Sunday, June 23, 2019

Edvige Carboni, Salesian Cooperator, Beatified

Salesian Cooperator Edvige Carboni Beatified

(ANS – Pozzomaggiore, Italy – June 17) – On Saturday, May 15, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, beatified Edvige Carboni in Pozzomaggiore, Sardinia, on behalf of the Holy Father. Miss Carboni was a humble and strong woman with a “life imbued with God.” She lived a life of manual work and service, in the family and toward many needy people she met, a life filled with graces and extraordinary supernatural gifts.

Born in Pozzomaggiore in Lombardy on May 3, 1880, she wanted to become a religious but had to stay close to her sick mother. She spent a sober, recollected home life, alternating household chores with moments of prayer. On July 14, 1911, the signs of the Passion of Jesus appeared on her body. These and other mystical phenomena that were attributed to her were investigated in a canonical process of 1925, which she underwent with complete obedience. She then moved to Rome with the rest of her family in 1938, just as World War II was about to explode.

She took up residence in Rome, remaining until her death in 1952). Edvige belonged to the Salesian parish of St. Mary Help of Christians on Via Tuscolana. There she went almost every morning for Mass and Communion; there she prayed, usually in the chapel of St. Anne; most of her ecstasies and prodigious events took place there; on September 25, 1941, she became a Salesian Cooperator.

Very devoted to the Madonna, who appeared to her several times, she received many graces from her. Many were the saints of which she had apparitions, particularly Don Bosco and Dominic Savio. In her diary there are 20 apparitions of Don Bosco, often together with Mary Help of Christians or Savio. In these apparitions Don Bosco gave her suggestions, invited her to be devout toward our Lady, encouraged her in difficulties, asked her for prayers and sacrifices, showed her the great good that the Salesians did, praising the holiness of many of them, and invited her to love the Salesian Sisters.

Blessed Edvige died on Feb. 17, 1952.

Cardinal Becciu said in the homily of the beatification rite: “Blessed Edvige embodies the most beautiful virtues of the Sardinian woman of the time. And yet from her experience, data emerge that make her witness more relevant than ever.... Her simple and profound spiritual experience, marked by limitless charity, boundless humility, and incessant prayer, is still a current model, because it shows that even in a simple, ordinary life it is possible to experience a solid communion with God and an apostolate characterized by a passion for wounded and disadvantaged humanity.”

Bro. John Langan Ordained Deacon

Bro. John Langan Ordained Deacon

Newly ordained Deacon John Langan with his mom Fidelis and dad Gerry, 
flanked by Fr. Pat Angelucci (left) and Fr. Tim Ploch (right). (Fr. Tim Ploch, Facebook)
Bro. John G. Langan of the New Rochelle Province was among eight young Salesians ordained deacons at the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem on Sunday, June 16, by Abp. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Latin Rite apostolic administrator of Jerusalem. All eight men are students of theology at the Ratisbonne Institute in the Holy City. Fr. Tim Ploch and Fr. Pat Angelucci represented the province at the ordination. Deacon Langan has been assigned to St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago for the summer.

Homily for Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Homily for the Solemnity
of Corpus Christi

May 28, 1989
1 Cor 11: 23-26
St. Theresa, Bronx

On Saturday evening I preached (primarily on the Collect) without a written text.  Here's an old homily on the 2d reading for today's feast.

“I received from the Lord what I handed on to you, namely, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took ... the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood’” (1 Cor 11: 23, 25).

Last Supper of Christ (Anthuensis Clakissins)
In the Old Testament, God made a series of covenants with his people.  After the flood he made a covenant with Noah not to destroy the earth with water again, and the sign of the covenant was the rainbow.  He made a covenant with Abraham to give him countless descendants and a homeland, and the signs of that covenant were his son Isaac and circumcision.  Thru Moses, God made a 3d covenant with the whole people of Israel, to restore them to the land and to be their protector, and the sign of the covenant was the Law, especially the 10 Commandments.

Each of these covenants was related to a salvation event:  Noah and his family saved from the flood, Abraham and Sarah saved from childlessness, Moses and the people saved from slavery in Egypt.  Each of those covenants was ratified by the sacrifice of unblemished animals to God, sacrifices that greatly pleased God.

At the Last Supper, Jesus referred to his own death in sacrificial terms:  “This is my body, which is for you.  This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Cor 11:24-25).  His death inaugurated the new and final age of salvation, mankind’s ultimate victory over sin and death.  Jesus left us a token of the new covenant between God and man, his own Body and Blood under the sacramental signs of bread and wine.  This new covenant is between God and all peoples, “people of every tribe and tongue and nation,” as the book of Revelation puts it (5:9).

Christ’s earthly ministry, his obedience, and his death have reconciled all of us, his sisters and brothers, to God our Father, as the faithfulness of Noah, Abraham, and Moses won God’s praise and the gift of salvation.  In testimony to the Father’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice, he raised Jesus from the dead and set him on a heavenly throne.  As a pledge of our union with him, Christ gave us his own Body and Blood as our food and drink.  When we share communion with him, we proclaim our faith in him and in his Father’s goodness; we confess our sinfulness and accept God’s pardon; we anticipate our own resurrection and share in the heavenly banquet, where with the angels and all the rest of the saints we’ll sing God’s praises forever.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Homily for Trinity Sunday

Homily for Trinity Sunday

June 16, 2019
Prov 8: 22-31
Rom 5: 1-5
John 16:12-15
Nativity, Washington, D.C.
Catholic Student Center, College Park, Md.

“Thus says the wisdom of God:  ‘I was beside [the Lord] as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, … and I found delight in the human race” (Prov 8: 30-31).

Divine Wisdom icon by unknown artists.
 VGIAKhMZ, Public Domain,
The Holy Trinity is a most fundamental truth of our Christian faith, a truth that sets us apart from others who believe in the true God, creator of the universe, father of the human race, eternal destiny of the just—believers who include Jews, Muslims, Unitarians, and Mormons among others.

We believe that God is both one and 3:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we profess our belief every time we recite the Creed at Mass or the start of the Rosary, every time we make the Sign of the Cross, every time we pray the Glory Be.

A long Christian tradition holds that the Son of God is Divine Wisdom personified.  The greatest church in Christendom for a thousand years was Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom, in Constantinople, dedicated to Christ, “the wisdom of God,” a term that goes back to St. Paul (1 Cor 1:24).  This tradition is foreshadowed in the Book of Proverbs, which speaks of Wisdom as the Lord’s companion and partner in the work of creating the universe.  Indeed, as Christians we believe it’s not the Father alone who creates but all 3 Persons.

The former church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. In the 16th century it was converted into a mosque, and in the 20th century to a museum. By Arild VĂ¥gen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Reading the Proverbs passage thus, we find the Son co-creating with the Father:  Wisdom is “beside him [the Lord] as his craftsman,” helping shape the depths and fountains, the mountains and hills, the earth and the fields (8:24-26).

God didn’t create the universe as his own toy.  He made it with humanity in mind, hinted at when Wisdom—the Son—says, “I found delight in the human race.”  As disciples of Jesus Christ, we see deeper into that statement because the divine Son so delighted in human beings that he became one of us at the appointed time in our sinful history.  He became incarnate, flesh and blood, of the Virgin Mary, to redeem us from sin and make our companionship with him truly delightful:  “we have peace with God thru our Lord Jesus Christ thru whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand,” St. Paul writes today (Rom 5:1-2).  He continues by stating that “we boast in hope of the glory of God” (5:2).  St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a 2d-century Father of the Church, teaches that “the glory of God is man fully alive.”  We’re fully alive, fully glorifying God, when the love of God the Son embraces us and we walk in his love, when “we stand in his grace.”

How can we sinful women and men do that?  It’s darn hard, isn’t it?  We all know that!  But the Father and the Son assist us by giving us the Holy Spirit, which the Collect calls “the Spirit of sanctification,” the Spirit that sanctifies us.  The Spirit, the 3d Person of the Trinity, “guides us to all truth” (John 16:13), the truth about God’s love for us and the right ways of living as Jesus teaches, and he strengthens and encourages us, “pouring the love of God into our hearts,” St. Paul says (Rom 5:5).  The Spirit points us toward holiness, leads us to holiness, bonds us intimately to the Father and the Son.  We, God’s Church, are “the unity of the Holy Spirit” that our collects always refer to, bound together and bound to Father and Son by the Spirit’s power.

And divine Wisdom finds delight in his brothers and sisters, bound to him, those whom he’s graced with forgiveness, faith, and a share of his love.

Friday, June 14, 2019

158 Million Child Slaves

158 Million Child Slaves

(ANS – Madrid – June 12) – They can’t go to school, they barely have time to eat, they don’t rest even on weekends, and they don’t know what it’s like to play with other children. This is the life that 158 million children around the world lead, victims of child labor who should, instead, be at school and in the playground rather than employed doing adult activities. Without considering that, in almost half of the cases (73 million) they are engaged in activities dangerous to their health. Pope Francis, recalling the World Day against the Exploitation of Child Labor, writes: “Children must be able to play, study, and grow up in a peaceful environment. Woe to those who suffocate in them the joyful impulse of hope!”

Loading goods at stations, selling them on the road, working in fields, factories, even mines, or as servants – these are some of the occupations that minors carry out in the world and that deprive them of going to school and enjoying childhood. The question for a child should never be: “What are you doing: studying or working?”

Child labor concerns mainly agriculture (71%); 17% of child laborers are engaged in the service sector, and 12% in the industrial sector, particularly in the mining industry.

Salesians all over the world work to redeem these children from child labor: so that they can recover their childhood, go to school, play with friends, learn something that serves their lives; so that they can feel loved and appreciated; so that they may know God and feel loved by a loving Father, as befits children.

Children are always cheap labor, easily replaceable; they don’t complain nor claim their rights, simply because they don’t know them. They’re treated like adults, and so they tire and get sick easily. They carry heavy loads, work the land assuming postures that generate malformations and chronic diseases and, in all cases, develop low self-esteem, distrust in people, and even forms of depression.

The Salesians and all the institutions that follow Don Bosco’s thoughts will never get tired of asking for the respect of children’s rights and of putting in place adequate measures so that children be protected and feel safe. Education is and remains the key so that children aren’t exploited, can transform their lives, be agents of change and development, and be protagonists of their own rightful future.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Homily for Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua

Homily for the Memorial
of St. Anthony of Padua

June 13, 2019
Nativity, Washington, D.C.

St. Anthony was born in Lisbon—not in Padua—in 1195 and became an Augustinian priest and a Scripture scholar.  But when the relics of some Franciscans who’d been martyred in Morocco for preaching to the Muslims were brought to Lisbon, he was inspired to join the Franciscans and go to Morocco himself, hoping for the same fate.  He fell ill, however, and had to return home.  God had another plan for him.

He didn’t make it back to Portugal, tho.  His ship was blown off course, and it landed in Italy.  That must have been some storm!  So God had another plan for Anthony.

At a Franciscan general chapter Anthony met St. Francis himself, and the 2 quite impressed each other.  Nevertheless, Anthony was sent to an obscure friary and given very menial tasks to do like cooking and cleaning, in spite of his learning.  Apparently his brothers didn’t recognize that learning, or at least didn’t appreciated it, because of the Franciscans’ humble way of life.

But God had another plan.  One day when there were to be some ordinations, the Franciscans hosted a good number of Dominican friars.  The Dominicans assumed that the hosts would see to the preaching, while the Franciscans assumed the Order of Preachers would do so.  So no one was appointed, and no one was prepared.  (Does that sound like parish life?)  The local superior commanded Anthony to preach, tho obviously he wasn’t prepared either—except by his long study of and meditation upon the Bible.  He wowed the crowd with a learned yet simple sermon, so much that St. Francis commissioned him to go to southern France to preach against a widespread heretical movement there.

Anthony had great success and continued to preach in northern Italy, as well, eventually settling in Padua, where St. Francis appointed him the 1st Franciscan theology professor.  It had became evident that even the simple Franciscans required some learning in this new world of cities, universities, and the Renaissance.  God was developing a great plan not only for Anthony but for the entire Church.

Anthony became known as a man whose preaching could convert sinners as well as heretics and who could reconcile enemies.  His preaching style was simple and gentle but filled with knowledge of the Scriptures and the sound traditions of the Christianity.

Always in poor health, Anthony died in 1231 at the age of 36.  He was canonized just one year later!

Our prayer today referred to his preaching and to our desire to “follow the teachings of the Christian life,” which was the focus of Anthony’s preaching and of his own life, especially in his obedience to God’s will—to God’s plan as revealed in the events of his life.  There’s a lesson for us—to pay attention to how God speaks to us each day thru our interactions with people and thru events.

We also see in Anthony a love for the Bible and a thorough familiarity with it.  Thru the Scriptures he became familiar, intimate, with Christ.  You probably have noticed that most statues of St. Anthony, like ours over there (at left), depict him with a book in his hands—the Bible, of course—and sitting on the book, the infant Jesus.  Another lesson for us.

Finally, the Collect referred to St. Anthony as an intercessor for God’s people “in their need,” praying that thru his prayers we might know God’s “help in every trial.”  We always go to him in our minor trials of having lost something.  May St. Anthony intercede for us that we may never be blown off course, may never lose our way toward Christ.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Homily for Solemnity of Pentecost

Homily for the Solemnity of Pentecost

June 10, 1984
1 Cor 12: 3-7, 12-13
Don Bosco Tech, Paterson, N.J.

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12: 7).

The Christians of Corinth were very much into charismata, the special gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Above all, they prized glossolalia, the gift of tongues.  (One almost needs that gift just to use these words.)  But those who possessed these gifts seem to have used them for divisiveness and competition rather than for unity and family spirit within the community.  So Paul has to recall to his disciples’ minds some essential Christian truths.  This morning Paul lays out 3 points:

1. Every believer has received the Spirit.

2. The Spirit gives many kinds of gifts.

3. All gifts are for the benefit of the whole community.

These teachings are, of course, timeless.  Paul could give us the same message.

We have been joined to Jesus, the paschal victim and our risen Lord, by our Baptism and Confirmation.  The link between us and him is the Holy Spirit, who pours into us the same divine life that Jesus receives from his Father.  That is why we always pray to the Father through Jesus who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit—we are that unity, we the Church militant on earth, and the Church suffering in purgatory, and the Church triumphant in heaven—all made one in Christ by the bonding of the Holy Spirit.

Every time we confess our faith in thought, word, or action, we do so by the power of the Spirit who lives within us.  The Father’s gift of the Spirit is not an extraordinary gift but the common possession of every believer.

The Spirit himself gives a variety of gifts to believers.  In many places in scripture these are outlined:  gifts of teaching, preaching, administering, speaking in tongues, healing, serving, etc.  To these we could add many other charismata bestowed abundantly on the Church:  mystical prayer, successful parenting, the missionary call, music, hospitality, ready ears, warm hearts.  Immediately after the section of First Corinthians which we are considering this morning, Paul tells the Church to strive for the greater gifts and sings his beautiful hymn on love:  “Love is patient, love is kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude”; and so on (1 Cor 13:4).

Whatever the gift, Paul says, it comes from the same one God who is our Father.  Each gift reveals his Spirit at work.  Therefore every gift is important and necessary.

Why important and necessary?  That’s the 3d point:  for the common good, for building up the body of Christ.  For each of us, this has 2 implications:  I have my own particular gift or gifts that manifest the Spirit of Jesus to others, and I must discern and exercise them; and everyone else has his or her own gift or gifts, and I must respect them.

So, if I have a gift for administration, I must use it for the good of all.  Likewise if my gift is reading the Word or watching the neighbors’ children or visiting the sick or coaching Little League or taking the elderly out shopping or bringing Christ into the public forum of politics or teaching CCD or whatever.  Naturally, it takes a lot of prayer and much practice to know what our real gifts are and what are the ones we’d like to have.

We live in a community being built up as it drinks of the one Spirit.  It will be strongly built only if we let the Spirit reign, that is, not only in ourselves but in everyone.  How, then, can we criticize a confrere or neighbor for using and developing his gifts, whether as a pastoral minister, an almsgiver, a leader in a charitable group?  How can we be jealous of someone else’s popularity if that is the tool by which the lordship of Jesus is confessed?

This responsibility of discerning the Spirit’s gifts rests on each one of us. We have to avoid the temptation to think that everything we like to do is the Spirit’s gift.  We have to put away fear of what is new or difficult and be open to the Spirit’s voice leading us to use our true gifts.  We have to respect the movements of the Spirit in every other person, though often we don’t understand those movements.

The Father has chosen each of us in Christ.  The Spirit reveals Christ and the Father to us and invites us into their relationship of love.  So may we all be encouraged.  We all confess that Jesus is Lord.  May his Spirit rule our hearts, shine through his gifts in us, and makes us one in Christ.

Frs. Eduardo Chincha and Juan Pablo Rubio Ordained

Frs. Eduardo Chincha 
and Juan Pablo Rubio Ordained

Fr. Tim Zak, provincial; Fr. J.P. Rubio; Bp. Manny Cruz; Fr. Eddy Chincha
Frs. Eduardo Chincha and Juan Pablo Rubio were ordained to the presbyterate on Saturday, June 8, at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Orange. Auxiliary Bishop Manuel A. Cruz of Newark was the ordaining prelate, and in his love for the Salesians fulfilled that office with enthusiastic joy.

The parish church was filled with over 400 people—Salesians and other members of the Salesian Family, family and friends of the ordinands, and youngsters from the Salesian works at Orange, New Rochelle, and Port Chester, where the newly ordained served in the past.

Bp. Cruz anointing with sacred chrism 
the hands of newly-ordained Fr. Eddie Chincha.
Fr. Eddie Chincha, 30, was influenced to enter the Salesians in 2009 by his encounters with them at Holy Rosary Parish in Port Chester, where his family were parishioners for years. (They have since moved.) He made his first profession of vows in 2011. He has been assigned to Mary Help of Christians Center in Tampa for his first priestly ministry.

Fr. J.P. Rubio, 43, lived with his parents and family in Sturgis, Mich., where an assistant pastor was a former Salesian who influenced his vocational choice, as did two Salesian vocation directors. He entered formation in 2007 and professed vows in 2010. He has been assigned to St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago for his first priestly ministry.
Fr. J.P. Rubio's moment of ordination 
by the imposition of hands

Both confreres did their practical training at Salesian High School in New Rochelle from 2013 to 2015 and completed their priestly studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., from 2015 to 2019.

Bp. Manny Cruz’s homily was centered on the priest as a minister of divine compassion. Recalling his witness of a final profession of some Dominican nuns who were asked in the rite, “What do you want?”—the response being, “I want the mercy of God”—he stated that deep in their hearts the ordinands are asking for mercy because we’re all sinners who are seeking God’s love and mercy. He told the priest-to-be that they’d come “to this house of God knowing that he has called you by name to serve him, to respond to his mercy, to feed us with the Body and Blood of his Son, to love us as Christ loves us.”

A prominent part of the ordination rite is that the ordinands prostrate themselves while the congregation prays the Litany of the Saints. The bishop explained the prostration as a symbol of humility and complete self-emptying by which the candidates pledge to put God first in their lives. He said that by the laying on of hands God would transform their hearts forever, so that in spite of their human limitations they will have the faith and humility to invite God to send them forth to proclaim the Gospel of life and the power of Christ crucified. On the cross Christ completely surrendered himself to the Father, and that’s what the prostration means, what the people of God are praying for, for the ordinands—that they might be instruments of the divine compassion and, in this world full of doubt, be signs that God remains with us and has not left us orphans.

Fr. Eddie Chincha
Bp. Cruz urged the ordinands always to go back to the Gospels whenever, like the apostles they may be fearful; there they will touch the wounded heart of Christ and find the spiritual resources to bring the compassionate and forgiving heart of Christ to the faithful in every sacramental anointing, every confession they’ll hear. As they’ll celebrate the Eucharist, saying, “This is my Body; this is my Blood,” they’ll be reminded to conform their lives to Christ in their prayer, service, and personal relationship with him, so that others will see in them another Christ. He advised them always to visit the sick and to be available to hear confessions, for people need forgiveness.

Fr. Juan Pablo Rubio
Finally, the bishop affirmed that we’re all called to receive mercy and to embrace conversion—daily putting Christ at the center of our lives.

Some photos from the ordination:

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Homily for Solemnity of the Ascension

Homily for the 
Solemnity of the Ascension

June 2, 2019
Acts 1: 1-11
Luke 24: 46-53
Heb 9: 24-28; 10: 19-23
Nativity, Washington, D.C.   
St. Francis de Sales, Washington, D.C.

“The ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope” (John 13: 34).

The feast of the Ascension of the Lord used to complete the Easter season, but that now extends to Pentecost, next Sunday.  From several references to the sending of the Holy Spirit in today’s readings, you can tell there’s a link among Christ’s resurrection and ascension and the sending of the Spirit upon his disciples.

by Gustave Dore'
In another sense, the ascension does complete our Easter feast.  That is, there’s an intimate connection between the resurrection and the ascension.  Except for Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb on Easter morning, all of the appearances of Jesus recorded in the gospels are appearances of the ascended Lord, even if St. Luke describes some kind of physical ascent 40 days after Easter.  What all the gospels and Acts and other New Testament writings assure us of is that Jesus, risen from the dead, lives in transformed bodily form in the heavenly presence of his Father.

What does that mean for us?  Why’s that important?

The Collect states it clearly:  the lifting up or exaltation of Christ in his human body at the same time lifts up human nature, exalts all of humanity.  He’s opened the way for the rest of us to follow.  Heaven’s no long off limits to us; the doors are open, and the welcome mat’s laid out for all who belong to him.  Where the Head has gone—Christ, the head of God’s people—the Body hopes to follow, all of us who are his.  His glory will become our glory in his Father’s house.  The exaltation of his human body and soul is our destiny too.

For that purpose the risen and exalted Christ exercises a priestly role of intercession, from his privileged place at the Father’s side, as the Letter to the Hebrews brings out.  Our Lord Jesus isn’t lounging in a recliner with a remote in hand until it’s time for his return.  No, he’s still at work on our behalf, continuing to offer himself in atonement for our sins, cleansing our consciences, assisting us on our pilgrimage thru this life toward the eternal life for which we hope.

Nor are we to sit around in lounge chairs while we await his return.  “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way…” (Acts 1:11).  “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead” (Creed).  Unlike his humble 1st coming at Bethlehem, at his 2d coming he’ll come in regal splendor and as a fearsome judge.

While we await his return, he’s given us work to do—work not just for the apostles but for every disciple:  his passion and resurrection, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins are to “be preached in his name to all the nations” (Luke 24:46-47).  The earthly mission of Jesus hasn’t been completed; we are to carry it on as his witnesses (24:48), “in Jerusalem, thruout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

There are still places where the Gospel has never been heard, besides places where it’s been rejected.  Not even a third of the world’s people today, in this age of mass media and intercontinental travel, is Christian, even in name—not to speak of those who say they’re Christian but live otherwise.

So you and I have our work to do, to be witnesses of Christ.  Altho there are opportunities to go out as missionaries on temporary basis, we don’t have to go to the Amazon or New Guinea.  Right here in Washington, among our own families, friends, colleagues, and even strangers we may encounter, we can witness to Jesus by offering a smile that speaks for our inner peace and joyful hearts because Jesus Christ lives and redeems us; by offering a helping hand or a listening ear; by living simply and not ostentatiously.  And perhaps, if occasion arises, we may speak of our faith and of the one whom our hearts love.  St. Peter advises us in his First Letter, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence” (3:15-16).

But how can we do that, give regular, steady witness to Christ?  We’re sinful people.  We have so many faults.  We’re timid or shy or not eloquent or in poor health.  Were the apostles and 1st disciples courageous?  morally perfect?  Not hardly!  Which is why Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit.  He told them not to go anywhere or start anything until he’d sent “the promise of my Father upon you, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49), until “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).  The gift of the Holy Spirit changed the apostles radically.  We too have received that gift—for the forgiveness of our sins, for the courage, the fortitude, and the wisdom to be witnesses to the world that Jesus Christ is our Lord, the one who owns our hearts, guides our words and actions, and is the one in whom we hope for eternal life.

Archbishop Urges Cristo Rey Grads to Step Forward with the Spirit of God

Archbishop Urges Cristo Rey Grads to Step Forward with the Spirit of God

Eight days after his installation as archbishop of Washington, Abp. Wilton Gregory happily presided at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School’s baccalaureate Mass on May 29. The Mass was celebrated in the crypt church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington in the presence of the Class of 2019’s 69 members, their parents and family members, archdiocesan officials, and DBCR’s faculty and staff.

Abp. Gregory opened his homily by acknowledging the challenge of preaching to a class about to graduate, then noted that graduation refers to stepping forward to a new phase in one’s life. He advised the seniors to be grateful to those who have helped them step this far, especially their parents and benefactors.

Then he advised the class that they will need the Spirit of God as they go forward from DBCR because they’ll meet numerous challenges, including problems in our society and culture that weren’t resolved by the young people who preceded them. He singled out the problem of violence in its many forms: violence glorified by the media, violence in our streets, the violence of war, the violence of abortion.

The archbishop also mentioned intolerance, racism, and sexism, hoping that the Class of 2019 will help the world outgrow them, outgrow all the foolish histories and hatreds in our world.

The solution that Abp. Gregory proposed to the seniors is the wisdom taught by Jesus: to believe it and, guided by the Holy Spirit, to embrace it. The Spirit, he added, will help them to fulfill their dreams of making the world better.

Finally, he prayed that the Spirit of God fill them with hope and guide their lives every day.  “May  you step forward with the Spirit of God.”
Fr. Manny Gallo, SDB; Fr. Mike Conway, SDB; Msgr. John Ensler; Abp. Wilton Gregory; 
Fr. Mike Mendl, SDB; Fr. Dieunel Victor, SDB; and Fr. Dennis Hartigan, SDB