Our community decided in 2008 that the mission of our parish was life-long learning. Everything we do centers around teaching the depth and richness of the Roman Catholic Faith. Our weekly 3-Minute Catechesis is read from the Ambo prior to Mass beginning. A written copy is made available in our weekly bulletin along with additional information for those who want to learn more. Visit us online at www.risensaviorcc.org for more information.

Friday, October 22, 2010

World Youth Day

World Youth Day is a day to celebrate youth and young adults in all of their diversity and goodness, and to encourage these young people to lead the church both now and into the future. The bishops of the United States, wanting to place full attention on the youth of our nation, voted to move the celebration in the United States from Palm Sunday, when much of the world celebrates, to the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, this year celebrated on October 24th. During this weekend, parishes are invited to bless their young people, involve them in all aspects of the Mass, affirm their leadership, and invite them to use their gifts in service to the church and the world.

Each year, the pope prepares a message to the young people of the world. This year's theme is based on Mark 10:17, the story of Jesus' meeting with the inquisitive, rich young man. As Jesus was setting out on his journey, recounts the Gospel of St. Mark, "a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" After the man assures Jesus that he has observed all the commandments from his youth, “Jesus looked upon him,” Mark tells us, “and loved him.” He then tells the young man to go and sell his possessions and give everything to the poor. The young man goes away sad because, we are told, “he had many possessions.”

Because being Christian is about responding to the Word of God, Pope Benedict’s message to the young people of the world lists some of the challenges our young people must address now: the use of the resources of the earth and respect for the ecology; the just division of goods and the control of financial mechanisms; solidarity with poor countries; the struggle against hunger in the world; the promotion of the dignity of human labor; the building of peace between peoples; and the use of social communication, like email, texting, and Facebook, to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. The leader of our Church challenges our young people to be good stewards of their time, talents, and treasure, and to be counter-cultural when it comes to materialism. These are challenges to which all of us, but especially our young people, are called to respond to build a more just world.

As we celebrate World Youth Day, we pray for our young people. We recognize and affirm their gifts, and encourage their continued full and active participation in the life of our faith community.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Catholic Charities 100th Anniversary

On September 25, 1910, scores of people who served the poor across the country converged on the campus of Catholic University of America for the first official gathering of Catholic Charities organizations. The gathering served as a uniting force for people doing the Church’s work of charity in the United States. One of the results was the creation of Catholic Charities USA.

On September 25, 2010, Catholic Charities USA, now one of the largest associations of social service agencies in the country, celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Centennial provides an opportunity to highlight a history of providing help and creating hope for people on the margins. Catholic Charities has and will continue to advance a vision for our country in which individuals and communities have the chance to reach their full potential.

In 2008, Catholic Charities agencies provided help and created hope for 8.5 million people regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Catholic Charities’ services strengthened families, built strong communities, responded to natural disasters, and provided food, shelter, and other basic needs.

Every Catholic can take pride in these accomplishments because Catholic Charities is a part of the Church, the body of Christ. Few partnerships have been as strong and fruitful as the one between Catholic Charities and parishes: parishes have been on the frontlines of compassion; Catholic Charities have reinforced their efforts through service and advocacy.

Recognizing the potential and responsibility of this Centennial anniversary, Catholic Charities USA is calling all parishes to continue to stand in solidarity with them in this moment of celebration and recommitment.

Back in September, for two weeks in a row, the readings from the prophet Amos and Saint Paul’s letter to Timothy reminded us that concern for the poor is at the heart of our Church teachings. In the Gospel story of Lazarus and the rich man, we learned that being a disciple of Jesus is not about random acts of kindness but about the ability to be in solidarity with those who are on the other side of “gate,” the poor. We are challenged to open our eyes to the inequities in society, and urged to love and care for those who cry out in need.

Catholic Charities carries out this love in an organized way. As we celebrate with Catholic Charities, we at Risen Savior commit to care for and stand with those on the margins, to serve those most in need, now and for the next 100 years.

Friday, October 8, 2010

End-of-Life Part III: Advanced Directives and Aggressive Treatment

This is the last in a series of 3-Minute Catecheses on end-of-life issues and how the Church expects us to respond when death is near.

The Church takes seriously her role in educating about the sanctity of life at all levels. The concern is that we seem to be becoming a society in which life is not respected and cherished. People are expendable if they make us angry or inconvenience us in some way. Just this last week, one of the young men working on our landscaping project was killed by drug dealers in a case of mistaken identity when he went to visit his family in Mexico. Life is often not treated as the precious gift that it is.

So what happens if you or a loved one become seriously ill? Can Catholics have Advanced Directives, including Do Not Resuscitate orders?

The Catholic Church does not prohibit Advanced Health Directives which lay out in written form what your wishes are in case you are unable to communicate. However, Advanced Directives can be morally problematic because they require a person to make blanket general statements about possible scenarios in the future.

That is why, from the Church’s point of view, it is far more preferable to have a health care proxy. A health care proxy is an actual person whom you have designated to stand in your place and make a health care decision on your behalf. Such a person is able to assess the totality of your circumstances in a way that is sensitive to the conditions of your situation.

While true compassion encourages every reasonable effort for the patient's recovery, at the same time, it helps draw the line when it is clear that no further treatment will serve this purpose. The decision to forego aggressive treatment is an expression of the respect that is due to the patient at every moment. From the patient's perspective, this is not "giving up" nor disregarding the obligation to care for oneself: rather, it is an acceptance of the human condition in the face of life-threatening illness. It is at this point that many patients and their families opt for hospice care, which often allows the patient to die, in peace, at home.

The Church understands that thoughts of death are accompanied by mixed feelings, conflicted between hope in immortality on the one hand and fear of the unknown on the other. This is why Anointing within the Last Rites, which is less for physical healing than for spiritual healing and strength, is so important. Through the sacraments, the Church strives to give each dying person loving care as they prepare to cross the threshold of time to enter eternity.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Barrett House and Brother Mathias

Our “Love Your Neighbor” opportunity for October is collecting gift cards from family-friendly restaurants and grocery stores for women and their children residing at Barrett House.

Founded by Brother Mathias Barrett in 1985, Barrett House is an emergency shelter for women and children. Brother Mathias was the legendary friend of the homeless: his life's work was providing shelter to homeless men and women throughout the United States.

Brother Mathias was born Maurice Patrick Barrett on March 15, 1900 in Waterford, Ireland. At the age of 16, he entered the St. John of God order and took the name Mathias. Brother Mathias became a leading force not only as the North American Provincial of his Order, but in building many institutions such as hospitals, soup kitchens, and rehabilitation centers.

After retiring from his order, Brother Mathias came out west, and at the urging of Archbishop Byrne, he came to Albuquerque to establish a new order of brothers and a house for men on the road. The Congregation of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd was founded in 1951.

The Good Shepherd Refuge opened its doors to the homeless and poverty stricken. Adhering to the motto "Charity Unlimited," the Brothers of the Good Shepherd soon expanded outside of the Albuquerque region. If this Order sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because of the Corned Beef dinner served annually in Brother Mathias’ honor and memory on St. Patrick’s Day.

In addition to helping women and children affected by domestic abuse, Barrett House has a group home for women over 35 who have psychiatric disabilities, providing a permanent housing option. There is also a transitional housing program offering single women with or without children the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to live independently. In 1999, Casa Verde was established to provide affordable, permanent housing for women living with chronic mental illness.

Barrett Foundation also provides training and support needed to plan and establish a more stable future for the women it serves and their children. Clients receive assistance and information regarding health care, childcare, employment, substance abuse treatment, and mental health care. Two meals are served each day in addition to a sack lunch, and the women are provided with toiletries and clothing. Barrett House has a family room, a library with computers, laundry facilities, and indoor and outdoor play areas for the children.

The Barrett Foundation is living out the gospel message of caring for the poor and vulnerable in our society.