A New Year
January 2018
50th Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death
Thomas Merton was born January 31, 1915. He would become a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani and a renowned author. Below is the powerful homily preached by Fr. Lawrence Morey, O.C.S.O. at the Cathedral of the Assumption on the 50th anniversary of Merton’s death. Father Morey is a Trappist priest at the Abbey of Gethsemani.
Dear brothers and sisters,

You may know that at Gethsemani we bury our brothers without caskets. To my knowledge, there has only been one exception. A monk named Father Louis Merton managed to die so far away from the Abbey that he is the only monk in our cemetery to be buried in a casket. He just had to be different.

But getting back to our point, we usually bury our brothers without caskets. The deceased brother is met at the back door by the whole community. He is dressed in his cowl, his face uncovered. Singing, we carry him into the church in a bier and place him right in the middle of choir. We pray the psalms over him, in teams of two, for 24 hours. We carry him up to the Mass area for the funeral service, then we carry him out to the graveside. The six pallbearers lift him off the bier by straps attached to a sling. They lower him, by the straps, into the grave. We all participate at this point by holding our breath. Will one of the straps tear? Will one of brothers slip or lose his grip? But, at least since I’ve been there, we’ve always managed to get our brother to his final resting place without major accident. The main point, though, is that the whole funeral and burial process is very much a community affair.
Christ healing the paralytic at Capernaum by Bernhard Rode 1780.
Christ Healing the Paralytic at Capernaum by Bernhard Rode 1780.
In today’s Gospel, the paralytic is something like our deceased brother. While not perhaps as completely helpless, the paralytic cannot move by himself, incapable of standing, let alone walking. He depends entirely on others to move from one place to another. Fortunately, he has friends who are kind and generous enough to do this for him. When they hear that Jesus is nearby, they carry him there in the hope that Jesus might cure him. But, once they arrive, they still can’t get near Jesus because of the crowd. Then they have the brilliant idea to climb up to the roof and lower him through it. Once they got up there, though, they may have thought that the idea was not so brilliant after all. They must have had some of the same worries we have as our brother is being lowered into the grave. Would the ropes hold? Would one of them lose his grip or slip? The poor guy on the stretcher was completely dependent on these friends. He had to trust in them completely. He was helpless. Fortunately, the plan worked, and he safely reached the feet of Jesus. His friends supplied what he lacked; they did for him what he could not do for himself. He needed them to reach Jesus. He needed the support of a community to find Christ.

Just like the paralytic in the Gospel, we all need community in order to find Jesus. Community is often missing in today’s world. Our culture prizes independence and individual accomplishments. We admire the rugged individual, the “self-made” man or woman. We are encouraged to stand on our own two feet, make our own destiny, not to depend on others. We often define ourselves by our differences from others, by which political party we support, by which religion we belong to, by our cultural backgrounds, and so on. We even risk branding others as our enemies because of their difference from us: they are from a different country, they worship in a different religion or denomination, they belong to the other political party. Our differences make true community impossible. But human beings are communal creatures by nature, made that way by God. We need others in order to be fully human. At a very deep level we... Read More
A Recap of 2018 in our Archdiocese
In the January episode of Conversations with Archbishop Kurtz , Chancellor Dr. Brian Reynolds and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz list the 2018 top ten good news stories in the Archdiocese of Louisville.
To view other segments from January's  Conversations   go here .
A Hopeful Journey for 2019
This year the Little Sisters of the Poor will be celebrating 150 years serving in Louisville. See a list of events to commemorate the sesquicentennial anniversary  here .
By Sister Constance Veit, LSP

Returning to Ordinary Time each January, after the Christmas season, can be a bit of a letdown. But January is actually full of exciting events: World Peace Day (January 1), the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25) and the annual March for Life. World Youth Day is also taking place in Panama City this January (22-27).

Is there a common thread running through these events and causes, a single theme that might provide us with a positive orientation for this new year? Let’s see what Pope Francis says.

In his theme for World Peace Day, the Pope asserts that “there is no peace without mutual trust…When people’s rights are respected, then they will start to feel their own duty to respect the rights of others.” Peace is dependent on encouraging “dialogue among stakeholders in society, between generations and among cultures,” he said.

In his message for World Youth Day, Pope Francis tells young people that it is important to dialogue with and encounter others. “Never lose the enthusiasm of enjoying others’ company and friendship, as well as the pleasure of dreaming together, of walking together,” he told them. “Authentic Christians are not afraid to open themselves to others.”

I would like to suggest that the theme uniting this month’s events could be communion and dialogue – a “culture of encounter” – to borrow a favorite phrase of Pope Francis. And yet, in our hyper-polarized society, true dialogue seems more difficult than ever.

Young people – both college students and young professionals – have recently told me how hard it is to engage in dialogue or sincere debate on the issues that matter most to them. Even on Catholic campuses they are cautioned not to “trigger” others’ sensitivities, not to hurt others’ feelings or fail in political correctness.

In  Evangelii Gaudium , Francis wrote that Christianity calls us to overcome suspicion, habitual mistrust and “all the defensive attitudes which today’s world imposes on us…The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of... Read More
Archbishop's Tweets
Follow @ArchbishopKurtz on Twitter for more of his tweets.

January 7
Join me for Conversations with Archbishop Kurtz and meet Mother Paul Magyar, LSP, who tells us about the 150th anniversary of the presence of the Little Sisters of the Poor in @ArchLouKY and their compassionate care for the elderly poor.

December 22
A rich cultural gathering of Filipino Catholic community for Simbang Gabi - 9 days preparing for Christmas - at St Albert the Great Church.

December 19
A great pre-Christmas tradition in Louisville — Priest Council hosts retired priest luncheon. The Spirit was great! 
Upcoming Events
1/10/19 6:30 p.m.

1/11/19 7:00 p.m.

1/18/19 4:30 p.m.

1/20/19 3:00 p.m.
1/21/19 10:00 a.m.

1/28/19 7:00 p.m.
(See link for registration)

1/29/19 10:00 a.m.

1/30/19 Noon

2/2/19 1:00 p.m.
Resources & Recommendations
This month, we're highlighting some helpful and timely resources for Catholics throughout the Archdiocese. We encourage you to check out the resources below.

Days of Human Dignity
As part of Pope Francis’ invitation to “Share the Journey” with the migrants around the world. the Archdiocese of Louisville observes “Days of Human Dignity” beginning with National Migration Week in January. In addition to immigration and migration, these days focus on issues of human dignity such as racial justice and equality, the dignity and sanctity of human life, and gun violence. For more information, click here. Several events are coming up this month:

Celebration of National Migration Week Prayer Service, Thursday, January 10, 6:30 p.m., Cathedral of the Assumption

Walk for Life, Friday, January 18, 4:30 p.m., Cathedral of the Assumption

Pro-Life Mass, Sunday, January 20, 3:00 p.m., Saint Martin of Tours Parish, Louisville

Celebration in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Monday, January 21, 10:00 a.m., Cathedral of the Assumption

Catholics at the Capitol (a session with Kentucky legislators to discuss issues of concern to the Church), Monday, January 28, 7:00 p.m., Holy Family Church (Saffin Center)

Conversations with Archbishop Kurtz
For the January episode of Conversations with Archbishop Kurtz , Chancellor Dr. Brian Reynolds and Archbishop Kurtz discuss the top ten good news stories of 2018 (see segment above) and what Catholics believe about stewardship. Archbishop also welcomes guest Mother Paul Magyar, LSP, to talk about the ministry of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the 150 th  anniversary of the order’s presence in the United States and in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Conversations  airs on the Faith Channel (Spectrum channels 19 and digital channel 279) on Tues. at 7 p.m., Wed. at 10 a.m., Fri. at 7 p.m., and Sat. at 4 p.m. It is on radio stations WLCR 1040 AM, Breadbox Media, and WLHN 95.3 FM in Meade County. You may download  Conversations  for no charge through iTunes.  Conversations  also is available on Bardstown Cable Channel 19 (BRTV) at 7 p.m. on the first two Monday nights of the month and on Bardstown’s PLG TV on Tuesday afternoons at 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Conversations is online  here .

Sexual Abuse
In one of Archbishop Kurtz’s “Leadership Briefing” e-newsletters, read a wonderful account of how the Church has contributed to the healing of a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. See here.
The Catholic Connection is provided by: