On Sept. 9, we celebrate National Grandparents Day in the United States. It is a day when organizations come together to celebrate the role of grandparents. In the past, when extended families lived close to one another, grandparents played an important part in the education and rearing of their grandchildren. Unfortunately, as our mobile society has separated families, sometimes across the country and the world, for many reasons grandparents seem not to be as critical in helping as they were in the past.
In an extraordinary move, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has written a “Letter to the People of God” regarding the historical sex abuse cases of six dioceses in Pennsylvania, sadly a past problem which extended throughout the United States and even throughout the world.
Spiritually, our Catholic education is one of the greatest conduits for bringing the Good News to our children, the future disciples of our Church.
Recently, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, by amending the Catechism of the Catholic Church, declared that the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases. He built on the teaching of St. John Paul II who in his 1995 Encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae,” stated that punishment “…must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.”
Vacation time can be a good time when families can reconnect and understand their responsibilities to each other, and then reassert their bonds for one another.
The issue of immigration reform has caught the attention of our country because of the unfortunate practice of separating children from their parents as they approach the border. Some of the people are seeking asylum or a safe haven escaping difficult situations in their home countries, especially violence and oppression. Others come seeking to improve their economic condition fleeing a life of poverty.
Anyone who takes the opportunity to assist young people truly puts out into the deep unknown waters of how one generation can reach the next generation, especially in regard to the things of faith. Faith cannot be taught. Faith must be caught. Faith must be transmitted by faithful witnesses.
Recently the issue of suicide has been brought to our attention and its rise in America has become troublesome. Anthony Bourdain, the famous travel chef and author, and Kate Spade, a well-known fashion designer, both committed suicide during the same week. These high-profile people brought attention to the rising suicide rate in the United States.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a well-celebrated event not only in our Mount Carmel parish in Williamsburg, but also in several others parishes in the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens.
As we celebrate our Priesthood Ordinations today, I am pleased to take this opportunity to provide you with a review of our efforts for recruiting seminarians during this Year of Vocations and speak about our newly ordained.