Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood

The words above are taken from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 20, verse 28. St. Paul is meeting with the elders – the Bishop and leadership of the Church in Ephesus. Paul speaks of how he was plotted against, how he held to the truth, and how he preached repentance. Paul focused on the example he set. He is telling the leadership to follow that example – to live it. In other letters, Paul spoke of how he worked for his own bread, how he battled temptations, and how he went willingly into the unknown for Jesus.

Many Roman Catholic faithful have been shocked and disturbed by recent and past revelations of evil doing, abuse, and how those acts have been covered over/covered up for decades. You may be among them, asking: ‘What happened to the example laid down by Paul and the other Apostles?’

All Christian faithful are supposed to live, first are foremost, the life of Jesus. We are all called to walk in the footsteps of the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. Paul did that! We ask again: ‘Shouldn’t the leadership of the worldwide Roman Church be on the same page?’

We feel for you and are sad for your experience. It is heartbreaking to have one’s trust broken repeatedly, to see one’s role models and leaders fall so hard by their own fault.

You may feel conflicted because we are all taught to forgive, to reconcile, but we know there are lines we cannot cross. We know that calls to prayer and fasting among the faithful laity are not enough. Real change is needed now. Meetings months from now isn’t soon enough. Committees and focus groups cannot be left to debate issues without real resolution. Vows of sorrow and pleas for forgiveness do not really change anything unless it is followed by action and significant change. You do not want to just sit in a pew for weeks, months, and years awaiting change. No reasonable person would.

Brothers and sisters,

We offer you an invitation. If you are looking to get away, to take a break for awhile, we can help. We offer you that break, a time away for peace, quiet, and prayer. We offer you solid Catholic worship and a chance to take a step away for healing.

We are not asking you to join our parish, or to leave the Roman Church. Come, pray and worship in surroundings that are comfortable and safe. Then, when you are ready, go back to start anew.

Note that Roman Catholics are allowed to receive the sacraments in our parish under the provisions of Canon 844.2 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law. Canon 844.2 states that the sacraments are lawfully received from a priest in the National Catholic Church: “Whenever necessity requires, or, a genuine spiritual advantage requires it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a [Roman] Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-[Roman] Catholic ministers in whose churches these sacraments are valid.”

Wronged for doing
right.

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer. But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name.

This week we saw another attack – this time on a bus loaded with Christian youth. Twenty-nine were martyred, another twenty-five were injured. These young martyrs and confessors (people who suffer for the name of Jesus) were headed to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor – to volunteer. One hundred and five have been martyred in Egypt for their faith in Jesus since Christmas. There have been many individuals and families martyred as well.

The living hope of Easter belongs to us in the good news of Christ’s resurrection. Easter is hope, even in the midst of persecution and suffering.

We stand at the last Sunday of Easter. Like the apostles and followers of Jesus, gathered in the upper room after the Ascension, we might feel somewhat fearful. What will happen next? When will they come for me, for us? Should we wait and wonder? That only applies if we believe the last Sunday of Easter is the end of Easter.

Our living hope is that even in the midst of waiting, even in the midst of a world that is contrary and adversarial to the commitments and attitudes that belong to us, we have confidence in God’s promises. We will always have Easter. Easter is not just for a season, but forever. The resurrection, the vision of the Ascension, the promise of the Holy Spirit sustains and encourages our hope. Whatever comes, God has joined us, not only the suffering but also to the victory of Jesus, who overcame death – who in fact destroyed death.

St. Peter does not avoid or play down the issue of suffering. He addresses it squarely, not as something to be feared, but something we can walk into with confidence if we regard ourselves well before the world. This testing will reveal whether the suffering we face is because we have given in to worldly ways or whether we are facing them for our witness, evangelism, and the exercise of love and hospitality the comes from Jesus.

The young Christians of Egypt suffered because they walked with the name of Christ as their identity. They were going to do the Lord’s work. They died to the world and rose to eternal life because of it. Bearing Jesus’ name constituted their “blessing.” They were wronged, reviled, persecuted for doing right. On this last and always first Sunday of Easter may we be encouraged in doing right in accord with Jesus regardless of suffering.

November 2014 Newsletter – Becoming Saints

Ok, the newsletter is two days late. Remember, it did take time for some to become saints…

November calls us to reflect on the lives of the saints and to pray for all those journeying toward the beatific vision. Join us in prayer for the faithful departed throughout November. Beyond remembering, we are called to become saints ourselves. Check out our newsletter and discover how to become a saint. Be an active part of the church this November because giving thanks to and praising God is not just a one-day-a-year event.

You may view and download a copy of our November 2014 Newsletter right here.

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