On Ash Wednesday, Roman Catholics begin the holy season of Lent. This is a time to do exactly what we were exhorted to do when we had ashes sprinkled on our head — “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
In 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, stating that the celebration helped to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman said in 2011: “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? … I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”
This past week saw a disagreement among our American bishops play out publicly in the media. On January 20, Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Mr. Biden, a church-going Roman Catholic, is only the second Catholic in U.S. history to be elected as president.
What was witnessed on January 6, 2021, was truly horrifying. This country has seen riots before — just look back to last May, June, and July. But we as a nation have never seen anything like the events that took place on a day when most Catholics throughout the world celebrate the Epiphany’s light.
We still don’t know exactly how Catholics voted in this election, but based on previous election cycles we can assume each candidate probably received more than 40 percent of the Catholic vote.
Pray for peace in our nation. This country is so much greater than a single presidential election. Pray that everyone can be women and men of peace and healing — of reconciliation — and that we can remember that we are called to be good citizens of this realm with our hearts and minds set on the world to come.
Let’s face it — everyone’s lives have changed since the start of the worldwide spread of the Coronavirus. Education, health-care, entertainment, and family life all have been affected, and not in ways that are positive, by and large. This is also true for the common worship of the Lord.
While school children might be happy about the recent announcement that the New York City public school system will not be opening for in-person classes for several weeks, parents certainly are not pleased with this latest development in the ongoing struggle to re-open our city schools safely for each and every one of our students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
Words matter in the celebration of the Sacraments, and every word that the Church gives us in the rituals matters. Sacraments are made up of both matter and form.