Sunday, February 16, 2014

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of February 16, 2014

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) 

Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord! (Ps 119:1b)

On Sunday, (Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time ) we read from the Gospel of  Matthew about Jesus’s preaching about living a truly faithful and moral life as a disciple.  Jesus challenges his followers to move beyond  mere legalism to find the Spirit and live of a new way of life.  As disciples Jesus calls us to fulfill both the spirit and the letter of the Law and the Prophets.  As followers of Jesus we must be witnesses to the Good News He proclaimed, to be like, yeast, light and salt. 

Catholic Charities  ( continues to provide a light to the world in our organizing God’s love through the daily and concrete corporal works of mercy.  We proclaim a “wisdom not of this age” (I COR 2, second reading) but one given to us by Jesus: to love one another as He loves us.  That wisdom is sometimes misunderstood, seen as naive, or at best rejected.  But as Catholic Charities we see each person as an image of God, who we are called to love as Jesus loved.  That is the challenge for each of us.  Your gifts of time, treasure and talent through Catholic Charities and the Bishop’s Appeal (   help the Church be that witness of love that our world so greatly needs and hungers for.   Thanks.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

POPE FRANCIS: EVANGELII GAUDIUM (The Joy of the Gospel)  Apostolic Exhortation, November 26, 2013

38. It is important to draw out the pastoral consequences of the Council’s teaching, which reflects an ancient conviction of the Church. First, it needs to be said that in preaching the Gospel a fitting sense of proportion has to be maintained. This would be seen in the frequency with which certain themes are brought up and in the emphasis given to them in preaching. For example, if in the course of the liturgical year a parish priest speaks about temperance ten times but only mentions charity or justice two or three times, an imbalance results, and precisely those virtues which ought to be most present in preaching and catechesis are overlooked. The same thing happens when we speak more about law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God’s word.

39. Just as the organic unity existing among the virtues means that no one of them can be excluded from the Christian ideal, so no truth may be denied. The integrity of the Gospel message must not be deformed. What is more, each truth is better understood when related to the harmonious totality of the Christian message; in this context all of the truths are important and illumine one another. When preaching is faithful to the Gospel, the centrality of certain truths is evident and it becomes clear that Christian morality is not a form of stoicism, or self-denial, or merely a practical philosophy or a catalogue of sins and faults. Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others. Under no circumstance can this invitation be obscured! All of the virtues are at the service of this response of love. If this invitation does not radiate forcefully and attractively, the edifice of the Church’s moral teaching risks becoming a house of cards, and this is our greatest risk. It would mean that it is not the Gospel which is being preached, but certain doctrinal or moral points based on specific ideological options. The message will run the risk of losing its freshness and will cease to have “the fragrance of the Gospel”.

40. The Church is herself a missionary disciple; she needs to grow in her interpretation of the revealed word and in her understanding of truth. It is the task of exegetes and theologians to help “the judgment of the Church to mature”.[42] The other sciences also help to accomplish this, each in its own way. With reference to the social sciences, for example, John Paul II said that the Church values their research, which helps her “to derive concrete indications helpful for her magisterial mission”.[43] Within the Church countless issues are being studied and reflected upon with great freedom. Differing currents of thought in philosophy, theology and pastoral practice, if open to being reconciled by the Spirit in respect and love, can enable the Church to grow, since all of them help to express more clearly the immense riches of God’s word. For those who long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance, this might appear as undesirable and leading to confusion. But in fact such variety serves to bring out and develop different facets of the inexhaustible riches of the Gospel.[44]

41. At the same time, today’s vast and rapid cultural changes demand that we constantly seek ways of expressing unchanging truths in a language which brings out their abiding newness. “The deposit of the faith is one thing... the way it is expressed is another”.[45] There are times when the faithful, in listening to completely orthodox language, take away something alien to the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ, because that language is alien to their own way of speaking to and understanding one another. With the holy intent of communicating the truth about God and humanity, we sometimes give them a false god or a human ideal which is not really Christian. In this way, we hold fast to a formulation while failing to convey its substance. This is the greatest danger. Let us never forget that “the expression of truth can take different forms. The renewal of these forms of expression becomes necessary for the sake of transmitting to the people of today the Gospel message in its unchanging meaning”.[46]

Some important date(s) this week:

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

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18.  St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

“Tsk, tsk. What is the problem with that poor, ignorant girl who claims that the Blessed Mother has appeared to her?”

     Poor Bernadette, indeed. The uneducated French peasant who first reported visions of Mary in Lourdes, France, in 1858, was disbelieved by clergy and dismissed by townspeople. But she wasn’t shaken. She insisted that Mary had appeared to her 18 times over six months. And, she reported, the Blessed Mother identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, a title given to Mary by Pope Pius IX only four years earlier.

     According to young Bernadette, Mary called for the conversion of sinners through penance. She also urged people to visit the place of the apparitions and asked that a church be built on the site. Since then, millions of people have bathed in the springs at Lourdes and many have reported miraculous healings.

     Bernadette joined the Sisters of Notre Dame at Nevers. There she lived as Sister Maria Bernarda until her death in 1879 at age 35. She was canonized in 1933.

Patron Saint of:    Shepherds


February 15-16:  Combined Collection for Church Overseas

Catholics around the country have always responded to the needs of people everywhere. That
weekend, the Diocese of Youngstown will hold the Church Overseas Combined Collection
in order to assist the Church in its ministries throughout the world. This combined collection
supports four major overseas services: Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Holy Father/Peter’s
Pence, the Church in Latin America and the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Please
remember, as we move toward the season of Lent, to support these important programs of
charity in the Church.
CRS and other agencies request special funds when natural disasters occur. This collection
supports these Church agencies in their on-going work in long-term development, education,
leadership training and other social and pastoral ministries.

If you would like to donate to this Combined Collection, visit the website (  or send a check to Diocese of Youngstown, memo line:  Combined Collection for Church Overseas.  Mail to Brian Corbin Diocese of Youngstown 144 W. Wood Street Youngstown, OH 44503.

MEN WHO COOK: Portage County:  March 1

Join us for an evening of fun and delicious culinary creations as local community members compete for your vote.  Only one team can take home the Gold…. will it be your favorite?

Event will be held at
Immaculate Conception Parish Hall
251 W. Spruce St., Ravenna
PortagSaturday, March 1
Cocktails:  6:00pm
Tasting Begins:  6:30-9:00 pm

 Tickets are $40.00 each

All proceeds benefit Portage County’s Emergency Assistance  and First Step programs for Portage County residents.

To purchase tickets, contact the Portage County office of Catholic Charities at 330.297.7745.


Universal: That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people.
For Evangelization: That priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.

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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