Dear Brothers and Sisters,
American Saint, Frances Cabrini once said, "I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him." This seemed to be the conviction of all our American saints who founded hospitals, grade schools, churches, universities, leper colonies, orphanages, missionary outposts, soup kitchens and more. In order to remind others of the goodness of God and Christ's redeeming, so many saints, canonized or not, functioned as building blocks of our country. Catholics, in other words, have played a huge part in American history.
We celebrate our freedom on the Fourth of July this weekend! As Catholics, we especially pray for religious liberty on this day. Religious freedom, after all, is one of the primary reasons that people came to America, many fleeing from persecution.
The Church's focus on religious liberty in recent years is on a general anti-religious cultural movement, rooted in secularism and relativism, which seeks to limit the role of religion in public life. Many politicians today have defined religious freedom only in terms of the "freedom to worship' within the walls of a church building. But once we leave the building, we are told to hide our faith under a bushel basket.
This was certainly not the intent of our founding fathers. They recognized the essential role of religion and the virtues that faith inspires. Those virtues provide the foundation for the success of a peaceful society. The erosion of our faith and our moral compass is directly related to the erosion of our religious practice.
It is a fact that our founding fathers believed in God. They also believed that morality based on the natural law was an essential foundation for our success. George Washington himself once declared that, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
Let us ask God for blessings upon our country this week. I thought it would be good to call on the intercession of our beloved American Saints with this small but powerful Litany of the Saints.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Patron of teachers, Pray for us!
St. John Neumann, Patron of Catholic Schools, Pray for us!
St. Marianne Cope, Patron of Healers, Pray for us!
St. Katharine Drexel, Patron of Minorities, Pray for us!
St. Damien de Veuster of Molokai, Patron of Outcasts, Pray for us!
St. JunIpero Serra, Patron of Missionaries, Pray for us!
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Patron of the Religiously persecuted, Pray for us!
Sts. Isaac Jogues and John DeBrebeuf, Patron of Native Americans, Pray for us!
St. Théodore Guérin, Patron of the ignorant, the sick and the dying. Pray for us!
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patron of immigrants. Pray for us!
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Patron of Contemplatives, Pray for us!
Blessed Sister Miriam Teresa, Patron of Christian Writers, Pray for us!
Blessed Father Stanley Rother, Patron of Shepherds, Pray for us!
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Patron of Preachers, Pray for us!
Blessed Father Solanus Casey, Patron of the Desperate, Pray for us!
American Saints of God, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Amen!
Wishing you all a blessed Independence Day.
Lastly, if you haven't yet signed up for online giving for our parish. Please do so here: saintbernadette.weshareonline.org. Your gifts are needed now more than ever so we can continue the mission of the Church of making more disciples. Thank you for all who have helped to keep our parish focus on Christ, Our Eucharistic King!
Fr. Don Kline, V.F.