From Rome: Day 1

//From Rome: Day 1

From Rome: Day 1

Friday, October 4

Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and, while Pope Francis is on pilgrimage to Assisi, I find myself at the end of Day 1 in Rome. What a great day to begin this journey: the feast of St. Francis.  

The purpose of this journey is for the President (Cardinal Dolan) and me as Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to meet with prefects and staffs of various congregations in Rome to discuss issues of importance to the Catholic Church in the United States.  Cardinal Dolan and I are accompanied by the General and Assistant General Secretary of the USCCB, Msgr. Ronny Jenkins and Msgr. Brian Bransfield.

I just read the news from Assisi.  Pope Francis called on all to imitate St. Francis as this great saint imitated the Lord Jesus in his simplicity of life and generosity. That generosity in sharing what he had with others uncovered for him a joy that is lasting in this world and provided a glimpse of what we hope for in heaven.

Our Holy Father asked that we live in a way that is more mindful of those who are poor and to share more freely. I could not help but think of the annual Catholic Services Appeal in the Archdiocese of Louisville and how our family of 111 parishes in 24 counties of Central Kentucky helps one another. When we are generous, we experience that relationship of joy and giving in our lives:  joy, which is a true gift or grace from God, brings forth sharing.   Sin, not only original sin but also personal sin, has a way of masking our true nature of being “made in the image and likeness of God,” a nature that calls us to be abundantly generous.  

The power of example – St. Francis, Pope Francis, and so many generous friends whom we encounter – also can move us to deep generosity.  I have never regretted giving; though there have been times in my life that I look back at lost opportunities to share with others.  Thank God for the witness of Pope Francis!

Seminarian Casey Sanders and Archbishop Kurtz in Rome

Seminarian Casey Sanders and Archbishop Kurtz in Rome

I am staying at North American College, arriving here yesterday in the midst of a celebration for 40 some deacons who had been ordained in the morning.  While I was dragging my suitcase to my room, I could not help but sense the great spirit of family and friends and, of course, the joy of the new deacons as the Church rejoices in these new servants of The Lord.  They are all getting ready for ordination to the priesthood in less than a year.  Let us pray for them.

I also am happy to say that I visited with our Louisville seminarian in Rome, Casey Sanders. He is doing well.  I have included a photo of us at the North American College. Casey is one of 17 seminarians preparing for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Louisville and is our first in Rome for some time.  He is doing well and, of course, asks for your prayers.

Today we met with the new prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, Archbishop Stella and his staff and then with Archbishop Mamberti, Secretary for the 2nd section of the Secretariat of State, charged with relations with states or countries throughout the world.  These visits gave me much to pray for at this morning’s Mass before we set out.  Of course, I prayed in thanksgiving for our priests and deacons in the Archdiocese and for those throughout the world. The Congregation for Clergy also assists seminarians, and it was natural to remember our 17 by name.

At the second visit, the assaults on religious freedom throughout the world, the terrible plight of so many in many nations, and refugees were the topic of discussions.  I prayed for all those who are persecuted with special prayers for followers of Christ who are suffering violence simply for seeking to follow the Prince of Peace.

“Make me an instrument of your peace…” We can recite St. Francis’ prayer practically by heart and ask the Lord Jesus to place these words in our hearts and actions.


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2017-10-13T15:53:08+00:00October 5th, 2013|Archbishop's Blog|