Synod Blog – September 30, 2014

//Synod Blog – September 30, 2014

Synod Blog – September 30, 2014

I’m in the Eternal City – Roma.  My visit will be for three weeks, and so I ask for your prayers.  Included at the end of this blog is Pope Francis’ prayer for the Synod on Challenges of the Family in Light of Evangelization, which many of you would have prayed in your parishes this past Sunday.  Please take some time each day to continue this prayer for the family.

Before describing what is going on in Rome, I would like to share the full and fruitful weekend back in Louisville. Three major events occurred, and each deserves mention and prayers. 

The first relates to the rich presence of Latino families in our Archdiocese, as we celebrated the second Encuentro. (The word encuentro means meeting or encounter in Spanish.) Thanks to Annette Turner, Eva Gonzales and all the staff of the Office of Multicultural Ministry, Latino leaders and their families gathered at St. Pius Church in Louisville for a full day of Mass, workshops, and community. We began with morning Mass, and it was so good to join with many of the priests who provide pastoral care to Latinos so generously throughout the Archdiocese. 

Fr. Michael Tobin helped me with the homily. Between my limited Spanish and his fluency and quick translation, I was able to convey that the Lord Jesus is present in the gift of our Latino families with three distinct blessings that Latino families bring:  

  • The increase in reverence, devotion, and joy to the celebrations of the sacraments.
  • The great love of family and commitment of time to family members.
  • The joyful celebration when together with others.

These gifts provide a renewal of evangelization that is having a profound effect on the life of the Archdiocese.

I also announced the appointment of Fr. Joe Rankin as our first Vicar for Hispanic Ministry.  He will work closely with me in providing unity to the priests serving the Latino community, in welcoming new priests (such as the two priests who will arrive from the Mexican Archdiocese of Leon within a month), in working closely with Eva Gonzales in the Office of Multicultural Ministry, and in helping me provide leadership over the coming years.  I am so grateful that he said yes. He also will continue as pastor of St. Rita and St. Luke Parishes.

That Saturday afternoon I joined more than 100 deacons and spouses, as well as deacon candidates, at Holy Spirit Church for a town meeting and for Mass.  The deacon candidates received the Ministry of Lector, which signals that their ordination is just two years away.  The deacon family is such a rich gift, touching virtually every one of our 111 parishes.  The lively exchange at the town meeting reminded me of their pastoral zeal and of our great blessing to have such a strong diaconate community in the Archdiocese.

Archbishop greets attendees at the Mass celebrating the 75th anniversary of Catholic Charities at the Cathedral on Sunday, October 28.

Archbishop greets attendees at the Mass celebrating the 75th anniversary of Catholic Charities at the Cathedral on Sunday, October 28.

Then on Sunday morning, I celebrated Mass at the Cathedral for the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Catholic Charities of Louisville.  Sunday’s scriptures were perfect as Jesus commended the son who acted in love to others, even though reluctant at first, rather than his brother who said yes and did nothing.  The charism of Pope Francis to serve others generously in the name of Jesus and through His power was so evident.  From offering direct care to those who suffer to self-help to changing systems that are unjust, Catholic Charities for these 75 years has been ministering in Christ’s name, and the links to parishes are growing stronger each day.

In my homily, I recalled that the work of Catholic Charities has been essential to the Church since Jesus sent forth His apostles.  In Kentucky, this service to others began and was especially evident for decades through the ministry of our women religious. In 1939, Archbishop Floersh formed Catholic Charities, and its first work involved reaching out to mothers and their infants.  The Queen’s Daughters took the lead in this ministry and continue to this day.  In 1948, the first refugee family was received, and 15,000 people have been served through this program since that year.  The Sister Visitor program also has been present for decades.  I extend special congratulations to Mark Kircher, Chair of the Board of Catholic Charities, board members, and to Executive Director Steve Bogus and the staff of Catholic Charities as we begin our next 75 years together.

I write this blog on Tuesday morning, the feast of St. Jerome.  It will be a full week with fruitful visits with various offices of the Holy See. 

There are many Americans in Rome these days, including several American seminarians who will be ordained to the diaconate on Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica.  One of these seminarians is Knoxville’s Michael Hendershott, and I am thrilled to see so many of my friends from my days of serving as Bishop of Knoxville.

This evening I will visit our two seminarians, Casey Sanders and Brandon DeToma and share a nice meal with them.  Our seminarians give such great hope for the future as they continue to reflect the fine caliber of our priests, a reality that has marked the life of the Archdiocese of Louisville for two centuries.

Of course this is the week of preparation for the Synod on the Family. The formal beginning of the Synod is on Sunday, with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.  I have come to Rome with great support and insights from many and with the rich tradition of Church teaching.  I have three intentions, which I brought to the altar this morning:

  • To appreciate the beauty of marriage, family, and the vision of sexuality given by Sacred Scripture and Church teaching.
  • To restore the confidence of the faithful in their ability to form and sustain Christian families.
  • To respond to the great need to walk with – to accompany as Pope Francis has said so often – those families who struggle and whose wounds need healing.

Please join me in praying for these intentions.  For your convenience, I end this blog with the Prayer for the Family, written by Pope Francis and promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. At the Cathedral, I used this prayer this past Sunday to conclude the Prayers of the Faithful and have been praying it each day:


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

in you we contemplate

the splendour of true love,

to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

grant that our families too

may be places of communion and prayer,

authentic schools of the Gospel

and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may families never again

experience violence, rejection and division:

may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may the approaching Synod of Bishops

make us once more mindful

of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

graciously hear our prayer.



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2017-10-13T15:53:06+00:00September 30th, 2014|Archbishop's Blog|