Fifth Sunday of Easter

Confirmation. This coming Wednesday retired Bishop Loverde will be here to give the Sacrament of Confirmation to our teenagers. What an important night for these young men and women, receiving the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Consider the effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation as outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1303-5).
Fundamentally Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace. Specifically, this means it:
— roots us more deeply in the divine filiation (sonship);
— unites us more firmly to Christ;
— increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us (specifically
the “Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom,
understanding, right judgment (counsel) and courage
(fortitude), knowledge, reverence, and piety;
— renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
— gives us a special strength to spread and defend the
faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ.
Let’s pray for our newly confirmed today that they may be open to and cooperate with the graces they will receive in Confirmation. But let us also pray for ourselves that we may do the same.

Crossroads Pro-Life. This last Thursday another Summer of Crossroads Pro-Life Walks Across America began. As you will recall, every summer for the last 20+ years, young adults walk on three simultaneous pro-life walks all the way across America from Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.. These young people hope to convert the hearts and minds of others by witnessing to the sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death.
This year we have a particular share in the walk, as St. Raymond’s parishioner Victoria Bliss (daughter of John and Glenn Bliss) will be making the trek from San Francisco, the fourth St. Raymond’s parishioner to make the trip over the last few years. I’m sure you are as proud of her as I am, and will join me praying for Victoria and her companions, that they stay safe, healthy and holy, and win many converts to Christ and the pro-life movement.

Pope’s Decree on Abuse. Two weeks ago Pope Francis issued a decree titled Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You are the light of the world”) to govern the treatment of clergy sexual abuse, especially of minors, by Church officials. I haven’t had time to digest it in full yet, but it basically extends many rules already in place in the U.S. to all the dioceses around the world.
However, two notable changes for the U.S. are: 1) it places clerical sexual coercion of seminarians and religious in the same category as abuse of minors and vulnerable adults; and 2) charges of abuse or cover-ups by bishops will be investigated by the Metropolitan archbishop of the accused bishop’s province, or if the Metropolitan archbishop is accused of abuse or cover up the Vatican will investigate.
This latter change (#2) is a huge disappointment to many, since, for example, 13 years ago former-cardinal Ted McCarrick was a Metropolitan archbishop and would have been in charge of investigating accusations against bishops in his province. Moreover, this is basically an adoption of the “Metropolitan model” proposed by Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, who Archbishop Vigano accused of being a protégé of Ted McCarrick.

Tolkien, the Movie. Many of us were looking forward to the release of the new Movie, “Tolkien,” a biopic about the young J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, best known for his authorship of, “The Lord of the Rings.” While the reviews generally give credit for a well-crafted movie, they also note how the film almost completely ignores the absolutely central role Catholicism played in Tolkien’s life and writing. According to Catholic News Service, director Dome Karukoski said they had cut a scene of Tolkien receiving Communion, because, “people felt it was boring,” and that, “Religion is so internal, it’s difficult to visualize. It’s like watching an encyclopedia.” Funny, I guess the directors of Oscar-winning/nominated films as “Ben Hur,” “The Ten Commandments,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Chariots of Fire,” “A Man for all Seasons,” “The Song of Bernadette,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Sound of Music,” “Becket”, etc., didn’t get that message. Seems to me a classic example of Hollywood elite just not “getting” Catholicism or Christianity in general. Sigh.

In Case You Hadn’t Heard. From LifeSiteNews, two related stories:
May 6, 2019: “A homosexual pro-abortion member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives posted a self-incriminating video showing himself verbally assaulting an elderly Catholic woman praying in peaceful protest outside a Planned Parenthood abortion mill in his district…Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims posted his video on Twitter, which was then retweeted by LiveAction.….”
“During the course of Sim’s nearly nine minute video in which he stalks, taunts, harasses and accuses the unnamed woman, the state representative repeatedly attempts to shove his smartphone camera in the woman’s face. She quietly walked up and down the sidewalk during Sim’s outburst, seemingly unperturbed as she prayed a rosary…”
“Who would’ve thought that an old white lady would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood, telling people what’s right for their bodies?” said Sims. “Shame on you.”…
“There’s no faith that tells you ‘you are right’ and everybody else is wrong. There’s no faith that tells you it’s your job to stand out here and shame people for something they have a right to do.…We can talk about your Christian faith,… about how your Christian faith believes in shaming people…in telling people that you know what’s right for their bodies….tells you that you know what’s right for their families….There is nothing Christian about what you’re doing….There is nothing loving, nothing kind. This is a racist act of judgment, and you have no business being out here.””
May 8, 2019: “….After the original video came to light, another video surfaced that Sims shared to Facebook, which shows him approaching three girls outside Planned Parenthood. “What we’ve got here is a bunch of protesters, a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,” he declares. “So, here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify these three, and I will donate to Planned Parenthood.”
“An adult woman accompanying them politely attempts to explain to Sims that they’re “actually just here praying for the babies, and we believe women deserve more” but walks away when it becomes clear he is ignoring what they’re saying.”

Remember. Remember back in January, when our very own state Delegate from Springfield, Kathy Tran, freshman Democrat, introduced a bill which would, among other things, allow abortion up to 40 weeks, including even as the woman is giving birth? Word has it there is a pro-life alternative candidate running against Del. Tran in the election this coming November 5, 2019.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

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