Sunday Scripture readings, Sept. 15, 2019: More than forgiveness, please

The Catholic News Service column, “Speak to Me Lord,” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Sept. 15, Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C
1) Ex 32:7-11, 13-14
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19
2) 1 Tm 1:12-17
Gospel: Lk 15:1-32

By Kevin Perrotta
Catholic News Service

Today’s first reading and Gospel both illustrate God’s mercy. In the first, God shows himself willing to forgive the Israelites for worshipping a golden statue of a bull, in clear violation of his instructions. In the Gospel, Jesus tells a story about a father who welcomes home a ne’er-do-well son who has squandered a good deal of the family property. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Central Americans want to stay home; development programs help that happen

Farmer Silverio Mendez, pictured in a Jan. 30, 2019, photo, lives with his wife, Irma Mendez, and their five daughters and two sons in Barrio El Cedro, Guatemala. Silverio is among hundreds of farmers who are involved in Catholic Relief Services’ Water-Smart Agriculture program, which teaches farmers how to improve soil quality and conserve water in the dry corridor of Central America so they can avoid emigrating. (CNS photo/Julian Spath, Catholic Relief Services)

By Dennis Sadowski 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Vanessa Urbina understands how young people in Central America, not seeing an opportunity for work or a good education, could be attracted to make the dangerous trip north in the hope of a better future in the United States.

“Some live in neighborhoods dominated with guns, violence and drug trafficking,” she said. “It discourages them from wanting to go to school. It closes the door for them.”

As coordinator of Fe y Alegria (Faith and Joy), a training and support program for teenagers and young adults in El Progreso, Honduras, Urbina is working to overcome such negative influences and engender a belief that emigration is not the only option.

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Posted in U.S., World

Pope wanted apostles’ relics united to encourage Christian unity

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople prays before a reliquary containing bone shards believed to belong to St. Peter the Apostle, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2019. In a letter to Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Francis explained why he gifted the bronze reliquary. (CNS photo/courtesy Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said giving fragments of St. Peter’s bones to the head of the church founded by Peter’s brother, St. Andrew, was meant to be a reminder and encouragement of the journey toward Christian unity.

In a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Pope Francis explained in detail the reasons he sent him a bronze reliquary containing nine bone fragments in late June. The unexpected gift had been presented to Archbishop Job of Telmessos, the patriarch’s representative, at the Vatican June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Addressing the patriarch as “Your holiness, dear brother,” the pope wrote that he wanted to give the bones, believed to be St. Peter’s, to the patriarch and “the beloved church of Constantinople over which you preside with such devotion.”

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Vatican officials offer guidance for German church gathering

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, president of the German bishops’ conference, speaks to the press at the beginning of the German bishops’ fall assembly in Fulda, Germany, Sept. 24, 2018. Also pictured is Matthias Kopp, spokesman for the conference. (CNS photo/KNA)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The German bishops’ plans for a two-year process of consultation and deliberation on key issues facing the Catholic Church must conform to universal church law and must be approved by the pope, said the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect, sent a letter dated Sept. 4 to Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising and attached an analysis by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts of proposed statutes for the German “synodal way.”

The pontifical council said that, in proposing a process that would include “binding deliberations” on new rules for the church in Germany, the bishops were, in effect, planning a “plenary council,” which would require prior approval by Pope Francis.

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Dorian recovery work shows ‘we are your brother’s keeper,’ says volunteer

Personnel from the Florida Search & Rescue Task Force take a break while recovery bodies from rubble Sept. 10, 2019, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. (CNS photo/Marco Bello, Reuters)

By Tom Tracy 
Catholic News Service

MIAMI (CNS) — As catastrophic as Hurricane Dorian was, the characteristic optimism of Bahamians will help soften the painful recovery to come, according to a hurricane-preparedness volunteer in Nassau.

“There was nothing we could have done to prepare (for Hurricane Dorian), but when you talk to me again five years from now, I will be happy to tell you we will be back on our feet again because we are very resilient people,” said Basil Christie, a former religious education director for the Archdiocese of Nassau in the Bahamas.

Now a retired insurance executive, he said he regularly assists the Catholic Church with hurricane preparedness and recovery. He spoke by phone Sept. 10 with the Florida Catholic, Miami’s archdiocesan newspaper.

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Posted in U.S., World

Church must seek new paths in Amazon, synod secretaries say

Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado, Peru, chats with a man from the indigenous community of Arazaire Feb. 20, 2018. The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon will take place at a time when “both human and natural life are suffering serious and perhaps irreversible destruction,” Bishop Martinez said in a Sept. 12, 2019, article. (CNS photo/stringer)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon will help the Catholic Church make its presence felt and voice heard in a region that is dangerously approaching “a point of no return,” said the special secretaries of the synod.

“It is a great and continuing challenge for the Catholic Church to make the original Amazonian peoples feel part of it and contribute to it with the light of Christ and the spiritual richness that shines in their cultures,” Cardinal-designate Michael Czerny and Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea wrote in an article published Sept. 12 in La Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal.

Cardinal-designate Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Bishop Martinez, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado, Peru, said the synod will take place at a time when “both human and natural life are suffering serious and perhaps irreversible destruction.”

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Cardinal’s 2011 comments on 9/11 attacks still resonate today

An American flag is seen amid the engraved names at the national 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City during ceremonies Sept. 11, 2019, commemorating the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Nearly 3,000 people died in the 2001 attacks on New York City, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon. (CNS photo/Brendan Mcdermid, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) — In preparing to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said part of his message came from the pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Lower Manhattan.

The church became a staging ground for first responders after two hijacked planes crashed in to the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 2001.

“(That priest) said something that really sticks with me,” the cardinal remarked in a Sept. 9, 2011, interview. “He said, ‘Here in New York, we just don’t remember 9/11 — we celebrate 9/12,’ and what he meant is that the nation was not locked into a paralysis of fear, depression, discouragement, somberness.”

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