Tuesday, April 21, 2009

True Shepherding and Hope

As reported by religion writer/ blogger Gary Stern and also by the famous blogger Rocco Palmo, Archbishop Timothy Dolan celebrated Mass at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility (the only maximum security prison in NYS) for about 150 female inmates this week. The smiling (and now I'll add compassionate) Archbishop of New York told the inmates that "Jesus won't judge him on his visits to Yankee Stadium or even St. Patrick's Cathedral but he will say, "when I was hungry you fed me, when I was in prison, you came to see me." He distributed Holy Communion to the inmates and after Mass greeted the women and blessed them. He told reporters it was his "sacred responsibility" to visit the imprisoned. What a way to teach people the importance of the Corporal Works of Mercy! You're doing just great Archbishop!
Also, another true Shepherd, Pope Benedict, will visit the earthquake ravaged Abruzzo region of Italy on April 28th. The Pope's presence will bring healing and hope. Being present to people in pain and anguish is so important. There are signs of hope, amidst the devastation. The Times of London reported that "a long lost 11th century fresco depicting the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus" was uncovered in the ruins. The mayor of Rocca de Cambio told the Times, "the appearance of the Madonna and Child is a sign of hope." 

The Corporal Works of Mercy
Feed the Hungry--Give drink to the thirsty--Clothe the naked--Visit the imprisoned--Shelter the homeless--Visit the sick--Bury the dead

And from the Prophet Isaiah words of mercy (58:7)
Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them and not turning your back on your own.