By: Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
In 1979, Pope John Paul II visited New York. His advisors warned him that the media in America has a way of zeroing in on a word or phrase, taking it out of context and publishing it in a glitzy headline. They suggested that he use great caution in selecting his words whenever a reporter asks a question.
During the visit one of the tabloid reporters interviewed the Pope. The reporter asked Pope John Paul what he thought about the ‘go-go-girls’ in New York. Remembering that his advisor warned him to be cautious, Pope John Paul tried to sidestep the question by asking a question. So, Pope John Paul asked, “Are there go-go-girls in New York?”
The next day the tabloid headlines read, “Upon arriving in New York, the first thing the Pope asked was, ‘Are there go-go-girls in New York?”
There are times when we are misquoted. There are times when we are misunderstood. There are times when they twist our words. There are times when they use words which mislead. And that is what happened last week. On Monday, September 12 an organization called ‘Catholics for Choice’ published a full page ad, falsely announcing that one could have an ‘abortion in good faith.’
Our Catholic Church teaches that God creates life and God takes life. Live begins at the moment of conception and ends at the moment of natural death. No human being has been given the right to terminate the life of a fetus in the mother’s womb. Catholics for Choice try to claim that a woman has a right to decide whether the fetus lives or is terminated. Advocates for abortion call it pro-choice. Yes, it is outrageous to think that a mother has the right to determine whether her unborn child lives or dies.
As Catholics, we believe that life begins at the moment of conception. We believe that God has created the life of a fetus. We believe that a mother protects the life of the fetus. We do not accept the pro-choice of women who subscribe to Catholics for Choice. Rather, we who believe that it is God who gives life, subscribe to the Roman Catholic teachings of Pro-Life.
We applaud the prelates in Texas who refuted the full page ad of Catholics for Choice with their own full page pro-life ad, honoring God’s gift of life.
Next weekend Father Ignatius Himawan MSF will be preaching at all the Masses. Father Ignatius is a missionary of the Holy Family. The Congregation of the Missionaries of the Holy Family was founded in 1895. The missionaries bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people in Argentina, Austria, Belarus, and many other countries. We welcome Father Ignatius.
How often have we heard people say, “Welcome back.” Or “Welcome home…stranger.” Father Bob and I have heard those greetings many a time. Let me explain what is happening. Yes, there are times we are not present at a Sunday Mass. Where are we?
Surely you are aware of the priest shortage. There are not enough priests to cover all the needs of this Archdiocese. So, often times we priests ‘help out’ one another. Amongst us priests we frequently us that phrase – ‘Help Out.’ Father Bob and I have been helping out at St. Margaret Mary. Father Jimmy Drennan, the pastor, has encountered some serious health issues during this past year. Although he is recovering well, the work load at St. Margaret Mary is overwhelming. Not only does he have six masses on a weekend, there are also many weddings and funerals throughout the week. So he asked us to ‘help out.’
Father Bob and I basically alternate on saying weekend Masses at St. Gerard. And so, we also alternate on saying Masses at St. Margaret Mary. During the week there could be four or five funerals. So, we ‘help out’ in taking those funerals.
Then, Sister Emelia, a sister of Our Lady of Sorrows on Beethoven Street informed us that their chaplain has returned to his community up north. She asked us to celebrate daily Mass at the Divine Mercy chapel. So, Father Bob and I alternate in celebrating with the Sisters and many others. On week days the Mass is at 9:00 a.m. and on Sundays, at 10:00 a.m. For several hours every day a priest hears confessions at San Fernando Cathedral. Priests from around the diocese switch off in hearing confessions. Father Bob hears confessions every Monday afternoon.
So, if you don’t see us at St. Gerard, know that we are not out vacationing, but rather praising God at a nearby church.
Looking ahead, the Knights of Columbus Silver Rose will arrive at St. Gerard on October 15, 2016, on time for the 5:00 p.m. Mass. Over the years people brought roses to Mary. Years back a group of young men, known as Columbian Squires, and belonging to the Knights of Columbus, decided to relay a rose to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey Mexico. they introduced ‘The Running of the Rose.’ These squires were so enthused that they invited the Knights from the United States to run a rose through the United States to the International Bridge in Laredo, where Mexican Knights would then carry the rose to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey.
We are honored to have the Silver Rose come to St. Gerard. Last year it arrived by motorcycle. Who knows how it will arrive this year. Nevertheless, let’s look forward to its arrival.
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.