June 2016

UNIVERSAL INTENTION

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.

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

Scripture
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.


EVANGELIZATION INTENTION

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.

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

Scripture
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”:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6Q.HTM

Pope Francis’ address at a Brazilian “favela” (slum):
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2013/july/documents/papa-francesco_20130725_gmg-comunita-varginha.html

Pope Francis’ homily at Mass with new Cardinals on February 15, 2015:
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150215_omelia-nuovi-cardinali.html

 

Links for June, 2016 Evangelization Intention

Pope Francis’ address to Seminarians and Novices on July 6, 2013:
https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2013/july/documents/papa-francesco_20130706_incontro-seminaristi.html

Pope Francis’ address to the Leonine College on April 14, 2014:
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2014/april/documents/papa-francesco_20140414_pont-collegio-leoniano-anagni.html

Fr. Roger Landry’s talk to seminarians on retreat:
http://www.catholicpreaching.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Pope-Francis-on-Seminarians-Formation-and-the-Priesthood.pdf

May 2016

UNIVERSAL INTENTION

Respect for Women. That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed. In the words of Pope Francis, Mary is “the true and sublime example of woman.”  

It’s inconceivable to think of the apostles awaiting the Holy Spirit at Pentecost without Mary praying with them. For it was she who conceived by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus, the one who called and sent the apostles to continue his work. 

Women have, in Pope Francis’ words, an “irreplaceable role.” Speaking to the Pontifical Council for Culture, he said: “I encourage the contribution of so many women who work within the family, in the areas of teaching the faith, pastoral work, schooling, but also in social, cultural, and economic structures. You women know how to embody the tender face of God, his mercy, which is translated into a willingness to give time rather than to occupy space, to welcome rather than to exclude.”

Throughout the world, unfortunately, women are not only excluded but under attack. The pope went on: “The many forms of slavery, of prostitution, of mutilation of the female body, require us to set to work to defeat these forms of degradation which reduce it to purely an object to be sold on the various markets. I would like to call attention, in this context, to the plight of so many poor women, forced to live in dangerous conditions, exploited, relegated to the margins of society, and rendered victims of a throwaway culture.”

Perhaps the most common degradation of women is pornography, which the U.S. bishops have said “is so pervasive in sectors of our society that it is difficult to avoid, challenging to remove, and has negative effects that go beyond any one person’s actions.”

And so we pray with Pope Francis that women may not only be respected, but that their contribution to the good of the family and society may be recognized and esteemed.

Reflect
What qualities and actions of Mary made her “the true and sublime example of woman”?

Scripture
1 Timothy 5: 1-2 Treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters with complete purity. 


EVANGELIZATION INTENTION

Holy Rosary. That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace. 

The rosary is a powerful prayer which is very important to Pope Francis. He said he was inspired by Pope St. John Paul II to pray it faithfully.

He said: “If I remember well, it was 1985. One evening I went to recite the Holy Rosary that was being led by the Holy Father. He was in front of everybody, on his knees. The group was numerous; I saw the Holy Father from the back and, little by little, I got lost in prayer. I was not alone: I was praying in the middle of the people of God to which I and all those there belonged, led by our Pastor.

“In the middle of the prayer I became distracted, looking at the figure of the Pope: his piety, his devotion was a witness. I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path up to his Mother, a path set out on from his childhood. And I became aware of the density of the words of the Mother of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego: ‘Don’t be afraid, am I not perhaps your mother?’ I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the Pope. From that time on
I recite the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary every day.”

Throughout history popes have asked the faithful to pray the rosary when Christianity and civilization were threatened.  Pope Francis asks us to do the same.  He said: “Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil. Prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this ‘suffering’ dimension, that is of struggle, a sustaining prayer in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.”  

In this month dedicated to Mary, we honor her by following in the great tradition of using the non-violent weapon of the rosary, praying for peace and the spread of the Gospel of Mercy.

Reflect
What role has the rosary played in my own spiritual life?

Scripture
Luke 2: 15-20 Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.