St. Francis surely was smiling upon us.
It was the perfect fall day for Frs. Erik, Sam, and Fred, Capuchin Friars partnered with the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, to welcome us all at the outdoor shrine of St. Anthony at Graymoor in Garrison, NY.
In Rome, on December 2 at the end of his General Audience, Pope Francis said:
“Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of four missionaries killed in El Salvador … On the 2nd of December in 1980, they were kidnapped, raped, and killed by a group of paramilitary forces. They were offering their services during the civil war and they were bringing food and medicine to those who had to flee, especially to the families that were the poorest. These women lived their faith with great generosity. They are an example for all of us to become faithful missionary disciples.”
Well, that is a presumptuous declaration to make as there has been a “year of Advent” since the first millennium. But, the truth is, so often I have let it pass unnoticed.
For people who like to know what’s what (and you know who you are!), it’s a bit of a challenge sometimes to accept the mystery that is at the heart of our faith. Yet there’s a profound beauty and comfort in that, too, because it is through the Sacraments, Mass, Scripture, and Prayer that our Trinitarian God reveals Himself to us slowly, lovingly, surprisingly, if only partially. It’s an ever-evolving relationship. And when it comes right down to it, isn’t that true of all intimate relationships?
Self-care for all Americans is on the top of our minds, especially as we approach the holidays. We are told we must not isolate ourselves because it’s not good for our mental health, and yet gathering together can be detrimental to our physical health. Navigating this time well is difficult and can seem like an impossibility.
Election coverage should be done in a fair, accurate, and impartial manner. Media outlets that are often agenda-driven and hungry for ratings must resist the urge to be first to call an election—no matter how consequential the political office—and not until all votes are appropriately accounted for and accurately interpreted. Our enduring democracy and the rights of all voters—in-person or absentee—deserve nothing less.
On the evening of June 5, 2006, Msgr. Octavio Cisneros, my college seminary rector, asked if I would be available to drive him somewhere the next day. He said that he would have too much on his mind to drive himself and didn’t want to get in an accident. Little did I know then that I would be driving him to the announcement of his nomination as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, along with Msgr. Sansaricq and Msgr. Caggiano.
Almost overnight, there was a universal new normal, although there was nothing normal about this newness. For principals working under these demanding and chaotic circumstances and still continuing to do so, the pressure is incalculable, the options are limited, and the sleepless nights have become the norm.
That kitchen table and those pictures encapsulate the shaping of my early political ideology. Faith, family, the Irish immigrant experience, and the importance of American citizenship were tenets emphasized by the words and example of my late parents.
The Department of Education was having difficulty getting a plan together for the new school year. The mayor and chancellor chose to politicize our children instead of creating viable options for education and learning.