The recent violent acts committed in Orlando are horrific and they fill all of us with an unspeakable sadness. Innocent and precious lives were lost in a senseless and evil way. The family and friends of those who perished in that tragedy now shoulder a heavy burden of grief and suffering. As Catholics, our Christian duty is to pray for those whose lives were ended by the inexcusable cruelty of a depraved mind, and to ask God to pour his comfort upon all those who are in mourning.
This Sunday marks our nation’s annual celebration of Father’s Day. Are you aware of its origins? I garnered the following information from Wikipedia: After several unsuccessful attempts at establishing a national day for observance for fathers, to follow on the heels of a day to honor mothers (Mother’s Day), in 1910, a Father’s Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19. Her father, a Civil War veteran, William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar day honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5 (her father’s birthday), the other pastors in town did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. Several local clergymen accepted the idea, and on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day, “sermons honoring fathers were presented throughout the city.” When she went off to college the observance nearly faded away. Some years later, she resumed her push to have a nation-wide observance. By 1938, she had the help of the Father’s Day Council. Americans resisted the holiday for its first few decades, viewing it as nothing more than an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s Day, and newspapers often featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes. But, those same merchants remained firm and resilient and even incorporated these attacks into their advertisements. Though earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress, in 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a strong proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “[singling] out just one of our two parents.” In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Finally, in 1972, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law. One wonders why it took that long to recognize the role of fathers in our lives. Congratulations to our Dads who are wonderful men who try to live up to the role of St. Joseph in our families!
Thank you for the generous donations you made last weekend to help fund the six Young Adults (“SVF LIGHT”) in making their pilgrimage to World Youth Day that will be held in Krakow, Poland in late July. They are extremely delighted in your kind and generous response to their appeal, and promise to remember you in a special way when we celebrate Mass near the tomb of St. Faustina Kowalska, the Sister who introduced Divine Mercy to the world because of the miraculous visions she had of Our Lord. One of the highlights of the trip will be a visit to the famous Shrine of the Black Madonna in Czestochowa, Poland. They will also travel to see the infamous Nazi death camp set up in Poland — Auschwitz. Then they will visit the birthplace and the parish church of the late St. John Paul II in Wadowice, and tour the exquisite Wieliczka salt mine, where chapels and even a basilica have been carved out of the salt over centuries. Some side tours include an excursion to the wood-carving capital of Poland, Zakopane, and a raft ride along the Dunajec River, separating Poland from Slovakia. While in Krakow, they will participate in several exciting days of talks, spiritual exercises, religious activities and ceremonies with many hundreds of thousands of other young people from around the world. The concluding two days of their stay will include participation in an Evening Prayer Service with Pope Francis, and then Mass with him the next day. Our own parish Life Teen group is sending a representative group of five teens to join us on the trip, too. They also have raised money, through bake sales and car washes, to make it possible to enjoy those same experiences. Altogether, there will be 15 people in our group, including the chaperones and myself (constant tour guide and translator!). Please pray for the success of our pilgrimage and safety throughout this trip.
Thank you to all of the following who made our SVF PREP Bible Week such fun: Amy Sexton, Carrie Socha, Heather Hackett, Ericka Ruiz, Tracy Nixon, Melissa Barta, Michelle Bylow, Lisa Murphy, Jennifer Maymon, Heidi Guevarra, Sarah Carlin, Stephanie Sexton, Dawn Transleau, Kaitlyn Bylow, Jonah Fisher, Andrew Sexton, Nathaniel Joseph and Francesco Olortegui. May God bless them all for volunteering!