On Wednesday, June 29, we celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. These two saints took to heart and put into action Jesus' exhortation, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." We honor Peter to whom Christ said, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” And along with Peter we celebrate the great Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul to whom Christ called to be the great preacher of the Gospel to all people. Though they were very different in personalities and temperament, each in their own way continued the preaching of Jesus Christ and laid the foundations of our Church today. May each one of us also be as faithful to the Gospel in our daily life as Paul & Peter were in their life.
This weekend throughout the world the annual Peter's Pence Collection occurs to support the ministry of the Holy Father and help address the needs of the poor.
Peter’s Pence is the name given to the financial support offered by the faithful to the Holy Father as a sign of their sharing in the concern of the Successor of Peter for the many different needs of the Universal Church and for the relief of those most in need.
The Goal of Peter’s Pence
Contributions to Peter’s Pence for the exercise of the Pope’s universal mission, are directed in two ways: in financing the many activities of service carried out by the Curia (e.g. formation of the clergy, communication, promotion of integral human development, education, justice, etc.) and in contributing to numerous works of material assistance for the most in need.
Peter’s Pence has a dual aim: 1) support for the universal mission of the Successor of Saint Peter, who, for this purpose, makes use of a group of offices called the Roman Curia and more than one hundred Pontifical Representatives throughout the world and 2) support for the charitable works of the Pope on behalf of those most in need.
Other collections for the Holy Father take place on World Mission Day, celebrated annually in October, and the annual collection for the Holy Land on Good Friday.
The Use of the Proceeds
The offerings of the faithful are intended to support the activities of the Holy Father for the whole Universal Church. These activities are carried out by the Holy See. The Pope, as Pastor of the universal Church, is concerned both with the needs of evangelization (spiritual, educational, justice, communication, political charity, diplomatic activity, etc.) and with the material needs of poor dioceses, religious institutes and faithful in serious difficulties (the poor, children, the elderly, the marginalized, victims of wars and natural disasters; special aid to Bishops or Dioceses in need, Catholic education, aid to refugees and migrants, etc.).
Every service provided by the Holy See and destined for the universal Church is possible, thanks to Peter’s Pence. In fact, it guarantees the activity of the congregations that assist the Pope every day in the exercise of his ministry. In order to ensure the maximum efficiency of the Curia, and the proper destination of the aid received, a process of reorganization of the congregations has been launched in recent years aimed at minimizing the costs of internal services in favor of charitable and missionary activities.
You will find more information about the Peter's Pence Collection as well as the various ministries support through this collection at www.peterspence.va/en.html
Next weekend we will celebrate the great vision of those who laid the foundation for the United States of America in 1776. While we have struggled over the years to define and live what our ideals are for us as a country, we continue to explore what it means to be free people and a citizen of these United States in the 21st century.
Now 246 years after we declared our independence, we are a much larger, diverse and complex country. We have suffered with wars, disease (most recently the COVID pandemic), discrimination, racial hatred, and countless other difficulties. In our present time we struggle through profound differences that are often preventing us from working together for the good of everyone. But as a nation, though painful and slow at times, we have sought to bring equality and justice to everyone who is a citizen and all who visit our great land. We rightly prize our freedom, but too often we take that same freedom for granted. As citizens we have rights but we also have obligations to protect especially the innocent and defenseless.
As you gather with family and friends to celebrate the “Fourth” next weekend be sure and take time to givee thanks to God for the many blessings he has given us in our country. And as we celebrate this Independence Day Weekend may it be a reminder to each of us of our responsibility to work for justice and equality for everyone and not just the privileged few. Our duty is to be well informed about the serious issues facing us. Don’t succumb to rumors, “so-called news commentators”, and ill-informed reports about issues.
Take the time to learn what it really means to Respect Life in all phases of life as a Catholic. Learn the whole story of the present struggles about immigration and asylum in our country. Take time to learn how we can work to prevent violence against our fellow citizens and especially our elderly and children. The number of recent mass killings throughout our country and weekly senseless murders and shootings right here in Chicago should demand from each of us actions to stop this assault upon the values of our nation. Study about other cultures and people, take time to learn about the present concerns regarding health care, especially for the elderly, children and the poor.
When the Declaration of Independence was signed, those who placed their names on that paper knew it was a momentous act that called for courage and trust in the providence of God. As citizens of the USA in 2022 we are called to be no less courageous in our present circumstances. Please keep all our men and women who are serving in the armed forces and their families who wait at home in your prayers. Remember in your prayers the men and women who serve us as First Responders. Let us pray and work that peace may come to our world, to our city and that all people might work to understand that we are truly brothers and sisters in God’s family.
You are encouraged to begin your celebration of Independence Day by attending the special Mass on Monday, July 4 at 10:00 am. Please note that the church will be closed after the Independence Day Mass on July 4. The usual schedule for the church returns on Tuesday, July 5.