On Friday, we weary weary of the sun and walking and opted for the Love and Life Center as Placio de Desportes. Curtis Stephen and Jackie Francois did a wonder job or warming up the very large facilities.
Bob and Maggie McCarty graciously welcomed the pilgrims with a continental roll call (even seeing if any penguin pilgrims had found their way from Antarctica.) Bob identified with the theme of the day by examining that the saints followed the example of Christ at the Last Supper- in sharing in Eucharist (communion) and washing feet (seeking justice)
We were blessed to have Archbishop Dolan as our catechist again… This was not intentional! We sought the promise of seats and air conditioning.
Dolan spoke of the blessing we have had in the Americas because of the missionary spirit of Spain. When Christopher Columbus first landed, his first act was to plant the cross. Dolan spoke of four elements of a missionary spirit:
– Charity: What is most attractive about us is when we live up to the “See how they love one another” descriptiuon. We are most nobly human when we give ourselves away in love.
– Joy is the infallible sign of God’s presence. He told a story of a curmudgeonly dying AIDS patient who sought a deathbed conversion because of the good sisters who joyfully cared for him. Joy orders life into Jesus, Others, and then Yourself.
– Hope: Archbishop Dolan was formerly the CRS bishop liaison when the Haiti earthquake happened. The Haitian Archbishop died in the tragedy and Our Lady of Perpetual Help cathedral was destroyed. Yet, the cross in the church stood. People no matter what condition they found their lives came from all over just to touch the cross, to seek hope. Hope is resilient and won’t give up. Then he told a story of a Vietnamese bishop who was imprisoned and persecuted for a very long time. Yet, he help onto his faith and hope so much that the witness inspired his jailers to form a pectoral cross and a bishop’s ring out of electrical wires upon his release.
– Love of Church: A theist is one who believes in God. A Christian is one who believes in Jesus Christ as God. A Catholic is one who believes in Jesus Christ and finds home within his Church. John Paul II called for love of Jesus Christ and His Church to be the passion of our lives. The Church is the face of God when it is radiant with faith and even when disfigured from persecution or our our disfigurements. He spoke of a church that was burned (intentionally, it was a controlled burn) to the ground and left only the nails that had held it all together. The parishioners claimed those nails- we have inherited the nails of Jesus to uphold the Church. We can never give up, seeking to be a Church that is live goving, noble, and worthy of the invitation we offer to others