From the desk of Fr Stephen
This past week I went to Catholic Supply because I wanted to purchase an encyclical letter from Pope Francis called Fratelli Tutti, On Fraternity and Social Friendship. I heard about the encyclical but had not read it, and so I wanted to see what it was about. In the encyclical, the Holy Father is calling all of humanity to unity as a people of God. President Biden talked in the same vein when he gave his inaugural address. Biden said we must come together as a country and work as brothers and sisters. We cannot afford to be at odds any longer. Not only our country, but the life of the whole world is at stake.
In Fratelli Tutti, the Pope calls all of us to task on a host of issues from wars, civil unrest, the world economy, consumerism, the Covid pandemic, and global warming, to name some. Pope Francis says we cannot continue to be at odds. There are so many ways we need to change how we deal with one another and the planet if we want to survive. It is a very sobering document but certainly needed. It calls me to a deeper love of God and neighbor.
One example in my own life, that I have been thinking about lately, is the pandemic. As of now, there are over 500,000 people who have died in our country. Many, maybe most, are some of our impoverished brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, people of wealth seem to get things before others. I know it is not as simple as this, and our country is doing the best it can to ensure that everyone is vaccinated, but I think there remains a social issue here to consider. I mention this because I believe the pandemic situation around the world is still far worse. Many people are still dying in this country, but when I see the news from third world countries and the people dying there, it causes me to break into tears. 134 million people in this country, Praise God, have been vaccinated. But many nations in the world are just getting started. Sometimes, in this country, we forget how much other people worldwide suffer far more than us.
According to Pope Francis, he says in his message, “as a world of brothers and sisters, we must continue to reach out and help those in need in other countries. Everyone deserves to live in peace and love, and health. We must continue to do what we can for those less fortunate. The future of the world depends on it.” One doctor in Africa said that this pandemic is not going away and until every person in the whole world is vaccinated, the disease will continue. This doctor is right. We cannot hoard the medicine in this country just for ourselves. We need to share what we have with others because we need them to be healthy for us to be healthy. It is a call to go beyond our personal needs and focus on the world’s needs. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.