January has been designated as Poverty Awareness Month by many organizations. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joins with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in calling attention to the issue of poverty, especially in our own country.
Each January, we remember a sad part of our American history that happened in the 1970s with the Supreme Court ruling in Roe vs. Wade which made abortion legal for any reason up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and any time after that if the mother’s life is at risk.
For the past 52 years, January 1 has been designated by the Roman Pontiff as the World Day of Peace. The 2019 message of the Holy Father on this occasion is entitled, “Good Politics at the Service of Peace.” The announcement was made by the Vatican press office emphasizing that “Political responsibility belongs to every citizen and, in particular, to those that have received the mandate to protect and to govern.”
St. Francis of Assisi is credited with having established the custom of the placing of the Child Jesus in a crèche, or presepio as it is called in Italian. The first presepio was assembled in the town square of Assisi where people and live animals depicted the birth of Jesus Christ.
Monday, December 17, is Reconciliation Monday in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn. This custom began several years ago in Rockville Centre during the Lenten Season. Now all of the Downstate dioceses have adopted this custom where you can be sure that from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm in most every church of these dioceses you can find a priest who will hear your confession.
Advent is a time of grace, called “Kairos,” a Greek word which means a graced time. As we have begun Advent, we recognize that it is our preparation time for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we begin the Season of Advent, one of the first feasts we celebrate during this time is the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6. Since St. Nicholas is my patron saint, I thought I would take the time to describe the journey of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Turkey, to his more popular transformation into Santa Claus.
Having just returned from the annual November United States Bishops’ General Meeting, I thought that I would share some thoughts with you since the agenda this year was so important.
As we approach Thanksgiving, we recognize its origin which reminds us of the Pilgrims who came to the New World seeking protection from religious persecution. I call this issue to mind since we are currently facing a severe curtailment of the religious freedom of the Catholic Church in the U.S.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
At the end of September of this year, the Vatican offices, the Dicasteries of the Holy See, sponsored a conference entitled, Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration. This issue certainly affects us here in the United States. Perhaps the best term to explain this is the issue of “Populist Nationalism.”