Paul tells the Thessalonians: “We wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.” He asks these early Church members to live in harmony and strive not to be a burden on others.
“Go and bear fruit” (John 15:16)
This year, our parish is “looking back” on 50 years of the Holy Spirit at work in our midst. We have grown. Families and individuals have encountered Christ through worship, study, ministry and education. We will also celebrate “today” by holding various events to bring us together to build relationships and memories. To help us consider where the Holy Spirit is moving each of us as we “look ahead,” we began the 50 Opportunities for Mercy, Grace and Growth initiative on October 1.
What could possibly be more stressful than facing the death of a loved one, or even anticipating our own passing? Faith teaches us so much; we are comforted in the assurances that we and our loved one will be with Christ in heaven, and this is a true blessing. We hope to be a deep witness to mercy and peace gained through our treasured personal relationship with Our Lord. But what about the realities of the dying process?
When we live in community, difficult circumstances can arise and cause us to misunderstand each other or cause hurts. We feel the most pain when that hurt comes from those closest to us. Longtime parishioner Jeff shared his family’s story with us to show that even after 30 years, reconciliation can happen.
“Our worth is based not on our skills or levels of productivity. Absolutely nothing can diminish our God-given dignity, and therefore, nothing can diminish the immeasurable worth of our lives. Whether it lasts for a brief moment or for a hundred years, each of our lives is a good and perfect gift. At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s love.”
“An elderly man whose health is quickly deteriorating; an unborn baby girl whose diagnosis indicates she may not live long; a little boy with Down syndrome; a mother facing terminal cancer—each may have great difficulties and need our assistance, but
The St. Raphael Community was one of the five founding parishes when Catholic Parish Outreach (CPO) opened its doors in the 1970s to help those in need. Since then, CPO grew to be the largest food pantry in Wake County as a program of Catholic Charities. The Raleigh Blvd warehouse serves any needy resident of Wake, Johnston or Franklin county who has obtained a written referral from a local community agency. At CPO, families and individuals are provided with a week’s worth of groceries. Some families can also get
On September 1, the second annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis asked Christians to consider caring for creation as a work of mercy. In his message, the Pope reflected, “if we look at the works of mercy as a whole, we see that the object of mercy is human life itself and everything it embraces….Obviously [this] includes care for our common home.”
“Human beings are deeply connected with all of creation,” he states. “When we mistreat nature, we also mistreat human beings.”
Recent events in our nation have prompted us to pray for an easing of tensions and reconciliation among our fellow citizens. The US Bishops asked that we unite on September 9 for the “National Day of Prayer for Peace in our Communities.” On that day, we joined our prayers with faithful across the nation to promote a renewed commitment in the Church to act for peace and reconciliation. The bishops chosen date was also the feast of St. Peter Claver.
Who was St. Peter Claver?
What is a catechist? Some might say “religion teacher.” The Church sees the catechist as part of an interactive process where “the Word of God resounds between and among the catechist, the receiver of the message, and the Holy Spirit!” Catechists are essential to the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel in order to “put people in communion with Jesus Christ” (CCC #426). Reflecting on this definition, it is clear that catechists perform two spiritual works of mercy: teaching and counseling.
A couple at our previous church, newly married young adults, went to India to volunteer with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India. It was an incredibly powerful experience, as one might expect – truly a walk in faith with our brothers and sisters in need. The joy they found and the lessons they learned were gifts beyond imagining.
One person in particular deeply touched their hearts. “Pria” was living on the street with no family. Likely of preschool age,…..
“God’s mercy is very real and we are all called to experience it firsthand. [One day] when I was seventeen years old, as I was about to go out with friends, I decided to stop into a church first. I met a priest there who inspired great confidence, and I felt the desire to open my heart in Confession. That meeting changed my life! I discovered…..
St. Ignatius, during his recovery from serious wounds suffered in a battle, began to dream of accomplishing great things for God, just like the saints. Among the saints he idolized was St. Francis of Assisi, who established a religious order that restored a focus on encountering Christ amid the poor and marginalized. St. Francis is also known for his prayer of peace.
Last month, amid the violence and unrest affecting some communities in our country and much of the attention of the news media and political discourse, the Knights of Columbus organized a nationwide Novena for Peace, using this prayer of St. Francis as its foundation. Bishop Burbidge and many other bishops invited the faithful to use this prayer as they gathered for Mass, at home with their families, or in quiet, contemplative moments on their own. Although the specific days of the novena have passed, members of our parish community may still find ourselves wondering, How do I think and feel about these issues of racism, gun violence, and political polarization? How do I respond to my children when they ask about what they’re seeing and hearing in the news? Where do I find God… or where am I still looking for God… amid all this?
Burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy. We have a very dedicated team of volunteers here at St. Raphael’s that walk families through this difficult time. They sing at the funerals, help out at the receptions, facilitate grief support groups, or send supportive mailings. It’s an incredibly fulfilling ministry being a vehicle of God’s love and compassion when people are hurting.
Staff at local hospitals will sometimes encourage patients to have a priest visit. These counseling, anointing, and Eucharistic interactions connect folks with the church and often result in funerals held here. Last year, a patient died with absolutely no next of kin, no emergency contact, and no friends or even names in his phone. There was no one to collect the body. …..
Love consists in sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves.
Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words. St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Ignatius prayed for the grace to learn how God wanted him to serve. In a 2007 article for the Review of Ignatian Spirituality, David L. Fleming, S.J. looked at Ignatius’ life and explored aspects of service in the Ignatian way.
Ignatius looked at God, who is “the first to serve,” and all He has done for us. From God, he learned that “love is the foundation and love is the stimulus for service.” Our service should “communicate the love that is at its source.” Our service, therefore, cannot be restricted to certain actions, deeds, results, or accomplishments.
TO SERVE THE IGNATIAN WAY IS:
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing” (Luke 10: 41).
“This is not about two contradictory attitudes: listening to the word of the Lord, contemplation, and practical service to our neighbour.” Contemplation and service are “two essential aspects” that “can never be separated” in our Christian life.
I was born Catholic and educated in the 1970s and 80s. I felt that I learned to “love, care and share” in religion class, but now I feel that I never really learned the richness of our faith. Like so many people, as I responded over the years to my experience of the liturgy, our sacred environment, and the pressures of living in the larger secular world, my depth of understanding and belief grew and changed. In some ways, I feel I had a “watered down Catholicism.”
So how does this relate to Mercy? I see Mercy in everyone who is helping people like me to reclaim our faith and are telling the story of who we really are. I see Mercy in …….