Announcements

Coptic Christians

Coptic Christians

Coptic Christianity suddenly was in the headlines. It was good news at first. Pope Francis was planning to visit Egypt. He would meet Coptic Christians while there. Then, the news was bad. Terrorists bombed Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday, slaughtering many innocent people. These attacks on Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt were horrendous in themselves, but they were only the most recent of many outrages that Coptic Christians have endured over the years. Who are the Coptic Christians? Christianity has been in Egypt since the days of the apostles. It is said that St. Mark the Evangelist, considered by some to have been an early disciple of Jesus who later was associated with St. Peter, went to Alexandria, still today a great city in Egypt, a Mediterranean seaport. Two millennia ago, it was the second most important city of the Roman Empire. Alexandria came to be, and is today, the center of Coptic Christianity. It is hard to believe, but within a few centuries after Christ, Coptic Christianity was the major religion in Egypt. It also had been taken to Ethiopia, where incidentally it still is the dominant religion. Then came the Arab Muslim sweep across North Africa. Many Christians converted, or were forced to convert, to Islam, but Coptic Christianity never died altogether. In the fifth century, the Coptic Christians severed their union with the papacy. About 300 years ago, a segment within Coptic Christianity restored this union, but the majority of Copts remained Orthodox, separated from Rome. The Coptic Orthodox title the head of their church the “pope.” Presently Pope Tawadros II is head of the Coptic Orthodox communion. Heading the Coptic Catholics is the patriarch of Alexandria, the diocese believed to have been founded by St. Mark, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak. Aside from Alexandria, six other Coptic Catholic dioceses, or eparchies, are in Egypt. Obviously, Coptic Catholics believe all that other Catholics believe. Coptic Orthodox do not accept the authority of the bishop of Rome, but they celebrate seven sacraments. They believe that deacons, priests and bishops are ordained and are in a line that began with the apostles. They believe that the Lord is present, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist. In several other matters, however, they differ from Roman Catholic teaching. For both Coptic Catholics and Catholic Orthodox, the liturgy is in Coptic, the ancient language of Egypt, and from the language, their religious tradition draws its name. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . For almost a millennium and a half, Coptic Christians, Coptic Catholics and Coptic Orthodox, have had a hard way to go. For a while, Britain dominated Egypt, and Christians were in a more protected situation. Since Egypt attained full independence, in living memory, Christians have lived through days of peace but also through many days of persecution or at least harassment. The turmoil that has existed in Egypt for the past several years hardly has helped the situation. Coptic Catholic parishes exist in the United States in Boston, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Nashville. They are responsible to Patriarch Sidrak, not to the local bishop of the Latin rite. Recently, as unrest has intensified in the Middle East, and especially in Egypt, more Coptic Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, have come to the United States. Not surprisingly, many Egyptian Christians worry about the future. The future of this pattern is unclear, as it is not known how, or if, the Trump Administration will handle such immigration. Msgr. Owen F. Campion is OSV’s chaplain. read on

The Benefits of Reconciliation

Category 22 (Reconciliation) – The Benefits of Reconciliation, The Hidden Treasure that is Confession Click here to read it now. read on

Taking Note: Attentiveness to God

Taking Note: Attentiveness to God

“Take time to heal your inner self through meditation. Give your mind a few moments of ‘nothingness’ each day. Concentrate on your breathing to achieve a state of relaxation and peacefulness.” After a long conference day — speaking and meeting readers and friends and supporters — my temptation was to see what Donald Trump event had everyone buzzin. But the note, flagged “meditation,” left by the room attendant was enough to prod an examination of conscience: What really is the best use of a few minutes of downtime? Recollection or MSNBC? While the note would not offend any “spiritual not religious” sensibilities, it did strike me as refreshingly countercultural. As traffic below whisked by the windows, even at a late hour, all into the night and early morning, the message was about slowing down and tuning out the noise. Slowing down may happen, but what do we do and what do we pour into ourselves as we do so? In his book, “ Contemplative Provocations ” (Ignatius, $17.95), Father Donald Haggerty, a New York archdiocesan priest who has spent extensive time with the Missionaries of Charity, writes about the “need for recollection as a prelude to prayer.” He says that it “contains a certain dilemma besides the difficulty of attaining it. It implies that a mental concentration is necessary if one is to pray. And so the demand to corral our wandering thoughts, to tie them down and keep them from breaching the enclosure of prayer. If we succeed in this effort, it is thought, we can presumably dwell on ‘spiritual things.’” The challenge, as always, is about love. “Attentiveness to God is desirable in prayer,” Father Haggerty writes. “But the attention we are to cultivate comes from love, not a mental discipline directed simply at thoughts. What we should seek is a recollection that surrenders us to someone entirely beyond our thought, a beloved who will never stop to rest for long within a particular thought.” In other words, it’s not about nothing, and it’s not about us, either, and our initiative or strategy. It’s about what God wants to do with the time we give. It’s about trusting God with our whole lives. It’s about letting him show us what he wants that to look like. Our challenge is the loving surrender to him to do with us as he wills. That “spiritual not religious” trend may just be an indictment of what we’re doing with our free time. How much of it is in adoration? How much of it is in self-giving? Do we convey joy, even while “off duty”? How “ All In ,” as Pat Gohn writes in the title of her recent book on faith are we, really? When Mother Angelica — whose eventual beatification Mass I’m looking forward to —died around this time last year, the Mass program for the Mass in Hanceville, Alabama, included, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). Is that happening? Is that what we’re giving ourselves over to? With every business trip and carpool — whatever it is we’re doing? Are we careful about what we pour into ourselves? Do we treat ourselves — one another — as the tabernacles he’s asked us to be? And do we take everything as a reminder that that’s who we are about — all in, all his? Are we beholding his glory wherever we are? With or without the rare explicit invitation, we must strive for a posture of being that is something more contemplative. Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review, and co-author of “How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice” (OSV, $17.95). read on

Pastoral Answers: Impossible perfection

Pastoral Answers: Impossible perfection

Question : Matthew 5:48 says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It seems to me that, knowing man’s fallibility and knowing the impossibility of man being perfect, that perhaps Jesus was not saying “perfect” as we understand the word to mean. Could it mean “strive to be complete” or some such thing? — Michael Peerless , via email Answer : It is true, the Greek word here, τέλειοι (teleioi), speaks more of perfection in the sense of completion. Thus, we are to attain to a state of being complete, full grown or of full age. It also has the sense of “reaching the goal.” So we are not dealing with a merely moral perfection, but a completeness of character that is not merely absent of sin, but is possessed of all the virtues. Clearly this is more than a moral injunction for the moment but something attained by God’s grace in stages and accomplished fully only after a journey with the Lord. St. Paul speaks to this when he says, “And [the Lord] gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ …” (Eph 4:11-13). But we ought not consign the Lord’s words to a sort of flourish or exaggeration and see our perfection as impossible. No, this is our dignity and our future if we persevere to the end. The saints in heaven have attained to this by the Lord’s grace which has been accomplished in them already. To the degree that this seems impossible, it only seems so from the standpoint of human achievement unaided by grace. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord is setting forth a moral vision. He is describing the transformed human person. He is doing more than uttering moralisms or new duties, he is painting a picture of what happens to us when he lives his life in us through his indwelling Holy Spirit. You might say he is describing the normal Christian life, which is to be in a life-changing, transformative relationship with God. It is in this way that we attain, in stages to being perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. Thus being perfect isn’t just something we start doing today. It is something we grow into, until it is complete andis perfected in us. Priest participation Question : The new priest in our parish just stands there at the altar when we sing the acclamations such as the mystery of faith and the Great Amen, Lamb of God etc. The previous pastor sang loudly with us. Should he not participate more fervently in these acclamations? — Name withheld Answer : Actually, his stance is the correct one. The Liturgical directives indicate that the people proclaim the mystery of faith, the Great Amen, the conclusion to the Our Father and the Lamb of God. So, those are acclamations that belong to the congregation, not the priest. The priest is directed to say or sing the Sanctus and the “Lord I am not worthy” with the people. Since there are responses and acclamations that belong to the people, for the priest to say or sing them does harm to the dialogue and shared responsibility that is intended by the Liturgy. The priest should not look bored as the people respond. Rather he should reverently and prayerfully attend to the response of the people. Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C., and writes for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., blog at blog.adw.org. read on

Letters to the editor for April 9-15, 2017

Letters to the editor for April 9-15, 2017

Gender confusion Re: “How to talk to your kids about gender issues” (In Focus, March 12-28). Man and woman are created by God to honor and praise him. How does “transgender” fit into that equation? How can altering one’s sex make one pleasing to God? God knows each and every one of us by our name. By changing one’s body and name, does that make it right in the eyes of God? — Craig Galik Duquesne , Pennsylvania Re: “Mother Frances Cabrini: An immigrant who shows us the way” (Faith, April 2-8). Having attended Catholic schools in the Bronx, New York, in the late 1940s, and later Hastings and New Rochelle (St. Jerome’s, St. Clare’s and Iona), I remember the stories — and the love and respect for Mother Cabrini. We were all descendants of immigrants, from Ireland, Italy, Germany and more — later from throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. Society worked to integrate people from Puerto Rico and African-Americans from the South. Now we are locked in a dilemma. How do we continue to welcome new people while preserving the core values that have allowed us to be the most welcoming and the most generous nation in the history of the world? It is too easy to castigate those of us who worry about open Southern borders and unrestricted immigration from the war-torn Middle East. Some of our schools are simply unable to cope with the influx of young people who speak no English and disregard our customs and conventions. Our family has sponsored immigrants, and we contribute to supportive charities. However, we find it too easy for many to imply that we need open doors to unrestricted immigration. The reality of a militant strain of Islam, the problems we see in Europe and the reality of terrorism must be dealt with — although I hear little about these from the pope and other Church leaders. We seem to forget about the idea of formulating policies which would create safety and peace in other parts of the world, thereby allowing people to stay in their native homelands. We need “safe zones” overseas and we need a rational military policy that deals with the cause of dislocation. We need balance. Thomas J. Fields Jr. , Springfield, Virginia Porn addiction Re: “Pornography: a growing public health crisis” ; (News Analysis, March 19-25). The articles about porn addiction have been good in that they show how destructive this disease is. But each article stops before giving any solution. But there is a solution. I am a Catholic priest, and I was addicted to sex from age 12 to 42. I was in despair for years because I could not find a priest who understood sex addiction or had any solution. Finally, I went to treatment for drug addiction and besides offering Alcoholics Anonymous I was introduced to Sexaholics Anonymous. I found hope at last. The program started in the 1980s. At this time I have 25 years of sexual sobriety. I am happy and free. Please let your readers know where they can find hope. — Name and location withheld Re: “Priest hits the street fishing for souls” (Faith, March 19-25). When I read of St. Joseph, Missouri, I recognized the birthplace of Pony Express and Walter Cronkite. Now, I can remember and pray for resident Father Lawrence Carney: visible contemplative-in-action Christ figure, fisherman of souls, bearer of Mary to the masses. And doesn’t he do as Pope Francis asks of his priests to “wear your shoes down” while exercising a reminder of Archbishop José Gomez that we are called to holiness — to heaven — and to bring as many people as possible along with us. Continued courage to you, Father Carney. — Bretta Ribbing , Manchester, Missouri Top-Viewed Articles The most popular stories on OSV.com this week included: 1. Charismatic renewal movement turns 50 (News Analysis, March 26-April 1) 2. Priest hits the street fishing for souls (Faith, March 19-25) 3. Health care debate draws Catholic voices (News Analysis, April 2-8) 4. Mid-Lent joy (Faith, March 26-April 1) 5. Young people are leaving the faith. Here’;s why (In Focus, Aug. … read on

Attentiveness to God

Attentiveness to God

“Take time to heal your inner self through meditation. Give your mind a few moments of ‘nothingness’ each day. Concentrate on your breathing to achieve a state of relaxation and peacefulness.” After a long conference day — speaking and meeting readers and friends and supporters — my temptation was to see what Donald Trump event had everyone buzzin. But the note, flagged “meditation,” left by the room attendant was enough to prod an examination of conscience: What really is the best use of a few minutes of downtime? Recollection or MSNBC? While the note would not offend any “spiritual not religious” sensibilities, it did strike me as refreshingly countercultural. As traffic below whisked by the windows, even at a late hour, all into the night and early morning, the message was about slowing down and tuning out the noise. Slowing down may happen, but what do we do and what do we pour into ourselves as we do so? In his book, “ Contemplative Provocations ” (Ignatius, $17.95), Father Donald Haggerty, a New York archdiocesan priest who has spent extensive time with the Missionaries of Charity, writes about the “need for recollection as a prelude to prayer.” He says that it “contains a certain dilemma besides the difficulty of attaining it. It implies that a mental concentration is necessary if one is to pray. And so the demand to corral our wandering thoughts, to tie them down and keep them from breaching the enclosure of prayer. If we succeed in this effort, it is thought, we can presumably dwell on ‘spiritual things.’” The challenge, as always, is about love. “Attentiveness to God is desirable in prayer,” Father Haggerty writes. “But the attention we are to cultivate comes from love, not a mental discipline directed simply at thoughts. What we should seek is a recollection that surrenders us to someone entirely beyond our thought, a beloved who will never stop to rest for long within a particular thought.” In other words, it’s not about nothing, and it’s not about us, either, and our initiative or strategy. It’s about what God wants to do with the time we give. It’s about trusting God with our whole lives. It’s about letting him show us what he wants that to look like. Our challenge is the loving surrender to him to do with us as he wills. That “spiritual not religious” trend may just be an indictment of what we’re doing with our free time. How much of it is in adoration? How much of it is in self-giving? Do we convey joy, even while “off duty”? How “ All In ,” as Pat Gohn writes in the title of her recent book on faith are we, really? When Mother Angelica — whose eventual beatification Mass I’m looking forward to —died around this time last year, the Mass program for the Mass in Hanceville, Alabama, included, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). Is that happening? Is that what we’re giving ourselves over to? With every business trip and carpool — whatever it is we’re doing? Are we careful about what we pour into ourselves? Do we treat ourselves — one another — as the tabernacles he’s asked us to be? And do we take everything as a reminder that that’s who we are about — all in, all his? Are we beholding his glory wherever we are? With or without the rare explicit invitation, we must strive for a posture of being that is something more contemplative. Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review, and co-author of “ How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice” (OSV, $17.95). read on

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

A little less than halfway through my pregnancy, a reader wrote me a delightful note saying something to the effect of, “Oh, the joys of being pregnant during Advent!” And she was right. When I was 20 weeks along, with my baby just starting to show and the flutterings of new life just beginning to be made known inside me, I found myself thinking often of the Blessed Mother, trying to align my wonderings with hers and to conform my appreciation of the miracle of life with her. It was a beautiful time and, the reader was absolutely correct, a complete joy. Since then, however, four months have passed, and I am beginning to be able to relate pregnancy with our current liturgical season of Lent. This isn’t to say that the wonderings and the appreciation are gone. Far from it. Every day I am awed by the growing miracle of life that is happening inside my body. It is a blessing and a gift, beyond any I could have ever imagined — even already. But I’m finding that the journey, now so close to being over, is less represented by gentle Advent wonderings and instead is more in tune with the Way of the Cross. I’m breathing a little heavier these days, unable to sing as loudly or as much as I usually like. Walking down the halls at work, sometimes I wish I had a scooter. Everything hurts a little more. Everything is a little harder to accomplish. Everything makes me that much more inclined to take a mid-afternoon nap. Even in trying not to grumble, I find myself doing a little extra whining these days. I feel especially bad about this given the fact that I am, in essence, a Lenten failure this year. My commitment to daily Mass has floundered, with my attendance at less than 50 percent. Since eating is my second job these days, I opted out of sacrificing any type of food this year (whether nourishing or not). My prayer life has been erratic and distracted. (“Hail Mary, full of grace, I should really get that hospital bag packed,” for example.) Enter my husband, for whom I am perpetually grateful. His commitment to Evening Prayer during Lent for the both of us has kept me somewhat focused — or at least somewhat attuned to the fact that, yes, we actually are in the season of Lent. Despite these failures, I suppose this means that there is an even greater opportunity for me to attempt to find holiness during Palm Sunday and Holy Week this year. To be able to align my insignificant aches and pains of this season of life with Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a great gift, one of which should be taken advantage. Our sacrifices are nothing compared to his. Suffering is never easy. It’s never what we would choose. But that’s why it’s so powerful. And it’s why the rewards are so great — be they sanctification, salvation or the miracle of welcoming new life into the world. For that, I’ll take the aches and pains any day. feedback@osv.com read on

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

A little less than halfway through my pregnancy, a reader wrote me a delightful note saying something to the effect of, “Oh, the joys of being pregnant during Advent!” And she was right. When I was 20 weeks along, with my baby just starting to show and the flutterings of new life just beginning to be made known inside me, I found myself thinking often of the Blessed Mother, trying to align my wonderings with hers and to conform my appreciation of the miracle of life with her. It was a beautiful time and, the reader was absolutely correct, a complete joy. Since then, however, four months have passed, and I am beginning to be able to relate pregnancy with our current liturgical season of Lent. This isn’t to say that the wonderings and the appreciation are gone. Far from it. Every day I am awed by the growing miracle of life that is happening inside my body. It is a blessing and a gift, beyond any I could have ever imagined — even already. But I’m finding that the journey, now so close to being over, is less represented by gentle Advent wonderings and instead is more in tune with the Way of the Cross. I’m breathing a little heavier these days, unable to sing as loudly or as much as I usually like. Walking down the halls at work, sometimes I wish I had a scooter. Everything hurts a little more. Everything is a little harder to accomplish. Everything makes me that much more inclined to take a mid-afternoon nap. Even in trying not to grumble, I find myself doing a little extra whining these days. I feel especially bad about this given the fact that I am, in essence, a Lenten failure this year. My commitment to daily Mass has floundered, with my attendance at less than 50 percent. Since eating is my second job these days, I opted out of sacrificing any type of food this year (whether nourishing or not). My prayer life has been erratic and distracted. (“Hail Mary, full of grace, I should really get that hospital bag packed,” for example.) Enter my husband, for whom I am perpetually grateful. His commitment to Evening Prayer during Lent for the both of us has kept me somewhat focused — or at least somewhat attuned to the fact that, yes, we actually are in the season of Lent. Despite these failures, I suppose this means that there is an even greater opportunity for me to attempt to find holiness during Palm Sunday and Holy Week this year. To be able to align my insignificant aches and pains of this season of life with Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a great gift, one of which should be taken advantage. Our sacrifices are nothing compared to his. Suffering is never easy. It’s never what we would choose. But that’s why it’s so powerful. And it’s why the rewards are so great — be they sanctification, salvation or the miracle of welcoming new life into the world. For that, I’ll take the aches and pains any day. feedback@osv.com read on

Opening the Word: The suffering servant

Opening the Word: The suffering servant

Jesus does not die a happy death. Having proclaimed the Passion this week, we know. We know about the sufferings that he enduredupon the cross. We know about the plot, made by a friend, to put him to death. But how often do we consider the loneliness of Jesus upon the cross? In the Gospel of Matthew, every disciple has gone missing. Every person has left. Peter, the one who proclaimed Jesus as Messiah, as Lord, as the Savior of the world, then denies him: “I do not know the man” (Mt 26:72). APRIL 9, 2017 PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION IS 50:4-7 PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 PHIL 2:6-11 MT 26:14-27:66 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who asked for a privileged place in Jesus’ kingdom. Gone. The rabbled crowd, who longed for signs and wonders, are not present even though it was they who cried out, “Let him be crucified!” (Mt 27:22). Not one person who could be just was just. Not one person who could love did love: “…darkness came over the whole land” (Mt 27:45). Yet, all these moments of loneliness, of darkness, of desolation pale in comparison to the Son’s experience of abandonment by the Father. At his baptism in the river Jordan, the Father proclaims the belovedness of the Son. At his transfiguration on Mount Tabor, the Father speaks, once again, reminding us to give our wills over to the beloved Son of the Father. But now as Jesus dies upon the cross, there is nothing but the solitary voice of the Word made flesh: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). Of course, we know that our Lord is quoting from Psalm 22. We know that this is a lament psalm that does not end with sorrow, with pain, but with hope. Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death. And we know the reason for hope. But on this Sunday, on this Passion Sunday, during this Holy Week, let’s not pass over the lament too quickly. Jesus Christ is the suffering servant, the one who emptied himself completely out of his love. On his body is laid the sins of the world, all the darkness that we human beings could throw at him. The darkness of a political order that didn’t care to be just. The darkness of his fellow Israelites, who did not recognize him. The darkness of his disciples who could not remain. The silence of the Father in the midst of the suffering of the Son is a sign of this darkness. Jesus takes on the fullness of the human condition. He knows the suffering of life and death, the bitter silence encountered by the just man who keeps the law out of love. If Jesus did not know the terrors of this silence, the sorrow of this sin, the pain of loneliness, he would not have taken up the fullness of the human condition. The full condition of the just, who love unto the end, but are rejected by an age grown cold. “And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Mt 27:51-53). Even now in the midst of suffering and death, loneliness and sorrow, God speaks a word. The Father has spoken the definitive word in his Son. The definitive word of love. The final word. “‘Truly, this was the son of God’” (Mt 27:54). Timothy P. O’Malley is the director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. read on

Editorial: Authentic belonging

Editorial: Authentic belonging

The children’s educational program “Sesame Street” made national headlines in mid-March with its announcement that, beginning in April, new Muppet Julia would represent a young child with autism. For the 1 in 6 children diagnosed with a developmental disability — including autism — each year, and for their parents, this recognition and resource is no small thing. This is especially true in a society where the numbers of those with disabilities is on the rise. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of individuals with developmental disabilities increased 17.1 percent from 1997 to 2008. This includes a 289.5 percent increase in the prevalence of autism. While the Church has made progress over the years in developing a pastoral response to people with disabilities, it still has a way to go. Dioceses and parishes, faced with the very real burdens of lack of funding and training, are inconsistent in the programming and catechesis offered to people with disabilities. Though Catholic schools may welcome young people with disabilities, they often are strapped for resources to minister properly to them, especially compared to their public school counterparts. Leadership from the U.S. bishops, too, while present, has been uneven. The most comprehensive pastoral statement on persons with disabilities by the U.S. bishops was issued in 1978 and reaffirmed in 1998. (The bishops also released sacramental guidelines in 1995.) We, too, can do more. It is up to Catholics, individually and in parishes, to extend to persons with disabilities the love and mercy of Jesus. Very effective is the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), founded in 1982. It was this group that authored this week’s essay on autism (Page 7) and reminded each of us of what it means to truly welcome those persons with disabilities. In the essay, the authors make an important point about reaching out to those with disabilities when they juxtapose the concepts of “inclusion” and “belonging.” They are saying that how we treat the “other” — the one who is different from us — is not a matter of charity but of justice. Rather than extending our arms to include, as if we are the only arbiters of who matters, we do better to recognize the inherent belonging of all the baptized to the Body of Christ, regardless of ability. It’s a powerful and important distinction that extends to any person we may perceive as being different. Finally, no small matter can be made of the great courage, suffering and hard work that goes into both living with a disability and caring for those with a disability. In every way possible, persons with disabilities and their caretakers should be supported and encouraged by those in the Church. As we commemorate Jesus’ walk to Calvary this Holy Week, we are buoyed by the great grace that comes from his willingness to suffer selflessly for our salvation. Pope Francis last June reminded us of this paradoxical gift of suffering when it comes to those with disabilities. “It is thought that sick or disabled persons cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held up by the culture of pleasure and entertainment,” he said. “In some cases, we are even told that it is better to eliminate them as soon as possible, because they become an unacceptable economic burden in time of crisis. Yet what an illusion it is when people today shut their eyes in the face of sickness and disability! They fail to understand the real meaning of life, which also has to do with accepting suffering and limitations.” May the rest of the Church continue to more deeply realize the authentic belonging of those with disabilities. Editorial Board: Greg Willits, editorial director; Gretchen R. Crowe, editor-in-chief; Don Clemmer, managing editor read on