Wednesday, June 26, 2013

'A Tragic Day for Marriage and our Nation'

Supreme Court Decisions on Marriage: 'Tragic Day for Marriage and our Nation,' State U.S. Bishops
June 26, 2013
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California's Proposition 8 mark a "tragic day for marriage and our nation," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The statement follows.
"Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California's Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.
"Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.
"Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God's wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.
"When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage - the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife - he pointed back to "the beginning" of God's creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.
"Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court's decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified."


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"A Remarkable Victory for Unborn Children"

New Yorkers Welcome Defeat of Abortion Bill

NEW YORK, June 25, 2013 ( - Here is a statement from the New York
State Catholic Conference, which represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters:

The failure of a last-ditch hostile amendment to try to effect passage of the Abortion Expansion Act is a remarkable victory for unborn children, as well as vulnerable women and girls who so often face unrelenting societal and family pressure to abort. The result is, quite literally, the answer to prayer. More accurately, it is the answer to millions of prayers by men, women and children of every faith from every section of the state who believe in the inalienable right to life of the baby in the womb.

We are grateful to Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) for his steadfast opposition to this bill, and to the members of his Republican conference who were united with him in that position, as well as to the two pro-life Democrats who denied the abortion proponents a majority in the Senate. We are grateful, too, for those courageous and principled Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly who voted against abortion expansion despite it being a losing cause in that chamber. This victory is shared with them as well, and they should know that pro-life New Yorkers will remember their vote.

The movement to pass this bill awoke a sleeping giant, a silent pro-life majority that had been discouraged and disheartened from living in the state with the highest abortion rate in the country. Facing the most radical expansion of abortion since the state legalized it in 1970, thousands of New Yorkers contacted their legislators and made repeat trips to Albany to be a pro-life presence at the Capitol.

In the meantime, positive legislation to enhance women’s dignity were long held hostage to the abortion expansion agenda. We are pleased that the Senate is now poised to pass the other nine planks of Gov. Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, and we call on the Assembly to do the same. These measures include protections for victims of sexual harassment, domestic violence and human trafficking, and should never have been used as a pawn to pass legislation that cannot stand on its own.

The powerful lobbyists for the abortion industry already are vowing to wage this battle again next year, and to punish legislators at the polls who dare stand up for both the dignity of women and the right to life of innocent children in the womb. We believe this effort will fall short too because the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers, including those who say they are “pro-choice,” are disgusted by late-term abortion and are shocked that abortion clinics would seek to employ non-doctors to perform surgical procedures on women and girls. We will continue to stand up for innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and we continue to pray for our opponents that their eyes may be opened to the evil of abortion.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Faithful Citizenship

As the 2nd Fortnight For Freedom begins tomorrow ....  Our bishops say:  

 His Excellency Archbishop José H. Gomez

Archbishop of Los Angeles:

Resources for Faithful Citizenship
Although he lived more than 500 years ago, St. Thomas More’s life and witness seem more timely to me than ever.
I have been thinking a lot about him as we prepare to celebrate the feast of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher on June 22.

Both were executed during the Protestant Reformation in England because they refused to bow to the political pressures of King Henry VIII — who demanded that they accept his “supremacy” over the Church and deny the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage.

St. John Fisher was a bishop, so his witness of courage has a powerful meaning for me as your Archbishop.

St. Thomas More was a layman. He was a loving father and husband; a loyal son of the Church; an upright lawyer and civil servant.
And in many ways, we need to learn from his example today.

Because Thomas More was also a selfless servant of truth and a servant of people; a man of conscience who obeyed the law of God rather than the law of men. He was a faithful citizen who gave his life rather than compromise the truth and teaching of the Church.

Our times call for Catholic voices and faithful Catholic witnesses.

Right now in California and across the country, the Church faces deep challenges from the government.

The Church is not an institution or a corporation. The Church is a family, the family of God. We see that reality when we gather each week to worship Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. We are one family made up of many families, each of us able to pray to God as “Our Father.”

To be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus, we need to be faithful citizens. For bishops and priests, that means stirring hearts and minds and forming consciences, nourishing people with the Bread of Life and the Word of God. We want to inspire people to love and serve the poor and to always be close to those in need. We want to motivate people to build a society worthy of the God-given dignity of every person.

Lay people carry out their duties of faithful citizenship by living their faith in the world — in their family, their work, in public life. By running for political office; by working within political parties; by communicating our concerns and positions to our elected officials; and by joining Church and community organizations that seek justice and the common good in society.

To assist you in carrying out your duties, the Archdiocese has established a new webpage, “Resources for Faithful Citizenship.” On this page you will find information to help you form your conscience in light of Catholic teaching and resources to become better informed about issues of importance to the Catholic community. You will also find information for contacting and learning more about your elected officials.

Through this new webpage, we provide a listing of the Catholic charities, parishes and schools serving in every legislative district in the Archdiocese. I found this to be very instructive. Because you can see directly the impact the Church has in our communities — through our immigration and refugee assistance programs; through our preschools and other services to working families and the poor; through our housing and health care programs; our elderly assistance programs; and all our works of community and neighborhood development.

The Church is a force for human dignity and social justice throughout our state. Which is why we need to fight to defend the Church.

Right now, my brother bishops and I in the California Catholic Conference are asking you to contact your Assembly Member and urge them to vote “no” on California Senate Bill 131. This legislation puts the social services and educational work of the Church at risk and unjustly discriminates against Catholic schools and other private employers. The bishops of the California Catholic Conference believe it is urgent for Catholics to act now.

You can find more background on SB 131 and information on how to contact your Assembly Member on our new webpage. You can reach this new page at

Again this year, the United States Catholic Bishops are asking all of us to pray in a special way for religious liberty during these next two weeks, June 21 to July 4, which we have designated as a “Fortnight for Freedom.”

Let’s pray for our religious freedom this week — and let’s exercise that freedom by contacting our legislators about SB 131.
And let’s ask Our Lady of the Angels to help us to carry our duty to be faithful citizens with courage and strength.

Archbishop Gomez’s new book, “Immigration and the Next America,” is available for preorder at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels’ Gift Shop (; Follow him at

And, By 

His Eminence Timothy M. Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York: 

Fortnight For Freedom

Standing in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty is one of our most beloved landmarks, both as New Yorkers and as Americans. So many of our ancestors fondly recalled seeing Lady Liberty, their first vision of a new homeland. Many of them told the story of seeing her for the first time, and not a few of them had to pause in retelling it because of a lump in their throat or a tear in their eye.

Even those of us who were born in America cherish the Statue of Liberty, and, even more importantly, what it stands for. Who indeed can fail to be moved by the line from Emma Lazarus’ famous poem:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

That atmosphere of liberty is so much a part of the American experience and heritage. Of course, most of us did not have to travel far and suffer hardship to glimpse the torch of the Statue, and to embrace her promise of freedom. Most newcomers today do not come by ship, and so never set eyes upon her. We New Yorkers, frequently in a rush to our next destination, don’t even look out into the Harbor very often.

So it would be easy for us to take the Statue of Liberty for granted, as just another landmark for tourists to visit. And it would be all too easy to forget how precious — and fragile — is that breath of freedom that our forerunners yearned for so ardently. This desire for freedom was written into the human heart by God, and exalted in God’s word in the Bible. It is expressed so powerfully in the founding documents of our nation, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It is the ideal to which all our national institutions aspire, and which they are bound to protect and respect. It is for freedom that so many of our brothers and sisters have been willing to sacrifice their lives to defend.

I don’t wish to push this analogy too far, but in recent years it has become a bit more difficult to “breathe free” as deeply as we would like. The atmosphere is not quite so clear and mild any more. Our liberty — like clean air — isn’t something we can take for granted.

This is the reason that the Bishops of the United States have called upon all Catholics, and all people of good will, to spend the days from June 21 through July 4 as a Fortnight for Freedom. These fourteen days are designed to raise awareness and to encourage action on a number of the current challenges to religious liberty. These include:
The HHS mandate, which presumes to intrude upon the very definition of faith and ministry, and could cause believers to violate their consciences.
Impending Supreme Court rulings that could redefine marriage, which will present a host of difficulties to institutions and people who stand on their faith-based understanding of authentic marriage as between one man and one woman
Proposed legislation at the national and state levels that would expand abortion rights, legalize assisted suicide, restrict immigrants from full participation in society, and limit the ability of Church agencies to provide humanitarian services.
Government intrusion into the rights and duties of parents regarding their children.
Overt persecution of believers in many countries of the world.

My brother bishops and I are encouraging people to offer prayers to God, the source of our freedom, that we may fully enjoy the liberty that was sought by those who came to our shores. We are also urging practical action to defend our freedom.

Our two weeks begin tomorrow, June 21, and include moving feasts, such as June 22, the feast of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher, both martyrs in England as they prophetically defended the rights of the Church against intrusion by the crown; June 24, the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, the one who defended God’s law to a tyrant and lost his head because of his courage; and, of course, Independence Day.

We must never forget the power of the American promise, which was passed on to us by our ancestors, and which we hold in trust for generations to come.

And, like Lady Liberty, may we always be proud to lift high the torch of freedom and hope to those who yearn for it today.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2nd Fortnight for Freeedom in 3 days!

"Jesus Christ has entrusted us with “good news” — that the human person is sacred and created in the image of God. As followers of Jesus, we have a duty to work with others to create a society that is more worthy of the dignity of the human person. That is why we fight for the rights of the person from conception to natural death. That is why we strive for justice for the immigrant and the worker, for the imprisoned, the hungry, and the homeless. That is why we defend the rights of the old and the sick to be cared for with love and compassion. We have a duty to make this a city of love and truth." 
— Archbishop José H. Gomez

"Politics and the courts are important. But our religious freedom ultimately depends on the vividness of our own Christian faith – in other words, how deeply we believe it, and how honestly we live it."
 Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM. Caps

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"The Gospel of Life"

VATICAN CITY, June 16, 2013 ( - Here is the translation of the Pope's homily during the Mass commemorating the Day of "Evangelium Vitae" in St. Peter's Square this morning.

--- --- ---

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This celebration has a very beautiful name: the Gospel of Life. In this Eucharist, in the Year of Faith, let us thank the Lord for the gift of life in all its forms, and at the same time let us proclaim the Gospel of Life.

On the basis of the word of God which we have heard, I would like to offer you three simple points of meditation for our faith: first, the Bible reveals to us the Living God, the God who is life and the source of life; second, Jesus Christ bestows life and the Holy Spirit maintains us in life; and third, following God’s way leads to life, whereas following idols leads to death.

1. The first reading, taken from the Second Book of Samuel, speaks to us of life and death. King David wants to hide the act of adultery which he committed with the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in his army. To do so, he gives the order that Uriah be placed on the front lines and so be killed in battle. The Bible shows us the human drama in all its reality: good and evil, passion, sin and its consequences. Whenever we want to assert ourselves, when we become wrapped up in our own selfishness and put ourselves in the place of God, we end up spawning death. King David’s adultery is one example of this. Selfishness leads to lies, as we attempt to deceive ourselves and those around us. But God cannot be deceived. We heard how the prophet says to David: "Why have you done evil in the Lord’s sight? (cf. 2 Sam 12:9). The King is forced to face his deeds of death; what he has done is truly a deed of death, not life! He recognizes what he has done and he begs forgiveness: "I have sinned against the Lord!" (v. 13). The God of mercy, who desires life and always forgives us, now forgives David and restores him to life. The prophet tells him: "The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die".

What is the image we have of God? Perhaps he appears to us as a severe judge, as someone who curtails our freedom and the way we live our lives. But the Scriptures everywhere tell us that God is the Living One, the one who bestows life and points the way to fullness of life. I think of the beginning of the Book of Genesis: God fashions man out of the dust of the earth; he breathes in his nostrils the breath of life, and man becomes a living being (cf. 2:7). God is the source of life; thanks to his breath, man has life. God’s breath sustains the entire journey of our life on earth. I also think of the calling of Moses, where the Lord says that he is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the living. When he sends Moses to Pharaoh to set his people free, he reveals his name: "I am who I am", the God who enters into our history, sets us free from slavery and death, and brings life to his people because he is the Living One. I also think of the gift of the Ten Commandments: a path God points out to us towards a life which is truly free and fulfilling. The commandments are not a litany of prohibitions – you must not do this, you must not do that, you must not do the other; on the contrary, they are a great "Yes!": a yes to God, to Love, to life. Dear friends, our lives are fulfilled in God alone, because only he is the Living One!

2. Today’s Gospel brings us another step forward. Jesus allows a woman who was a sinner to approach him during a meal in the house of a Pharisee, scandalizing those present. Not only does he let the woman approach but he even forgives her sins, saying: "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little" (Lk 7:47). Jesus is the incarnation of the Living God, the one who brings life amid so many deeds of death, amid sin, selfishness and self-absorption. Jesus accepts, loves, uplifts, encourages, forgives, restores the ability to walk, gives back life. Throughout the Gospels we see how Jesus by his words and actions brings the transforming life of God. This was the experience of the woman who anointed the feet of the Lord with ointment: she felt understood, loved, and she responded by a gesture of love: she let herself be touched by God’s mercy, she obtained forgiveness and she started a new life. God, the Living One, is merciful. Do you agree? Let’s say it together: God, the Living One, is merciful! All together now: God, the Living One, is merciful. Once again: God, the Living One is merciful!

This was also the experience of the Apostle Paul, as we heard in the second reading: "The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20). What is this life? It is God’s own life. And who brings us this life? It is the Holy Spirit, the gift of the risen Christ. The Spirit leads us into the divine life as true children of God, as sons and daughters in the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Are we open to the Holy Spirit? Do we let ourselves be guided by him? Christians are "spiritual". This does not mean that we are people who live "in the clouds", far removed from real life, as if it were some kind of mirage. No! The Christian is someone who thinks and acts in everyday life according to God’s will, someone who allows his or her life to be guided and nourished by the Holy Spirit, to be a full life, a life worthy of true sons and daughters. And this entails realism and fruitfulness. Those who let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit are realists, they know how to survey and assess reality. They are also fruitful; their lives bring new life to birth all around them.

3. God is the Living One, the Merciful One; Jesus brings us the life of God; the Holy Spirit gives and keeps us in our new life as true sons and daughters of God. But all too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the "Gospel of Life" but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love – a new Tower of Babel. It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death. The wisdom of the Psalmist says: "The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes" (Ps 19:8). Let us always remember: the Lord is the Living One, he is merciful. The Lord is the Living One, he is merciful.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look to God as the God of Life, let us look to his law, to the Gospel message, as the way to freedom and life. The Living God sets us free! Let us say "Yes" to love and not selfishness. Let us say "Yes" to life and not death. Let us say "Yes" to freedom and not enslavement to the many idols of our time. In a word, let us say "Yes" to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints (cf. 1 Jn 4:8;Jn 11:2; Jn 8:32); let us say "Yes" to the God who is the Living One and the Merciful One. Only faith in the Living God saves us: in the God who in Jesus Christ has given us his own life by the gift of the Holy Spirit and has made it possible to live as true sons and daughters of God through his mercy. This faith brings us freedom and happiness. Let us ask Mary, Mother of Life, to help us receive and bear constant witness to the "Gospel of Life". Amen.

Friday, June 14, 2013

favorite Religious Orders for Men Pt. I

Oblates of the Virgin Mary (OMV)
St. Ignatius of Loyola Province 

Founded: 1826, Turin, Italy
Founder: Venerable Father Pio Lanteri

Nunc Cœpi – Now I begin…

“Even if I should fall a thousand times a day, a thousand times I will get up again and say Nunc Cœpi–Now I begin.” These words of the founder, Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri (1759-1830), capture the spirit and mission of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Father Lanteri lived in northern Italy in a time of great moral confusion and spiritual discouragement. He formed the Oblates to be both contemplatives and apostles, men of study, prayer, and compassionate pastors. Today, serving in nine countries around the world, the Oblates bring hope for a new beginning. This hope springs from five key attributes essential to Oblate Spirituality: Mercy, Mary, Fidelity, Discernment, and Zeal for souls in today’s world.

Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word (MFVA) 

Founded: 1987, Birmingham, Alabama 
Founder: Mother Angelica 

I. Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation (Mk 16:15). With this command, Jesus, the Eternal Word, commissioned His followers to be missionaries of the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). This commission extends to the whole Church … and the work of evangelization is a basic duty of the People of God (Ad Gentes, 35). Of prime importance, though not preeminent or exclusive, this commission is entrusted to Religious as being the most effective means for evangelization (Evangelii Nutuandi, 63). Pope Paul VI comments further that Religious embody the Church in her desire to give herself completely to the radical demand of the Beatitudes. By their lives they are a sign of total availability to God, the Church and the brethren.

II. The [Franciscan] Missionaries of the Eternal Word, by the grace of God and with the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi, will generously respond to our Lord’s command. The Community will primarily fulfill this mission by evangelizing Catholics who have left the Church. Pope Paul again comments: Today there is a very large number of baptized persons who … have not formally renounced their Baptism but who are entirely indifferent to it and not living in accord with it(Evangelii Nutuandi, 56). [Franciscan] Missionaries of the Eternal Word will strive to defend and explain the beauty and truth of the Catholic Faith to those who have left the “harbor of Truth” for whatever reason
The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word with Bishop Robert Baker in May 2012.
III. Such a mission requires support or pillars. Our two pillars are the Eucharist and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the mantle of the Magisterium of the Church. From the Eucharist we will draw from the fountain our strength, perseverance and inspiration. We will lead others back to Jesus, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, for He alone can lead us to the Father. Our Blessed Lady, Mother of the Eternal Word, is the surest and safest means to Jesus. She is the cause of our salvation. She, who brought the Truth into our world, longs to do so again into the hearts of men, especially in those who have wandered from the pillar and bulwark of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15). With these pillars and the continual assistance of St. Francis, we pray that we will bring countless souls back to Jesus, our Lord and God!

Alt textNorbertine Fathers of St. Michael's Abbey (O.Praem) 

Founded: 1961, Santa Ana, California 
Founder: Rt. Reverend Abbot Laudislaus Parker, O.Praem (+2010)  

Invited to regroup in California by Cardinal McIntyre in 1957, the priests started teaching high school in Santa Ana and helping in local Orange County parishes on Sundays. In December of 1958, Cardinal McIntyre gave his consent to erect a permanent monastic community and novitiate.

The priests were aware that they alone were free to carry on the religious and educational heritage of the mother abbey in Hungary. Using their savings, they purchased some property and opened St. Michael’s Junior Seminary and Novitiate in September of 1961.

When the school opened its doors, many young men entered the novitiate, and what would eventually become the Abbey community was begun. St. Michael’s formation community was greatly affected by the cultural upheavals both inside and outside of the Church in the 1960’s. Many young men entered the community, but few persevered. On the feast of St. Michael the Archangel in 1968, the Founding Fathers decided to take a public stand of loyalty to the Holy See and the Church’s tradition.

The priests realized that loyalty to the Church and the See of Peter would be the 
 ommunity’s salvation. This attitude embraced both old and new in the Church. Their policy became “not to reject what is good in the old, and to take what is good in the new.” They invited young men of like mind to enter the community to seek an authentic religious and priestly life. This stance has continued to bring in many new vocations.

In 1976, St. Michael’s became fully autonomous as an independent priory of the Order. In 1984, Rome approved the elevation of the community to abbatial status. At that time Fr. Ladislas K. Parker (1915-2010) was blessed as first Abbot of St. Michael’s Abbey. The community has continued to grow rapidly ever since. The abbey began with seven members in 1961, and now the community has 50 solemnly professed members and 21 seminarians.

Alt text
In 1995, the community elected Eugene J. Hayes as its second abbot. In 1996, the abbey established a foundation for cloistered, contemplative women in Tehachapi in the diocese of Fresno. The priests of the abbey provide daily pastoral care for the sisters in Tehachapi, and run two parishes in Southern California. Education remains the primary apostolate of the abbey.

Marians of the Immaculate Conception (MIC)
Mother of Mercy Provence

Founded:  1673, Skierniewice, Poland 
Founder:  Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński

The Marians are a Congregation of more than 500 priests and brothers in 19 countries around the world.

We support the Holy Father and embrace the official teachings of the Catholic Church in our

special calling to:

-Spread devotion to Mary as the Immaculate Conception.

-Offer our lives for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially the victims of war and disease.

-Operate publishing apostolates and assist where the need is greatest in parishes, shrines, schools and missions.

-Promote The Divine Mercy message and devotion.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Encyclical on Faith Almost Done

Pope Francis Says Upcoming Encyclical on Faith Is Nearly Complete
Meets with Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY, June 13, 2013 ( - This morning, Pope Francis met with members of the XIII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

Although he had prepared remarks, the Holy Father decided to forego his original statement, and engaged the members of the Council on several themes of the Synod which focused on the “New Evangelization for the transmission of the faith.”

The Holy Father also revealed that the upcoming Encyclical letter on the Year of Faith is nearly complete. Pope Francis stated that the encyclical was the work of “four hands”. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had handed over his draft of the encyclical which deals with several themes.

Among the themes are the nature of ecclesial collegiality and the synodal structure in the service of the Church's universal mission and in cooperation with the Petrine ministry, the crisis of the family, care for the created order, and the recovery of a whole and wholesome understanding of human being.

“It is an extremely powerful document,” Pope Francis said. “The majority of the work was done by him [Benedict XVI].”

“I felt that the Year of Faith would end without a good document that can help us,” the Pope said. “And so I thought this: an exhortation on the evangelization that references the Synod. It can be taken from the Synod but with a much broader framework. I liked the idea and I will go down this path. I have written something and in August, where I will be more relaxed at home, I can [continue writing] and go forward.”

The Holy Father also discussed several themes after giving the Bishops gathered an opportunity to raise any questions or suggestions. Among the matters discussed were the human ecology, anthropology. “We live in a new anthropology,” the Pope said. “where secularism has become secularization. This is a serious problem. In the plane of meeting with God, we are living in a gnostic age.”

The Holy Father addressed the crisis of the family, stating that it needs to be addressed by both the Church’s pastors and teachers working in tandem.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Statement of Archbishop Gomez on Immigration

June 10, 2013

Statement of Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Migration

This week the U.S. Senate begins a historic debate on immigration reform legislation. It is an important
time for our country. The outcome of this debate—and of the one to follow in the House of
Representatives—will impact the future of our nation in the twenty-first century and beyond.
The Catholic Church in America has an important stake in the outcome of this debate because we are an
immigrant church, and have grown with the country for over two hundred years. Each day in our
parishes, social service programs, hospitals, and schools we witness the human consequences of a
broken immigration system. Families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow
human beings die in the desert. Without positive change to our immigration laws, we cannot help our
brothers and sisters. Simply put, the status quo is morally unacceptable. This suffering must end.
Our nation has a stark choice. We can continue on our current path, which employs an immigration
system that does not serve the rule of law or the cause of human rights, or we can create a system
which honors both principles. We can maintain a system that fosters illegal behavior and undermines
the law, or fashion one that provides incentives for legal behavior and is based upon fairness and

Our nation must answer several questions.

Do we want a country with a permanent underclass, without the same rights as the majority?

Do we want to continue to separate children from parents, creating a generation of young U.S. citizens
who are suspicious and fearful of their government?

Do we want a nation that accepts the toil and taxes of undocumented workers without offering them
the protection of the law?

The answer to these questions, of course, is a resounding no.

I encourage our elected officials to move forward and debate immigration reform in a civil and
respectful way. The U.S. Catholic bishops are committed to working with them to enact humane
immigration reform legislation as soon as possible. In the end, the outcome of this debate will not only
affect our nation’s future—it will impact our soul. Thank you.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Daily Offering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and suffering of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world.
I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians;
I offer them for the intentions of our Bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

                                           Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

     "O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.
I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.
I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants."

Cardinal Raymond Burke on the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Read more:

Wasn't the Sacred Heart Devotion to Be the Last Opportunity?

Robert Stackpole Answers Your Divine Mercy Questions

By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Jun 5, 2013)
With Friday, June 7, being the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let me return to a question from a reader named Wendy that just happens to touch upon my favorite topic in the whole world: the Heart of Jesus!

Wendy wrote:
I learned about Divine Mercy a couple of years ago, and I really love this devotion. The bulletin at our Catholic Church had an article about another devotion, The Sacred Heart of Jesus, and it referenced the website While reading this website I saw this statement on the home page that is attributed to a saint: "This devotion was the last effort of His love that He would grant to men in these latter ages, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan ...". I believe this statement was made in the 1700s, but I know that St. Faustina received the message of the Divine Mercy in the 1930s. This has been bothering me. How can they say that the Sacred Heart devotion was to be the last opportunity to turn to Jesus, when St. Faustina received her message almost 300 years later? Thank you in advance for any insight you can provide on this.

A special thank you from me to Wendy for this question. My doctoral thesis in Rome was on devotion to the Heart of Jesus, and my first book for Marian Press (just recently gone out of print) had a chapter entitled "The Sacred Heart and The Divine Mercy" in which I discussed the close relationship between these two, beautiful and central themes of Catholic spirituality. Your question gives me just the excuse I need to quote portions of that chapter here for my readers!

But first, an answer to your specific question. There may be a mistake in translation. The quote on the website is from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and in my thesis I quoted the very same passage from her Autobiography, where she says: "This devotion [to the Sacred Heart] was a last resort of His love which wished to favour men in these last centuries with His loving redemption, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan ..." (The Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary. Rockford, IL: TAN, 1986, pp. 106-107).

Notice: "a last resort," not "the last effort." There seems to be a difference in the two translations from the French original here. I don't have the original French version in front of me, but it is possible that the TAN translation is more accurate, in which case our Lord did not tell St. Margaret Mary that the spread of the devotion to the Sacred Heart is His last big effort to save the world, but "a" last resort — in other words, one among other things He is doing as a last effort to rescue us.

However, let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that our Lord really did tell this saint that the spread of devotion to His Heart was His last major effort to defeat Satan's hold on the world. Would that mean that devotion to His Divine Mercy is nothing more than a "sideshow"? No, because devotion to His Merciful Love and devotion to His Loving Heart, I would argue, are inseparable! Devotion to The Divine Mercy is but a further development, an unfolding of the spirituality of the Heart of Jesus. As St. Faustina herself once wrote: "The Love of God is the flower — Mercy the fruit" (Diary, 948).

Think of it this way: in Sr. Faustina we find a holy soul completely devoted to the Heart of Jesus, but in a new way. As she recorded in her Diary:
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You! (entry 84)

He brought me into such close intimacy with Himself that my heart was espoused to His Heart in a loving union, and I could feel the faintest stir of His Heart, and He of mine. The fire of my created love was joined with the ardor of His eternal love. (1056)

O my Jesus, each of your saints reflects one of your virtues; I desire to reflect Your compassionate Heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let Your Mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life. (1242)

On several occasions Christ Himself emphasized that His Heart is the source of Divine Mercy for the world:
My daughter, know that My Heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached Me has ever gone away unconsoled. All misery gets buried in the depths of My mercy, and every saving and sanctifying grace flows from this fountain. (1777)

In another passage in her Diary, St. Faustina poured out her soul in adoration of the living Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist:
O living Host, my one and only strength, fountain of love and mercy, embrace the whole world, and fortify faint souls. Oh, blessed be the instant and the moment when Jesus left us His most merciful Heart. (223)

Clearly, for St. Faustina, the center of her life, her first love, was the Merciful Heart of Jesus. Her devotion was to the Sacred Heart, but focused on the merciful love that flows to us from His Heart.

Now, all of this leads to an obvious question: What is the proper relationship between these two devotions, these two streams of Heart-spirituality in the Church, namely, the devotion to the Sacred Heart and the devotion to The Divine Mercy? Are they in competition with each other for the allegiance of the faithful? Is there room in the Church for both? Is there anyneed in the Church for both?

On the one hand, some Catholics seem to feel that devotion to the Sacred Heart is enough — that there is no need for this new devotion to The Divine Mercy because it largely duplicates what we have already been given in the Sacred Heart tradition. At the other extreme, some Catholics seem to feel there is no longer any need for the traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart; now that we have the "new and improved" version, so to speak, in devotion to The Divine Mercy and to the Merciful Heart of Jesus, we can just let the old Sacred Heart traditions, such as the First Friday Communions and the images of the Sacred Heart, fade away quietly and be forgotten.

The truth is, however, that saints, visionaries, and several popes have seen these two things — The Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart — as so closely bound up with each other as to be absolutely inseparable. Thus, the Church needs both the traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart, and the newer devotion to The Divine Mercy, alive and well among the faithful.

Saint John Eudes (1601-1680), for example, was the pioneer of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Heart. But in his "Meditations for the Feast of the Sacred Heart," we find the following, revealing passage entitled "The Divine Mercy should be the Object of our Very Special Devotion":
Of all the divine perfections mirrored in the Sacred Heart of our Savior we should have a very special devotion to divine mercy and we should endeavor to engrave its image on our heart.

Similarly, consider the visions and locutions (allegedly) received by Sr. Josefa Menendez in the 1920s, recorded for us in a beautiful little book entitled The Way of Divine Love. The whole book is a tender expression of devotion to the Sacred Heart. However, Jesus also explained to her that the message of the merciful love of His Heart must be proclaimed to all people. She recorded the words of our Lord as follows:
How often in the course of the ages have I, in one way or another, made known my love for men: I have shown them how ardently I desire their salvation. I have revealed my Heart to them. This devotion has been as light cast over the whole earth, and today is a powerful means of gaining souls, and so of extending My kingdom.

Now I want something more, for if I long for love in response to My own, this is not the only return I desire from souls: I want them all to have confidence in My mercy, to expect all from my clemency, and never to doubt my readiness to forgive.

This is what I wish all to know. I will teach sinners that the mercy of My Heart is inexhaustible. Let the callous and indifferent know that My Heart is a fire which will enkindle them, because I love them ... above all that they should trust Me, and never doubt My mercy. It is so easy to trust completely in My Heart! ...

My Heart is not only an abyss of love; it is also an abyss of mercy.

In addition to the saints and visionaries who have seen the Sacred Heart of Jesus as inseparable from His Divine Mercy, two of the popes of the twentieth century have explicitly taught the same thing. In his encyclical on the Sacred Heart,Haurietis Aquas (1956), Pope Pius XII wrote:
Christ our Lord, exposing His Sacred Heart, wished in a quite extraordinary way to invite the minds of men to a contemplation of, and devotion to, the mystery of God's merciful love for the human race. In this special manifestation Christ pointed to His Heart, with definite and repeated words, as the symbol by which men should be attracted to a knowledge and recognition of His love; and at the same time He established it as a sign or pledge of mercy and grace for the needs of the Church and our times.

A similar teaching can be found in the encyclical Dives in Misericordia of Pope John Paul II. He tells us of the centrality of the Heart of Jesus in revealing God's mercy:
The Church seems in a special way to profess the mercy of God and to venerate it when she directs herself to the Heart of Christ. In fact, it is precisely this drawing close to Christ in the mystery of His Heart which enables us to dwell on ... the merciful love of the Father, which constituted the central content of the messianic mission of the Son of Man.

In short, according to saints, visionaries and popes, we need to be devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and, at the same time, to have a special devotion to the Divine Mercy that flows to us from His Heart. And the reason for this is simple: Jesus has only one Heart! His Sacred Heart is His Merciful Heart — they are one and the same. The Sacred Heart overflows with Merciful Love for us, and that is why, in principle at least, these two devotions are inseparable.

Think of it this way: The human heart is the symbol of the deepest mystery of a person. When we talk about someone's heart, we are talking about what really "makes him tick," what the person really, deep down, thinks and feels and desires. As the Catechism tells us in no. 2563:
The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart, and know it fully.

Again, our heart is the deepest mystery of our person; it is our "hidden center," from which most of what we think and do and say proceeds.

According to the Bible, some people are cold-hearted, or hard-hearted; they have hearts of "stone" (e.g. Ez 11:19). The mystery of the Heart of Jesus, however, has been revealed to us through the gospels, and beautifully expressed in His apparitions to St. Margaret Mary. Whatever we may say about other human hearts, this person, Jesus of Nazareth, has a Heart that is aflame with love, love for His heavenly Father and love for us.

That is why He showed His physical Heart to St. Margaret Mary as flaming with fire, surmounted by a cross, and pierced and surrounded by thorns. All of these were clear signs and symbols that this Heart — the person of Jesus Christ — is pure love: the Sacred Heart of Jesus as all love and all lovable.

Our task in the devotion to the Sacred Heart is to return love for love: by the grace and fire of His Holy Spirit, to love our Lord back for all of His infinite, generous, and tender love for us.

However, there is another way we can view the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Saint Catherine of Siena put it best back in the Middle Ages that God's love always crosses a bridge of mercy to reach us. In other words, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is all love, but the form that love takes when it reaches out to human beings is merciful love. For mercy is compassionate love; mercy is love that seeks to overcome and relieve all the miseries of others. Saint Thomas Aquinas defined "mercy" as "the compassion in our hearts for another person's misery, a compassion which drives us to do what we can to help him" (Summa Theologiae, II-II. 30.1). Divine Mercy, therefore, is the form that our Lord's love for us takes when He meets our need and our brokenness. Whatever the name of our misery may be — sin, guilt, suffering, or death — the Heart of Jesus is always ready to pour out His merciful, compassionate love for us, to help in time of need.

In fact, God's love for His creatures always takes the form of merciful love. As we read in the Psalms (25:10), "all the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth;" and again (145:9), "His tender mercies are over all His works." When He created the world ex nihilo, therefore, and holds it in being at every moment, it is an act of merciful love: His merciful love overcoming the potential nothingness, the possible non-existence of all things. When the divine Son became incarnate and dwelt among us, that was an act of merciful love, too: His merciful love in sharing our lot, showing us the way to the Father, and making the perfect offering for our sins. When He sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts to refresh and sanctify us, that too is His merciful love: His merciful love pouring into our hearts the power to grow in faith, hope, and love, and to serve Him with joy. Psalm 135 says it best; while celebrating all the works of the Lord in creation and redemption, the psalm bears the constant refrain: "for His mercy endures for ever."

It was St. Catherine of Siena who summed up for us the centrality of the merciful love of God for us in her famous book The Dialogue (section 30):
By your mercy we were created. And by your mercy we were created anew in your Son's blood. It is your mercy that preserves us ...

Your mercy is life-giving. It is the light in which both the upright and sinners discover your goodness. Your mercy shines forth in your saints in the height of heaven. And if I turn to the earth, your mercy is everywhere. Even in the darkness of hell your mercy shines, for you do not punish the damned as much as they deserve.

You temper your justice with mercy. In mercy you cleansed us in the blood; in mercy you kept company with your creatures. O mad lover! It was not enough for you to take on our humanity: You had to die as well! Nor was death enough: You descended to the depths to summon our holy ancestors and fulfill your truth and mercy in them ...

I see your mercy pressing you to give us even more when you leave yourself with us as food to strengthen our weakness ... Every day you give us this food, showing us yourself in the sacrament of the altar within the mystic body of holy Church. And what has done this? Your mercy.

O mercy! My heart is engulfed with the thought of you! For wherever I turn my thoughts I find nothing but mercy! (25)

In short, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is perfectly loving — divine, human, and affectionate love all at once — and therefore all lovable. But whenever the love of His Heart reaches out to us — to our nothingness, our brokenness, our woundedness, and our need — that love always takes the form of merciful, compassionate love. Therefore, at the center of our devotional life — our "first love" — should be the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart overflows with mercy and compassion for us, and that is what makes devotion to the Heart of Jesus and devotion to His Divine Mercy, in principle, absolutely inseparable. …

I guess you can tell by the length of this week's answer that I love this topic! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Statement of the Bishops on New York Abortion Bill

Today I joined my brother bishops of New York State in releasing a statement to the press regarding the New York State abortion bill.
Here is the press release:
The following is a statement of Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops of New York State:
We are profoundly distressed by the introduction of a bill in New York State today that would ease restrictions in state law on late-term abortion and runs the serious risk of broadly expanding abortion access at all stages of gestation. This legislation would add a broad and undefined “health” exception for late-term abortion and would repeal the portion of the penal law that governs abortion policy, opening the door for non-doctors to perform abortions and potentially decriminalizing even forced or coerced abortions. In addition, we find the conscience protection in the bill to be vague and insufficient, and we are concerned about the religious liberty of our health facilities. While the bill’s proponents say it will simply “codify” federal law, it is selective in its codification. Nowhere does it address the portions of federal laws that limit abortion, such as the ban on taxpayer funding, the ban on partial birth abortion or protections for unborn victims of violence.
As the pastors of more than 7.2 million Catholic New Yorkers, we fully oppose this measure, and urge all our faithful people to do the same, vigorously and unapologetically. We invite all women and men of good will to join in this effort and defeat this serious attempt to expand abortion availability in our state and to codify the most radical abortion proposals of any state in the nation.
We support the first nine points in the Governor’s agenda that enhance the true dignity of women. We commit ourselves to examining those proposals and working with the legislature on any and all efforts that help guarantee real equity for all women and men.  Our position on these issues will be consistent with all the efforts of the Catholic Church throughout the world to enhance the dignity of women. The direct taking of the life of a child in the womb in no way enhances a woman’s dignity.
Instead of expanding abortion and making abortions even more prevalent, we would like to protect both the woman and the child in the womb. In New York, where one in every three pregnancies ends in abortion (and upwards of 6 in 10 in certain communities), it is clear that we as a state have lost sight of that child’s dignity. We pledge all our efforts to defeat this proposal. We call on all pro-life New Yorkers to stand together with us and with all the leadership in Albany who share our conviction that we have no need for such a bill to become law. We need instead to enhance and promote the life and dignity of all human beings from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blessed Pope John XXIII- Saint of the Week

Blessed Pope John XXIII
(Papacy from 1958-1963)

Obedientia et Pax

260TH Successor of St. Peter, Initiator of Vatican II Council, Promoter of Ecumenical dialogue and world peace.   Died  June 3, 1963 AD  

Pope Francis Speak on His 50TH Death Anniversary:  

Dear friends of the Diocese of Bergamo,

I am pleased to welcome you here, at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, in this place that is home to every Catholic. I affectionately greet your Pastor, Bishop Francesco Beschi, and thank him for the kind words he addressed to me on behalf of all.

Exactly fifty years ago, just at this moment, Blessed John XXIII left this world. Those who, like me, [are of] a certain age, retain a vivid memory of the commotion that spread everywhere in those days: St. Peter’s Square had become a sanctuary in the open, day and night welcoming the faithful of all ages and social conditions, in trepidation and prayer for the Pope's health. The whole world had recognized in Pope John a pastor and a father: a shepherd because [he was] father. What made him such? How could he reach the hearts of so many different people, even many non-Christians? To answer this question, we can refer to his episcopal motto, oboedientia et pax: obedience and peace. “These words,” noted the then-Archbishop Roncalli on the eve of his episcopal ordination, “are [in a way] my story and my life.” (Journal of a Soul, retreat in preparation for consecration as bishop, 13-17 March 1925).

I would like to begin from peace, because this is the most obvious aspect – that, which people perceived in Pope John: Angelo Roncalli was a man who was able to communicate peace; a natural, serene, friendly, peace; a peace that, with his election to the Pontificate, was manifested to all the world and [came to be called his] ‘goodness’. This was undoubtedly a hallmark of his personality, which enabled him to build strong friendships everywhere and in particular that stood out in his ministry as Representative of the Pope, which he carried out for nearly three decades, often in contact with environments and worlds far removed from that Catholic universe in which he was born and formed. It was in those environments that he proved an effective weaver of relationships and a good promoter of unity, inside and outside the Church community, open to dialogue with Christians of other Churches, with members of the Jewish and Muslim [traditions] and with many other men of good will. In fact, Pope John conveyed peace because he had a mind deeply at peace, the fruit of a long and challenging work on himself, an effort that has left abundant traces in [his autobiography], Journal of a Soul. There we can see the seminarian, the priest, the bishop Roncalli struggling with the path to the gradual purification of the heart. We see him, day by day, careful to recognize and mortify the desires that come from his own selfishness, careful to discern the inspirations of the Lord, allowing himself to be guided by wise spiritual directors and inspired by masters such as Saint Francis de Sales and St. Charles Borromeo. Reading those writings, we truly see a soul taking shape, under the action of the Holy Spirit working in His Church.

Here, then, we come to the second and decisive word: “obedience.” If peace was the outward hallmark, obedience constituted for [Pope John] the inner disposition: obedience, in fact, was the instrument with which to achieve peace. Firstly, [obedience] meant to [Pope John] something very simple and concrete: performing that service in the Church, which his superiors asked of him, without seeking anything for himself, with no escape from anything that was required of him, even when it meant leaving his homeland, dealing with worlds unknown to him, remaining for many years in places where the presence of Catholics was very scarce. This willingness to be led, like a child, built his priestly path, of which you are well aware: from secretary of Bishop Radini Tedeschi and at the same time teacher and spiritual father in the diocesan seminary; to [his service as] Papal Representative in Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, France; [his election as] Shepherd of the Venetian Church, and finally as Bishop of Rome. Through this obedience, the priest and bishop Roncalli, however, also lived a more profound faithfulness, which could be called, as he would say, abandonment to Divine Providence. He always recognized, in faith, that through that path of life apparently driven by others, led by their tastes or on the basis of their own spiritual sensitivity, God was designing a project of His own.

Even more profoundly, through this daily abandonment to the will of God, the future Pope John lived a purification, which allowed him to detach himself completely from himself, and to adhere to Christ, thus allowing the holiness to emerge, which the Church has [now] officially recognized. Jesus tells us, “Whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Lk 9:24)” Here is the true wellspring of Pope John’s, of the peace that he sowed throughout the world. Here is the root of his holiness: in this, his evangelical obedience.

This, then, is a lesson for all of us, and also for the Church of our time. If we let ourselves be led by the Holy Spirit, if we mortify our selfishness to make room for the love of the Lord and to His will, then we will find peace, then we will be builders of peace and peace will spread around us. Fifty years after his death, the wise and fatherly guidance of Pope John, his love for the Church’s tradition and awareness of the constant need of renovation, the prophetic intuition of the convocation of the II Vatican Council and the offering of his life for its success, remain as milestones in the history of the Church of the twentieth century and as a beacon of light for the journey that lies ahead.

Dear people of Bergamo, you are rightly proud of the “Good Pope”, a shining example of faith and virtues for whole generations of Christians from your land. Keep his spirit, continue to deepen the study of his life and his writings, but above all, imitate his holiness. From heaven, may he continue to accompany with love your Church, which he so loved in life, and may he obtain for her from the Lord the gift of many holy priests, vocations to religious and missionary life, as well as to family life and for lay commitment [to service] in the Church and in the world. Thank you for your visit! I cordially bless you.