Sunday, March 3, 2013

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of March 3, 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, ( Third Sunday in Lent    we read from the Gospel of  Luke about Jesus telling a parable about the fig tree; the owner saw no good fruit produced from it and wanted it destroyed.  The garden keeper, on the other hand, wanted to try to cultivate it -- give it another chance.  We are left wondering whether in fact the fig tree was ultimately kept or not.  Hearing these Scripture readings for today we are reminded that our God is a God rich in mercy and with filled with compassion and forgiveness.  We know that God is the God of the Living and calls each of us to know God intimately.  We are called to repent, re-focus, and come back to God knowing in all confidence that God will welcome us with open arms:  like that gardener always looking for another chance.

Catholic Charities  ( aims to help bring persons, families and communities back to life -- giving people another chance.  Many times persons and families visit us for immediate basic human needs.  Some have made good decisions regarding their situation; others may have made an error or two.  But as they come to Catholic Charities our hope is to help them regain their footing and be able to flourish, like the fig tree.  There have been times when some have asked why we help certain persons and families who may have made some errors in judgment; do they deserve our help?  Like the garden keeper in the story of the fig tree, we are called upon to cultivate others, especially those in need, so that they too may grow and bear great fruit.  Like in the Gospel, we do not know the conclusion of that story -- so too we never know what a small chance from Catholic Charities can mean to a person lost, struggling and in need.  Thanks for your constant support to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal for Catholic Charities and Church (  Through those efforts, we give persons, families and communities hope that they too will flourish in God’s love.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten Message

Pope Benedict: 'The Lord is Calling Me To 'Scale the Mountain''

Hundreds of Thousands Gather in St. Peter's Square for Pontiff's Final Angelus Address

Vatican City, February 25, 2013 ( Junno Arocho Esteves |

An estimated 200,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the final Angelus address of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. Greeted by cheers and songs, the Holy Father th
anked the faithful for their affection. Pope Benedict will officially resign from the See of St. Peter this Thursday at 8:00pm.
Speaking on . . .the Lord's transfiguration, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the significance of Jesus' transfiguration while he was praying.

"Jesus’ [prayer] is a profound experience of his relationship with the Father during a kind of spiritual retreat on a high mountain together with Peter, James, and John, the 3 disciples who are always present in the moments of the Master’s divine manifestations," the Holy Father said.

Pope Benedict went on to emphasize the importance of prayer, saying that without it, any work of the "apostolate and charity is reduced to activism."
"Moreover, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wished to do on Tabor. Prayer, rather, leads us back to the journey, to action. 'The Christian life,' I wrote in my Message for this Lent, 'consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love.'
The Holy Father spoke on his impending retirement, saying that the Word of God addresses him in a particular, to which the faithful responded with applause.

"The Lord is calling me to “scale the mountain,” to dedicate myself still more to prayer and to meditation," the Pope said. "But this does not mean abandoning the Church – on the contrary, if God asks this of me, it is to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so hitherto, but in a way that is more adapted to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she help us always to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and in active charity."
Eyes Fixed on Christ

Addressing the English speaking pilgrims who were present, Pope Benedict conveyed his "gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer" since announcing his retirement on February 11th.

"As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Redeemer, whose glory was revealed on the mount of the Transfiguration. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings!" the Pope said.

Concluding his address, Pope Benedict XVI again thanked the pilgrims, and called on the faithful to continue to pray for him and the Church.
"I thank you for the affection and for sharing, especially in prayer, this important moment for me and for the Church. I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good week. Thank you! We are always close in prayer," the Holy Father said.
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On ZENIT's web page:
For the full text of Pope Benedict's Final Angelus Address, go to:

Some important date(s) this week:

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

FRIDAY MARCH 8.  St. John of God   (1495-1550)

Having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa, where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.

He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of St. John of Avila (May 10), he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.
Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by St. John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.

He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.

Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, now a worldwide religious order.

John became ill after 10 years of service but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. He died under the care of a spiritual friend and admirer, Lady Ana Ossorio.



CRS Rice Bowl brings Lent to life.

CRS Rice Bowl is a Lenten faith formation program that helps us to live in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable around the world.
We pray to reflect on what type of person we are called to be.
We fast to remove the things that get between us and God, and to remember those without enough to eat.
We give to honor Jesus’ call to serve those in need.

Twenty five percent of the Rice Bowl collection remain in the Diocese to fund Catholic Charities and various parish efforts to feed the hungry.  Seventy five percent goes to CRS for their work in global food security.

MARCH 2013
Respect for Nature. That respect for nature may grow with the awareness that all creation is God's work entrusted to human responsibility.

Clergy. That bishops, priests, and deacons may be tireless messengers of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

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:

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