April 14, 2010 // Uncategorized

Sts. Faustina and Margaret Mary were witnesses, messengers of God’s divine love

Divine Mercy Sunday
I am writing this column in the Detroit airport, during a short layover on my trip back to Fort Wayne from Harrisburg, where I baptized two infants, children of good friends, and where I dedicated a beautiful new St. Margaret Mary Church, a project I had worked on for five years. It was a joyful celebration on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

I thought it was an appropriate feast for the church dedication. Two humble nuns, one from the 20th century, St. Faustina Kowalska, and the other from the 17th century, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, each received revelations and images from Our Lord. The former was that of the divine mercy and the latter was that of the divine love. St. Margaret Mary was the disciple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pope John Paul II, who died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast he established for the universal Church, said that mercy is “an indispensable dimension of love” and can be called “love’s second name.” Both of these devotions express rich truths of our faith and are firmly grounded in Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

The Divine Mercy image has two rays of light emanating from Our Lord’s heart: one red and the other white. The two rays, according to what Jesus told Sister Faustina, represent the blood and the water. The blood recalls the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the mystery of the Eucharist; the water recalls the sacrament of Baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This sacred image represents Christ’s merciful love illuminating and spreading over the world.

St. Faustina and St. Margaret Mary were witnesses and messengers of our Lord’s merciful love. The Church and each of her members, you and I, are called to be witnesses and messengers of our Lord’s merciful love. We can call this “our program of life” as Catholics. Having come to know and experience the merciful love of Jesus Christ, having been penetrated by it, we are then moved to live it, spreading the message of Divine Mercy and love by our words, actions and prayers.

Pope Benedict XVI
Let us continue to pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I asked a friend who works at the Vatican how the Holy Father is holding up amid the unjust attacks on him concerning the handling of clerical sexual abuse of minors. His reply gave me comfort. He said that it is a painful time for him, but Pope Benedict has such strong faith that he is bearing the attacks with deep trust in the Lord. Our Holy Father has worked incredibly hard for many years to combat the evil of sexual abuse of minors. One wonders why he has been the target of attacks. Let us continue to pray for Pope Benedict and, of course, for our brothers and sisters who have been harmed by the grievous sin and crime of sexual abuse.

Easter week
The Octave of Easter was a time of joyful celebrations. On Easter Monday, I confirmed several young people at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from the following parishes: The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; St. Mary’s, Fort Wayne; Immaculate Conception, Auburn; St. Joseph, Bluffton; St. Catherine of Alexandria, Nix Settlement; and St. Joseph, Roanoke.
On Easter Tuesday, I led the Little Flower Holy Hour at the St. Theodore Guérin Chapel. This Holy Hour for priests and priestly vocations is held twice a month. Thanks to all who continue this tradition. Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is a powerful means to foster vocations to the priesthood. During this Year for Priests, I am grateful to all who have prayed for our priests and their growth in holiness.

On Easter Wednesday, I offered Holy Mass for the Widows of Prayer at St. Mary’s Church in Fort Wayne. I was quite touched by the faith and devotion of this beautiful group of women and thank them for their prayers for the Church.

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ
On Easter Thursday, I made my first visit to Donaldson. I celebrated Holy Mass for the residents of Catherine Kasper Home, many of whom are retired sisters, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. After greeting the residents after Mass, I enjoyed lunch with Sister Nora Hahn, the provincial superior, her council and Dr. Ronald May, the president of Ancilla College. After lunch, they gave me a tour of Ancilla College, a two-year liberal arts college sponsored by the Poor Handmaids. I was quite impressed by the individual attention that Ancilla College gives to its students.

In the afternoon, we celebrated the blessing of the recently completed extension to the Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center. This beautiful facility, situated on Lake Gilbraith, seems an ideal location for spiritual retreats and days of recollection.

Our diocese has been blessed with the presence and ministries of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ since the first sisters arrived in Fort Wayne in 1868. The sisters have served in health care, orphan care and education in our diocese. Fort Wayne was the site of their motherhouse in the United States until it moved to Donaldson in 1923. This congregation was founded in Dernbach, Prussia, in 1850 by Blessed Mother Mary Katherine Kasper.

By the way, I must mention the Poor Handmaids’ Ancilla Beef and Grain Farm! I enjoyed the delicious beef at the lunch, but the sisters also gave me a can of Ancilla Farm chunks of beef in a gift basket to take home. It is great in chili! I mention this in case you might be interested in checking it out. It is great beef!

In this joyful Easter season, may you continue to experience the peace and joy that comes from the Risen Lord!

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