Catholic and American

The solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, is a curious one. In many countries, it is a holy day of obligation. It is not one in the United States. In the Vatican, it is the day when the Holy Father presents the pallium, the symbol of service and authority, to metropolitan archbishops.

This year, the archbishops of Indianapolis, Newark, and Anchorage will receive the pallium. Pope Francis, has called for a consistory of Cardinals, which include some choices that truly reflect his desire to “go to the peripheries,” exemplifying the universal nature of the Catholic Church.

It is an important celebration, this solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, because it reminds us as a local church that we are not alone. We are more than just a local parish, as key and essential as it is. We are much more than just a Diocese, as vibrant and life-giving as it is to the local church. We are more than just Catholics in a nation, gathered together in an episcopal conference.

This solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul reminds us that we are a Church that is One, though scattered on every land, Catholic, meaning universal, transcending time and space, Apostolic, founded in the firm rock of Peter and the Apostles, and Holy, as the spotless Bride of Christ, the People of God, and, although made up of sinners, is sinless.

While the Solemnity is not a holy day of obligation in the United States, it serves to remind all of us in this nation that we are Catholics. It serves to remind us that we are intrinsically connected to the Church in Rome. We are united, on Earth and in Heaven, to all believers and our center, as Catholics, is based in the Vatican and our leader the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

As we pray this Fourth of July for the unity of the United States and for blessings on this great land, we also pray for a greater love and devotion to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, centered in Rome.

We pray for an end to all the bickering that goes on within the nation and within the Church. The strengths of both the country and the Church are the unity and freedom that belonging to each brings with it.

We know that Jesus is always with the Church because he promised to be with us until the end of time. We pray that God the Creator will remain part and parcel of our country’s fabric and that He always will bless the United States of America.