Today in Rome, Pope Francis will conclude the meeting with invited bishops of the world. They have been discussing issues related to marriage and family life in light of our call to evangelize the world. He concludes this first of two meetings with the beatification of Pope Paul VI. The Holy Father will declare his predecessor among the “Blessed” of heaven. If there is a second miracle attributed to his intercession, the Church will move to have him declared a Saint.
Needless to say, his fifteen year papacy was not as world-renowned as St. John Paul II. Yet, his impact and precedents sparked the pastoral mission and direction of his successors, even Pope Francis.
Things we take for granted today: a world-traveling pope, a crown-less monarch, a humble and spiritual leader among the people, a voice for the poor and devastated, a voice that speaks truth to cultures and powers, and other aspects of today’s papacy are due in large part to his decisions.
His encyclical, Humane Vitae (1968), was not widely received. But, Pope John Paul II based much of his own Theology of the Body on that letter. Today, although still not widely praised, the encyclical is considered prophetic in many circles.
There isn’t much to-do given to this event in Rome today. Between the good Pope John XXIII and the charismatic Pope John Paul II, now saints, stands this quiet man who guided the Church in the midst of a tumultuous world. Here is a personal prayer:
Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our brothers and sisters throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them, through our hands, this day their daily bread, and by our understanding give love, peace and joy.
Bl. Pope Paul VI
Another event capturing the world news this week has been the mounting death toll due to the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa. And then, on the local level, how difficult it is to contain this disease.
Recently, someone who attends daily mass here shared an email with me of an Akron family stationed in West Africa. They ask for prayers as they chose to stay at their post. Aware of how the disease spreads, and using every precaution, they do not appear alarmed for themselves. They ask prayers for others suffering during this outbreak.
I cannot speak on the subject of Ebola. I can however learn the facts about it and encourage you all to do the same. I can also pray for the victims of this terrible disease and for their families, for the research doctors, and for our U.S. military and health professionals responding to this crisis. And, I can ask and encourage you to pray as well. Thanks.
Another national and world-wide effort that could be supported by our prayers is the conflict in the Middle East. Please continue to pray for our world leaders as they work together to stabilize the region. Please keep in prayer the military personnel of our nation (and others) who seek to root out an organization that seeks no peace with the world.
At our recent pastoral council meeting, a decision was made to start a prayer line here in the parish. It will be a phone line. There are many concerns we carry, and often it helps to know that other parishioners care enough to pray for your needs. We already pray the rosary daily after Mass, and there is on the bulletin cover an Assistance line for someone pregnant and needing help. More information on this phone line/prayer line will be forthcoming.
Finally, a contract has been signed to complete our parking lot. Work will begin within a few weeks – weather permitting. More instructions will follow so you can come to PARK and PRAY. Blessings on your week. Fr. Dan