In an interesting essay entitled, “A Moment Catholic and American,” the late Father Richard John Neuhaus wrote, “The greatest contribution to American public life is for Catholic Americans to live the Catholic Faith thoroughly, authentically, radically.” Theoretically, I don’t believe that anyone can disagree with his premise, for as we know we are called to be proclaimers and living witnesses of God’s “splendor of truth.” In doing so, we come to realize that “freedom of conscience” is never to be understood as freedom FROM the truth, but always and only freedom IN the truth. Yet, why is it that, with so many Catholics among the Christian faithful, so few are willing to bear witness for the sake of the Gospel of Life? As we celebrate Respect Life month, we must ask ourselves, “How DO we live faith ‘thoroughly, authentically and radically’?”
This was the very question that faced Sir Thomas More in the 16th century, and his politically incorrect response was one that eventually got him into TROUBLE with an earthly king, but into HEAVEN with the Eternal King. Though St. Thomas was a profoundly religious man, it should not be forgotten that he was not a priest. He was a Catholic layman, a husband and father, who became a preeminent lawyer and judge, rising through the ranks to become Lord Chancellor of England, the highest person in authority after the king. His actions and interventions in his work never compromised his religious convictions and moral principles, all of which flowed from his well-formed Catholic conscience and identity. It cost him his earthly life, but it gained him eternal life. Thomas More, undoubtedly, lived the Scripture verse, “What good does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his immortal soul?”
We believe that our Catholic moral teaching corresponds to the deepest reality and truth about human nature, and that this teaching, therefore can be readily known to anyone who seeks the truth with a sincere heart. We cannot compartmentalize our Catholic conscience – a conscience formed by the Commandments, the Scriptures and the Teaching Authority of the Church – into one that governs the heart and another that governs our actions. This century has provided us with ample evidence of the tragedies that occur when politics and law are severed from any connection to the moral law written on the human heart. Whether we begin with life inside the Beltway or even inside the highest offices of the land, we have seen evidence of what compromise and appeasement do under the subtle and seemingly innocuous label of “toleration.”
We can send the abortion demon back from which it came by doing spiritual warfare. If we are to win a victory over the evils of abortion in our country, we must fight with God’s weapons, not man’s. We can’t win the battle on the devil’s turf; we must fight him on God’s turf. Prayer and fasting will not only bring good results, they will bring the abortion industry to its knees. Only sacrifice and real love will convert the hearts of the abortionists and the mothers who enter the abortuaries. A good prayer life will lead us to become more involved in the issues surrounding the horrors of abortion, and fasting will help to atone for the sinful ways of the murderers and the indifference of those who call themselves Catholic and Christians but are unable or are afraid to live out the Gospel of Life.
Congratulations to the newly elected members of the Parish Pastoral Council, and thank you to all the men and women who were candidates for these three open positions, even if they were not chosen as representatives at this time. Our newly elected members: Maria Sesto (3-year term), Jeff Toeniskoetter (2-year term) and David DeFrancesco (1-year term). Their input as advisors to me as Pastor will be valuable in guiding me in making decisions that will affect the future life of our parish. I also thank the outgoing members whose term of service has ended at this time. They have been a mainstay for helping me address the needs of our parish in its continued growth.
Our school children are to be commended for their wonderfully delightful recent performance of the school show, The Lion King, Jr. Wow! Their presentation matched the best of any high school level performances I’ve witnessed (and I’ve seen quite a few in my years as teacher and principal in several different high schools). We have some very talented performers in our award-winning school. They make a good case for the reasons we need to update and even expand our school and church facilities. They are the reason why we are continuing to make a pitch for our Capital Campaign. I only wish all of our parishioners could have seen what I did in their presentation.
Please pray for the success of our parish building goals as we meet with our Diocesan Building Commission this coming week. So many critical areas will be discussed about how and when we can begin our actual construction phase of our campaign.
Additionally, we congratulate the newest members of our National Junior Honor Society from the 7th and 8th grades. We now have over 20 members in this prestigious academic organization. Some of these students will be receiving scholarships to Catholic and other private high schools in the next few years, some of which will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
Our Annual Parish Festival is less than 2 weeks away. Have you purchased your raffle ticket yet? When you do, you have a 1 in 1,000 chance of winning the $25,000 Grand Prize!!