Sunday, October 27, 2013

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of October 27, 2013

Catholic Charities. Providing Help. Creating Hope. 

VISION: Believing in the presence of God in our midst, we proclaim the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the person by sharing in the mission of Jesus given to the Church. To this end, Catholic Charities works with individuals, families, and communities to help them meet their needs, address their issues, eliminate oppression, and build a just and compassionate society.

MISSION: Rooted in the Mission of the Diocese of Youngstown "to minister to the people in the six counties of northeastern Ohio . . .(and) to the world community", we are called to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.

GOALS: Catholic Charities is devoted to helping meet basic human needs, strengthening families, building communities and empowering low-income people. Working to reduce poverty in half by 2020.

KEY VALUE: Hospitality

WHAT WE DO: Organizing Love. "As a community, the Church must practise love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community" (Deus Caritas Est, par. 20) 

On Sunday, (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time )  we read from the Gospel of Luke regarding Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector.  Both pray before God; one acclaims his goodness; the other begs for God’s mercy and recognizes his sinfulness.  Jesus proclaims that “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  We read in the first reading from Sirach that God hears the cries of the poor and oppressed and that the “prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.”  We are called to recognize our own unworthiness and ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness, and we are challenged to be like God, who is a “God of justice...and is not deaf to the wails of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint.”

Catholic Charities  ( works to provide relief and help, in the name of the Church, to all those who are poor, oppressed and in need.  Catholic Charities continues to work with elderly persons -- especially widows, children, young families and immigrants to help them remain safe in the knowledge that God loves them and that the Church continues to provide material and spiritual help to those who need it. Your gift to the  Annual Bishop’s Appeal for Catholic Charities and Church ( enables the Church to reach out and bring God’s merciful love to each and every person.  Thanks.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

POPE FRANCIS:  On Mary, Model of Faith, Charity and Union with Christ

Vatican City, October 23, 2013 ( |

Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s continuing catechesis on the Church in the Year of Faith during his weekly General Audience at St. Peter’s Square.

* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Continuing the catechesis on the Church, today I would like to look at Mary as image and model of the Church. I do so taking up an expression of Vatican Council II. The Constitution Lumen Gentium says: “As Saint Ambrose already taught, the Mother of God is figure of the Church in the order of faith, of charity and of perfect union with Christ” (No. 63).
We begin with the first aspect, Mary as model of faith. In what sense does Mary represent a model for the faith of the Church? Let us think who the Virgin Mary was: a Jewish girl, who awaited with her whole heart the redemption of her people. But in the heart of that young daughter of Israel there was a secret which she herself did not yet know: in the design of God’s love she was destined to become the Mother of the Redeemer.
In the Annunciation, God’s Messenger called her “full of grace” and reveals this plan to her. Mary answers “yes” and from that moment Mary’s faith received a new light: she concentrates on Jesus, Son of God who has taken flesh from her, in which the promises are fulfilled of the whole history of salvation. Mary’s faith is the fulfillment of Israel’s faith, in Her the entire way, the entire path of that people awaiting redemption is concentrated, and in this sense it is the model of the faith of the Church, which has Christ as center, incarnation of God’s infinite love.
How did Mary live this faith? In the simplicity of the thousands of daily occupations and preoccupations of every mother, such as providing food, clothes, the care of the home … In fact this normal existence of Our Lady was the terrain where a singular relationship took place and a profound dialogue between her and God, between her and her Son. Mary’s “yes,” already perfect at the beginning, grew up to the hour of the Cross. There her maternity was dilated embracing each one of us, our life, to lead us to her Son. Mary always lived immersed in the mystery of God made man, as his first and perfect disciple, meditating everything in her heart in the light of the Holy Spirit, to understand and put into practice the whole will of God.
Let us ask ourselves: do we let ourselves be illuminated by the faith of Mary our Mother? Or do we think of her as far away, too different from us? In moments of difficulty, of trial, of darkness, do we look at her as model of trust in God, who wills always and only our good? Let us think about this, maybe it will do us well to find Mary as a model and figure of the Church in this faith that she had.
We come to the second aspect: Mary model of charity. In what way is Mary a living example of love for the Church? We think of her willingness in her assistance to her cousin Elizabeth. Visiting her, the Virgin Mary did not only take her material help, this also, but she took Jesus, who was already living in her womb. To take Jesus to that home meant to take joy, the fullness of joy. Elizabeth and Zechariah were happy because of the pregnancy that seemed impossible at their age, but it is young Mary who takes to them the fullness of joy, that which comes from Jesus and from the Holy Spirit and is expressed in gratuitous charity, in sharing, in helping one another, in understanding each other.
Our Lady also wants to bring to us, to all, the great gift that is Jesus; and with Him she brings his love, his peace, his joy. Thus the Church is like Mary, the Church is not a business, it is not a humanitarian agency, the Church is not an NGO, the Church is sent to bring Christ and his Gospel; it does not bring itself - whether it is small, large, strong, weak, the Church brings Jesus and should be like Mary when went to visit Elizabeth. What did Mary bring? Jesus. The Church brings Jesus: this is the center of the Church, to bring Jesus! If, hypothetically, the Church at one time does not bring Jesus, that would be a dead Church! The Church should bring the charity of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the charity of Jesus.  
We spoke of Mary, of Jesus. And us? We that are the Church? What love do we take to others? Is it the love of Jesus that shares, that forgives, that accompanies, or is it a watered down love, like watered down wine that resembles water? Is it a strong love, or so weak that it follows sympathies, that seeks an exchange, a love with interests. Another question: does Jesus like love with  interests? No, he does not like it, because love must be  free, like His. How are relations in our parishes, in our communities? Do we treat one another as brothers and sisters? Or do we judge one another, speak badly of each other, each caring for their own turf, or do we care one for another. These are questions of charity!
And, briefly, a last aspect: Mary is model of union with Christ. The life of the Holy Virgin was the life of a woman of her people: she prayed, worked, went to the synagogue … However, every action was always carried out in perfect union with Jesus. This union reached its climax on Calvary: here Mary unites herself to her Son in the martyrdom of the heart and in the offering of life to the Father for the salvation of humanity. Our Lady made her own the pain of her Son and with Him accepted the Father’s will, in that obedience that bears fruit, which gives the true victory over evil and death.
This reality that Mary teaches us is very beautiful: to be always united to Jesus. We can ask ourselves: do we remember Jesus only when something is not going well or when we are in need, or is our relationship constant, a profound friendship, also when it is a question of following him on the way of the cross?
Let us ask the Lord to give us the gift of his grace, his strength, so that in our life and in the life of every ecclesial community the model is reflected of Mary, Mother of the Church. So be it!

Some important date(s) this week:

See website for biographies of Saints and Blessed celebrated this week.


Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program stresses the value and dignity of human life. It is observed in the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. Respect Life Program resources for 2013-14 may be found at

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1.  Solemnity of All Saints

The earliest certain observance of a feast in honor of all the saints is an early fourth-century commemoration of "all the martyrs." In the early seventh century, after successive waves of invaders plundered the catacombs, Pope Boniface IV gathered up some 28 wagonloads of bones and re-interred them beneath the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods. The pope rededicated the shrine as a Christian church. According to Venerable Bede, the pope intended "that the memory of all the saints might in the future be honored in the place which had formerly been dedicated to the worship not of gods but of demons" (On the Calculation of Time).

But the rededication of the Pantheon, like the earlier commemoration of all the martyrs, occurred in May. Many Eastern Churches still honor all the saints in the spring, either during the Easter season or immediately after Pentecost.

How the Western Church came to celebrate this feast, now recognized as a solemnity, in November is a puzzle to historians. The Anglo-Saxon theologian Alcuin observed the feast on November 1 in 800, as did his friend Arno, Bishop of Salzburg. Rome finally adopted that date in the ninth century.


This feast,  first honored martyrs. Later, when Christians were free to worship according to their conscience, the Church acknowledged other paths to sanctity. In the early centuries the only criterion was popular acclaim, even when the bishop's approval became the final step in placing a commemoration on the calendar. The first papal canonization occurred in 993; the lengthy process now required to prove extraordinary sanctity took form in the last 500 years. Today's feast honors the obscure as well as the famous—the saints each of us have known.


“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.... [One of the elders] said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:9,14).


The 2012 First Step for Change Campaign was our most successful collection to date.  Can you help us do even better in the 2013 Campaign?  
The First Step for Change Campaign raises funds used to purchase food, formula, diapers, wipes, a limited numbers of cribs, car seats and other items for the low-income pregnant women and families in Catholic Charities’ First Step Programs.  In 2012, Catholic Charities’ First Step programs in the Diocese of Youngstown served 4,435 people.
To help ensure the success of this year’s campaign, please contact Nikole Baringer at or 330-744-8451, ext. 323.  Feel free to visit our website for more information or to obtain a participation form

USCCB Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking you to urge your member of the House of Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation that reflects our Catholic values.  You can join the U.S. Catholic Bishops in this effort by sending an electronic postcard to Washington, DC that asks your Representative to pass just and compassionate immigration reform legislation.  We are asking that you consider contacting your Congressional Representative.  The postcard and more information can be found at  You can also write directly to your Congressional Representative by visiting for more information.

A Prayer For The People Of Syria

Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.
O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

For the people of Syria, that God may strengthen the resolve of leaders to end  the fighting and choose a future of peace.
We pray to the Lord…

[This prayer is adapted from Catholics Confront Global Poverty. . . , a collaborative effort of USCCB and Catholic Relief Services;]

2013 Annual Bishop’s Appeal for Catholic Charities and Church.  

The in Church/parish appeal is now underway.  Please consider a gift to help support the work of Catholic Charities and other ministries of the Diocese of Youngstown


People in Despair. That those feeling so crushed by life that they wish to end it may sense the nearness of God's love.
World Mission Day. That the celebration of World Mission Day may help all Christians realize that we are not only receivers but proclaimers of God's word.

Suffering Priests. That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity.
Latin American Churches. That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches.

Corporal Works of Mercy:  The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor

  1. Feed the hungry
  2. Give drink to the thirsty
  3. Clothe the naked
  4. Shelter the homeless
  5. Visit the sick
  6. Visit those in prison
  7. Bury the dead

Note: Please consider joining our

for current updates and calls to action that we can all use. 

See our website at for links to the our ministries and services.    
For more information on Catholic Social Doctrine and its connection to our ministries, visit my blog at:

No comments: