My brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope Francis has declared the coming year an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, saying, “I am convinced that the whole Church will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and every woman of our time.”
From the Bishop
Our Catholic presence in Flint is quite vibrant. Our Catholic Charities and the N.E.W. Life Center have incredible ministries to the very poorest in our name. In addition, our parishes in the city are contributing in diverse ways to this kind of service. Powers Catholic High School is now located in the city of Flint, and many students are involved in various forms of service as well. We have a small but solid grade school at St. John Vianney, where many who are unchurched are successfully invited into membership in the Catholic Church. We have a small Newman ministry at St. Michael’s.
Sin! This is not meant to be a command. Pope Francis once said in an interview: “I am a sinner who the Lord has looked upon and upon whom the Lord has had mercy.”
God is merciful! That is always our starting point. We would never approach God without that conviction. April 12, the Sunday after Easter, is Mercy Sunday. We would not be able to celebrate such a Sunday without believing that not only is God merciful, but God is eager to forgive, almost like the panting dog in the “Hound of Heaven” chasing after us to show us mercy. And God is generous in that mercy.
Pope Francis has again publicly promoted Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae (On Human Life), issued on July 25, 1968. In our Year for Marriage and Family Life, it is good for us to review this document.
Are you saved?” How many times have you been asked this question? And how many times have we thought this very same question about others who do not share our Christian faith? Fifty years ago, the bishops of the world gathered in Rome for the Second Vatican Council and dealt with this second matter in their decree, Nostra Aetate, on the relation of the Catholic Church to non-Christian religions. This decree started from the line in Lumen Gentium, “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the People of God.” (LG,16)
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Gospel of the family”? It is new to me. The document which came out of the Synod of Bishops in Rome uses that phrase a lot. As whenever we use the word, Gospel, we are always to look to Jesus. Thus, the text points us to Matthew 19:8: “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” If we go back to the beginning, we see that God wants marriage to be permanent, the couple to cling to one another and be faithful to one another, and that there be an openness to life.