(A Christian Perspective on World News)

Pope Welcomes NFL

Vatican City - Pope Francis received an NFL Delegation on June 21. His address follows:

"I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to welcome you to the Vatican. As many of you know, I am an avid follower of 'football,' but where I come from, the game is played very differently!

"I thank Mr. Anderson for his gracious words of introduction, which stressed the traditional values of sportsmanship that you seek to embody, both on the field and in your own lives, your families, and your communities. Our world, and especially our young people, need models, persons who show us how to bring out the best in ourselves, to use our God-given gifts and talents, and, in so doing, to point the way to a better future for our societies.

"Teamwork, fair play, and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values - in the religious sense, we can say virtues - that have guided your own commitment on the field. Yet these same values are urgently needed off the field, on all levels of our life as a community. They are the values that help build a culture of encounter, in which we anticipate and meet the needs of our brothers and sisters, and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference, and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family. How greatly our world needs this culture of encounter!

"Dear friends, I pray that your visit to the Eternal City will increase your gratitude for the many gifts you have received and inspire you to share them ever more generously in shaping a more fraternal world.

"Upon you and your families I invoke God's blessings of joy and peace.

"May God bless you all!"

(Source: vatican.va)

"Landmark Victory"

WASHINGTON - Today (June 26), the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, in which the Court held that the exclusion of churches from an otherwise available public benefit violates the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Trinity Lutheran's preschool sought to participate in the State of Missouri's scrap tire program, which would have allowed it to repave its playground with recycled tire pieces in order to provide a softer and safer playground surface for children.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, offered the following statement in response:

"Today's decision is a landmark victory for religious freedom. The Supreme Court rightly recognized that people of faith should not be discriminated against when it comes to government programs that should be made available to all. The decision also marks a step in the right direction toward limiting the effects of the pernicious Blaine Amendments that are in place in many states around the country. Blaine Amendments to state constitutions, most of which date back to the nineteenth century, stem from a time of intense anti-Catholic bigotry in many parts of the country. We are glad to see the Supreme Court move toward limiting these harmful provisions, which have restricted the freedom of faith-based organizations and people of faith to serve their communities."

The amicus curiae brief that USCCB submitted in this case: Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley.

(Source: USCCB press release)

social safety net needed

WASHINGTON - Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has provided (June 27) a more detailed critique of the Senate "discussion draft" health care bill, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" (BCRA).

"Removing vital coverage for those most in need is not the answer to our nation's health care problems, and doing so will not help us build toward the common good," said Bishop Dewane. "For the sake of persons living on the margins of our health care system, we call on the Senate to reject changes intended to fundamentally alter the social safety net for millions of people."

The BCRA was introduced in discussion draft format on June 22, 2017, and is the Senate's working heath care proposal. Bishop Dewane again highlighted the need for lawmakers to withhold support for provisions that would harm poor and vulnerable people, including changes to Medicaid, in the June 27 letter. He also stressed the need for protections for the unborn in the bill, indicating that "[s]afeguards pertaining to the use of tax credits for plans that include abortion face steep challenges," and that the BCRA "needs to be strengthened to fully apply the longstanding and widely-supported Hyde amendment protections." Bishop Dewane also noted that coverage for immigrants and conscience protections were lacking in the BCRA.

"The BCRA's restructuring of Medicaid will adversely impact those already in deep health poverty," warned Bishop Dewane. "At a time when tax cuts that would seem to benefit the wealthy and increases in other areas of federal spending, such as defense, are being contemplated, placing a 'per capita cap' on medical coverage for the poor is unconscionable."

The full letter can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/senate-discussion-letter-health-care-reform-2017-06-27.pdf

(Source: USCCB press release)

Edge To Edge

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 all students and teachers as they return to school.
  • We pray for an end to famine and hunger.
  • We pray we would share with others.
  • We pray for an end to war, violence, conflicts, and for the victory of the civilization of life and love over the culture of death.
  • We pray for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • We pray for all young people to respond to God's call.
  • We pray for the Synod of Bishops on young people in 2018.
  • We pray in thanksgiving for the Catholic Charismatic renewal.
  • We pray for wisdom and discernment for world leaders and that they will put people first.
  • We pray for reconciliation in our communities and that we will be instruments of God's peace.

The cost of this publication is a donation. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit what amount He would have you contribute.

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www.presentationministries.com

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