― Pope Francis
First Friday Vigil, 8:30 pm 1) Confession, 2) Rosary, 3) Mass, and 4) Adoration - All are welcome!
Quite often I travel the rest of my journey with a guilt- filled conscience for having declined a ride to a homeless person. The incident sometimes haunts me. I am almost crushed into my bed with the weight of it after a long ride. I am sure it must have occurred to you as well or you must have questioned yourself “Why didn’t I reach out to that person by the roadside?” We have a number of reasons and some of them are genuine and prudent ones. I also think of a time in my last Parish when a homeless person, perhaps on medication, refused to leave the church late in the evening. I had to call for the services of 9-1-1. During our conversation he questioned me: “Are you following the teachings of Christ? Would Christ throw out a homeless person from the church building at night?” I asked myself if I was truly a pastor to the people. These questions continued to disturb me the rest of that night though I knew my hands were tied.
I am writing this column with the latest pastoral letter of the California Bishops at the back of my mind. The document “Hope and Healing” is the first of its kind in our country to address Mental Health Awareness. The pastoral letter is calling us to help addicts and the mentally ill. We have to get to know people, to befriend them, to listen generously, not because we have all the answers to their problems or can cure all of their afflictions; but simply because these encounters, these small acts of love and compassion, understanding and friendship, are precisely what people need most.
St. John Paul II said: “Whoever suffers mental illness always bears God’s image and likeness, and has an inalienable right to be considered a person and treated as such.” * Persons with mental illness often suffer in silence, hidden or unrecognized by others. Persons with medical illness eg. cancer and mental illness receive sympathy differently because of unjust social stigma attached to mental illness disease. Yet, both are illnesses and need our support, understanding and prayers equally. American society is seeing an alarming rise in depression and anxiety leading to a high rate of suicide. We also cannot forget the grave problem which has taken a grip on our younger generation “addiction.” Drug abuse or alcohol go hand in hand with mood disorder, schizophrenia, or other mental illnesses. People wounded by heart-breaking loss, abuse, neglect, and/or loneliness succumb to substance dependence or other addictive behaviors.
It is time to build bridges between science and religion, health care and spiritual/emotional care; so the suffering person receives the wholeness of care needed for recovery and healing. Our places of worship should not be places of rejection and judgment for these vulnerable people.
Just as Christ reached out to everyone, our church imitates the heart of our Lord, accepting those who suffer even mental illness. The Pastoral letter encourages all Catholics: clergy, religious, and the lay faithful, to partner with others of goodwill in this indispensable work of healing and caring for those with mental illness.
(*Extracts from the Pastoral letter of the Bishops of California “Hope and Healing”).
– Fr. Bernard D’Sa
You can download a pdf of the schedule by clicking here or by clicking on the link below.
We will be celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 8) during the entire month of June! Every Friday we will be having Adoration at 6 p.m. and Mass at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Parish. You are invited to spend some quality time with the Lord.
CatholicApps.com was created in response to the call to evangelization from Saint John Paul II, and then continued on through Pope Benedict, and of course the call for deeper evangelization from Pope Francis. We aim to review, and share a lot of catholic apps that can help you deepen your own Catholic faith, or share unique Catholic apps that allow you to share and evangelize your faith with family, friends, and anyone you have a relationship with.