Newsletter, August 26, 2021
What Next ?
I think most all of us were looking forward to September bringing in a new era of hope and returning to a style of living around the city free from the challenges and hard restrictions imposed by the pandemic. And now as we need to start wearing masks again and the news from near and far is so grim, everyone has to dig deep to find a positive energy. On the one hand, one could look around and see people who are suffering in unimaginable ways, for example, in Haiti and in Afghanistan. On the other hand, every person and family searches to find his or her footing given our current reality.
Recently, I was writing to families of school-age children regarding our religious education program. Conscious of how very stressed parents are as the opening of school fast approaches, the last thing I wanted to do was to increase anxiety with a list of to do’s. As I think about these times, it seems to me that preparing ourselves and our children to grow more deeply in their faith is really not a task on a checklist, it is more a gift and a rich, valuable resource.
Standing with people who have undergone profound losses and setbacks throughout my many years as a priest has often offered me moments of inspiration, even edification. For it is when we find ourselves in some of our deepest holes or facing the steepest of mountains and feeling helpless that our faith can often lead us forward. It is, in fact, a tapping into the faith knowledge of the infinite power of God manifest in God’s unconditional love for each of us.
For the person of Jesus Christ is meant to be that ineffable resource and strength for anyone who so chooses to accept such a friendship. I fully realize this perspective does not make sense and is not an empirically verifiable way of living. Nonetheless, it is a truth.
The story of Jesus Christ has been known for more than 2000 years and prophesized long before. Christ represents an entire absolute truth that is not a relative or subjective one, rather absolute. This truth is not a history story, although it certainly has a deep history. It is an ongoing, alive reality deeply enmeshed in the lives of men and women every day.
Now we look to September 2021 with an uncertainty we thought we had left behind and yet it is back. For me, this uncertainty, which could easily induce fear and anxiety, worry and stress of every form, can also become an invitation. It is an invitation to turn towards my relationship with Jesus with deep confidence and abiding trust.
I do not know, and no one of us knows how this next chapter of the pandemic will unfold in Boston or in the world. However, we have resources both materially, medically, and more importantly, in our faith. This faith opens a landscape of traditions, values, teachings, and relationships that can and will sustain us no matter what comes next.
Special Collection for Haiti
This past Saturday, August 14th, an earthquake struck Haiti causing enormous damage and resulting in a significant loss of life.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) announced that it “is sending teams to provide clean water, sanitation, shelter and emergency supplies in response to a major earthquake that struck southern Haiti early Saturday morning. While the severity of the damage is still being determined, with communications down in parts of the country, hundreds of deaths have already been reported as well as extensive damage to buildings and homes.”
Recognizing the suffering of the Haitian people and their growing need for assistance, Cardinal Seán has asked that a special collection for Catholic Relief Services and the Church in Haiti be taken in all parishes THIS WEEKEND, AUGUST 28-29, in the Archdiocese of Boston.
The parishes of the Archdiocese of Boston have consistently stepped forward during times of natural disasters to assist our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Following the 2010 earthquake0 in Haiti, where CRS reports “more than 300,000 people were killed and another 1.3 million left without homes”, the parishioners of the Archdiocese generously raised more than $2 million for relief efforts.
Please address your checks to the parish, with “Haiti Earthquake Relief” in the memo.
On behalf of the Cardinal, thank you for your attentiveness to this important collection and expression of our solidarity with those who are suffering.
Very Rev. William P. Joy
Assistant Vicar for Administration
Special Assistant to the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia
Below is a statement from CRS…
As I write, the death toll is rising from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on Saturday. Thousands are injured and many more have lost their homes and loved ones—while an unknown number are still missing.
Families in Haiti face tragedy from this devastating earthquake—while still recovering from the last one. Once again, I’m reaching out to you to ask for your generous support.
Catholic Relief Services are on the ground, in the places most heavily hit in Les Cayes and Jeremie, working with partners and affected communities to identify the most urgent needs. Meanwhile, tropical depression Grace is threatening further devastation, food is in short supply as stores and stocks have been destroyed, and a landslide has blocked access. Timing is critical.
Your gift will help provide essential relief, likely to include clean water, sanitation, shelter and emergency supplies, giving immediate aid to families affected.
HELP FAMILIES NOW!
“It is quite possible that Haiti is going to need more help than ever before,” says Akim Kikonda, CRS’ country representative in Haiti. “Prior to the earthquake, people here were already struggling to make ends meet. After Saturday’s earthquake, it is only going to get worse.”
Saturday’s earthquake comes on the heels of back-to-back crises, including an ongoing battle with COVID-19, political and economic instability, increasing hunger and violent crime. As always, thank you for your generosity in support of our family around the world.
Gracious and loving God, we pray this day for the country and people of Haiti. You created them in your image, and planted in them a longing for liberty. They led the Americas in the struggle against slavery, and, though they were the first to win lasting freedom, their struggles have never ceased.
As you heard the cry of Hagar in the wilderness, we give you thanks that you have heard the cry of your people of Haiti calling out for justice. Bring healing and prosperity to Haiti, Lord God, and protect her from those who would abuse her. Let her sorrows cease and her joy abound. Let her generosity be known in all the lands, and her glad songs of freedom be heard to the ends of the earth.
And to us, O God—we who hold Haiti in our hearts—give to us the humble spirit that you gave to Naaman. Let us lay aside our armor of defensiveness and pride, and come before the people of Haiti with open hearts and open hands. Show us how to bless them by our prayers, our aid, and our resources, and let us receive from them a blessing in our hearts. Teach us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, O God, that we can stand before you unashamed, hand in hand with our Haitian brothers and sisters. Amen.