Third Sunday of Easter

Sunday 10 April 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

A few items for your consideration:

1. For the past decade, Chris Stansberry has provided outstanding leadership to our teens as the Director of Youth Ministry, but he believes the time has come to pass that baton to the next runner in the race. I am pleased to announce that effective 1 May 2016 our new Director of Youth Ministry is Chris Ortiz, who teaches theology and Spanish at St Joseph’s School and serves as an assistant football coach as well. Chris, his wife Cristina, and their children have been parishioners here since 2010, and they are all involved in many ways in the life of the community. I am deeply grateful to the two Chris’s: first, to Chris Stansberry for his extraordinary service to our parish in these ten years, and second to Chris Ortiz for his willingness to take up this service and continue the excellent work of his predecessor.

2. On Friday 8 April, Pope Francis promulgated a document called “The Joy of Love” – in Latin “Amoris Laetitia.” This exhortation from the Bishop of Rome to the whole Church echoes the deliberations of two recent meetings of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, both dedicated to considering the present challenges to marriage and family life. As usual, many voices in the secular media are willfully misrepresenting the pope’s words in a vain attempt to demonstrate that the Catholic Church is finally surrendering to the Sexual Revolution, but if you read the document (available online in several places, including the Vatican website), you’ll find nothing of the sort in the teaching of Pope Francis. The Church now, as always, can teach only what has been handed to her by the Savior, and His Gospel does not change. The ambient culture finds Christian teaching on love, sex, and marriage to be incomprehensible because the world always finds the Lord Jesus incomprehensible. I encourage you to read “The Joy of Love” and find there a beautiful meditation on the joys and sorrows of marriage and family life which is completely faithful to the truth of the Gospel.

3. This Wednesday, 13 April, is the feast of Pope Martin I, the last Bishop of Rome to be martyred. He was born near Rome about the year 590 in the ancient city of Todi, founded in the 8th century BC. As a young man Martin was ordained a deacon in Rome, and then he worked in the imperial service in Constantinople where he learned about the principal heresy of his time – the belief the Jesus had only a divine will and so was not truly a man. This heresy was supported by Emperor Constans II, and after Martin was elected pope in 649, his opposition to the heresy caused the emperor to think of him as an enemy. Constans had Martin arrested, tried for treason, and condemned to death, but in the end, the pope was only tortured and then sent to imprisonment in Crimea. Pope Martin died of starvation in prison rather than accept the heretical beliefs of the emperor, and so he is acknowledged by the Church as Saint Martin, Pope and Martyr.

Father Newman