Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge: Proclaim the sacredness of all human life
The following is the homily given by the Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge during the Jan. 23 North Carolina Respect Life Mass at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:
Last week in North Carolina at the MLK Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, the keynote speaker was the Chief Executive Officer for AT&T. In her address, she referred frequently to the recent campaign initiative of her company: Rethink Possible. She used the phrase to help those gathered to imagine what the world would like if love prevailed and all people, without exception, were treated equally.
Dear friends in Christ, our gathering today at this magnificent Basilica Shrine and soon on the streets of our nation's capital reflects what we truly believe is possible:
It is possible to change the hearts of elected officials so that their decisions, actions and votes ensure a society in which all people are treated equally and never denied the right to be born and to live with dignity and respect.
It is possible to inflame a "culture of death" with the Gospel of Life through the enthusiastic, joyful and peaceful witness that we offer, especially as demonstrated through the thousands of youth present today. Dear young friends in Christ, Bishop Jugis and I are so very proud of you!
It is possible to help others understand and acknowledge that a miraculous event takes place at the moment of conception when a new, unrepeatable and irreplaceable human being comes to exist.
It is possible to overturn the horrific decision of Roe vs. Wade and to ensure that in our great nation abortion is illegal, inaccessible and impossible.
My brothers and sisters, we know the reasons for the hopes and prayers we share and we understand how they can become realities. They are rooted in the Truth, who is Jesus Christ. By His birth, the Son of God and the Son of Mary has made all human life sacred. By His suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has demonstrated the infinite worth and value of all persons. Thus, His mandate is that life from the moment of conception to natural death must be revered, defended and protected and that respect and dignity are shown to all of His people, especially the unborn, weak, vulnerable, the needy and those whose rights and freedom are violated.
My friends in Christ, we also understand how it is possible to transform society. As today's Gospel teaches, it can only occur with the amazing grace of God. We are merely the branches, the instruments. It is the Lord who is the true vine and through whom abundant fruit is produced. Yes, we must continue to advocate on behalf of the sacredness of human life. Yes, we must offer witness in the public arena. Yet, the greatest gift we give to the Pro-Life movement is our renewed commitment to heed the call of Saint Paul in our First Reading and remain a people who rejoice in hope and persevere in prayer, most especially as we allow ourselves to be enlightened by the Lord's word and nourished with His Holy Body and Blood. Our deep faith is demonstrated when we entrust all our work and endeavors to His divine providence through the intercession of Mary Our Mother, who most perfectly understood that all things are possible with God!
Through her intercession, we go forth from this Mass spiritually renewed and strengthened to help others Rethink Possible and to proclaim the sacredness of all human life in the Holy Name of Jesus, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
To view video from the Mass, go to the Diocese of Raleigh's You Tube Channel.
Dr. Kamila Valenta: Cuba, other post-Communist countries need evangelizationThanks to the hard work of diplomats, politicians, and the Catholic Church, the relationship between the United States and Cuba has recently warmed up and the two countries established diplomatic relations for the first time in 54 years. After...
The Poor Clares: Reflections on the Year for Consecrated Life: Ora et labora: Active, contemplative vocationsIf you search a list of Catholic religious orders, institutes and congregations, you will likely be amazed at the number of charisms present in consecrated life. That is a reflection of the multifaceted beauty of our Church and the inexhaustible...
Fred Gallagher: Grieving as a CatholicIn my professional life I have written on grief and the grieving process. A few months ago my younger brother lost his wife tragically. I see his grief circulating through him daily and I am amazed at his fortitude and his faith in the face...
Deacon James H. Toner: What we know that ain't so: Happy homiliesWhat we think is the right road The goal of a homily is to entertain people, it should be brief, and it should be free from annoying or unsettling content. The best homilies today feature humor, props and ploys to ensure that people pay attention....
Denise Bossert: Our faith is a beautiful treasureMy friend attended a class on life after a divorce. She is Catholic, someone who loves the faith and simply wants to heal and be whole for Christ and His Church. She lives in fidelity to the faith she has received. Her counselor suggested that...
Matthew Newsome: Praying with both lungsThe sight of people carrying tasselled prayer ropes may be common in Eastern monasteries, but it is decidedly less so in the southern Appalachian mountains. So when my pastor and I were comparing our chotkis after Mass one recent Sunday, it's...
Deacon James H. Toner: What we know that ain't so: LeadershipWhat we think is the right road A good leader knows what he or she is about; a good leader organizes, trains, motivates, supervises and ensures success. A good leader does all these things – while pointing to the latest management guidebook...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Homilies should be interesting, funny and shortI want to compliment the fine column by Deacon James Toner in the Aug. 14 Catholic News Herald, "Happy homilies." I don't think I have seen a better one than that in years. Read the column by...
The Fatima Secret: Persecution of the ChurchRecently we have all been stunned by the increasing persecutions of the Church throughout the world: thousands of Christians either killed or made homeless, the legalistic attacks on Judeo-Christian...
Grateful for your support of retired religiousOn behalf of more than 33,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests who benefit from the Retirement Fund for Religious, please accept my prayerful thanks for your diocese's...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe. Listen to homily podcasts.
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy