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Page A2 - Catholic Courier 02 01 2016 E Edition

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Catholic Courier Diocese of Rochester, NY February 2016

News

&Analysis

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ: On the solemn inauguration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, symbol- ically initiated with the opening of the Door of Mercy on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, it was fitting that we did so at the mother church of the dio- cese under the patronage of the Sa- cred Heart of Jesus. The heart of Christ is far more than a symbol; it is the reality of Jesus' love, which knows no bounds and is overflow- ing with mercy. In the church's beautiful treasury of prayers, we have the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which we unite our hearts to the heart of Christ and plead for His mercy. Among those beautiful invocations, we pray: Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us. Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us. Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, have mercy on us. Heart of Jesus, source of all con- solation, have mercy on us. ence war and violence, hatred and prejudice. The most advanced tech- nology has not created that univer- sal peace for which people of good will long. In everyday life technol- ogy can even reduce the quality of humanity's positive possibilities for personal interaction. We speak through text messages, rather than person to person. And quite sadly, we fail to speak to God as often as we should; we fail to encounter Him in the most holy Eucharist. The Year of Mercy, before all else, is a call to know Jesus, and in knowing Him we discover His mer- cy, which becomes more than a con- cept, it becomes real. Pope Francis, in inaugurating this Year of Mercy, continues the same teaching em- phasized by Pope St. John Paul II in his beautiful encyclical, Dives in Misericordia ("Rich in Mercy"). In this inspiring encyclical, St. John Paul II called upon us to recognize the extraordinary love of God for every person, demonstrated by His never ending mercy toward His children. Sadly, this is a message often forgotten: "The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems op- posed to a God of mercy. The word and the concept of 'mercy' seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous develop- ment of science and technology, never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has subdued and dominated it (cf. Genesis 1:28). This dominion over the earth, sometimes understood in a one-sided and superficial way, seems to have no room for mercy And this is why, in the situation of the Church and the world today, many individuals and groups guid- ed by a lively sense of faith are turning, I would say almost sponta- neously, to the mercy of God" ( Dives in Misericordia, 15). How important the message of mercy is to the people of our time; how much does the world, how much do you and I need the mercy of God! St. John Paul II in writing his en- cyclical set anew the flame that ig- nited the heart of St. Paul, who in his Letter to the Ephesians wrote: "But God is rich in mercy; because of His great love for us, He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin. By this favor you were saved. Both with and in Christ Jesus He raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens, that in the ages to come He might display the great wealth of His favor, manifested by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. I repeat, it is owing to His favor that salvation is yours. This is not your own doing, it is God's gift; neither is it a reward for anything you have accomplished, so let no one pride himself on it" (Ephesians 2:4-9). In the Old Testament, the Psalms express so eloquently the theme of mercy. Psalm 26 recalls the contin- uous solicitude of the Lord for His people: "Remember that your com- passion, O Lord, and your kindness are from of old." This confidence in God's mercy causes the author of Psalm 28 to pray: "Hear the sound of my pleading, when I cry to you, lifting up my hands toward your holy shrine." And again, in Psalm 51, the psalmist humbly begs: "Have mercy on me, God in your kindness, in your compassion blot out my offense, O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin." This same theme is repeated in Psalm 86: "You are my God; have pity on me, O Lord, for to you I call all the day." In Psalm 52, united with the psalmist, we, too, place ourselves in the hands of a merciful God: "I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever," and rejoice in His mercy

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Year of Mercy is a call to know Jesus

Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us. As we begin the holy season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, this penitential season receives new invigoration as it occurs dur- ing the Year of Mercy. May the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus touch our hearts; heal wounds; renew families; create peace locally, na- tionally and internationally; inspire us to serve those who have little or nothing, to welcome the stranger, and to recognize the dignity of every human person from the mo- ment of conception until God ac- cording to His will calls us home to the eternal house of mercy - the home of St. Dismas, the saints and holy martyrs, all who entered the heavenly kingdom because, having mercy, they loved others as God has first loved us in His Son the Christ! But mercy is a difficult virtue to cultivate, especially as we observe the contemporary circumstances of our world. After hundreds upon hundreds of years of a developing civilization, we continue to experi-

Bishop SalvatoreR. Matano From the Bishop

Diocesan Scouts attend religious retreat Pope: Live faith during Lent, perform works of mercy

WORLD & NATION

Petitions to show support for child-care funding Look for these

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PHOTO/VIDEO LOCAL NEWS

With commitments running $300,000 above last year at this time, the 2015-16 Catholic Min- istries Appeal is on a record-break- ing pace. As of Jan. 26, the CMA had amassed $5.609 million - just over 90 percent of its $6.175 million goal. With three months still to go, the campaign has nearly equalled the 2014-15 record-high total of $5.67 million. "I'm thrilled with the success so far," remarked David Kelly, cam- paign coordinator, who credited "the generosity of parishioners across the diocese and the efforts of our pastoral leaders and volunteers." Kelly noted that there's still time to donate to the 2015-16 appeal, which ends May 31. "If you have not yet made a gift, please consider do- nating to this worthwhile initiative," he said. CMA contributions help fund nu- merous programs, services and ministries, supporting more than half of the diocesan budget. For fur- ther details, contact Dave Kelly at 585-328-3210, ext. 1326, or dkelly@dor.org . - Mike Latona

CMA on record-breaking pace

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