July 19, 2015 ~ 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

A big thank you to everyone for the very warm welcome. It was an honor and a great joy to be with you all last weekend, and I look forward to the many weekends to come. Thank you, too, to everyone who worked in, supported, and visited the Holy Ghost stand at the fair. We are all rightfully proud of how well our parish is represented in such a great community event.

As I have been thinking about how most effectively to use this column, I thought that I might eventually deal with more sensitive issues which may not be immediately approachable in the Sunday homily. Specifically, I have in mind to use this medium as a place where I know that I can be as clear as possible about issues of faith and culture.

I think the starting point will be Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Laudato Si’ and I will use what he says there as context for relevant issues that I am sure you are likely to encounter when your Catholicism comes up in conversation. My hope is to give you context and helpful explanations that bring out the good-sense of some of the teachings of our faith that our culture has difficulty understanding.  When you are challenged, perhaps some of what I write here can be helpful in those water-cooler conversations. Remember, you might be the only Gospel people ever read.

The media’s impression of Catholic teaching is often caricatured and grossly misunderstood, and in the context of much of contemporary culture, we can sound like aliens. I assure you that we are not aliens. Our faith is not out of touch, but profoundly in touch with what is most conducive to the flourishing of our persons and our world. In fact, our faith seems to have cornered the market on clear and deep thinking about the nature of things.

The nature of things seems like a good place to start. . . next week.