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My People

Vol. 31, Issue 1, January 2018

"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


January 22 is the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Courts Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion. Every year pro-lifers mark the occasion by marching and praying for life. This file photo shows a previous march in Washington, D.C.

Migrants And Refugees In Search Of Peace

This year marks the 51st World Day of Peace. It is celebrated every year on January 1. This year's theme is "Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace." The Pope dated his message for the day on November 13, the memorial of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, patroness of migrants. His message follows:

"1. Heartfelt good wishes for peace

"Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night,[1] is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as 'men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.'[2] In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.

"In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty, and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.

"We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others. Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home. Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant, and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited. By practicing the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate, and 'within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society.'[3] Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct.[4]

"2. Why so many refugees and migrants?

"As he looked to the Great Jubilee marking the passage of two thousand years since the proclamation of peace by the angels in Bethlehem, Saint John Paul II pointed to the increased numbers of displaced persons as one of the consequences of the 'endless and horrifying sequence of wars, conflicts, genocides, and ethnic cleansings'[5] that had characterized the twentieth century. To this date, the new century has registered no real breakthrough: armed conflicts and other forms of organized violence continue to trigger the movement of peoples within national borders and beyond.

"Yet people migrate for other reasons as well, principally because they 'desire a better life, and not infrequently try to leave behind the "hopelessness" of an unpromising future.'[6] They set out to join their families or to seek professional or educational opportunities, for those who cannot enjoy these rights do not live in peace. Furthermore, as I noted in the Encyclical Laudato Si', there has been 'a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation.'[7]

"Most people migrate through regular channels. Some, however, take different routes, mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity, and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked, or too slow.

"Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and thus demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God. Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.[8]

"All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future. Some consider this a threat. For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.

"3. With a contemplative gaze

"The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us 'belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.'[9] These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem. The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.

"We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, 'a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice'[10] - in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace.

"When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy, and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them. We also come to see the creativity, tenacity, and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families, and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.

"A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, 'within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good'[11] - bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each.

"Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth. Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace.

"4. Four mileposts for action

"Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating.[12]

" 'Welcoming' calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence. It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights. Scripture reminds us: 'Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.'[13]

" 'Protecting' has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited. I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement. God does not discriminate: 'The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.'[14]

" 'Promoting' entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people. This will enable them not only to cultivate and realize their potential, but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation. The Bible teaches that God 'loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.'[15]

" 'Integrating,' lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community. Saint Paul expresses it in these words: 'You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people.'[16]

"5. A proposal for two international compacts

"It is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly, and regular migration and the other for refugees. As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures. For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight, and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process. Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference.

"Dialogue and coordination are a necessity and a specific duty for the international community. Beyond national borders, higher numbers of refugees may be welcomed - or better welcomed - also by less wealthy countries, if international cooperation guarantees them the necessary funding.

"The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has published a set of twenty action points that provide concrete leads for implementing these four verbs in public policy and in the attitudes and activities of Christian communities.[17] The aim of this and other contributions is to express the interest of the Catholic Church in the process leading to the adoption of the two U.N. Global Compacts. This interest is the sign of a more general pastoral concern that goes back to the very origins of the Church and has continued in her many works up to the present time.

"6. For our common home

"Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II: 'If the "dream" of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees' and migrants' contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true "common home." '[18] Throughout history, many have believed in this 'dream,' and their achievements are a testament to the fact that it is no mere utopia.

"Among these, we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in this year that marks the hundredth anniversary of her death. On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory. This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate our brothers and sisters. Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that 'a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.'[19]"


[1] Luke 2:14.

[2] Angelus, January 15, 2012.

[3] JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, 106.

[4] Luke 14:28-30.

[5] Message for the 2000 World Day of Peace, 3..

[6] BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

[7] No. 25.

[8] Cf. Address to the National Directors of Pastoral Care for Migrants of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Europe, September 22, 2017.

[9] BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 2011 World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

[10] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 71.

[11] JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, 106.

[12] Message for the 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

[13] Hebrews 13:2.

[14] Psalm 146:9.

[15] Deuteronomy 10:18-19.

[16] Ephesians 2:19.

[17] "20 Pastoral Action Points" and "20 Action Points for the Global Compacts", Migrants and Refugees Section, Rome, 2017. See also Document UN A/72/528.

[18] Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2004,, 6.

[19] James 3:18.

Poor Are "Passport To Paradise"

About 6,000 of Rome's poor and volunteers who help them, celebrated the first World Day of the Poor on November 19 in Vatican City. About 1,500 had lunch with Pope Francis after the Mass. The Pope's homily follows:

"We have the joy of breaking the bread of God's word, and shortly, we will have the joy of breaking and receiving the Bread of the Eucharist, food for life's journey. All of us, none excluded, need this, for all of us are beggars when it comes to what is essential: God's love, which gives meaning to our lives and a life without end. So today too, we lift up our hands to Him, asking to receive His gifts.

"The Gospel parable speaks of gifts. It tells us that we have received talents from God, 'according to ability of each' (Mt 25:15). Before all else, let us realize this: we do have talents; in God's eyes, we are 'talented.' Consequently, no one can think that he or she is useless, so poor as to be incapable of giving something to others. We are chosen and blessed by God, who wants to fill us with His gifts, more than any father or mother does with their own children. And God, in whose eyes no child can be neglected, entrusts to each of us a mission.

"Indeed, as the loving and demanding Father that He is, He gives us responsibility. In the parable, we see that each servant is given talents to use wisely. But whereas the first two servants do what they are charged, the third does not make his talents bear fruit; he gives back only what he had received. 'I was afraid - he says - and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours' (v. 25). As a result, he is harshly rebuked as 'wicked and lazy' (v. 26). What made the Master displeased with him? To use a word that may sound a little old-fashioned but is still timely, I would say it was his omission. His evil was that of failing to do good. All too often, we have the idea that we haven't done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just. But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant: he did no wrong, he didn't waste the talent, in fact he kept it carefully hidden in the ground. But to do no wrong is not enough. God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; He is a Father looking for children to whom He can entrust His property and His plans (cf. v. 14). It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from His children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the command-ments, like hired hands in the house of the Father (cf. Lk 15:17).

"The unworthy servant, despite receiving a talent from the Master who loves to share and multiply his gifts, guarded it jealously; he was content to keep it safe. But someone concerned only to preserve and maintain the treasures of the past is not being faithful to God. Instead, the parable tells us, the one who adds new talents is truly 'faithful' (vv. 21 and 23), because he sees things as God does; he does not stand still, but instead, out of love, takes risks. He puts his life on the line for others; he is not content to keep things as they are. One thing alone does he overlook: his own interest. That is the only right 'omission.'

"Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned. Here it has a specific name: indifference. It is when we say, 'That doesn't regard me; it's not my business; it's society's problem.' It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it. God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good.

"How, in practice can we please God? When we want to please someone dear to us, for example by giving a gift, we need first to know that person's tastes, lest the gift prove more pleasing to the giver than to the recipient. When we want to offer something to the Lord, we can find His tastes in the Gospel. Immediately following the passage that we heard today, Jesus says, 'Truly I tell you that, just as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me' (Mt 25:40). These least of our brethren, whom He loves dearly, are the hungry and the sick, the stranger and the prisoner, the poor and the abandoned, the suffering who receive no help, the needy who are cast aside. On their faces we can imagine seeing Jesus' own face; on their lips, even if pursed in pain, we can hear His words: 'This is My body' (Mt 26:26).

"In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love. When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of His brethren, we are His good and faithful friends, with whom He loves to dwell. God greatly appreciates the attitude described in today's first reading that of the 'good wife,' who 'opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy' (Prov 31:10.20). Here we see true goodness and strength: not in closed fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the wounded flesh of the Lord.

"There, in the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). For this reason, in them, in their weakness, a 'saving power' is present. And if in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our 'passport to paradise.' For us it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God's word, which is addressed first to them. To love the poor means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material.

"And it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbor. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away. What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. Today we might ask ourselves: 'What counts for me in life? Where am I making my investments?' In fleeting riches, with which the world is never satisfied, or in the wealth bestowed by God, who gives eternal life? This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven. Where heaven is concerned, what matters is not what we have, but what we give, for 'those who store up treasures for themselves, do not grow rich in the sight of God' (Lk 12:21).

"So let us not seek for ourselves more than we need, but rather what is good for others, and nothing of value will be lacking to us. May the Lord, who has compassion for our poverty and needs, and bestows His talents upon us, grant us the wisdom to seek what really matters, and the courage to love, not in words but in deeds."

Fun Web Site Spreads Gospel

by Michael Halm

Church Pop is a creative way that the Catholic Church is reaching out to internet users with the motto "Make all things holy" in a fun, informative, and inspirational way. Its logo is a popsicle with a halo. It offers a daily feed of information on how to become a saint to your email, via facebook, instragram, snapchat, or twitter. It has passed a half a million followers.At the website one can interact and share, play games, take quizzes, watch videos, read articles, infographics, or comics. It comes in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.

An infographic is an eye-catching chart that graphically presents information rather than a list or article that presents it sequentially. "The Meaning of the Miraculous Medal," for example, points to the inscription and translates the Latin as "O, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." It points to the twelve stars and their connection to the twelve apostles, to the intertwined M for Mary and the cross of her Son, Jesus, and serpent, Satan, under her feet.

The infograph on the apostles connects them each to Jesus and includes fourteen, with Judas, Matthias, and Paul. It gives at a glance where they spread the Good News, how they died, and where their remains are.

They are not merely to be viewed, but interactive. Among the comments was the correction to the place of St. Thomas' relics, which have been moved from India to Italy, as most of the apostles had been.

At Church Pop Live on Wednesday features the rosary, on Thursdays "Live with Caroline," and on Fridays the Divine Mercy chaplet.

"The Spiritual Power of Holy Water" similarly points out that it erases venial sin, removes distractions, dispels evil powers, influences people and places toward holiness, including ourselves.

In the lists section "the Five Hidden Blessings from Having to Wait in a Long Line for confession" Laura Hudgens lists time for prayer, solidarity with other penitents, a sense of gratitude, pamphlet reading time, and pre-penance before the confessor-given penance.

"Seven Reasons to Pray the Rosary" comes from St. Louis de Monfort, "The Twelve Promises of Jesus for Those Who Practice the Devotion to the Sacred Heart" from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

"Ten Holy Married Couples," of course, includes the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, Sts. Joachim and Anne, her parents, Sts. Zecharia and Elizabeth, parents of St. John the Baptist, and Sts. Aquila and Priscilla. It demonstrates that saints beget saints. Others not so well known are Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Sts. Gregory and Nonna, parents of Sts. Gregory of Nazianzus, Gorgonia and Caesarius, Sts. Vincent and Waldetrdis, parents of Sts. Landericus, Madalberta, Adeltrudis, and Dentelia, and Sts. Gordianus and Silvia, parents of St. Gregrory.

Also included are Sts. Isidore the Farmer and Bl. Luigi Betrame and their wives, both named Maria.

Some articles correct misinformation on St. Francis of Assisi, the crusades, Sola Scriptura, demons.

A tabloid-like headline offers "Signs You Might Be a Zombie Catholic - and How to Be Cured."

Another shares singer Stephani "Lady Gaga" Germanotta's photo of her praying the rosary and asking for prayers for her health. It shares actress Patricia Heaton's tweet on being brought to tears by the Eucharist after what she judged a "lame sermon."

Pop star videos are on Church Pop. One video shows NASCAR winner Johnny Sauter asking for prayers for the poor souls in Purgatory. Another has Bishop Andrew Cozzens leading the all-priest band "The Second Collection." Yet another shows NFL star kicker Justin Tucker singing "Ave Maria."

The games include two different spiritualities, the Franciscan "Friar Dude" and the Dominican "Passiontide." To reach Passiontide the player must collect candles and copies of the Summas, while jumping over holes and lava and jumping on Albigensians to convert them.

Light to the Nations

(A Christian Perspective on World News)

disappointed with us withdrawal

WASHINGTON-Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, expressed disappointment after the Trump Administration announced on Saturday, December 2, 2017, that the U.S. government is withdrawing from the process of the United Nations (UN) to develop a Global Compact on Migration. That process was begun when the UN General Assembly ratified the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants on September 19, 2016.

"Catholic social teaching on migration recognizes and respects the sovereignty of each nation, indeed each nation's right and responsibility, to ultimately decide how it will regulate migration into its territory," explained Bishop Vasquez. "The Church has long articulated that it is the obligation of nations to assure human rights for all migrants and special protections for vulnerable migrants, such as refugees, forced migrants, victims of human trafficking, and women and children at risk. Pope Francis has described such obligations as part of building 'global solidarity' on behalf of migrants and refugees. In fact, the Bishops continue to promote the international campaign initiated by Pope Francis, Share the Journey, as a sign of solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters."

"With a growing global concern about protracted forced migration situations, the UN process provides an opportunity for the United States to help build international cooperation that respects such rights and protections on behalf of those seeking safety and security for their families. Participation in that process allows the US to draw on our experience and influence the compact," said Archbishop Broglio. "Therefore, the USCCB encourages the Administration to reconsider its decision to withdraw from this process."

(Source: USCCB press release)

Sharing The Gospel Is Essential Duty

In light of an upcoming anniversary of a papal document, Pope Francis sent a letter to mark the historic occasion. The letter was sent to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. It was dated on October 22, 2017, World Mission Sunday, and the memorial of St. John Paul II. The Pope's letter states:

"On November 30, 2019, we will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, with which Pope Benedict XV sought to give new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel. In 1919, in the wake of a tragic global conflict that he himself called a 'useless slaughter,'[1] the Pope recognized the need for a more evangelical approach to missionary work in the world, so that it would be purified of any colonial overtones and kept far away from the nationalistic and expansionistic aims that had proved so disastrous. 'The Church of God is universal; she is not alien to any people,'[2] he wrote, firmly calling for the rejection of any form of particular interest, inasmuch as the proclamation and the love of the Lord Jesus, spread by holiness of one's life and good works, are the sole purpose of missionary activity. Benedict XV thus laid special emphasis on the missio ad gentes, employing the concepts and language of the time, in an effort to revive, particularly among the clergy, a sense of duty towards the missions.

"That duty is a response to Jesus' perennial command to 'go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature' (Mk 16:15). Obeying this mandate of the Lord is not an option for the Church: in the words of the Second Vatican Council, it is her 'essential task,'[3] for the Church is 'missionary by nature.'[4] 'Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity; she exists in order to evangelize.'[5] The Council went on to say that, if the Church is to remain faithful to herself and to preach Jesus crucified and risen for all, the living and merciful Savior, then 'prompted by the Holy Spirit, she must walk the same path Christ walked: a path of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice.'[6] In this way, she will effectively proclaim the Lord, 'model of that redeemed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity and a peaceful spirit, to which all aspire.'[7]

"What Pope Benedict XV so greatly desired almost a century ago, and the Council reiterated some fifty years ago, remains timely. Even now, as in the past, 'the Church, sent by Christ to reveal and to communicate the love of God to all men and nations, is aware that there still remains an enormous missionary task for her to accomplish.'[8] In this regard, Saint John Paul II noted that 'the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion,' and indeed, 'an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service.'[9] As a result, in words that I would now draw once more to everyone's attention, Saint John Paul exhorted the Church to undertake a 'renewed missionary commitment,' in the conviction that missionary activity 'renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others! It is in commitment to the Church's universal mission that the new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support.'[10]

"In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, drawing from the proceedings of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met to reflect on the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith, I once more set this urgent summons before the whole Church. There I wrote, 'John Paul II asked us to recognize that "there must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel" to those who are far from Christ, "because this is the first task of the Church." Indeed, "today missionary activity still represents the greatest challenge for the Church" and "the missionary task must remain foremost." What would happen if we were to take these words seriously? We would realize that missionary outreach is paradigmatic for all the Church's activity.'[11]

"I am convinced that this challenge remains as urgent as ever. '[It] has a programmatic significance and important consequences. I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion that cannot leave things as they presently are. "Mere administration" can no longer be enough. Throughout the world, let us be "permanently in a state of mission." '[12] Let us not fear to undertake, with trust in God and great courage, 'a missionary option capable of transforming everything, so that the Church's customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today's world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with Himself. As John Paul II told the Bishops of Oceania, "All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion." '[13]

"The Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud called for transcending national boundaries and bearing witness, with prophetic spirit and evangelical boldness, to God's saving will through the Church's universal mission. May the approaching centenary of that Letter serve as an incentive to combat the recurring temptation lurking beneath every form of ecclesial introversion, self-referential retreat into comfort zones, pastoral pessimism, and sterile nostalgia for the past. Instead, may we be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel. In these, our troubled times, rent by the tragedies of war and menaced by the baneful tendency to accentuate differences and to incite conflict, may the Good News that in Jesus forgiveness triumphs over sin, life defeats death and love conquers fear, be proclaimed to the world with renewed fervour, and instil trust and hope in everyone.

"In the light of this, accepting the proposal of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I hereby call for an Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervour the missionary transformation of the Church's life and pastoral activity. The Missionary Month of October 2018 can serve as a good preparation for this celebration by enabling all the faithful to take to heart the proclamation of the Gospel and to help their communities grow in missionary and evangelizing zeal. May the love for the Church's mission, which is 'a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people,'[14] grow ever stronger!

"I entrust you, venerable Brother, the Congregation which you head, and the Pontifical Missionary Societies with the work of preparing for this event, especially by raising awareness among the particular Churches, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and among associations, movements, communities, and other ecclesial bodies. May the Extraordinary Missionary Month prove an intense and fruitful occasion of grace, and promote initiatives and above all prayer, the soul of all missionary activity. May it likewise advance the preaching of the Gospel, biblical, and theological reflection on the Church's mission, works of Christian charity, and practical works of cooperation and solidarity between Churches, so that missionary zeal may revive and never be wanting among us.[15]"

[1] Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples, August 1, 1917: AAS IX (1917), 421-423.

[2] Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, November 30, 1919: AAS 11 (1919), 445.

[3] Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, December 7, 1965, 7: AAS 58 (1966), 955.

[4] Ibid., 2: AAS 58 (1966), 948.

[5] Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, December 8, 1975, 14: AAS 68 (1976), 13.

[6] Decree Ad Gentes, 5: AAS 58 (1966), 952.

[7] Ibid., 8: AAS 58 (1966), 956-957.

[8] Ibid., 10: AAS 58 (1966), 959.

[9] Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, December 7, 1990, 1: AAS 83 (1991), 249.

[10] Ibid., 2: AAS 83 (1991), 250-251.

[11] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium 15: AAS 105 (2013), 1026.

[12] Ibid., 25: AAS 105 (2013), 1030.

[13] Ibid., 27: AAS 105 (2013), 1031.

[14] Ibid., 268: AAS 105 (2013), 1128.

[15] Ibid., 80: AAS 105 (2013), 1053.

Everyone Needs Accessible Care

On the eve of the first World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis appeals for accessible health care for all. He sent a letter to participants in a Vatican conference on health care. The letter was sent to Cardinal Peter Turkson, perfect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. It was dated November 18, 2017. The letter follows:

"I offer a cordial welcome to the participants in the Thirty-second International Conference on the theme Addressing Global Health Inequalities...

"Last year's Conference took note of encouraging data on the average life expectancy and on the global fight against pathologies, while at the same time pointing out the widening gap between the richer and poorer countries with regard to access to medical products and health-care treatment. Consequently, it was decided to address the specific issue of inequalities and the social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors underlying them. The Church cannot remain indifferent to this issue. Conscious of her mission at the service of human beings created in the image of God, she is bound to promote their dignity and fundamental rights.

"To this end, the New Charter for Health Care Workers states that 'the fundamental right to the preservation of health pertains to the value of justice, whereby there are no distinctions between peoples and ethnic groups, taking into account their objective living situations and stages of development, in pursuing the common good, which is at the same time the good of all and of each individual' (No. 141). The Church proposed that the right to health care and the right to justice ought to be reconciled by ensuring a fair distribution of healthcare facilities and financial resources, in accordance with the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. As the Charter notes, 'those responsible for healthcare activities must also allow themselves to be uniquely and forcefully challenged by the awareness that "while the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks, on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human" ' (No. 91; Caritas in Veritate, 75).

"I am pleased to learn that the Conference has drafted a project aimed at concretely addressing these challenges, namely, the establishment of an operational platform of sharing and cooperation between Catholic health care institutions in different geographical and social settings. I willingly encourage those engaged in this project to persevere in this endeavor, with God's help. Healthcare workers and their professional associations in particular are called to this task, since they are committed to raising awareness among institutions, welfare agencies, and the healthcare industry as a whole, for the sake of ensuring that every individual actually benefits from the right to health care. Clearly, this depends not only on healthcare services, but also on complex economic, social, cultural, and decision-making factors. In effect, 'the need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.' (Evangelii Gaudium, 202).

"I would like to focus on one aspect that is fundamental, especially for those who serve the Lord by caring for the health of their brothers and sisters. While a well-structured organization is essential for providing necessary services and the best possible attention to human needs, healthcare workers should also be attuned to the importance of listening, accompanying, and supporting the persons for whom they care.

"In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus shows us the practical approach required in caring for our suffering neighbor. First, the Samaritan 'sees.' He notices and 'is moved with compassion' at the sight of a person left stripped and wounded along the way. This compassion is much more than mere pity or sorrow; it shows a readiness to become personally involved in the other's situation. Even if we can never equal God's own compassion, which fills and renews the heart by its presence, nonetheless we can imitate that compassion by 'drawing near,' 'binding wounds,' 'lifting up,' and 'caring for' our neighbor (cf. Lk 10:33-34).

"A healthcare organization that is efficient and capable of addressing inequalities cannot forget that its raison d'être, which is compassion: the compassion of doctors, nurses, support staff, volunteers, and all those who are thus able to minimize the pain associated with loneliness and anxiety.

"Compassion is also a privileged way to promote justice, since empathizing with the others allows us not only to understand their struggles, difficulties, and fears, but also to discover, in the frailness of every human being, his or her unique worth and dignity. Indeed, human dignity is the basis of justice, while the recognition of every person's inestimable worth is the force that impels us to work, with enthusiasm and self-sacrifice, to overcome all disparities.

"Finally, I would like to address the representatives of the several pharmaceutical companies who have been invited to Rome to address the issue of access to antiretroviral therapies by pediatric patients. I would like to offer for your consideration a passage of the New Charter for Healthcare Workers. It states: 'Although it cannot be denied that the scientific knowledge and research of pharmaceutical companies have their own laws by which they must abide - for example, the protection of intellectual property and a fair profit to support innovation - ways must be found to combine these adequately with the right of access to basic or necessary treatments, or both, especially in underdeveloped countries, and above all in the cases of so-called rare and neglected diseases, which are accompanied by the notion of orphan drugs. Health care strategies aimed at pursuing justice and the common good must be economically and ethically sustainable. Indeed, while they must safeguard the sustainability both of research and of health care systems, at the same time they ought to make available essential drugs in adequate quantities, in usable forms of guaranteed quality, along with correct information, and at costs that are affordable by individuals and communities.' (No. 92)..."

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 that we will reach out to the poor, marginalized, and suffering.
  • We pray that we will share the faith with everyone we meet.
  • We pray for an end to abortion, euthanasia, and all attacks against life.
  • We pray for the victory of the civilization of life and love over the culture of death.
  • We pray for wisdom for all leaders, both civic and religious.
  • We pray tor discernment in responding to needs of migrants and refugees.
  • We pray that we will have God's heart for others.
  • We pray that everyone would have access to affordable, adequate health care, and housing.

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