Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for September 2018
Brothers, the newsletter you receive in your e-mail each month is the abridged version. The full version you will find on this site contains content from state and supreme. There's a lot of good content you may be missing.
Since the Newsletter contains a lot of personal email addresses, they have been moved into the Members-Only section of the site. They will be found under the heading. "Council Documents."
The first reading is taken from the Book of Wisdom 2:12, 17-20. Against the background of Egyptian worship of animals and mockery of Jewish trust in God, the author devotes much of chapters 1 - 5 to the ineffectiveness of such mockery when God has promised immortality to those who remain faithful.
The second reading is from the Letter of St. James 3:16, 4:3. "Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask." In this reading St. James tells us to recognize the source of our disagreements.
The Gospel is from St. Mark 9:30-37. The Apostles were still very worldly-minded. They were full of the hope that Christ would establish an earthly messianic kingdom, that he would not only free their holy land from the hated pagan rulers but that he would set up a worldwide empire for the people of God. Many of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament spoke of a worldwide kingdom; all nations would submit to the descendant of David; Jerusalem would be the magnet which would attract all peoples. The prophets, however, were speaking of the true messianic kingdom, the spiritual kingdom that Christ would establish. The Apostles were as yet unable to see the true meaning of these prophecies. They took them as referring to a worldly kingdom. They had come to believe that Christ was the promised Messiah, therefore, he would overcome all enemies and all opposition and set up this kingdom. How, therefore, could his enemies overpower him much less put him to death before he had accomplished his task? Thus they refused to believe his prophecies concerning his coming tortures and death.
Now, either in trying to understand what he had so plainly told them, or maybe in putting this disturbing thought far from their minds, they began disputing with one another as to which of them would have the highest post of honor in the earthly messianic kingdom which they had envisaged. How worldly but how human they were! We must not forget though, that they were not yet really Christians — they needed the death and resurrection of Christ to make them what they became — His true followers and loyal disciples.
There was in the unformed Apostles a desire to turn Christ's kingdom into an earthly welfare state, rather than into a preparation for heaven. All Christians know that Christ suffered and died for their salvation, and that he asked his followers to take up their cross and follow him if they wished to be his disciples. The first generations of Christians fully understood this and faithfully followed him even to martyrdom. However, as time went on and opposition to the Christian faith disappeared, so too did the zeal and fervor of many Christians. For centuries we have had nominal Christians in Christ's Church -- men and women who tried to make their paradise in this world, and forgot the everlasting heaven.
Our own age has seen an unprecedented increase in this falling away of Christians. Leaving aside the parts of Europe which are professedly atheist -- but where in spite of the leaders there are many sincere and devout Christians -- the number of lapsed and nominal Christians in the other Western countries is frightening. These non-practicing Christians, unwilling to carry their crosses, have decided to make this earth their paradise. They want prosperity, comfort and happiness in this world. The vast majority of them, of course, refuse to look to the future; it could be an unpleasant thought, yet they must see that in every town and village there is a mortician, an undertaker who makes a good living disposing of human "remains." Die they must; "and what then?" should be a question which overshadows their lives.
Many of these people who in practice have abandoned Christianity, try to salve their consciences by devoting any time they can spare to making this planet a better place in which to live. It is an excellent aim with a possibility of success — if the Fatherhood of God and the true brotherhood of man are upheld. But otherwise its a vain Utopia. If God, and Christ's teaching are left out of our reckoning, we shall ever have jealousies, enmities, hatred and wars. Christians have made war on Christians because neither side in the struggle was truly Christian. What chance then has the world when Christ and Christianity are banished from it?
Today's thought for each one of us is this: Christ became man, suffered and died as man, for our sakes. By his resurrection He conquered death and opened heaven for us. Heaven is our true destiny. Loving God and our neighbor and carrying our cross is the only way to reach heaven. Forget this "heaven on earth" doctrine; it does not and never will exist! Accept Christ and you are accepting the Father who sent Him. He in turn will accept you.
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
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The Knights of Columbus, a dynamic, fraternal Catholic Organization serving the community through charity, seeks new members!
If you are a Catholic male, 18 years old or older and want to serve those in need, we want you. More importantly, your community needs you! We are Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism! Join at eMembership
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To learn more about the Knights of Columbus see our video galleries @ http://kofcknights.org/CouncilSite/video-gallery.asp?CNO=11106. You will especially want to view the video: "Who We Are As Knights of Columbus." To learn more about our St. John the Baptist Council #11106 explore this website further. To see some of the wonderful opportunities to serve and share in our work see the page titled “About Our Council."
We are one of over 150 Knights of Columbus councils in the State of Maryland. For information about the activities being conducted by the Maryland State Council of the Knights of Columbus, visit www.kofc-md.org.
In preparation for this new program year, we asked our Chancellor and Breakfast Chair - Bernard Nestorr to share with us about this council program
Why do you believe brother knights ought to consider helping with this activity?
“Brother Knights ought to consider helping because we need volunteers to help relieve the regulars when they cannot make it for one reason or another. This is an activity that is very satisfying. It encourages fellowship among the parishioners, and is another focal point for other activities like recruitment, sale of raffle tickets, sale of Christmas cards, collection of eyeglasses, used telephones, and promotion other KoC events.”
What kinds of help do you most need?
“We need volunteers to serve as cooks, cashiers, helpers, closers, buyers, handymen. The amount of time to volunteer depends on how much time the brother Knight is willing to provide. It can be as little as one hour after the regular Sunday masses at 7:30 am, 9:00 am or 10:30 am”
The Sunday Breakfast program runs every Sunday from September to May, except on the first Sunday of the month, and some long weekends like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter weekend. So there are many opportunities to help. Why not consider calling him so he can count on you? Contact Bernard at 301-445-1270 or by email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for an opportunity to help with this or other council activities? Check out “About Our Council” list for on our website at http://kofcknights.org/CouncilSite/about.asp?CNO=11106 for a complete list of Committee and Activity Directors.
Knights of Columbus like to say their membership is its own reward. It’s a way to acknowledge the fulfillment they receive from belonging to a diverse group of Catholic men whose shared principles are needed more than ever in the world today. These much needed principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism were handed down by Father McGivney and the Order’s first leaders. After all service is a mark of the Knights of Columbus.
The first reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 50:5-9. The prophet Isiah describes some of the sufferings which the Messiah will endure.
The second reading is from the Letter of St. James 2:14-18 and is a continuation of the practical guidance we heard two Sundays ago. Christians must be "doers of the word not hearers only."
The Gospel is from St. Mark 8:27-35. We need not be surprised at the slowness of the Apostles in grasping the messiahship of Jesus. He did not want the crowds who flocked to him to know this until later — after his resurrection — because they had the idea that the Messiah would be a political leader who would set them free from their subjection to pagan Rome. It was not until this occasion, near Caesarea Philippi, somewhat over a year after he had called them, that he admitted to his Apostles that he was the Messiah. He charged them not to make this fact known outside of their own limited circle. To forestall and erase any wrong ideas of a political leader which some of the Apostles might have, he immediately foretold the sufferings and death he would have to endure at the hands of the leaders of the Jews. He would be conquered and humiliated by his enemies but their victory would be short-lived -- death would not hold him -- he would rise triumphant on the third day.
To the Apostles this seemed incredible and Peter, their spokesman, told him so. This outlook of the Apostles is also very understandable. They had seen him work many miracles, God was evidently very near to him: how could God let his enemies humiliate and kill him? They did not know God's plan, they were fishermen and knew little if anything of the Old Testament messianic prophecies. Had they read of the Suffering Servant in second-Isaiah they would not have disbelieved the prophecy of his forthcoming sufferings, death and resurrection. And his mention of his resurrection after three days, which would prove that it was he and not his enemies who conquered, fell on deaf ears, because the idea of a resurrection of that kind was incomprehensible to them. We know how slow they were to accept his resurrection even after it had happened.
Although the message was only vaguely and dubiously grasped, Christ had forewarned his Apostles (he repeated this twice later: Mk. 9: 9-10; 31-32 and 10: 32-34), so as to prepare them for the scandal of the cross. While it did not really prepare them because they were still too worldly-minded, it did help to strengthen their faith once the facts convinced them of the resurrection. They then realized that their beloved Master was more than Messiah, that he was in fact the Son of God, who with knowledge aforethought freely accepted his humiliations and shameful death for their sakes and ours. They gladly gave their lives to bringing this news of God's great love for men to all nations. From being a scandal the cross became the emblem and the proud standard of God's love for mankind.
We are in the happy position of the Apostles after the resurrection of Jesus. We know how much God loves us; we appreciate the humiliation that the incarnation brought on his beloved Son and the sufferings and cruel death which the sins of the world, ours included, brought on the Son of God. All of this took place because God wished to make us his adopted sons and worthy of the inheritance he had planned for us. For a faithful and grateful Christian, however, theoretical appreciation is not enough. Atonement has been made for our sins, but we have still a very important part to play. Our sins can be forgiven but we must truly repent of them before God will forgive them.
St. Mark adds some words of Christ which illustrate what practical form our appreciation and gratitude for Christ's sufferings should take. We must be ready to follow him on the road to Calvary. We must deny ourselves — deprive ourselves not only of sinful pleasure or gain, but even of lawful things at times, in order to be Christ-like. We must take up our cross and follow him. This does not mean that we must search for crosses — there are plenty of them in any good Christian's life — but we must gladly accept the crosses life brings us and see in them God's means of keeping us close to him.
Life on earth is very short, eternal life is endless. No thinking man, and certainly no true Christian, would risk losing the eternal life for the sake of a few paltry gains or a few extra years here below.
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
Do you notice the "Unknight Market Center" part of our website? The purpose of the UKnight Market Center is to extend the fraternal relationships shared by brother Knights to the marketplace, and to use the power of this market center to provide financial support for our council. There is a list of Business Categories to help those who use our website to find a business or service they might be interested in. All of the businesses that we encouage to be listed here help provide financial support to the council.
Check out the Fact Sheet on the center and see if you would be interested in helping approach local businesses using the website.
THE VALUE OF LIFE
Until 2014, the movement to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the United States had succeeded in only four states — by referendum in Oregon and Washington, a state legislature vote in Vermont and court decision in Montana. Its main proponent was the Hemlock Society, which rebranded itself Compassion & Choices in 2004.
In 2014, Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old from California with terminal brain cancer, became the face of the so-called “right-to-die” movement. Funded by wealthy donors and groups such as billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, Compassion & Choices launched a multimedia campaign promoting Maynard’s “right to die on her own terms.”
In the words of Stephanie Packer, “It glamorized suicide as a heroic event.”
On Nov. 1, 2014, Maynard swallowed a lethal dose of narcotics in Oregon. At the time of her death, an estimated 100 million people had heard her story, and soon some 25 jurisdictions in the country were considering physician-assisted suicide, including California, where momentum was growing.
In early 2015, Stephanie Packer stepped into the media spotlight as a reverse image of Brittany Maynard. When Stephanie was diagnosed in 2012 with scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that was attacking her lungs, she was told she had three years to live — a prognosis she has outlived.
Like Maynard, Stephanie was also 29 when she found out that she had a terminal illness. But rather than advocate for suicide, Stephanie joyfully spoke of her choice to live and enjoy her remaining time with her family, while speaking out for the vulnerable who would be victimized if assisted suicide were legalized.
“Compassion & Choices,” she said, “doesn’t acknowledge the value that a terminal patient has, especially after they are sick.”
Stephanie’s outspokenness soon brought her to the attention of the national media. NPR, CNN, The Washington Post and other news outlets covered her story, and one media executive told her that her story had sent their ratings “through the roof.”
However, some responses were brutally unkind; after NPR ran Stephanie’s story, her husband received death threats.
“They just ate us alive after that. It was just comment after comment of nasty stuff,” Stephanie said. “People told me that I should just off myself and that they feel bad for my kids.”
Brian and Stephanie were unfazed by the negative comments online, but they did make sure that their children stopped reading them.
Less than a year after Maynard’s death, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Options Act into law Oct. 5, 2015. The next day, a signature-gathering campaign backed by California’s bishops was launched to place a referendum on California’s November 2016 ballot to overturn the bill. Campaign leaders had 90 days to collect 365,880 signatures.
Mark Padilla, the culture of life chairman for the California State Council, coordinated the parish-based signature-gathering drive. “Ours was an effort run all by volunteers,” Padilla explained. “And the Knights gave it a wonderful shot.”
Although more than 200,000 signatures were collected, the effort fell short of the goal.
‘THE BEGINNING OF TYRANNY’
On the day before the assisted suicide bill went into effect, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles reflected on its devastating ramifications.
“The logic of assisted suicide leads inevitably to the government and corporate administrators essentially deciding which lives are worth saving and caring for and who would be better off dead,” the archbishop said. “The criteria for such decisions will always be arbitrary and the process will always mean the strong and powerful deciding the fate of those who are weak and less influential in society. This is the beginning of tyranny.”
The following day, Pope Francis addressed health care professionals with these words: “We cannot give in to the functionalist temptation to apply quick and drastic solutions, stirred by false compassion or by simple criteria of efficiency and economic saving. The dignity of human life is at stake; the dignity of the medical vocation is at stake.”
Colorado became the sixth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide after Proposition 106 passed on the November 2016 ballot. Despite the efforts of the Knights of Columbus to raise awareness, the End of Life Options Act passed 65 to 35 percent.
“The TV commercials funded by Compassion & Choices sank us,” said Colorado State Deputy James D. Caffrey.
Less than a week earlier, on Nov. 2, the Washington, D.C., city council voted 11 to 2 to legalize assisted suicide.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, noted that this was the most extreme assisted suicide legislation in the United States.
“It goes beyond assisted suicide by allowing third parties to administer the lethal drugs, opening the door even further to coercion and abuse,” Cardinal Dolan said in a November statement. “Every suicide is tragic, whether someone is young or old, healthy or sick. But the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide creates two classes of people: those whose suicides are to be prevented at any cost and those whose suicides are deemed a positive good.”
In November 2016, Stephanie Packer flew to New Jersey and testified before legislators, asking state senators to reject the proposed Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.
Her testimony in Trenton made the state legislators think twice about the issue, according to Marie Tasy, the executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, the organization that funded Stephanie’s trip.
“She has an indomitable spirit, and she wants to do everything she can to live and to spend as much time with her family as possible,” Tasy said.
New Jersey state senators have until January 2018 to vote on the assisted suicide measure, which could be scheduled for a vote at any time.
A WORLDWIDE CRISIS
The United States is far from the only country where the movement promoting “medically assisted suicide” has grown. In June 2016, Canadian lawmakers passed legislation legalizing the practice nationwide.
A recent policy left doctors and nurses in Ontario under pressure to either perform assisted suicide or make an “effective referral,” sending the patient to another physician who is willing to assist. A similar law is in place in Vermont.
According to Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, this referral is the moral equivalent of participating in the act.
Many countries around the world feel increased pressure to legalize not only physician-assisted suicide, but also euthanasia — the intentional killing of one person by another.
“You have this new attitude that it’s OK for a doctor to kill a patient just because they are suffering,” said Schadenberg, who is a member of Rev. John McMaster Council 6495 in West Lorne, Ontario, and former culture of life chairman for the Ontario State Council. “But suffering is part of the human condition. The question is how do we as a society deal with those who are going through a difficult time in their life?”
Colombia, Switzerland and Luxembourg now allow euthanasia. In the Netherlands, where the Dutch Supreme Court legalized euthanasia in 1984, the government is pushing to expand euthanasia to people who are neither sick nor dying, but merely think their “life is complete.”
It was in the Netherlands that a Catholic nun was euthanized against her will by a doctor in 2004. The doctor argued that his patient was dying of cancer and was hindered by her religious beliefs from making the best decision — so he made it for her.
Belgium has the most liberal euthanasia laws, allowing mentally ill patients to receive lethal injections. It is also the first country to allow terminally ill children to request euthanasia.
Eighty-one-year-old Christine Nagel in Calgary, Alberta, saw where the laws were going and decided to get her first tattoo: the words “Don’t euthanize me.” She told Canadian news outlet Globalnews.ca, “It’s drastic, but this very clearly says, ‘I’m going to live until God’s ready for me.’”
Nagel said the cost of caring for the aging population, known as the Silver Tsunami, was behind the government’s push for assisted suicide.
“Our government and Supreme Court do not of course mention anything about money,” Nagel said. “But they do warn us that within a few years, seniors will outnumber the rest of the population and will need an army of caregivers to cope with them.”
Although Compassion & Choices has never raised the financial issue, Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphry openly wrote in his book Freedom to Die that “in the final analysis, economics, not the quest for broadened individual liberties or increased autonomy, will drive assisted suicide to the plateau of acceptable practice.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie Packer stays focused on her family and her fight to keep herself — and others — alive. “I just want to see tomorrow,” she said.
To make a tax-deductible donation to help the Packers, please click here.
CLARA FOX is a staff writer for Angelus News, the multimedia news platform of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The Council recently delivered 164 pairs of used eyeglasses and several pairs of used hearing aids to the Sandy Spring Lions to distribute to needy recipients.
Additionally, we are still collecting used cell phones for delivery to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for reprogramming to 911and distribution to victims of domestic violence.
If you have any questions, please contact Stu Sklamm at 301-384-0784 or at email@example.com
In our council effort to promote the Pro-Life Cause we are now including a link to the latest newsletter of the Garbriel Network.
Some of the information is summarized in our own newsletter but this is more complete. Enjoy!
The full website is at: http://gabrielnetwork.org/