Pastor’s Perspective – July 26, 2020

*Mass with the Anointing of the Sick on Monday

Every three months we celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick within the context of the Monday night Mass. Anyone who is in the midst of a serious illness (physical, emotional, serious addictions, chronic conditions, etc.) is invited to be there, to be surrounded by the community of faith, allowing that community to pray for them. No one knows the specifics of what is prayed for. Just that you or another is facing something serious in their life. As with all sacraments, when the community celebrates them properly, they help the whole community of faith experience its identity more deeply, even as specific persons are focused on in the celebration.

It is good, then, to celebrate the Anointing of the Sick with the community gathered around the ones seeking the sacrament. Yes, we focus on those who are suffering. But the experience of the sacrament is not just for them alone. The one who is ill is not the only recipient of the sacramental grace present.  All present have an opportunity to receive that grace.  Nor is the priest the only minister within the sacrament. As with Eucharist, it is the Church’s understanding that the priest must be present, but the one who is ill is also a minister within the sacramental celebration, ministering to all present through their faith. Our anointing of specific people is meant to strengthen the faith of the whole community and prepare the community to connect their moments of suffering to the Lord, trusting in God’s grace when that happens. The sacrament enables the community to remember that one of our essential identifying characteristics is to be a community of healing. In turn this becomes a call to work toward a society where all have access to the means necessary for good physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  Join us on Monday.

* Missionary Appeal

Each year the parishes of the Archdiocese of Detroit are asked to host one missionary outreach and support it with resources of money and prayer.  Next weekend will be the time for that appeal at St. Regis. Ordinarily a missionary would be on hand, sharing his/her experiences and inviting us to support their specific missionary projects.  Not surprisingly, the pandemic has changed that as well. Instead of an in-person appeal we will be playing a video from the missionary and asking all to be as generous as they can in support of the work of the missionary order.  More details will be in next week’s bulletin and on the website.  Envelopes will be passed out at Mass or you can turn in an envelope marked “Missionary Appeal.”  Checks can be made out to “St. Regis/Mission” and the money will be directed toward the appeal. Thank you.

* 2020 Catholic Services Appeal

Speaking of appeals, our annual Catholic Services Appeal is now in full swing. All parish members should have received a letter from me, along with some information on the C.S.A. and a return envelope.  In previous years, we would be just about finished with the C.S.A. process, rather than in its initial stages. But the needs are the same. Through the C.S.A. we support the larger work of the Archdiocese of Detroit and help our parish in the process.  All donations help the parish pay its mandatory goal and then (as is the case for St. Regis) everything over the goal comes back to the parish for its own use.  I know finances are all over the board, given the pandemic.  But I ask that everyone try to give at whatever level they can for the good of the parish. This donation is over and above our Sunday donations. But it is the most efficient way to give significant gifts to the parish, since no tax comes out and 100% goes toward the parish’s obligations or needs. For those who are able, we ask that you be especially generous this year, to help balance off those who are financially struggling.  If for some reason, you also receive a letter from the Archdiocese and an invitation to give in that way, please make sure you designate St. Regis Parish as your parish. If you prefer to do this online via credit card or electronic debit, you may do so at our website under “Donations.” Thank you.

* “Faithful Citizenship” (continued)

The goal of the bishops’ document on faithful citizenship is to help us have a well-formed conscience, as we enter into the challenge of voting, especially when all candidates fall short of protecting human dignity and the common good. It can lead, the bishops say, to the decision not to vote in that instance at all. But that is not the only option:

Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil. (#34-35)

Read those words carefully. Over the next few weeks, I will try to unpack “formal cooperation,” “intention,” “intrinsic evil/grave,” “reasonably decide.” and more.

Fr. Buersmeyer

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