Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pope's final General Audience

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood!

Distinguished Authorities!Dear brothers and sisters!

Thank you for coming in such large numbers to this last General Audience of my pontificate.
Like the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart the paramount duty to thank God, who guides the Church and makes her grow: who sows His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His people. At this moment my spirit reaches out to embrace the whole Church throughout the world, and I thank God for the “news” that in these years of Petrine ministry I have been able to receive regarding the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity that circulates in the body of the Church – charity that makes the Church to live in love – and of the hope that opens for us the way towards the fullness of life, and directs us towards the heavenly homeland.

I feel I [ought to] carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit. I gather everyone and every thing in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).

At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith, this is my joy.

When, almost eight years ago, on April 19th, [2005], I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I held steadfast in this certainty, which has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already stated several times, the words that resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It a great weight that You place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me” – and the Lord really has guided me. He has been close to me: daily could I feel His presence. [These years] have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way, which has seen moments joy and light, but also difficult moments. I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of ​​Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been - and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.

We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!

At this time, however, it is not only God, whom I desire to thank. A Pope is not alone in guiding St. Peter’s barque, even if it is his first responsibility – and I have not ever felt myself alone in bearing either the joys or the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed next to me many people, who, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and been close to me. First of all you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your counsels, your friendship, were all precious to me. My collaborators, starting with my Secretary of State, who accompanied me faithfully over the years, the Secretariat of State and the whole Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in various areas, give their service to the Holy See: the many faces which never emerge, but remain in the background, in silence, in their daily commitment, with a spirit of faith and humility. They have been for me a sure and reliable support. A special thought [goes] to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, the consecrated persons and the entire People of God: in pastoral visits, in public encounters, at Audiences, in traveling, I have always received great care and deep affection; I also loved each and every one, without exception, with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every shepherd, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I carried each of you in my prayers, with the father's heart.

I wish my greetings and my thanks to reach everyone: the heart of a Pope expands to [embrace] the whole world. I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes present the great family of nations. Here I also think of all those who work for good communication, whom I thank for their important service.

At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world's greatest figures - from the Heads of State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me take the right decision – not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.

Here allow me to return once again to April 19, 2005. The gravity of the decision was precisely in the fact that from that moment on I was committed always and forever by the Lord. Always – he, who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. I have felt, and I feel even in this very moment, that one receives one’s life precisely when he offers it as a gift. I said before that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are fond of him, that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world, and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, but he belongs to all and all are truly his own.

The “always” is also a “forever” - there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds. St. Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, shall be a great example in this for me. He showed us the way to a life which, active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God.

I thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I continue to accompany the Church on her way through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and to His Bride, which I have hitherto tried to live daily and that I would live forever. I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so important a task, and for the new Successor of Peter, that the Lord might accompany him with the light and the power of His Spirit.

Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community: to her we entrust ourselves, with deep trust.

Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homily - "God keeps His promises"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

I didn’t realize that in high school and college I was an “enemy of the cross of Christ” until I pondered today’s second reading from Philippians 3.  “Their end is destruction.  Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their shame”.  There were many nights and weekends that my glory was in my shameful behavior.  One weekend in high school I went to visit my brother in college; he went to a party school in the south.  Those boys were crazy!  Half of my plan in going there was to have stories to tell my friends back in high school.  It’s more or less, “and then I did this sin and that sin, and then I got sick”.  “Cool!”  Our glory was in our shame.  I actually hung tough with the college guys…til about 10 or 11 when the lights just went out...!  I think I even scandalized my brother’s girlfriend at the time with my shameful behavior. 
Another story related to the second reading that is much more about controlled drinking involves our Theology on Tap which we have every other Wednesday at Newman (for 21 and over!).  We had a really good discussion on Lent last weekend…a couple rounds of beverages help with that.  Eventually, the discussion went to indulgences after we said that we can gain a plenary indulgence by praying the Stations of the Cross on Fridays in Lent. I gave the Scriptural basis for indulgences which is Matthew 16 and 18; Jesus gives the “keys of the kingdom” to the first Pope (Peter) and the first bishops (Apostles).  He gives them his authority…the authority to teach, sanctify, and govern.  The Church, then, is the treasurer of God’s abundant graces. She is generous in giving out Grace as God is generous with His Grace.  Indulgences are a gift for showing faith in Christ and the Church in different ways.  When people complain or object to indulgences, I think of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard; the owner says, “are you jealous because I am generous?”

I took a step back from that discussion to look at what’s going on: a large group of GW Catholics are delving into the mysteries of our faith…heavenly mysteries.  St. Paul says that “our citizenship is in heaven”.  So, it’s good to know about the place (state, actually) where we will be citizens forever.  And, GW Catholics are asking questions about the things of heaven.  So many Catholics don’t.  You all know more about the mysteries of our faith than most Catholics!  Unfortunately, many Catholics give up on the things of heaven because they don’t ask questions and feel that it’s too much for them.  So, we all struggle with suffering (the Cross) and with mysteries of faith, but there is another struggle for many of us which I’d like to focus on: believing in God and that He will keep His promises.
I know many of you are struggling to believe that God is there and that He will do for you what you have heard Him do for others.  You might be seeing others have their prayers answered or get hooked up in different ways.  Or, just in general could be thinking, “has God forgotten about me?”  All I can tell you is that He has a track record or resume of keeping his promises. We have a great book at Newman by Scott Hahn called, “A Father Who Keeps His Promises”.  It goes through Scripture to show that God is constantly entering into covenant with us.  It started with Abraham and continues throughout.  We have this vision of the mean and vengeful God of the Old Testament, and then the loving and peaceful God of the New Testament.  He is one God!  And, when we study the Old Testament, we see that God is merciful throughout.  He is always offering His people a second chance.  In tonight’s first reading, we hear very graphically and concretely how committed God is to the covenant with His people.

He goes old-school by entering into the ritual of walking between animal parts.  Animals were split in two and the two covenantal parties walked through the parts to say that if they didn’t honor the covenant, they would suffer the same fate as the animals and be torn apart.  God walks through the parts!  The “smoking fire pot” (make sure I get that right…and not “smoking pot”) and “flaming torch” passed through the animal parts; these symbolize God.  Even though He is God, He is willing to be torn apart if He doesn’t keep his promises.

If we still struggle to believe that God will keep His promises to us, we can look at a Crucifix.  He is so committed to us that he sent His Son.  And, he established a New Covenant with us. When we come to Mass, we hear the words at the Consecration: “this is my blood…the blood of the new and everlasting covenant”.  God keep his promises and fulfills them in Christ.

Finally, we hear of a promise through St. Paul that corresponds to the Gospel, the Transfiguration.  The promise is that “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body”.  While people like me glory in the earthly body and things of this world, our true glory will be in this heavenly scene of the Transfiguration.  Talk about heavenly mysteries!  We would have done as well as Peter in taking in such an event.  But, that is where our bodies are heading if we remain faithful to the New Covenant. “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body”.  God keeps His promises. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Homily - "Man cannot live on Chipotle alone"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

Did you know that in the history of the Church there has only been one parish priest who has been canonized a saint? With all of the parish priests who have been in the Church for 2000 years, only one has been canonized: St. John Vianney. He was a priest in France over 200 years ago and struggled in the seminary (I can relate). His diocese didn't think much of him so it put him in a small parish.

He was a holy man. He heard confessions for about 15 hours a day! By the end of his priesthood, over 100,000 people a year would come to him from all over France for Confession. He had the gift of reading souls. One time as he finished a confession with a long line of penitents, he asked the person leaving the confessional to tell the lady at the end of the line to stop worrying about her daughter...everything would be fine. Sure enough, that's exactly what the woman was worrying about.

His ministry was so fruitful that the Devil actually appeared in his rectory on numerous occasions. This was verified by witnesses. One time he shook the rectory, other times he chased Fr. Vianney around the rectory. He even set his bed on fire! At first, Fr. Vianney was afraid; but then, he realized that after every nightly visit from Satan, someone would come to Confession the next day for the first time in 30 or 40 years. Satan said that if there were three priests like Fr. Vianney, his kingdom would end.

This was a rare appearance by the Devil. He makes his only appearance in the Gospel in today's scene with Our Lord in the desert. The Devil's m.o. is to remain invisible, knowing that if people see that he exists, they will believe that Christ exists. So, he brilliantly advances his agenda in the world without being seen. There are many attitudes and movements that he is behind; we just don't see it. For example, relativism which states that there is no truth, or moral relativism which says that there is no right or wrong, just do whatever makes you feel good. This is from the Devil! There are many other movements in the world that are from the Devil; we have to be careful with worldly attitudes.

Satan was Lucifer, the highest-ranking angel in Heaven. Like all angels, he was given a choice that would last forever: serve God or reject Him. In his pride, Lucifer said, "I will not serve". He and a third of the rebellious angels were cast out of Heaven, down to earth, and have been waging war on us ever since. This is mainly through temptation as we hear in today's Gospel: the temptations of Christ in the desert. Satan tempts our Lord with 3 p's: pleasure, power, and pride. The first is our most common temptation: pleasure.

The depiction in cartoons of a good angel on one shoulder and a bad angel on the other is real; they are fighting for us. Demons tempt us with pleasure every day...pretty much every hour. Pleasure is not bad; in fact, God makes things we need pleasurable so we will do them: eating, sleeping, sex. But, it can become bad if that's the focus. Pleasure can become a god. That's why Christ says, "man cannot live on Chipotle alone". I mean…bread.  “Man cannot live on bread alone”.  (You see where my mind is…Chipotle after Mass). Things of the earth cannot replace God.

Fasting actually helps us with temptation. The saints found spiritual strength in builds up the soul. Also, saying no to our appetite for food in small ways can help us to say no to our other appetites - e.g. sexual - in bigger ways like sin. So, in Lent, we fast for 40 days to be in union with Jesus and to build up strength in temptation.

Finally, God knows that "man cannot live on bread alone". So, He becomes bread! He becomes the Bread of Life in the Eucharist. It is in the Eucharist that we are given strength to resist temptation. And, we "worship the Lord, (our) God, and him alone do (we) serve". That needs to be a part of the second reading; "whoever believes in him will be saved. The Devil believes in Jesus. We need to believe and worship Him. Through the Eucharist, may we be like the saints in imitating Christ by resisting temptation during these 40 days.


Friday, February 15, 2013

"The Catholic Church can't change"

The Catholic Church can’t change

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but the Catholic Church is not going to change its teaching on any of the fun stuff (contraception, female “ordination,” homosexuality, abortion, etc.) with the next pope.

Nor will it ever.

When news of the pope’s retirement broke, Nicholas Kristof pondered on Twitter: “At some point, the church will accept contraception and female and non-celibate priests. Could it be in the next papacy?” Countless groups issued press releases clamoring for a “progressive” pope. The Rainbow Sash Movement called for the next pope to stop emphasizing “purity.” The Women’s Ordination Conference announced it would hold vigils and raise pink smoke to raise awareness of the need for “female priests.” I can’t wait to see what Maureen Dowd will say.

So while most Catholics worldwide heard the news of the pope stepping down and gave him a giant, global air-hug, a few dissenting groups used the news to get attention by banging their pans and loudly rejecting church teaching and disrespecting the head of their faith. It was unkind.
Mr. Kristof and friends are wringing their hands about what we call “irreformable, infallible moral teachings of the ordinary magisterium.”

He might want to look that up.

In layman’s terms: What the church’s critics, especially those now giddily wondering if Pope Benedict’s successor will shake things up, just don’t seem to understand, is that church teachings on these issues are unchangeable.

Even if we entertain the human possibility of a rogue pope, the reality is such a thing is currently sociologically impossible. About half of the current College of Cardinals (the men who will select the next pope) were appointed by Blessed Pope John Paul II. The other half were put there by Pope Benedict XVI. As you can imagine, they are all orthodox, or faithful to church teaching. On everything.

While most editorial pages have spent the last eight years harping on Catholic social teaching and running hit pieces on bishops and the pope, Benedict has been filling the ranks with shepherds who will continue the church’s 2,000-plus year tradition of holding firm on the most important social issues.

And not only will the church remain orthodox with Pope Benedict’s successor, it should.

Our call to live counter-culturally is as old as the church itself. We believe in a God who lived among us, died for us, and showed us the way to live lives of courage and conviction--whatever our culture. Catholics are called, yes, to engage with the society around them, but not to adapt ourselves to the popular sentiments of our time. Instead, Catholics are called to live in radical service to our God. This includes loving our neighbor as ourselves. This also includes letting go of pleasure as the path to happiness (spoiler: it’s not). There’s nothing modern --or moderate --about that.

And besides, a quick scan of the world shows: suffering, suffering, and more suffering. Men using women for sex and leaving them to hold the bag. Children without fathers. Mothers killing their babies. The definition of marriage sold to the highest, or most aggressive, bidder.

Many are already rushing to exclaim, “Maybe we will get a pope who will respect women’s rights!”
We have a pope who respects women’s rights. A woman’s right to be born, despite a world that values women less than men. A woman’s right to preserve fertility equality with men as a part of the sexual experience. A woman’s right to be respected for the socially cheapened roles of mother and wife.

Thankfully, the next pope will defend these women’s rights as well.

The Catholic Church has an Old Man River thing going on. She just keeps rolling, she keeps on rolling along. You can stand on the shores. Or jump in. It’s your choice. But she’s not changing course. Thank God.

Ashley E. McGuire is a senior fellow with the Catholic Association and editor of

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Homily - "Be spiritual AND religious this Lent"

“Your Father who sees in secret will repay you”.  It’s fitting that we’re offering confessions during Mass with this in mind because we have some secret booths for you to be forgiven.  God forgives in secret for what we’ve done wrong in secret…and in public.  We hear this line three times in today’s Gospel.  I know that Jesus is talking about doing positive things like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  But, I can’t help to think about stuff that I did in college and be scared by what my Father saw in secret.  Yikes!

It’s no secret (!) that I hit the party scene hard during college.  But, I didn’t drink in secret too often…actually, hardly at all.  One time, though, I did.  It was right after I got cut from the club tennis team at my small Catholic college.  And, this was right after getting cut from the club baseball team.  What a loser, I thought to myself, and realizing that my athletic career (or lack thereof) was over.  So, I went back to my room, roommate gone, and threw myself a little pity party with the help of some strong drink.  Hours later, my friends picked me up.  I was a mess.  They laughed at me the whole time (nice friends, huh!) and were told by others to stop because I obviously had a handicap (a stronger word was used).  So, I think that my Father saw that in secret and will repay me.  Actually, I was repaid the next morning…and a few other mornings after long nights out!

But, let’s stay positive.  The point is that we should do what is right for the sake of doing what is right…and God will reward us.  There is a group of people who do this…the saints.  One description is that a saint does what is right when no one is looking.  Wouldn’t that be cool to live that way?  We present ourselves in a very good way publicly – to classmates, peers, friends, and even family.  But, in private, it might be a different story.  It would be so nice to be consistently who we are all the time – to be authentic in public and private.  I speak a lot about freedom.  Freedom is the ability to choose the good.  It means being who we want to be all the time.  Confession has a lot to do with our being free.  It frees us from the slavery of sin.

Lent is a perfect opportunity to change…to be saints!  Every one of us is called to be a saint.  AMEN?  I don’t mean canonized in Rome some day…although that would be pretty cool if you had a St. in front of your name.  I mean doing what is right when no one is looking.  I mean being free to be who you really want to be all the time.  Lent gives us the opportunity to change our ways, and get back to who we are and who we want to be.

I do want to address a possible misinterpretation of what Christ is saying.  Some might think that the Lord’s line about praying in private means that we can be “spiritual but not religious”.  He’s not saying this.  The same Lord who encourages private prayer is the same Lord who shows us that we need to pray publicly and communally in the Mass.  He says in John 6 that we need the Eucharist to have life and to get to Heaven.  We can’t get the Eucharist in our room!  Nowhere in the Bible or in the Church does Christ say for us to be “spiritual but not religious”.  I don’t know of any saint who was spiritual but not religious. 

So, my Lenten challenge to you is to be spiritual AND religious.  Go to Mass every Sunday in Lent.  And, you will make an awesome Lent!  If your Mom or Dad asks you what you’re giving up for Lent, tell them nothing…that you’re going to Mass every week.  And, that you’re trying to be a saint!  They will think you’re nuts of course (!), but they will back off.  Be spiritual and religious…come back to Mass if you’ve been away.  We are all one family.  We are all trying to be saints.  We are trying to do what is right when no one is looking.  AMEN?  Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homily - "Courage!"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch”.  This is a perfect Gospel as we get ready to start Lent!  Put out into the deep….go deep with Christ this Lent.  This might mean to go deeper with giving up stuff…fine.  Maybe something like last year, you gave up coffee on Mondays, this year you’ll go deeper and go without on Tuesdays as well.  Ok.  But, I would suggest going deeper with Christ in Lent looks more like praying for 20 minutes every day, reading a chapter of the Gospel every day, or going to daily Mass (that’s the best thing we can do for Lent).  Go deeper with Christ this Lent!

In today’s readings, we hear about callings.  Isaiah received the call to be a prophet.  This is a huge call.  When many of us hear a call from God – when we hear the phone ringing – we think, “I’m not answering that”.  But, when Isaiah hears the call, he says, “Send me!”.  Simon and the other fishermen receive the call in the Gospel to be Apostles…to be fishers of men. (“Men” refers to males and females).  Each one of us here tonight has received the same call – to lower our nets and catch men…catch people…catch souls for Christ.    Another huge call.  I remember someone saying to me early on when I started in youth ministry that we can effect someone’s eternity.  Wow!  It’s a huge call to bring someone to Christ and effect their eternity.

It takes courage to be fishers of men.  We just had our ski retreat this past weekend.  It was such a good time.  It’s just so good to be with 40 good people.  We had a ton of fun and went deep spiritually…literally, put out into the deep.  When we went skiing, we had some beginners.  I remember last year, the beginners received a lesson that seem to last the whole night.  So, this year I told them to bag the lesson and I would show what to do.  I basically taught them how to “snowplow” down the mountain and a few other things.  Then, took them to the top of the bunny slope and told them, “have courage”.  They said, “Father, we can’t do this.  We’re afraid”.  I reminded them to have courage.  They set off down the mountain and did great.  They did another run or two and then went over to the intermediate slopes where we are all were.  They didn’t even fall much at all!  I told them at our closing Mass that if they have the courage to ski the beginner and intermediate slopes their first time, they have the courage to invite people to Ash Wednesday Mass, Bible study, Tuesday dinner, or Chipotle after Mass.

So, how is your catch coming?  Who have you caught for Christ?  What have you caught in your life?  We use the term of a “catch” with relationships.  Some of our ladies have come to me not real happy with the catches they’ve made!  But, with respect to catching souls for Christ, how have you done?  Have you brought people to Him?  Have you built up our community and the Kingdom of God on this campus?  Who or what have you caught?

Also, look at how the catch happens.  Without Christ, they catch nothing.  With Christ, the nets are bursting.  This is a general point to make: only in Christ can we be “successful”…only in Christ can we be fruitful.  He says in John 15, “without me you can do nothing”.

Finally, look at the responses to the call.  Both Isaiah and Simon essentially say that they are not worthy.  None of us is worthy to be fishers of men.  None of us is worthy to come here to receive the Eucharist.  We say every time before receiving  But, the Lord commands us to receive.  He makes us worthy.  He makes us worthy to be fishers of men.  He makes us worthy to receive all that we have in the Kingdom of God.  Let us go deeper with Him this Lent.  Let us put out into the deep, not be afraid, have courage, and catch souls for Christ.  


Monday, February 11, 2013

"The Pope has my utmost respect"

World Reacts to Pope Benedict XVI's Resignation
Cardinals, Heads of State Applaud Pontiff's 'Courageous Decision'
By Junno De Jesús Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY, February 11, 2013 ( - As news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation spread worldwide, prelates and dignitaries from around the world reacted with surprise and support for the Holy Father's decision.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales stated that today's announcement has "shocked and surprised everyone." However, Archbishop Nichols said that on reflection that the Holy Father's decision will be recognized as one of "great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action."

"The Holy Father recognizes the challenges facing the Church and that 'strength of mind and body are necessary' for his tasks of governing the Church and proclaiming the Gospel," Archbishop Nichols stated in a communique released today.

"I salute his courage and his decision."
The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales concluded his statement asking all people of faith to keep Pope Benedict in their prayers.
"We Catholics will do so, with great affection and the highest esteem for his ministry as our Holy Father remembering with joy his Visit to the United Kingdom in 2010. Pray, too, for the Church and all the steps that must take place in the next weeks. We entrust ourselves to the loving Providence of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit," Archbishop Nichols said.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated that the Holy Father's announcement is yet "another sign of his great care for the Church."
"We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter," the Cardinal said in a statement released by the USCCB.
Highlighting moments of significance during the Supreme Pontiff's papacy, particularly the Holy Father's visit to the United States in 2008, where Cardinal Dolan noted the pastoral leadership of Pope Benedict XVI who "as a pastor feeling pain in a stirring, private meeting at the Vatican Nunciature in Washington, he brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse by clerics."
"Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity," the Cardinal said.
Cardinal Dolan stated that Pope Benedict's resignation stands as an important moment in the faithful's lives as citizens of the world. "Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the challenges present in today’s world," he said.
Political Leaders React to News
Heads of State and foreign dignitaries have noted the Holy Father's courage in announcing his resignation of the See of St. Peter.
British Prime Minister David Cameron sent his best wishes to the Holy Father following the announcement. "He has worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain’s relations with the Holy See. His visit to Britain in 2010 is remembered with great respect and affection. He will be missed as a spiritual leader to millions," Cameron said.
"If the Pope himself, after thorough reflection, has come to the conclusion that he does not have the strength any more to carry out his duties, then [he] has my utmost respect," German chancellor Angela Merkel said.
"He is and remains one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time."
Ray Flynn, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of the city of Boston, Massachusetts released a brief statement saying that "the Church and world will miss this pious and caring priest who led during a changing society." Flynn stated that the Holy Father has stated in the past that he would serve the Church as long as God gave him the strength to fulfill his ministry.
"Today, Flynn said, "he kept his promise."
"I've known the Pope [for] many years and this act of sacrifice is consistent with the man. With the world in chaos, he is leaving to pave the way for a more energized effective leader. I am not surprised, because it was never about him, but what was always about what was best for God and the Church," Flynn said.
In a statement released today, Mario Monti, Prime Minister of Italy expressed his "profound respect for Pope Benedict's decision" which he regarded as "great and unexpected."
"I am sure that [the Holy Father's decision] been inspired by the desire to serve the Church to the end and to ensure that in the future it may have a strong leadership."

Friday, February 08, 2013

"Light of Love"


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"Holy Humor"

A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark?"
"No," replied Johnny. "How could he, with just two worms."

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most
Quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.

Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.
On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."


The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.
"Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon."

"How come He doesn't answer it?" she asked.

A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, "So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That's very commendable. What does she say?"

The little boy replied, "Thank God he's in bed!"


Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.
"Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer." said his mother.

"I don't need to," the boy replied.

"Of course, you do "his mother insisted. "We always say a prayer before eating at our house."

"That's at our house." Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Homily: " love"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.  The text is below.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”.  We saw a few signs with this Scripture quote from Jeremiah at the March for Life .  It is a very prominent verse in the pro-life movement, and rightfully so.  But, the passage is really referring to a prophetic call.  “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”…I called you…I predestined you.  “Before you were born, I dedicated you”…I consecrated you…I set you apart to be a prophet…”a prophet to the nations I appointed you”.  God is calling Jeremiah and all of us who are baptized to be prophets…to speak for God…to speak the truth…to speak the truth in love.

Today’s second reading is another popular Scripture passage.  If you’ve been to a Catholic wedding, chances are you’ve heard 1 Corinthians 12.  It’s all about love.  At the heart of it, “love rejoices in the truth”.  It really is an act of love to speak the truth…to speak for God…to defend the teachings of Christ and the Church.  Where there is love, there is truth.  Where there is truth, there is love.

We need to know our stuff to speak the truth.  When I was a junior at the University of Maryland, I took a philosophy class in which we debated different moral issues.  When abortion came up, I was ready with pictures and facts on the stages of life.  I was the sole pro-life voice.  It was 30 against 1. But, I did okay because I knew my stuff.  We have tons of materials at the Newman Center to help you know the truth and speak the truth as prophets on this campus.  We have quick-hitting pamphlets on Purgatory, homosexuality, the Eucharist, etc.  You can just hand these pamphlets to people when you’re discussing teachings or issues.  If you don’t know the truth, know where to lead people to find the truth.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be a prophet.  It is tough, especially on a college campus.  But, it was very tough for Jesus and any of the prophets before you.  It was probably 30 on 1 in the synagogue or elsewhere for him.  And, speaking the truth is probably what got him killed.  But, he believed what God said to Jeremiah:  “They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you”.  If we speak the truth, God is with us.  He is with us in the Eucharist tonight and all week to deliver us.

Friday, February 01, 2013

"Editing out the truth"

Here is a bold and spot-on commentary in an online university forum from one of our senior GW Catholics, Rosemary Holt. Well said, Rosemary.  Your courage is refreshing!


Editing Out the Truth

by The GW Patriot (
The GW Patriot welcomes Opinion submissions from student leaders on campus.

Rosemary Holt, Co-President of Colonials for Life, writes:
‘Newspapers of record’ are few and far between these days when it comes to accurately representing the abortion issue, and the GW Hatchet is no exception. This lack of journalistic integrity on reporting on abortion among university news outlets is a threat to the future of neutral media, especially since university writers and editors go on to work for big name media outlets. If they learn that they can get away with it in college, what is to stop them from doing the same after they graduate?
No longer can anti-abortion activists sit back and allow these news organizations the ability to downplay and shape the abortion narrative in an attempt to determine the morality of abortion. Our efforts must begin at the university level.
Just as Roe v. Wade was a decision of judicial activism that overstepped the powers of the judicial branch, so too is this pro-abortion bias.
One cannot look at the images used or read the GW Hatchet article on the recent March for Life without feeling as though the March had equal representation of anti-abortion and pro-abortion individuals, which gives an utterly false representation of the event. The printed caption to the two images that ran with the story clearly shows bias to this as well. “Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate took to D.C. streets last week to stand up for their separate causes around the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.”
The two images printed with the story also paint a false picture of what the anti-abortion and pro-abortion movements currently look like. The pro-abortion image is young girls smiling, while the anti-abortion image is old women frowning. This picture ignores the fact that the vast majority of pro-life attendants are high school and college students. The image also ignores that Nancy Keenan, head of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the oldest abortion lobby, stepped down due to the increasing “intensity gap” between pro-abortion and anti-abortion youths.
The GW Hatchet is not required to applaud the pro-life movement, but they should accurately represent events as they occurred. Hundreds of thousands of individuals marched against abortion Friday January 25th and only approximately 100 individuals counter-protested. This fact was not accurately reported in the GW Hatchet article.
During the annual Law of Life Summit, hosted by Ave Maria Law School, Jeanne Monahan, the president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said, “We don’t have to manipulate our story at all. We don’t even really have to do convincing. All we really have to do is present things as they truly are, because abortion is a profoundly unreasonable stance, to be pro-abortion.”
The GW Hatchet reported one thing correctly: The anti-abortion lobby is the strongest ever. Despite having the most extreme pro-abortion U.S. president in history, 2012 was a huge success in furthering human rights. We now have 27 state legislatures under complete pro-life control, 24 states are governed by pro-life governors, and last year alone there were over 200 pro-life laws passed on a state level. This year, 2013, is already proving to be another record year with Mississippi becoming the first abortion-free state since Roe v. Wade.
It is up to pro-life activists to engage the media on anti-abortion issues and to repeatedly demand they give an accurate and unbiased account of the truth. If we are not courageous enough to start by calling out our university’s news outlets, then we can never expect change.
No matter how the abortion debate is framed by the GW Hatchet or the mainstream media, this is an issue the anti-abortion movement is winning from the ground up and we will not back down until human abortion is abolished.
The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, Rosemary Holt.