Sunday, March 9, 2014

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of March 9, 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) 

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Ps 51:3a)

On Sunday, (First Sunday of Lent  ) we read from the Gospel of Matthew about the three temptations of Jesus by the devil during his forty day sojourn in the desert.  There we find Jesus praying and fasting.  The devil offers several immediate gratifications:  food, security and power.  These temptations echo the serpent’s claim in the Garden of Eden that one’s eyes will be open, and one can be “like gods” if  one only eats the fruit of the tree of life and knowledge of good and evil.  Jesus provides the model for each one of us, witnessing that He -- as the beloved Son of the Father -- is called to bring life and grace back into the world after the fall of Adam/Eve (ROM 5: 12ff; second reading).  During this Lenten season, as we engage in the practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, let us reflect on what our priorities our perspective that of God’s will or our own self interest in immediate gratifications that quench our hunger for more, our narrowly defined security and our thirst for power?  Pray that we, like all disciples of Jesus, may be open to God’s “abundance of grace” and live in God’s righteousness.

Catholic Charities  (  works to reduce hunger and poverty in our local communities, our states, and nation.  On the international level, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) aims to bring food security and development in many countries during short term disasters and over the long term.  CRS’ RICE BOWL efforts during the Lenten Season (collection in our local parishes is on Holy Thursday, April 17.  You can also give on-line at ) provides an opportunity for persons to pray, fast and give alms.  Download the CRS Rice Bowl APP at for more information, reflection guides, meatless recipes and stories of hope.  On the local scene, 25% of monies collected in Rice Bowl remain in the Diocese for local grants to reduce hunger and increase food security.  As well, during this Lenten season, your gifts of time, treasure and talent through Catholic Charities and the Bishop’s Appeal (   help the Church be there for each person, remembering them as God asks of us to be good servant-stewards,  and reminds us of His everlasting love.  Thanks.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

Pope Francis' Lenten Message 2014

"The Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As Lent draws near, I would like to offer some helpful thoughts on our path of conversion as individuals and as a community. These insights are inspired by the words of Saint Paul: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9). The Apostle was writing to the Christians of Corinth to encourage them to be generous in helping the faithful in Jerusalem who were in need. What do these words of Saint Paul mean for us Christians today? What does this invitation to poverty, a life of evangelical poverty, mean for us today?
1. Christ’s grace
First of all, it shows us how God works. He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth but rather in weakness and poverty: "though He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor …". Christ, the eternal Son of God, one with the Father in power and glory, chose to be poor; he came amongst us and drew near to each of us; he set aside his glory and emptied himself so that he could be like us in all things (cf. Phil 2:7; Heb 4:15). God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is his love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with us. Indeed, Jesus "worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he truly became one of us, like us in all things except sin." (Gaudium et Spes, 22).

Some important date(s) this week:

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

SATURDAY, MARCH 15.  St. Louise de Marillac (d. 1660).

Louise, born near Meux, France, lost her mother when she was still a child, her beloved father when she was but 15. Her desire to become a nun was discouraged by her confessor, and a marriage was arranged. One son was born of this union. But she soon found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness that finally led to his death.

Louise was fortunate to have a wise and sympathetic counselor, St. Francis de Sales, and then his friend, the Bishop of Belley, France. Both of these men were available to her only periodically. But from an interior illumination she understood that she was to undertake a great work under the guidance of another person she had not yet met. This was the holy priest M. Vincent, later to be known as St. Vincent de Paul.

At first he was reluctant to be her confessor, busy as he was with his "Confraternities of Charity." Members were aristocratic ladies of charity who were helping him nurse the poor and look after neglected children, a real need of the day. But the ladies were busy with many of their own concerns and duties. His work needed many more helpers, especially ones who were peasants themselves and therefore close to the poor and could win their hearts. He also needed someone who could teach them and organize them.

Only over a long period of time, as Vincent de Paul became more acquainted with Louise, did he come to realize that she was the answer to his prayers. She was intelligent, self-effacing and had physical strength and endurance that belied her continuing feeble health. The missions he sent her on eventually led to four simple young women joining her. Her rented home in Paris became the training center for those accepted for the service of the sick and poor. Growth was rapid and soon there was need of a so-called rule of life, which Louise herself, under the guidance of Vincent, drew up for the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though he preferred "Daughters" of Charity).

He had always been slow and prudent in his dealings with Louise and the new group. He said that he had never had any idea of starting a new community, that it was God who did everything. "Your convent," he said, "will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church; your cloister, the streets of the city or the wards of the hospital." Their dress was to be that of the peasant women. It was not until years later that Vincent de Paul would finally permit four of the women to take annual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It was still more years before the company would be formally approved by Rome and placed under the direction of Vincent's own congregation of priests.

Many of the young women were illiterate and it was with reluctance that the new community undertook the care of neglected children. Louise was busy helping wherever needed despite her poor health. She traveled throughout France, establishing her community members in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. At her death on March 15, 1660, the congregation had more than 40 houses in France. Six months later St. Vincent de Paul followed her in death.

Louise de Marillac was canonized in 1934 and declared patroness of social workers in 1960.


In Louise’s day, serving the needs of the poor was usually a luxury only fine ladies could afford. Her mentor, St. Vincent de Paul, wisely realized that women of peasant stock could reach poor people more effectively, and the Sisters of Charity were born under her leadership. Today that Order continues to nurse the sick and aging and provide refuge for orphans. Many of its members are social workers toiling under Louise’s patronage. The rest of us must share her concern for the disadvantaged.

Patron Saint of:  Social workers

For daily readings, visit USCCB Website (  


Lent is here.  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.

  • Respect for Women.  That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
  • Vocations.  That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.

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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