Sunday, September 29, 2013

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of September 29, 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 Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time  we read from the Gospel of Luke about Jesus’ amazing story about Dives and Lazarus.  In that story, Dives (the rich man) continuously misses an opportunity to notice someone less well off in his midst (Lazarus).  As Dives asks to be connected again with Lazarus (who now resides with Abraham), Dives is reminded that there is a “great chasm” between them.  That “great chasm” occurred on earth -- Dives constantly ignored (or failed to see) Lazarus each and every day on his steps.  We are called as followers of Jesus to be constantly aware of our neighbor right in front of us, as well as our neighbor that lives in another part of the world.  We are called to bridge that “great chasm” now and care for each other as a brother and sister.

Catholic Charities  ( provides one such bridge to unite us with our brothers and sisters in need.  Each day, Catholic Charities encounters one of our brothers and sisters who need our love, support and care.  Catholic Charities is there, as an organized ministry of the Church, to help others.  We are all called, however, to continue to see and respond to others in need. 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 that love of Christ so needed in the world today.  Thanks.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

POPE FRANCIS:  On the Church as Merciful Mother

Vatican City, September 18, 2013  ZENIT.ORG

Here is the translation of the Holy Father's address during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today I return again to the image of the Church as Mother. I like this image very much, because it seems to me it tells us not only how the Church is, but also what face the Church should always have, this our Church.
I would like to stress three things, always looking at our mothers, to all that they do, that they live, that they suffer for their children, continuing with what I said last Wednesday. What does a mother do?
She teaches how to walk in life, she teaches how to do well in life, she knows how to direct her children, she seeks always to indicate the right way in life to grow and become adults. And she does so with tenderness, with affection, with love, always, even when she tries to correct our way because we skid a bit in life or take paths that lead to a ravine. A mother knows what’s important for a child to walk well in life, and she didn’t learn it from books, but learned it from her heart.
The Church does the same thing: she orientates our life; she gives us teachings to walk well. We think of the Ten Commandments: they indicate a path to take to mature, to have firm points in our way of behaving. And they are the fruit of the tenderness, of the love itself of God, which He has given her. You can say to me: but they are commands! They are a whole “no”! I would like to invite you to read them – perhaps you have forgotten them somewhat – and then to think of them positively. You’ll see that they have to do with our way of behaving toward God, towards ourselves and towards others, in fact what a mother teaches us to live well. They invite us not to make material idols for ourselves, which then render us slaves; to remember God; to have respect for our parents; to be honest; to respect the other … Try to see them this way and to consider them as if they were the words, the teachings that a mother gives to walk well in life. A mother never teaches what is evil; she wishes only the good of her children, and the Church does the same.
2. I would like to say a second thing to you: when a child grows, becomes an adult, takes up his way, assumes his responsibilities, walks with his own legs, does what he wishes and, sometimes, also happens to stray from the path, some incident happens. A mother always, in every situation, has the patience to continue to support her children. What drives her is the force of love. A mother knows how to follow the path of her children with discretion, with tenderness and also when they are mistaken she always finds the way to understand, to be close, to help. We say that a mother knows how to “dar la cara” [stick up for] “metterci la faccia” [stand up for] for her children, that is, she is driven to defend them always. I think of mothers who suffer for their children in prison or in difficult situations: they don’t ask if they are guilty or not; they continue to love them and often endure humiliations, but they’re not afraid, they don’t stop giving themselves.
The Church is like this, she is a merciful Mother that understands, that always tries to help, to encourage even in face of her children who have been mistaken and are mistaken; she never closes the door of the home; she doesn’t judge, but offers God’s forgiveness; she offers her love which invites to take up the way again even to those children who have fallen into a profound abyss; she is not afraid to enter into their night to give hope.
One last thought. A mother also knows how to ask, to knock on every door for her children, without calculation, with love. And I think of how mothers know how to knock also and above all on the door of God’s heart! Mothers pray so much for their children, especially for those who are weakest, for those who have greater need, for those who in life have taken dangerous and mistaken paths. A short time ago I celebrated  in the church of Saint Augustine, here in Rome, where the relics of his mother, Saint Monica, are kept. How many prayers that holy mother raised to God for her son, and how many tears she shed! I think of you, dear mothers: how much you pray for your children, without getting tired. Continue to pray, to entrust your children to God; He has a great heart!
But the Church also does the same: with prayer, she places in the Lord’s hands all the situations of her children. Let us have confidence in the strength of the prayer of Mother Church: the Lord doesn’t remain insensible. He always knows how to astonish us was when we least expect it. Mother Church knows this!
There, these were the thoughts that I wanted to tell you today: we see in the Church a good Mother that points out to us the way to go in life, who knows always how to be patient, merciful, understanding and who knows how to place us in God’s hands.

Some important date(s) this week:

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

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4.  St. Francis of Assisi  (1182-1226)

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance.

Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."

From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.

He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evokng sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.

But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (Luke 9:1-3).

Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.

He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.

During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.


Francis of Assisi was poor only that he might be Christ-like. He recognized creation as another manifestation of the beauty of God. In 1979, he was named patron of ecology. He did great penance (apologizing to "Brother Body" later in life) that he might be totally disciplined for the will of God. His poverty had a sister, humility, by which he meant total dependence on the good God. But all this was, as it were, preliminary to the heart of his spirituality: living the gospel life, summed up in the charity of Jesus and perfectly expressed in the Eucharist.


"We adore you and we bless you, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches which are in the whole world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world" (St. Francis).

Patron Saint of:



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


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.

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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