October 6, 2012 – An Overdue Thank You

Well it has been quite a week for me and my fellow St. Louis sports fans.  The Rams have a winning record for the first time in 6 years, and the Cardinals still had enough post-season magic left from last year to move on to the next round of the playoffs.  As Fr. Gene and I joked following Friday’s game, surely those were not Catholics throwing all of the debris onto the field during the game.  If it was, we’ll have to have Abp. Gregory get control of his flock (lol).  Anyway, looking forward to next week and we’ll see how far we can go.  Washington will be tough, but as we saw last year, anything can happen.

As I was looking through some internet headlines to gain inspiration for what to write about this week, I suddenly became deluged with material about what is going on in our local and worldwide church during this month of October.  This month we mark as the month of the rosary.  Pope Leo XIII established this month and recommended daily rosary devotions during October.  We also mark October as Respect Life Month.  Our website has a link to various ways in which the diocese and the church as a whole will be marking this month.  This coming week we also will mark the beginning of the year of faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI, which I will touch on in a little bit.

First, however, I realized to myself that after writing over 200 of these things, I have never really talked much about the Knights of Columbus, their history, and my gratitude for all they do for our parish and community.  On this weekend in which we celebrate Columbus Day and when we will remember our deceased brother Knights in prayer during Mass, I thought it was an appropriate time to do so.  I am somewhat ashamed because even though I have been a KC member for many years, I had never really sat down and researched its beginnings.  In 1881 a group of men met in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, CT.  They were brought together by Fr. Michael McGivney, the 29 year old parish priest who is credited as being the founder of the K of C.  They formed an organization based upon a vow that they would be defenders of their country, their families and their faith.  These men were bound together by the ideal of Christopher Columbus, who not only discovered the Americas, but brought Christianity to the New World.  The Knights of Columbus were incorporated in 1882.  The order has been called the “strong right arm of the Church,” and has been praised for its support of the Church, programs of evangelization and Catholic education, civic involvement and aiding of those in need.

Since 1958 our council #3790 here at St. Mary’s has carried out the mission established by that original group in New Haven through its support of the church, its fund raising efforts for various charities and causes, and its hosting of various parish functions.  It is not just the parish “men’s” organization.  It is a gathering place for everyone and its charitable endeavors aid those in our community and beyond.  So on behalf of our entire parish, I thank my brother Knights and all who support them for carrying out the ideals of our Catholic faith – spreading the message of the Gospel and being of service to others.  If you or someone you know would be interested in joining the K of C, talk to a KC member of stop by the club for more information.

As I already briefly mentioned, this week begins the “Year of Faith” declared by Pope Benedict.  It officially begins on October 11, the date which marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and also marks the 20th anniversary of the issue of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II.  The year will conclude on November 24, 2013, the Feast of Christ the King.  You have probably heard of the Year of Faith but maybe do not know what it is about.  I’ll try to summarize it as concisely as I can.  Pope Benedict has set aside this special year for Catholics to rediscover the gift of faith that we have received from God.  It begins on the anniversary of Vatican II because an important component of the Year of Faith is reflection and rediscovery of the riches contained in the texts of Vatican II.

In addition, the Holy Father wants us to rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God and on the bread of life.  He wants us to approach this time as an opportunity for purification, for us and for the Church.  He wants us to profess our faith in our churches, in our homes and among our families so that we all gain a stronger desire to know God and to pass the faith on to future generations.  He also wishes for us to rediscover the content of the faith that we profess, celebrate, live and pray.  In order for us to do this, he proposes that we make a concerted effort to study the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  In his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidiei, the Holy Father offers this summary of his hopes for us:

“Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world.  What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.”

Nothing to it, right?  Basically, as I read in a recent article, the year of faith is a call to be in a relationship with Jesus – not just to know of Him, but to know Him.  The Church offers us many different ways to do this, and I’ll be touching on some of these in the near future.  In the meantime, here are a couple of helpful links.  First is a link to information on the USCCB website:

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/

Also, this is a neat way to read the Catechism of the Catholic church.  Subscribe at this website and you will be sent a small part of the Catechism to your e-mail each day.  In a year you will have read the whole thing!  Here’s the link:

http://www.flocknote.com/catechism

Have a great week.  Go Cards!  Go Rams!  Peace.

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