Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Daughters of Jesus


To listen to today’s homily, please select the audio file below:

In this Sunday’s gospel, the evangelist Mark runs two stories together. A synagogue official, Jairus is his name, goes to Jesus pleading that he come and cure his little daughter who’ s dying. Jairus is obviously an important figure in that area; people know him and immediately a crowd gathers to follow the synagogue official and Jesus to the house.

That story is interrupted by the story of a woman– we don’t know her name– who has had hemorrhages for twelve years and spent all her money on doctors. Obviously she’s poor, broke and stressed out. She pushes through the crowd on the way to Jairus’ house and touches Jesus cloak and is cured. Jesus recognizes her and calls her. “In fear and trembling” she approaches him. “Daughter,” Jesus says to her, “ your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” To Jesus the woman is his “daughter,” like the daughter of Jairus, someone who is dear to him.

Then the gospel returns to the first story. Jesus reaches Jairus’ house, the little girl is dead. They’re all mourning loudly. He raises the little girl up to life and tells them to give her something to eat.

It’s easy to say which of those two stories would make the 6 o’clock news tonight or the Daily News headlines tomorrow. Daughter of Synagogue Official Saved from Death.

You wonder why Mark’s Gospel runs those stories together the way it does? The unknown woman’s story seems to interrupt the far more dramatic story about the synagogue official’s little girl who dies and is brought back to life. Yet, Mark’s gospel puts the two stories together, seemingly to indicate that both them must be told and are somehow interconnected.

I’m thinking of these stories in the light of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Laudato Si, on the environment, which was published last week. That encyclical has a lot of interconnected stories too. You can concentrate on one of its dramatic highlights, like it’s urgent call to do something about climate change and either agree or disagree with the pope and pass over all the rest. But the pope’s encyclical is many sided. There’s a great deal in it. It’s about more than climate change or carbon credits or the impact it may have on our American political scene.

The pope is asking us to examine the way we look at things, the way we look at life, the way we look at nature, our common home. He wants us to examine ourselves in the light of our faith, but also in the view of the realities of life today. The encyclical is addressed primarily to Catholics, but he’s asking all people to look at what it means to live together on this planet now.

Encyclicals are long letters, densely constructed, and this one is too, 184 pages. But if you take your time and go through it slowly, and that’s hard because so many of us like our news in sound bites, you will find it’s stimulating and challenging. I’m sure we are going to be exposed to the “stories” in this encyclical in the months and years to come. I don’t think it’s going to go away.

The encyclical is on the internet. You can get it on the Vatican website, and I’m sure you’ll find it in print very shortly.

The pope’s language is strong, but remember the pope’s a preacher, and they say a preacher is supposed to “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

It’s not just governments, or corporations and communities and systems he’s challenging. It’s all of us. We “have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism that makes it difficult to see the world as it is, particularly the world of the poor.” He’s asking us to see the world as it’s interconnected.

For the pope, the environment is not just nature, but nature and human society together. He’s calling, not just for awareness, but an awareness that translates into new habits. (209) He’s asking for an “ecological conversion. It’s not enough to think about these things; we need to change our ways.

And changing our ways and our lives is always hard. We get used to the way we live, the ways we think and the way we are.

On final thing to remember about this encyclical: the pope wants us to look at things with an eye on the poor, the poor that are close by and the global poor who live in places we never see or hear about. In his letter, the pope sometimes refers to poor as the “excluded,” they don’t enter into our world or our planning or our thinking. But they should.

And maybe that’s why this Sunday’s gospel is so pertinent. The two stories in it are about two worlds. Jairus the synagogue official is someone people know. He has a name, and Jesus goes to his house and raises his daughter to life. The poor woman who comes up to Jesus in the crowd has no name. She lives in fear and trembling. But Jesus calls her “daughter,” she’s his daughter too, and she will not be turned away.

Putting Stormy Times in Place

The scriptures are meant for stormy times, and they put stormy times in their place.

Last Sunday’s gospel was about the storm at sea from Mark’s gospel. Night’s coming, the wind rises, the waves sweep over the boat. Looks like the end, and Jesus is asleep.

I was thinking about the storm created by Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si.” Take a look at Twitter, #popefrancis, and you will see what I mean. What is he getting us into?

Today we began to read at Mass about the call of Abraham from the Book of Genesis. Brother Angelo read it slowly, as he usually does, dwelling on phrases you could miss.

“The LORD said to Abram:
‘Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.’”

“…a land I will show you,” God says. Not a land you will show me.

“You will be a blessing…all the communities of the earth will find blessings in you.”
Not your land and it’s not about you, but it’s a blessing for all nations.

“Abraham was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.”
Seventy-five? How old is Pope Francis? How old are we?

“Abraham took his wife, Sarai, his brother’s son Lot, all the possessions they had and the persons they acquired in Haran.”
Too many people, too complicated to go anywhere with such baggage.

So Abraham built an altar near the Terebinth at Mamre.
The early Christian commentators say the terebinth tree at Mamre is a symbol of the cross.

“Then Abraham journeyed on in stages to the Negeb.”
“Are we there yet?” Not there yet, only “in stages.”

12th Sunday: God is for Stormy Times

To listen to today’s Homily just select the audio bar below:

“On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them ‘Let us cross to the other side.’” Earlier that same day, according to Mark’s gospel, Jesus taught the crowds and his disciples gathered at the lakeshore. They were delighted as he spoke, so reassuring, wise and true were his words. You could set the course of your life on him.

Yet, as he and his disciples sailed onto the Sea of Galilee “ a violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern asleep on a cushion.”

Their delight suddenly changed into fear; they were going to drown! And it seemed Jesus in the stern of the boat asleep wasn’t even aware of their fears.

A good image of what our lives can be, isn’t it? Jesus’ words can bring such strength and encouragement. “Peace be with you.” “I am the vine, you are the branches.” “I’m with you all days.” “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

Then, the storms come; unexpectedly, powerfully, with frightening suddenness sometimes, turning our lives upside down. Overwhelmed by doubts and life’s quick tragedies, we forget all of God’s assurances. Like Jesus in the boat, God seems asleep, absent from our experience.

Good gospel to reflect on as we consider Pope Francis’ dire warnings about our endangered planet, and the church shootings in South Carolina.

Yet “the winds and the sea obey him,” this gospel reminds us. God is for stormy times as well as fair. He doesn’t want us to perish. “Have faith,” he says, “I’m with you no matter what.” God’s with us when storms come.

What treasures do we bring to heaven?

In Matthew’s gospel today at Mass, Jesus speaks of treasures in heaven. Usually treasures for us are gold, silver, works of art, gems, degrees from school, signs of achievement. But they’re the “treasures of earth” Jesus speaks of in the gospel.
Thieves can steal them away; they can be eaten by moths and forgotten. They don’t last. (Matthew 6,19-23)

Other treasures are for heaven. St. Paul sees some of them in his trials for the gospel. God won’t forget his sufferings: the beatings, imprisonments, brushes with death, the long journeys over seas, rivers, and wildernesses where robbers waited. Paul lists dangers he faced, both from enemies and his own people. God wont forget any of them, down to his sleepless nights and bouts with the cold.

He ends his list with what might be the biggest treasure of them all; “the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?” He’s tried to be responsible everyday with the people around him, whether they’re the weak or the trying. That’s the lasting treasure God holds in heaven. (2 Corinthians 11,18 ff)

We might not be able to rival Paul’s list from his missionary travels, but let’s keep Paul’s last important achievement in mind. If we do what we have to do each day as well as we can, if we are faithful to our daily duty, if we bear our daily cross, if we bear with the weak and the difficult, won’t that be our treasure?

God counts it so.

Laudato Si


Be awhile before I get through Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, filled as it is with thought provoking words. He says in this encyclical that we need to slow down, our world is too fast paced. This is a work to go through slowly.

He quotes from many sources, religious and secular. I found a little gem in a quotation Francis takes from a Sufi mystic: We need to regain and develop a mystical appreciation of the earth”

[159] The spiritual writer Ali al-Khawas stresses from his own experience the need not to put too much distance between the creatures of the world and the interior experience of God. As he puts it: “Prejudice should not have us criticize those who seek ecstasy in music or poetry. There is a subtle mystery in each of the movements and sounds of this world. The initiate will capture what is being said when the wind blows, the trees sway, water flows, flies buzz, doors creak, birds sing, or in the sound of strings or flutes, the sighs of the sick, the groans of the afflicted…” (EVA DE VITRAY-MEYEROVITCH [ed.], Anthologie du soufisme, Paris 1978, 200).

Francis urges us to feel the pain of our earth and those society ignores, like the unseen immigrants searching for a home somewhere. The Passion of the earth is a theme the Passionists have been addressing recently, influenced by the work of Fr. Thomas Berry, CP, who must be smiling from above at the pope’s efforts.

There’s something for everyone here.

Is It Possible To See God?

Can we, poor creatures we are, know God and enter God’s presence, the inaccessible God? Can our hearts be pure enough to see God? St. Gregory of Nyssa asks that question in his commentary on the beatitude “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

The “Hand of the Word” help us attain it.

“Does the Lord really encourage us to do something that is beyond our nature and our powers to accomplish? Surely not. Look at the birds: God has not created them without wings. Look at sea creatures: God has not designed them as land animals. Wherever we look, the law of each creature’s being does not demand that it should do something that it is beyond its own nature to do.

“Let us reflect on this and not despair of the purity of heart that the Beatitude speaks of. John, Paul and Moses did not, in the end, lack the sublime blessing of seeing God. Paul said There is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just judge, will render to me; John lay on Jesus’ breast; and Moses heard God say to him, I have known you above all. It is certain that those who said that the contemplation of God was beyond human power were themselves blessed. But blessedness comes from the contemplation of God, and seeing God is something that comes to those who are pure of heart. It follows logically that purity of heart cannot be an unattainable thing.

“So if some, with Paul, truly say that the contemplation of God is beyond human power, yet the Lord himself contradicts them by promising the sight of God to those who are pure of heart.”

We shouldn’t set our sights low.

A Love like God’s

What Paul the Apostle praises in our 1st reading today at Mass and Jesus urges in the gospel is a love that reaches out beyond our friends and those close by. Paul sees this love in the collection taken up by the Macedonians for the poor in Jerusalem. It’s a graced love, Paul says, expanding your care and your vision. Your love is like God’s.(2 Corinthians 8,1-9)

Jesus urges the same kind of love in the gospel. God’s love is like the sun that shines on everyone, life the rain that falls on the just and the unjust. It’s not an easy love, but if you wish to be perfect “Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5,43-48)

A couple of years ago CNN carried a story of that kind of love. Paula Cooper was released from the Rockville Correctional Facility in Indiana yesterday, a free woman. In 1985 as a young girl of 15 she decided to steal some money from a 76 year old bible teacher, Ruth Pelke. After smoking marijuana and drinking wine, she went to her home, hit Pelke with a vase and stabbed her in the stomach thirty times–for $10.

Leading the pleas for Cooper’s release, was Pelke’s grandson, Bill Pelke, who said he forgave her shortly after Cooper was sentenced to death.

Here’s the CNN story:

“’I became convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that my grandmother would have had love and compassion for Paula Cooper and her family,’ Pelke told CNN. ‘I felt she wanted someone in my family to have that same sort of love and compassion. I didn’t have any but was so convinced that’s what she would have wanted, I begged God to give me love and compassion for Paula Cooper and her family and do that on behalf of my grandmother.’”

“He said it was ‘a short prayer,’ but it was answered.
“’For a year and a half, whenever I thought about my grandmother, I always pictured how she died. It was terrible,’ he said. ‘But when my heart was touched with compassion, forgiveness took place. I knew from that moment on when I think about her, I would no longer pictured how she died, but I would picture how she lived, and what she stood for, what she believed in — the beautiful, wonderful person she was.’”

“Pelke tried to visit Cooper in 1986, but the two didn’t come face to face until eight years later. The two struck up an unlikely friendship over the years, exchanging messages through the prison e-mail system every week. And in 1989, the Indiana Supreme Court reduced Cooper’s death sentence to 60 years in prison.”

“Pelke said he would like to help Cooper with her transition to life outside of prison.
‘I hope that we’re able to go out and have a meal. I’ve told her when she got out of prison I’d like to buy her a computer and I have a friend that would like to buy her some clothes. Hopefully we’ll get together within the next few days and go shopping,’ he said.”

“Pelke said he’s never asked Cooper to explain her actions – ‘There’s not a good answer for that’ — but said she has shown remorse for the killing.
‘She would take it back in a heartbeat if she could, but she knows she has to live with it for the rest of her life,’ he said. ‘She knows she took something valuable out of society. She wants to try to give back. She wants to help work with other young people to avoid the pitfals she fell into.’”

There’s an example of perfect love.

Gene Callahan

Gene 2I celebrated a Memorial Mass for one of my oldest friends, Gene Callahan, at St. Mary’s Church in Bayonne, NJ on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 10 o’clock. We had been friends since the 1st grade at St. Mary’s Grammar School. Gene had a successful career as a banker at Citibank in New York until his retirement some years ago. He never married but he was devoted to his family. His 8 nephews and nieces were there for the Mass, with some of their children and spouses. Three classmates from high school days were there too and a few other friends.

After Mass we gathered for a meal at a restaurant on 2nd Street in Bayonne and told stories about him. There were plenty of them.

I preached this homily at the Mass:

A few weeks ago I went with a family after a funeral Mass to bury their loved one in a cemetery near Paramus, NJ. As we drove to the grave in the cemetery we couldn’t help but notice a large family– dressed like people from the Middle East–having a big picnic at one of the gravesites. It was a big party; they were eating and drinking and having a good time.

The people with me were taken aback by it all. I said, “I think I know what this is. It’s a funeral banquet.” It’s common in some older cultures to gather at the anniversary of death at the gravesite of your family and have a big meal and remember them. In the catacombs in Rome, for example, where the early Christians buried their dead, you can see frescoes of funeral banquets like that, which took place at the gravesites.

In his Confessions (Book 9, 8 fl ), St. Augustine says that his mother, St. Monica, used to go to funeral banquets all the time. Monica had a little drinking problem, according to Augustine, and the bishop Ambrose told her to stay away from funeral banquets. In fact, he tried to ban them altogether. Better to remember your dead at Mass, he said. That’s what Monica asked her son to do for her, as she was dying. “Bury this body anywhere; I don’ t care where. I only ask you this: Remember me at the altar of the Lord, wherever you may be.”

Now, I’m telling you this story because Gene loved stories like that. It would capture his imagination. More importantly, I’m telling you this story because we gather for this memorial Mass at an important place in Gene’s life. This church, St. Mary’s, was dear to him; it’s a place where we can call upon his presence and remember him.

There’s an Irish belief that there are “thin places” in the world. Thin places are where heaven and earth meet. Thin places are where the past, the present and the future are able to come together. This church is a thin place for many of us. Irish immigrants built it as you might guess from the number of statues and paintings of St. Patrick around it. It’s a place where we recall things of the past, where we look at the present and where we look to a world beyond.

So many of the important times of Gene’s life took place here. He was baptized here, he made his First Communion here, he buried his mother and father, his cousins Rose and Florence, many of his friends here. His sister Marie, his brother Joe were regulars in this church as youngsters, and so was I. As kids in St. Mary’s school we were here for the 9 o’clock Children’s Mass each Sunday, with the nuns patrolling the aisles. God help you if you weren’t here. I can still remember the glorious melodies of the chants we sang here, in latin.

A couple of years ago, Gene and I came over to Bayonne to see if it were still here. Bill Dundas met us at the new light rail station at 22nd Street and for the day drove us through Gene’s Bayonne. He had a remarkable memory and love for this place and its people, famous and infamous. The day was a feast of memories. He told us about driving his little nephews and nieces, the Carrol kids and the Callahan kids, through the streets in his little black Volkswagon with the skylight open and telling them to stick out their heads and yell to anyone he knew. He remembered telling them stories, some true some not, about the wonders of Bayonne, and waiting to see if they would bite. He loved to tease.

That day we couldn’t get into this church; it was locked, and that was a disappointment to him.

So where is he now? If we stay only with memories of the past we miss what this thin place wants to tell us. The windows here recall the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They’re not about the past, the mysteries of Jesus are our mysteries too. At baptism we became one with him. He is our hope.

If we look further there’s the altar where the bread and the wine will be brought and the same Lord of life and death will be here with us. “Take and eat,” he says. The great window over the altar points to a heavenly world. Death is not the end, it says. The journey of our life leads us to another life, beyond what we expect or understand, and Gene has entered it.

We come to pray for him here.

O God, in whose presence the dead are alive,
and in whom your saints rejoice full of happiness,
grant that your servant, Gene,
for whom the light of this world shines no more,
may enjoy the comfort of your light for all eternity.
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen

A few days before he died, I visited Gene at New York Hospital. His nieces Mary Elllen and Ann were there. It was a wonderful visit. In spite of his weakness and difficulty in breathing and swallowing, Gene was at his best conjuring up his mix of memories, of family stories and Bayonne gangsters. It all had to be said.

When I was leaving, I said “Gene, I’ll be back to see you soon.” He said “Joe, when you come, bring me Holy Communion.” I wasn’t able to bring that to him before he died.

But today, here it is.

Lord God, whose Son left us
In the Sacrament of his Body,
Food for the journey,
Mercifully grant, that strengthened by it,
Our brother, Gene,
may come to the eternal table of Christ,
who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: the Environment


Within a week or so we’re expecting the encyclical of Pope Francis on the Environment. An encyclical is a letter that the pope sends to the church throughout the world about a matter of Christian belief or morality or a major concern, like the environment, that’s important for living our lives in this world. As we know, the condition of our natural world is not only a concern of Catholics, it concerns everyone in our world today; it’s also a concern for the world of tomorrow. Many, in fact, are waiting to see what the pope says.

Some people say the environment is really a concern of scientists and politicians and the pope should keep away from the subject and stick to religious questions . But the popes have spoken out strongly on social issues throughout history and particularly in recent times.

At the end of the 19th century, for example, Pope Leo XIII spoke out against the awful conditions of workers in the western world because of the Industrial Revolution. Pope Leo wrote that workers had a right to a just wage and a right to unionize to promote their just interests. The bad conditions in which people were working affected families and their children. The pope was a voice speaking for social justice. (Rerum novarum)

Today, in speaking out on the environment and climate control, Pope Francis is following what recent popes like Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict have already said about the issue. He’s looking are at the world prudently, which is not the same as looking at the world personally, or scientifically, or politically, or economically, or even spiritually.

Let me explain:

Looking at the world prudently is to have a larger vision of a question. Let me give you an example. Suppose today the weather people announced that another hurricane like Sandy was going to hit the Jersey shore in a few days and I lived on the Jersey shore. Suppose they announced that 97% of weather people said it was going to hit. Suppose I said that’s not 100% sure and I decided to say a little prayer and stay in my house.

I would be personally imprudent, don’t you think? We can’t think of an issue as large as the environment only as an individual, a scientist, a politician or an economist. We need scientific, political, economic wisdom, to be sure, but we need a larger vision, a prudential vision that incorporates all of these.

We need prudence today. Unfortunately, we can misunderstand this important virtue. We think prudence is being overly cautious, afraid to act or to change. Prudence is not that at all. Prudence is a virtue that’s not afraid to look at things as they are and react reasonably according to what we know. That’s what the pope will be urging us to do in his encyclical.

We’re living in an age of “expressive individualism,” the philosopher Charles Taylor says. We tend to see the world as a stage to express ourselves. We find it hard to think of and to act in a world bigger than ourselves.

Because of “expressive individualism” we can lose our connection to natural world that supports us with life. One of our most important spiritual tasks today to regain our respect for the earth that God has given us. Because of “expressive individualism” we can lose our connection with the rest of the human family, especially with the poor. I’m sure we will hear all those themes in Pope Francis’ encyclical.

St. Paul Outside the Walls

 Paul the Apostle is buried in the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. His sarcophagus lies under the church’s main altar. Until 2008, when archeologists uncovered it, it was concealed underground in the same spot.

After their execution in the mid 60s, Peter was buried on the Vatican Hill and Paul was buried along the Via Ostia. Churches honoring the two apostles were built in the 4th century by the Emperor Constantine over their graves. Constantine didn’t initiate devotion to the apostles, though. Christians from Rome and elsewhere came in great numbers from earliest times to these places to honor these great heroes.

Here’s a video of the church:

St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome

A statue of St. Paul welcomes us outside the church’s entrance. He’s an old man, clothed in a heavy traveler’s cloak, bent and tired from years on the road. Yet, the apostle holds a sword firmly in hand, not a military sword, but a symbol of a faith that won hearts and banished the powers of darkness. He has “fought the good fight” and “kept the faith,” and here in Rome his earthly journey ended. Pictures on the church doors recall Paul’s final hours, when he died decapitated by an executioner’s sword not far from this spot.

Lifting our eyes to the façade of the church, we see his dramatic journey in outline, from Jerusalem to Rome, as Paul carried the gospel of Jesus Christ announced beforehand by prophets of the Old Testament.  A more detailed description of his mission appears in the paintings around the church walls inside, from his conversion on the way to Damascus, to his death here in the capitol of the Roman world.

If we look higher before we go in, Paul appears on the church’s façade in the light of glory, his traveling days done. With Peter, a fellow disciple, he sits at the feet of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord who taught him so well. “Who are you, Lord?” Paul once cried, thrown to the ground. Now he sees Jesus face to face.

This same scene of glory is repeated within the church itself where columns in procession lead our eyes to a triumphal arch defining the apostle’s grave below and the altar above it. On the dome of the apse, Jesus sits in triumph, surrounded by Paul and his companion apostles and evangelists. “Come, blessed of my father, receive the kingdom prepared for you,” Jesus proclaims in the book of life he holds up to them.

Today,  we can see the apostle’s tomb, recently uncovered by archeologists, under the main altar.

Outside the Walls

The description “Outside the Walls” is a reminder that this church, now in a crowded city suburb, was once outside Rome’s city walls on a desolate stretch of the Via Ostia, part of a little cemetery where the apostle was first buried. As they did over St.Peter’s grave, early Christians built a modest memorial immediately after Paul’s death to mark his grave; then in the early 4th century the Emperor Constantine erected a small church facing the Via Ostia honoring the apostle.

It did not end there, however. Later that same century, a larger church replaced the small church, as large as that of St.Peter on the Vatican. Why build an immense building like this in an out-of-the-way place, we may ask? Was it devotion or Christian pride?

Perhaps. Yet, some speculate other reasons were behind it. In the late 4th century, hordes of “barbarians” were pouring through the frontiers of the empire, and the Romans–most likely Christians among them–  saw the newcomers as pesky strangers: violent, crude and uncultured. The latin word they used for them, “barbari,” dismisses them as little less than savages, unwelcome intruders to an orderly Roman world.

St. Paul once scolded the proud Corinthians for looking down on others and forgetting how God raised them up from nothing by his grace. “The door to faith has opened to the nations,” he said; God welcomes all, no matter who they are. Wouldn’t God welcome these new immigrants?

Did the new church call Roman Christians to open their hearts to these new gentiles as the apostles Peter and Paul had done before? Early popes like Leo the Great and Gregory the Great promoted this new church. Gregory not only welcomed newcomers to the Italian peninsula but inspired by Paul reached out to peoples beyond the borders of the empire, to the misty shores of England and the dark forests of Northern Europe.

To be catholic the church had to reach out to the world.

Peter and Paul complement each other. Paul, a complex intellectual, forged beyond the boundaries of Judaism to address the whole world.  Peter, the Galilean fisherman, was a cautious captain for the ship of the church. Their gifts are different, but we gain from both of them. Paul’s sword points to an unknown future and tells us not to be afraid to embrace it. Peter, holding firmly the keys given him by Jesus, calls us to stay close to the Good Shepherd, whose wisdom and love supports us.

The Church treasures their different gifts.