Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cardinal Dolan and Mayor De Blasio Brainstorm To Do God's Work in NYC

I read some good news this week, about much needed affordable housing in New York City. Cardinal Dolan met with Mayor De Blasio to discuss making available "properties in the archdiocese's portfolio for affordable housing and emergency shelters." Cardinal Dolan was quoted as saying, "We want them to be used for the mission of the Church-namely for teaching, education, health care, housing, charity-and this fits in." Speaking of Mayor De Blasio he said, "He and I work for the same people, namely God's people, the people of this city and they've told us this is an urgent need. Let's do it."
Mayor De Blasio is a non-practicing Catholic but considers himself to be a spiritual person, who admires Pope Francis.
Mayor De Blasio has consistently said that he wants to do something about the housing crisis in NYC. Something must be done. Poor people as well as middle class working people can no longer afford to live in New York City and the surrounding areas. Prices of apartments, even to rent have soared in the last 10 years. Prices to buy a home or condo are steadily becoming out of reach for most working class New Yorkers.

In the neighborhood in Brooklyn where I grew up, hard working teachers, police officers, firemen, transit workers, merchants and others were able to buy a starter home (as my parents did) and give their families a good life in the city. That is becoming less and less realistic as prices continue to rise out of the reach of the lower and middle classes. It's a shame, because its all of those people who give NYC the ethnic and cultural diversity which makes it such a vibrant place to live.
And so the partnership between the city and the church, working together to give New Yorkers the opportunity to live in affordable housing is a very good thing. Certainly God's work.
I saw a program on TV about a year ago, about families living in shelters and what they go through. It saddened my heart. I wrote an e-mail/letter to Mayor De Blasio, asking him to address this growing crisis. I was surprised to get a reply. He promised he was going to do something to get families out of shelters and into decent homes.  He said it was a priority of his administration.
So obviously this was good news I read this week,  very uplifting and promising.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pope Francis Recognizes The Importance of Protecting the Environment-World Day of Prayer For Creation

I am very grateful that Pope Francis is aware of the importance of protecting the environment and caring for the Earth. The Pope recently announced that he has instituted a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to be celebrated annually on September 1st.  Praise God! That is great news.
In a letter published by the Holy See Press Office, the Pope wrote the following words of wisdom, "As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through.....for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for us, 'the life of the Spirit is not disassociated from the body or from nature, or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us.'" Amen to that!
Many climate scientists believe there is still time to turn the situation around, but nations must act quickly, intelligently and responsibly.   The Earth's temperature is already rising, and if this continues there will be food shortages, risks to water supplies,  rising seas, increased flooding in low lying areas and erratic weather patterns.  These impacts are already being felt in some parts of the world and in the U.S.
California's historic and serious drought will impact food supplies in the U.S. and elsewhere, if the drought doesn't end soon. The Pope is taking a brave and much needed stance to "wake" people up because it's a reality and it's happening already.
Coming from Pope Francis who is a moral authority, the call to action, to protect the environment and to make it a priority to care for the earth and its resources, is serious. The Pope recognizes our role as Christians in protecting God's beautiful and abundant Creation.  I applaud his efforts on behalf of the environment.
May God magnify the Pope's efforts and may pastors in local parishes (especially those near oceans on the coasts of the United States or those experiencing extreme drought) preach on the importance of taking the issue seriously and finding ways to help.