Today’s gospel reminds me of an experience I had a couple of years ago while serving as a missionary in Northeast India. I was assigned to a remote parish in Tuikarmaw, south of Tripura. It was my first mission as a priest. This parish had 25 sub-centers located in villages over about 400 square kilometers. We moved from village to village, bringing the sacraments, spending time with the villagers and catechizing them.
Yesterday, Father Willy pointed out that we’ve reached the halfway point of Lent as he spoke about the scriptures leading us to focus on encountering Jesus in this second part of Lent. It reminded me of a commercial for the latest cell phone.
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Imagine a huge city teeming with more than 16 million people, Dhaka, in a country of 165 million but only the size of Wisconsin with a Catholic population of less than one percent. That is Bangladesh, home to Holy Cross Family Ministries’ exciting, recently dedicated and blessed new ministry center.
Growing up in Quincy, MA, St. Patrick’s Day was a source of great pride. What makes it interesting is that my Dad is of English descent and my Mom, Irish. Fortunately, my Dad embraced not only St. Patrick’s Day but more importantly the Catholic faith that has been an important part of my Mom’s family for generations. So, you can imagine my shock when I learned that St. Patrick wasn’t born in Ireland. And, as incredible as that might be, what if I were to tell you, this patron saint of Ireland was born in Great Britain?
What if the way of healing of humanity at the crossroads we find ourselves now were right before our very eyes, waiting only for us to see it and follow it?
Today is the feast of Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The celebration of a founder of a religious community takes on particular importance because a founder is the person whose life cast forward a vision for the whole future of that community. In a sense, the founder establishes the heart of the entire community–its life and movements and sensitivities all flow out of the founder. It is the same with the Catholic Church. With Jesus Christ as our founder, it is His love–which gives its own life for the life of the world, embodied in the Sacred Heart wounded on the Cross–which makes the Church what it is and makes Christians who we are.