“The problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even — without realizing it — racist. In this way, fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             — Pope Francis 

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR

Two weeks ago, I offered a Reflection on a General Confession On The Sin of Racism. My Focus was the Five Chapters of my personal life – – – Chapter One: Schools, Chapter Two: Professional Life, Chapter Three: Community and Social Life, Chapter Four: Seminary and Catholic Priest, Chapter Five: Use of My Time, Talent, and Treasure to Build and Not Divide.

That Reflection is on the social media of both of our Churches if you would like to look at it. It will  help frame today’s Five Chapters.

Why did I write it? I wrote it because of a song that we used to sing at Presentation of Our Lady Grade School during the racial unrest of the late 60s —  ‘Let there be peace on Earth and let it  begin with me.’

Since that time, we had a very informative discussion in the Julia Greeley Guild Zoom Meeting last week. In that meeting, Mary Leisring — the Coordinator of the Guild, an employee of the Cathedral, and former Director of the Archdiocese Black Catholics Office — made the comment that her phrase is — Black Lives Have Not Always Mattered.

Mary reflected on that concept as it related to her life and career. As a Priest, she has been a great ground for me in Pastoral Counseling through her patience, wisdom, and love. And it was she, and the other Guild members last year, who told me about the reality of The Negro Motorist Green-Book —  Victor Hugo Green’s guide to services and places relatively friendly to African-Americans produced annually from 1936 to 1966. I never thought that my Beloved Denver would need such a guide!

At that meeting, Dustin Caldwell, a member of the Guild and an Altar Server here at the Cathedral Basilica, said that when he was interviewed by the Denver Catholic, he chose to focus on his faith and his devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus who will ultimately resolve these racial divides. But what he shared with us was HIS BACKSTORY. As a Young Black Man, he would get pulled over by the police for no apparent reason. When he would show them his Pilot’s License, it changed the story! That affected me deeply because Dustin is one of the finest Young Catholic Men that I have met in my life.

Mary and Dustin’s conversations made a difference to me in how I look at the current situation…how I process everyone’s Backstory…and that their Black Lives Matter in my life today.

Their thoughts and those of many others are in this week’s issue of Denver Catholic. I encourage you to read it.

After reading the Issue myself, it brought me to the NEXT QUESTION FOR ME: WHAT BLACK LIVES MATTER IN MY LIFE?  And five more Chapters unfolded…

>Chapter 6: Presentation of Our Lady Church. For 88 of its 108 years, a member of my family has been a Parishioner at Presentation Church in West Denver. It was the Church of my Baptism, First Confession, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. And for 50 years in the 20th Century, my Dad, Ted, and my Uncle Frank were members of the Improved Order of Redmen founded at the time of the Revolutionary War. Ironically, in November 1912, the First Mass for the newly formed Presentation of Our Lady Church was celebrated at Redmond Hall near 8th in Knox Court. The Lodge was an organization of white men and a women’s auxiliary until that restriction was dropped the 1970. Its foundation is Liberty, the Flag, Community, and Fraternity. It’s an irony that a Catholic Church in Denver celebrated its First Mass in the Lodge Hall of such an organization. But my Dad and my Uncle (and the many parishioners who were members) were not racists, but two of the finest men I have ever met in my life. They joined the Redmen because there was a Hall in every mining town in Colorado where they lived growing up. They supported their community work serving the developmentally disabled and physically and mentally challenged communities in Denver. What shaped them, Presentation Parish, and me was not ancient membership criteria, but the spirit of service and the knowledge that Black Lives Matter in their service.

>Chapter 7: Newlon and Perry Schools in Barnum. I attended Preschool at Newlon Elementary School and Kindergarten – 3rd Grade at Perry School. (Yes, my classmate at Perry School was Duane Chapman – – Dog the Bounty Hunter!) In Preschool I met a woman by the name of Mrs Marie Greenwood. She was maybe one of the first Black women I met at four years old. My Mom, Gladys, and her best friend Pat Kreps, were the leadership of the PTA. Mrs. Greenwood was the first black teacher to receive tenure in Denver Public Schools. She was Called Home last November at age 106. She was a pioneer of integration in Denver, going to work in all-white Newlon School in 1955. She made an impression on me because of her kindness, her ever present smile, and her desire for me to be a good learner…she loved kids! Now here, once again, is the culture irony. In 3rd Grade I was the Student Body President at Newlon’s affiliate school, Perry School — the last red brick two room schoolhouse in Denver. It was the 50th Anniversary of Perry School in 1961. I accepted the Colorado State Flag from the Daughters of Colorado. They were originally affiliated with the Sons of Colorado organization (which 100 years ago was racially restricted to white men). It is ironic that the first tenured Black Woman in the Denver Public School System and a restricted pioneer heritage organization were both present in this school campus.  The Black Life that Mattered in shaping my early years was Mrs. Greenwood.

>Chapter 8: Big Sisters of Colorado. As you can guess by now, I grew up in a lower middle-class neighborhood in West Denver.  Of the 18 houses in my block on Quitman Street in Barnum, we had 11 Anglo, 5 Hispanic, one Native American, and one Austrian family. This diversity was important to my culturalization in the late 60s. After being in the Denver Chamber of Commerce Leadership Denver Program in 1980, I was asked to be on the Board of Big Sisters of Colorado in 1985. My old neighborhood helped me to understand the importance of the mentoring work of Big Sisters. Over time I chaired the Board and three of their major fundraisers. There were many Denver Angels who introduced this Kid from Barnum to the Denver funding community. One such couple was Dr Reginald and Faye Washington. Reggie is a prominent Black heart surgeon, and Faye is the consummate volunteer community leader. I still see his picture regularly and fondly at PSL Hospital. They, along with some other wonderful women leaders who are well connected in Denver, taught me how to conduct myself and move through the funding community in Denver. These Black Lives Mattered in shaping me as a compassionate member of a Diverse Denver Community.

>Chapter 9: The Salvation Army. I have been a member of The Salvation Army board since 1985 and was an officer for 11 years. During that time, I met well-known Denver Boxer Ron Lyle. He coached kids in the Cox-Lyle Boxing Program at the Salvation Army Red Shield Center in the Whittier-Five Points neighborhood, near where he grew up, and where the Senior Center at Red Shield is named after my parents, Gladys and Ted. Ron taught me something about how to work with young people…a key to my ministry to Young Adults as a priest 15 years later! This Black Life showed me that his rich, sometimes good and sometimes bad, life history, a compassionate heart, physical and mental discipline, and basic Christian Hope can change someone’s life.

The other iconic stalwart for me at that time was Mayor Wellington Webb. While we had been professional colleagues during the Lamm Administration, it was as Mayor that he responded EVERY YEAR to my call to assist The Salvation Army Annual Kettle Kickoff. He attended the Red Shield Center growing up — and he never forgot! When I lead the Prayer in the House of Representatives for the Memorial Service of my friend Ruben Valdez in January, the Mayor was there. It gave me the opportunity to thank him once again. This Black Life taught me the importance of loyalty and community service by witnessing that value to me.

>Chapter 10: Broadway. Over 20 years ago I met a Black Actor, Russ Costen, at Mother of God Church. Here in Denver, he was a playwright and a Broadway and Denver Actor. When I arrived at the Cathedral he attended here periodically. I asked THE VOICE as I called him at Mother of God, to be a Lector. Eventually as a regular attendee of the Sunday Concerts and Friday Night at the Movies, he would relate the stories of many of the actors in those movies who he knew and with whom he performed. (And, yes, Russ was in the movie HAIR!) Russ had a voice that was magnificent, and he mesmerized the Congregation. We were trusted friends. Russ was inducted into the Chappell Players Hall of Fame, his Alma Mater, in 2016 for his Commitment and Achievement. He often focused on the Road Not Taken and what that life might have been versus the life he developed in Denver. As he grew older, he realized the fleeting relationships of one world and the enduring values of another. He was Called Home two years ago last October. I was the last person to visit him…I miss him greatly…we had great fun! What he taught me was that life has its up’s and down’s… but what matters are the friends you make along the way. This Black Life Mattered in adding perspective to my priestly life.

Relationships in our life are a Gift From God…a Gift for which we should always say THANK YOU! And through Him the right people come into our life at the right time for the Virtue we Need to Learn, the Job we Need to Do, or the Person we Need to Become.

For me these eight BLACK LIVES MATTERED in my life and have helped me to this place and to this moment. More importantly, it was members of an often-Undervalued Denver Community who taught me how to Embrace A Total Community…

For those who have been Called Home, may God Bless Them in Abundance for their impact on my life. And for those who may become aware of this Reflection someday, thank you for all the Good YOU DID IN MY LIFE.

What Black Lives Matter in Your Life? You just may not have to look too far…if you open your eyes and your heart…

Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me…

Servant of God, Julia Greeley, pray for us!

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Every family needs a father. The first need is this: that a father be present in a family. That he be close to his wife, sharing everything—joy and sorrow, hope and hardship. And that he be close to his children as they grow—when they play and when they strive, when they are carefree and when they are distressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they take a wrong step, and when they find their path again: a father who is always present. To say ‘present’ is not to say ‘controlling.’ Fathers who are too controlling stifle the spirit of their children; they don’t let them develop. Fathers must be patient. A good father knows how to wait, and he knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart. Certainly, he also knows how to correct with firmness: he is not a weak father, submissive and sentimental. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself…All of this is, of course, not easy, so Fathers need God. Without the grace that comes from the Father who is in Heaven, fathers lose courage and give up. Children need to find a father waiting for them when they come home after failing. They will do everything not to admit it, not to show it, but they need it. And not to find it opens wounds in them that are difficult to heal. Fathers are the irreplaceable guardians and mediators of faith through their goodness, justice, and protection.”

                                                                                                                                                 — Pope Francis

FROM YOUR PASTOR 

What Makes Families Work?

Pope Francis gives us good advice…based in the Virtues of Fatherhood.

Today’s Fathers are as varied as the Families they lead — biological, adopted, foster care, relatives raising grandchildren or siblings, as well as the single parent family.

And some of us are Spiritual Fathers…

Father Coomes SJ provides some complementary advice to Pope Francis on Fatherhood, Family, and Our Church…

The parent, or head of the household or Family, is called upon to be a good provider. The successful Family, regardless of its configuration, should be grounded in Harmony, Mutual Respect, Peace, and Unconditional Love.

The Father figure, again in any of the above configurations, is to Lead that Family with a Humility and Trust emanating from a God-centered Life. To make the monumental challenges of Family life livable, the need for Security, for True Love, and for Faithfulness within the Family is essential to making Families work. 

That’s the HUMAN DIMENSION…

But there is a DIVINE DIMENSION…

Father Coomes solemnly reminds us that Parents will be held Accountable to God for the Souls of their Children, and that a Family CENTERED IN GOD endures their trials through HIS GRACE. That is why a Sacramental Marriage has JESUS AT ITS CENTER.

So, on this FATHER’S DAY, the father figure of YOUR FAMILY or YOUR HOUSEHOLD should Dedicate their Fatherhood to Saint Joseph, and Dedicate Their Children to the Blessed Mother as Their Protectress.

This DIVINE INTERVENTION IS ESSENTIAL TO THE HUMAN REALITY OF THIS CULTURE AND THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES. 

Fatherhood is a two way street…it brings with it the enormous Challenges of Endurance and Prudence…and an Obligation to Children.

Fathers must Deserve the Honor of their Children…through the Correction, Companionship, and Guidance they provide. The Virtues of Courage, Temperance, Honesty, Dependability, and Dedication are essential to carry out the responsibilities of Fatherhood in FAITH AND LOVE. The Silence of Disinterest can wound your child. And Words Said in Anger can NEVER be taken back.

As a Spiritual Father, sometimes I see something different…

Not every child experiences a Grace-filled Family, or the Idyllic Father of Saint Joseph or Pope Francis or Father Coomes.

Addictions, Career, Infidelity, Neglect, and Emotional Absenteeism can destroy a Marriage and Family…and emotionally, spiritually, physically, or psychologically Devastate a Child. Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, or Domestic Violence is REAL in these uncertain times. And the ISOLATION of COVID-19 is leading some Young Adults, some in these domestic circumstances as well, to contemplate SUICIDE.

Or maybe YOU WERE THE FATHER FIGURE to your younger brothers and sisters because of a Dysfunctional Family, a Refugee Family, or a Family Divided by Immigration.

On weekends such as this,  WE PRAY FOR YOU in three ways.

First, we pray for your earthly Father for their healing, for the repose of their soul, or for the others who may have experienced the same hurt as You.

Second, we pray for You as an  Abused Child, for your healing, and for your deliverance from what you experienced so you do not pass it on in the Fatherhood of Your Life.

Third, we pray in Thanksgiving to God for your LOVE to intervene in the life of your siblings or grandchildren and raise them with the TRUE LOVE of a Father.

God’s Providence in the Challenges of Parenthood may be difficult to comprehend. But His Providence is always a PROVIDENCE OF LOVE. When God Entrusts a Child to their Parents or someone in that Role, He bestows a DIVINE TRUST that is Very Dear to Him as they undertake a Special Work of Love in His Name.

Fathers, or Those in This Role, please entrust YOUR FAMILY AS IT IS EXPRESSED IN YOUR LIFE to the HOLY FAMILY and to the HOLY TRINITY.

May the Love of Mary, the Responsibility of Joseph, and the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit Place in Your Heart the Love, Guidance and Endurance to be the Light of Christ to THOSE WHO CALL YOU FATHER…

+MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU+

“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.”

                                 — Pope Francis 

FROM YOUR PASTOR

The tragic events of the last several weeks have put into POIGNANT CLARITY FOR ME the principles of Catholic Social Doctrine, the Principles of Our Founding Fathers in Liberty and Justice for All, and the Principles of Inclusion and Equality that should  FORM OUR CONSCIENCE and GUIDE OUR ACTIONS as Intentional Disciples of Jesus Christ.

The Preaching, Teaching, Healing, and Raising from the Dead of Jesus Christ was not based on the color of one’s skin or the country of one’s origin. It was based on one’s Faith in God, one’s Hope of Salvation, and one’s Love of Others.  Jesus sent his Apostles and Disciples to the Ends of the Earth to share the Word of God. JESUS WAS NOT A RACIST…HE EXCLUDED NO ONE. As His Brother, NEITHER SHOULD I.

And often unused Form of Contrition in the Catholic  Church is a General Confession. It involves looking at one’s life and our Sins Against God and Sins Against Others. Perhaps in this tragic time it is important for each of us to MAKE A GENERAL CONFESSION  as it relates to the SIN OF RACISM IN OUR LIFE. 

This Examination of Conscience for the Sin of Racism can be performed for each chapter of Your Life. For me, it would cover Five Chapters: 

>Chapter 1. In my Schools, how did I treat my fellow Black students at Newlon Elementary School,  Perry School, Presentation of Our Lady School, Regis High  School,  the Colorado School of Mines, and the Kennedy School at Harvard? Was I MEAN, INSENSITIVE, WILLFULLY HURTFUL, or INTENTIONALLY DISCRIMINATING? Did I Ridicule or Race-Bait? Did I SEE OTHERS do this and NOT CHALLENGE THEM?

>Chapter 2.  In my 35 year Professional Career, how did I treat Black candidates for jobs, the Black members of my staff, the inclusion of Black members on Boards and Commissions, and the effects of public policy decisions and actions on the Black Community? Were  MY PROFESSIONAL ACTIONS RACIALLY FAIR? Did my Staff and Boards reflect the Diversity of the Population which I Served?

>Chapter 3. In my Community and Social Life, did I PAY ATTENTION TO THE NEEDS OF and PROVIDE SERVICES TO the Black Community in the programs and outreach of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, The Salvation Army, Serra Colorado and Serra USA, and my Parish Council work at Mother of God Church? Does my circle of friends REFLECT THE DIVERSITY of the communities — School, Social Organizations, Church Community, Neighborhood, and Social Events — from which MY FRIENDS are drawn? Do I SUPPORT OR BELONG to organizations that discriminate or have racist undertones? Am I a person who INCLUDES OR EXCLUDES?

> Chapter 4. In my life as a Seminarian and a Catholic Priest in the twelve parishes and missions in Massachusetts and Colorado over the last 10 years, did my Initiatives TRANSCEND RACE AND ETHNICITY? Did my Liturgies include CULTURAL REFERENCES and Prayers for an END TO RACISM AND INEQUALITY? Do I ALLOCATE MY TIME EQUALLY TO ALL regardless of their Religion, the Color of their Skin, or their Political Ideology? Have I included PEOPLE OF COLOR in the PLANNING, ORGANIZING, AND IMPLEMENTATION of Parish Councils, Parish Programs, and Parish Events?

>Chapter 5. Have I used my personal Time, Talent, and Treasure to support those Organizations and Activities that BUILD OR DIVIDE? Have my actions OPENED OR HEALED a Core Wound? Am I a Racial Pharisee, or do I Really Believe that WHAT I SAY AND DO MATTERS?

In all My Chapters, did I follow the Politics of Inclusion or Exclusion. And equally important, have I hurt anyone through Sins of Commission or Omission? Were any actions in these Chapters RACIALLY MOTIVATED?

While My Life is given as the example, the narrative is designed to provide a template to EXAMINE YOUR CONSCIENCE and MAKE A GENERAL CONFESSION  of those areas of Implicit or Explicit Racism in all aspects of Your Life. 

God-created everyone for one purpose — to spend Eternal Life with Him. God-created a Diverse World of Nationalities, Diverse Colors of Skin, Diverse Forms of Governments,  and Diverse Cultures — that often may not look like our own Personal World. 

GOD CREATED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO SERVE THE ENTIRE WORLD…UNCONDITIONALLY AND WITHOUT RESERVATION. YOU AND I ARE THAT CHURCH!

At its core is the First Principle of Catholic Social Doctrine – – the Dignity of the Human Being…A DIGNITY FREE OF RACISM. The Principles of Catholic Social Doctrine REFLECT DIVERSITY…and REJECT RACISM.

In Confession,  we talk about RESTITUTION. That can take many forms…Compensation for the Past, a Change of Practice in the Present, and a Way of Life in the Future…with a Universal Core that has One Color…LOVE.

For anyone reading this Reflection, who was part of one of My Chapters, and whom I have racially offended, dismissed, or diminished…I APOLOGIZE. 

MY RESTITUTION will be reflected not in Rewriting My Past, but in serving ALL THE PEOPLE that God has placed in my care in My Present with Respect, Inclusion, Compassion, Understanding, and LOVE…by RESETTING THOSE ASPECTS OF MY LIFE that are NOT IN BALANCE.

A NATIONAL CONSCIENCE is formed through the COLLECTION OF INDIVIDUAL RESPONSES…You And Me. And if we multiply that by the Population of Denver, the Population of Colorado, or the Population of the United States, we have a NATION in which GEORGE FLOYD DID NOT DIE IN VAIN…AND BLACK LIVES DO MATTER…not just in print…but in MY THOUGHT, WORD, AND DEED.

Servant of God Julia Greeley, Pray for Us!

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

 

Prayer is the breath of faith, a cry arising from the hearts of those who trust in God. We see this in the story of Bartimaeus, the beggar from Jericho. Though blind, he is aware that Jesus is approaching, and perseveres in calling out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” By using the phrase “Son of David,” he makes a profession of faith in Jesus the Messiah. In response the Lord invites Bartimaeus to express his desire, which is to be able to see again. Christ then tells him: “Go; your faith has saved you.” This indicates that faith is a cry for salvation attracting God’s mercy and power. As we continue on our pilgrimage of faith, may we, like Bartimaeus, always persevere in prayer, especially in our darkest moments, and ask the Lord with confidence: “Jesus have mercy on me. Jesus, have mercy on us!”

                                     — Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR 

 

What is PRAYER?

 

The Catechism describes PRAYER as ‘The elevation of the mind and heart to God in praise of his glory; a petition made to God for some desired good, or in thanksgiving for a good received, or in intercession for others before God. Through prayer the Christian experiences communion with God through Christ in the Church (2559 – 2565).’

 

The Words of Bartimaeus are a PRAYER — Praise to God, Petition, and Communion with God. Bartimaeus APPROACHES IN HUMILITY…and RESPONDS IN OBEDIENCE.

 

Notice how JESUS RESPONDS — ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus, the one who is SELF-GIVING and the one who SERVES, reaches out to respond to this PRAYER of Bartimaeus. His PRAYER, a Profession Of Faith, both HEALS and SAVES him. In the Action of Jesus,  we see the POWER in the WORDS OF JESUS and the MERCY OF GOD.

 

Everyone prays differently. But, Holy Scripture tells us that God Hears Our Prayers. But do We Hear Him? If we commit the Sin of Presumption in his response, the answer may be ‘no.’ But if we approach Jesus in Humility and Obedience, he will respond in two ways:  First, he will GIVE US WHAT WE NEED; and Second, he will GIVE US THE GRACE to receive it.

 

We have only to look at the PATRONS OF OUR TWO CHURCHES to see the Spectrum Of Prayer…

 

OUR BLESSED MOTHER — Be it done unto me according to your word…My Soul proclaims the Greatness of the Lord…Do whatever he tells you…

 

SAINT ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY — As in heaven Your will is punctually performed, so may it be done on earth by all creatures, particularly in me and by me…

 

MOTHER THERESA — Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul…

 

SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI — Great and glorious God, and Thou Lord Jesus, I pray you shed abroad your light in the darkness of my mind. Be found of me, Lord, so that in all things I may act only in accordance with Thy holy will…

 

MOTHER CABRINI — Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will…

 

SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA — Draw us forth from the mire, Lord Jesus,  with the hook of your Cross; so that we may run, not to your sweetness, but to the bitterness of your Passion…

 

FROM THE MASTERS TO YOU…

 

Complicated, no…Profound In Simplicity, yes…

 

So, how do YOU pray?

 

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

 

-Very Rev. Ronald W Cattany

SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA

 

SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA

Benedict XVI’s reflection on the great saint and Doctor of the Church in 2010.

Our catechesis today deals with Saint Catherine of Siena, a Dominican tertiary, a woman of great holiness and a Doctor of the Church. Catherine’s spiritual teachings are centered on our union with Christ, the bridge between earth and heaven. Her own virginal entrustment to Christ the Bridegroom was reflected in her celebrated visions. Catherine’s life also shows us the importance of the spiritual maternity exercised by so many women in every age. From this great saint let us learn to grow in holiness, love for the Lord and fidelity to his body, the Church.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I would like to speak to you about a woman who has had an eminent role in the history of the Church. She is St. Catherine of Siena. The century in which she lived — the 14th — was a troubled time for the life of the Church and for the whole social fabric in Italy and Europe.

However, even in the moments of greatest difficulty, the Lord does not cease to bless his People, raising men and women saints who stir minds and hearts, bringing about conversion and renewal. Catherine is one of these and still today she speaks to us and pushes us to walk courageously toward sanctity to be disciples of the Lord in an ever fuller sense.

Born in Siena in 1347 to a very numerous family, she died in her native city in 1380. At 16, moved by a vision of St. Dominic, she entered the Dominican Third Order, in the feminine branch called the Mantellate. She stayed with her family and confirmed the vow of virginity she made privately when she was still an adolescent; she dedicated herself to prayer, penance, and works of charity, above all for the benefit of the sick.

When her fame for sanctity spread, she became the protagonist in an intense activity of spiritual counsel, dealing with all categories of persons: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated persons, ecclesiastics, and including Pope Gregory XI, who at that time resided in Avignon and whom Catherine exhorted energetically and effectively to return to Rome. She traveled a lot to solicit the interior reform of the Church and to foster peace between states. For this reason also the Venerable John Paul II declared her co-patroness of Europe: so that the Old World would never forget its Christian roots that are at the base of its journey and continue to draw from the Gospel the fundamental values that ensure justice and concord.

Catherine suffered much, as have many saints. Some thought in fact that she should not be trusted, to the point that, in 1374, six years before her death, the general chapter of the Dominicans called her to Florence to question her. They assigned her a learned and humble friar, Raymond of Capua, future master-general of the order. Having become her confessor and also her “spiritual son,” he wrote the first complete biography of the saint. She was canonized in 1461.

Catherine learned to read with effort and learned to write when she was already an adult. Her doctrine is contained in “The Dialogue of Divine Providence” or “Book of Divine Doctrine,” a masterpiece of spiritual literature in a collection of letters and prayers. Her teaching is gifted with such richness that, in 1970, the Servant of God Paul VI declared her a doctor of the Church, a title that was added to that of co-patroness of the city of Rome, by the decision of Blessed Pius IX, and of patroness of Italy, by the decision of the Venerable Pius XII.

In a vision that never left Catherine’s heart and mind, Our Lady presented her to Jesus who gave her a splendid ring, saying to her: “I, your Creator and Savior, espouse you in the faith, which you will always keep pure until you celebrate with me in heaven your eternal nuptials” (Raimondo da Capua, S. Caterina da Siena, Legenda maior, n. 115, Siena 1998). That ring was visible only to her. In this extraordinary episode, we see the vital center of Catherine’s religiosity and of every authentic spirituality: Christocentrism. Christ was for her a spouse, with whom she had a relationship of intimacy, communion and faithfulness; he is the cherished good above any other good.

This profound union with the Lord is illustrated by another episode in the life of this famous mystic: the exchange of hearts. According to Raymond of Capua, who transmitted the confidences received by Catherine, the Lord Jesus appeared to her with a bright red human heart in his hand, opened her chest and placed it in her, and said: “Dearest daughter, as the other day I took your heart that you offered to me, behold now I give you mine, and henceforth it will be in the place that yours occupied” (ibid.). Catherine truly lived St. Paul’s words, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Like the Sienese saint, every believer feels the need to be conformed to the sentiments of the heart of Christ to love God and neighbor as Christ himself loves. And we can all let our hearts be transformed and learn to love like Christ, in a familiarity with him nourished by prayer, meditation on the Word of God and the sacraments, above all by receiving Holy Communion frequently and with devotion.

Catherine also belongs to that rank of Eucharistic saints with which I concluded my apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis” (cf. No. 94). Dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharist is an extraordinary gift of love that God continually renews to nourish our journey of faith, reinvigorate our hope, inflame our charity, to make us ever more like him.

A true and authentic spiritual family was built up around such a strong and genuine personality: people fascinated by the authoritative morality of this young woman of an elevated style of life, and at times impressed also by the mystical phenomena they witnessed, such as the frequent ecstasies. Many placed themselves at her service and above all considered it a privilege to be guided spiritually by Catherine. They called her “mamma,” because as spiritual children they received the nourishment of the spirit.

Today also the Church receives great benefit from the spiritual maternity of so many women, consecrated and lay, who nourish in souls the thought of God, reinforce people’s faith and orient Christian life toward ever higher summits. “Son I say to you and call you,” wrote Catherine addressing one of her spiritual sons, the monk Giovanni Sabbatini, “inasmuch as I give you birth by continuous prayers and desire in the presence of God, just as a mother gives birth to a son” (Epistolario, Lettera n. 141: To don Giovanni de’ Sabbatini). She would usually address the Dominican friar Bartolomeo de Dominici with these words: “Most beloved and very dear brother and son in Christ sweet Jesus.”

Another trait of Catherine’s spirituality is connected with the gift of tears. They express an exquisite and profound sensitivity, a capacity for being moved and tenderness. Not a few saints have had the gift of tears, renewing the emotion of Jesus himself, who did not hold back and hide his tears before the sepulcher of his friend Lazarus and the sorrow of Mary and Martha, and on looking at Jerusalem in his last days on earth. According to Catherine, the tears of saints are mixed with the blood of Christ, of which she spoke with very effective vibrant tones and symbolic images: “Remember Christ crucified, God and man (…). Put before you as object Christ crucified, hide in the wounds of Christ crucified, drown in the blood of Christ crucified” (Epistolario, Lettera n. 16: To one whose name is withheld).

Here we are able to understand why Catherine, though aware of the human defects of priests, always had great reverence for them: Through the sacraments and the Word they dispense the salvific strength of the blood of Christ. The Sienese saint always invited the sacred ministers, including the Pope, whom she called “sweet Christ on earth,” to be faithful to their responsibility, moved always and only by their profound and constant love of the Church. Before dying she said: “Leaving the body I, in truth, have consumed and given my life in the Church and for the Holy Church, which is for me a most singular grace” (Raimondo da Capua, S. Caterina da Siena, Legenda maior, n. 363).

Hence, from St. Catherine we learn the most sublime science: to know and love Jesus Christ and his Church. In the “Dialogue of Divine Providence,” she, with a singular image, describes Christ as a bridge flung between heaven and earth. It is made up of three steps constituted by the feet, the side and the mouth of Jesus. Raising itself by these steps, the soul passes through the three stages of every path of sanctification: detachment from sin, practice of the virtues and of love, sweet and affectionate union with God.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us learn from St. Catherine to love Christ and the Church with courage in an intense and sincere way. Hence, let us make our own the words of St. Catherine that we read in the “Dialogue of Divine Providence,” at the end of the chapter that speaks of Christ-bridge: “Through mercy you have washed us in the blood, through mercy you wished to converse with creatures. O Madman of love! It was not enough for you to incarnate yourself, but you also wished to die! (…) O mercy! My heart drowns in thinking of you: for no matter where I turn to think I find only mercy” (chapter 30, pp. 79-80). Thank you

[Translation by ZENIT]

“Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope.  It is a new and living hope that comes from God.  It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, with a passing smile. No.  It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own.  Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts.  But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate.  Jesus’ hope is different.  He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life.” -Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR 

Where do we find HOPE in a PANDEMIC WORLD?

 

During Lent, we talked about adopting Lenten Practices as a Way Of Life on Easter Monday.

 

On Divine Mercy Sunday, Saint Faustina punctuates why that new Way Of Life is essential — because of the GIFT OF THE CROSS…the GIFT OF OUR NEW LIFE on Easter Monday through the Death of Jesus on Good Friday. 

 

She gives us a glimpse into the Font of Divine Mercy from which flow the Waters Of Baptism and the Blood Of The Cross – – purifying  us and sanctifying us in our Successes and our Failures, in times of Plenty and in times of Distress, and in the Company of Others and during Shelter in Place.

 

Saint Faustina tells us, ‘O My God, my only hope, I have placed all my hope in You, and I know I shall not be disappointed (Diary, 317).’ Saint Faustina goes on to describe this HOPE: ‘…our only hope in all the sufferings and adversities of life…our only hope in the midst of darkness and of storms within and without…our only hope in life and at the hour of death…our only hope in the midst of adversities and floods of despair…our only hope in the longing and pain in which no one will understand us (Diary, 356). Welcome, only Hope of sinful souls (Diary, 1733).’

 

Sufferings, Adversity, Darkness, Storms, Life and Death, Despair, Longing, Pain, Sinful Souls — this sounds a lot like the SUFFERINGS OF THE PANDEMIC! In this time, SUFFERING THROUGH FAITH will lead to the Salvation of our Souls. Isn’t that OUR ULTIMATE HOPE…isn’t that what Jesus taught us FROM THE CROSS…isn’t that the PROMISE OF DIVINE MERCY?

 

Pope Francis, in his Plenary Indulgence related to the Coronavirus Pandemic, has encouraged us TO PRAY for those who have been called home by the virus, TO PRAY for their families who may not have been with them at the time of their passing and mourn their loss, TO PRAY  for the technicians/doctors/nurses/emergency responders/first responders/caregivers who are ministering to those afflicted by the virus, and TO PRAY for those who are isolated by the virus. 

I would suggest for us TO PRAY also for those for whom Shelter in Place could result in Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Suicide, Clinical Anxiety, and Depression. 

 

REMEMBER…Prayer gives us Grace…and the Grace from a PRAYER FOR ANOTHER returns to you a hundredfold!

 

TODAY, GIVE your suffering — Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Physical, or Financial — to the Divine Mercy of Jesus…AND HE WILL RETURN TO YOU THE VIRTUE OF HOPE…a gift of YOUR FAITH…and given to you From The Cross through the ultimate act of HIS LOVE…

 

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

 

 

What is Divine Mercy?

When did we first see it? 

Our readings today give us a glimpse into that Font Of Divine Mercy from which flow the Waters Of Baptism and the Blood Of The Cross…purifying us and sanctifying us in our successes and our failures, in times of plenty and in times of distress, in the Company of Others and during Shelter in Place.

 

In the First Reading, Jesus’ Apostolic Church is defined as one that prays, teaches, and creates community…in the Name of Jesus Christ…WHOSE HEART IS LOVE ITSELF.

 

In the Second Reading, Saint Peter reminds us that God in HIS GREAT MERCY gave us a New Birth to a Living Hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…for an inheritance that will be kept in heaven for you… to be revealed in the final time.

Ironically, Saint Peter gives us some beautiful guidance about the testing of OUR FAITH during this time of the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

 

He says, “…although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor…as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Saint Peter is telling you and me today, in the 2020 Pandemic, that SUFFERING THROUGH FAITH will lead to the salvation of our souls…isn’t that what Jesus taught us from the Cross?

 

And perhaps this Gospel is the first example of the Divine Mercy of Jesus related to HIS APOSTOLIC CHURCH.

His teaching, preaching, healing, and raising the dead during his Public Life was certainly the manifestation of God’s Divine Mercy… God working through Jesus. But today, Jesus in his Divinity as the Risen Christ has mercy on those closest to him.

Why is that important?

>They did not understand him.

>They abandoned him.

>They do not believe those who had seen the Risen Christ.

>They do not believe it is Christ Risen unless they see and touch for themselves.

And yet, what does he say? ‘Peace be with you.’

He does not scold them, he does not reject them, he does not condemn them…and ultimately, he sends them on HIS Mission!

Why? Because he knew that beneath their fear, their ignorance, and their stubbornness, are individuals dedicated to HIS Mission … to their end… to their death…

And all but one was martyred on Mission.

That Divine Mercy had a lifelong impact on each of The Eleven. 

 

And that brings us to today…Divine Mercy Sunday…and the lifelong impact of the Divine Mercy of Jesus on Pope Saint John Paul II.

Twenty years ago, on the Sunday after the Octave of Easter, Pope John Paul II instituted Divine Mercy Sunday…and it has a profound backstory!

 

Val Conlon tells us the story…

Pope John Paul II spoke on the Divine Mercy of Jesus on November 22, 1981, “I considered this message my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church, and the world.”

“The knowledge of St. Faustina and the revelations bestowed on her coming from Jesus became known to Pope John Paul II early in 1940. It was at the time when he was studying for the priesthood secretly, in a seminary in Krakow.

The first he heard of these revelations was from another seminarian Andrew Deskur who later became a Cardinal also. Andrew told him about Saint Faustina Kowalska and the message of Divine Mercy she claimed she had received from the Lord.”

“It was during the time that she received the messages from Our Lord, that Karol Wojtyla was forcibly working under the Nazi occupation forces in the factory, which was in view of the convent and can still be seen today from the convent cemetery where St. Faustina was first buried.”

“Karol Wojtyla visited the convent frequently, first as a priest and then as a bishop. He went there often to pray and in later years gave retreats there as well. It was Karol Wojtyla, as Archbishop of Krakow, who after St. Faustina’s death, was the first to consider bringing St. Faustina’s name before the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for consideration as a figure worthy of being put forward for beatification.”

 

In his mystical way, he may have foreseen the trials of the new century and millennia. 

“In one of the most extraordinary homilies of his pontificate, on the Occasion of Her Canonization,” Val Conlon goes on, “Pope John Paul II repeated three times that Saint Faustina is “God’s gift to our time.” She made the message of Divine Mercy the “bridge to the third millennium.” He then said, “By this act of canonization of Saint Faustina I intend today to pass this message on to the third millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know ever better the true face of God and the true face of their neighbour. In fact, love of God and love of one’s neighbour are inseparable.”

 

For those who have been with us on our YouTube channel praying the Nine Days of the Divine Mercy Novena, what you have experienced are the individuals Jesus indicated to Saint Faustina upon whom he wanted to Shed His Mercy and open his Heart Of Compassion:

>All mankind, especially all sinners

>The souls of priests and religious

>All devout and faithful souls 

>Those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know me 

>The souls of those who have separated themselves from the Church 

>The meek and humble souls and the souls of little children 

>The souls who especially venerate and glorify my mercy 

>The souls who are detained in Purgatory 

>Souls who have become lukewarm

 

In the same way that we heard Jesus asking the Apostles to Cast their net for souls as Fishers of Men in the Gospel on Friday, in these delineations Jesus is Casting His Net For Eternity! 

WOW!…he excludes no one…and REMEMBER THAT TO YOUR LAST BREATH!

 

Let me say a little about today, Divine Mercy Sunday, and what you can do during this time of Shelter in Place.

In June 2002, John Paul II granted indulgences to Catholics who recite specific prayers on Divine Mercy Sunday.

 

 

 

 

In St. Faustina’s Diary, Jesus tells St. Faustina:

I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699).

How can you receive this complete forgiveness of sins and remission of all punishment during Shelter in Place? 

The National Shrine of Divine Mercy tell us to do these three things on Divine Mercy Sunday with the intention to turn away from sin in your life:

  1. Make an Act of Contrition

Since you are unable to get to Confession, make an Act of Contrition.

  1. Make a Spiritual Communion

Since churches are closed and you cannot receive Holy Communion, make a Spiritual Communion instead, asking God to come into your heart as if you received Him sacramentally — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. 

Do this act of trust with the intent to return to the sacrament of Holy Communion as soon as possible.

An Act of Spiritual Communion is on our Social Media. 

  1. Say a prayer like this:

Lord Jesus Christ, You promised St. Faustina that the soul that has been to Confession [I’m unable, but I made an Act of Contrition] and the soul that receives Holy Communion [I’m unable, but I made a Spiritual Communion] will receive the complete forgiveness of all sins and punishment. Please, Lord Jesus Christ, give me this grace.

This, too, is on our Social Media.

Everyone can ask for this grace to completely wipe their slate clean of not only all sin, but all punishment due to sin. Normally, the punishment is not remitted unless one has absolute perfect contrition.

And unlike a plenary indulgence, there is no requirement of having perfect detachment from sin. In other words, as long as we have a desire for this grace and intention to amend our lives, we can be completely cleansed with grace similar to our original Baptism. It is a way to really start over in our spiritual life!  

 

Many of you are suffering during this Pandemic…offer it for the Divine Mercy of Jesus…for yourself or others. 

We see examples of these prayers in the Intentions of the Holy Father in his Mass each day at Casa Marta. And Pope Francis, in his Plenary Indulgence related to the Coronavirus Pandemic, has also encouraged us to pray for those who have been called home by the virus, their families who may not have been with them at the time of their passing and mourn their loss, the medical technicians/doctors/nurses/emergency responders/first responders/caregivers who are ministering to those afflicted by the virus, and those who are isolated by the virus. 

Today I would suggest that we also pray for those affected at this time by the following:

>Domestic Violence

>Child Abuse 

>Suicide, Clinical Anxiety, and Depression 

Perhaps, even offer your Indulgence for them…REMEMBER…a grace given away to another returns to you a hundredfold…

It is no coincidence that Divine Mercy Sunday is occurring in the middle of the 2020 Pandemic…

GIVE your suffering — Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Physical, or Financial — to the Divine Mercy of Jesus…and HE WILL WORK MIRACLES!

“Merciful Jesus, I trust in you”

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

Very Rev. Ronald W Cattany

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others. Under no circumstance can this invitation be obscured! All of the virtues are at the service of this response of love.” -Pope Francis

FROM YOUR PASTOR

Saint Thomas Aquinas tell us that TRUE LOVE is to Will the GOOD of Another.

Jesus tell us that the two Great Commandments are to LOVE GOD and LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.

But sometimes that’s really hard…isn’t it!

Is it easier to LOVE what we do not see rather than to LOVE what we do see? Is it easier to LOVE an abstract God than a concrete Neighbor?

The answer to that question can lead us to some enormously STARTLING CONCLUSIONS…about ourselves!

To LOVE God, who we do not see, requires the Virtue of FAITH. Your Faith informs you about God — His LOVE, His GOODNESS, and the fact that He LOVES All That He Created. Why? Because IT IS GOOD — God says so in the account of Creation. He GREATED ALL HUMANKIND TO BE GOOD!

Our Faith also tells us that out of LOVE, God created, redeemed, and sanctifies us…freely, selflessly, and abundantly. It is an unmerited GIFT to you and me.

What should we do with that GIFT? We should say, ‘Thank you.’ How do we do that? We do it by SHARING that GIFT with OTHERS. We share God’s GIFT of LOVE to us WITH OTHERS.

Most naturally, we Share the Gift of LOVE with THOSE WE SEE…family, friends, associates, and neighbors…THOSE WE LIKE TO SEE.

But GOD DEMANDS MORE. He wants us to LOVE THOSE HE LOVES. That includes THOSE WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE — those we envy, those we judge, those we hate, those who hate us, those we judge, those who make us uncomfortable, those we resent, those we ignore, those we do not LOVE for whatever reason…THOSE WHO ARE NOT LIKE US.

They, like you and me, are CREATED BY GOD and, by definition, are GOOD. God LOVES them, HIS CREATION, as much as he LOVES you and me — whether we like it or not.

This is one of the starkest realities in our Mortal Life…a reality for which we will be accountable on the Last Day…a reality that will define our Eternal Life.

THE GOD WE DO NOT SEE IS IN ALL THOSE WE SEE…not just those we Choose To See. To LOVE GOD means TRUE LOVE…FOR ALL…AND THAT IS THE GOSPEL…

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

Very Reverend Ronald W Cattany

Pastor and Rector

Father Ron’s Reflection for the weekend of December 29th, 2019:

Why does Jesus ask us to have the Faith of a Child?

Perhaps because he chose to ENTER OUR WORLD AS A CHILD. As the Son of God, he could have come to us in many ways…but he chose to come into this world as we do — WITH A MOTHER AND A FATHER and IN THE CONTEXT OF A FAMILY.

AND THEY WERE POOR…Reflecting so much of THE WORLD TODAY.

This is EXTRAORDINARY! Jesus Trusted Mary, His Mother and Our Mother,  to nurse him, to embrace him, and to love him. Jesus Trusted Joseph to protect him, to provide for him, and to love him. They did this in the most extraordinary of circumstance…not unlike the complex circumstances of the lives on many families today.

But they survived. HOW DID THEY DO IT?

They had FAITH IN THE UNKNOWN. They were GUIDED BY ANGELS…from the Annunciation to the Flight into Egypt.

They were PEOPLE OF FAITH. Mary’s Faith was formed by her years in the Temple where she developed a humility in relationship to God and an obedience to the will of God.  Joseph’s Faith was formed by his culture. As a devout Jew, he understood the Patriarchal Society and the role of the man as Husband and Provider.  He knew that without him a woman and child would become outcasts or wards of the community.

> Grave Hardship…a woman with child outside of marriage…a jealous king who wanted to murder his rivals.

> Light and Hope…the favor of God guided them and protected them in their darkest moments of embarrassment or physical danger.

> Charity…the Open Heart of Joseph was filled with love for God and for Mary.

> Indifference…the option of divorcing Mary quietly disappeared through the Divine Words of the Angel.

> Disbelief…never an option — ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’…’Flee to Egypt.’

> Apathy…impossible in the face of Mary’s and Joseph’s sense of duty throughout Jesus’ life — working as a family in Nazareth, then walking as a criminal to Calvary.

> Open Hands and Open Hearts…Mary went in haste to Elizabeth, and Joseph listened to Jesus in the Temple — a Faith lived through Trust.

> For Good…because like ALL CREATION, they are GOOD.

AND SO IT IS WITH US…in the Good Seasons and the Bad Seasons of YOUR LIFE, Jesus is there TO LEAD YOU, Mary is there TO PROTECT YOU, and Joseph is there TO INSPIRE YOU…

LET THEM!

+May God Bless You and Keep You +

-Very Reverend Ronald W Cattany

Pastor and Rector

 

Liturgically, our readings today are an Anamnesis…they are a remembering…not a remembering of emotion and sentimentality…but making present and real the mighty works of God.
The First Reading is a remembrance of the original Passover… when the firstborn of the Israelites were spared from the hand of death that God had bestowed upon those who had rejected him…a remembrance that continues to this day.
In the Second Reading, Paul proclaims to the Corinthians that, ‘as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.’ The remembrance of Jesus’ Passion and Death continues.
In the Gospel, the Last Supper is the Passover meal. For that meal a lamb is selected. The lamb is served for the meal, and its blood is placed over the doorpost. Tradition is remembered.
But on this Special Night, a transition occurs. Rather than a sacrifice of the blood of another — the lamb — that is repeated regularly, Jesus becomes the true Lamb of God who sacrificed his blood on Calvary for once and for all…in fulfillment of the proclamation of John the Baptist…a sacrifice for you and me for the sins of all time. 
This is the Remembrance of Holy Mass…the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood.
But the Supernatural of the Last Supper becomes the Natural of our Spiritual Life.
We live this reality through four great actions — Suffering, Sharing, Relationship, and Service.
Suffering. Jesus must die on the Cross to atone for our sins. He tells you and me that we have to die to ourselves to follow him as a True Disciple. How do we do that? We die to our pride, ego and judgment…the biggest occasions of our sins.
Sharing. Everything we have and everything we are is a Gift from God. Jesus exemplifies the concept of sharing by the self-sacrificing gift of his death on the Cross. He gives his Full Humanity in his Full Divinity. Throughout our Lenten Journey, we have been asked to share our time, talent, and treasure with others… giving of what we have and who we are for others. We do so in fulfillment of the Two Great Commandments…To Love God and To Love Others.
Relationship. We are created for one purpose — to spend eternal life with Our Heavenly Father. Through his Son, God asks us to follow the Commandments, to live a Life of Beatitudes, and to love Him and Others. Jesus models that life for us as he lives his relationship with His Father…to the Cross. We, too, through our Sacramental Life of Reconciliation and Eucharist, purify ourselves, reject our vices, and grow in virtue so that we can achieve the reality of Paul’s Letter — to be ready for Jesus when ‘he comes’ on the Last Day…to return us to Our Heavenly Father. 
Service. Jesus proclaims many times that, ‘I did not come to to be served, but to serve.’ At the Last Supper, he serves not only His Body and His Blood, but he is of service to his Apostles as he washes their feet. Tonight, we do that for each other. In service, we turn ourselves inside out…from the all powerful ‘Me’ to the all saving ‘You.’ Our life is reoriented in JOY — Jesus, Others, You — in True Love and True Service.
In living these four great actions, the Last Supper will not only be a Remembrance…it will become a Way TO Life… 
+May God Bless You and Keep You+