This week Pope Francis visited Slovakia and met with civil and religious leaders including poor communities and their people. Addressing government authorities on the first full day of his visit, the pope said the traditional custom of welcoming guests is a powerful message of love, especially toward migrants and vulnerable people. “No one should be stigmatized or suffer discrimination. Our Christian way of looking at others refuses to see them as a burden or a problem, but rather as brothers and sisters to be helped and protected.”
The pope had a message for the country's bishops, priests and religious in Bratislava's St. Martin's Cathedral. "The church is not a fortress, a stronghold, a lofty castle, self-sufficient and looking out upon the world below," he said. Instead, he told the historically traditionalist Catholic community to adopt a posture of humility and a readiness to engage the world around it, especially its young people and those on the margins. "How great is the beauty of a humble church, a church that does not stand aloof from the world, viewing life with a detached gaze, but lives her life within the world," he said. "Living within the world means being willing to share and to understand people’s problems, hopes and expectations." "This will help us to escape from our self-absorption, for the center of the church is not the church!" Pope Francis continued.
Pope Francis also paid tribute to the 105,000 Slovak Jews killed during the Holocaust, and Francis again reiterated his condemnation of anti-Semitism. "Let us unite in condemning all violence and every form of anti-Semitism, and in working to ensure that God’s image, present in the humanity he created, will never be profaned," he pleaded. "Our world needs open doors," Francis said, as he lauded the interfaith efforts between Christians and Jews in recent years and urged continued collaboration. "The blessing of the Most High is poured out upon us, whenever he sees a family of brothers and sisters who respect and love each other and work together," he concluded.
I would like to give a shout out to our Scout Troop 221 who commenced their service project here at Christ the King, taking upon themselves the task of cleaning up our beautiful gardens around the campus. Scouts together with their parents were here for a number of hours removing weeds, cleaning up the leaves around the church and much more. I know they will be back again to do more work, and on behalf of our community, I say “Thank You.”
I would like to thank you for the many donations that have already been sent to the parish for the poor people of Haiti and the suffering citizens of Louisiana. Two weeks after the earthquake, about two dozen members of a church dressed in their Sunday best, sat on whatever suitable objects they could pull out of the wreckage of the Catholic Church that once stood nearby. The magnitude 7.2 earthquake destroyed hundreds of churches, including the main Catholic church in the small town of Marceline. Louisiana is right now on the path of another destructive hurricane, and according to the weather service, “Soils have not yet recovered from Hurricane Ida a couple weeks ago in eastern Louisiana. These areas are currently receiving heavy rainfall which is expected to continue … priming soils for flooding, and Beaumont/Port Arthur/Lake Charles can be particularly sensitive to flash flooding, thus the High Risk.” Let us support our brothers and sisters with our prayers and generosity.