Don’t we all love just a little bit of comfort? We reminisce about the things that bring us comfort: the food our mother made as a child, sitting outside on a warm summer day — and waking up before the sunrise on a Saturday morning for a men’s group.
The Church in the United States will once again observe the Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4. This two-week period is an opportunity for the whole Church to pray, study and reflect upon the great gift of religious freedom — our first, most cherished liberty.
This spring, I was given the great gift of a 10-week sabbatical in Jerusalem and Israel — the land of the Bible. It was absolutely amazing to walk in the places where Jesus walked. It was an enormous grace to be able to tangibly honor the sites of his ministry, death and resurrection.
It had been a long Thursday, and Brooke Paris couldn’t wait to take off her heels, peel off her contacts and wipe off her make-up. She changed into her pajamas, climbed into bed and opened her MacBook to the pope’s new apostolic exhortation.
These men, our brothers in Christ, gathered together to learn about the Catholic Watchmen movement that has begun in this archdiocese. They accepted the challenge to become Catholic Watchmen, pledged to exercise the seven disciplines of the Catholic Watchmen movement and to support each other, and they were initiated as Catholic Watchmen by Bishop Cozzens.
In his recently released exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis affirms the family as the foundational unit of society, the place where children are nurtured and formed in love and where spouses grow in self-giving. “The welfare of the family,” the Holy Father says, “is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church.”
Since the early 20th century, Catholics in the United States have generously sent and supported missionaries all over the world. These efforts made it possible for God’s word to be seen and heard. This support allowed the sacraments to be celebrated in some of the most remote places on earth. The faith was handed on to new generations of seekers. We have played a vital role in training future leaders of the Church in mission areas.
Father Thomas Byles was 42 when he boarded the Titanic with his second-class ticket and portable altar stone. He had made arrangements with Captain Edward Smith to secure space on the ocean liner to celebrate Mass. Even on vacation a priest is never off duty, he knew, but the Catholic convert would have it no other way.