Sunday, February 23, 2014

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of February 23, 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) 

The Lord is kind and merciful. (Ps 103:8a)

On Sunday, (Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time ) we read from the Gospel of  Matthew about Jesus’s call for us “to be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:48).  Wow.  That is quite a challenge.  Almost daunting.  How can we be perfect like God the Father is perfect?  Jesus makes it simple, in essence: love one another as Jesus has loved us.  We are asked to go well beyond the mandates of the law or of custom.  We must put on a new spirit; a spirit not of this world but one that displays our belief that we do indeed belong to Jesus the Christ, and as such “Christ to God” (I Cor 3:23).  Jesus’s message is to love each and every person no matter what that person has done, or who that person represents, “for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (MT 5).  God gives us the grace we need, as well as His model of unconditional love, to show us the way to be perfect, just like His Father.
Catholic Charities  (  welcomes each person and family to our door seeking help and advice.  No matter who you are, we will try the best we can to offer material, social or spiritual help in order to help a person or family find hope and love.  We are called to be that witness in the world to help organize love on behalf of the Church in Jesus’s name.  Your gifts of time, treasure and talent through Catholic Charities and the Bishop’s Appeal (   help the Church be that witness of love.  Thanks.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

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

42. All of this has great relevance for the preaching of the Gospel, if we are really concerned to make its beauty more clearly recognized and accepted by all. Of course, we will never be able to make the Church’s teachings easily understood or readily appreciated by everyone. Faith always remains something of a cross; it retains a certain obscurity which does not detract from the firmness of its assent. Some things are understood and appreciated only from the standpoint of this assent, which is a sister to love, beyond the range of clear reasons and arguments. We need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life, which awakens the assent of the heart by its nearness, love and witness.
43. In her ongoing discernment, the Church can also come to see that certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated. Some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid to re-examine them. At the same time, the Church has rules or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time, but no longer have the same usefulness for directing and shaping people’s lives. Saint Thomas Aquinas pointed out that the precepts which Christ and the apostles gave to the people of God “are very few”.[47] Citing Saint Augustine, he noted that the precepts subsequently enjoined by the Church should be insisted upon with moderation “so as not to burden the lives of the faithful” and make our religion a form of servitude, whereas “God’s mercy has willed that we should be free”.[48] This warning, issued many centuries ago, is most timely today. It ought to be one of the criteria to be taken into account in considering a reform of the Church and her preaching which would enable it to reach everyone.
44. Moreover, pastors and the lay faithful who accompany their brothers and sisters in faith or on a journey of openness to God must always remember what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches quite clearly: “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”.[49] Consequently, without detracting from the evangelical ideal, they need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these progressively occur.[50] I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy which spurs us on to do our best. A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties. Everyone needs to be touched by the comfort and attraction of God’s saving love, which is mysteriously at work in each person, above and beyond their faults and failings.
45. We see then that the task of evangelization operates within the limits of language and of circumstances. It constantly seeks to communicate more effectively the truth of the Gospel in a specific context, without renouncing the truth, the goodness and the light which it can bring whenever perfection is not possible. A missionary heart is aware of these limits and makes itself “weak with the weak... everything for everyone” (1 Cor 9:22). It never closes itself off, never retreats into its own security, never opts for rigidity and defensiveness. It realizes that it has to grow in its own understanding of the Gospel and in discerning the paths of the Spirit, and so it always does what good it can, even if in the process, its shoes get soiled by the mud of the street.

Some important date(s) this week:

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

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27.  St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
(1838-1862 )
Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, he lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists. Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor, consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.

His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24, having been an example to both young and old.

Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.


When we think of achieving great holiness by doing little things with love and grace, Therese of Lisieux comes first to mind. Like her, Gabriel died painfully from tuberculosis. Together they urge us to tend to the small details of daily life, to be considerate of others’ feelings every day. Our path to sanctity, like theirs, probably lies not in heroic doings but in performing small acts of kindness every day.

Patron Saint of: Clergy

For daily readings, visit USCCB Website (  


Combined Collection for Church Overseas

Catholics around the country have always responded to the needs of people everywhere. 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 330.297.7745330.297.7745.

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, March 5.  Catholic Relief Services RICE BOWL created an APP for your smart phone/tablet.  (   Please consider using this guide for your daily acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving


Thursday, March 13

from 7-9 pm

at Christ Our Savior Parish - St. Nicholas Church

764 5th St Struthers, OH 44471

Gerard Straub, a Los Angeles filmmaker, will share clips of his films about the most desperate of human situations around the world. Mr. Straub weaves clips of his films together with his inspiring and hopeful Franciscan spiritual narrative about these realities. A former network producer/director of soap operas, Mr. Straub underwent a profound conversion experience while in Rome to write a book about St. Francis. That drove him back to his Franciscan roots in the New Jersey parish of his growing-up. Since then he has devoted himself to documenting not only poverty but the heroic work of people of faith ministering to the people affected by it.  Mr. Straub founded and leads Pax et Bonum Communications in Burbank, CA. No admission; free will offering; limited seating. Reservations for groups will be accepted at 330-755-9819330-755-9819.  This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Social Action of Catholic Charities.


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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