Sunday, April 14, 2013

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of April 14, 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 of Easter  we read from the Gospel of  John about Jesus’ third appearance to the Apostles after the resurrection.  In this encounter, Jesus tells the fishermen to trust him, and re-cast their nets since they had caught nothing earlier.  They recognized Jesus and came ashore, where He had prepared breakfast for them.  Jesus -- now resurrected -- continues to model His loving service by preparing and sharing a meal with His disciples.  Then Jesus asked Peter, three times, if he loved Him.  Peter, recalling his threefold failure on Good Friday, almost brought to tears, tells Jesus of his love. Jesus calls Peter to follow Him, and be a new type of fisherman -- go out into the world and tell the Good News.  I had the privilege of visiting the site on the Sea of Galilee recognized as this spot of Encounter while I journeyed with Catholic Charities USA ( and Catholic Relief Services (, along with Caritas Jerusalem (, in the Holy Land this past January.  At that spot, we read that passage from the Gospel of St. John about the casting of the nets, the calling of the fishermen, the third encounter with the Risen Christ, and Peter and Jesus’ moment of reconciliation.  It remains a powerful memory and has helped me renew my spirit, knowing the the Risen Christ is truly among us, and provides abundant love.

Catholic Charities  ( continues to provide that place for all to come for help and support.  We know that sometimes persons and families may make bad choices (sometimes, we may make not so good choices too) and find themselves in a trap or feel alone and afraid.  But like the Apostles, who did not know the direction that they would take once Jesus was taken away, the Gospel story for today reminds us that Jesus has indeed Risen, and that we are called to be joyful knowing that God loves us and wants us to be with Him.  Catholic Charities is that concrete expression of the Church that provides that abundant love, in Jesus’ name, to each person who comes to our door.   Thanks to your constant support to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal for Catholic Charities and Church ( we continue to give persons, families and communities the peace and healing that they need and can share.  

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

Pope Francis:  General Audience, April 10, 2013:  On Christ’s Resurrection

Vatican City, (

Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave during the general audience held in St. Peter's Square. He took up again the cycle of catechesis dedicated to the Year of Faith.

* * *
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! In the last Catechesis we focused on the event of the resurrection of Jesus, in which women played a special role. Today I would like to reflect on the event's salvific significance. What does the resurrection mean for our lives? And why is our faith in vain without it?

Our faith is based on the death and resurrection of Christ, just as a house rests on foundations: if these give way, the whole house collapses. On the cross, Jesus offered himself, taking upon himself our sins and descending into the abyss of death, and in the Resurrection he conquers, he takes [our sins] away and opens the path for us to be reborn to a new life. St. Peter expresses this succinctly at the beginning of his First Letter, as we heard: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading" (1:3-4).

The Apostle tells us that with the resurrection of Jesus, something absolutely new happens: we are freed from the slavery of sin and become God's children, we are generated, thus, to a new life. When is this realized for us? In the sacrament of Baptism. In ancient times, it was usually performed by immersion. The person to be baptized descended into the large basin in the baptistery, taking off his clothes, and the bishop or priest poured water three times over his head, baptizing him in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Then the baptized person came out of the baptismal font and put on the new, white garment: this signified that he was born to a new life, by immersing himself in the death and resurrection of Christ. He had become a son of God. St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans writes: you have received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba! Father!”(Rom 8:15).  It is the Spirit that we have received in baptism that teaches us, it urges us, to say to God: “Father”, or better, “Abba!”, which means “dad”. This is our God: He is a dad for us. The Holy Spirit produces in us this new condition of being sons of God. And this is the greatest gift that we receive from the Paschal mystery of Jesus. And God treats us as children, He understands us, forgives us, embraces us and loves us even when we make mistakes. Already in the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah said that even if a mother could forget her child, God never forgets us, ever (cf. 49:15). And this is beautiful!

However, this filial relationship with God is not like a treasure that we store in a corner of our lives, but has to grow, it must be fed every day by listening to the Word of God, praying and participating in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and through charity. We can live as children! And this is our dignity – we have the dignity of children -. To behave as true children! This means that every day we must let Christ transform us and make us like him; it means trying to live as Christians, trying to follow him, even if we see our limitations and weaknesses. The temptation is always there to leave God aside in order put to ourselves at the center and the experience of sin wounds our Christian life, our being sons of God. For this we must have the courage of faith, and not allow ourselves to be guided by that mentality that says to us: "God is useless, he's not important for you". It is the exact opposite: it is only by acting like sons of God, without getting discouraged because of our falls, because of our sins, feeling loved by Him, that our lives will be new, animated by serenity and joy. God is our strength! God is our hope!

Dear brothers and sisters, we, before all others, need to have this hope firmly rooted and need to be a visible sign of it, bright and clear for everyone. The risen Lord is the hope that never diminishes, that never disappoints (cf. Rom 5:5). Hope never deludes. That hope that comes from the Lord! How often in our lives do our hopes vanish, how often do the expectations we nourish in our hearts not come about! Our hope as Christians is strong, secure, solid in this land, where God has called us to walk, and is open to eternity, because it is founded on God, who is always faithful. We must not forget: God is faithful; God is always faithful with us. Being risen with Christ through baptism, by the gift of faith, to an inheritance that does not corrupt, leads us to seek the things of God, to think of Him more often, to pray to Him more. Being a Christian isn't just following the commandments, but means being in Christ, thinking like him, acting like him, loving like him; it means letting him take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, free them from the darkness of evil and sin.

Dear brothers and sisters, to those who ask us an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), let us point out the risen Christ. Let us point him out by announcing the Word, but especially by our risen life. Let us manifest the joy of being children of God, the freedom that living in Christ gives, he who is the true freedom, freedom from the slavery of evil, sin and death! Let us look to our heavenly homeland, we will have a new light and strength also in our work and in our daily toil. It is a valuable service that we must render to our world, which often can no longer lift its gaze upward,  it no longer manages to lift its gaze towards God.

Some important date(s) this week:

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

TUESDAY, APRIL 16   St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844, the first child of an extremely poor miller in the town of Lourdes in southern France. The family was living in the basement of a dilapidated building when on February 11,1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in a cave above the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. Bernadette, 14 years old, was known as a virtuous girl though a dull student who had not even made her first Holy Communion. In poor health, she had suffered from asthma from an early age.

There were 18 appearances in all, the final one occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16. Although Bernadette's initial reports provoked skepticism, her daily visions of "the Lady" brought great crowds of the curious. The Lady, Bernadette explained, had instructed her to have a chapel built on the spot of the visions. There the people were to come to wash in and drink of the water of the spring that had welled up from the very spot where Bernadette had been instructed to dig.
According to Bernadette, the Lady of her visions was a girl of 16 or 17 who wore a white robe with a blue sash. Yellow roses covered her feet, a large rosary was on her right arm. In the vision on March 25 she told Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception." It was only when the words were explained to her that Bernadette came to realize who the Lady was.

Few visions have ever undergone the scrutiny that these appearances of the Immaculate Virgin were subject to. Lourdes became one of the most popular Marian shrines in the world, attracting millions of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of the spring. After thorough investigation Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions in 1862.

During her life Bernadette suffered much. She was hounded by the public as well as by civic officials until at last she was protected in a convent of nuns. Five years later she petitioned to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame. After a period of illness she was able to make the journey from Lourdes and enter the novitiate. But within four months of her arrival she was given the last rites of the Church and allowed to profess her vows. She recovered enough to become infirmarian and then sacristan, but chronic health problems persisted. She died on April 16, 1879, at the age of 35.

She was canonized in 1933.


Please continue to help us fill Harriet’s Cupboard!

Catholic Charities Regional Agency is asking you to continue to help fill Harriet’s Cupboard.  We have had several donations since this program launched in January.  Your generosity is amazing and greatly appreciated.

APRIL 2013
Liturgy, Source of Life. That the public, prayerful celebration of faith may give life to the faithful.
     Mission Churches. That mission churches may be signs and instruments of hope and resurrection.

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: