Message of the Holy Father Francis for Lent 2024

The following is the text of the Message of the Holy Father Francis for Lent 2024, on the theme: “Through the desert God leads us to freedom”:

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Water for Peace

Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI –The annual World Water Day is celebrated on March 22nd, 2024. This day focuses on the gratitude we owe our great God for the life-giving gift of water, which is necessary for all life as we know it on planet Earth. This is a day of thanksgiving, and for each and all on planet Earth to examine how we are using, or perhaps, sadly abusing and wasting this wonderful gift, individually, in our families, in each and every community, and at a local, state, and national level. World Water Day is a United Nations (UN) observance coordinated by UN Water. Every year, it raises awareness of a major water related issue and inspires action to tackle the water and sanitation crisis. World Water Day is one of two special ecology days, the other being Earth Day which is celebrated in April. While each is celebrated separately, there is a natural and essential connection between the two as water is a main component of planet Earth.

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Demands for Certainty Are Not Always Reasonable

Jerry Novotny OMI – My last article touched on the official objective teaching of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality. “The Truth: Catholic Church and LGBTQ+”. I would like to follow-up this topic with an article on the subjective pastoral approach by sharing an article I received from my good friend, Douglas McManaman, who helps out as a Deacon in a Canadian Parish. Deacon Douglas McManaman is a writer for Lifeissuses.net, a teacher of Catholic sexual ethics to high school students and has written a number of books and many articles. I thank Deacon Doug for granting me permission to post this article. When dealing with homosexuality or any other social issue, we ought to look at both the Objective and Subjective. To avoid one leads to confusion.

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Where is Baby Jesus in 2023?

Jerry Novotny OMI – It’s that time of the year again. Christmas. It’s been a long year -the pandemic with its new faces still with us, major military buildups across the planet, dictators suppressing human rights, waging war on children both unborn and born, transgender men taking over women sports, daily fake news, and the list continues as we glance at the headlines in the morning newspapers. And yes, Christmas 2023 is here, at least as a holiday. Yet what is missing in today’s troubled world? Simply put, Christmas is missing. How can we possibly celebrate December 25th when Christ is missing. We claim to celebrate Christmas without Christ. It’s like celebrating your birthday without you.

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Oblate presence in Japan

Brad Rozairo, OMI – It was with great joy that we received the news about the appointment of the new Delegation Superior from our Provincial. For the first time in the Delegation’s history, we have a Japanese, and an Oblate Brother in the person of Bro. Yagi Nobuhiko as the Delegation Superior of Japan-Korea. He was installed on October 4th at the Kochi Rectory Chapel. Thanks to Fr. Bernard for preparing a simple, but meaningful ceremony. After the installation, the new Superior and his team sat with the outgoing Superior for a short meeting. Later all gathered went out for dinner to celebrate the occasion.

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Letter of the Superior General: Let us walk together listening to the call to care for the common home.

Dear Brother Oblates and members of our Charismatic Family,

September 1st is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. It is an initiative of Pope Francis who has also written the Encyclical Laudato Si’ (LS) on care for the common home. The 37th General Chapter told us that care for the Earth “is of special concern to us in our missionary work. We have become aware of our insufficient efforts to care for the environment. We are challenged, therefore, to commit ourselves to the fullest extent possible to make ecological conversion a priority as a fundamental part of our lives and as an integral part of our evangelisation”. (Pilgrims of Hope in Communion PEC n. 11,1).

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Life At Conception Act: October pro-life month calls us to Radical Solidarity

Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI – October pro-life month’s theme calls all pro-lifers to be in Radical Solidarity on all critical pro-life issues, especially for the precious unborn. A fundamental life issue that has great importance far into the future and calls us to be in Radical Solidarity, is a Life at Conception Act, which will bring an end to abortion in America. Fulfilling Christ’s command to love one another, takes shape in our prayerful pastoral practice of solidarity. As pro-life followers of Christ, we firmly believe based on Sacred Scripture, and know with certainty based on much recent medical research, that the beautiful, God-given gift of human life begins at conception.

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August in Japan

Brad Rozairo, OMI – The month of August in Japan reminds us of the deep meaning and the importance of peace as Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorate the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing this year. This opens a ten-day period (August 6 – 15) dedicated to peace, which the Catholic church in Japan holds every year as a time for remembrance and as a call for world peace. During this time, in many churches prayers and masses are offered for world peace. Some parishes organize peace events such as sharing of war experience stories by the living victims of the atomic bombs, peace music concerts and workshops to promote peace.

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The Truth: Catholic Church and LGBTQ+

Jerry Novotny OMI – Jesus promised us, “….. and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32).

When young, I lived on a farm in Minnesota, USA. As any farmer will tell you that one of the most difficult challenges of farming is preparing the soil so that it can receive the seed. It requires hard work to clear the land of any trees, bushes or rocks that need to be dug up and moved. Once the soil is prepared, then fertilizer has to be applied to make sure there are enough nutrients to foster growth. Finally, the soil has to be adequately irrigated. Only then is the soil ready to support the seeds that will be planted.

Healthy rich soil is just as important to seeds as water is for fish and oxygen is for us. Without good soil, it would be a waste of time for the farmer to plant the seeds. And good soil doesn’t always happen naturally. It is often only the result of hard work.

The same applies for Christians who wish to live good lives. Jesus tells us the story of the good and bad seeds. The good seed are the people in God’s kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One. And the enemy who plants the bad seed is the devil. The harvest is the end of time.

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The Season of Creation Focuses on Justice and Peace for All

Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI – The Season of Creation for 2023 focuses on fundamental virtue of justice for true peace for all life on planet Earth which Pope Francis calls our COMMON HOME. If we truly want peace, we must pray, work, and promote justice. The theme for the Season of Creation 2023, “Let Justice and Peace Flow”, invites all people on planet Earth to make a new commitment to pray for justice and peace not only for human beings but for all creation. For this to happen, in our covenant with creation, we are called to repent of our ecological sins and to change our attitudes and actions and to actively be true promoters of peace. Throughout this season, we encourage all our leaders at all levels and call our communities to actively participate in this season by joining together more closely on how we can respond to the cry of creation which is suffering in many ways. We must act now so as not to miss our chance to create a more sustainable and just world for all now and in the future. Through the great prophet Amos, our loving God and Creator encourage all to, “let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” 5:24. Justice is the guiding inspiration and force in the Season of Creation and begins with God and is written in all our hearts at Creation. The first duty of justice is to give thanks and praise to God, and then to respect and care for all that God has made.

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War Against Children: IVF – 70-75% do not survive (part 14)

(This article is part of an ongoing series showing different adult obsessions in waging “War Against Children” by Fr. Jerry Novotny, OMI)

Millions of babies have come into the world through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). This method can provide couples with a child they desperately want. And it has brought many precious new lives into being, and real happiness to millions of parents. Therefore, many now think IVF is the answer to infertility. But it is not. Many problems have surfaced since Louise Brown, the first in vitro fertilization baby was born. These problems can be found in the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) business.

There is no story in the Bible that describes our current society better than the story of the Tower of Babel.

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Leadership Ministry

Brad Rozairo, OMI – Accepting any responsibility demands a big “yes” and if you are not prepared for the job, it can put you down when things do not go right. Many do not want to get involved in the leadership ministry because it demands time, energy and sacrifice and no doubt it poses a challenge. But if you are looking at this responsibility from the perspective of one’s personal growth and maturity, then I would say that in accepting the responsibility you will get to know yourself better, as well as your limits and capabilities. Leadership ministry helps find out the type of person you need to be in handling pressure situations. It also gives an opportunity to appreciate some of your learnings in making decisions that are not very easy. However, it depends on how a person responds to this invitation.

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