This July 4th Weekend: Pledge Allegiance to One Another

The following message was sent to our Catholic Charities network for the 4th of July weekend.

Capitol of the United States

Capitol of the United States

Allow me a word of appreciation and thanks for all you do to make our world a better place – each, in your own way, as trustee, staff, volunteer, donor, or friend. 

I attach my own picture of the Capitol of the United States from the visit I made two days ago with Catholic Charities people from throughout NYS to visit with members of Congress and convey to them the need to enact policies and budgets that give due consideration to the needs of the poor and vulnerable.  Included among our discussions were Catholic Charities’ wide areas of concern: children and youth, those with addictions, the hungry and families needing affordable places to live, immigrants who are feeling particularly anxious and those dealing with emotional and physical challenges.

In light of this visit, and as we approach the 4th of July weekend, I am reminded that the title of the Declaration of Independence is both accurate and partially misleading.  It is accurate in that it is a declaration.  And, it is true that it declared the colonies’ independence from England.  Yet, the title can also be misleading because it fails to capture the values embedded in its non-severable concluding paragraph: God, honor, and solidarity:

“And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Continue reading

#PENTECOST2017

Fire, chaos, loud noise, crowds, foreign languages –today, sadly, our first thought is destructive life-taking terror.   #Pentecost2017.

Fire, chaos, loud noise, crowds, foreign languages – then, on Pentecost, it was God’s creative, life-giving spirit. #Pentecost2017.

Is there something I can do to unleash God’s spirit to change today’s narrative? #Pentecost2017.

JustLove’s Mother’s Day Show

Harry Connick & Jeanne Pritzker

This week’s episode of JustLove will focus on Mother’s Day 2017. On the show Monsignor will be speaking with two guests focused on celebrating Mother’s Day and family. 

On the show Jeanne Pritzker Founder and Chair of Foster Care Counts, a California based non-profit organization founded in 2012 to raise awareness of the needs of foster youth. Msgr. Sullivan and Jeanne  will be talking about the work of her organization and particularly its 9th annual “Foster Mother’s Day” celebration taking place this coming Sunday – May 14th. in Los Angeles. Over 2,500 foster youth and their families will be hosted by “Foster Care Counts” at a celebration designed to give back to foster parents who have dedicated their lives to helping children in need.  

Also on the show is talk show host, actor, singer, and songwriter, Harry Connick Jr. Msgr. Sullivan and Harry will be speaking about Harry’s new daytime variety program – called “Harry”  and what messages he hopes to convey to his daily audience. He will also talk about how he balances the values of faith, family and community in his personal and professional life 

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JustLove’s Earth Day Show

David R. Shuffler, Jr. & Richard Fuller

This week’s JustLove broadcast is focused on Earth Day 2017. Joining the show to talk about this annual event are two guests: Richard Fuller, President and CEO of Pure Earth, an international non-profit based in New York dedicated to solving pollution problems in low and middle income countries; and David R. Shuffler, Jr, Executive Director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, a Catholic Charities Affiliate.

 Msgr. Sullivan and Richard will be speaking about the work of Pure Earth, and how the cleanup of environmental pollution is one global problem that has very achievable solutions. 

David R. Shuffler, Jr. will be covering his the South Bronx based youth organization, which is dedicated to rebuilding the neighborhoods which it serves by preparing young people to become prophetic voices for peace and justice. Msgr. Sullivan and David will be discussing the Infrastructure Transformation work of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, and how the group has been instrumental in efforts to revitalize the Bronx River Waterfront and Sheridan Expressway Corridor.

Listen Now 

Holy Thursday: What It Means Today

Lent is over and now we begin to celebrate these three most sacred days that commemorate the center of our Christian faith. Paying homage to our Jewish roots, we begin after sunset “on the night before he died,” and keep a modified vigil. Tomorrow, we will lift high the cross. On Saturday & Sunday, we will light the Easter flame, discover anew the empty tomb, and proclaim for ourselves and for the world that he is not among the dead, but here, with the living.

For this reason, it is important that we not get distracted today by some of Holy Thursday’s evocative traditions. Some still dwell on the ordained priesthood. Others focus on the solemn procession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Still others spotlight the moving ritual of the washing of the feet.

However, as inspiring as these may be, none are the heart of the first of the Sacred Triduum celebrations during the three days that lead up to Easter. For this, we turn to today’s appointed scripture readings that, each in its own way, draws us to the irremovable, yet not gentle, core of these days:

The first reading from Exodus confronts us with the “blood of the lambs and the guts of the Egyptians” as the price for the Jews’ Passover liberation from slavery in Egypt.

Paul’s letter taught the Corinthian Christians and reminds us: “that when we share this meal, we proclaim his death.”

And in a more euphemistic and elegant way the evangelist John informs us of Good Friday’s agonizing crucifixion by announcing “this is the hour for Jesus to pass to the Father.

Continue reading

Last Day of Lent

Tip of the Day:

           

Use your tongue today to speak a gentle, not condemnatory, words of encouragement to someone who seems down or depressed.

 

 Verse of the Day:

Bible Readings for Wednesday of Holy Week

  

Reflection of the Day:

It is profoundly tragic that the last day of Lent is referred to as Spy Wednesday after Judas, the traitor who takes his own life in remorse.  This makes the celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus even more compelling. Out of the depths I cried….  And the Lord heard my cry…

Stay the Course Through Holy Week

Tip of the Day:

Recommit to making the time to celebrate the great feasts of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), Passion (Good Friday) & Resurrection (Easter).

 

Verse of the Day:


Bible Readings for Tuesday of Holy Week

 

Reflection of the Day:

A wise colleague often says, “When climbing the mountain, it’s good to look back periodically and see how far we have come.” Today is the symbolic 39th day of Lent. We’ve come a long way. Only one more day remains of our Lenten discipline before we enter into the great celebrations of our Christian faith.

 

His Presence is Always Found

Tip of the Day:

Think of a great injustice and ask God to come to right it. Too bold, too much a reach?  Remember it’s God’s world too. He has a job to do.

 

Verse of the Day:

Bible Readings for Monday of Holy Week

 

Reflection of the Day:

There is so much humanity in God’s world. Isn’t that the story of creation? As one of the stories goes, it was God’s garden and He made us humans and put us in it. It was a neat place with lots of good things and everything in order. Then things got messed up by “apple-gate” – as I like to call it. After that things weren’t so good and humans had to live in a big bad disordered world outside the garden. God didn’t abandon us, but he made it harder to figure things out by allow things to get pretty messed up and now and then playing “hide & seek” with us. But if we take the time, his presence is always found to be with us.

 

Thank God for the Kind People

Tip of the Day:

Today, try two quirky random acts of kindness – one in the morning and one in the evening.

 Verse of the Day:

Bible Readings for Saturday of Fifth Week of Lent

 

Reflection of the Day:

I can figure out two reasons why Jesus annoyed the people of his time.  The first is the traditional understanding.  The political and religious leadership thought he was getting too popular and might usurp their respective spheres of power and authority.  That’s understandable, even if not noble.  But the other reason you and I can relate to.  Sometimes individual who are kind, humble, giving and content can make us jealous, frustrated, and even angry?  So maybe that’s why some others didn’t follow Jesus. Well, maybe in our time we should think about those kind and loving people as God’s gift to the world and to ourselves. We might learn from and imitate their example.

The Church and Youth & Continuing to Make Lent Great Again!

Mehnaz Afridi & Fred Parrella

On this episode of JustLove, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan will be speaking with  Fred Parrella, Professor of Theology in the Department of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University in California,  and Mehnaz Afridi, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College in the Bronx. 

Msgr. Sullivan and Prof. Parrella – who has been teaching at the Jesuit university based in Silicon Valley for 40 years – will be discussing the religious faith and practice of today’s college students, and what their often self-description as “spiritual, but not religious” bodes for the future, and what – if anything – can be done to counter this trend.

Prof. Afridi – who is also the Director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College will be discussing the practices of fasting, charity/service, and prayer in the Islamic Tradition as a continuation of our Lenten conversations on “Making Lent Great Again 2017!”

Listen Now: