The Pope, Congress, and Monday Night at St. John Paul II

The Pope was here! 

If you turned on the news at all last week, you know that Pope Francis was visiting the US, in a whirlwind trip to Washington DC, New York City, and finally Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. Pope Francis, through his addresses, homilies, and actions in our country has offered us a lot to reflect on - a message of hope, mercy, love, and the vital role of families, and a beautiful example for all Catholics and all Americans.  

One address the Pope gave was to none other than a joint session of the US Congress on Thursday morning. It was an epic address as you can watch for yourself here: 


In it he lays out some ideals for our nation using four great Americans as examples. Two we know well, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the other two, probably less so: Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. 

These two were both Catholics and both lived during the 20th century. Pope Francis sees them as good examples for us all, and many others in the church consider them each to have been very holy individuals, though they did very different things in their lives. Merton was a contemplative monk in Kentucky and Day was a social justice activist, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. They have two important things in common however. 

Both believed in the "Universal Call to Holiness."  This is the idea that all Catholics, regardless of their state in life, are called to be holy, to become saints. It is not a goal only for priests or nuns to be holy, but for all people in the church. Beyond just believing in this ideal though, both strove for it intently and helped and encouraged others to do the same.  

Secondly, both understood the difficulty of the ideal and are credible (and maybe relate-able!) witnesses to the struggle for holiness since they did not live their whole lives as "good Catholics." Early in life Thomas Merton was something of a playboy and an intellectual atheist. Dorothy Day was a Communist and had a child out of wedlock. Both only turned their lives around after great conversion experiences and entering the Catholic Church.

Inspiring as this may be, why is this relevant to us now? That's where Monday night comes in! September 28 our fall adult faith formation session begins and it's all about how we are all called to be saints, and how we can actually do it. The program is called Untold Blessings and is a video series presented by Bishop Robert Barron.  The program description states:

"Our ultimate goal is to be a saint. It is our greatest calling and what is desired for us by our Creator.

Bishop Robert Barron paints a beautiful and mysterious image of what it takes to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He lays out three intriguing paths to holiness: 

1. Finding the Center 
2. Knowing You’re A Sinner 
3. Realizing Your Life is Not About You 

He also shares practical approaches to enhance the journey along these three paths."   


So, really, one of Pope Francis' messages was that you should join us Mondays at 7:00 pm  at the Parish Office Center to learn how to live out this Call to Holiness and become a saint! 

It starts this week, but feel free to come next week if you can't make it right away. Call the office (755-0828) if you have any questions!


(Bishop Barron is also a big fan of Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day. You can bet they will make an appearance in this series, too!)