Our Summer Bible School program got off with a great start this year, thanks to the leadership of Amy Sexton and Lisa Murphy. With their splendid efforts and that of quite a few teen helpers and aides, they launched our children into a week of fun while growing spiritually and intellectually in their Faith. Thanks to their efforts, our youngsters had a great opportunity to learn more about God and His abundant mercy that flows into the lives of billions of people. With vibrant programs such as this, our parish continues to flourish and provide opportunities to move closer to our God. Thank you team members! May God reward you for your fine efforts.
Members of our “SVF Light“- Young Adults organization will be outside our church doors this weekend in order to secure additional funding for their participation in the World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland at the end of July. Your kind and generous contributions into the buckets they will hold after Mass will help make this trip a reality for them. Pope Francis promises to visit us while we are there in Poland.
I am pleased to announce that Bishop Barbarito has accepted officially into the diocesan priestly formation program at St. John Vianney Seminary one of our own parishioners, Marc Gustinelli. Marc will begin a two-year program of philosophy studies at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary in Miami, and then will complete his remaining five years of his theological preparation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Marc has been a member of SVF Light -Young Adults organization, and is the first seminary vocation originating from our parish during my pastorate and in over a quarter century. He needs and desires your prayerful support as he seeks to answer the call of service to Christ and His people in his life. Pray that the Lord will send more priests to accomplish His work in our world.
Once again common sense has been turned on its head in our culture, this time by transgender activists agitating for people to be able to use the bathroom that they feel corresponds emotionally to their self-identified gender rather than the anatomical gender of their biological sex. The issue has emerged prominently in recent national and local news. The transgender activists would have you believe that their politically correct ideology is based on science; however, the American College of Pediatricians has pointed out that transgenderism is classified as a mental illness and therefore has warned legislators and educators that conditioning children to accept transgenderism as normal is child abuse. They advised, “When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind, not the body, and it should be treated as such.”
The Catholic Church has some clear teachings on transgender issues. Catholics are called to treat everyone with compassion. Yet the church maintains that people may not change what Pope Benedict XVI called “their very essence.” In a speech at the Vatican on Dec. 23, 2008, Pope Benedict directly addressed transgender issues by cautioning Catholics about “destroying the very essence of the human creature through manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices.”
Similarly, in his encyclical “Laudato Si,” issued last year, Pope Francis called for men and women to acknowledge their bodies as a gift from God, which should not be manipulated. “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home,” the pope wrote, “whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”
In his recent apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis warns that gender ideology “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences … It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.”
My hope is that people respect these teachings of the Catholic Church. People who are confused about their gender identity — especially children and adolescents — should be treated with compassion and provided counseling rather than being further confused by activists promoting their political ideology.