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To serve and not to be served

Among the greatest joys I have as a bishop is the opportunity to ordain new priests.  There is a wonderful sense of fatherhood in ordaining men who will become the spiritual fathers to so many throughout a lifetime of priestly ministry.  These men join the ranks of a bishop’s closest and most cherished collaborators for service to the entire Church.

On Saturday, June 29, I ordained Father Brian Buettner a priest of Jesus Christ for service to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. We welcome him!  Ordinations are an occasion of tremendous joy and thanksgiving, not only for the new priest and his family, but for the whole Church.  Priestly ordination marks the beginning of a lifelong ministry of teaching, sanctifying and shepherding God’s people as an icon of Jesus Christ, who came not to be served but to serve.

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Servir y no ser servido

Entre las mayores alegrías que tengo como un obispo es la oportunidad de ordenar nuevos sacerdotes. Hay un gran sentido de la paternidad en la ordenación de los hombres que se convertirán en los padres espirituales de tantos a lo largo de toda una vida de ministerio sacerdotal. Estos hombres se unen a las filas de los colaboradores más cercanos y más queridos de un obispo para el servicio a toda la Iglesia.

El sábado 29 de junio ordené Padre Brian Buettner un sacerdote de Jesucristo para servir a la Arquidiócesis de Oklahoma City. ¡Le damos la bienvenida! Las ordenaciones son un motivo de gran alegría y de acción de gracias, no sólo para el nuevo sacerdote y su familia, sino para toda la Iglesia. La ordenación sacerdotal marca el comienzo de un ministerio permanente de enseñar, santificar y pastorear al pueblo de Dios como un icono de Jesucristo, que no vino a ser servido, sino a servir.

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Fortnight for Freedom II

“No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.”  (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to New London Methodist, 1809)

The news in recent months has been filled with alarming symptoms of the erosion of conscience rights and mounting threats to religious liberty under the direction or with the tacit approval of the highest levels of government.  Would the Founding Fathers of this great nation approve of these “enterprises of the civil authority?” As citizens and people of faith we ought to be concerned.  More than that, we ought to take action.  As believers, our first response is prayer.

Once again the U.S. bishops have called for the observance of a Fortnight for Freedom, a 14-day period of prayer, reflection and action to promote a greater appreciation of religious liberty in the period leading up to Independence Day.  In our own archdiocese, the Fortnight will begin with a Mass at 7 p.m., Friday, June 21, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I invite everyone to join us as we focus on real threats to our first and fundamental freedom and pray for the preservation and protection of our God-given right to religious liberty that has been wisely enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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Quincena por la Libertad

“Ninguna disposición de nuestra Constitución debería ser más valiosa para un hombre que aquella que protege los derechos de conciencia contra las empresas de la autoridad civil”. (Tomás Jefferson, Carta a la Iglesia Metodista de New London, 1809)

Las noticias en los últimos meses han estado llenas con síntomas alarmantes de la erosión de los derechos de conciencia y crecientes amenazas a la libertad religiosa bajo la dirección o con la aprobación tácita de los más altos niveles del gobierno. ¿Los padres fundadores de esta gran nación aprobarían estas "empresas de la autoridad civil?" Como ciudadanos y personas de fe debemos estar preocupados. Más que eso, tenemos que tomar medidas. Como creyentes, nuestra primera respuesta es la oración.

Una vez más, los obispos de Estados Unidos han pedido la celebración de una Quincena por la Libertad, un período de 14 días de oración, reflexión y acción para promover una mayor apreciación por la libertad religiosa en el período previo al Día de la Independencia. En nuestra Arquidiócesis, la Quincena comenzará con una Misa a las 7 pm, viernes, 21 de junio en la Catedral de Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro. Invito a todos a unirse a nosotros ya que nos centramos en las amenazas reales a nuestra primera y fundamental libertad y oraremos por la preservación y protección de nuestro derecho dado por Dios a la libertad religiosa que ha sido sabiamente consagrada en la Primera Enmienda de la Constitución de los EE.UU..

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And Jesus still weeps

“And Jesus wept.” Those who have visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial commemorating the victims, survivors and rescuers from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing will recognize this briefest of New Testament verses (Jn. 11:35). It is represented in the iconic sculpture across the street from the National Memorial on the grounds of Saint Joseph Old Cathedral where the former rectory stood prior to the blast.

“And Jesus wept.” Jesus’ response is a consoling reminder that during times of deep sorrow and grief God is with us. We do not suffer alone. He has made our sufferings his own.  He has tasted our tears. In becoming man, Jesus has fully embraced our humanity even suffering death with us and for us. Our suffering finds redemption and meaning in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection, which bears within it the seed of unconquerable hope.

On May 19 and May 20, communities across central Oklahoma were ravaged by powerful and deadly tornadoes. At this writing, emergency responders, relief workers, counselors, chaplains, friends, neighbors and strangers are coming together to bring comfort and sustain hope where hope has been shaken. And Jesus still weeps. God is with us.

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Y Jesús aún llora

"Y Jesús lloró" (Jn. 11:35). Los que han visitado el Monumento Conmemorativo Nacional de Oklahoma City que conmemora a las víctimas, sobrevivientes y rescatistas del bombardeo del Edificio Federal Alfred P. Murrah reconocerá este de los más breves de los versículos del Nuevo Testamento. Está representado en la icónica escultura enfrente del Monumento Nacional en los terrenos de la Antigua Catedral de San José, donde estuvo la antigua rectoría antes de la explosión.

"Y Jesús lloró." La respuesta de Jesús es un recordatorio consolador de que en momentos de profunda tristeza y dolor Dios está con nosotros. Nosotros no sufrimos solos. Él ha hecho nuestros sufrimientos suyos. Ha probado nuestras lágrimas. Al hacerse hombre, Jesús ha respondido totalmente a nuestra humanidad, incluso sufrir la muerte con nosotros y por nosotros. Nuestro sufrimiento encuentra redención y significado en el misterio de la Cruz y Resurrección, que lleva en sí la semilla de la esperanza invencible.

El 19 y 20 de mayo, comunidades a través del centro de Oklahoma fueron devastadas por tornados poderosos y mortales. Mientras escribo esta columna, servicios de emergencia, personal de asistencia humanitaria, consejeros, capellanes, amigos, vecinos y extraños se unen para llevar alivio y mantener la esperanza donde la esperanza ha sido sacudida. Y Jesús aún llora. Dios está con nosotros.

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Welcoming immigrants is what has made the United States great

For the first time in many years the prospect of a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system is looming on the horizon.  Our federal immigration policy has been woefully inadequate for some time. Inadequate border security combined with an insufficient number of visas available to fill the necessary jobs required by our economy have led to a flood of undocumented persons entering clandestinely into the United States.

Many of these enter the country across our southern border. These individuals and families usually come out of necessity escaping crushing poverty to seek a better life than had been possible in their native land.  So desperate are the conditions of their homelands that they willingly expose themselves to great risk crossing an inhospitable desert and placing their lives in the hands of ruthless traffickers who often abandon them at the first sign of danger.  If they reach the United States they are forced to live in the shadows of society where they remain subject to exploitation because of their lack of legal standing.  Estimates place the number of these undocumented persons at more than 11 million.  Admittedly, there are many other ways that people can find themselves “out of status” or undocumented, such as when their visa expires.

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May is Mary's month

“May is Mary’s month, and I muse at that and wonder why.” So begins Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, “The May Magnificat.” It is good for us to wonder also. May crownings, Mother’s Day, the Feast of the Visitation and the abundance of springtime growth all remind us of Mary’s special association with this beautiful time of year.

During the month of May, all creation is bursting with beauty and new life. Perhaps here is the reason that Mary is so easily associated with this season of abundance. May is a reflection of the continuing fruitfulness of Mary’s virginal womb.

Since as early as the second century, Mary has been called the New Eve, a name which means “mother of the living.” Mary is truly more worthy of this name than the first Eve, since, in giving birth to Jesus, Mary gave birth to Life itself.

 

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Mayo es el mes de María

"Mayo es el mes de María, y me quedo rumiando sobre esto y me pregunto por qué." Así comienza el poema de Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The May Magnificat"(El Magníficat de Mayo). Es bueno para nosotros preguntarse también. Coronaciones de Mayo, Día de las Madres, la Fiesta de la Visitación y la abundancia del crecimiento primaveral nos recuerdan a la asociación especial de María en esta hermosa época del año.

Durante el mes de mayo toda la creación está llena de belleza y vida nueva. Tal vez esta es la razón por la que María se asocia fácilmente con este tiempo de abundancia. Mayo es un reflejo de la continuada fecundidad del vientre virginal de María.

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Shaping a culture of life: What about the death penalty?

Recently I attended the Catholic Legal Theory seminar at the OU School of Law.  The topic for that evening was a particular application of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the death penalty.   I was very impressed by the quality of discussion among the students and their professor, Michael Scaperlanda, in considering the intricacies of this difficult issue from both a legal and ethical perspective. 

Particularly heinous crimes, which have become all too common in our violent society, inevitably stimulate conversation around the death penalty.  What ought we as Catholics to make of this discussion?   What guidance does the Magisterium of the Church provide to help the faithful properly form our consciences on the difficult subject of the use of the death penalty?

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