I recently came across a column written on Oct. 23, 2008 by Cardinal Edward Egan, the late former Archbishop of New York. He began the column with a photograph of a 20-week-old baby in its mother’s womb. He asked his readers to look at the photo carefully and then he asked:
From the Bishop
We recently celebrated the funerals of two of our actively assigned priests – Father Paul Schwermer, assigned to the parishes in Flushing and Montrose, and Father Lawrence Delaney, chaplain of our retreat house in DeWitt. This is rather unusual that a priest dies while in an assignment. The two funerals were thus occasions for deep sadness and for the participation of many clergy and many of the lay faithful who were being served by these fine men and priests.
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.”
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.