Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS --- a Reflection by Father. Shafer

From the December 23rd Issue of the Winchester Star

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

NEW WEBSITE FOR SACRED HEART OF JESUS BULLETINS ON LINE

The online version of the Sacred Heart Weekly Bulletin now can be found a DiscoverMass.com

To reach that site click 
Here

(Then click on "Bulletins")






Monday, December 07, 2015

DECEMBER 6 ST. BRIDGET'S NEWSLETTER

As a result of technical difficulties, the December 6th, issue of the NewsLetter was not distributed after Mass on Sunday.It will be available next Sunday.


Here is a peek at page one
Click on image to enlarge



Friday, December 04, 2015

WELCOME ALLANSON'S PAINTING and FOCACCIA ITALIAN GRILL - NEW SPONSORS OF St.BRIDGETS NEWSLETTER



Contributions of all our sponsors 

support publication of

St. Bridget's NewsLetter


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

DECEMBER 1 PRAYER LIST

CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

AbbaCare Movie Night

On Monday December December 14   at  7:00pm 
The Alamo will screen the film

The Nativity Story

All tickets: $10 
The entire proceeds of ticket sales will support the programs of AbbaCare

Monday, November 23, 2015

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD

The website Aleteia reports 
"Britain’s biggest cinema chains have banned the screening of a film in which the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the public recite the Lord’s Prayer – because they say it could be offensive to movie-goers.
Odeon, Cineworld and Vue have refused to show the one-minute film the Church of England planned to run in cinemas across the UK before the new Star Wars blockbuster, which opens a week before Christmas. ...
Archbishop Justin Welby reacted with fury, telling The Mail on Sunday: ‘I find it extraordinary that cinemas rule that it is inappropriate for an advert on prayer to be shown in the week before Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ...."

Here is a link to the offensive film

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Boxwood Tree Topiary and Tea Workshop by Newest Sponsor St. Bridget's Newsletter

Loudoun Valley Herbs is offering a workshop and tea on December 4th and 5th from 11 am to 2 pm in Philomont 

For more information: call Kim Labash at 540 554 2748 ( email LoudounValleyHerbs@yahoo.com)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Altar Server Training

Alter Server Training


Interested fourth grade Boys and Girls (and older)   
please contact 
Diane Van Amburg 
(540 336 1046 or drewby01@comcast.net)

Christmas Giving Opportunity


The Giving Tree sponsored by the SBWC in support of the Clarke County Department of Social Services will be in the narthex from Sunday November 29 through Sunday December 13


Each ornament on the tree is a request for a Christmas gift item for someone in need. Please take an ornament and purchase that item, gift wrap it and return it with its ornament to the narthex by Sunday December 13. If you would like to help delivering the gifts to the recipients, please call Anne Murray at 703 431 3763 or Ellie MacKintosh at 540 955 1930

November 15 Prayer List



Please Pray For
Jack Cameron
Vernon and Eileen Mann
Bill Bowerman
Mary Grace Rosa
Helen Harris
Bill and Nora Drury
Mark Johnston
Sister Mary Coleen Dillon
Jay Cole
Reese Burdette

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NOVEMBER 1 PRAYER LIST


Please Pray For

Bill Bowerman
Reese Burdette
Vernon and Eileen Mann
Mary Grace Rosa
Helen Harris
Mark Johnston
Jack Cameron
Bill and Nora Drury

To add someone to the list contact Becky Jackson 540 955 1715

NOVEMBER CALENDAR

Click Image to Enlarge

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Welcome to our New Parishioners Who Joined St. Bridget's in September


NEW PARISHIONERS IN SEPTEMBER



David and Sara King and children Miranda and Marissa

Joan Moreci

Matthew Cloak

Elizabeth Simons

Thursday, October 01, 2015

OCTOBER 1 PRAYER LIST




Please Pray For

Bill Bowerman
Reese Burdette
Eileen Mann
Mark Johnston
Jack Cameron
Bill and Nora Drury

To add someone to the list contact Becky Jackson at 540 955 1715

CCD NEWS


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for October


The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for October is:
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated


His intention for evangelization is: 
That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting.
30 September 2015 (VIS) 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope Francis Returns to Vatican after Inspiring Visit to America

Following Holy Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Pope traveled by car to the airport in Philadelphia where he embarked on his return flight to Rome. He was welcomed at the airport by five hundred people, mostly members of the Organizing Committee and volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, as well as  vice president  Biden.

The Pope thanked all those who had prepared for his stay in the archdioceses of Washington, New York and Philadelphia. “It was particularly moving for me to canonize St. Junipero Serra, who reminds us all of our call to be missionary disciples, and I was also very moved to stand with my brothers and sisters of other religions at Ground Zero, that place which speaks so powerfully of the mystery of evil. Yet we know with certainty that evil never has the last word, and that, in God’s merciful plan, love and peace triumph over all”.

"I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country, as manifested in our moments of prayer together and evidenced in so many works of charity. Jesus says in the Scriptures: 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me'. Your care for me and your generous welcome are a sign of your love for Jesus and your faithfulness to Him. So too is your care for the poor, the sick, the homeless and the immigrant, your defense of life at every stage, and your concern for family life. In all of this, you recognize that Jesus is in your midst and that your care for one another is care for Jesus Himself."

“Dear friends, I embrace all of you in the Lord and I entrust you to the maternal care of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States. I will pray for you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. May God bless you all. God bless America!” concluded Francis.

At 8 p.m.  (2 a.m., 28 September in Rome), the aircraft carrying the Holy Father departed for Rome, where it landed Monday morning at 9.58 a.m. On the way back to the Vatican he paused at the Basilica of St. Mary Major to pray before the image of the Salus Populi Romani and to thank the Virgin for the fruits of this apostolic trip.

(from VIS)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

October Calendar

Click image to enlarge

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pope Francis Homily on 25th Sunday in Ordinary tTme

The Pope's homily dealt with the Gospel passage in which Jesus asks of His disciples: “What were you discussing along the way?” to which they did not answer because on the way they had been arguing about who was the most important, and were ashamed.

 “Let us not forget the Good News we have heard today: the importance of a people, a nation, and the importance of individuals, which is always based on how they seek to serve their vulnerable brothers and sisters.”.

Full text of Francis' homily here


Friday, September 18, 2015

Pope Francis asks for prayers for his trip to Cuba and the United States





After Wednesday's catechesis, the Holy Father noted that he will commence his apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States on Saturday.. The main reason for the trip is the Eighth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia, but Francis will also visit the central headquarters of the United Nations to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the founding of that institution.

“Until then, I greet with affection the Cuban and American faithful who, guided by their pastors, are preparing themselves spiritually. I ask all to accompany me with prayer, invoking the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Mary Most Holy, patroness of Cuba as Our Lady of Charity del Cobre, and patroness of the United States as the Immaculate Conception”.
(16 September 2015 VIS)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Pope's Letter on the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Vatican City, 1 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, regarding the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, in which he reaffirms his hope that the jubilee indulgence will lead every person to a “genuine experience of God's mercy” and explains that it can also be obtained by incarcerated persons. In addition, he grants to all priests, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, the faculty to absolve from sin those who have resorted to abortion, repenting and asking forgiveness with a sincere heart, and establishes that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach the priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins. The following is the full text of the letter:

Link to full text of the letter here

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for September



The Holy Father's Universal Prayer Intention for September is:

 “That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people”.

His intention for evangelisation is

That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim”.
(Vatican City, 1 September 2015 VIS) :

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Welcome to our new Parishioners who joined Saint Bridget's in August



                 New Parishioners in August

                                    Miss Mary R Serock 

             Mr. Shawn Edmonds, Mrs. Tumiyem Edmonds 
                             and daughter Molly (Rose)

        Mr. James Zimmerman and Mrs.Kirby Zimmerman

Mrs.Fiona McGeough and children Faolan, Hannah and Raea



Monday, August 31, 2015

What is Ahead in September




September 6th – Twentieth-third Sunday in Ordinary Time  
Men's Club sponsors  coffee and donuts after Mass

September 9th – Choir practice 6:30pm

September 13th – Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time   
FISH Sunday

September 16th – Choir practice 6:30pm

September 20th – Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 23rd – Choir practice 6:30pm

September 27th – Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 30th – Choir practice 6:30pm

Our Prayer List for September First

Please Pray For

Bill Bowerman
Reese Burdette
Pete Szebin
Matthew Lewis
Mark Johnston
Jack Cameron

 To add someone to this list, contact Becky 
Jackson at (540) 955-1715


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Saturday is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Add caption
        MASS WILL BE CELEBRATED AT SAINT BRIDGET'S CHAPEL AT NOON

Because this feast falls on Saturday, the obligation to attend Mass on that day is lifted.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our Prayer List for August 17th

Please Pray For

Bill Bowerman
Reese Burdette
Mark Johnston
Jack Cameron

To add someone to the list contact Becky Jackson 540 955 1715

CCD NEWS

CCD REGISTRATION FOR THE 2015 - 16 SCHOOL YEAR CLOSES AUGUST 30

CATECHIST YEAR-KICKOFF MEETING - SEPTEMBER 10

FIRST CCD MEETING SEPTEMBER 13

VIRTUS SEMINAR IS REQUIRED FOR ALL NEW VOLUNTEERS WORKING WITH YOUTH 
NEXT SEMINAR AT SHOJ AUGUST 30 10:30 - 2:30

KINDERGARTEN CATECHIST STILL NEEDED!

TO VOLUNTEER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT JOHN SEGENWALT AT
STBRIDGETSRELIGIOUSEDUCATION@GMAIL.COM






THE NEIGHBORHOOD ITALIAN KITCHEN - Our Newletter Sponsor

THE NEIGHBORHOOD ITALIAN  KITCHEN 
 JOINS OUR GROWING LIST OF SPONSORS!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Pope Francis' pPayer Intentions for August



 The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for August is

 “That volunteers may give themselves generously to the service of the needy”.

His intention for evangelisation is:

“That setting aside our very selves we may learn to be neighbours to those who find themselves on the margins of human life and society”.
(from Vatican Information Services July 31)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for July


The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for July is
: “That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity”.

His intention for evangelisation is
That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society”.

(From Vatican Information Services)

Pope Francis' Schedule for the Eighth World Meeting of Families

On June 30th the Vatican Information Service published the following schedule of Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Cuba and the U.S.A. and his visit to the United Nations on the occasion of his participation in the Eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, from 19 to 28 September.


"The Pope will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 10 a.m. on Saturday 19 September and is expected to arrive at 4.05 p.m. in Havana, Cuba, where the welcome ceremony will take place. On Sunday 20 September he will celebrate Holy Mass in Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana and will pay a courtesy visit to the president of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers of the Republic in the Palace of the Revolution. Later he will celebrate Vespers in the Cathedral with priests, men and women religious, and seminarians, and will subsequently greet the young in the Fr. Felix Varela Cultural Centre.

On Monday 21 September, in the morning, he will transfer to Holguin where he will celebrate Holy Mass in Plaza de la Revolucion and will bless the city from the Loma de la Cruz. He will then depart by air for Santiago, where he will meet with the bishops in St. Basil's Major Seminary. The day will conclude with the prayer to Our Lady of Charity with the bishops and the papal entourage in the minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, Santiago.

Tuesday 22 September will begin with the celebration of Holy Mass in the minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, Santiago. The Pope will then meet families in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Asuncion in Santiago and, after blessing the city, will depart by air for Washington D.C., U.S.A., where he will be received at the Andrews Air Force Base.

On Wednesday 23 September, there will be a welcome ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, where the Pope will pronounce a discourse and pay a courtesy visit to the president of the United States. At 11 a.m., the Pope will meet with the bishops of the United States in St. Matthew's Cathedral. In the afternoon he will celebrate Mass for the canonisation of Blessed Fr. Junipero Serra.

On Thursday 24 September Pope Francis will visit and address the United States Congress. He will subsequently visit the charity centre of the St. Patrick's parish where he will meet a group of homeless people. In the afternoon he will transfer by air to New York, where at 6.45 p.m. he will celebrate Vespers with priests and men and women religious in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Friday 25 September will begin with an address by the Holy Father at the seat of the United Nations in New York and, at 11.30 a.m., he will participate in an interreligious meeting at the Ground Zero Memorial site. He will then visit the “Our Lady, Queen of Angels” school and meet with families of immigrants in Harlem. The day will conclude with Holy Mass in Madison Square Garden.

On Saturday 26 September, the Pope will travel by air to Philadelphia, where at 10.30 a.m. he will celebrate Holy Mass with the bishops, clergy and men and women religious in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. In the afternoon he will participate in a meeting for religious freedom with the Hispanic community and other immigrants in the Independence Mall, Philadelphia.

Sunday 27 September will begin with a meeting with the bishops invited to the World Meeting of Families in the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, after which the Pope will visit the detainees in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia. He will go on to celebrate the concluding Holy Mass of the Eighth World Meeting of Families at the B. Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. In the late afternoon, before the farewell ceremony, he will greet the organising committee, the volunteers and benefactors at the international airport of Philadelphia, from where he will depart on his return flight to Rome. The aircraft carrying the Holy Father is scheduled to land on Monday 28 September at 10 a.m.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

OBERGEFELL et al. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, et al.

The dissent of Chief Justice Roberts in this case contained the following language concerning religious freedom:
......

"Today’s decision, for example, creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority—actually spelled out in the Constitution. Amdt. 1.
Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for religious practice. The majority’s decision imposing same-sex marriage cannot, of course, create any such accommodations. The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. Ante, at 27. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. See Tr. of Oral Arg. on Question 1, at 36–38. There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.

Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of today’s decision is the extent to which the majority feels compelled to sully those on the other side of the debate. The majority offers a cursory assurance that it does not intend to disparage people who, as a matter of conscience, cannot accept same-sex marriage. Ante, at 19. That disclaimer is hard to square with the very next sentence, in which the majority explains that “the necessary consequence” of laws codifying the traditional definition of marriage is to “demea[n] or stigmatiz[e]” same-sex couples. Ante, at 19. The majority reiterates such characterizations over and over. By the majority’s account, Americans who did nothing more than follow the understanding of marriage that has existed for our entire history—in particular, the tens of millions of people who voted to reaffirm their States’ enduring definition of marriage—have acted to “lock . . . out,” “disparage,” “disrespect and subordinate,” and inflict “[d]ignitary wounds” upon their gay and lesbian neighbors. Ante, at 17, 19, 22, 25. These apparent assaults on the character of fairminded people will have an effect, in society and in court. See post, at 6–7 (Alito, J., dissenting). Moreover, they are entirely gratuitous. It is one thing for the majority to conclude that the Constitution protects a right to same-sex marriage; it is something else to portray everyone who does not share the majority’s “better informed understanding” as bigoted. Ante, at 19."

The majority opinion and the four dissenting opinions are on the Cornell Legal Institute Website
available here

July Calendar

click on image to enlarge

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fortnight for FreedomJune 21 - July4



“We must promote religious liberty for all people.
Every man and woman must be free to profess his or her faith, whatever it may be. 
Why? Because that man and that woman are children of God.” ―Pope Francis



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chapter by Chapter Overview of Encyclical Laudato si' as published by Vatican Information Service

Chapter 1 – WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR COMMON HOME (Pollution and climate change; Pollution, refuse and the culture of waste; Climate as a common good; The issue of water; Loss of biodiversity; Decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society; Global inequality; Weak responses; A variety of opinions).

The chapter presents the most recent scientific findings on the environment as a way to listen to the cry of creation, “to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it”. It thus deals with “several aspects of the present ecological crisis”.
Pollution and climate change: “Climate change is a global problem with serious implications, environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods; it represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day”. If “the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all”, the greatest impact of this change falls on the poorest, but “many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”. “Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded”.
The issue of water: the Pope clearly states that “access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights”. To deprive the poor of access to water means to deny “the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity”.
Loss of biodiversity: “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever”. They are not just any exploitable “resource”, but have a value in and of themselves. In this perspective “we must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems”, but when human intervention is at the service of finance and consumerism, “it is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey”.
Decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society: in the framework of an ethics of international relationships, the Encyclical indicates how a “true “ecological debt” exists in the world, with the North in debt to the South. In the face of climate change, there are “differentiated responsibilities”, and those of the developed countries are greater.
Aware of the profound differences over these issues, Pope Francis shows himself to be deeply affected by the “weak responses” in the face of the drama of many peoples and populations. Even though there is no lack of positive examples, there is “a complacency and a cheerful recklessness”. An adequate culture is lacking as well as a willingness to change life style, production and consumption, while there are efforts being made “to establish a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure the protection of ecosystems”.


Chapter Two – THE GOSPEL OF CREATION (The light offered by faith; The wisdom of the Biblical accounts; The mystery of the universe; The message of each creature in the harmony of creation; A universal communion; The common destination of goods; The gaze of Jesus).
To face the problems illustrated in the previous chapter, Pope Francis selects Biblical accounts, offering a comprehensive view that comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition. With this he articulates the “tremendous responsibility” of humankind for creation, the intimate connection among all creatures and the fact that “the natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone”.
In the Bible, “the God who liberates and saves is the same God who created the universe, and these two divine ways of acting are intimately and inseparably connected”. The story of creation is central for reflecting on the relationship between human beings and other creatures and how sin breaks the equilibrium of all creation in its entirety: “These accounts suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin”.
For this, even if “we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures”. Human beings have the responsibility to ““till and keep” the garden of the world”, knowing that “the ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward, with us and through us, towards a common point of arrival, which is God”.
That the human being is not the master of the universe “does not mean to put all living beings on the same level and to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinisation of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility”. In this perspective, “every act of cruelty towards any creature is “contrary to human dignity”. However, “a sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings”. What is needed is the awareness of a universal communion: “called into being by the one Father. All of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect”.
The chapter concludes with the heart of Christian revelation: “The earthly Jesus” with “his tangible and loving relationship with the world” is “risen and glorious, and is present throughout creation by his universal Lordship”.

Chapter three – THE HUMAN ROOTS OF THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS (Technology: creativity and power; The globalisation of the technocratic paradigm; The crisis and effects of modern anthropocentrism; Practical relativism; The need to protect employment; New biological technologies).
This chapter gives an analysis of the current situation, “so as to consider not only its symptoms but also its deepest causes”, in a dialogue with philosophy and the human sciences.
Reflections on technology are an initial focus of the chapter: the great contribution to the improvement of living conditions is acknowledged with gratitude. However it gives “those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources to use them, an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world”. It is precisely the mentality of technocratic domination that leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people and the most vulnerable populations. “The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economics and political life”, keeping us from recognising that “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion”.
“Modernity has been marked by an excessive anthropocentrism”: human beings no long recognise their right place with respect to the world and take on a self-centred position, focused exclusively on themselves and on their own power. This results in a “use and throw away” logic that justifies every type of waste, environmental or human, that treats both the other and nature as simple objects and leads to a myriad of forms of domination. It is this mentality that leads to exploiting children, abandoning the elderly, forcing others into slavery and over-evaluating the capacity of the market to regulate itself, practising human trafficking, selling pelts of animals in danger of extinction and of “blood diamonds”. It is the same mentality as many mafias, of those involved in trafficking organs and drug trafficking and of throwing away unborn babies because they do not correspond to what the parents want.
In this light, the Encyclical addresses two crucial problems of today’s world. Above all work: “any approach to an integral ecology, which by definition does not exclude human beings, needs to take account of the value of labour”, because “to stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society”.
The second problem regards the limitations of scientific progress, with clear reference to GMOs. This is a “complex environmental issue”. Even though “in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated”, starting from the “productive land being concentrated in the hands of a few owners”. Pope Francis thinks particularly of small producers and rural workers, of biodiversity, and the network of ecosystems. Therefore “a broad, responsible scientific and social debate needs to take place, one capable of considering all the available information and of calling things by their name” starting from “lines of independent, interdisciplinary research”.

Chapter four – INTEGRAL ECOLOGY (Environmental, economic and social ecology; Cultural ecology; Ecology of daily life; The principle of the common good; Justice between the generations).
The heart of what the Encyclical proposes is integral ecology as a new paradigm of justice; an ecology “which respects our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings”. In fact, “nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live”. This is true as we are involved in various fields: in economy and politics, in different cultures particularly in those most threatened, and even in every moment of our daily lives.
The integral perspective also brings the ecology of institutions into play: “if everything is related, then the health of a society’s institutions affects the environment and the quality of human life. “Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment”.
With many concrete examples, Pope Francis confirm his thinking that “the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts, and of how individuals relate to themselves”. “We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental”.
“Human ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good”, but is to be understood in a concrete way. In today’s context, in which, “injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable”, committing oneself to the common good means to make choices in solidarity based on “a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters”. This is also the best way to leave a sustainable world for future generations, not just by proclaiming, but by committing to care for the poor of today, as already emphasised by Benedict XVI: “In addition to a fairer sense of inter-generational solidarity there is also an urgent moral need for a renewed sense of intra-generational solidarity”.
Integral ecology also involves everyday life. The Encyclical gives specific attention to the urban environment. The human being has a great capacity for adaptation and “an admirable creativity and generosity is shown by persons and groups who respond to environmental limitations by alleviating the adverse effects of their surroundings and learning to live productively amid disorder and uncertainty”. Nevertheless, authentic development presupposes an integral improvement in the quality of human life: public space, housing, transport, etc.
Also “the acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation”.

Chapter five – LINES OF APPROACH AND ACTION (Dialogue on the environment; In the international community; Dialogue for new national and local policies; Dialogue and transparency in decision-making; Politics and economy in dialogue for human fulfilment; Religions in dialogue with science).
This chapter addresses the question of what we can and must do. Analyses are not enough: we need proposals “for dialogue and action which would involve each of us individually no less than international policy”. They will “help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us”. For Pope Francis it is imperative that the developing real approaches is not done in an ideological, superficial or reductionist way. For this, dialogue is essential, a term present in the title of every section of this chapter. “There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. […] the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I want to encourage an honest and open debate, so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good”.
On this basis, Pope Francis is not afraid to judge international dynamics severely: “Recent World Summits on the environment have failed to live up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment”. And he asks “What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?”. Instead, what is needed, as the Popes have repeated several times, starting with Pacem in terris, are forms and instruments for global governance: “an agreement on systems of governance for the whole range of the so-called “global commons”“, seeing that “environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations of costs and benefits. The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces” (190, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church).
In this fifth chapter, Pope Francis insists on development of honest and transparent decision-making processes, in order to “discern” which policies and business initiatives can bring about “genuine integral development”. In particular, a proper environmental impact study of new “business ventures and projects demands transparent political processes involving a free exchange of views. On the other hand, the forms of corruption which conceal the actual environmental impact of a given project in exchange for favours usually produce specious agreements which fail to inform adequately and do not allow for full debate”.
The most significant appeal is addressed to those who hold political office, so that they avoid “a mentality of “efficiency” and “immediacy” that is so prevalent today: “but if they are courageous, they will attest to their God-given dignity and leave behind a testimony of selfless responsibility”.

Chapter six – ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION AND SPIRITUALITY (Towards a new lifestyle; Educating for the covenant between humanity and the environment; Ecological conversion; Joy and peace; Civic and political love; Sacramental signs and the celebration of rest; The trinity and relationships between creatures; Queen of all creation; Beyond the sun).
The final chapter invites everyone to the heart of ecological conversion. The roots of the cultural crisis are deep, and it is not easy to reshape habits and behaviour. Education and training are the key challenges: “change is impossible without motivation and a process of education” (15). All educational sectors are involved, primarily “at school, in families, in the media, in catechesis and elsewhere”.
The starting point is “to aim for a new lifestyle”, which also opens the possibility of “bringing healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power”. This is what happens when consumer choices are able to “change the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production”.
The importance of environmental education cannot be underestimated. It is able to affect actions and daily habits, the reduction of water consumption, the sorting of waste and even “turning off unnecessary lights”: “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness”. Everything will be easier starting with a contemplative outlook that comes from faith: “as believers, we do not look at the world from without but from within, conscious of the bonds with which the Father has linked us with all beings. By developing our individual, God-given capacities, an ecological conversion can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm”.
As proposed in Evangelii Gaudium: “sobriety, when lived freely and consciously, is liberating”, just as “happiness means knowing how to limit some needs which only diminish us, and being open to the many different possibilities which life can offer”. In this way “we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it”.
The saints accompany us on this journey. St. Francis, cited several times, is “the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically”. He is the model of “the inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace”. The Encyclical also mentions St. Benedict, St. Teresa di Lisieux and Blessed Charles de Foucauld.
After Laudato si’, the regular practice of an examination of conscience, the means that the Church has always recommended to orient one’s life in light of the relationship with the Lord, should include a new dimension, considering not only how one has lived communion with God, with others and with oneself, but also with all creatures and with nature.

The full text of the encyclical in English can be consulted HERE:

Pope Francis' Encyclical “Laudato si'”,

This morning in the New Synod Hall Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, introduced Pope Francis' Encyclical “Laudato si'”, on care for our common home.

The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of St Francis of Assisi: “Laudato si’ mi’ Signore” “Praise be to you, my Lord”. “The reference to St. Francis also indicates the attitude upon which the entire encyclical is based, that of prayerful contemplation, which invites us to look towards the 'poor one of Assisi” as a source of inspiration” and as the quintessential example of “care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically”.

Overview of the Encyclical Laudato si' (as published by the Vatican Information Service
today,) 18 June 2015 ) 

"The following text offers an overview of the 191 pages of the Encyclical Laudato si' and its key points,

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (160). This question is at the heart of Laudato si’ (May You be praised), the anticipated Encyclical on the care of the common home by Pope Francis. “This question does not have to do with the environment alone and in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal”. This leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and its values at the basis of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?” “Unless we struggle with these deeper issues – says the Pope – I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results”-.

The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of St. Francis, “Praise be to you, my Lord”, in his Canticle of the Creatures. It reminds us that the earth, our common home “is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us”. We have forgotten that “we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”

Now, this earth, mistreated and abused, is lamenting, and its groans join those of all the forsaken of the world. Pope Francis invites us to listen to them, urging each and every one – individuals, families, local communities, nations and the international community – to an “ecological conversion”, according to the expression of St. John Paul II. We are invited to “change direction” by taking on the beauty and responsibility of the task of “caring for our common home”. At the same time, Pope Francis recognises that “there is a growing sensitivity to the environment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing, for what is happening to our planet”.

 A ray of hope flows through the entire Encyclical, which gives a clear message of hope. “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home”. “Men and women are still capable of intervening positively”. “All is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start”.

Pope Francis certainly addresses the Catholic faithful, quoting St. John Paul II: “Christians in their turn “realise that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith”“. Pope Francis proposes specially “to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home”. The dialogue runs throughout the text and in chapter 5 it becomes the instrument for addressing and solving problems. 

From the beginning, Pope Francis recalls that “other Churches and Christian communities – and other religions as well – have also expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections” on the theme of ecology. Indeed, such contributions expressly come in, starting with that of “the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew”, extensively cited in numbers 8-9. On several occasions, then, the Pope thanks the protagonists of this effort – individuals as well as associations and institutions. He acknowledges that “the reflections of numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups, all […] have enriched the Church’s thinking on these questions”. He invites everyone to recognize “the rich contribution which the religions can make towards an integral ecology and the full development of humanity”.

The itinerary of the Encyclical is mapped out in n. 15 and divided into six chapters. It starts by presenting the current situation based on the best scientific findings available today, next, there is a review of the Bible and Judeo-Christian tradition. The root of the problems in technocracy and in an excessive self-centredness of the human being are analysed. The Encyclical proposes an “integral ecology, which clearly respects its human and social dimensions”, inextricably linked to the environmental question. In this perspective, Pope Francis proposes to initiate an honest dialogue at every level of social, economic and political life, that builds transparent decision-making processes, and recalls that no project can be effective if it is not animated by a formed and responsible conscience. Ideas are put forth to aid growth in this direction at the educational, spiritual, ecclesial, political and theological levels. 

The text ends with two prayers; one offered for sharing with everyone who believes in “God who is the all-powerful Creator”, and the other to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, punctuated by the refrain “Praise be to you!” which opens and closes the Encyclical.

Several main themes run through the text that are addressed from a variety of different perspectives, traversing and unifying the text: the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policies, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle.

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A summary of each of its six chapters (“What is happening to our common home”, “The Gospel of Creation”, “The human roots of the ecological crisis”, “Integral ecology”, “Lines of approach and action”, and “Ecological education and spirituality”). was also published today and is included in the second Blog entry for today.

The Encyclical concludes with an inter religious prayer for our earth and a Christian prayer for Creation.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Our Prayer List for June 21, 2015

Please Pray For

David LeClaire  Mark Johnston  Reese Burdette  and Jack Cameron


(To add someone to our Prayer List contact Becky Jackson 540 955-1715)