In your name, I welcome Salesian Father Sean McEwen who is with us at all Masses this weekend. Father is here to preach about the good works of the Salesian Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in the Missions. The Second Collection this weekend is dedicated to supporting the Salesian Missions. Father McEwen is a native of Canada who was called to the religious life during college. He spent several years working as a Salesian Lay Missioner in the inner-city of Birmingham, Alabama, in Sierra Leone, and in rural Bolivia. After this experience he decided to pursue studies and formation to become a Salesian Priest. Currently Fr. McEwen serves in Johannesburg, South Africa where he oversees the Don Bosco Educational Project. This projectserves children living in destitute, informal settlements around the city. Younger children are educated by the Salesian Sisters while older youths receive vocational training in this project.
The long history of the Salesians began in 1815 with the birth of their founder, St. John “Don” Bosco, who influenced his peers even as a child. In 1841 he wasordained a priest and in 1859 he established the Society of St. Francis of Sales now known as the Salesians. Since their founding, the Salesians have always focused on the education of the poor and most vulnerable young people. Today they are located in more than 130 countries and touch the lives of millions of children and families. They continue the legacyof Don Bosco today as they proclaim the Good News and serve the poor across the globe. I thank you for your warm welcome of Fr. McEwen and your prayerful and generous financial support of the Salesian Missions this weekend.
We mark Independence Day this Tuesday on the Fourth of July as we celebrate our freedom from the shackles of British tyranny and oppression. On the Fourth of July across the nation, we celebrate freedom and we recall the basic principles that prompted the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, namely, our unchanging and unchangeable conviction that we enjoy certain unalienable rights and that the laws of the land – if they be good laws – recognize and protect those rights for all. Each successive generation of Americans has recognized that our Founding Fathers never thought that they had produced a perfect government but each generation of citizens has honored the vision and worked eagerly and tirelessly to make this American experiment a beacon of light, a true success and a helping hand among the family of nations.
As we celebrate our nation's independence on this Tuesday with pride, joy and gratitude we cannot afford to ignore that we should take the time to pray for our nation, pray for those who lead us in government and pray for those who serve and protect our freedom in the military. So join us Tuesday morning for Independence Day Mass at 8:30am. There is no better way to begin the celebration of the Fourth of July then with the prayerful celebration of the Eucharist. If you cannot make it to the Mass, spend some time in silent prayer on July 4th. Take the time to give thanks to God for the many freedoms and blessings we enjoy as citizens of this nation. Ask the Lord to help those who are burdened with poverty, sickness, or ignorance.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia writes: “How much of God do you find in American public life? How many times in a day are the words ‘Jesus Christ’ abused at work, on the street, in our public entertainment? How many malls close, how many people take a break from work, and how many families disconnect from media, sports, and shopping in order to spend time together, without distractions, on an average Sunday? And how much time do any of us make for silence—the kind of silence that allows God to speak, and us to listen?”
Before the cookouts and celebrations, prior to the fireworks and parties on July 4th, take some time to be silent and alone with the Lord. Give thanks for your blessings andthen share them. Pray for the nation andthen celebrate her independence. Welcome to OLM Father McEwen! I thank you all in advance for your generous support of the Missions! Happy Fourth of July! Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Sox!!