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Insights: Prayers for CA Wildfires; Amazon Synod

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November 1, 2019

Prayers and Assistance for California Wildfires

California is once again fighting devastating wildfires in the northern and southern parts of the state, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate and leaving millions more without power in an effort to prevent any additional fires.

Scripture is clear that we are to devote ourselves to assisting our brothers and sisters in times of peril. In the gospel according to Matthew, Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me.” (Mt 25)

There are many ways to help victims, first responders and other people and organizations that are on the front lines and prayer is one. Catholic Charities USA has a page devoted to prayer for disaster victims and relief efforts.

The USCCB has offered special prayers and blessings for first responders, including a specific mass honoring God’s call of charity and love of one another. The mass includes a special blessing for organizations concerned with the public need.

You might also consider asking for intercessions from St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, as well as St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of first responders.  

Catholic Charities agencies throughout California offer assistance with fires and other natural disasters – especially with ongoing recovery efforts after first responders leave.  For a list of local Catholic Charities click here

Please continue to hold fire victims and first responders in your prayers and assist wherever you are able.


Abrahamic religions: no to euthanasia, assisted suicide, yes to palliative care

Representatives of the Abrahamic religions issued a position paper this week opposing any form of euthanasia as morally wrong.

“We oppose any form of euthanasia – that is the direct, deliberate and intentional act of taking life – as well as physician-assisted suicide – that is  the direct, deliberate and intentional support of committing suicide – because they fundamentally contradict the inalienable value of human life, and therefore are inherently and consequentially morally and religiously wrong, and should be forbidden without exceptions,” the statement reads.

The term, Abrahamic monotheistic religions, derives from the Old Testament biblical figure Abraham who is recognized by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others.

The group categorically condemned any pressure upon dying patients to end their lives by active and deliberate actions. They also encouraged palliative care efforts “everywhere and for everyone.”

“Care for the dying, is both part of our stewardship of the Divine gift of life when a cure is no longer possible, as well as our human and ethical responsibility toward the dying (and often) suffering patient.”



Synod document: New ministries can serve evangelization in Amazon

To proclaim the Gospel message of hope, the Catholic Church in the Amazon must open new paths of evangelization in the region, including by instituting new ministries for lay men and women, the Synod of Bishops said.

The final document of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon looked at ways the church can increase its ministry in the region, including by ordaining married men. But at the heart of the document was the need to bring the good news to the Amazon, a mission that includes safeguarding the indigenous people, cultures, and land that are under constant threat of annihilation.

"The Amazon rainforest is a 'biological heart' for the increasingly threatened earth," said the final document, released Oct. 26 after synod members voted on it.

The Amazon, members said, is on "a rampant race to death. It is scientifically proven that the disappearance of the Amazon biome will have a catastrophic impact on the planet as a whole!"

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National Vocation Awareness Week

National Vocation Awareness Week, (NVAW) celebrated November 3-9, 2019, is an annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations. 

NVAW began in 1976 when the U. S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for NVAW.  In 1997, this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on January 13 in 2013.  Beginning in 2014, NVAW was moved to the first full week of November.

The USCCB has a host of resources for NVAW, including homily aids and prayers for vocations.


LA Bishop Barron Leads Congress in Opening Prayer

Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles Archdiocese was in Washington, D.C. this week where he provided the opening prayer on the U.S. House Floor on Wednesday.

In his prayer, Bishop Barron reminded those serving “to walk the path of righteousness, to foster life and liberty, to care especially for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.”

Bishop Baron’s prayer followed an audience he held with members of Congress and staff in the Members Room at the Library of Congress on Tuesday. There, he reminded the lawmakers of their call to service and responsibility to pursue justice, even when doing so is unpopular.

The Most Reverend Robert E. Barron is the Episcopal Vicar of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region, one of the five Pastoral Regions in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


November 1, 2019

Vol. 12, No. 29