And the Church says, Amen!
The Healing Ministry of Jesus
The Church has a long history of caring for the sick. Why did we focus from the beginning on concern for the sick and suffering? The answer is simple. By way of the gospels that tell us of Jesus’ healing ministry both in word and deed, Jesus told the first disciples to do the same. And the disciples shaped the life and ministry of the Church on the example of Jesus. The American Church in particular took the teaching of Jesus and ran with it. The Catholic Hospital System in the United States speaks with eloquence to that commitment to the healing ministry initiated by Jesus and carried on by the Church for generations. At its inception the Catholic Health Care System reached out to generations of immigrants who had little resources. This system is also a tribute to the dedication, generosity and vision of Religious Men and Women who saw this great need and decided to do something about it. Years ago I attended the 50th Anniversary of Mercy Sienna, a large Catholic Nursing Home Complex founded by the Mercy Sisters of Cincinnati. The decision of the Sisters to build this facility and to use their own resources to do so took place during the Second World War. Many advised them against this project because of the war. They went ahead with the project that has served generations of sick and elderly because as their Mother General said, “We cannot turn our back on such a great need because the timing is questionable.” The Sisters were visionary but not naïve. Mercy Sienna stands strong and proud today as a Catholic Ministry serving the entire community.
The times have changed but the needs have only grown. One thing that has become clear is that the Church, in their modern day commitment to health care in the spirit of the gospel, must work in partnership with others and not attempt to do this ministry independently or alone. In so many ministries that truly serve the community the only way forward, the only way to serve in a competent and sustainable fashion, is to partner with others.
This past week the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The majority opinion was written by John Roberts, the Head of the Supreme Court and a committed Catholic. There has been much controversy about this law and the Church has raised some legitimate questions about its application and the freedom of religious institutions to act according to their moral teachings. However, there is so much that is good about the law and that directly reflects Catholic Social Teaching, I am happy for the millions who now have access to health care that is affordable and comprehensive. Over almost 40 years of priesthood I have sat with the sick and their families and listened to their fears and suffering because of the consequence of dealing with serious illness with no insurance and facing bankruptcy or no heath care as a result. I have also grieved with families who have lost loved ones when effective health care was available but not accessible. The blunt reality is that there are plenty of options when you have money. There is little available for those who are poor. We all should remember that Catholic Social Teaching as articulated by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical, Rerum Novarum and from every Pope since then, declares that health care is a right for all not only for those who can afford it. This flows obviously from our belief in the dignity and worth of all human life from conception to natural death.
The Feast of the Precious Blood
This coming Wednesday is the Feast of the Precious Blood which is a special feast with a long tradition in our parish for reasons that are obvious. I will journey to Saint Charles Center to join with the Missionaries celebrating anniversaries. One in particular is Brother Thomas Bohman who served at SJB years ago and is celebrating his 40th Anniversary. Let us pray with Tom and the CPPS as we rejoice and give thanks to God for his years of distinguished ministry as a Precious Blood Brother. Tom now serves at Saint James the Less in Columbus Ohio. Monsignor Semancik who the Missionaries have adopted as one of their own will celebrate the 7 AM Mass. Please join us.
Father Stephen DeSantos, a Missionary of the Precious Blood, will be the celebrant of the masses next weekend and will preach on the life and ministries of the Missionaries. A second collection will be taken up as part of the annual Mission Cooperative Collection that is taken up in every parish in the United States. Please be generous.
This coming week both Agnes Seitz and Scott Tabernacki take up their new ministries as business manager of the Whiting/Robertsdale Catholic Community and SJB School Principal. It is a great joy to have you with us. Welcome!
Also we welcome Joyce Wagner as a new member of the Parish Staff. Joyce will act as administrative assistant and Director of Special Projects. Joyce is a long time
member of SJB and lived for most of her adult life in Whiting. Joyce is a familiar face to all of us and will be a welcome addition to the staff. Welcome Joyce!!!
A Welcome Addition to our Community and Church family
Next week I will give you details regarding the three Religious Sisters of St. Mary of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Southern Africa who will take up residence in Whiting in early August as they take up studies in Education at CCSJ. These are exciting times.
And I know that you will join me in welcoming them.