Pro-Life Essays. Last weekend we announced the winners of our Pro-Life Essay contest commemorating the canonization of St. John Paul II. Thanks to all twenty young parishioners who submitted such excellent papers. And thanks to the Respect Life Committee and Knights of Columbus for sponsoring the contest.
Caroline Burns and Grace Forbes won first and second prizes in the 10-12 grade category answering the question, “How do you envision a Pro Life America and what can you do to make it that way?” Bentleigh Bogacki and Maeve Randall won first and second prizes in grades 7-9 addressing the question, “By what authority does the Catholic Church claim that all human life is sacred?” Lewis Bliss and Sean Carley won first and second prizes answering the question, “How can you live in a way to show God and others that you respect the gift of human life?” The first place essays are on display in the narthex—I encourage you stop by and look them over.
On earth Pope Saint John Paul II was a relentless champion of the sanctity of human life. He also loved young people, and they loved him in return. In heaven, I’m sure that he is very proud of the work submitted by our kids. And I’m sure he is interceding for all them, to help them as they continue to proclaim the Gospel of Life, and to reward them for their good work.
Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. Thanks to all of you who contributed to the BLA. Once again you came through to beat the goal the Bishop set for us, donating over $294,000, or 104% of our goal of $282,000, with 38% of our households participating. God bless you all for your generosity. (If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to contribute).
First Communion and Confirmation. Congratulations to the little children and teenagers who received the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. May the Lord continue to fill you with His graces through these sacraments. Thanks to all who had a hand in this, particularly Maria Ammirati and Patti Eckels, the catechists and teachers, and most especially the parents who are passing on the faith to their children. Thanks also to Bishop Loverde for coming to the parish for Confirmation.
Legion of Mary. May is the month of Mary and I encourage all to remember this in some special way. This Sunday members of the Legion of Mary will be in the Narthex distributing free rosaries. Please stop by if you or a friend needs a rosary, and to find out more about the good work done by the Legion.
Silence: Who Exactly was Kidnapped, and Why? By now most of us have heard the shocking news about the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the group “Boko Haram.” Hopefully by the time you read this the situation will be moving toward some positive resolution. But in the meantime one has to wonder why have the media and governments almost completely failed to mention that this is an act of religious persecution: the girls are almost all Christians, and were kidnapped by a vicious Islamist terror group that has repeatedly and violently targeted Christians in Nigeria. I reprint, in part, an article from The Christian Post published last week.
Most of Boko Haram Kidnapped Schoolgirls Are Christians, Nigerian Evangelist Says
By Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post
May 6, 2014|10:35 am
A Nigerian evangelist said that most of the 200 plus schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram are Christians, which he says is further evidence of the militant Islamists’ specific targeting of followers of Christ.
“Chibok local government is 90% Christian. Majority of the girls abducted are Christian! Why did Boko Haram visit Chibok local government? Why didn’t they visit so many other local government girls secondary schools in Borno State?” asked Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye of the Old Time Revival Hour Church in Kaduna, who compiled a list of 180 kidnapped girls who have been identified, International Christian Concern shared. Of those, Owojaiye identified that 163 are Christian girls, and 15 are Muslims.
On Monday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau admitted that his group is responsible for the kidnapping of over 200 girls from Chibok, Borno State last month, and said that he plans to have them sold on the market. “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” Shekau, said in the video translated by CNN. “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”
The mass schoolgirls kidnapping has sparked outrage in the international community, with a number of political leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledging that “everything possible” will be done to rescue the girls. “This is an outrage and a tragedy and we are doing what we can to assist the Nigerian government to support its efforts to find and free the young women who were abducted,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Monday.
With reports that the girls are being sold as brides to the Islamic militants for $12.00 each, the parents and Christian groups have called on the Nigerian military and the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to do all they can to find the girls….
The terrorist organization has been bombing government buildings and shooting at entire congregations for the past five years now, waging war on Nigeria’s Christian population in its mission to establish Islamic rule. ICC said that an estimated 2,500 people have been killed in 2014 alone by Boko Haram, many from known Christian communities.
“Boko Haram’s deliberate targeting of Christian students for sale into domestic slavery and forced marriage once again illustrates the group’s limitless repertoire of evil and its willingness to unleash that evil in pursuit of a separate Islamic state ruled by Sharia law. While ICC continues to join the international community in calling for a return to a peace in northern Nigeria, we cannot refuse to recognize the Nigerian State’s inability to provide the security necessary to ensure prosperous living for the nation’s Christians and other minority religions, especially in the increasingly lawless northern regions,” said William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager.
“If the Nigerian state and international community continue to fail to respond to Boko Haram effectively, 230 innocent school girls could be lost to a lifetime of suffering and oppression at the hands of these Islamic militants,” he added.
Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering in Africa, and throughout the world. And let us pray for the conversion of those who are persecuting them.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles