"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
A Foreign-Born Priest’s Perspective on Current Events
We have an excellent priest available to us, and I thought I’d
share what he said in his homily-after-the homily last night – in other words,
he gave us a second excellent homily at the end of Mass! I won’t mention his
name because he gets a little upset about that; I’ll just call him Father in
Last night, Father read a letter from the bishop, as requested by the bishop. Here it is – a good solid letter
about the challenges facing us:
To the Faithful of the Diocese
In this Year of Faith, the U.S.
Catholic bishops have called for a focused time of prayer until the feast of
Christ the King (November 24, 2013) for the sake of renewing a culture of life,
marriage, and religious liberty in our country. The well-being of society
requires that life, marriage, and religious liberty are promoted and protected.
Serious threats to each of these goods, however, have raised unprecedented
challenges to the Church and to the nation. Two immediate flashpoints take
• First is the HHS Mandate,
which requires almost all employers, including Catholic employers, to pay for
employees' contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs regardless of
conscientious objections. This is a clear affront to America's first freedom,
religious liberty, as well as to the inherent dignity of every human person.
• Second, current trends in
both government and culture are moving toward redefining marriage as the union
of any two persons, ignoring marriage's fundamental meaning and purpose as the
universal institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with
the children born from their union.
These challenges call for
increased awareness and formation, as well as spiritual stamina and fortitude
among the faithful, so that we may all be effective and joyful witnesses of
faith, hope and charity.
Information has been sent to
each parish in our diocese on four ways we can participate in the bishops’ Call
• monthly Holy Hours,
• a daily rosary,
• special Prayers of the
• and abstinence from meat and
fasting on Fridays.
Please consider how you, your
family and friends can participate in the bishops' Call to Prayer, and
encourage others to do the same. It is an opportunity to respond in solidarity
as the Body of Christ to the threats we face. It is a chance to deepen our
faith and to help others to understand the false and empty promises of
happiness being promoted. It is a time to stand together.
As we do our part by
participating in this Call to Prayer, may the Lord increase our faith and help
us spread it.
In Christ Jesus,
Most Reverend Liam Cary
Bishop of Baker
** ** ** **
Father’s homily focused on the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, of
course, but at the end of Mass, after the letter was read, he had a few
comments to make. Now, Father is very passionate about the faith, and he’s
pretty darn orthodox, too – which is what I love about him, and which makes me
less irritated with any liturgical abuses that happen under his watch. Those
abuses don’t happen because Father is lukewarm in his faith! Sometimes he’s
just not aware of them. Sometimes he is…and sometimes he listens to my
complaints – something no other priest has done!
Here’s a little more background on him: Father is not a US-born priest;
he is from Nigeria, as are many of the priests in our diocese. He taught
himself to say the EF Mass, and did so for almost a full year, every Sunday,
for a very small group of us. The pressures of a parish with several “mission”
churches combined with the loss of an associate pastor led him to discontinue
the EF Mass, but I hope his experience in saying it, which he said made him a
better priest, “calls” to him constantly, and that one of these days he will
abruptly decide to reinstate it.
At any rate, after the letter was read, Father proceeded to
give us a lesson in “politics” and history. He said he had emailed the bishop
to ask if civil disobedience was an option for us, because his understanding of
canon law is that when the government “pushes against” the Church, we are
allowed to disobey the unjust laws. And Father encouraged us to do just that.
Father also noted that he has been doing some reading, and
he has learned that no other president in US history has ever taken the steps
taken by Obama to issue orders and laws that went against the teachings of the
Church. No other president has required Catholics to violate their consciences.
Father is of the opinion that our bishops should go to Washington, D.C., and
sit on the floor of the Senate until the senators agree to stop these outrageous
and egregious actions against the Church! Yay Father! Lead the way!
Father does not speak idly. As I understand it, he himself
has been arrested (in Nigeria) for taking actions that upheld the Church but
went against the government’s rules. He told me that he has baptized the
children of Muslim parents who so desired it, but who were afraid to officially
convert to Catholicism for fear of the reprisals that would face them from the
Muslim side. He was not supposed to baptize those children, but the parents
desired it, and he did so. Bravo! Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Father concluded his remarks – his very, very passionate
remarks – by saying that, yes, there is “terrorism”; that yes, there are bombs
and killing and violence. But the real terrorism, he said, is the attack from
within. It’s the attack by our own government on our Constitutional rights. The
real attack is coming from our own government against our Catholic morality,
which is really universal morality. He acknowledged that these comments were on
the political side, and he said that on the spiritual side, we need to pray and
Basically, Father was saying we need to wake up.
Father is not even an American citizen. He has been in this
country for about 7 years, I think. And yet he sees very clearly the danger at