July 2016


Indigenous Peoples. That indigenous peoples, whose identity and very existence are threatened, will be shown due respect.

We are all familiar with the history of indigenous peoples, those people who already live in the land when immigrants arrive—the Native Americans in this country. In their encounters with other peoples, they often lost their land, their culture, and through war and disease, their very lives. Today many suffer terribly from poverty and its accompanying problems of violence and addiction. Native peoples in Latin America continue to be threatened as others push into their territory looking for cheap land.

When he visited Bolivia in 2015, Pope Francis admitted that members of the Church were party to these injustices. He repeated words of Pope St. John Paul II, saying, “I kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters.” He also reminded people that there were “thousands of priests and bishops who strongly opposed the logic of the sword with the power of the Cross and who defended the rights of indigenous peoples.”

We are called to follow their example today by showing respect to indigenous peoples and defending their rights.

Pope Francis continued: “To our brothers and sisters in the Latin American indigenous movement, allow me to express my deep affection and appreciation of their efforts to bring peoples and cultures together where each group preserves its own identity by building together a plurality which does not threaten but rather reinforces unity.”

Unity amid diversity—this is what the Church strives to achieve. It is the work of the Spirit which enriches the Church and society with the gifts of native peoples. We ask the Holy Spirit to continue this great work.

What are some ways that different cultures have made the Church a richer community?

1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 To each the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.


Latin America and the Caribbean. That the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, by means of her mission to the continent, may announce the Gospel with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.

The words “mission to the continent” in this intention refer to a commitment the Latin American bishops, including the future Pope Francis, made at a meeting in Aparecida, Brazil in 2007. Receiving that document, Pope Benedict XVI said: “it was a cause of joy for me to know of the desire to launch a ‘Continental Mission’ which the Bishops’ Conferences and each Diocese are called to examine and carry out.”

The document itself said: “Everyone in the Church is called to be disciples and missionaries....We summon all our brothers and sisters so that united, with enthusiasm, we may carry out the Great Continental Mission. It will be a new Pentecost that impels us to go, in a special way, in search of the fallen away Catholics, and of those who know little or nothing about Jesus Christ, so that we may joyfully form the community of love of God our Father.”

Latin America is the most Catholic continent, yet it has some of the worst poverty and corruption. Conversion is needed. In his opening address to the meeting, Pope Benedict said: “This being a continent of baptized Christians, it is time to overcome the notable absence—in the political sphere, in the world of the media and in the universities—of the voices and initiatives of Catholic leaders with strong personalities and generous dedication, who are coherent in their ethical and religious convictions.” He reminded “the laity of their responsibility and their mission to bring the light of the Gospel into public life, into culture, economics and politics.”

We join our Latin American brothers and sisters this month in not only praying for this great continental mission, but also striving to be missionary disciples ourselves so that Christian values may permeate our own society.

What are some ways that “the light of the Gospel” can be brought “into public life, into culture, economics and politics” without being rejected as the imposition of religion on non-believers?

1 Peter 2: 1-12 Keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul.

June 2016


Human Solidarity. That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.

Solidarity is more than the name of a famous Polish labor union that brought about momentous change in the Communist world in the 1980s. It’s an important part of the Church’s social teaching.

Solidarity recognizes that every human soul is created by God and redeemed by Jesus. Thus, all people are equal before God and deserving respect.

At the beginning of World War II, Pope Pius XII wrote: “A contemporary error is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, imposed both by our common origin and by the equality of all men. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross.”

Pope St. John Paul II wrote that solidarity is “a firm determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”

More recently, Pope Francis wrote that solidarity is the answer to the “scourges of our own day.” Speaking to the United Nations and quoting from an Argentinian poet, he said: “Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law. If you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside.” Who is the one outside the human family who devours? The devil.

And so, in solidarity with people everywhere, we commit ourselves to praying and working this month for the common good so that all people, especially those who are alienated and abandoned may know they are not alone.

As I look at my neighborhood, my parish, my community, my country, and the world, who are those who are most alienated and alone?

1 Peter 5: 8-11 Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


Seminarians and Novices. That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.

Following Christ, we are all called to be missionaries. Pope Francis wrote that “if every baptized person is called to bear witness to the Lord Jesus by proclaiming the faith received as a gift, this is especially so for each consecrated man and woman. Since Christ’s entire existence had a missionary character, so too, all those who follow him closely must possess this missionary quality” (World Mission Day Message, 2015).

He went on: “Mission is a passion for Jesus. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love. At the same time, we realize that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity.”

Those who have experienced the deep love of the Heart of Jesus and give themselves totally to God’s service as priests and religious sisters and brothers—these consecrated ones are called to share his passion for mission. They cannot keep the Good News of God’s love to themselves. But they need preparation so that their initial experience of God’s love may grow and so that they will know the best ways to share that love.

Seminarians and those beginning consecrated life in religious communities need teachers who will guard the spark that inspired them to serve God. They need joyful and wise mentors who will fan the spark into flame in such a way that it does not burn too fast and burn out but rather burn with the steady light and warmth that is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the burning furnace of charity.”

We join Pope Francis in praying that dioceses and communities may commit some of their best people to the formation of future priests, sisters, and brothers.

How am I helping in the education and formation of future priests, sisters, and brothers?

Acts 18: 24-28 Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.

Links for June, 2016 Universal Intention

Catechism of the Catholic Church on “Human Solidarity”:

Pope Francis’ address at a Brazilian “favela” (slum):

Pope Francis’ homily at Mass with new Cardinals on February 15, 2015:


Links for June, 2016 Evangelization Intention

Pope Francis’ address to Seminarians and Novices on July 6, 2013:

Pope Francis’ address to the Leonine College on April 14, 2014:

Fr. Roger Landry’s talk to seminarians on retreat: