Bishop Bradley’s statement on the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida

Bishop Bradley’s full statement on the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018:

“Our hearts are heavy with sadness, even as our minds still cannot comprehend the senselessness of the horrendous act of violence which claimed the lives of 17 innocent people, injured many more and traumatized an entire community at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which should be a safe haven where young people can grow and learn without fear for their lives. Yesterday, on a day devoted to the love we have for those special people in our lives (Valentine’s Day), and a day calling all people of faith in Jesus as our Lord to a conversion of mind and heart as we begin the penitential season of Lent (Ash Wednesday), we were yet again confronted with the tragic reality of another senseless act of violence. We pray for those whose lives were ended in this world, and we commend them to our Merciful God to receive them into His Loving Arms. We pray for the families of those who were killed and ask God to cover them with His comfort and consolation. We pray for all those young students, teachers and administrators who were injured, and the entire community and so many in our nation who have been traumatized by this brutal and purposeless act.

“Lent is a time for special prayer, fasting and acts of charity for the purpose of turning us away from sin—that which divides and separates us from God and one another—so that we can be healed of what divides us, and live in the unity with God and neighbor as we have been designed to do. Yesterday’s violence was horrific and deeply troubling as we realize that it marked the 18th school shooting in the first six weeks of 2018. That statistic is beyond distressing and should be a cause for great concern for all.  While the endless arguments about gun control and tighter security will continue, as people of faith, we know that the only solution is for people to change their hearts, and to turn away from violence.  Let us pray, fast, give alms and do whatever it takes to change hearts, beginning with our own, and to root out violence from our choices when dealing with conflict.

“I call on all Catholics, Christians, people of faith, and all people of good will to pray, fast and give alms for the purpose of ending violence.  I ask all Catholics to make the seven Fridays of Lent days of special prayer, and to offer up our sacrifice of abstinence from meat on those same days, beginning with this Friday, February 16th, for the intention of an end to violence in our own lives and in the lives of all people, with the hope, which is also God’s Hope, that we will live together in peace.”

Father’s Letter: 2nd Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

On this Second Sunday of Lent, the Church places before us the example of Abraham’s faith and trust in God’s Providence. He had promised many descendants to Abraham, and yet asks him to sacrifice his only son. Imagine the incredible amount of faith this required on Abraham’s part. It is akin to Mary’s trust in God’s plan for her to bear a Son, even though she had made a promise to Him of perpetual virginity. Sometimes what God wants of us doesn’t seem to make sense – and yet, when we finally see what He had in mind, it is much greater than we could have imagined.

As Abraham walked up the mountain to sacrifice his son, he almost certainly didn’t know why God was asking him to do this. Perhaps it seems brutal to us – God asking a man to kill another man. But what God wanted to do through Abraham was:

  1. Test his faith – As mentioned above, consider the humility and trust needed to abandon his own hesitation in the face of such a seemingly terrible request. He knew that God had something planned, he just didn’t know what.
  2. Foreshadow how much God the Father was willing to sacrifice for us when He sent Christ to die for us.
  3. Signal the end of human sacrifice – human sacrifice was never a part of the Israelite community, but it was present in the world at that time in other cultures. Abraham’s interrupted sacrifice was one of the most significant events in all of salvation history, and God staying the hand of Abraham was seen as a definitive statement about the end of violent sacrifice.

May we be thankful every day for the great love shown by God toward us in giving His Son for our salvation.

In Christ,

Fr Marotti

p.s. Since the Gospel mentioned the sacrifice of Abraham, I’m definitely using the Roman Canon (longer Eucharistic prayer). DEAL WITH IT 😉

Father’s Letter: 1st Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

As we begin Lent, we bear in mind that it is not merely a season full of “customs” like making sacrifices,  abstaining from meat, etc. It is supposed to be a season of repentance, conversion, stirring up contrition for our many sins and the sins of the whole world. Does this sound gloomy and depressing? Well, that’s kind of the point – unless we take account of how sorry our human condition is, how weak we are without God’s grace, and how we had nothing to hope for were it not for Christ’s saving action in our world, we will not fully appreciate the joy that Easter brings.

Below, for your reflection, is a poem entitled “Ash Wednesday” by 19th century English poet Christina Rossetti. It eloquently captures the sentiment of this penitential liturgical season:

My God, my God, have mercy on my sin,

For it is great; and if I should begin

To tell it all, the day would be too small

To tell it in.

My God, Thou wilt have mercy on my sin

For Thy Love’s sake: yea, if I should begin

To tell This all, the day would be too small

To tell it in.

Good Lord, today

I scarce find breath to say:

Scourge, but receive me.

For stripes are hard to bear, but worse

Thy intolerable curse;

So do not leave me.

Good Lord, lean down

In pity, tho’ Thou frown;

Smite, but retrieve me:

For so Thou hold me up to stand

And kiss Thy smiting hand,

It less will grieve me.

In Christ,

Fr Marotti

 

Father’s Letter: 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Lent is almost upon us. This season is a longer preparation than Advent, since the Solemnity of Easter is the most important and holiest liturgical day (and season) of the entire year. Just as I said during Advent, let’s not waste this precious time of preparation. Many people make sacrifices and give things up during Lent, and perhaps that’s what the Lord is asking you to do. However, it’s important to remember that this is not some empty gesture or custom – any Lenten penance should have the goal of detachment from sin and pursuit of holiness in preparation for the glory of Christ’s Resurrection, and our own.

With that in mind, let’s consider our Lenten practices more prayerfully. What can I do to take the next concrete step toward holiness? What meaningful sacrifice or spiritual practice will actually add to my desire for holiness, rather than merely satisfy some vague feeling of obligation to give something up for forty days? Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving – figure out how to work all of those in!
In Christ,
Fr Marotti

Father’s Letter: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

This past Wednesday, we were able to join the rest of the Catholic schools of our diocese for an all-schools Mass celebrated by our bishop at Hackett Catholic Prep. This celebration of Catholic Schools Week was of particular importance for our St. Ann family as Bishop Bradley announced our plan to unify our schools under a new name: Light of Christ Academy. The crest of the school, designed by Mrs. Fifelski, features a white lily which symbolizes purity, an open book which symbolizes wisdom, and a torch which signifies the Light of Christ. The Latin motto reads “Emitte Lucem Tuam”, taken from Psalm 43 (“Send forth your light”). The faculty and staff of both schools will work together, along with the parish and the Diocesan Office of Schools, to make modifications and additions to our curriculum, teaching faculty, and governance structure. The goal is to make our school the best Montessori/Classical academy possible. It is an exciting time, as this educational model (Montessori combined with Classical) is becoming the means by which many dioceses and communities are attempting to reinvigorate Catholic education. We are happy to be on the forefront of this movement as well! Please continue to keep our school in your prayers, and if you have any questions about our educational model, please feel free to contact me!

In Christ,

Fr Marotti