These US saints fought for the dignity of all people.

01-02-2022Weekly Reflection

Each year the feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28 reminds us of the fragility of life and the need to protect it at every stage. Besides treating everyone with dignity and fighting for legislation that reflects that fundamental truth, another powerful way to protect life is by invoking the intercession of the saints.

In particular, there are many saints who fought for the most vulnerable in society during their lifetime and retain that special love in heaven.

The USCCB highlights three such saints from the United States and addresses them in a nine-day novena that can be prayed at any time.

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This fragrant element of our Catholic heritage dates to millennia before Christ.

11-21-2021Weekly ReflectionLarry Peterson

For me, there is something about the smell of freshly burned incense filling the church that is spiritually uplifting. But where did it come from and why do we use it?

The use of incense in religious worship started more than 2,000 years before Christianity even began. The use of incense in China is documented before 2000 BC. Trade in incense and spices was a major economic factor between east and west when caravans traveled the Middle Eastern Incense Route from Yemen through Saudi Arabia. The route ended in Israel and it was here that it was introduced to the Roman Empire.

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Rediscovering beauty in the Sacred

11-14-2021Weekly ReflectionJames Day

The three transcendentals—truth, beauty, and goodness—were ideals once harmoniously integrated in the Catholic worldview not only in the transmission of the faith but also in the arts: literature, art, music, architecture, poetry, and sculpture. The expression of the wonder of God in art through so many artists across time, encouraged by the great patron of the arts, the Church, to lift humanity’s gaze beyond the mundane has been widely lost in the modern age.

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Leading U.S. Bishop: ‘Devout Catholic’ Biden Should ‘Act Like One’

10-31-2021Weekly ReflectionCatholic Vote News Feed

The head of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee accused President Joe Biden of being “in the control of abortion extremists” and called on the president to “begin acting like” the “devout Catholic” he has claimed to be.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s sharp rebuke of the Biden administration came in an interview with EWTN News Nightly on Friday, Oct 8.

“He likes to call himself a ‘devout’ Catholic,” Naumann said of the president:

I would urge him to begin to act like one, especially on the life issues. And to let his faith really inform his conscience and the decisions that he’s making, not the platform of his party.

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Holiness is Ordinary

01-10-2021Weekly ReflectionBr. Elijah Dubeck O.P.

Each year in early to mid-January, the Church’s celebration of Christmas comes to a close, meaning that we now find ourselves in what the English-speaking world calls “Ordinary Time.” The priests return to wearing green vestments; we hear a continuous flow of the Gospel readings from Sunday to Sunday; and hymn choices switch out of holiday mode. Yet, if we were to look at a missal or breviary in Latin or from before the liturgical reforms following Vatican II, we would be hard pressed to find the phrase “Tempus Ordinarium.” The Latin instead reads “Tempus per annum” or “the time during the year.”

Why do we call it “ordinary,” then? Instead of getting into the often fiery debates of translation, let’s look at a less well-known text that teaches us about the liturgy: The Ceremonial of Bishops.

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Rosemary in the Life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

01-03-2021Weekly ReflectionMargaret Rose Realy

Joseph would have added sprigs of rosemary to the stable‛s straw, to protect infant Jesus from bugs.

The purple of Advent and Lent is the color that bookends the life of Jesus. Both holy seasons are penitential, in preparation for the coming of the Christ: the Incarnation, Resurrection and Return. I like the continuity of a color that threads its symbolism through our religion. We know by altar linens and chasubles of priests what season we are in, and what prayers will be said. The purple of penitence and preparation, reds of sacrifice, whites of virtue and victory and the green of hope and freedom.

There is also symbolism in the plants used in our rituals; the most familiar are the fronds on Palm Sunday (burned to create the Ashes of Wednesday that mark the start of Lent) and evergreens throughout Advent and Christmas.

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Vaccines for COVID-19

12-20-2020Weekly ReflectionMost Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades

Important Message from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

There appears to be some confusion in the media regarding the moral permissibility of using the vaccines for COVID-19 developed by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna. We would like to offer some clarifications. Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production.1 They are not completely free from any connection to abortion, however, as both Pfizer and Moderna made use of a tainted cell line for one of the confirmatory lab tests of their products. There is thus a connection, but it is relatively remote. Some are asserting that if a vaccine is connected in any way with tainted cell lines then it is immoral to be vaccinated with them. This is an inaccurate portrayal of Catholic moral teaching. There are three documents from the Holy See that treat the question of tainted vaccines: 1) the 2005 study by the Pontifical Academy for Life, "Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses"; 2) paragraphs nos. 34-35 in the 2008 Instruction on Certain Bioethical Questions (Dignitatis Personae) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; 3) the 2017 Note on Italian Vaccine Issue, by the Pontifical Academy for Life. These documents all point to the immorality of using tissue taken from an aborted child for creating cell lines. They also make distinctions in terms of the moral responsibility of the various actors involved, from those involved in designing and producing a vaccine to those receiving the vaccine. Most importantly, they all make it clear that, at the level of the recipient, it is morally permissible to accept vaccination when there are no alternatives and there is a serious risk to health.

Why do we offer Mass for the Dead

11-08-2020Weekly ReflectionFather William Saunders

The offering of Mass for the repose of the soul of the faithful departed is linked with our belief in Purgatory. We believe that if a person has died fundamentally believing in God but with venial sins and the hurt caused by sin, then God in His divine love and mercy will first purify the soul After this purification has been completed, the soul will have the holiness and purity needed to share in the beatific vision in heaven. While each individual stands judgment before the Lord and must render an account of his life, the communion of the Church shared on this earth continues, except for those souls dammed to hell.

The Vatican Council II affirmed, "This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable faith of our ancestors in the living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of heaven or who are yet being purified after their death..." (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, No. 51). Therefore, just as we pray for each other and share each other's burdens now, the faithful on earth can offer prayers and sacrifices to help the departed souls undergoing purification, and no better prayer could be offered than that of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

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Declarations of Pope Francis Regarding Civil Unions

11-01-2020Weekly ReflectionRaymond Leo Cardinal Burke

The worldwide communications media have reported with strong emphasis, as a change of course, the news that Pope Francis has declared that persons in the homosexual condition, as children of God, “have a right to have a family” and that “no one should be thrown out or be made unhappy because of it.” Moreover, they write that he has declared: “What we have to create is a civil union. In this way they will be legally covered. I have defended this.” The declarations were made in an interview with Evgeny Afineevsky, director of a documentary, “Francesco,” premiered on October 21, 2020, on the occasion of the Rome Film Festival (Festa del Film di Roma).

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