As 2017 draws to an end, are you breathing a sign of relief and looking with hope to a better year in 2018? Have you been saddened and horrified by the violence and divisions in our country and our Church?
Before we move into another year and wondering what it will bring, it’s time to pause to contemplate the beautiful feast of Christmas. God is in His heaven, and once again we welcome the Savior who comes to us in the beautiful form of the Christ child, beloved of his young Mother and protecting Father, adored by Shepherds and Kings and welcomed by a waiting world in need of redemption.
But let’s, first look at America this year. In the wake of hurricanes in Houston, Louisiana, and Florida, people came from everywhere to help with supplies and evacuations. Following the example of Dunkirk, volunteers came in their small boats – sail boats, motor boats and row boats to help bring people to safety.
In the aftermath of the terrible shooting in Las Vegas, ordinary citizens became Good Samaritans, transporting people to hospitals in trucks, vans, and even taxi cabs. When there was a call for blood, lines formed around the blocks of the hospitals with people wanting to donate blood.
As sad and troubling as these scenes were, one thing is still true – America is Good and its people are still good. People who respond in times of disaster when help is needed. People are still fighting to get into America, not risking everything to get out.
There is positive news about Catholics around the world also. On October 7, the feast of our Lady of the Rosary, the citizens of Poland formed a human chain around the country and prayed the Rosary. The official website of the event reported: “Therefore, we believe that if the rosary is prayed by about a million Poles on the borders of our country, it may not only change the course of events, but open hearts of our compatriots to the grace of God.” It was reportedly one of the largest prayer events ever in Europe.
The website, giving reasons for the event, noted that this year was the 100th Anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. “Through this unprecedented prayer of the Rosary we want to show the faithfulness and obedience of Mary who tirelessly calls us to recite the Rosary.”
On the feast of Christ the King, November 26, the people of Ireland participated in the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith in Ireland. Tens of thousands of people made their way to over 250 coastal locations to pray for the protection of life and faith in Ireland. Once again, the organizers referred to the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima.
The petitions were to Defend Life against the treat of abortion and requesting Faith to Flourish – the preservation of the Faith in Ireland. One of the organizers, Kathy Sinnot, remarked “we don’t have the media, she said “But . . . We have guardian angels, We have Our Lady, and We have our prayers.”
When the Catholic Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels hosted a service with the United Protestant Church in Belgium, several young Catholics disrupted the ceremony by reciting the rosary at the back of the Cathedral, preventing the pastor from beginning his sermon. The police eventually broke up the group and escorted them out.
The leaflet they handed out reportedly said: “Our Cathedral is a Catholic building built by our fathers to be a House of God for the celebration of the holy Mass, for the praise of God and the saints. The occupation of our cathedral by Protestants to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is therefore a profanation.”
When the Pontifical Academy for Life was recently dismantled and new leadership and members appointed, many of whom have written or spoken against Catholic teachings on life, such as abortion and euthanasia, a new laity-led John Paul II Academy for Human Life and Family has been founded, led by Joseph Siefert, formerly a member of the Pontifical Academy of Life, with a mission for the study and defense of life and marriage.
As the song from the 60’s said, “The times they are a-changing.” We can rejoice in the new activism among the faithful in various parts of the world. They provide a shining example for us as we continue our mission to bring our Catholic Faith into the public square. Believing that we must know our faith to defend it, we invite leading Catholic speakers to present events in the Church and the world from a Catholic perspective.
Our Quarterly Newsletter provides articles clarifying the faith and answering often asked questions about devotions, sacraments, and saints. Our new YouTube channel, Catholic Citizens TV provides videos of talks at our Annual Dinner and monthly luncheons. And last but not least, our popular website – www.catholiccitizens.org – provides news about the Catholic Faith from around the world, inspiring action among the faithful.
We are called to be the Church Militant in the Communion of Saints. The Saints in heaven assist us, and the holy souls can intercede for us, but the work of the world is in our hands. This is no time to be discouraged or feel defeated. We need all of you to join us in the Restoration. Courageous Catholics around the world are awakening from a long sleep and speaking out. We can do no less. We ask you to prayerfully consider a generous donation to Catholic Citizens of Illinois. Our mission and joy is to defend our holy Faith and we ask you to join us in this work.
May the new-born Christ Child bless you during this beloved Christmas Season and bring you every blessing during the coming year!
Mary Anne Hackett
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