October 5, 2021
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Josephine Bakhita Parish,
Greetings and blessings!
As I was viewing my Facebook news-feed, I noticed along with the many humbling tributes for my 40th anniversary a picture and quote from one of my favorite contemporary spiritual writers, Brother David Steindl-Rast…”The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” I encourage you to check out his wonderful website about gratitude at www.gratefulness.org
I am most grateful for the many folks who joined me in celebrating my 40th anniversary. For the many folks (too numerous to name individually here) who quietly and untiringly planned and accomplished the multitude of tasks for the beautiful celebration. For the many folks who so generously contributed to our Haiti Ministry. Please know that my gratitude for you has brought me profound joy!
Looking back over my 40 years, so much of my ministry, if not all, has been about always promoting life in all ways and times. Presently, we are in the midst of the campaign called Forty Days for Life which draws our attention to the protection of all life especially the unborn. In recent weeks, the issue of abortion has raised hot debate and controversy. We, as Catholics, have always and will always promote the protection of all life especially the unborn. We especially need to care for pregnant women during their pregnancy and after they give birth. Therefore, it will never be enough to just be anti-abortion, we need to promote the dignity and care for women and children long after the birth of a child. Prayer and action are called for more than ever.
And so, I share this special prayer especially during these 40 days for life:
creator and sustainer of life,
bless us with the courage
to defend all life
from conception to natural death.
Bless us with the strength
to respect all peoples from east to west,
from north to south,
so that we may truly follow
the call of Jesus to be neighbor.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
This past week we also celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi who has come to be associated with the protection of all creation. Certainly, our world is struggling to understand the beauty and the care of the earth that our Creator God has asked us to protect and care for. And so, I offer this prayer to assist us in our reflection and actions to protect God’s good earth:
God of the universe,
we thank you for your many good gifts:
for the beauty of Creation
and its rich and varied fruits,
for clean water and fresh air,
for food and shelter, animals and plants.
Forgive us for the times
we have taken the Earth’s resources
for granted and wasted
what you have given us.
Transform our hearts and minds
so that we would learn to care and share,
to touch the Earth with gentleness
and with love, respecting all living things.
We pray for all who suffer as a result
of our waste, greed, and indifference.
And we pray that the day will come
when everyone has enough
food and clean water.
Help us to respect the rights of all people
and all species
and help us to willingly share your gifts
today and always.
Fiona Murdoch, Eco-Congregation Ireland
To get an overview of Pope Francis’s statement on creation go to:
Peace and Blessings,
Fr. George Couturier