- Abortion Forgiveness and Healing website (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- There is Only One Abortion Clinic Left in Missouri (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Pope Francis: Respect and Listen to your Guardian Angel (Helpful Hints for Life)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
“You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.” Exodus 20:4-5
The above quote of the Sacred Scriptures is sometimes misunderstood to accuse Roman Catholics of idol worshiping when our Christian brothers and sisters come into a Catholic church and see statues on the walls and on the altars.
But we must remember that God Himself commanded Moses to make graven cherubim to be placed above the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-20). God does not contradict Himself. The cherubim represented God and help to make Him present to the people of Israel and are not gods themselves like other religions believed in the time of Moses. So statues remind us and make visible those faithful followers of Jesus who intercede for us and show us how to live during ordinary and difficult times.
Further, we have statues in our city parks and along our highways. We have pictures of our loved ones in our homes and places of work. These are not idols nor do we worship them. They keep near to our hearts and our minds those who love us and whom we love. Do you have statues in your parish or home of those in heaven who love you and long to help you?
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. >>> Readings
P.S.S. Readings with meditations and questions with reflections are at the end of this e-mail.
statue (from Latin statuere; “to set up”)
- a likeness of a holy person that leads one to honor and/or imitate them to the glory of God
[A likeness of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, or one of the saints, or a symbolic form of an angel, sculptured, carved, or cast in a solid material, and venerated by the faithful. Its purpose is to recall the person whom the statue represents in order to inspire greater piety. Christians do not worship statues as idols.]
Taking his cue from Friday’s feast of the Guardian Angels, the Pope’s homily reflected on this divine presence in our lives, describing the Angel as God’s ambassador who accompanies each one of us. He noted how the proof of this was illustrated when God chased Adam out of Paradise: He didn’t leave Adam on his own or say to him: “fend for yourself as best as you can.” The Pope stressed that every person has been given a Guardian Angel by God who stays by our side.
God's Ambassador by our side
“He is always with us! And this is a reality. It’s like having God’s ambassador with us. And the Lord advises us: ‘Respect his presence!’ And when we, for example, commit a sin and believe that we’re on our own: No, he is there. Show respect for his presence. Listen to his voice because he gives us advice. When we hear that inspiration: ‘But do this … this is better … we should not do that.’ Listen! Do not go against him.”
Pope Francis explained how the Guardian Angel always protects us, especially from evil. Sometimes, he noted, “we believe that we can hide so many things,” “bad things” that in the end will always come to light. The Angel, he continued, is there to advise us and “cover for us” just a friend would do. “A friend who we don’t see but we hear.” “A friend who one day will be with us in the everlasting joy of Heaven.”
Respect him and listen to him
“All he asks is that we listen to him and respect him. That’s all: respect and listening (to him). And this respect and listening to this companion on our journey is called meekness. The Christian must be meek when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Meekness towards the Holy Spirit begins with this yielding to the advice given by this companion on our journey.”
The Pope went on to explain that in order to be meek, we need to become small like children and our Guardian Angel is a companion who teaches us this humility and just like children we should listen to him.
“May we ask the Lord for the grace of this meekness, to listen to the voice of this companion, to this ambassador from God who accompanies us in His name and may we be supported by his help. (We must) always journey forward. And in this Mass where we praise the Lord, let us remember how good our Lord is, who straight after we lost His friendship, did not leave us alone, did not abandon us.”
“By keeping the memorials of the saints - first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints - on fixed days of the liturgical year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1195
There's Only One Abortion Clinic Left in Missouri
By Jonah McKeown
Abortions at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, Missouri ended this week after the facility failed to adhere to state rules, and its state license to perform abortions expired Oct. 3. This leaves Missouri with one clinic licensed to perform abortions, located in St. Louis.
“I am just thrilled, and I give all the honor and glory to God for this,” Kathy Forck of Columbia 40 Days for Life told EWTN News. “We’re pretty confident that [Planned Parenthood] will never be able to recover from this latest blow.”
Forck said that her organization has been praying outside the Columbia clinic for nine years, and during that time abortions had ceased and resumed nine times.
“Even though they have stopped doing the abortions, they're still open to refer for abortions," she said. "And until that place actually closes its doors, we'll be out on the sidewalk offering help and hope to women and letting God use us to save babies by sending them across the street to MyLife Clinic [a pro-life pregnancy center]."
Missouri passed regulations in 2017 which granted the state attorney general more power to prosecute violations, and required stricter health codes and proper fetal tissue disposal. The new rules also required that doctors have surgical and admitting privileges to nearby hospitals, and that clinics meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery.
U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs temporarily blocked the regulations in April 2017, with the rationale that the rules were denying Missouri women a constitutional right to abortion. However, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month to end the district judge’s injunction, with a three-judge panel writing that the district judge failed to weigh any of the “benefits” that could proceed from the state’s rules.
This sends the case back to the district court for further consideration and allowed the rules to take effect Oct. 1. The Missouri DHSS announced last month that they would begin enforcing the new rules immediately.
The appellate court ruling comes in a case filed by Planned Parenthood affiliates in 2016 after the US Supreme Court struck down similar abortion restrictions in Texas.
In addition to the regulations, the Columbia clinic also must pass an inspection from the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. According to the Columbia Missourian, a September inspection by the department found that the facility failed to “ensure a sanitary environment,” and was using equipment on which rust and substances believed to be mold and bodily fluids were found.
Doctors performing abortions in Missouri have been required since 2005 to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. In 2015, University Hospital in Columbia revoked admitting privileges for a St. Louis-based doctor who had previously been performing abortions at the Columbia clinic.
"No one in Columbia wants to give [medical] privileges to the abortion industry," Forck commented. “They’ve tried and tried and they just can’t get it.”
She said 40 Days for Life attracts many members of the local medical community to their sidewalk prayer vigils, and that the Columbia clinic had lost seven abortion doctors in the three and a half years that it performed abortions.
Missouri law has held, since the 1980s, that life begins at conception. The state is now one of seven that has only one licensed abortion clinic.
After the Trump administration announced new exemptions to the contraceptive mandate and a religious freedom guidance, experts said both actions offered concrete protections of religious freedom.
“Today the Trump administration made two commendable decisions in support of the bedrock American principle of religious liberty,” Dr. Matthew Franck, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute, told EWTN News, calling the actions “cause for much celebration.”
On Friday morning the administration followed through on two promises made in President Donald Trump’s May 4 executive order on religious liberty – relief from the HHS mandate for religious and conscientious objectors, and a Department of Justice guidance to federal agencies on implementing religious freedom protections found in existing federal law.
The administration first announced on Friday an expansion of religious and moral exemptions to the HHS contraceptive mandate, over which many non-profit groups and some for-profit businesses had sued the federal government.
“Groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who dedicate their lives to the indigent elderly, can finally expect the restitution of their conscience-rights in court,” Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, policy advisor with The Catholic Association, stated on Friday.
The HHS had interpreted the Affordable Care Act to include a mandate on cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives, and drugs that can cause early abortions in health plans.
Although many religious groups were opposed to contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-causing drugs, the religious exemptions from the mandate were so narrow that only churches and their integrated auxiliaries were safe from having to comply.
This meant that many religious charities and universities had to comply with the mandate’s demands. The Obama administration offered an “accommodation” to objecting non-profits to comply with the mandate, but charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor said this still forced them to be complicit in the provision of objectionable coverage.
Under the interim final rules released Friday, non-profits, small businesses, and even some publicly-traded companies can apply for a religious exemption to the mandate, if they establish that complying with the mandate would violate their religious beliefs.
The new rules “substantially expand the scope of that religious exemption,” Greg Baylor, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said.
Large “publicly-traded” companies wouldn’t be eligible to claim a “moral” exemption from the mandate, but secular non-profits and small businesses would be – which benefits groups like the March for Life, which is a pro-life organization opposed to the mandate on conscience grounds, but a group that is “not inherently religious.”
In establishing such broad new exemptions, the new rule “practically amounts to a revocation of the mandate,” Franck told EWTN News.
And the “accommodation” offered to non-profits, where their insurer or third party administrator provided the objectionable coverage, is now voluntary, the Department of Health and Human Services announced.
Prominent U.S. bishops praised the HHS announcement on Friday as a “return to common sense.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty committee, said in a statement that the new rule “recognizes that the full range of faith-based and mission-driven organizations, as well as the people who run them, have deeply held religious and moral beliefs that the law must respect.”
“We welcome the news that this particular threat to religious freedom has been lifted,” they stated.
The Becket Fund, a religious freedom law firm that defended the Little Sisters of the Poor in court against the mandate, praised the “common sense, balanced rule,” but added that the litigation is ongoing in mandate cases.
In the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor against the mandate at the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court in a rare move in the middle of the case ordered both the plaintiffs and the government to submit briefs detailing if, and how a solution could be crafted that provided for cost-free coverage outlined in the HHS mandate, while at the same time maintaining the religious freedom of the non-profits that sued the government.
In May of 2016, the Court vacated the federal circuit court decisions on the mandate, ordered the federal government not to fine the plaintiffs, and instructed all parties to come to a solution that provided the contraception coverage while respecting the religious freedom of the plaintiffs. The cases are currently still at the federal circuit court level.
“14 or 15 months later” after the Supreme Court asked for a solution, “what we see today is really the resolution of that process,” Rienzi said.
With the HHS announcement, the government now “admits the prior version of the mandate broke the law,” Rienzi said, referring to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Under the 1993 law, the federal government must not substantially burden one’s deeply-held religious beliefs unless it establishes that to do so is in its “compelling interest” and is the “least-restrictive means” of fulfilling that interest.
The government essentially admitted on Friday that there were indeed less-restrictive means of ensuring cost-free coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-causing drugs than forcing the non-profits to comply with the mandate through the “accommodation,” Rienzi said.
“I assume those lawyers at DOJ will cooperate and go into the courtrooms and admit that the federal government broke the law, and that the Little Sisters and other groups are entitled to a final injunction to give them lasting protection against this kind of treatment,” he said.
Also on Friday, the Department of Justice announced a religious freedom guidance that was ordered by President Trump in his May 4 executive order on religious freedom.
The 25-page guidance outlines religious freedom protections in existing federal law that federal departments and agencies are to incorporate into their functions. It states that “Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place. It also encompasses religious observance and practice.”
The guidance is significant and establishes solid protections for religious freedom at the federal level, Professor Robert Destro of the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law told EWTN News.
“We’ve never had anything this far-reaching before,” he said, noting that the guidance puts religious freedom on the level of freedom of speech.
It also takes principles of religious freedom and applies them to many federal levels, Destro said.
For instance, U.S. attorneys at the Department of Justice in litigation must “conform all the arguments that the government is making across the country” to the religious freedom principles outlined in the guidance, he said.
This would apply to ongoing court cases, including the DOJ’s position on the current religious freedom case before the Supreme Court of Masterpiece Cakeshop. It would also apply to “other cases where the arguments were already written,” Destro said.
The guidance also informs regulations, grants, contracts, and diversity training. Agencies like the State Department, where many employees have historically been reticent to talk about the role religion in international problems, could be affected by this, Destro said.
Regarding its application to federal contracts, the guidance could influence cases where religious charities are in danger of losing federal contracts due to their employment practices or their religious mission.
“It really gives faith-based organizations and others with religious objections an argument to make when they’re in discussions with a federal agency about accepting a grant or a contract,” Baylor told EWTN News.
The guidance also reiterates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in that it “does not permit the federal government to second-guess the reasonableness of religious beliefs,” Joshua Mercer, co-founder of CatholicVote.org, told EWTN News.
This is significant because certain Catholic colleges did not receive religious exemptions from the contraceptive mandate, Mercer said, yet the government should have honored their religious objections. “It’s up to our bishops to decide a university is sufficiently Catholic or not, not our federal government,” he said.
It could apply to conscience protections for health care professionals, Baylor noted. The Obama administration, under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act mandated that doctors had to provide gender-transition procedures even if they conscientiously objected to doing so.
“There has been a nationwide injunction against that rule, and the federal government has indicated that it plans to reconsider the rule,” Baylor noted.
However, he added, “this guidance strengthens the hand of those who would argue that this sort of thing violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment.”
Ultimately, the guidance is “pretty far-reaching, and it’s going to take a good deal of time for the agencies to conform their practice to what’s being required,” Destro said.
“This may have an impact that we don’t see” in informing federal agencies how they should operate, Baylor said.
Vatican City -- The Holy Father reflected on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the forgiveness of God during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning.
Pope Francis commented on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, a reading where Paul professes that “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” Paul’s acknowledgement of his condition as a “slave” to sin is the manifestation of all Christians’ struggle in “the life of faith.”
“This is the struggle of Christians,” Pope Francis said. “It is our struggle every day. And we do not always have the courage to speak as Paul spoke about this struggle.”
“We always seek a way of justification: ‘But yes, we are all sinners.’ But we say it like that, don’t we? This says it dramatically: it is our struggle. And if we don’t recognize this, we will never be able to have God’s forgiveness. Because if being a sinner is a word, a way of speaking, a manner of speaking, we have no need of God’s forgiveness. But if it is a reality that makes us slaves, we need this interior liberation of the Lord, of that force. But more important here is that, to find the way out, Paul confesses his sin to the community, his tendency to sin. He doesn’t hide it.”
The Holy Father stressed the importance of confessing one's sins with “concreteness”. Some prefer to “confess to God” so as to have no contact with anyone, while Paul confesses his weakness to his brothers face to face. Others, he continued, will go to confession but say “so many up-in-the-air things, that they don’t have anything concrete.” In confessing such a way, is the “same as not doing it.”
“Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber: it’s saying to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am a sinner,’ but saying it through the brother, because this says it concretely. ‘I am sinner because of this, that and the other thing’”, the Holy Father said.
The 76 year old Pontiff went on to say that through concreteness, honesty and the “sincere ability” to feel shame for one’s sins can bring one to discover the depth of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The approach to confessing one’s sins should be that of little children, who “have that wisdom.”
“When a child comes to confess, he never says something general. ‘But father, I did this and I did that to my aunt, another time I said this word’ and they say the word. But they are concrete, eh? They have that simplicity of the truth. And we always have the tendency to hide the reality of our failings,” the Pope said.
To feel shame in the moment of confessing one’s sins in the presence of God is a grace, he concluded. This “grace of shame” is the same grace exhibited by St. Peter.
“We think of Peter when, after the miracle of Jesus on the lake, [he said] ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinner.’ He is ashamed of his sins in the presence of the sanctity of Jesus,” the Pope said
" The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus. . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."
Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life. I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth. –St. Therese of Child Jesus and the Holy Face, the Little Flower
Catechism of the Catholic Church #956
Homework - When Dad came home he was astonished to see Alec sitting on a horse, writing something. " What on earth are you doing there ?" he asked. "Well, the teacher told us to write an essay on our favourite animal. That's why I'm here and that's why Susie's sitting in the goldfish bowl !"
Going Out - A couple was going out for the evening. The last thing they did was to put the cat out. The taxi arrived, and as the couple walked out of the house, the cat shoots back in. So the husband goes back inside to chase it out. The wife, not wanting it known that the house would be empty, explained to the taxi driver "He's just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother." A few minutes later, the husband got into the taxi and said, "Sorry I took so long, the stupid thing was hiding under the bed and I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out!"
A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible..
Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
"Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus ? The Virgin Mary or the King James Virgin ?"
Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?""
The mother replied, "Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life."
The child thought about this for a moment then said, "So why is the groom wearing black?"
Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, "My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50."
The second boy says, "That's nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100."
The third boy says, "I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all themoney!"
A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story.
From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek.
She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.
Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make you?"
"Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago."
"Oh," she paused, "Grandpa, did God make me too?"
"Yes, indeed, honey," he said, "God made you just a little while ago."
Feeling their respective faces again, she observed,
"God's getting better at it, isn't he ?"
the Increase of Priestly and Religious Vocations
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal Father,
Son of the Virgin Mary,
we thank you for offering your life in sacrifice on
the Cross, and for renewing this sacrifice
in every Mass celebrated throughout the world.
In the Power of the Holy Spirit
we adore you and proclaim
your living presence in the Eucharist.
We desire to imitate the love you show us
in your death and resurrection,
by loving and serving one another.
We ask you to call many young people to religious
life, and to provide the holy and generous priests
that are so needed in your Church today.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer. Amen.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #960
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - October 7th, 2018
The First Reading- Genesis 2:18-24
The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman, ' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.
Today’s first reading picks up after God had given Adam all of creation. In particular, God gave the animals to be his companions. Pets are nice, and they can even be an important member of a family, but they’re not people. God knew that Adam needed a “suitable partner” for his life to feel fulfilled. So, what is a suitable partner? We’ve ruled out puppies and kittens. … A suitable partner is one who is capable of being “one flesh.” That is loving the other as themselves, treating them with the dignity, respect and honor that they would want for themselves. A suitable partner fills the other’s life with love, support, joy. They are a partner. Mutually supportive and working toward the same goals, true partners share in one another’s successes and comfort one another in their failures or challenges. And they do it all together.
Adults - If you are married, do you take care to be a suitable partner? What steps do you take to preserve your marriage and protect it? If you are single, in whom do you find a suitable partner? Who are the people in your life that offer you the support, love and comfort that keep you feeling fulfilled?
Teens -What qualities do you look for in a friend? What about a future marriage partner? What are the most important qualities to develop in a marriage?
Kids - With whom do you love spending time? Why do you like being with them?
Responsorial- Psalm 128: 1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
May you see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel!
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
-What does it mean to fear the Lord?
The Second Reading- Hebrews 2:9-11
Brothers and sisters: He "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels, " that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”
The second reading is a reminder that Jesus became one of us to redeem us and to give us the chance to know God so personally that we could imitate him and become more like him.
What does it say about how much God loves us that He was willing to become man for our sake?
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 10:2-16
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him. He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
Our Gospel deals with a very sensitive issue: divorce. Like now, divorces in Jesus’ time were sometimes frivolous, and Jesus is warning us against seeing one another as disposable. In Jesus’ time, if a woman wasn’t attached to a man, she and her children were put in a very vulnerable position. Jesus takes the children to himself to show that, although the culture saw them as property with very few rights, all people — especially the vulnerable — are loved and protected by God. He also gives us that beautiful teaching about how we should approach God. We should approach him as children who are open, dependent, without cares and trusting with our security and support to Our Father.
Adults - What does it mean to approach God like a child? What can you do to work toward this?
Teens -Do you think of God as a loving parent?
Kids -You are a beloved child of God. What does that mean to you?