“A Year of Prayer for our Priests” is a ministry of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. A day each month is set aside to pray for the names of priests serving in the Archdiocese of Portland. Please remember them and all priests, deacons and religious in your daily prayers.
During this year in which we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, as promised I would like to reflect with all of you on the message that Our Lady left us. St. John Paul II stated that her message is even more relevant and urgent today than when it was first given.
Before diving into the essential message that our Blessed Mother gave to the children of Fatima (Lucia, Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco), it is important to recall that these apparitions officially have been approved by the Church.
A new book will be released in April by Cardinal Robert Sarah, who is the head of the office in the Vatican which oversees the Church’s liturgy. The title of the book is “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.” I was asked to preview the book in advance of its publication. It is a must read — watch for it.
Without giving away much of its content, Cardinal Sarah’s book is a reflection on how we need more silence in our lives in order for us to encounter the living God. In the “hell of noise” which plagues our world today, we shut out the voice of God in our lives. We encounter God in the silence, where there is room for adoration and reverence for the one who created us and desires a relationship with us.
By now most of you have heard what happened during a Mass celebrated at St. Peter Catholic Church in Southeast Portland. If you have not, I will tell you about it, and the beautiful response that it elicited from people of good will in our community.
On Sunday Jan. 29, eight men walked to the front door of St. Peter Church and began bellowing during the Spanish Mass. They accused worshipers of not being true Christians, questioned the sexual morals of the women and harangued the congregation for being made up of immigrants.
Faith communities are rediscovering the theology of hospitality and it is highly related to all of our ministries. We no longer lukewarmly welcome visitors, but enthusiastically expect them. Instead of simply trying to fit them in, we need to plan for the stranger.
Our celebration is a pledge to unite men and women. It is a pledge to acknowledge our unity in the Risen Lord even at a time when our disunity is manifest whenever we read the daily newspaper or tune in the evening news.