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Page A2 - Catholic Courier 09 01 2016 E Edition


Catholic Courier Diocese of Rochester, NY September 2016



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Thank you for supporting the Roman Catholic monks at the Abbey of the Genesee. Bishop SalvatoreR. Matano From the Bishop

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My dear brothers and sisters in Christ: In considering the many issues confronting contemporary society, we cannot help but note the grow- ing poverty in our community; as poverty continues to escalate it should capture our attention and emphasize the need to assist our brothers and sisters in the family of God who seek our assistance. I am deeply grateful for the out- standing work of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester and for so many of our parishes and insti- tutions that reach out to those who have so little. Our Catholic schools and religious-education programs inspire our young people to be- come servants of the Gospel who share the gifts that they have. In seeking to heighten aware- ness of this critical issue, I am re- minded of Blessed Pope Paul VI's encyclical, Populorum Progressio . For many of us, both during his pontificate and after his death, Paul VI has been and continues to be a profound inspiration. He was our Holy Father when I was a theology student in Rome and ordained to the priesthood in St. Peter's Basili- ca on Dec. 17, 1971. I saw in him a gentleness and humility that touched hearts; I saw one unafraid to accept the invitation: "Take up your cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). I saw an apostle who took very seriously the man- date of Jesus to Peter: "Feed my sheep." (John 21:17). Thus, it was no surprise but rather consistent with his person that Paul VI would write an en- cyclical on the Progress of Peoples , which demonstrated genuine pas- toral concern about the growing chasm between the rich and the poor, those who have plenty and those who have nothing. As a true Shepherd for the whole world, Pope Paul VI noted: "Unless the ex- isting machinery is modified, the disparity between rich and poor na- tions will increase rather than di- minish; the rich nations are pro- gressing with rapid strides while the poor nations move forward at a slow pace" (Paragraph 8). As we proceed through this impressive document, we come upon para- graph 23 of Populorum Progressio , where there is quoted those power- ful words of still another apostle, St. Ambrose, who confronts the af- fluent among his flock when he says: "You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich" ( De Nabute , c. 12, n. 53: PL 14. 747; cf.J. R. Palanque, Saint Ambroise et l'empire romain , Paris: de Boccard (1933), 336 ff.). Both St. Ambrose and Blessed Paul VI are deeply attentive to the words of yet another apostle, St. John: "I ask you, how can God's love survive in a man who has enough of this world's goods yet closes his heart to his brother when he sees him in need" (1 John 3:17, quoted in para- graph 23 of Populorum Progressio ). These words dating back over the centuries need to be pondered today just as they were reflected upon in the ages of St. John and St. Ambrose and were etched in the heart of Blessed Paul VI. And one need not look too far to appreciate the relevance of these words. In this very state of New York and in our Diocese we see disparity be- tween the wealthy and the poor. Our own communities are chal- lenged with very critical statistics which adversely affect so many lives. Lacking in jobs to retain the young, growing economic re- straints placed upon the elderly and rising costs making basic ne- cessities unaffordable to the aver- age family, our communities will continue to experience a rising gap between the rich and the poor. These local situations already present us with a great insight into the global dimensions of this prob- lem. Here in the northeast region in the United States, one catches more than a glimpse of the pover- ty that not only surrounds us, but that is reaching crisis proportions. Pope Paul VI called upon us to re- alize that we are one family in God called to support one another and to grieve when we have sisters and brothers in need. In this notable encyclical we read: "There can be no progress towards the complete development of man without the simultaneous development of all humanity in the spirit of solidari- ty" (Paragraph 43). So often pover- ty is seen only as a societal prob- lem to be solved, while, unfortunately, we forget that, at its core, it is an opportunity to help a brother or a sister, another child of God. A person's success, re- sourcefulness and earthly accom- plishments can become virtuous when they are used to elevate and esteem the crowning glory of cre- ation, the human person. But this spirit of solidarity de- pends upon a profound reverence for and appreciation of the dignity of every person from the very mo- ment of conception until natural death. The year following the en- cyclical Populorum Progressio , Pope Paul VI wrote still another en- cyclical, Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968), in which he quoted St. John XXIII: "Human life is sacred - all people must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God" (Para- graph 13, quoting Mater et Magis- tra , 1961). In celebrating God's gift of life, we must seek ways to nurture and to help all people to embrace the words of Jesus: "I have come that you may have life and have this life to the full" (John 10:10). I pray that the many talented, successful and faith-filled members of our com- munities will embrace the ministry of Jesus by participating in the works of Catholic Charities, the Catholic Ministries Appeal and parish-based programs serving the poor. Indeed, persons of means have given so very generously over the years, and their contributions

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Helping the impoverished

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