Of course, racism will not end overnight. Still, we pledge these actions and hope that more actions will follow. We ask [all] to fight the evil of racism by educating themselves, reflecting on personal thoughts and actions, listening to those who have been affected by racism, and by developing and supporting programs that help repair the damages caused by racial dis- crimination. We need to educate ourselves and our people about the great cultural diversity within the church…So many of our parishes are richly diverse, composed of people from various cultures and ethnic groups, such that they can be a model for the whole church and for the country.
The roots of racism have extended deeply into the soil of our society. Racism can only end if we contend with the policies and institutional barriers that perpetuate and preserve the inequality – economic and social – that we still see all around us. With renewed vigor, we call on the members of the Body of Christ to join others in advocating and promoting policies at all levels that will combat racism and its effects in our civic and social institutions.
(to be continued)
This is the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We hear about the commandments in the readings today and it is important for us to observe them. Day to day choices are so im- portant in our lives, and these choices either keep us on the right path or send us into confusion and darkness. Jesus sets before us several of the commandments and shows that each one is broader than just its wording. He adds the phrase: “But I say to you…” This illustrates the down-to-earth practicality of the commandment. Jesus is a good teacher and the examples he uses bring his teach- ing to a level that his followers can understand it easily.
Many of you have received a letter from the Cardinal’s Stewardship Appeal asking for your support. Those who gave to Renew and Rebuild are excused from this Appeal. The funds from the Cardinal’s Stewardship Appeal support some important causes in the Archdiocese of New York: aid to struggling and poor churches, aid to Catholic education, funds for seminarians and retired priests, assistance to Catholic Charities, and funds for support services of- fered to parishes. Our parish’s goal is $109,000. Our parish number is 068 which should be noted when making a pledge or giving a donation.
Here is where we stand as of this week:
St. Francis of Assisi Church Goal: $109,000
Donations/Pledges as of February 7: $4,800 Number of Gifts: 9
Average Gift: $533.33
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.
This week the Archdiocese of New York will take up the Peter’s Pence Collection, which provides
the Holy Father with the funds he needs to carry out his most important charitable works. The proceeds benefit the most disadvantaged: victims of war, oppression, and natural disasters.
However, we will not take a second collection, but we ask that you be more generous in the ONE collection this weekend, a portion of which will be allocated for Peter’s Pence.
We will be installing new carpeting in the Sanctuary of the Lower Church this week. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several months, is being made possible through the generosity of a benefactor.
Confessions will be held at the regular times each day but access to the lower church from the 32nd Street entrance will be limited. We encourage you to use the elevator or the 31st Street entrance.
Also, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place in the Upper Church from 9:00 to 11:15 AM, and 1:00 to 4:15 PM.
Thank you for your cooperation while the work is in progress!
A change of heart…cannot occur without strengthening spiritual convictions regarding respect for other races and ethnic groups. We must, therefore, explain the true teaching of Scripture and Tradition about the origin of all people in God, their final common destiny in the Kingdom of God, the value of the precept of fraternal love, and total incompatibility between racist exclusivism and the universal calling of all to the same salvation in Jesus Christ.
Our individual efforts to encounter, grow, and witness, to change our hearts about racism, must also find their way into our families. We urge each person to consider the dignity of others in the face of jokes, conversations, and complaints motivated by racial prejudice. We can provide experiences for children that expose them to different cultures and peoples. We can also draw upon the incredible diversity of the Church worldwide in providing education within the family and make it clear that God dwells in the equal dignity of each person.
(to be continued)
Jesus says to us: “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.” He has great confidence in us to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ because we are sharing in his being ‘salt’ and his being ‘light.’ Sometimes, we may doubt our value and our worth, but this tells us clearly who we are and what are meant to be. How have you experienced being ‘salt’ and ‘light’? It may not be the easiest way to be in certain circumstances and with certain people, but don’t put your “light under a bushel basket.” We can be easily intimidated in today’s world, but no one can take from us what the Lord has given to us.
Please keep in your prayers our Parish Retreat for those who volunteer in the various ministries. We are at Loyola Retreat Center in Morristown, NJ for the weekend. It is good to get out of the city and have time to be refreshed and renewed during a retreat. The theme for the retreat is “our thirst for God” and in the days that we have away, we will have many opportunities to allow God to satisfy our thirst.
Our Franciscan Brother, Roberto Gonzalez, Archbishop of San Juan, stayed at our Friary last week. He had been invited by Cardinal Dolan to preach at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on behalf of the earthquake victims in Puerto Rico. This gave me the chance to present to him a check for $3,000 that was collected a few weeks ago at Masses here. He was very grateful for our thinking of his people.
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.
Being Open to Encounter and New Relationships
“To overcome discrimination, a community must interiorize the values that inspire just laws and live out, in day-to-day life, the conviction of equal dignity of all.” Therefore, we affirm that participating in or fostering organizations that are built on racist ideology (for instance neo-Nazi movements and the Ku Klux Klan) is also sinful – they corrupt individuals and corrode communities. None of these organizations have a place in a just society.
As bishops, we encourage… visits to institutions of culture and learning… in Washington, DC …and in Atlanta… By listening to one another’s experiences we can come to understand and to empathize, which leads to those right relationships that unite us as brothers and sisters. This justice finds its source and strength in the love of Christ who laid down his life for his friends.
(to be continued)
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. According to Jewish custom, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to be presented to the Lord. In the temple was a devout man, Simeon, to whom it had been revealed that he would not die until he had seen the Christ of the Lord. Simeon declares that the child is “a light for the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel.” He also added the startling statement: “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel and (will) be a sign that will be contradicted.”You can only imagine what thoughts were going through Mary and Joseph’s minds as they returned home.
Monday, February 3, is the Feast of St. Blaise, and we will have the traditional Blessing of Throats after each Mass. Two candles are held near the throat of each person as the prayer is said and a blessing given. St. Blaise had saved the life of a young man who was choking on a fish bone. All are invited to receive this blessing.
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.
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