Posted February 17th, 2017

THE CHURCH AND IMMIGRATION


We have seen and heard in recent days a widely disparate response to the immigration debate, particularly in light of President Trump’s executive order halting people from certain countries from entering the United States for a period of 90-120 days and instituting an “extreme vetting” process for dealing with all immigrants and refugees moving forward. As we examine the issue in light of Church teaching, we see a number of competing rights, responsibilities and moral principles that point to its complexity.

The epitome of the Church’s teaching on immigration is found in paragraph 2241 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states: “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.” And the Catechism goes on to state that “political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” Clearly the Catechism envisions an orderly process of immigration, subject to legal requirements.

Jesus was clear about our obligations toward our neighbor. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Lord makes clear to the scholar of the law with whom he’s speaking that loving our neighbor even means caring for our enemy (see Lk 10:29-37). Jesus also speaks of a rich man who finds himself in Hades for failing to care for the poor man at his door (Lk 16:19-31). Moreover, Jesus tells us that when we fail to help “the least of these” we fail to care for Him (Mt 25:31-46). As Christians we must allow Jesus’ teaching to form our consciences and to guide our actions: Every human life is sacred and inviolable; we are brothers and sisters to one another; Christians are obliged to welcome those whose lives are in danger; the virtues of kindness, compassion, hospitality, generosity and love must always come into play in our interactions with others, especially those in need who seek our help. As Bishop Zubik, our diocesan bishop, stated recently: “American policies have always been rooted in compassion and justice. We cannot abandon those virtues now. They define us to the world. Some immigrants are quite literally fleeing for their lives. They are coming to America with their eyes on the lit torch of Lady Liberty. Let’s not extinguish that light when the world needs it the most.”

Most immigrants today come from developing nations that often have high unemployment, little or no basic health care and spotty access to potable water or nutritious food. Some are being persecuted for their religious or political beliefs and face imminent danger of death. Many immigrants come not to break our laws or because they want to leave their homeland and families. Rather, most immigrate to follow their God-given right to work, to food and to life. People have a right to search for those things if they cannot be found where they live.

The Church teaches, as well, that a society has the right and obligation to manage itself — and borders are an outgrowth of that responsibility. Law means little if there are no borders within which laws can be enforced. The maintenance of borders is an extension of the state’s obligation to the common good, and therefore borders are important. The Church teaches that immigrants have a moral obligation to respect the “material and spiritual heritage” of the welcoming nation and to obey its laws. This does not mean that immigrants may not bring their own distinctive cultural life with them as previous waves of immigrants have done throughout American history. But, rather, it means that immigrants may not impose their own culture or religious laws on a nation in such a way as to undermine that nation’s principles and values. Sadly, we live in a society today where there are enemies to our way of life, those who seek to do us harm. Acts of violence, hatred and terrorism that have taken many innocent human lives in many countries of the world, including our own, give us grave cause for concern. No one has a right to come to our country with the intention to do us harm. There is justification for carefully vetting or screening those who desire to come to insure that their intentions are good ones and not harmful. These are reasonable measures for any government to take as we face the challenges of our contemporary society.

In an interview published in Our Sunday Visitor, Bishop John Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe and a prominent Church leader on immigration, said “Despite assertions to the contrary, the U.S. bishops do not support ‘open borders,’ but support generous, but reasonable, immigration policies that serve the common good.” He went on to state that the bishops’ vision for illegal aliens would be to “register them with the government, require them to pay a fine and any taxes owed, and require them to learn English and work as they wait for a chance for citizenship.” He stressed further that, in the mind of the bishops, “the lasting and humane solution to the challenge of illegal immigration” will come through addressing the economic root causes of migration, eliminating “push factors” like poverty and violence which compel people to migrate in the first place. This speaks to a moral imperative that as one of the greatest nations on earth, the United States of America must use its abundant resources, its powerful leadership, diplomatic prowess, and all the means it has to insure that other countries respect human rights, protect the dignity of every person, insure the freedom of religion for its citizens, and provide for the basic needs of every individual (adequate food, water, housing and employment).

Immigration is a complex issue indeed; which is why we look so intently to God for his grace and his wisdom to guide us forward. Catholic teaching calls us to be responsible and faithful citizens. We must pray for President Trump, his administration, and for all in public office that they may be led to embrace goodness and truth. We pray for our country and it citizens that we will always be people of compassion for others. We pray for immigrants and all those who seek to live with us in peace as citizens of our great country. May God continue to bless the United States of America!

Posted February 9th, 2017

WINE, CHEESE AND THE GOSPEL


Father Stubna will host the first gathering of the Spring 2017 session of Wine, Cheese and the Gospel on Monday evening, February 27.  Visit our calendar of events for more information.

Posted February 9th, 2017

MONTHLY AFTERNOON EUCHARISTIC ADORATION


Our monthly afternoon of Eucharistic Adoration is being held on February 26.  On the last Sunday of each month, we expose the Blessed Sacrament. Visit our calendar of events for more information.

Posted February 9th, 2017

THE ANNUAL WHITE MASS


The Annual White Mass is offered for all Health Care Professionals and will be celebrated by Bishop David Zubik, on Sunday, February 19, at 12:00 pm. Please see our upcoming events for more information.

Posted February 9th, 2017

THE FAMILY FAITH FORMATION PROGRAM


The Family Faith Formation program will meet again on Sunday, February 26. There has been a change to the schedule for 2017, visit our calendar of events for more information.

Posted February 9th, 2017

ASH WEDNESDAY


Ash Wednesday is on March 1, 2017. Ashes will be distributed at Masses celebrated at 6:45 am, 8:15 am, 12:05 pm and at 6:00 pm with Bishop Zubik presiding. Visit our calendar of events for more information.

Posted February 7th, 2017

SUPREME COURT NOMINEE


PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS NOMINATED JUDGE NEIL GORUSCH to fill the seat on the United States Supreme Court which was vacated at the death of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. The President had promised in the election campaign to nominate a judge who has a demonstrated fidelity to the Constitution , a strong commitment to the sanctity of human life and supports religious freedom in our country. These are all critical principles and values for Catholic faith teaching. The post-election polls have indicated that President Trump carried the Catholic vote (52-45 percent) and the vote of evangelical Christians (by an even larger margin) in large part due to his promise to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would protect these important ethical and moral values and it seems he has fulfilled that promise in nominating Judge Gorusch. We can only pray and hope that these principles will be protected at the highest court in our land.

Posted January 19th, 2017

CATHOLICS ARE ALWAYS PRO-LIFE


THE CHURCH’S TEACHING ON HUMAN HAS BEEN CONSISTENT AND LONG STANDING. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (No. 2271). From earliest times, Christians sharply distinguished themselves from surrounding pagan cultures by rejecting abortion and infanticide. The earliest widely used documents of Christian teaching and practice after the New Testament in the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) and Letter of Barnabas, condemned both practices, as did early regional and particular Church councils. Given the indisputable scientific fact that a human life begins at conception, the only moral norm needed to understand the Church’s opposition to abortion is the principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with the respect due to a human person. This is the foundation for the Church’s social doctrine, including its teachings on war, the use of capital punishment, euthanasia, health care, poverty and immigration. Conversely, to claim that some live human beings do not deserve respect or should not be treated as “persons” (based on changeable factors such as age, condition, location, or lack of mental or physical abilities) is to deny the very idea of inherent human rights. Such a claim undermines respect for the lives of many vulnerable people before and after birth.
Each year on January 22nd – the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade – people pause to recognize the date in some way. Some speak out, some march, some reach out, some educate, some just reflect. Many pray. Each year, for the past 43 years, pro-life Americans have shown that their commitment will not waver, their efforts will not cease. Our firm conviction as Catholics that “life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception” (Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, no. 51) has been a part of the Church’s constant witness since the Apostolic age and has inspired millions to defend human life at every stage. Against the backdrop of a society in which many institutions of influence endorse legal abortion, the pro-life movement has grown year by year, in numbers and in vitality. Roe v. Wade has left a trail of broken hearts. Through Project Rachel and other ministries, we will continue to help the broken-hearted. Those who resort to abortion out of a sense of desperation often find the cruel reality of abortion too difficult to bear. But it is too difficult only in a world without God and therefore without hope. We must reach these hearts and give them hope. These are the converted hearts that will at last bring an end to abortion.

Roe v. Wade cannot stand as the law of this great nation, a nation founded on the self-evident truth that all people are created with an inalienable right to life. We are committed, no matter how long it may take, no matter the sacrifices required, to bringing about a reversal of this tragic Supreme Court decision. We will speak out on behalf of the sanctity of each and every human life wherever it is threatened, from conception to natural death, and we urge all people of good will to do likewise. For, as Pope John Paul II reminds us, “it is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop” (The Gospel of Life, no. 101).

Posted January 15th, 2017

PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION


OUR NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT, DONALD J. TRUMP, will be inaugurated this Friday, January 20. He was elected by the majority of the Electoral College, the duly recognized authority enshrined by our Constitution to allow equal representation of all our citizens in every state to elect a leader that best represents them as American citizens. It is sad that these past two months have not brought healing and reconciliation, but have amplified the divisions and mean partisanship that has been such a strong force in our political life for all too long. Elections allow those running for office to make their best case for why they should be elected. We know those campaigns, like this most recent ones, can bring out the worst in so many people. But once the people have spoken, we must all as American citizens, strive to work together for the good of our country and for others. We have many challenges before us, and many opportunities as well. Each of us has a responsibility to pray for our newly elected leaders and to ask God’s blessings on them and our country. It has been a long tradition that a variety of clergy have offered prayers at every Presidential inauguration since 1937.

One of those asked to lead the prayer this year is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. He said: “I am honored to have been asked to offer a reading from Scripture at the upcoming presidential inauguration, and look forward to asking Almighty God to inspire and guide our new President and to continue to bless our great Nation.” All of us are invited on this day to lift up the needs of our nation to Almighty God, to pray for President-elect Donald Trump and his administration. We must give thanks to God for the abundant blessings and prosperity that marks our lives in this great nation of ours. We pray that God’s wisdom and truth will lead those who serve us in public office. We pray that they may work – once again – to defend and to advocate for the sanctity of every human life. We pray that –once again – people of faith will be respected and allowed to practice their beliefs and to worship freely without penalty or discrimination. We pray that the rule of law as intended by our Constitution and Bill of Rights will – once again – be respected by the judiciary in exercising their responsibility to interpret the intent of the law, not to create it. We pray that those in authority will understand their responsibility to serve as stewards of all that God has placed before them and to work to build a better country for all of its citizens, especially the poor and disenfranchsied, and those seeking to come to our shores and live peaceably with us as citizens.

Recently, I read the prayers offered at past presidential inaugurations and was struck by how fitting and appropriate for this week is the pray offered by Franklin Graham at the inauguration of President George Bush in 2001: “Blessed are you, O Lord, our God. Yours, O God, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor; for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and to give strength to all. As President Lincoln once said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” O Lord, as we come together on this historic and solemn occasion to inaugurate once again a president and vice president, teach us afresh that power, wisdom and salvation come only from your hand.

We pray, O Lord, for our President and Vice President-elect, to whom you have entrusted leadership of this nation at this moment in history. We pray that you will help them bring our country together, so that we may rise above partisan politics and seek the larger vision of your will for our nation. Use them to bring reconciliation between the races and healing to political wounds, that we may truly become “one nation under God.” Give our new president and all who advise him calmness in the face of storms, encouragement in the face of frustration, and humility in the face of success. Give them the wisdom to know and to do what is right and the courage to say no to all that is contrary to your statutes of holy law. Lord, we pray for their families and especially their wives, that they may sense your presence and know your love. Lead them as they journey through new doors of opportunity to serve others. Now, O Lord, we dedicate this presidential inaugural ceremony to you. May this be the beginning of a new dawn for America as we humble ourselves before you and acknowledge you alone as our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer. We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

MAY GOD BLESS PRESIDENT TRUMP AND VICE PRESIDENT PENCE.

Posted December 16th, 2016

DON’T BE A GRINCH THIS CHRISTMAS!


Sadly, many Catholics see the jam packed Cathedral at Christmas as a bad thing! They complain that someone is sitting in their pew; they are upset that they can’t find a parking place; they think it’s a nuisance that the Mass is longer because so many people are going to Communion; and the list goes on. The truth is we are delighted to see everyone who comes and hope that their experience is so positive and welcoming that they will want to return more often. Christmas is a time for evangelization, for hospitality, for kindness and love. So don’t be a Grinch this Christmas. Smile at those around you at Church; take time to introduce yourself and to welcome those who are here; let them know how delighted you are to see them at Mass and how important the Cathedral is to you personally. Pope Francis reminds us that each and every one of us as Catholics has a responsibility “to bear witness to the joy of the Gospel by the goodness of our lives, and it demands of us a readiness to listen to and to walk with those who no longer practice their faith regularly.” So as you come to Christmas Mass this year, please make a resolution to help to bring others back to the practice of the faith. What a wonderful gift for the Lord Jesus; what a great gift for the Church; and what better way to live out our faith in a manner to pleasing to God than help guide those who have fallen away to embrace once again the joy of God’s saving love.