Friday, January 24, 2014

March for Life, Washington DC

In spite of the bitter cold weather, hundreds of thousands showed up in Washington DC for this years March for Life, Pro-life rally.  Two of our Sisters, accompanied by our parish youth group and their parents, attended this year's March along with six other bus loads of faithful from the Diocese of Saginaw.

This event leaves a lasting hope that our country will restore the dignity of every human person, from conception to grave.  We are made in the image of God who is Life, and wills the good of each person.  May we in our lives and in our country give glory to God who made us, became Incarnate to be one of us, died to redeem us and rose from the dead to show us life.  Continue to join with the many people of our great nation who value the rights of each person, and beg God to change our hearts and put an end to murder of the unborn.

The History of the March for Life (provided by the Diocese of Saginaw)

The MARCH FOR LIFE in Washington, D.C. began as a small demonstration and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world. The peaceful demonstration that has followed on this somber anniversary each year since 1973 is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand.

In October, 1973, months after the Roe v. Wade decision, a group of thirty pro-life leaders gathered in the Washington, D.C. home of our founder, Nellie Gray, to discuss how to commemorate the one year anniversary of Roe. There was a fear that January 22 would pass as any other day rather than allow for a moment to reflect upon how legalized abortion had hurt women and taken the lives of babies.
Today the MARCH FOR LIFE is the largest civil rights event in the world. Over the past 40 years, millions of people have traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the March for Life. Locally, in the past 8 years, over 3,000 young people and adults from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw have attended.
We now know that the impact is much greater than anticipated. It affects the mother, father, baby, and indeed, all of society. There have been countless stories of the young pro-life activists who were ‗born‘ out of the March for Life, and are now changing the face of the pro-life debate. The March for Life is the engine of the pro-life movement and we are all indebted to Nellie Gray.

January 22, 1973 is ingrained in the minds of pro-life supporters. On that infamous historic day the Supreme Court invalidated 50 state laws and made abortion legal and available on demand throughout the United States in the now-infamous decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton.
Greeting Marchers at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
You can view more photos on our website.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Epiphany


The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated in the US on the closest weekend to January 6th, however, it is still an observed Holy Day in Rome.  This feast is particularly directed at us. When Christ was born in Bethlehem, few people came to see Him, His birth was hidden and humble, unknown to the majority of people who lived close by, with the exception of some local shepherds. Epiphany recalls the visit of three men whom we know as Wise Men or Magi. These men journeyed from far off lands and came first to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem.

They had responded to God’s call and followed the Star. What was the object of their journey? To see the King of the Jews. Scripture does not tell us whether they were surprised at what they found. What it says is that they “entered the house and found the Child with Mary His Mother, and falling down they adored Him.” They quickly learned that His Kingdom was not of this world. In fact, His birth explained His Kingdom in its humility, simplicity and poverty. Christ was born to preach the Good News to the poor, to suffer and die for our sins. And yet the poverty of the Gospel is richer than any of the riches in this world. In having nothing, Christ had everything because He gave up all to follow His Father’s Will in all things. The Wise Men were learned sages, but they were not of the race of God’s chosen people, they were not  Jewish.

They represent the rest of the world, the gentile world, our world and come to do homage at the feet of the Babe of Bethlehem. They offered gifts that indicate the nature of this Child. Gold for the king, frankincense for God, myrrh for man. How did the Wise Men know that Jesus was King, God and Man? Because God had chosen to reveal Himself to them in much the same way as He manifests Himself to us.
What lesson can we learn from all this? First of all, the greatest of lessons: humility. Love reveals itself in small, simple gestures. Love humbles itself. It seeks not to be grandiose, but rather humble and little. As the Holy Gospel exhorts us, we must “seek the last place”. We must become like nothing in the eyes of the world, in order to be great in the Eyes of God. Love is about serving. It is about serving humbly, meekly, without ever seeking a reward in return. It is all about dying to oneself, becoming nothing, so that God can be everything. This is perhaps the greatest lesson of the Feast of the Epiphany. God manifested himself not in the manner of the great thunderlighting manifestations of the Old Testament. He manifested himself to the world, through the Magi from the East, as a simple, helpless Babe lying in a manger, with no crib for a bed. He did this because He loved us and did not want us to be afraid to approach Him. Had He come with great power and majesty, accompanied by an army of angels ready to do His bidding, with lightning and thunder blazing as His chariot, perhaps we might have been struck with terror and hesitated to go to Him, especially if our lives left something to be desired. But a baby in diapers making soft, nursing noises—no one would be awed or fearful. So let us approach Him in the manger, in the tabernacle, confident that this little baby, yes, His name is “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” but He is our Brother and He loves us enough to do anything for us. He just wants us to love Him.
God bless you all!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mary kept all these things in her heart

Gospel for the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God: Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.


From Saint Bede: "Abiding by the rules of virginal modesty, Mary wished to divulge to no one the secret things which she knew about Christ. She reverently waited for the time and place when he would wish to divulge them. However, though her mouth was silent, in her careful, watchful heart she weighed these secret things. And this is what the Evangelist says, pondering in her heart—indeed, she weighed those acts which she saw in relation to those things which she had read were to be done. Now she saw that she herself, who had arisen from the stock of Jesse, had conceived God’s Son of the Holy Spirit. She had read in the prophet, “A shoot will sprout from the root of Jesse, and a ‘Nazareus’ will ascend from his root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”… Mary was comparing these things which she had read were to occur with those which she recognized as already having occurred. Nevertheless she did not bring these things forth from her mouth but kept them closed up in her heart."

Mary's lively faith and trust in the providence of God is central to this mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord.  Faith surpasses our senses.  Faith is about things that are hoped for but cannot be seen.  Mary is truly our example.  Mary pondered these mysteries and kept these secrets within herself until God showed her how she should reveal them.  Her example of steadfast trust and confidence in the will of God should be our lesson.  May we with her, ponder the mysterious ways of God in our own hearts and lives, and know that He will lead and guide to Himself.

From Blessed Pope John Paul II's homily for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, 1979, we read: "Today the church particularly venerates the Motherhood of Mary.  This is, as it were, a last message of the octave of Christmas. Birth always speaks of the Begetter, of her who gives life, of her who gives man to the world. The first day of the New Year is Mother’s day.
We see her then—as in so many pictures and sculptures—with the Child in her arms, with the Child at her breast. The Mother, she who begot and fed the Son of God. The Mother of Christ. There is no image that is better known and that speaks in a more simple way of the mystery of the Lord’s birth than that of the Mother with Jesus in her arms. Is not this image, perhaps, the source of our extraordinary confidence? Is it not just this image that allows us to live in the circle of all the mysteries of our faith, and, while contemplating them as “divine”, to consider them at the same time so “human”?