Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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December 17, 2011
We are now just a few days away from celebrating Christmas. In the week leading up to the 25th of December, the Gospel readings for daily Mass set the stage for the Nativity of Our Lord. The Gospel passage for Dec. 19 tells of the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Zechariah to deliver the good news that his formerly barren wife Elizabeth would give birth to a boy who would come to be known as John the Baptist. On Dec. 20 the angel Gabriel again makes an appearance in the Gospel of St. Luke, now appearing to Mary to tell her that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit and give him the name Jesus. The Gospel reading for Dec. 21 tells of Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth and the joy they share in the expectation of the birth of their sons. Mary’s prayerful response recounted on Dec. 22 is her canticle that we call the Magnificat, her joyful praise of God for the unborn babies in their wombs.
December 04, 2011
On Monday, Dec. 12, here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois we will have an "Evening of Repentance and Prayer for Those Harmed in the Church," in which we will ask God's healing for those who have been harmed in the church, express our repentance for those sins, and seek God's mercy and forgiveness.
November 20, 2011
As has been widely reported, next weekend marks the introduction of the new English translation of the revised Roman Missal. Much information and catechesis about the new version of prayers that we use at Mass and the reasons for these changes has been shared in print, from the pulpits of our churches, and in classes, seminars and workshops. My purpose here is not to try to explain it all to you or even summarize it in these brief remarks, but rather simply to give you my perspective on this as your bishop.
November 06, 2011
In answer to our prayers, God has blessed us with an increase in candidates for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Twenty-nine women from around the country recently participated in a fall retreat hosted by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George (the Alton Franciscans) for a weekend of prayer and discernment. Also, this past Aug. 15 three young women entered their novitiate and two made first vows. It is encouraging to see this increased interest in the life of consecrated women religious. Last weekend another transitional deacon was ordained for our diocese, our third this year, which means that these three men are scheduled to be ordained priests next spring.
October 23, 2011
This weekend I am in Rome for the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the Polish Home of the John Paul II Foundation, which was dedicated by Pope John Paul II himself in 1981 as a pilgrimage house for visitors from Poland. Since the death of Pope John Paul II, the John Paul II Foundation has taken on the added function of serving as a research center of his pontificate. I have the privilege of serving as vice chairman on the board of directors of the John Paul II Foundation. Oct. 22 is also being observed in Rome and in Poland with votive Masses on the anniversary of his inauguration as Pope.
October 09, 2011
A classic book that was required reading when I was in high school was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. When I read it in the late 1960s, part of the fascination with the story was the fact that the year 1984 seemed such a long way off into the future. For today’s high school students, 1984 is ancient history, so I’m not sure how many of them are reading the book by that name.
September 25, 2011
Last weekend I attended the annual meeting of the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Also attending were our Springfield Section Representatives, Jim and Mary Comerford, and their son, Father Christopher Comerford, pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish in Granite City, and our local prior (chaplain), Father Christopher House. We also had three priests inducted into the Order as new members: Msgr. Carl Kemme, vicar general; Father David Hoefler, pastor in Effingham and Shumway and dean of the Effingham Deanery; and Father Daren Zehnle, my priest secretary, master of ceremonies and associate vocation director. I have been a member for many years and the order does important work for the church in the Holy Land, so I want to tell you about them.
September 11, 2011
Sunday, Sept. 11, marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Most people remember exactly where they were when hearing of this dreadful news. I was pastor of St. Constance Parish in Chicago at the time, and had just finished celebrating the 8 o’clock morning Mass. I came back to the rectory for some breakfast, turned on the television, and watched the shocking events unfold on live television. People came to church to pray throughout the day as they did not know what was happening and were turning to God in this time of crisis. Our parish was just under a landing pattern for O’Hare Airport, so the silent skies were eerie as all flights were canceled for about 10 days.
August 28, 2011
This column comes to you from Madrid, Spain, where I have attended World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI for a gathering of one and a half million pilgrims from 193 countries from around the world. Among those participating are almost one hundred young people and adult leaders from our Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, including Father Brian Alford, Father Chris Brey, Father Nnamdi Moneme, Father Daren Zehnle, and seminarians Steve Arisman and Hyland Smith.
August 14, 2011
The month of May is traditionally associated with honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, September celebrates her birthday, October has the feast of the Holy Rosary, and December venerates the patroness of our country, our diocese and our cathedral, the Immaculate Conception, but August also has some several beautiful celebrations devoted to the Blessed Mother.