Missouri Needs a Conversion of Heart

The recent financial report from the 2022 National Religious Retirement Office indicates that our diocese donated $78,302.79 for the care of retired religious in the United States. I also received a letter thanking the diocese for the $49,263.69 collected for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. These two collections highlight the generosity of our people for the various causes we are asked to support.

In our own area, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri is well on the way to completing LifeHouse Cape Girardeau, tentatively scheduled for completion and occupancy in April of 2024. At the recent Dinner for Life, in Springfield on Sept. 23, an update was given on the progress. LifeHouse Cape sits on an almost two-acre plot of land donated by a generous benefactor for this specific purpose. The space itself, spanning 17,000 square feet, will include 15 units, each unit will house a mother and her children. While LifeHouse Springfield is based in the repurposed Carmelite Monastery, LifeHouse Cape is a new building that was specifically designed to include indoor and outdoor community spaces and administrative and office space for LifeHouse; Catholic Charities offices, and pregnancy support programs. The location, close to downtown, will provide employment opportunities for the women from the many nearby businesses and industries.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked every (arch)diocese to Walk with Moms in Need and our local LifeHouse Crisis Maternity Homes are the perfect examples of doing just that! As a diocese, we can be so proud of what is being accomplished to assist women in need. Further, Bishop Burbidge, USCCB Chairman of the Committee on ProLife Activities, has called for “radical solidarity,” with women in need. Pope St. John Paul II first defined “radical solidarity” in this way: “In firmly rejecting ‘pro-choice,’ it is necessary to courageously become ‘pro woman,’ promoting a choice that is really in favor of women… The only honest stance in these cases, is that of radical solidarity with the woman. It is not right to leave her alone.”
LifeHouse Cape and LifeHouse Springfield are perfect examples of this “radical solidarity” and I encourage everyone to offer a financial gift to Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri for our LifeHouse ministries.

The decision to overthrow Roe v Wade is an answer to our prayers, but it has also rallied those in the abortion industry. Pro-abortion extremists want to change state constitutions, and Missouri is one of the targets. Massive out-of-state dollars will fund their pro-abortion campaigns as they rally their troops—so, we cannot sit idle. While our Missouri Catholic Conference lobbyists are working the political angle at the state capitol, we must push for voter registration at our parishes, and we must counter the lies. We cannot expect support from the secular media and popular culture, and at times, we may feel like we are David against Goliath, but what we do have is faith. Let us always be courageous, because in the end: life will be victorious!

Now, some reject that the death penalty is a pro-life issue as well and I would respond with “Indeed, it is!” Paragraph 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says, “The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” And as much as Missouri is a pro-life state regarding abortion, one-fourth of the executions in the US in 2023 occurred in Missouri. Catholics are called to be pro-life from the “womb to the tomb,” and so we have a lot of hearts to touch if we are fully pro-life. Recent efforts in various states to promote euthanasia, assisted suicide, and non-resuscitation on request, are becoming popular as well. As Bishop Burbidge stated, “The transformation of our culture also requires continual conversion of our own hearts so that we can recognize in every person, the face of Christ and place their needs before our own.”

That sounds like “radical solidarity.” 

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”


Published in the October 13, 2023 issue of The Mirror.
Photo: Getty Images