We have been going through some very significant changes at the Pastoral Center, the “headquarters,” if you will, of the Archdiocese of Portland, serving the many parishes and schools of western Oregon. I can say without hesitation that these changes are not easy, but that they are timely and needed for us to move forward with the work of the New Evangelization in this local Church.
Over the Fourth of July weekend I had the privilege of celebrating for the second time the Freedom Mass at the Grotto in Northeast Portland. This has become an important and beautiful celebration of freedom for many cultures present here in the Archdiocese and beyond. Thousands of pilgrims came together for this Mass, as they do every year. I would like to share with you the heart of my message to those pilgrims.
One of the most moving moments for me since the election of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, occurred on the day after his election. Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the Roman Basilica of St. Mary Major. There he prayed before the image of our Lady under her title “Protectress of the Roman People” an image very dear to the faithful of Rome. What was Pope Francis’ first instinct upon his election as supreme pastor of the universal Church? To run to our Blessed Mother for her motherly love, guidance and protection!
I remember as a young person growing up in Catholic school a trend which tended to de-emphasize traditional Lenten practices of penance in favor of works of charity. It went something like this: It is more important to do something positive for someone else than to deny yourself something. Even at the time it struck me that there was something not quite right about that. Thursday, March 13, 2014