“It is with great sorrow that we witnessed the massacre perpetrated recently in Orlando, Florida. These deplorable murders remind us that such acts of violence are not true paths to peace or justice.
In these difficult times, our Faith calls us to love one another and to stand in solidarity with one another in defense of the sacredness of every human life and the dignity of every human person made in the image and likeness of God.
We lift our prayers to God for all those involved, especially the victims of this horrible tragedy and their families. May our merciful Lord grant healing and peace to them, to our country, and to our world.”
+Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey
Bishop of Corpus Christi
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Homily opening the 24 Hours with the Lord at the Cathedral on March 4.
“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline or exercises.”
The third annual Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve will take place from June 21 to July 4, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The fortnight also marks the death of two of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both of whom died on July 4, 1826.
The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity, the church’s teaching and the calls from Pope Francis.
Religious liberty continues to be of great concern to the church, not only in the United States but also throughout the world. Recent events in Iraq and Syria are only the latest attacks on the ability of people to freely practice their religious beliefs. Attacks on religious freedom are widespread throughout the Middle East and the continent of Africa. Believers face similar challenges in China and other parts of the world.
Here in the United States we are waiting on a Supreme Court decision on the freedom of corporations to make decisions on their owners’ deeply held religious beliefs. These cases, and others filed by Catholic dioceses throughout the country, are in response to attempts by the Federal government to impose on people of faith unacceptable beliefs regarding issues of life. This is only one example of the many displays of religious intolerance throughout the country.
This year, I am encouraging parishes throughout the Diocese of Corpus Christi to commemorate the Fortnight for Freedom with local events that will inform and engage the faithful on this very important concern. I pray to the Blessed Mother that we all will be faithful to church teaching and that our government will remain faithful to religious protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
Three American bishops at audience with Pope Francis on Feb. 27 were Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, Bishop Paul D. Etienne of Cheyenne, Wyoming and yours truly.
On Feb. 27 a group of bishops and friends of the Focolare Movement met in the Vatican Apostolic Palace with Pope Francis. I found Pope Francis to be a wonderfully simple man of God.
Pope Francis during audience with bishops and friends of the Focolare Movement.
The Holy Father recalled the words of Blessed John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, “To make the Church the home and the school of communion is truly fundamental for the efficacy of every commitment to evangelization, inasmuch as it reveals the deepest yearning of the Father.”
This yearning is for all his sons to live as brothers – ‘that all of them may be one’. It also reveals the vitality of the Holy Spirit. “Cultivating the spirituality of communion also contributes to making us more able to walk the path of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue,” Pope Francis said.
The pope asked us to ensure that we place all we receive “to the benefit of the entire Church.” He said that society “has a great need for the testimony of a style of life, from which their transpires the novelty offered to us by Lord Jesus,” which is to care for each other.
In the coming months I hope to share with all of you the extraordinary and simple call of the Holy Father to be missionary disciples in the New Evangelization. May Mary, Our Blessed Mother, inspire us to live more radically the word of God.