April 14, 2006


Welcome to our new brothers and sisters in Christ

Holy Week marks a special time for us as Catholics.

We are only days away from Easter, the chief feast in the liturgical calendars of all Christian Churches.

The Triduum leads from the upper room where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his Apostles to Calvary, where Jesus gave his life for us, to the empty tomb that showed forth his glorious resurrection.

We celebrate this paschal mystery on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. And it is during the Easter Vigil on Saturday night that tens of thousands—including many in the archdiocese—will enter into the full communion of the Church.

Catechumens—people not yet baptized—will be baptized, confirmed and receive their first Communion at the Easter Vigil. Candidates, who are already baptized Christians, will enter the full communion of the Church by making a profession of faith, being confirmed and receiving their first Communion.

As believers who emulate Christ’s example of hospitality, we know other Church members will offer a warm welcome to our new brothers and sisters in Christ, who are joining us on the journey to the kingdom this weekend.

The Catholic Church has been criticized for various things over the years, but one thing we do right is build community.

May that practice continue this Easter and beyond.

— Mike Krokos

Lessons on death and suffering not forgotten

They died within days of each other last spring, but the way Pope John Paul II and Terri Schiavo lived—and died—continues to influence how many people view suffering and death.

Our late Holy Father’s witness—his acceptance of his failing health and his public suffering in his last days—offered an example of him humbly picking up his cross and carrying it for all the world to see.

His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, may have recently best summed up his predecessor’s last days, when “the Lord gradually stripped him of everything.” Even in his weakness, John Paul II was teaching us about suffering in silence, Pope Benedict said. Some have even called it John Paul II’s “last catechesis.”

Only days before John Paul II passed away in early April 2005, Terri Schindler Shiavo died in Florida, about two weeks after her feeding tube was disconnected.

The severely brain-damaged woman had been in what doctors defined as a persistent vegetative state since 1990, when her brain was deprived of oxygen and her heart stopped beating.

Her parents, Bob and Mary Schlindler, fought with her husband, Michael Schiavo, for years over the right to make medical decisions for her. Michael said his wife had told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Catholic leaders supported her parents’ effort to provide Terri Schiavo with food and nutrition.

Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, cited comments made by Pope John Paul II the year before. “The administration of food and water, even when provided by artificial means,” should be considered morally obligatory as long as it provides nourishment and relieves suffering for the patient, the pope said.

Life issues, of course, are something the Catholic Church embraces and takes to heart daily. From the pope’s very public suffering and death to Schiavo’s much-debated treatment and death, there is a constant: We value all life.

Yes, our doctrine teaches us that every life is sacred—from conception to natural death.

Archbishop John C. Favalora of Miami reiterated that after Schiavo’s death last year. He added that her case demonstrated the need to have “laws that protect life from conception in the womb to natural death,” without exception.

A year after these two very public deaths, we still remember the lessons taught to us.

And as people of faith, we continue to pray that society takes those lessons to heart.

— Mike Krokos


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