Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quote of the Day

Like Jesus, the Church must make present the mystery of the incarnation through her enculturation within the various cultures in which she is present. Like St. Paul, the Church in preaching the good news of salvation must strive to be all things to all men. The integration of the newcomer into the local Church does not mean that he must surrender what makes him unique at the door but that his unique gifts be accepted and honored. For, he does come bearing many gifts. 
You do bring many gifts. You are already a force for the renewal of the Church in America. Your presence among us can be the antidote to the crisis of faith experienced by too many American-born Catholics. Through your faith, through your commitment to family life, through your openness to vocations to the priesthood and religious life, through your popular piety: you are bringing to the Catholic Church in America a new and welcomed vitality. To cite just one example of the vitality that immigrants contribute to our Catholic life, let me remind you that in May, when three new priests will be ordained to the service of the Church in Miami, only one of them would have been born here in the United States and his parents are themselves immigrants. 
Ask any child: What is the Church? He or she would most likely answer: the Church is God’s house. If the Church is the Father’s house, then all who are God’s children should feel at home in their Father’s house – and the best way to make someone feel at home is to speak their mother’s tongue.... The word, Catholic, comes from the Greek, Katolikos, and means universal. The Gospel of Jesus announces that salvation is universal, that it is catholic: he sent us to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples. And if salvation is catholic, then the Church founded by Jesus on the Rock of Peter must necessarily be Catholic – catholic not only because of her acceptance of all the teachings of Christ; but also catholic in her people. 
The Gospel is not foreign to any culture, race or people – for the Gospel can make its home in every culture, race, and people and because of that, every race, language and people are called to become children of God the Father through baptism. Our unity is based not on common origins, common language, common culture – our unity is based on a common faith, a common baptism, a common Lord who calls all of humanity to the glory of heaven through his passion, death and resurrection.... 
Diversity does not cause division in the Body of Christ, it enriches that Body which is the Church – only sin can divide us. We should fear sin; we have nothing to fear from diversity. To be a good Catholic here or anywhere else, you don’t have to change your culture, you don’t have to change your traditions, you don’t have to change your language — you just have to change your hearts. As Catholics, we must welcome the stranger to our assembly, breaking the bread of life with him who, in Christ, is no longer a stranger but a brother, a sister.

We must see Christ in the migrant – for Christ himself was perhaps the primordial migrant: the Son of God migrated from heaven to live among us.
–Thomas G. Wenski
Archbishop of Miami
Epiphany/National Migration Week Mass
St Mary's Cathedral
6 January 2013
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...and yet, as the Gospels duly recount, "There was no room for Him in the inn."

And so it seems – among no shortage of His own people, no less – plus ça change....

Over these days, the Stateside church focuses on and celebrates the reason why – despite having hemorrhaged some 30 million (almost entirely Anglo) souls over recent years; indeed, a tenth of the general population of these shores – today, there are still over 60 million American Catholics as opposed to the 30 million who would've remained... at least, had an epochal tide of Providence not come this way in our time.

If nothing else, as this Migration Week draws to its close, we'd all be the wiser to take a minute and just think about it.