Dear Brother Knights,
We are well into Cicada Summer and we have a new shepherd in the archdiocese. Martin Holley will be ordained an auxiliary bishop on July 2. Martin and I were classmates, although he was ordained a priest a year after me in 1987. He spent two years with me at Theological College at Catholic University. He finished his studies back in Florida where he subsequently ministered. Martin was our star basketball player on the school team, Sons of Thunder. The year he played, the seminarians beat the lawyers for the school title. Martin was not one for cold weather. The first time he saw snow, he excitedly ran out the front doors of the residence into it. He said it looked like white beach sand. No sooner did he enter the snow that he turned and ran back into the house. We did not see him again until it thawed. Martin was so nostalgic for the beach that he placed a blanket on the floor of his bedroom and poured different colored sands upon it. Then he would turn on the radio, rest upon the sand, and dream of warmer days. I am sure the new bishop is enjoying the Washington summer. But, I reminded him, the cold is never far away. Please keep him in your prayers as he begins his new ministry.
I know that many of you share my grieving over the late President Reagan. When I was a teenager, I regularly listened to his inspiring radio shorts about our country, chronicling her history and values. One of my most cherished possessions is an autographed book of his speeches. While his father was Catholic, and he had a deep respect for the Church and counted many priests as friends, his mother did not raise him in the faith. Nevertheless, he shared many of our values, particularly about human dignity, the right to life, and the right to freedom (particularly against the dark spectre of communism). Along with Gorbachev, Thatcher, and “his friend” the Pope, he did much to change the world. As Knights, we prize patrotism and pray that we will truly be that nation “under God” that shines as a light set upon a hill for all craving freedom and justice. Along with a few friends, I went down to the Mall and stood in line from 1:00 AM to 5:30 AM to pay my respects to President Reagan. May he rest in peace.
On a tour of Oregon, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods. A helpless tree hugger, wearing sandals, Hawaiian shorts, and a “save the whales” T-shirt was struggling frantically, thrashing around trying to free himself from the jaws of a 10 foot grizzly. As the Pope watched horrified, a group of loggers came racing up. One quickly fired a 44 magnum into the bear’s chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding semi-conscious tree hugger from the bear. Then using long clubs, the three loggers beat the bear to death and hauled it to their truck. Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to come over. “I give you my blessing for your brave actions!” he told them. “I heard there was a bitter hatred between loggers and environmental activists, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true.” As the Pope drove off, one of the loggers asked “Is the bait holding up okay, or do we need to go back to Portland and grab another one?”
Turning to something serious, those of us who are in pro-life work take to heart the words of Cardinal Francis Arinze who said that a Catholic politician who supports abortion rights “is not fit” to receive the Eucharist. Let us pray for a conversion of hearts and minds in our leaders to the Gospel of Life.
Fr. Joseph Jenkins