Vol. XX, No. 5
News and Views
Oklahoma Bishops Call for St. Michael Prayers
In an August 5 letter to priests and parishioners throughout the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley called for a united campaign of prayer and Eucharistic Procession to avert the so-called satanic “black mass” scheduled at the Civic Center for September 21.
As reported on the Oklahoma City Archdiocesan website (archokc.org), the archbishop has repeatedly urged city authorities to cancel the sacrilegious event, and sent a letter to the Catholics in the archdiocese, which said in part:
“In spite of repeated requests, there is no indication that the city intends to prevent this event from taking place. I have raised my concerns … and pointed out how deeply offensive this proposed sacrilegious act is to Christians and especially to the more than 250,000 Catholics who live in Oklahoma. I am certainly concerned about the misuse of a publicly supported facility for an event which has no other purpose than mocking Catholic faith,” the archbishop wrote. “I am calling on all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to counteract this challenge to faith and decency through prayer and penance.”
Specifically, Archbishop Coakley has asked that the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel be included at the end of every Mass from August 6 through September 29. The archbishop also asked that each parish conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour with Benediction between August 15 and September 21 to avert the proposed sacrilege.
On the day of the satanic ritual, the archbishop invites all Christians and people of good will to join him in prayer for a Holy Hour at 3 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1901 NW 18, followed by an outdoor Eucharistic Procession and Benediction.
“If you have not yet done so, I urge you to contact the Office of the Mayor, the Honorable Mick Cornett, to express your outrage over this offensive and blasphemous sacrilege and this misuse of a tax-supported public space,” Archbishop Coakley wrote.
Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa also wrote a letter to his diocese concerning the event, which included a novena during August and, if the blasphemous black mass is not canceled, more prayers (including Pope Leo XIII’s special prayer to St. Michael and a prayer of exorcism), Eucharistic Adoration, and processions. The bishop’s letter and prayers were also posted on the Tulsa diocesan website: dioceseoftulsa.org
Anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Death
“Today our thoughts turn to the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI, on the anniversary of his death on 6 August 1978,” Pope Francis said at the end of his General Audience August 6. “We remember him with affection and admiration, considering how he lived a life totally dedicated to the Church, which he loved with his whole being. May his example as a faithful servant of Christ and of the Gospel provide encouragement and be an incentive to all of us.”
Pope Paul, who led the Church from 1963 to 1978, died at Castel Gandolfo at the age of 80. He will be beatified by Pope Francis on October 19, during the closing Mass of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.
In addition to leading the Church through the Second Vatican Council after the death of Saint John XXIII, and overseeing its early implementation, Pope Paul is chiefly known for his last encyclical, Humanae Vitae (1968), which reaffirmed the Church’s prohibition of artificial contraception.
Pope Francis has recently highlighted the importance of two more of Pope Paul VI’s documents, the encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, on the Church in the modern world (August 6, 1964); and the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, on the proclamation of the Gospel (December 8, 1975).
Pray for Peace in Iraq
Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked the US bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17.
According to a news report posted August 7 on the USCCB website (usccb.org/news/2014/14-138.cfm), Bishop Pates recounted the struggles of Christians and others in Iraq who have faced the destruction, burning, and looting of churches, homes, and businesses by the Islamic State (ISIS), and have fled to avoid being forced to join its extremist brand of Islam. Many have already lost their lives, and many thousands more are in severe jeopardy.
Bishop Pates urged Catholics to let their elected representatives know of their concern that humanitarian assistance reach Christians and other religious minorities who are suffering in Iraq, Syria, and other countries.
Bishop Pates also noted Pope Francis’s calls for peace in Iraq and his observation that “violence generates more violence; dialogue is the only path to peace.”
In his letter, the bishop also enclosed a prayer by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako, asking that this prayer for peace would be prayed in all dioceses on Sunday, August 17:
Prayer for Peace in Iraq
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.
Glory be to you forever.
Catechetical Sunday, Focus on Forgiveness
Bishop David Ricken, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the US bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, announced that this year the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 21, 2014, and will focus on the theme “Teaching About God’s Gift of Forgiveness.”
Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.
“Even before anyone of us can consider seeking forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance, we know God is already at work in our heart.” Bishop Ricken wrote in a letter posted on the USCCB website: “God the Father pursues us down the byways of our life, intent to restore and share with us in greater measure a life of grace and union with Him, which was secured at so great a cost through the saving death of His Son. The Spirit helps us to discern where sinfulness has wounded and enslaved us, and creates in us, the penitents, a readiness to embrace ongoing conversion of life through sorrow for sins, sacramental confession through the ministry of the priest, and a firm purpose of amendment.”
A variety of materials have been prepared to assist pastors, parish catechists, Catholic school teachers, and the faithful in celebrating Catechetical Sunday, not only in September, but also throughout the 2014-2015 year.
These materials are provided free of charge and may be downloaded from the USCCB web: usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/catechetical-sunday/sacramental-forgiveness/index.cfm
Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy