Welcome back to Wisdom Wednesday!
After a pause last week, as leaders of the AUSCP met in Baltimore to plan the June AUSCP 2022 Assembly, we return this week with a focus on the days and weeks of our lives.
- Expressing concern over the increasing tensions that threaten peace in Ukraine, Pope Francis calls for today, Wednesday, January 26, to be a day of prayer for peace.
- If you want to keep up with the news of today, every day, check out the Vatican News website.
- Today, January 26, is also “National Spouses Day,” according to a website listing religious, civic and commercial events. On a somber note, tomorrow, January 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day, designated by the United Nations on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
- On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.
- Looking for ways day-by-day or at least week-by-week to live and promote Laudato Si’? Here is an offering from Susan Vogt, a member of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers, with free weekly Eco-tips.
- You will find another weekly feature – this one about women religious – from the Global Sisters Report, available every Monday.
Beatifications, Martyrs, and Faith Leaders
January 22, last Saturday, was a day celebrated by family, friends and the whole Church for the beatification of Rutilio Grande, the Jesuit priest said to have inspired Archbishop Oscar Romero. Grande was one of four persons beatified in ceremonies in El Salvador.
Just before the Saturday celebration, America Magazine published an article about the impact of Grande’s life on Archbishop Romero — and Grande’s impact on El Salvador.
On January 20 representatives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops celebrated Mass at the tomb of two Maryknoll sisters from the U.S. buried in El Salvador — where they were murdered in 1980 — and called them “martyrs” and “models” for the Catholic Church.
We note also the death of Thích Nhất Hạnh, the Zen master who preached compassion and nonviolence, on January 22. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, described as ‘the second most famous Buddhist in the world, after the Dalai Lama,’ by one expert, founded a worldwide network of monastic centers.
News in Abortion
January 22 brought renewed focus on anti-abortion and right-to-life proponents hoping for reversal of Roe v. Wade. See Tony Magliano’s column on our website and note the mix of people who marched in Washington.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory responded bluntly to those who projected pro-abortion graphics on the basilica in Washington. Gregory said, “The true voice of the Church was only to be found within [the basilica] last evening.”
What can be said about the pro-abortion protest? Projecting their messaging on to the basilica’s bell tower was a sacrilege.
Who were the marchers against abortion? Some came from Utah.
And a last note on abortion-related matters, the Covid vaccines again come under fire, even at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life.
Days to Note
Back to days of note, January 23 was the day Pope Francis installed lay men and women in the ministries of lector and catechist. It is a continuation of the unfinished work of the Second Vatican Council, said Catholic liturgists and theologians who heralded the move as both “historic” and “long overdue.”
January 21 was the day Pope Francis vowed justice for abuse victims after reports of Cardinal Ratzinger’s failings as archbishop. He said the church was continuing to discern the way forward in the abuse scandal, which has discredited the Catholic hierarchy at the Vatican and around the world.
Going back to earlier this month, the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued a joint statement in support of voting rights legislation on Sunday, January 16, the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Even so, the legislation failed.
More to Read
Finally, away from day-to-day news, if you seek wisdom in books and biographies, Wisdom Wednesday recommends several recent items.
- The unlikely story of America’s highest ranking Muslim soldier and a TikTok favorite is told in this biographical sketch from Religion News Service.
- A long, long read: Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study. Mormons (95 percent), Black Protestants (93 percent) and Muslims (89 percent) are more likely than Catholics (85 percent) to believe in Heaven. One tidbit from many. Pew Research explores religious groups in the U.S. by tradition, family and denomination with many days’ worth of reading.
- If you remember Amanda Gorman from Inauguration Day in 2021, you will want to read her new book of poetry, “Call Us What We Carry.” The Black Catholic Messenger found expectations for the book to be exceeded. “At BCM, we make a point to ‘Keep it Black and keep it Catholic.’ And our Black Catholic sister did just that. As a recent Pew survey showed, for Black Catholics the number one spiritual issue is racism, and Gorman addresses that issue from a spiritual, social, and emotional perspective that is beyond powerful.”
- America Magazine puts Father Greg Boyle’s newest book on the must-read list. “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness” asks Catholics to trade moral outrage for a moral compass. Many readers are likely no strangers to the beloved Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries, whose two previous books, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion and Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, were New York Times best-sellers.
We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.
Until next week, please follow us on social media with the buttons below to make sure you don’t miss the latest news from the AUSCP!