Ordinary Time

01-25-2015Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today's Gospel (Mark 1:14-20), Jesus calls the disciples while performing their daily duties as fishermen. Often times in life we think that the Lord wants to call us in extraordinary ways. We hear the story of Exodus and we think that God desires to give us a burning bush in order to communicate His plan for our lives. It is easy for us to forget about today's Gospel and how Jesus calls the disciples in the ordinary events of daily life.

As disciples of Christ, we must never forget that God wants to be in relationship with us at every moment: when we are with our families, during our daily commute, while we are at work, etc… If we are open to the presence of God in our daily life, we will find that He has much to say to us. The beauty of the Catholic faith is its Sacramental worldview: the view that things are more than what they seem. Each and ever y daily act can be a visible sign of God's invisible grace, if only we are willing to open our hearts to Christ.

God took the skills of fishermen and reoriented them toward apostleship. God chose twelve ordinary men in the midst of ordinary life and called them to do something extraordinary. We do not need burning bushes to understand the call of Jesus Christ. We only need to offer up the many moments of our daily lives to Him and for His service. When we live life this way, we will see with clarity the living God at work in us.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

What are you looking for?

01-18-2015Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Often times we feel a strong desire to pray and to strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ, but we aren't sure where to start. I believe that today's Gospel (John 1:35-42) is a fantastic starting point. In today's Gospel, Jesus asks the two disciples following Him a very important question: "What are you looking for?" I believe Christ is asking us this same question. What are you looking for? What is it that your heart longs for that has caused you to search for discipleship with Jesus? What is it that you believe Jesus Christ can offer you that no one else can? How many of us have set our lives on "cruise-control" and have forgotten the reason why we have set out on this journey with Christ and His Church? Meditating on the question of Jesus to the disciples is a great way to stop, slow down for a moment, and refocus on Jesus.

However, it is not only Jesus who asks a question in the Gospel, it is also the disciples who ask a question. In the Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, "Where are you staying?" This is also a beautiful question worthy of meditation. Where is Christ in my life? Do I feel as if He is absent? If absent, where might He be? Is it He who is absent, or myself? Where must I go to find Him? Or, rather, where must I go so that He can find me? Where is Jesus leading me? How does that make me feel? What is keeping me from following Him to that destination? Again, these are beautiful questions worthy of meditation.

When someone comes to me for spiritual guidance or direction, this Gospel passage is usually where we begin. The spiritual life is about a relationship with God. We have to get to know Him by spending time with Him and engaging Him in conversation. Christ desires to have a deep relationship with us. He desires to ask us what we are looking for, and we desire to ask Him where He is staying. My hope and prayer for you this week is that you spend some time meditating on this passage. The Lord is invested in you and

He desires for you to be invested in Him.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Your Spiritual Birthday

01-11-2015Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrate the feast day of the Baptism of the Lord. In this celebration, God the Father reveals the mission of His Son to the world: the salvation of souls.

In today's Gospel (Mark 1:7-11), we hear that the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. The image of the dove is significant in Scripture. In the Old Testament, when a poor family could not afford a lamb to sacrifice as a sin offering, they were instructed to offer two turtledoves instead. In this way, even poor people could make a guilt offering on behalf of their sins. Matthew is drawing our attention to this detail in a beautiful way.

Baptism was already a religious practice before the arrival of Jesus. It was a religious ceremony of repentance. Jesus takes this religious practice and unites it to Himself and transforms it in such a way that it doesn't merely symbolize being cleansed, but actually cleanses us. As Catholics, we believe that Baptism isn't merely a delightful reminder of God's forgiveness, but actually forgives our sins. This is why it is so important.

Baptism is the gateway into the life of Christ, the life of the Church. It not only washes away Original Sin, but it also makes us capable of receiving the other Sacraments. This is why the Church needs to see an official up-to-date edition of someone's baptismal certificate prior to receiving the other Sacraments. It is through the water and spirit of Baptism that we are reborn into a new life with Christ.

On account of this, we should all celebrate our date of Baptism every year. We celebrate our physical birthday each year, why not celebrate our spiritual birthday? Is our spiritual birthday less important? I think not. In fact, Jesus would argue that it is the more important birthday.

This year, in honor of your spiritual birthday, find out your date of baptism, mark it on your calendar, and renew your baptismal promises. Use it as an opportunity to recommit yourself to Jesus Christ, the sacrificial lamb (and dove) who died for our sins.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

What the Wise Men Found

01-04-2015Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today's Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12), when carefully reviewed, shows us how both faith and reason work together in the pursuit of truth. The Magi are considered to be "wise men." They are immersed in the wisdom of nature. They understand the laws of the universe and the truth communicated by the world around them. They are scientists, who examine and study the world in which they live. Their desire for a greater understanding of this truth led them to follow a star, a star which led them on a journey across the world. They were so compelled by their thirst for truth that they were willing to risk all that was familiar to them (their home countries and families) in order to pursue it. Risking safety and security, they followed that star all the way to Bethlehem: a tiny insignificant Jewish town translated as, "The house of Bread." They followed the course of nature, which brought them to a manger (a feeding trough); to a defenseless baby in his mother's arms. The star did not bring them to an all-powerful warrior God like those written about in Greek and Roman legends. It did not bring them to a scroll of wisdom containing the answer to every question ever asked. It did not bring them to the smallest particle upon which the entire universe was constructed. Instead, their scientific examination of the world brought them to the child Jesus.

But this was no ordinary child. This was the Word, the one through whom the whole world was created. This child was the meaning and purpose behind the entire universe. Pope Benedict XVI once said, "It is not the elemental spirits of the universe, the laws of matter, which ultimately govern the world and mankind, but a personal God governs the stars, that is, the universe; it is not the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love – a Person." Science, in the story of the Magi, reaches its purpose, the force behind its search for truth, in an encounter with the child Jesus. The story of the Magi beautifully demonstrates to us that the destination of rational scientific inquiry and examination is an experience of Jesus Christ.

Yet, this experience of Christ does not destroy or obliterate the Magi's pursuit of truth and knowledge. Rather, the experience of Christ reorients them. It gives them a new direction. They do not remain with the child Jesus. Instead, they are given a new mission, a new journey. They are so transformed by the discovery of Christ that they cannot go back the same way from which they came. Christ has changed them. Yet, now they know the reason behind their quest for truth. They have seen the one through whom all things exist and they must continue on in their studies (their pursuit of knowledge). Even though Christ has reoriented their lives, he has not exhausted the mysteries that they love. Instead, he has given purpose to their quest. He has refueled their thirst for truth. He has given them an answer that neither nature alone, nor science alone, nor reason alone, could have given them.

Faith does not seek to destroy reason. Rather, faith seeks to liberate it; to free it so that it can flourish. Pope John Paul II once said, "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know Himself." There is a reason behind everything we do in our faith. We are not blind in our faith. Rather, our faith enables us to see things the way they were created to be seen. Through faith, we can see the world with particular meaning and purpose. Reason and science give life and substance to that meaning and purpose.

Those who lack faith live in a world of chance. Things are the way they are much like the way the roll of the dice gives us a random number. There is no meaning in that world. In that world science and reason are closed in on themselves. They are slaves. Don't enslave yourself to such a world. Live in the freedom of Christ. Be like the Magi. Allow God, and the great gift of reason that He has given you, to take you on a humble journey to Bethlehem, to an experience of the child Jesus. For it is only in an experience of Jesus Christ where you will find what you are searching for: the fullness of Life and Truth.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Divine Disturber

12-28-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today’s Gospel (Luke 2:22-40), we hear the beautiful account of the presentation of Christ in the temple. A major figure in this particular Gospel passage is Simeon, a righteous man who was awaiting the coming of the Savior. When Simeon saw Jesus, he realized that this child was the long awaited Savior and spoke a prophecy to Mary. He said to the Mother of God: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted - and you yourself a sword will pierce - so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” What does this prophecy mean?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote about this prophecy in his famous book, “Life of Christ.” In this book, Bishop Sheen notes that Simeon’s prophecy is proclaiming that Christ will “provoke human hearts either to good or evil.” In other words, Christ is a polarizing figure who will either draw out the best in you or expose the worst in you. This is why He is destined for the fall and rise of many. Bishop Sheen elaborates further to say that the closer a human heart comes to an encounter with Christ, the more aware that human heart becomes of its own sinfulness. As a result of this awareness, the person will either then ask for God’s mercy and find peace or turn against Christ because he/she is not ready to give up their sinfulness. Seeking Christ’s mercy and receiving His peace will be the rise of many. Rejecting God because of attachment to sin will be the fall of many.

The question placed before us today in light of this Gospel is, “How will my heart respond to Christ?” Will an encounter of Christ lead me to God’s mercy and peace, or will it fill my heart with fear because of my unwillingness to change? Is my heart fertile ground or hard rock?

Jesus Christ, the “Divine Disturber” seeks to stir up our hearts so that we might let go of all that is not of God so that we might experience fulfillment and peace. This is why he came into the world. This is why he became a little child. This why he died on the Cross. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Jesus Christ. May God make our hearts fertile ground this Christmas season so that we might know the peace of the Savior.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

The One Thing Necessary

12-21-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today's Gospel (Luke 1:26-38), we hear the Scriptural account of the Annunciation, the encounter of Mary with the Archangel Gabriel, where she consents to the Lord's invitation to become the Mother of God. Recently, I came across a beautiful painting of this Scriptural event that I would like to share with all of you. The painting is called, "The Annunciation," and it is by Henry Ossawa Tanner, an early 20th century African-American artist from Pennsylvania. The original can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

There are two aspects of Tanner's portrayal of the Annunciation that I appreciate. First, I appreciate the location of the Blessed Mother at the edge of her bed. This detail beautifully captures Mary's readiness to respond to the Lord's invitation. Even in her sleep, Mary is ready to arise to answer the call of the Lord. Nothing stands in her way from saying "yes" to God. This painting invites us to ask similar questions about ourselves. How ready am I to respond to God's call? What obstacles st and in my way from saying "yes" to Jesus Christ?

The second aspect that I greatly appreciate about this painting is Mary's posture. Mary is in a position of humble receptivit y in the face of the glory of St. Gabriel. At the edge of her bed, Mary sits peacefully with her hands folded in her lap, with her gaze upon the light of St. Gabriel. Her arms are not folded across her chest as if to reveal any kind of doubt or frustration with the Archangel or his message. She is not cowering in the corner trying to hide her face or body from the bright light. She is not in a position of defense or fear. Rather, she is in a position of humble receptivity. She is listening attentively to the profound message being delivered to her, pondering the great significance of it. This humble receptivity is what allows her to say the powerful words that transformed human history: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

Mary's posture invites us to ponder our own receptivity to the Lord. Have I put myself in a position where I am open to the Lord's voice? Do I make time for prayer everyday so that I can hear what God is trying to say to me? Father Thomas Dubay, S.M. once wrote:

Mediocre people often have a tinge of religion about them, but it is only a tinge. They take their religion as it comes. They may pray and worship more or less regularly, and they usually stay clear of publicly disgraceful crimes, but they are lukewarm, colorless. Seldom or never do they read a serious book about prayer or study to learn more about God and his plans, to discover how to be humble and chaste and patient. They are always too busy for the one thing necessary.

Does my mediocrity keep me from the Lord? Am I too busy for the one thing necessary? How can I become more receptive to God's call?

Brothers and sisters, as we finish our preparations for the coming of Jesus Christ in just a few short days, may we place ourselves in a position of humble receptivity so that we might always be ready to hear God's voice and respond to His call for our lives.

Peace in Christ, Fr. Will

Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898, Philadelphia Museum of Art


12-14-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During the third Sunday of Advent we continue our reflection on the person of John the Baptist. In today's Gospel (John 1:6-8, & 19-28), the priests and Levites ask John the Baptist a crucial question: "Who are you?" His answer to their question is interesting: "I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord." He is not the prophet Elijah. He is not the Messiah. He is merely the voice, in other words, the messenger. His identity is wrapped up in his message. He seeks nothing for himself. Everything is about the message he is called to proclaim.

In a way, all of us are called to be messengers. The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Mission Activity in the Church, Ad Gentes, reminds us of this call: "All Christians…wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they put on in Baptism, and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation, so that others, seeing their good works, might glorify the Father and more perfectly perceive the true meaning of human life and the universal solidarity of mankind" (11). In other words, through the visible witness of our lives, we are called to be messengers like John the Baptist.

How do we become better messengers? The answer to this question lies in our relationship to the message itself. In order to give a greater witness to a message, we must first come to know and love the subject of the message. In the case of the Christian faith, the subject of the message is the person of Jesus Christ. Thus, to be a messenger of Christ, we must first come to know Him and love Him.

There are many ways to grow in our relationship with Christ. First, we come to know Christ in prayer. We become greater messengers of the Gospel by spending more time in prayer. It is in prayer where Jesus Christ strengthens our souls. Maybe an hour each month (or even each week) in Adoration would be a good way for us to grow in Christ?

Second, we can come to know Christ in the teachings of the Church. The Church is an extension of Christ and continues His presence through her teachings. We can become better messengers by taking time to learn more about our faith. Maybe signing up for one of our Tuesday morning book/Bible studies, or our Thursday evening Catholicism series, or our Saturday morning speaker series would help us grow in our understanding of the faith?

Third, we can come to know Christ by sharing our faith with others. It is amazing how much Christ transforms our lives when we choose to speak about Christ with the people in our lives. Sometimes we are met with opposition when we do this. However, a little opposition might be the catalyst we need to get more serious about our faith. Could we really grow in our faith without challenges? Maybe we could invite someone to Mass next weekend? Maybe the good news of Jesus Christ might be what our struggling co-worker needs to hear?

Brothers and sisters, we are called by God to be messengers of His Son, Jesus Christ. Do not be afraid of this beautiful calling. Be with Christ in prayer. Know what Christ teaches through His Church. Share your faith in Christ with others. Let John the Baptist be your guide.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

St. John the Baptist

12-05-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Every year in joyful anticipation for the coming of Christ we take time to reflect on the person and mission of John the Baptist. In today's Gospel (Mark 1:1-8), Mark begins by reading to us the call of Isaiah the prophet to "Prepare the way of the Lord" and "make straight his paths." In Isaiah, this particular calling was God's way of filling his people with hope by announcing that their time of exile was almost over and inspiring them to remove any obstacles from their relationship with Him that might keep them from returning to their homeland. However, in Mark's Gospel, this calling from Isaiah is reworded in such a way that it is now redirected from God's people to God's Son, Jesus Christ. It is the words of a Father to His Son, letting His Son know that the way is being prepared for His coming. It is in light of the coming of Christ, the Son of God, that we discover the mission and identity of John the Baptist. He is called to prepare the way for Christ to come into the hearts of God's people.

How does John the Baptist achieve this mission of preparing the way for Christ? First, he accomplishes it from his place of origin: he comes from the desert. This is a significant detail and one that is of no coincidence. Although we live in a desert, the desert in Scripture is a symbol of loneliness and deprivation. It is a symbol of being stripped away of worldly pleasures and comforts. John the Baptist's mission is one that comes completely from God, not from himself. He appears in the desert to demonstrate this truth. He has no worldly glory or appearance. Thus, he is dressed in camel's hair. In this way, his message cannot be misunderstood to be his own. The success of his message cannot be attributed to his great personality or demeanor. He is a poor and dirty man that comes from the desert.

Second, John the Baptist accomplishes his mission of preparing the way for Christ by his choice of words. His words are not directed toward the greatness of himself (although Jesus tells us in Luke 7:28 that there is no one born of women greater than him). Rather, his words are those of repentance and humility: "One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals." His words point away from his own power and might toward the power and might of the Son of God who is to bring hope to God's people.

Inspired by the person and mission of John the Baptist, we are called today to reflect on how well we prepare the way for Christ. Do our words and actions prepare the way for Christ to fill His people with hope? Do we empty ourselves in such a way that Christ is free to work in and through us? Let us pray today that the mission of John the Baptist might become our own; that we might empty ourselves of worldly glory and become "poor in spirit," so that our poverty might make room for Christ to perform great and mighty deeds.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

The Virtue of Patience

11-28-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrate the beginning of a new Liturgical year, the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent is a season of anticipation, a season of holy waiting, where we wait with joyful anticipation for the coming of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ at Christmas and the return of Jesus Christ at the end of the world.

In a season of waiting, the virtue of patience is always essential. We must patiently wait for Christ. Patience is something we struggle with in our modern culture. Simply put, we don't like to wait. We want things to happen immediately. It is for this reason that I think Advent is an important season for us.

We must always remember that God is patient with us, and He asks in return that we be patient with Him. Often times we expect God to act immediately and we become frustrated with Him when it appears as if He is not acting this way. It is in these moments where we must remember that God's grace works more like a crock pot than a microwave. Many times God chooses to work slowly over time with precision. The slow working nature of God's grace may not please us. However, although it may not please us, it is always what is best for us.

Our culture needs a greater outpouring of the virtue of patience. Maybe this Advent season, we could ask God in prayer that he begin this outpouring on our culture by helping us grow in patience. Maybe we could be the start of a "patience revolution." It has to start somewhere. Why not with us?

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

The True King of Our Lives

11-21-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next week we will begin a new Liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent. Today's solemnity was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. The purpose for the establishment of this celebration was to provide a response to 20th century nationalism and secularism. Pope Pius XI wanted the people of God to know that although most governments were no longer Christian, Christ still remains the true king of our lives. In his encyclical, Quas Primas, Pope Pius XI reminds us that Christ desires to reign in our minds, wills, hearts, and bodies. What does this mean?

Christ reigns in our minds when the truth of the Gospel becomes the lens through which we understand the meaning of all things. It is through Jesus Christ that all things were created. Thus, it is through Him that we come to know the purpose of existence. Science can tell us how the world was made, but only Jesus Christ can give us the meaning behind why the world was made. Biology can tell us how we were created, but only Jesus Christ can tell us our vocation, the purpose of our existence.

Christ reigns in our wills when we have true freedom. In our modern world, freedom is understood as the ability to do whatever we want. Unfortunately, this is not true freedom. We are truly free, when we are free to choose the good. Sin enslaves us. It pr events us from being free to choose what is good for us. Christ reigns in our wills when we are free from sin and are able to say "yes" to the Gospel. The gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a gift that frees us from sin so that we are free to choose Christ.

Christ reigns in our hearts when we desire Him above all things. St. Augustine once said about our Lord, "Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you." Christ reigns in the heart, when the heart finds rest in Christ. Every human being longs for communion with God. Christ is king of our hearts when we place our desire for Him above our desire for earthly things. This is why we often undergo various penances in Advent and Lent, so that we might always give preference to the desire for spiritual things.

Christ reigns in our bodies when we seek to serve rather than be served. The Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, tells us that "man…cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself" (24). The truth of our existence is that we were created to be selfless, not selfish. We are made to serve. Christ reigns in our bodies when we fight our selfish inclinations and seek to live a life at the service of the Gospel. We discover our authentic selves only when we learn to make a gift of ourselves.

As we celebrate the end of another Liturgical year and beginning of a new one, let us be mindful of Christ's desire to be the king of our lives. May we allow Christ to reign in our minds, wills, hearts, and bodies.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Be Not Afraid

11-16-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today's Gospel (Mt. 25:14-30), the servant who received one talent gave the excuse of "fear" as the reason why he refused to do anything with this talent: "Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground."

How often do we find ourselves acting out of fear? How many times have we let the following fearful thoughts keep us from living our faith? What if they call me a…(insert slanderous term here)…for standing up for my faith? What if they think I'm weird for praying in public? What if I invite them to Mass and they say "no" and then it is always awkward between us? What if they don't take me seriously because they know I'm a Catholic? What if try to avoid this sin and I fail? Won't that make me a hypocrite?

It is unfortunate when we let fear keep us from discipleship with Jesus Christ. When it comes to living our faith, God does not want us to be afraid. How do we know this? The answer is found in Scripture. The Bible says the words, "Do not be afraid," in the following passages: Genesis 21:17 & 43:3, Exodus 20:20, Numbers 14:9, Deuteronomy 3:2 & 7:18, Joshua 8:1 & 10:25, 1 Kings 17:3, 2 Kings 6:16, 2 Chronicles 32:17, Tobit 6:18, 1 Maccabees 3:22, 2 Maccabees 7:29, Proverbs 3:25, Luke 1:30, 5:10, & 12:4, Matthew 1:20, 10:26, 14:27, 17:17, & 28:10, Mark 6:50, John 6:20, Acts 18:9, & 28:24, & Hebrews 13:6.

We should never let fear keep us from living our faith. The servant in the Gospel was afraid of failure. He was afraid of being unsuccessful. When faced with possible failure, it is important for us to remember that what we may consider to be a failure, the Lord may consider to be a success. Take the Cross for example. The Cross is a worldly failure, but a heavenly success. It won for us eternal salvation, which means nothing for this world, but everything for the next world.

Brothers and sisters, be not afraid to live your faith. Be not afraid of worldly failure. Seek to be faithful, not successful. The Lord will bless you for your witness. May God one day say to us the same glorious words we heard in today's Gospel, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Mother and Head of the Church

11-07-2014Weekly ReflectionFr. Will Schmid

Mother and Head of the Church

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. Why are we ignoring the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time to celebrate some Basilica in Rome? The answer to this question can be found on the Latin inscription at its entrance: Omnium Urbis et Orbis Ecclesiarum Mater et Caput (Of all the Churches in the city and in the world this is the mother and head).

Following Constantine's legalization of the Catholic faith in the early 4 th century, the land upon which this basilica is built (land that once belonged to Plautus Lateranus) was donated to the Catholic Church for the construction of a temple for public worship and a private residence for the Pope. As a result of this donation, the Basilica of St. John Lateran (originally named Basilica Salvatoris – The Basilica of the Savior) became the cathedral Church of Rome and is still its cathedral today. Since this Basilica is the Mother Church of Rome, we honor its history and significance with a special celebration.

One of the most beautiful aspects of this Basilica is the series of nineteen-foot-high statues of Christ and His Apostles at the top of the entrance. These statues are so large that you can see them from various points in the city of Rome. These statues remind us that the presence of the Apostles watches over the Church of Rome by watching over her skies. We know through the promise of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit that God offers special protection over the Roman Catholic Church (Matthew 16:18). The gates of hell shall never prevail against her. When we celebrate the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, we are celebrating this promise and protection.

In a special way, let us thank God today for the blessing of the Catholic Church and for always protecting her and guiding her. Let us thank God for the multitude of saints who offer us holy examples to follow and intercessions to guide us toward a more profound encounter of Jesus Christ. May the Apostles continue to watch over the skies of the Church of Rome!

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will