Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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March 19, 2017
A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with my mother at the nursing home where she lives. While we were eating in the dining room, there was a television program on the big screen television broadcasting a cooking program called, Special Sunday Suppers. The host of the show started the program by saying that “Sundays were made for sleeping late and then spending the rest of the day preparing your special Sunday supper.” The host’s statement was somewhat understandable given that the name of the program was Special Sunday Suppers, but I could not help but think that he really missed the point in terms of what “Sundays were made for.”
March 05, 2017
For the first time in over half a century, we begin this Lenten season in anticipation of our diocesan synod, which will formally open during the chrism Mass celebrated during Holy Week at our Cathedral at 6:30 p.m. in the evening on Tuesday, April 11. The word “synod” in Greek simply means a meeting, but the Catholic Church uses this Greek word to indicate a very special type of meeting. Our diocesan synod will be special and historic not only because it will be only the fourth such meeting since our diocese was founded in 1853 and the first since 1963, but also because it will involve clergy and laity from across our diocese to assist me as diocesan bishop in guiding the pastoral direction of our diocese for the foreseeable future, especially with regard to the themes of discipleship and stewardship.
February 19, 2017
The Boy Scouts of America announced on Jan. 30, 2017, that, “Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application.” In other words, the Boy Scouts of America will accept youth members for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts who self-identify as male regardless of the child’s biological sex or physical anatomy from birth. In light of the recent announcement from the Boy Scouts of America, it was very timely that I attended a conference on transgender issues presented in Irving, Texas, by the National Catholic Bioethics Center. There was much valuable information provided to the bishops who attended this conference, so I would like to share some of the more important points with you.
February 05, 2017
In our efforts to call people to discipleship, we should follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles. In the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel, two Disciples followed Jesus and asked him, “Where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see” (John 1:39). Still in the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel, just a few verses later, Jesus says to Philip, “Follow me.” Philip then finds Nathanael and tells him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see” (John 1:43-46).
January 22, 2017
Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. marks the opening of the preliminary phase of the diocesan synod with a prayer service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. In the months ahead during this calendar year of 2017, our diocesan synod will consider how we can make a communal commitment as a diocesan community of clergy and laity regarding discipleship and stewardship as a way of life. Closely related to this will be for us to look at how we can foster community-wide support of Catholic education so that more students will be able to attend Catholic schools.
January 08, 2017
The beginning of a new year is typically a time to make resolutions to do something better, different or new. It is fitting that we make such resolutions at the start of this new year not only for ourselves individually, but also for our diocese collectively. In order to do that, I have decided that during this Year of Our Lord 2017 we will celebrate our fourth Diocesan Synod. The previous diocesan synods were held in 1889 (when our diocese was based in Alton), 1953 and 1963. Since it has been more than half a century since our previous diocesan synod, you might say that we are long overdue to have another one!
December 25, 2016
This past Dec. 10, was a very historic day in the life of our diocese: the exhumation of the mortal remains of Father Augustine Tolton took place at St. Peter Cemetery in Quincy that day. Born April 1, 1854, he was the first full-blooded African-American Catholic priest in the United States. A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, he studied formally in Rome. He was ordained in Rome on Easter Sunday of 1886 at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. Assigned to the diocese of Alton (now the Diocese of Springfield), Father Tolton first ministered in Quincy, and later served in Chicago.
December 11, 2016
As an Advent people, we are people of hope and expectation. We live in hope and expectation of our Lord’s second coming. We also live in the hope of improved relationships with other people and the expectation that our relationships can indeed be improved to become more caring and more loving. We should never give up on anyone, but always have hope that God’s grace can touch the hearts of those who hunger for his nourishment, which he gives us now in the gift of this Eucharist.
November 27, 2016
“Christ the King” means that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. “Lord” means that He is Master of all that we have and all that we are. My body, my money, my vocation, my life — everything — belongs to God. “Savior” means that He came to save us, not Himself. We can see that in the Gospel account of the two thieves crucified with Jesus. One of them said, “If you are a King, come down from that cross and save yourself!” Jesus did not come down from the cross, because unlike earthly kings who are primarily concerned with their own benefit, Jesus stayed on the cross to die for our sins because He was concerned with our salvation. We are called to give ourselves completely to Christ our King because He has given Himself totally for us.
November 13, 2016
Catholics who wish to make sure that they receive a proper Catholic funeral with a Mass of Christian Burial should include their instructions in their last will and should discuss their wishes with whomever will be responsible for their funeral arrangements when they die. People can also pre-arrange their own funerals with a funeral director according to their wishes and instructions in keeping with our Catholic faith.