I was born in 1960. It was a time of change, challenge, and the questioning of authority. Those of you who are my age or older recall television news reports that depicted riots and demonstrations in the streets as people protested the war in Vietnam. I remember seeing marches and clashes of people advocating for racial and civil rights. With the Watergate scandal rocking our nation’s capital, more and more people began to criticize our government. It was almost a “the perfect storm” of unrest. These protests generated a lot of distrust of “institutions.” For the first time, a large segment of the United States population questioned the authority of our government—really, all long-standing institutions, the Church included. This time was also coined the time of “the sexual revolution,” the anthem of which seemed to be “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” It championed the thinking of “I want to be free to do what I want, most certainly with my body.” Read more
Another year has passed into eternity and another year has begun. The new year becomes a natural opportunity to look to the events of this past year and its take-away lessons that can help us in the year to come. Often, people use this moment, the transition from one year to the next, to make a resolution, symbolic of a fresh start or a new beginning regarding some issue of health or the better use of time, etc. Read more
The world will tire of Christmas on Dec. 26, while in the Catholic Church, we are invited to ponder the mystery of the “Word made flesh” for weeks to come in the Christmas Season. Within the Christmas Season we celebrate the Feast of Holy Family, Dec. 30, Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1, Epiphany, Jan. 8, The Christmas Season culminates with the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 9. Throughout the season, the Church continually invites us to return to the manger, to be of one heart with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, and to meditate on the significance of the birth of the Son of God. Read more
During Advent, Christians await the coming of the Christ-child and, in the season of Christmas, we celebrate his arrival among us. Our Savior is born! In the second chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke we read of the encounter between the angels and the shepherds announcing this great event.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Read more
What an honor it has been for me to remember your deceased loved ones in my daily Mass and prayers at the residence chapel. The baskets of cards, filled with the names of your deceased loved ones, are a visual reminder of my commitment to pray for your intention. My prayers continue beyond the month of November. Read more
“Eternal rest grant to them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. … May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.” Read more
There I was, sitting in the Senate Chamber of our State Capitol in Jefferson City on Oct. 8 listening to a presentation on violence as part of the Missouri Catholic Conference. Gazing upon the beautiful stained glassed windows and intricate carvings of the majestic setting that depicts Lady Justice, my eyes rested upon the above statement emblazoned on the upper wall. And as I pondered the importance of that statement I decided that it would be a great way to begin my next column for The Mirror. After some research I discovered the phrase was utilized often in the argument against slavery: “Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong!” To find that phrase in the Senate Chamber is an unexpected source of inspiration and a challenge as our state government discusses legislation pertinent to the “common good.” Hopefully the members of the State Senate will not only contemplate, but heed its message. Read more
The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature. —Pope Francis, 9/25/15, United Nations
What does ‘respect life’ mean?
The first Sunday of each October launches the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) annual education and advocacy effort to “promote respect for all human life from conception to natural death, and organize for its protection.” Before mentioning the theme and topics of this year’s program, it may benefit us to reflect on the meaning of the phrase “respect life.” Read more
I recently received a letter of thanks from the Catholic Relief Services for the $17,414 raised through our participation in the Lenten Rice Bowl program. While we do so much to assist those in need in southern Missouri, it‘s impressive to see our witness to our concern for the poor reach the countries of Africa, for example. Through our support in Rice Bowl, farmers are being trained in innovative methods that improve harvests and prevent crop disease. Ultimately, we are ensuring that people will have enough food to eat, which is a corporal work of mercy. We should be proud!
I recently invited a group of Poor Clare sisters to open a convent in our diocese. Mother Mary Giovanna, of the Poor Clare Nuns in Belleville, IL, wrote back: “We would be happy to establish a monastery in your diocese. If you could send us 10 young ladies with Poor Clare vocations … and give us about 10 years to form them. …” While I detected a hint of sarcasm in Mother Giovanna’s letter, I do believe the vocations are out there.
As we gather throughout the diocese at so many parish altars, it is from the altar that we encounter Christ in the Eucharist and we become One Church, East to West. This year, together as the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, we celebrate 60 years of blessings, 60 years of meeting the challenges of building up the Kingdom of God throughout the 39 counties and 25,619 square miles that make up the Church in Southern Missouri. Read more