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?
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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.
The priest on duty for the UCLA hospital gets a list of names and room numbers of people who request a visit usually for anointing of the sick before surgery and often just to have a conversation with a friendly person.
These past couple of days the Scripture readings have mirrored the pain, anger, and despair of many of our contemporaries. We heard the cry and anguish of Hannah who was barren and wanted so much to conceive a son. Later it was the account of the lepers and their isolation, an experience felt by homeless people, migrants and addicts living in tents on city streets.