Our Living Rosary celebration last Sunday afternoon was grand!  While we didn’t have quite enough folks to cover every bead, the heart-felt spirit of the participants compensated well and, I’m confidant, pleased Our Lady greatly.  Contrary to what I had announced in my bulletin letter, we formed the rosary in the area between the school and the friary and then simply moved our chairs to the tables, which had already been set up, for the excellent picnic dinner which followed the prayer--hot dogs, brats, potato salad, etc. It was lovely to hear the rosary beads being prayed by young and old, male and female, Anglo and Latino, strong voices, weaker voices—all willing to humbly name the one thing we had in common, as together we begged Mary to “pray for us sinners.” The music was provided by Greg Lamping, a member of the St. Michael Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order which meets regularly here at St. Clement. Greg is an excellent guitarist! Other members of the Fraternity joined us and were the primary movers in serving the meal. The spirit that permeated the whole event was high!  Thanks to members of the Worship Commission who coordinated the event, especially Nancy Miller who chaired it.


While October is the Month of the Holy Rosary, it is also Respect Life Month.  Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, one-time Archbishop of Cincinnati, was a primary proponent of our seeing all life as a “seamless garment.” As Catholic Christians we are called to support a consistent ethic of life, seeing abortion, capital punishment, modern nuclear warfare and euthanasia as contrary to the demands of the Gospel.  I recently read of a proposed law that would protect the rights of a person to abort a baby in the womb if it was determined to have Downs Syndrome.  While I can’t imagine the possible anguish of a woman with a difficult pregnancy--and I believe it would be anti-life to sit in judgment of someone who makes a decision contrary to my convictions--I cannot  let society determine what life is worth being born.  Cardinal Bernardin taught that when human life is considered 'cheap' or easily expendable in one area, eventually nothing is held as sacred and all lives are in jeopardy. Most recently, Pope Francis, and now the Catholic Catechism, teaches that the death penalty can never be justified. 


St. Clement Parish receives praise from visitors for the warm welcome they experience when they come to pray with us. Thanks to our hospitality ministers and to all who make folks feel at home.  I believe that such action is pro-life!  It says to an individual: you have value, your presence is important to our community.  I hold in awe those individuals who feel called to be on the front lines in defense of life. At the same time, anytime you or I treat another human being with respect and care, we are serving the cause of life. Anytime we refuse to sit in judgment of another person, we are respecting life.  Of course, most important is that we respect and value and care for ourselves. You and I and every other human being are made in the image and likeness of God. During this Respect Life Month, in addition to our prayers and actions directed to ending abortion and other anti-life actions, let us commit ourselves each day embracing to our own humanity—God’s most wonderful gift—and that of everyone we meet. 


Have a great week! As I write this, it’s very cold outside. The heat is on in the friary. Autumn is here.  Praise God!