May 7, 2017
Recently during the cleaning of my office, I found an old magazine that had an image of Pope John Paul II holding his head in his hands, along with the words, “Can the Catholic Church Save Itself?” Obviously it referred to the terrible scandals that have filled the media some years ago. I reflected on that question, “Can the Catholic Church Save Itself” and came up with a negative answer, of course, “NO.” In the Gospel of this weekend Jesus uses a comparison which makes that crystal clear. His Church is like a flock of sheep. Among farm animals they are the most helpless on their own. Sheep can’t save themselves, can they?
At the supper with the Knights last Sunday, someone pointed out that the scandals in the Church and the celibate law contributed a great deal to the shortage of priests and the recent scandals have also tried their faith that some left or are thinking of leaving the Church. Do you know that the celibacy is a law imposed on priests in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church only and the Roman Rite Catholic Church is one of 20 plus other Catholic Churches such as Ukrainian Catholic, Orthodox Catholic, who all have married priests and still have a shortage of priests? I also argued that the shortage of priests started way before the scandals came to light. Of course the scandals may shake the faith of Catholics but I knew the person well enough to say, “Come on, man, you weren’t doing so great before the scandals broke out.”
Jesus chose human beings, not angels, to visibly shepherd his church. We can – and should – install the best safeguards possible, especially to protect children and vulnerable people. But ultimately it depends on the human shepherds who oversee the flock. What a heavy responsibility they have!
The first person to shepherd the church in Jesus' name, Peter, had this to say: “Repent…every one of you” (Acts 2:38). The only way we can pass through the gate and enter the sheepfold is not by denouncing others, but by humbly acknowledging our own offenses.
This weekend, the Church sets aside time to pray for vocations, especially vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We pray for vocations at the beginning of every weekend Mass. Some of you now know it by heart. At Bob Hagel’s funeral we enjoyed seeing many priests and 2 bishops in our church. Some of them were born in our area such as Bishop Eugene Cooney, Frs. Cristino Bouvette and James Hagel. We also noticed that the majority were born outside of Canada, who came here to offer their ministry to the flock of Christ. May God bless them.
Amidst scandals and criticisms, can anyone have the courage to join the priesthood and religious life? Can any priest have the strength to promote vocations? Did Jesus make a mistake when he chose humans to carry on his mission? The Church of Jesus has gone through dark ages before; and nothing can assure that the Church will not go through it again; we should keep in mind the assurance of the Risen Lord when he spoke to his Church’s first human shepherd: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Mt: 16: 18).
A CONFIRMATION CANDIDATE’S LETTER TO BISHOP
I would love to receive the sacrament because I believe and understand God. I’ve had a lot of hard times and He (God) has been there putting His arm around my shoulder and saying everything will be okay.
Once I just couldn’t understand God, like saying…”Why would God let a friend turn on me?” I started to ask myself, “Did I do something wrong? Am I a bad person?” So I laid in bed and was trying to understand. As a tear dripped down my face I almost felt a hand touch my shoulder. Then after that I understood. Laying there is silence, my mind was almost talking to God.
I am requesting the Sacrament of Confirmation. I now understand what God’s message is and what the sacrament is about. I would like to be confirmed because it is confirming my faith. I want to confirm that my parents made the right decision to follow God when I was baptized.
I chose to make Easter cards for my service project because I wanted to give back to the seniors. They made a big difference in the city of Medicine Hat. I wanted to make someone feel not alone anymore. I wanted to make someone smile. Art is a great way to express myself. Mrs. Berger’s speech really inspired me to put my heart into my cards to the seniors. My confirmation projects are valuable. When I am aged, I hope the youth will pray for me.
God gave me a wonderful gift of creativity and I want to express it. God also gave me the gift of communication. I met some new friends in my project. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to follow God. This project was such a great opportunity to get involved in the community. I will never stop believing in God.
HOLY FAMILY PARISH
MAY 9th, 2017
Following the 7:00pm Mass
During this preparation, I learned to find the “best version of myself.” Matthew Kelly and Sally Myers really put it in perspective for me. I need to make hard decisions. It will be hard. I will need to turn to God. Another thing they taught me was I need to open the door to God. He will always be waiting for us.
Now I’ve learned to appreciate everything God provides for me. He has given me power. I want to thank Him for everything. I have to thank the church and everyone that works there. You truly changed and inspired me.
God bless. Amen.
Brenna Way, grade 6.
Confirmation Candidate of Holy Family Church