Sunday, September 15, 2013

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of September 15, 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, (Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time )  we read from the Gospel of Luke about Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God and the nature of forgivenness.  All the readings today set our gaze on the power of mercy, love and compassion.  Like the Israelites who worshiped a golden calf rather than God; like St. Paul who admitted his deepest faults and sins; like  the shepherd who seeks out that one lost sheep; like the widow seeking that one small coin that was lost; like a father waiting for a son who made some bad decisions to return home -- Jesus reminds us that God’s abundant love and mercy is always within reach.  Actually, God’s compassion and grace are always at work rejoicing when only one lost one returns.  We too are called to admit our own faults, and “return” home to God.  God awaits us like the father in the parable of the prodigal son...who “caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.  He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”  So God ever more rushes to us to embrace and kiss us with abundant love.

Catholic Charities  ( organizes love in the name of the Jesus to bring together people who might be lost along the way with a place called home -- the Church.  Catholic Charities locally and globally work to welcome people back to encounter the embrace of Christ through our active participation in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy: feeding, sheltering, visiting, welcoming, healing, teaching, encouraging, forming and even burying.  Your gift to the  Annual Bishop’s Appeal for Catholic Charities and Church ( continues to provide much appreciated and needed support for the Church to organize love, with an ever constant focus on welcoming each person back into God’s loving embrace.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

POPE FRANCIS:  On the Choice to Be a Disciple

"Jesus does not want to delude anyone"

Vatican City, September 8, 2013  ZENIT.ORG

Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters, hello!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus insists on the conditions of being his disciples: Do not oppose anything to your love for him, carry your cross and follow him. Many people, in fact, approached Jesus. They wanted to be his disciples; this especially happened after some miraculous sign, which confirmed him as the Messiah, the King of Israel. But Jesus does not want to delude anyone. He knows well what awaits him at Jerusalem, what way the Father wants him to go. It is the way of the cross, for the sacrifice of himself for the forgiveness of our sins. Following Jesus does not mean being a member of some triumphant entourage! It means sharing his merciful love, entering into his great work of mercy for each man and for all men. Jesus’ work is simply a work a mercy, of forgiveness, of love! Jesus is so merciful! And this universal pardon, this universal mercy, passes through the cross. Jesus does not to do this work alone: he wants to involve us too in the mission that the Father has given him. After the resurrection he will say to his disciples: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you … Those whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven” (John 20:21, 22). The disciple of Jesus gives up all he has, all his goods, because he has found in him the greatest Good from which every other good receives its full value and meaning: family bonds, other relationships, work, cultural and economic goods and so on… The Christian detaches himself from everything and rediscovers all of it in the logic of the Gospel, the logic of love and service.
To explain this demand Jesus uses two parables: that of the tower that must be built and that of the king who goes to war. Jesus states in the second parable: “What king, going to war against another king, does not first sit down and determine whether he cannot defeat with 10,000 men the one who is marching on him with 20,000? If he cannot, while the other is still far away, he sends messengers to ask for peace” (Luke 14:31-32). Here Jesus does not intend to address the topic of war. It is only a parable. However, at the present time when we are fervently praying for peace, this Word of the Lord strikes at our heart and the substance of it tells us: there is a deeper war that all of us must fight! It is the tough and courageous decision to reject evil and its seductions and to choose the good, ready to pay personally. This profound war of fighting evil is following Christ! This is carrying our cross! What point is there to fighting wars, many wars, if you are incapable of fighting this deeper war against evil? It is pointless! It is unacceptable… Among other things this war against evil entails saying no to fratricidal hatred and the lies that serve it; saying no to violence in all its forms; saying no to the proliferation of weapons and their illegal trafficking. There is so much! So much! And the doubt always remains: that war there, that other one there – because there are wars everywhere – is it truly a war over real problems or is it a commercial war to sell illegal weapons? These are the enemies to fight, unified and with consistency, with no other interests at heart but those of peace and the common good.
Dear brothers and sisters, today we also remember the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, a feast especially dear to the Eastern Churches. And all of us, now, we can send a kind greeting to all our brothers and sisters, bishops and monks of the Eastern Churches, Orthodox and Catholic: a kind greeting! Jesus is the sun. Mary is the dawn that announces his rising. Yesterday evening we held a vigil entrusting to Mary’s intercession our prayer for peace in the world, especially in Syria and in the whole Middle East. Let us invoke Mary now as Queen of Peace. Queen of Peace pray for us! Queen of Peace pray for us!

Some important date(s) this week:

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


Matthew was a Jew who worked for the occupying Roman forces, collecting taxes from other Jews. The Romans were not scrupulous about what the "tax farmers" got for themselves. Hence the latter, known as "publicans," were generally hated as traitors by their fellow Jews. The Pharisees lumped them with "sinners" (see Matthew 9:11-13). So it was shocking to them to hear Jesus call such a man to be one of his intimate followers.

Matthew got Jesus in further trouble by having a sort of going-away party at his house. The Gospel tells us that "many" tax collectors and "those known as sinners" came to the dinner. The Pharisees were still more badly shocked. What business did the supposedly great teacher have associating with such immoral people? Jesus' answer was, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners" (Matthew 9:12b-13). Jesus is not setting aside ritual and worship; he is saying that loving others is even more important.
No other particular incidents about Matthew are found in the New Testament.


We imagine Matthew, after the terrible events surrounding the death of Jesus, going to the mountain to which the risen Lord had summoned them. “When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them [we think of him looking at each one in turn, Matthew listening and excited with the rest], ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age’ ” (Matthew 28:17–20).
Matthew would never forget that day. He proclaimed the Good News by his life and by his word. Our faith rests upon his witness and that of his fellow apostles.


From such an unlikely situation, Jesus chose one of the foundations of the Church, a man others, judging from his job, thought was not holy enough for the position. But he was honest enough to admit that he was one of the sinners Jesus came to call. He was open enough to recognize truth when he saw him. "And he got up and followed him" (Matthew 9:9b).


Patron Saint of:

Tax collectors


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

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 16, 2013 and plan to celebrate the unity and identity of Catholic Charities’ services in the Diocese of Youngstown for the 16th Annual Voice of Hope Dinner.  All proceeds from the annual fundraising event hep to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in need throughout the diocese.
Gather with others across the Diocese of Youngstown to honor the following as they receive their Voice of Hope awards:  Mr. Joseph Gorman, St. Edward Parish, Emmanuel Community Care Center.
If you would like to PURCHASE TICKETS, DONATE AN ITEM to our auction or be a SPONSOR please contact Nikole Baringer at, 330-744-8451, ext. 323 or visit our website  We hope to see you there!

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


Value of Silence. That people today, often overwhelmed by noise, may rediscover the value of silence and listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.

Persecuted Christians. That Christians suffering persecution in many parts of the world may by their witness be prophets of Christ's love.

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

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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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