"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
A Family Prayer For The Year Of Faith
O God our Father,
in Jesus you call all Christian families and homes to be signs of living faith.
By the light of the Holy Spirit, lead us to be thankful for the gift of faith, and by that gift may we grow in our relationship with Jesus, your Son, and be confident witnesses to Christian hope and joy to all we meet.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
In a September 22 audience with the Executive Committee of the Christian Democrats in Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the importance of respect for marriage, life, and family, the continued effort to build solid ethical foundations for promotion of the common good, properly understood and of going beyond the logic of the marketplace. Christian Democrats from around the world attended. The Pope's address follows:
". . . Five years have passed since our last meeting, during which time the involvement of Christians in society has not ceased to enliven and improve human relations and living conditions. This commitment must not lessen or decrease; rather, it must be proffered with renewed vitality, in view of the persistence and, in some cases, the worsening of the problems we are facing.
"The current economic situation is becoming increasingly serious, and its complexity and gravity rightly arouse concern. Yet, in the face of this situation, Christians are called to act and express themselves with a prophetic spirit - that is, a spirit capable of seeing in these transformations the unceasing and mysterious presence of God in history - and thus to shoulder their newly emerging responsibilities with realism, confidence, and hope. 'The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment ... [it] thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future' (Enc. Caritas in veritate, 21).
"In this way, with confidence not resignation, civil and political activity must be given new incentives to seek solid ethical foundations, the lack of which in the economic field has helped to create the current global financial crisis (Address at Westminster Hall, London, September 17, 2010). Your political and institutional commitment must not, then, be limited to responding to the requirements of market logic. Rather, its central and indispensable goal must remain the search for the common good, correctly understood, and the promotion and protection of the inalienable dignity of the human person. The teaching of Vatican Council II that 'the order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons, and not the other way around' (Gaudium et Spes, 26) is today more timely than ever. This order of persons 'is founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1912), and it cannot be discerned without constant attention to the Word of God and the Magisterium of the Church, especially by people such as you, who draw the inspiration for their activities from Christian principles and values.
"Unfortunately the cursory, superficial, and short-term responses to the most fundamental and profound human needs are numerous and strident. This makes the words of the Apostle sadly appropriate for our own time, when he warned Timothy of the day in which 'people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths' (2 Tim 4:3).
"The areas in which this decisive discernment is to be exercised are those touching the most vital and delicate interests of the person, the place where the fundamental choices regarding the meaning of life and the search for happiness are made. These areas are not separate from one another but profoundly interconnected; they possess a manifest continuum which is constituted by respect for the transcendent dignity of human beings (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1929), rooted in the fact that they were made in the image of the Creator and are the ultimate goal of any authentically human social justice. The commitment to respecting life in all its phases from conception to natural death - and the consequent rejection of procured abortion, euthanasia, and any form of eugenics - is, in fact, interwoven with respecting marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman and, in its turn, as the foundation for the community of family life. It is in the family, 'founded on marriage and open to life' (Address to the Authorities, Milan, June 2, 2012), that human beings experience sharing, respect, and gratuitous love, at the same time receiving - be they children, the sick, or the elderly - the solidarity they need. The family, moreover, constitutes the principal and most significant place for the education of the person, thanks to the parents who place themselves at the service of their children in order to draw out ('e-ducere') the best that is in them. Thus the family, the basic cell of society, is the root which nourishes not only the individual human being, but the very foundations of social coexistence. Blessed John Paul II was right, then, to include among human rights, 'the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child's personality' (Enc. Centesimus annus, 47).
"The authentic progress of human society cannot forgo policies aimed at protecting and promoting marriage, and the community that derives therefrom. Adopting such policies is the duty not only of States but of the International Community as a whole, in order to reverse the tendency towards the growing isolation of the person, which is a source of suffering and atrophy for both individuals and for society.
"Honorable ladies and gentlemen, if it is true that the defense and promotion of human dignity have been entrusted to us by the Creator as a duty that pertains strictly and responsibly to 'men and women at every moment of history' (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1929), it is equally true that this responsibility particularly concerns those called to political office. They, especially if animated by Christian faith, must be 'strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping' (Gaudium et Spes, 31). In this sense, the warning contained in the Book of Wisdom to the effect that 'severe judgement falls on those in high places' (Wis 6:5) is highly beneficial, a warning given not to frighten but to spur and encourage those in government, at all levels, to achieve all the good of which they are capable, in keeping with the mission the Lord entrusts to each one.
"In the hope, then, that each of you will continue to fulfill your personal and public commitments with enthusiasm and determination, I assure you all of a remembrance in my prayers, and I invoke God's blessings upon you and your families. Thank you for your attention."
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the relationship between man's dependence on God and freedom in his Message to the 23rd Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, held in Rimini, Italy, August 19-25. The message was sent in a letter to Bishop Francesco Lambiasi of Rimini. It was read at the opening of the meeting on August 19.
The Pope said:
"I would like to address my cordial greeting to you, to the organizers, and to all the participants in the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples that is now being held for the 33rd time. The theme chosen this year is particularly meaningful 'By nature, man is relation to the infinite' in view of the now imminent Year of Faith which I have chosen to proclaim for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.
"Speaking of man and of his desire for the infinite means first of all recognizing his constitutive relationship with the Creator. Man is a creature of God. Today this word creature seems almost to have gone out of fashion. People prefer to think of the human being as a being complete in himself and the absolute master of his own destiny. Viewing man as a creature seems 'reductive,' because it involves an essential reference to something else or rather, Someone else who cannot be managed by man who comes into it to define his identity in an essential way; a relational identity, whose first given is his original and ontological dependence on the One Who wanted and created us. Yet this dependence, from which modern and contemporary men and women seek to free themselves, not only does not conceal or diminish but rather reveals clearly the greatness and supreme dignity of the human being, called to life to enter into a relationship with Life itself, with God.
"To say: 'By nature, man is relation to the infinite' thus means saying that every person has been created so that he or she may enter into dialogue with God, with the Infinite. At the beginning of the world's history Adam and Eve were the result of an act of love by God, made in His image and likeness, and their life and relationship with the Creator coincided: 'God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them' (Gen 1:27).
"Moreover original sin is ultimately rooted precisely in our first parents' evasion from this constitutive relationship, in their desire to put themselves in God's place, in their belief that they could do without Him. Even after their sin, however, human beings are left with this all-consuming desire for this dialogue, almost as if the Creator Himself had branded their soul and their flesh with it.
"Psalm 63 helps us penetrate to the heart of this subject. 'O God, you are my God, I seek You, my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where no water is' (v. 2). Not only my soul but every fiber of my flesh is made to find its peace, its fulfilment, in God. And this aspiration in the human heart is indelible: even when God is rejected or denied, the thirst for the infinite that dwells in men and women is not slaked. Instead a frantic, sterile search for 'false infinites' begins, that can satisfy them at least for a moment. The thirst of the soul and the longing of the flesh the Psalmist speaks of cannot be eliminated. Therefore human beings, unbeknownst to themselves, are reaching out for the Infinite but in mistaken directions: in drugs, in a disorderly form of sexuality, in totalizing technologies, in success at every cost and even in deceptive forms of piety. Even the good things which God has created, such as paths that lead to Him, often risk being absolutized, and thereby becoming idols that replace the Creator.
"Recognizing that we have been made for the infinite means taking the route of purification from what we have called 'false infinites,' a way of conversion of heart and mind. We must uproot all the false promises of the infinite that seduce men and women and enslave people. Truly to rediscover ourselves and our identity, to live our dignity, we must return to recognizing that we are creatures, dependent on God. The possibility of a truly free and full life is linked to recognizing this dependence which in our inmost depths is the joyous discovery of being God's children. It is interesting to note that in his Letter to the Romans St. Paul sees the contrary of slavery not so much as freedom as, rather, sonship, having received the Holy Spirit that makes us adoptive sons and enables us to cry to God 'Abba! Father!' (8:15).
"The Apostle to the Gentiles speaks of an 'evil' slavery: the slavery of sin, of the law, of the passions of the flesh. Yet he does not counter this with autonomy but with 'being slaves of Christ,' (cf. 6:16-22). On the contrary, he describes himself as 'Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ' (1:1). The fundamental point, therefore, is not to eliminate dependence which is a constitutive part of the human being, but to direct it to the One Who alone can truly set us free. At this point, however, a question arises. Is it not perhaps structurally impossible for human beings to measure up to the loftiness of their nature? This question brings us directly to the heart of Christianity.
"In fact, the Infinite One took a finite form in order to make Himself a response that the human being could experience. The unbridgeable abyss between the finite and the infinite was filled from the Incarnation, from the moment in which the Word became flesh; the eternal and infinite God left His heaven and entered into time, He immersed himself in human finiteness. Nothing, therefore, is trivial or insignificant in the journey of life and of the world. Men and women are made for an infinite God Who became flesh, Who took our humanity to uplift it to the heights of His divine being.
"We thus discover the truest dimension of human existence to which the Servant of God Luigi Giussani ceaselessly called people: life as a vocation. Everything, every relationship, every joy, as well as every difficulty, finds its ultimate reason in being an opportunity for a relationship with the Infinite, God's voice that continually calls us and invites us to look up, to discover in adherence to Him the complete fulfillment of our humanity.
" 'You have made us for Yourself,' St. Augustine wrote, 'and our heart is restless until it rests in You' (Confessions, I, I, I). We must not be afraid of what God asks of us through life's circumstances, even if it be the dedication of the whole of ourselves in a particular form of following and imitating Christ in the priesthood or in the religious life. The Lord, in calling certain people to live totally in Him, calls all to recognize the essence of their nature as human beings: made for the infinite. And God has our happiness at heart, our complete human fulfillment. Let us, therefore, ask Him to allow us to enter and to remain in the gaze of faith that characterized the saints so as to discover the seeds of goodness that the Lord scatters along the path of our life and adhere joyfully to our vocation.
"As I express the wish that these brief thoughts may be of some help to those who are taking part in the Meeting, I assure you of my closeness in prayer and my hope that the reflection of these days may introduce everyone into the certainty and joy of faith . . ."
Fred H. Summe is Vice President of Northern Kentucky Right to Life, P.O. Box 1202, Covington, Kentucky 41012
If President Barack Obama is reelected this November, the mandate issued by his Department of Health and Human Services will be enforced by the federal government. Unless found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, it is unlikely that even a Republican-controlled Congress would have enough votes to override Obama's veto of any attempt to rescind his mandate.
The HHS mandate requires all employers to provide coverage in their health insurance plans for free contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Thus, all employers, and all employees who pay in part for health insurance, will be forced to fund contraception, sterilization, and drug-induced abortions. An organization, business, or individual who knows that it is seriously immoral to pay for these intrinsic evils, even indirectly through health insurance premiums, will be required to do evil or to pay substantial fines.
As reported by bishops across the country, this federal mandate will force the Catholic Church, its hospitals, nursing homes, universities and colleges, religious orders, and social services to either fund these immoral acts, or pay such confiscatory high penalties as to effectively close them down.
As stated by Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, "The Church does have a divine mandate to perform works of mercy, such as education, health care, social services, disaster relief, and so forth." The Bishop quotes Pope Benedict XVI: "For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being."
In the eyes of President Obama, contraception, sterilization, and abortion are health care, to which all Americans must not only have access, but also have a right to have others provide to them free of charge.
One must ask the obvious question: What disease or malfunction of the body does contraception, sterilization, or abortion treat or cure?
Fertility, both for the male and female, is one of the body's healthy, normal functions. It is infertility that is an abnormal function of the body.
The "fear of the child" has gripped first-world nations, which now consider pregnancy as some kind of disease. "Preventive services" somehow now include preventing pregnancy.
Equally mind-boggling is how sterilization could be considered health care. Whether it is the body of the man or the woman, the intent of sterilization is to destroy a healthy condition.
Only if a child growing within its mother's womb is a "disease" or an "abnormal function," can one consider abortion as health care. The so-called "emergency contraception," "morning-after pill," or "Plan B" can and do impede the implantation of the newly conceived child in its mother's womb, resulting in his death. This is chemical abortion, just as evil as surgical abortion.
Drugs like "Ella" and RU-486 can and do induce abortion well after implantation.
A medical fact that many are sadly unwilling to recognize is that even the standard birth control pill can and does cause a chemical abortion.
"These so-called contraceptives [birth control pills] work primarily by their effect on the prevention of the implantation of the blastocyst [the scientific name for a newly conceived child]. This anti-implantation is an abortifacient effect," explains Eugene F. Diamond, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Loyola University School of Medicine.
The most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States would force the Catholic Church, which has been a major provider of health care in our country, to fund "care" which is unhealthy, prevents normal bodily functions, mutilates the body, and also kills the unborn child.
In a recent statement, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Chairman of the Committee of Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sounded the warning:
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
"Under the administration's rule, even individuals who work for these Catholic institutions will have no right to reject any coverage for themselves or their minor children."
As explained by Matt Bowman in an article titled "Health Care and Automatic Enrollment of Minors," published by One More Soul (www.OMSoul.com), the Obama administration will force abortifacient coverage onto children over their parents' objection.
The federal mandate forces all "employees and their children, minors and college-aged, to get abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sex counseling with no cost-sharing. The coverage is 'automatic.' (77 Fed. Reg. At 16505). It applies even if the parent doesn't want to help her child get free sex counseling or embryo-killing drugs.
"Now, under the abortion-drug mandate, coverage of objectionable items is not optional, even for the employee. All employees and their 'beneficiaries' are 'automatically' enrolled. It applies at non-religious entities, too: their 'beneficiaries' are required to receive abortion-inducing drugs with no cost sharing. (76 Fed. Reg. At 46624).
"This means that an employee who doesn't want the objectionable coverage is not only forced to get it, her children are forced to get it also.
"PPACA [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] mandates that she can't stop her own plan (to which she contributes) from paying for her own children to get mandated free sex counseling, birth control, and abortion pills.
"Kids will probably be able to go straight to Planned Parenthood for all three of these things that PPACA forces their parents to cover, since the federal government has gone around the country telling states they can't stop Planned Parenthood from being a covered provider.
"The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute lobbied for this no-cost-sharing coverage precisely to result in 'non-spouse dependents' (children) 'obtaining confidential care' for 'key reproductive health care services,' meaning parents won't know because they won't get billed for a co-pay."
In his testimony before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland, stated: "'Choice' suddenly means 'force.'
"This is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government. This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs. It is not a matter of 'repackaging' or 'framing' this as a religious freedom dispute. It is a matter of acknowledging the basic fact that government is forcing religious people and groups to do something that violates their consciences."
(The following is a press release from the USCCB)
washington To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a Year of Faith, starting October 11 and ending November 24, 2013. The goal is to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.
Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offers "10 Ways Catholics Can Live the Year of Faith." Rooted in guidelines from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, some of these suggestions are already requirements for Catholics; others can be embraced by Catholics at all times and especially during the Year of Faith:
More information on the Year of Faith is available online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/index.cfm
(Editor's Note: Ms. Miller writes from Georgia. We welcome contributions from prisoners. We would like to hear from a variety of prisoners.)
"I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving
be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority, that we
may be able to lead undisturbed and tranquil lives."
(1 Tm 2:1-2)
Thank You, Lord, for You have opened my eyes. It took me so long to come to the light. In this dark place I have finally found Your greatness.
You have guided me along my path and brought me out of the broken.
Thank You, Lord, for You have opened my eyes. I feel sorrow that I have forsaken Your power and all the things You do.
Now I truly know in my heart that You are the one Who has pulled me out of sin. For You are a great God Who has given me strength to pull through.
Thank You, Lord, for You have opened my eyes. So I keep my head held high and praise Your Holy name. For You have a great plan for me and I thank You, Lord, for You have opened my eyes. Now I can see!
The village of Amilly, France, honored an American B-17 crew which was shot down near their village 68 years ago (August 1, 1944) during the drive to liberate France in World War II. The May 13, 2012, ceremony included the unveiling of a memorial to the crew in the Town Square. May 13 marks the anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima. Eight of the nine crew members were killed in action; one was taken prisoner by the Germans.
Judy Minnick Grogan, daughter of one of the crew members, attended the ceremony with other members of her family. Judy and her twin brother, Tom, were born 25 days after the crash. She is the managing editor of My People.
The Mayor, various dignitaries, veterans, citizens, and the family paraded to the Town Square for the dedication. The national anthems of France and the United States were played. Both the mayor and Judy made remarks. This was followed by a reception. Among those attending were eyewitnesses to the crash, others alive at the time, and citizens. The Mayor presented Judy with a village medal, made by high school students. She gave him an 8th Air Force patch and Army Air Corps wings. Christian Dieppedale, an artist, gave Judy a beautiful drawing of the B-17 with her father's picture. He does these drawings as way of honoring the airmen and their families.
After the ceremony and lunch, the family went with members of the Association Forced Landing to visit the crash site. The Association Forced Landing works to honor those Allied airmen who gave their lives for France's freedom. Jean Pierre, who leads this group, arranged for these ceremonies. A French farmer whose family has owned the property for many years and prior to the war, welcomed the group and escorted them to the crash site. The family said a prayer and left roses at the site. The farmer then invited the group in for refreshments. The farmer had kept a piece of the plane's armor (under the pilot) and showed it to the family. During this time, a man who had read about the ceremony in the Cartres paper but could not make it to the ceremony, found the group after searching for several hours. He brought parts of the airplane. The family took some of the parts home along with some soil from the site.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Mayor Denis-Marc Sirot-Foreau said:
"On August 1944, 11:30 a.m. at Bassingbourn, an English military aviation field between London and Cambridge, is preparing over 1,000 bombers to take off towards the mainland. The final objective is Berlin but the weather in Germany is bad, and the group is returned on three other targets, Chartres, Chateaudun and Orlιans bases occupied by Nazi forces. The basis of Chartres has already been referred several times in the spring of 1944; the first wave of bombers arrived over the city at 14:53 but very efficient German defense, aims head apparatus and affects head-on the coded B17 DF-E belonging to the 91st of the 322nd squadron of bombers of Lieutenant Stevens. The aircraft hit near the bomb bay ommitted a spin. Of the nine crew members, five will jump but only one will be able to open his parachute. The aircraft will explode in flight and crash near Ouerrauy. Only the tail gunner, Sergent Lawrence Doyle, will serve his life and will be taken prisoner.
"Remember us the men fallen this day in our commune:
"Today, the Sgt. Thomas Minnick family came from the United States to inaugurate this Stele in tribute to their father and his companions of combat.
Judy meets Jean Lelievre, an eyewitness who was 14 at the time of the crash.
"Near the plate also remains a vestige of their aircraft, a blade of propeller retrieved by a neighboring farmer of Polyfolds after the war. His family, which had kept this piece, offered it for taking place here. To conclude, I will speak about history; in the 18th century, the marquis de La Fayette left in America to help the insurgents to fight the English and get their freedom. About 150 years later, young American soldiers returned in Europe to fight oppression. Some of them have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our common ideal, the flame of freedom.
"I thank you."
Judy expressed her gratitude, saying:
"Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, you are so kind. I'm sorry I don't speak French.
"On behalf of my father, Thomas Joseph Minnick III, the bombardier, my mother Judy, my twin brother Tom, and all my family and father's family, the families of Thomas Scheurell, the navigator, and Eldred Baskin, a gunner, and the rest of the crew who we have not yet been able to contact, we thank the mayor, all the dignitaries, the French veterans, and the Association Forced Landing, and especially the French people.
"I know our countries have a long history of friendship. One of the greatest symbols of liberty in the United States and the world, the Statue of Liberty is a gift from the French people to the American people. We have been Allies for centuries.
"During World War II, many brave people, including the military, the Free French, the Resistance, families, and civilians made many courageous sacrifices in the fight for freedom. What moves me beyond what words can express is the friendship and concern shown by the French for my father's and others' sacrifice. It means so much to me that almost 68 years after the crash of this B17, their efforts are not forgotten. A part of me always rests with you in a field in Amilly and in the Normandy American Cemetery
"Vive la France, vive the United States."
Judy commented, "This was truly the trip of a lifetime. I also went to visit my father's grave in Normandy American Cemetery. The French were so gracious and amazing. Even though there was a language barrier, we had wonderful connections as people. I know they will never forget. As Americans, we are often unaware of the graciousness and thankfulness of many in France and Europe to the Allies who gave their lives in the fight for freedom. Such tributes are not uncommon in Europe. ?It was incredible to meet eyewitnesses, to touch parts of my father's plane, to see where he died, and to know he is appreciated in France.
"Many in France, Holland, and Belgium visit American cemeteries to pay honor to the dead. School children visit, parents educate their children about the preciousness of life and freedom. In the American cemetery in the Netherlands, all the graves have been adopted by Dutch families who pay tribute to these men. They visit on Christmas Eve and other occasions. The Adopt a Grave program is also active in Belgium. The American Battle Monuments Commission operates the cemeteries with care and dedication. They have information at their website: ABMC.gov about these wonderful programs. As we especially honor both veterans and the faithful departed during November, I am especially thankful that I was able to experience God's love and grace through these wonderful people and through my family."
In Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe, Charles Freeman takes the reader not only back in world history while reaching toward the otherworldly. He relates the saints and their relics to iconoclasts and reformers, peasants and kings, East and West, Romans and barbarians, witches and witch hunters, believers and non-believers.
Freeman is a historical consultant to the prestigious Blue Guides series and the author of numerous books, including the bestseller The Closing of the Western Mind and, most recently, A New History of Early Christianity.
For believers in the resurrection of the body and the communion of saints, they can link the natural and the supernatural, life, death, and the afterlife. Body parts and items like clothes that the saints had touched were connected to God Who worked and still works miracles through the saint.
Reader Michael McGreevy asks, "Is this a book for today's citizens of a secular society?" and answers, "I believe it is." He quotes Freeman, "A modern mind can become irritated with the belief in so many stories of resurrections, healings, and rescuing for which there is no 'scientific' explanation. Yet if the supernatural is treated as a 'real' world, on a different level, its events, or lack of them, can be accepted as easily as they were in the natural world we can see or touch."
Cynthia Hahn in Catholic Historical Review said, "Generally there are big themes politics, religion, conflict, and resolution but there also are many telling anecdotes and a sense of the personal and the toughingly human." Andrew Butterfield at The New Republic agrees, saying "Freeman . . . overflows with countless bizarre and fascinating deeds." Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont adds, "A lot of [the book] is dryly amusing, the obvious fraud which must have been obvious even at the time, but Freeman tells his story without condescension."
Thomas McGonigle, in ABC of Reading, praises it as "a model for how history is to be written." Catholic News Service calls it "for anyone curious about [relics'] long history, Holy Bones, Holy Dust is essential reading."
Freeman's story begins long before the Middle Ages, with the pious legends of the early martyrs. Pionius, for example, was said to have rejuvenated as he was burned alive in 250, "like gold purified in fire." As the Church turned Arian, disbelieving in Christ's divinity, Jerome preached on how both celibacy and relics both relate to the holiness, otherworldliness of the saints.
Augustine opposed the excesses of the relics cult. He had a change of heart, however, after a dream of Gamaliel led the priest Lucian to Stephen's body in?Jerusalem. By 418 even Augustine could not deny the miracles attributed to Stephen's "holy dust," though he gave the credit to the faith of believers. For more than a thousand years relics have shaped our history and still do.
Alleged relics began to be collected in Constantinople and Rome, like Christ's Manger or Blood. Other cities became competitive for prestige and profit. From England came stories of healings by the church buttress where Cuthbert died in 635. When Oswald of Northumbria was beheaded fighting pagans in 642, his arm was cut off, not as a war trophy, but as a relic.
The story of a white arc appearing over Wilfred's tomb prompted pilgrimages there. On the other hand, more well documented miracles continued as well. Nine years after she died Etheldreda was found incorrupt. Her doctor verified the jaw wound she died with was only a scar.
By the ninth century relics were used to stop wars in the Peace of God movement or as peace offerings. The Crusades flooded Europe with relics and their miraculous and incredible stories from the?Holy Land and Constantinople. By the Twelfth century The Life and Passion of St. William the Martyr of Norwich popularized local "saints" and in the Thirteenth The Golden Legend popularized lives of other saints. Thirteen hundred was a record year for pilgrimages and in 1350 over a hundred of pilgrims were crush.
In the Sixteenth Martin Luther's On the Slavery of the Will rather orthodoxically calls love of neighbor greater than pilgrimages to any shrine. Others tried to teach of the primacy of the Eucharist. Henry VIII, however, looted Swithbert's and Thomas Becket shrines and by 1588 Diego of Alcalα was the first saint canonized in 65 years.
Perhaps most interestingly Freeman refers to On Incantations which proposed that interest in relics undergoes cycles. In 1520 the author noted the beginning of a trough in faith that seems to continue to our new millennium.
Aldo Matteucci says, "He writes with a sure, yet light and entertaining hand and through his words the power of true faith shimmers anew."
"It is fitting," he continues, "that the book end with the Council of Trent after Vatican I the most important Council of modernity where theology and mysticism found a new and rigorous synthesis, and the Church's new liturgy conflated all previous rites into a structured whole."
Vatican City, October 9, 2012 (VIS) On October 2, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, addressed the sixty-third session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), focusing his remarks on "more creative and concrete forms of solidarity and protection."
"The surge in the number of recent conflicts has produced new waves of refugees and displaced persons," said the archbishop speaking English. 'The media spotlight focuses on the more politically interesting cases for them and leave in the shadows of public awareness other masses of displaced people forgotten and left to their tragic destiny. The Holy See delegation takes note and is grateful for those countries which have kept their borders and their hearts open to receive refugees fleeing conflict in neighboring States, and calls on all member States to assist in sharing the burden these new refugee populations place on many of their hosts.'
"It is once again a fact this year that there are more persons internally displaced by conflict in the world than there are refugees. My delegation is also aware that the topic of the extent of the UNHCR's involvement in providing assistance to internally displaced persons is one on which States differ. In some instances there is a genuine fear of 'mission creep' and a concern that the core mission of the UNHCR, protection of refugees, will suffer. In other instances there is reason to suspect that the presence of neutral, international eyes during internal armed conflict, or the provision of life saving assistance to locally disfavored groups might not be welcome. The Holy See encourages the High Commissioner to continue to go the extra mile with regards to those displaced by armed conflict. This should be done in the first instance by seeking humanitarian access to affected populations to assess their protection needs, and in the second instance in coordination with other United Nations bodies by providing crucial assistance to these people."
(Source: Vatican Information Service)
WASHINGTON The Year of Faith, which began on October 11, is a time for Catholics in the United States to strengthen their faith "through a greater love and understanding of the sacraments," according to the chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the USCCB offers a new guide to help bishops achieve this.
"The Seven Sacraments continue the saving work of Jesus until He comes again and form the center of the celebration of the Christian mystery. Through the ministry of the Church, all are invited to hear the Good News, follow Christ, and share in these saving mysteries," said Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, in an October 4 letter to all U.S. bishops.
Bishop Ricken shared that the committee has developed Sacramental Catechesis: An Online Resource for Dioceses and Eparchies, which is available online at: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/sacramental-catechesis.cfm
This resource, he wrote, provides an overview of cultural challenges to teaching the sacraments, principles, and elements for teaching each sacrament and possible moments of opportunities for doing so. It is meant to help dioceses develop programs for teaching the sacraments.
Bishop Ricken thanked the numerous USCCB committees involved in developing the resource as part of USCCB's Deepen Faith, Nurture Hope, Celebrate Life priority plan and highlighted the importance of strengthening sacramental catechesis in the face of challenges.
"Despite statistics charting waning participation, we remain aware that participation in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, is not simply an option," he said, but rather, "it is foundational to sustain the faithful in union with the very life of the Trinity and to strengthen them for the rigors of living their faith as committed disciples."
(Source: USCCB press release)
Prayer for the New Evangelization
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?" –Romans 10:13-15
Pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.
Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.
Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.
Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.
In moments of hesitation, remind me:
If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?
God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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.
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