Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ daily mass, Cardinal Turkson visits Slovakia, the gardens of Castel Gondolfo are opened to the world and the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Competition.
A major meeting led by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus is discussing the role and mission of the Catholic Church in North, South and Central America. The conference is taking place at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City from Nov. 16 to 19.
The conference, titled “Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization on the American Continent,” will pay special attention to the important role of Mary’s apparition at Guadalupe in the subsequent — and ongoing — evangelization of the American continent.
The event is co-sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Knights of Columbus, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Instituto Superior de Estudios Guadalupanos.
Building on a similar event held last year in Rome, this conference takes on a special significance in light of the March 13 election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as the first pope from the American hemisphere.
Inspired by Blessed John Paul II’s exhortation “Ecclesia in America” (The Church in America), which was published in the wake of the Synod for America held in 1997, the conference will include addresses by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and former primate of Canada; Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson; Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, director of the Instituto Superior de Estudios Guadalupanos; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley; newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville; in addition to other leading members of the clergy and laity from throughout the hemisphere.
The conference will focus on the Church’s continental mission in light of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s important place as Mother of the Church in America and in the wake of the election of Pope Francis, whose impact within the region — and beyond — will be the subject of much discussion.
Pope Francis will address the group via a video message on opening day, Nov. 16, following words of welcome by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in Mexico.
“At Guadalupe, Mary’s message was one of love and reconciliation, which can be seen echoed in Pope Francis’ efforts to reach out to the poor and marginalized, to the fallen-away and those who have never really followed Christ,” observed Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who will address the gathering on the Church’s New Evangelization in a talk on Sunday, Nov. 17. “Pope Francis has focused on the New Evangelization with a model that is clearly related to the American model embodied by Our Lady of Guadalupe — a model based on loving outreach, on charity and on concern for the spiritual and physical well-being of all.”
Pope Francis’ Video Message to Conference
“Missionary outreach is paradigm for pastoral action”
Missionary outreach is “the paradigm for all pastoral action,” said Pope Francis in his remarks today in a video message to participants at a four-day pilgrimage-encounter in Mexico. The conference, held 16-19 November, was organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
The Pope spoke about the need for creativity and about the missionary impulse in the evangelizing work of the Church, making reference to the conclusions of the Fifth General Conference of Latin American Bishops, held in 2007, commonly referred to as Aparecida.
“Aparecida,” he said, “proposes to put the Church in a permanent state of mission… And this, in the certainty that missionary outreach, more than being one activity among others, is a paradigm, that is, the paradigm for all pastoral action.”
The intimacy of the Church with Jesus is an “itinerant intimacy,” he said, which calls people out of themselves to reach out to others.
“It is vital for the Church not to close in on itself, not to feel already satisfied and sure with what it has accomplished,” he said. “If this happens, the Church will get sick, it will get sick with imaginary abundance… in a certain sense it will ‘get indigestion’ and will weaken.”
All pastoral activity is oriented by the missionary impulse to reach everyone, he continued. “It is necessary to go out of one’s community and to have the boldness to go to the existential peripheries, which need to feel God’s closeness,” he said.
Evangelization is not exclusive and it considers the circumstances in which people find themselves. Christians must share the joy of having encountered Christ and not impose new obligations, reprimand others or complain about that which they consider to be lacking.
“The work of evangelization demands much patience,” he said. It also presents the “Christian message in manner that is serene and gradual… as did the Lord”.
It privileges that which is “essential and most necessary, that is, the beauty of the love of God, communicated in Christ, who died and resurrected.”
He urged Christians to step outside of their usual ways of doing things. “We must force ourselves to be creative in our methods,” he said. “We cannot remain confined in our common space of ‘it was always done this way’.”
Temptation of Clericalism
The Pope also addressed the role of clerics and religious in the Church. He said a bishop leads the pastoral life of the Church with tenderness and patience, “manifesting the maternity of the Church and the mercy of God”. The attitude of the true pastor must not be that of a prince or of a bureaucrat. Instead, a bishop must care for his people, knowing how to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis also addressed the need to deal with clericalism. “The temptation of clericalism, which does much damage to the Church in Latin America, is an obstacle to the development of maturity and Christian responsibility of a good part of the laity,” he said.
He described clericalism as a “group attitude” that is “self-referential” and which impoverishes encounter with Christ, which is what creates disciples.
“Therefore, I believe it is important, urgent, to form ministers capable… of encounter, who know how to enflame the hearts of people, walk with them, enter into dialogue with their hopes and fears,” he said.
He added that today’s culture requires good priestly formation, and he questioned whether the Church had “sufficient capacity to be self-critical in order to evaluate the results of very small seminaries, which have a shortage of formative staff”.
The Pope also said consecrated life is leaven for the Church and urged consecrated men and women to be faithful to their communities’ charisms, which are a “great prophecy… for the good of the Church”.
The Pope concluded by urging his listeners to live their baptismal call in faith and to share it with others.
(CNS Photo/ Bob Roller)
Today on Perspectives: Pope Francis speaks out against the violence in Syria. Today marks the 35th anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul I, who reigned for 34 days. Also, we introduce you to the figure of Cardinal Celso Costantini, the first papal delegate to China, and bring you details about our encore presentations of the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention.
Tonight on Perspectives: Japanese Church remembers WWII bombings and we bring you more highlights from the 131st Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus.
Remarks of Most Rev. Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at the States Dinner of the 131st Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in San Antonio, Texas, August 6, 2013
Your Eminences and Excellencies, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Dorian, Brother Knights, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to have this opportunity to address once again some brief remarks on the occasion of this States Dinner.
The relationship between the Knights of Columbus and the Bishops of Canada is strong, and I and my brother Bishops from Canada who join me on this day are pleased to underline that good rapport by our presence here during the Supreme Convention.
Allow me to share with you a story. Recently I attended the episcopal ordination of the new Bishop of Churchill-Hudson Bay, Most Reverend Anthony Krotki. It took place in the Canadian far north, in the hamlet of Rankin Inlet, in the territory of Nunavut. As part of the celebrations the local Inuit population offered everyone the opportunity to share in a traditional community feast. We gathered in the local arena. As I arrived, I saw a number of people putting down sheets of cardboard across the gymnasium floor. Then they proceeded to throw out on to this cardboard large pieces of raw, frozen fish and caribou, together with the heads and brains and inner organs of Lord knows what other animals. To this was added some raw, fresh whale blubber. After the blessing the local people sat on the floor and gathered up the food in their hands and used small knives to slice off pieces to eat. I saw only one non-local (a missionary priest from Poland — God bless him) get on the floor and join them. Most of us visitors (cowards, some would say), including yours truly, simply stood back and stared. Thanks be to God, there was other cooked food available. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lineup for that nourishment was very long.
Getting accustomed to a strange diet is not easy. I know my own stomach recoiled at what I saw on that arena floor. Many international travellers know the experience of encountering unfamiliar food and being unable to handle it. This is, I believe, a helpful analogy for understanding the difficulties we encounter today as Christians when we undertake the new evangelization.
When we announce the Gospel, we are proposing a “diet” to which much of our western culture has grown unaccustomed, even allergic. Our “diet” is centred on the Bread of Life, Jesus Himself, truly present in the Eucharistic species. Transformed by this food, our daily diet becomes that of obedience to truth, the embrace of the Cross and self-gift for the sake of world. For anyone more accustomed to a diet of selfishness and relativism, such a proposed diet would be impossible to swallow. The “stomach” recoils. Hence the negative and sometimes vitriolic response to the Gospel and the Church that we witness today.
What is to be done? I suggest two things. First, as I watched the Inuit eat the food that I could not imagine even touching, I noticed the look of satisfaction — even joy —on their faces. Such a “witness” made me wonder if the food might be worth tasting after all. I didn’t get that far, but it at least left me thinking that there must be something good about this particular diet. The most effective way we have of proposing that diet we call the Gospel is to give witness to the joy that it brings us. Our world is living largely on the junk food of individualism and self-reliance, a diet that leaves one hungry and malnourished. By our joy, we invite those accustomed to this empty diet to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” (Psalm 34:8) and in Christ to find true nourishment and real life.
Second, we need to pay close attention to our own daily diet, to avoid giving in to the constant temptation to nibble at the “junk food” that surrounds us. The Holy Father, from his first homily as our Chief Shepherd, called us to model our lives on the custos, on Saint Joseph, by protecting the gifts God has given to us. Foundational among those gifts is that of our identity as disciples. We protect that gift by living it with integrity, which demands a careful attention to our choice of nourishment. May the Lord help each of us to choose as our food only Him and the truth he reveals, and to avoid all else. Apart from Christ, nothing can satisfy.
God bless you all.
Invocation of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston at the State Dinner of the 131st Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in San Antonio, Texas, August 6, 2013
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of all things, God of Mercy and Consolation, Protector of all who trust in you, in the fullness of time you sent your Eternal Word, Your Son to live among us and save us from sin and death. Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the ever blessed Virgin Mary He is the Anointed One who announces Good News to those near and those far off. His death and Resurrection is our strong protection as we journey to you.
Look with favor on all those gathered here for this 131st Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus. Give your strength to this Assembly of Knights, to our Supreme Knight and the Supreme Council, to our representatives from every country and state, to every agent and member, to all in the Americas, Europe and Asia who have found solidarity and renewed vigor in faith by adhering to the vision and pledge of the Knights of Columbus. Bless our bishops, priests, deacons and religious. Bless the wives and families of all members. Bless the squires and all children and young people who see good grounds for their practice of the Catholic Faith in our Order and its activities. Bless the beautiful city and region of San Antonio and its hospitable people.
Aided by the prayers of Venerable Fr. Michael McGivney, our Founder, may we show ourselves the protectors of all God’s gifts to us, of religious liberty, of the gift of marriage, and most of all, protectors and defenders of the gift of human life. In communion with Francis our Pope, may we be bold in faith, assured in hope and compassionate in charity — in God’s love. United today with Jesus Christ on the mountain of transfiguration, may we be witnesses of Jesus and look and only see Jesus as our one Savior and Protector. In Scripture and the Breaking of the Bread, may we deepen our friendship and unity with Him and with the Church, all to your glory. May we show utter fidelity to you, and, like St. Joseph, for everything that has been entrusted to our protection, may we be responsible!
Now in company with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and all the saints, let us pray our grace for the food, nourishment and solidarity given to us: Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(CNS Photo / courtesy Catholic University of America)
Tonight on Perspectives: The church celebrates the memorial of St. Edith Stein, The Knights of Columbus remember their deceased members with a Mass during their convention, and Lebanon prepares to receive the Holy Father in September.
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore gave the following homily during the Memorial Mass at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Annual Convention. Each year during the convention a Mass is celebrated in memory of all the Knights who have passed away during the year.
Worthy Supreme Knight and Mrs. Anderson,
Brother Bishops, priests, and deacons,
Brother Knights, and spouses, and dear friends in Christ,
Each year at the Supreme Convention, the privilege falls to me to celebrate this Mass, in which we remember with love our brother Knights who have gone before us with the sign of faith.
Here at the altar, we give thanks to God for their lives, and also we pray for them, for we know that their souls live on,and will be reunited with their bodies on the last day. We know also that our prayers can come to their aidas we ask the Lord of life and love to grant them eternal salvation.
This year the memorial Mass falls on the feast day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
A distinguished philosopher and convert to the Catholic Faith from Judaism, she became a Carmelite nun, and died a martyr in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, 70 years ago today, on August 9, 1942.
Listen again to the words we prayed in the Collect of today’s Mass:
God of our Fathers, who brought the Martyr Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross to know your crucified Son and to imitate him even until death, grant, through her intercession, that the whole human race may acknowledge Christ as its Savior and through him come to behold you for eternity.
It is with much joy that I bring you greetings from the Philippines. I am certain that the numerous Filipino members of the Knights of Columbus, their families, parishes and communities of ministry are one with us in prayer.
This is my first opportunity to attend a Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus. Reflecting on my among you, I realized that I am here not only as the Archbishop of Manila but as the son of a former Grand Knight. I still recall how impressive my father looked with his coat and sword after being inducted into the fourth degree. My younger and only brother is a third degree Knight in Virginia. Far from home, he has considered his council as extended family. I am here also in the name of the Columbian Squires of my home parish of which I was a member and later president. My belonging to the group brought me closer to the Church and to the call to mission. After high school I entered the philosophy seminary as a Fr. George Willmann, S.J. scholar of the Knights. So I stand before you as one who has been formed, guided and inspired by the ideals and spirit of the Knights of Columbus.
As I thank the Knights of Columbus for what the Order has done for me and for the Church, I urge you to intensify your communion with the poor through a dialogue of life and love with them. The abandoned and neglected should experience the caring of true brothers from us. Then they will know that the Church is indeed the family of God where the Holy Spirit enables us to see in everyone a brother or sister deserving of our love and service. This demands a formation centred on Jesus, His teaching, His humility, His docility to God’s will and His heroic service to all. Only by being rooted in Jesus can every Knight be a true brother to others and a defender of the poor.
So I also stand before you in the name of the lonely, lost, weary and wounded people of the world. Let us be brothers to them. Let us be Jesus’ love to them.
Photo courtesy of the Knights of Columbus