As we gather to celebrate our Nation’s Founding and Independence, let us remember the words from the Psalmist: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalms 33:12). Let us continue to pray for our country, to give thanks to God for the many blessings we enjoy, and bring her under the mantle of God’s divine protection and grace as we ourselves respond to the call of faithful and responsible citizenship. While there are many such prayers that can be used, below is one that you could pray with your family members and friends, perhaps during your celebrations together, which is taken from the Collect (Opening Prayer) in the Roman Missal for Mass on Independence Day:
Father of all nations and ages, we recall the day when our country claimed its place among the family of nations; for what has been achieved we give you thanks, for the work that still remains we ask your help, and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation, grant that, under your providence, our country may share your blessings with all the peoples of the earth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Although contributions of course can be made year-round, the end of June marks the official close to the Catholic Charities Annual Appeal for the Diocese of Buffalo. I am happy to report that we have exceeded our goal of $299,696.00 goal by approximately $10,000 at the time of this writing. While, we indeed made our goal, I also have to say that I am overall disappointed with our parish participation. The number of households who donated to Catholic Charities represents only a mere 17.6% of our registered parishioners. I understand that there are good and varied reasons which may make someone unable to support this appeal to the degree that they would like: the rising costs of living, giving to other charitable causes, mistrust of the Church… All the same, it is a central tenet of our Catholic faith to make sacrifices and to look out for the needs of the poor as a matter of priority regardless of our own circumstances. Our contribution this year will go a long way towards helping the many, many people Catholic Charities serves, including providing resources for Children’s Services, Food Pantries, Senior Services, Ladies of Charity, Monsignor Carr Institute, Education and Job Readiness, Basic/Emergency Assistance, Immigration and Refugee Assistance, Marriage Counseling, and more. Imagine the difference we could have made with even greater participation. To those who supported this effort and cause with their generosity, especially our chairpersons Bob and Mary Pazik and Kathy and Paul Bellitto, thank you sincerely.
This coming month, Fr. George Devanpalle (as well as Fr. Vince Becker, pastor emeritus) will be here representing the Commission for Youth in the Diocese of Eluru, India, and will be speaking to us about how we can support their ongoing needs. It is also with great joy that I share with you that, after a 2-year hiatus because of Covid, our friend Fr. Sleeva will be coming to stay with us for good portions of July and August just as he used to do for many continuous years. It will be good to have him staying here at his home away from home as he promotes Project Mission India and offers us his help once again. Let’s do better with these opportunities that are in front of us. I promise you, God will not be outdone in generosity.