This Sunday, the Solemn Feast of Jesus Christ the King, we close an extraordinary jubilee year in the history of the Catholic Church. How blessed we have been this past year to celebrate the Year of Divine Mercy, invoking so many blessings upon us from God’s abundant gifts. Many of our parishioners took advantage of the opportunities afforded us to soak up the graces that God wishes to bestow upon all His children. Among these was the extraordinary opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence (the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin). Our parish had the wonderful occasion to visit our diocesan Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola, and thereby complete one of the requirements for obtaining the indulgence. I take this opportunity to once again thank our Director of Family Life Ministries, Irene Hey, for arranging that visit, as well as her service in so many ways during this Year of Mercy to draw us closer to God in an ever-challenging world.
This coming Thursday is the great American family holiday, Thanksgiving Day. Though it isn’t any kind of a Holy Day of Obligation, it is a day on which our giving thanks to God for all His blessings upon our land and us is actually encouraged by our government. Our two available Masses that day are at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m., and, hopefully, you’ll be able to come and thank God.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to celebrate the 100th birthday of an uncle in Colorado. While there, I heard the lament of many Catholics who were discouraged about certain initiatives that recently were voted upon in and for their state. Among them was the legalization of assisted suicide. The moral issues in this area alone are grave matters that affect the rest of our nation for, little by little, we are eroding the foundational principles upon which our great nation is based. Soon, similar efforts may be made in more and more states until our nation succumbs to the same disease that has been eroding the Christian identity of Europe. The zany rationalizations that more and more people are using in their fraudulent claims about bettering the quality of life in America are actually eating away at the great society we have cherished for generations, and are quietly destroying the culture of life that has made our nation so outstanding among the many nations of the world. Yet, too few people are willing to get involved in the real life issues that our most recent Popes have consistently asked us to do. Whether this is a sign of a moral indifference or of spiritual stagnation in our Christian civilization, or both, remains to be seen. But we cannot allow such an ill-advised attitude to seize hold of a people that claims to be part of the foundation of a Judeo-Christian heritage in this “one nation under God.” Each of us is called upon by our baptism to help safeguard the God-given gifts we have and to “get involved” in our faith issues in all ways that are possible.
I want to tell you a local story about involvement. It involves one of our little first-graders, Caelyn Cavo, who recently gave us an example of her own way of “getting involved.” When she came back to school this past August, she thought there would be a “new” school. Her mom explained to her that we don’t yet have enough money to renovate and build that school. So, she took an interest in trying to move us along in our Capital Campaign when, without any prompting from her parents, baked little cupcakes in her little “easy bake” oven, and then proceeded to go door-to-door to sell those cupcakes to her neighbors, raising the money to donate to our Capital Campaign. What a great and enterprising young lady! What a sterling example to all of us! She took the initiative to increase our funds so that she and her schoolmates soon can have a newer and better facility in which to learn more about how we can make our way, one day, to God. If she can do great things in a little way, what should that tell the rest of us about trying our best to get involved?
I urge everyone reading this article to try to follow that beautiful example of selfless giving and pledge generously to our Capital Campaign – even if you’ve already given some kind of a donation. Think hard about the possibility of even increasing your gift so that our children will function under less-crowded and better conditions, especially when they don’t have to be spread out over four or five buildings. They are counting on your generosity to make their school even better than it is, and so am I. This year, we came very close to having our school named a “blue ribbon” school, and we hope to achieve that distinction by next year. That would be quite an achievement, and then we can show everyone that our St. Vincent Ferrer School not only offers a top-notch quality education, but does so in a truly Catholic environment. But we need the cooperation of everyone, including – but not only- the parents of our children. If you have a friend, a neighbor, a relative or a co-worker who can be of help, please ask them to consider giving to our Capital Campaign and helping us in the task of getting our children to be better citizens and eventually to get to heaven. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!