“A Year of Prayer for our Priests” is a ministry of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. We share the joy of this devotion with all Oregon Catholics. 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.
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.
“For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away.” (Song of Songs 8:6-7)
These words from the Song of Songs are often chosen by couples to be read at their wedding. They speak of a depth, strength and power of true love, a love that should especially characterize those who enter into the covenant of marriage. They are words to inspire and give hope to couples setting out on the path of a shared life.
The date was May 13, 1981. It was an otherwise beautiful spring day in Rome as Pope St. John Paul II made his way by “pope mobile” through the enthusiastic crowd of faithful and well-wishers. Suddenly, shots rang out and the Holy Father slumped into the arms of aids, seriously wounded by the would-be assassin’s bullets. I personally remember that day all too well.
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.