"For thirty-two years now, the joyful aspect of this Sunday has been enriched by the enthusiasm of young people, thanks to the celebration of World Youth Day. This year, it is being celebrated at the diocesan level, but here in Saint Peter’s Square it will be marked by the deeply moving and evocative moment when the WYD cross is passed from the young people of Kraków to those of Panama.
"The Gospel we heard before the procession (cf. Mt 21:1-11) describes Jesus as He comes down from the Mount of Olives on the back of a colt that had never been ridden. It recounts the enthusiasm of the disciples who acclaim the Master with cries of joy, and we can picture in our minds the excitement of the children and young people of the city who joined in the excitement. Jesus Himself sees in this joyful welcome an inexorable force willed by God. To the scandalized Pharisees He responds: 'I tell you that if these were silent, the stones would shout out' (Lk 19:40).
"Yet Jesus Who, in fulfilment of the Scriptures, enters the holy city in this way is no misguided purveyor of illusions, no new age prophet, no imposter. Rather, He is clearly a Messiah who comes in the guise of a servant, the servant of God and of man, and goes to His passion. He is the great 'patient', who suffers all the pain of humanity.
"So as we joyfully acclaim our King, let us also think of the sufferings that He will have to endure in this week. Let us think of the slanders and insults, the snares and betrayals, the abandonment to an unjust judgment, the blows, the lashes and the crown of thorns… And lastly, the way of the cross leading to the crucifixion.
"He had spoken clearly of this to His disciples: 'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me' (Mt 16:24). Jesus never promised honour and success. The Gospels make this clear. He had always warned His friends that this was to be His path, and that the final victory would be achieved through the passion and the cross. All this holds true for us too. Let us ask for the grace to follow Jesus faithfully, not in words but in deeds. Let us also ask for the patience to carry our own cross, not to refuse it or set it aside, but rather, in looking to Him, to take it up and to carry it daily.
"This Jesus, Who accepts the hosannas of the crowd, knows full well that they will soon be followed by the cry: 'Crucify Him!' He does not ask us to contemplate Him only in pictures and photographs, or in the videos that circulate on the internet. No. He is present in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like His own: they suffer from slave labour, from family tragedies, from diseases… They suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike. Women and men who are cheated, violated in their dignity, discarded… Jesus is in them, in each of them, and, with marred features and broken voice, He asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved.
It is not some other Jesus, but the same Jesus who entered Jerusalem amid the waving of palm branches. It is the same Jesus who was nailed to the cross and died between two criminals. We have no other Lord but Him: Jesus, the humble King of justice, mercy and peace" (Pope Francis, 4/9/17)
- Click here to review the federal positions backed by our bishops. On the right side of the home page is a link to send a combined email to the offices of Pa's congressional delegation, regarding those positions.
- ALSO: As per the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment/Human Life Action (an affiliate agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops), "the Senate passed the resolution of disapproval to override a rule change made late in the Obama Administration that prevented states from redirecting Title X family planning funding away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care. The House passed it in mid-February. That means the next stop is the President's desk for signature. Please take a moment to follow up with your legislators and encourage others to do so as well. We know it is important to say, 'thank you' when a member votes for life as they often only hear criticism after a courageous vote. It is equally important that those who did not vote with us be aware that we are paying attention and that we expect better in the future" (https://www.humanlifeactioncenter.org/take-action).
- Click here to review state positions backed by the Pa Catholic Conference, the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania and/or the Pa Pro Life Federation. On the right side of the home page is a link to send a combined email to Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg (While the Pa Catholic Conference is supporting SB 554, the fact that Senator Daylin Leach is one of its prime sponsors suggests that there should be careful assessment of whether this legislation and its implications are truly consistent with Catholic teaching.).
- With regard to the dismemberment abortion ban [cf, Pa Catholic Conference, Pa Pro Life Federation], the Pro Life Coalition of Pa tells us that "Some progress has occurred in our attempts to persuade
the Pa. House of Representatives leaders to pass S.B.3 rather than their
own bill, H.B.77. Please urge Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai and
Majority Leader Dave Reed to run S.B.3 as soon as possible. Their
contact information is
Speaker Mike Turzai
Majority Leader Dave Reed
- Act now to stop assisted suicide (Diocese of Trenton, 11/4/16)
- Boycott Target and boycotts/actions from America Needs Fatima and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation
- On the right side of the home page is a link to email USCCB President Cardinal DiNardo, USCCB Pro Life Chair Cardinal Dolan, USCCB Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth Chair Archbishop Chaput, and National Catholic Bioethics Center President John Haas, PhD, STL.
- Pray for Life: Divine Mercy (USCCB, 4/4/17)
- Roman Catholic bishops slam revival of bill allowing divorce (Philipines News Agency, 4/4/17)
- Marriage: Unique for a Reason (USCCB, 4/3/17)
- Ex-convict: We need to end the stigma against felons (EWTN/CNA, 4/3/17)
- "[I] am pleased to confirm that [the Ninth World Meeting of Families]...will be held from 21 to 26 August 2018, on the theme 'The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world'....The love of God is His 'yes' to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man. It is God’s 'yes' to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s 'yes' and His commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love. The family, therefore, is the 'yes' of God as Love. Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate God’s love in the world" (Pope Francis, 3/25/17)
- "The confessor does not do his own will and he does not teach his own doctrine. He is called to do always and only the will of God, in full communion with the Church, of which he is minister, that is, servant....the Confessional is place of evangelization and, therefore, of formation....To hear confessions is a pastoral priority. Please, let there not be those notices: 'Confessions are heard only on Mondays and Wednesdays from this hour to that hour.' You hear confessions every time they are requested. And if you are there [in the Confessional] praying, keep the Confessional open, which is God’s open heart" (Pope Francis, 3/17/17)
- Freedom from Sexploitation Agenda (NCOSE, 3/17/17)
- Marriage Unique for a Reason (USCCB, 3/3/17)
Social Teaching/International Issues
- Death toll rises following Egypt church bombing on Palm Sunday (CatholicHerald.co.uk, 4/9/17)
- Christian leaders question Pakistan-Afghanistan border wall (CWN, 4/5/17)
- Holy See calls for end to Syria violence (Vatican News, 4/5/17)
- "But others said, 'The Christ will not come from Galilee, will He? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?'" (4/1/17)
- U.S. withdraws funding for U.N. Population Fund (Reuters, 4/3/17)
- "For the Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons to gather for a 17th Conference in Vienna is a welcome sign of the OSCE’s determination to eradicate what must be among the most shameful dynamics to scar the face of modern humanity. Most believers of any faith and people of all persuasions are shocked, indeed scandalized, when they discover that trafficking occurs in every country and that it represents a most prosperous business on the planet. It is a form of slavery, a crime against humanity, a grave violation of human rights, an atrocious scourge, and it is all the more to be condemned when it takes place against children" (Pope Francis, 4/3/17)
- "I thank you for your presence here tonight, on the eve of the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaties instituting the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community....As Saint John Paul II affirmed: 'Today too, the soul of Europe remains united, because, in addition to its common origins, those same Christian and human values are still alive. Respect for the dignity of the human person, a profound sense of justice, freedom, industriousness, the spirit of initiative, love of family, respect for life, tolerance, the desire for cooperation and peace: all these are its distinctive marks'.....Ours is a time of discernment, one that invites us to determine what is essential and to build on it. It is a time of challenge and opportunity" (Pope Francis, 3/24/17).
- "This Conference intends to negotiate a Treaty inspired by ethical and moral arguments. It is an exercise in hope and it is my wish that it may also constitute a decisive step along the road towards a world without nuclear weapons. Although this is a significantly complex and long-term goal, it is not beyond our reach" (Pope Francis, 3/23/17).
- "I also offer a special welcome to the participants in the 'Watershed' Conference on replenishing water values for a thirsty world'....Today is World Water Day, instituted twenty-five years ago by the United Nations....I am happy that this meeting is taking place, for it represents yet another stage in the joint commitment of various institutions to raising consciousness about the need to protect water as a treasure belonging to everyone, mindful too of its cultural and religious significance" (Pope Francis, 3/22/17).
- "2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution. At that time, Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, made the statement 'We have sent religion to the history museum.' 50 years later, instead of reflecting on the devastating effects of that period, the current Communist regime adopted laws and policies that inverted progress and plunged mainland China into another era of despair. As the government’s core religious policy shifted from the mutual adaptation of socialism and religion to religion adhering to Sinicization, its rhetoric changed from 'socialism' to 'Sinicization dominated by the CCP.' Religious communities in China suffered the greatest impact from these alterations, especially Christians. Although Christians endured various forms of harassment in 2016, the fundamental revisions to religious policy foreshadow more intense persecution. A harrowing winter has arrived; however, as the chilling seasons always yield to warmer climates, spring will someday spread across China. China Aid believes that God will protect and preserve Christians and churches because we believe that 'The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever' (Psalm 29:10)"(2016 Annual Report: Chinese Government Persecution of Churches and Christians in Mainland China (China Aid, 2/1/17)).