Flu season has hit Rhode Island and most of the country. What should we be doing to stop the spread of influenza? Last week Bishop Tobin issued guidelines for Pastors concerning influenza and Mass. First, if you have the flu or flu symptoms please stay home and get proper treatment from a doctor. I ask you please not come to Mass if you are seriously ill. Bishop Tobin has dispensed all Catholics suffering from the flu from the obligation to attend Mass.. If you are at Mass and are afraid of contracting the flu or spreading it then at the Sign of Peace simply offer a word or give a nod rather than a handshake. If someone doesn't offer their hand please know it is not an insult but a precaution. Also please wash your hands before and after Mass. All that is really needed during this flu epidemic is to use common sense both at home and at Mass. In the meantime, Bishop Tobin has asked us to pray for all those suffering from the flu that they may soon be restored to full health.
On Wednesday of this week we will mark the 41st Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in our nation. January 22nd is a sad anniversary that calls us to pray for the protection of all unborn children and offer penance for the evil of abortion. We prayt that our nation and our world might recognize and truly value every human life from natural coneption until natural death. This past Monday in the annual Papal "State of World" speech delivered to the Vatican diplomatic corps, Pope Francis said the denial of human dignity was a threat to world peace, and spoke of the problems of hunger among the have-nots and food waste among the haves. The Holy Father went on to say: “Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary.’ For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day."
On Wednesday thousands are marching the streets of our nation's capitol in the annual March for Life. Among them are some of our OLM parishioners including many from the Bishop Hendricken Pro-Life Club. I've had the great privilege of making the march during my life and it is a powerful and joyful event in support of the dignity of human life. At OLM we are celebrating a Mass for the Protection of Human Life on Wednesday at 7:00PM. Bishop Evans is our celebrant and I invite you to join us as we pray together for an increase of the respect for human dignity and human life. We may not be able to make the March for Life but we can all join in praying for an end to abortion and for the protection of the innocent unborn. The Holy Father is right, it is "frightful" to think that these innocents "never see the light of day." Won' t you join us in praying for their protection?
The Rhode Island General Assembly has gone back into session and resumed their legislative duties. As the Director of the Rhode Island Catholic Conference and Chief Lobbyist for the Diocese of Providence, I once again take up my duties during the week lobbying the elected officials. The recent opening of the legislative session began with a prayer. One local atheist blogger took issue with the prayer and the fact that the Catholic Church dare to speak on behalf of her beliefs at the statehouse. It was typical of the rants of those who try to remove God from the public square and possess a venomous animosity for the Catholic Church. History has proven that faith and morality are essential for good public policy. Churches play an important role in offering a prophetic voice at the statehouse and actually have the right to speak out in this country! As we celebrate the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy of fighting for civil rights in our nation it is clear what an essential role religious faith played in the battle for equality for African-Americans. May the voice of the voiceless offered by the Church never be muffled but continue to be boldly proclaimed at our statehouse and at every seat of government! God Bless. Go Pats!!!!!