Many thanks to all who came to pray during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament this past Monday and Tuesday. I think it is very important that we prayed as a community (albeit each of us individually) to ask Jesus’ protection over our country.
On a somewhat related note, we in the United States now have another important person to intercede for us. Last weekend, Pope Francis beatified Fr. Michael McGivney (1852-1890), the founder of the Knights of Columbus. Fr. McGivney was a priest from Connecticut and he always sought new ways to help the lay faithful to grow in holiness. In a letter from Pope Francis, which was read at the beatification Mass in Hartford, Connecticut, the Holy Father mentioned that Fr. McGivney possessed a “zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and generous concern for the needs of his brothers and sisters made him an outstanding witness of Christian solidarity and fraternal assistance.” Without doubt, Fr. McGivney’s beatification is quite timely, as we ponder in the wake of the election what it means to “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Pet. 2:17). In his time, Catholics suffered much persecution. Although we are not undergoing persecution properly speaking, we can definitely rely on Fr. McGivney’s prayers over our country to protect us from whatever we might face in the future. Fr. McGivney always focused on the importance of how faith and citizenship go hand-in-hand, even when we might feel that the cultural/social/political situation might be working against us.
As is mentioned on the official website for Fr. McGivney’s cause for canonization:
Faith for Father McGivney and his Knights was not simply knowing the catechism, important as that is. It was putting into practice the Great Commandment of Jesus: To love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. True to the parable of the Good Samaritan, love of neighbor does not stop at the church door. It goes out into the streets, the highways and byways, to encounter those on the margins of society – who were often immigrant Catholics in Father McGivney’s day – and bring them practical charity and fraternal love.
A “practical Catholic” has a love of home, family and church, where faith is nurtured. Yet his faith leads him into the world, even a world suffused with anti-Catholic sentiment, in the spirit of the Good Samaritan. He is called to bind up the wounds of the sick and abandoned, to provide for their temporal needs, to support the faith of Catholics and pass on the faith to inquirers, and to live a life of prayer and virtue, with love of God and neighbor.
Please join me in asking Blessed Fr. McGivney’s prayers for our parish, that we might emulate the virtues he lived, and embrace his practical path to holiness. Please join me also in asking his prayers over our country as we continue to bring the Gospel to those around us.
Blessings to you all!