Know Your Faith So You Can Defend It

I would like to thank all of you parishioners who attended the prayerful, multi-faith “Jericho March” around the City Hall on the evening of the HRO Amendment Vote by Jacksonville’s City Council, this past Tuesday. Thank you also to all of you who conveyed to me that you had indeed e-mailed and/or called the City Council Members and/or the Mayor. Thank you also to all who did so and did not happen to mention it to me. Sadly, this amendment includes language that now make the sinful same-sex  activity/expression something  that now  all residents are to refrain from expressing any disapproval, thus providing  it  legal  protection  for  it to be  taught in the schools as an admirable and healthy choice of lifestyle for Jacksonville youth.

I will continue, and hope many of you will be moved to do so as well, to call, write and e-mail our council members with my heart-felt disappointment and disapproval of this unnecessary intrusion into deeply held elements of our faith and beliefs…and most obviously, transgression of the natural and God’s explicit Law. As Pope Francis has encouraged all Catholics, let us begin to “make some noise”, share your discomfort.  Persist in calling for a referendum, and remind Mayor Curry that his campaign promise was to refuse to approve any immoral legislation such as this. He kept his word once. But inevitably it returned this year. Was there an expiration date on his promise?

Our Christian silence has allowed the moral voice of the majority to be drowned out by the few. We profess a faith, founded on the Word of God, that clearly calls for adherence to living (and working towards maintaining) a moral standard for life. We are all called to teach, by what we say and do. Please strive to keep abreast of these evil endeavors, like openly flaunted sodomy and the legalized killing of the pre-born. Be knowledgeable and know with certainty what our Catholic Church teaches, so that you can be vocal and informative.  We are all expected to defend our faith, and we can only do that if we know it well…particularly as it impacts these prolific immoral issues of our times. Please add reading up on the moral issues to your persistent prayer. Provide clarity for your children, family and friends.  Why do conscientious Christians protest the immoralities of abortion, same-sex marriage, sodomy and the like? Because, our youth are hearing way more of their pitch…. that legal abortion is valuable “woman’s healthcare”, and that same-sex intimacy is “love”… and for us to disagree, from a moral standpoint is…our protest “hate”.  Please read up on all these moral issues and share. Show our youth that an embrace of morality is where healthy, happy families and relationships are begun and sustained.

We have our first Youth Mass scheduled for this evening beginning at 4:30 pm. This has long been an ambition of ours, to provide a catalyst to facilitate more understanding of and intimacy with, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is aimed at being a Mass for the young people of our parish, and they will be the readers, ushers, singers, gift-bearers, and sacristans. All teenagers of the parish are invited and family members  are welcome to attend this Mass as well (as are all parishioners.  It is not meant to be exclusionary).  This time (4:30 pm on Sunday afternoon) is a work in progress and may change going forward as we learn what works best.

If you are the parents of a teenager, please encourage him or her to attend. My prayer, and I hope you concur, is for all the young people of our parish to come to more fully understand the Mass, and have their Faith and   the Holy Mass become more relevant to them. Gathering only with friends or classmates that consider faith matters a waste of time, builds only a road to nowhere. Gathering with other peers that hold their Faith in high regard, can only be beneficial to their happiness, health and safety, physically and spiritually. Give it a try…we are only just beginning.

Yours in defense of the Faith,

Father Denis