Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
The holy friends of Christ rejoice in heaven;
they followed in his footsteps to the end.
They have shed their blood for love of him
and will reign with them forever.
What is the virtue today’s feast asks us to ponder? Chastity.
Charles was one of 22 Ugandan martyrs who converted from paganism. Though he was baptized the night before being put to death, he became a moral leader. He was the chief of the royal pages and was considered the strongest athlete of the court. He was also known as “the most handsome man of the Kingdom of the Uganda.” He instructed his friends in the Catholic Faith and he personally baptized boy pages. He inspired and encouraged his companions to remain chaste and faithful. He protected his companions, ages 13-30, from the immoral acts and homosexual demands of the Babandan ruler, Mwanga.
Mwanga was a superstitious pagan king who originally was tolerant of Catholicism. However, his chief assistant, Katikiro, slowly convinced him that Christians were a threat to his rule. The premise was if these Christians would not bow to him, nor make sacrifices to their pagan god, nor pillage, massacre, nor make war, what would happen if his whole kingdom converted to Catholicism?
When Charles was sentenced to death, he seemed very peaceful, one might even say, cheerful. He was to be executed by being burnt to death. While the pyre was being prepared, he asked to be untied so that he could arrange the sticks. He then lay down upon them. When the executioner said that Charles would be burned slowly so death, Charles replied by saying that he was very glad to be dying for the True Faith. He made no cry of pain but just twisted and moaned, “Kotanda! (O my God!).” He was burned to death by Mwanga’s order on June 3, 1886. Pope Paul VI canonized Charles Lwanga and his companions on June 22,1964. We celebrate his memorial on June 3rd of the Roman Calendar. Charles is the Patron of the African Youth of Catholic Action.
you have made the blood of the martyrs
the seed of Christians.
May the witness of Saint Charles and his companions
and their loyalty to Christ in the face of torture
inspire countless men and women
to live the Christian faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Statement of the Catholic Bishops of New York State on Marriage
We face today the prospect of a law in New York which would radically change the timeless institution of marriage. As pastors of citizens from every corner of our great state, we stand unified in our strong opposition to such a drastic measure.
Throughout history, different cultures have had different customs regarding marriage. But the one constant has been the conviction that marriage is the union of a man and a woman in an enduring bond, ordered for the procreation and stable rearing of children. Regrettably, the state Assembly has voted to redefine what nature and our common heritage long ago defined for us. We fervently pray that members of the state Senate will stand firm in opposition to this ill-advised legislation, and we call on Catholics and all New Yorkers to contact their Senators to make their voices heard.
Our opposition to this bill is based not only on Catholic teaching regarding human sexuality and the Sacrament of Marriage. Just as importantly, it is based on reason, sound public policy, and plain common sense, as we stated in our 2008 pastoral statement on same-sex “marriage.” (The statement can be found here) To briefly reiterate, the state has a compelling legal interest in promoting marriage between men and women in order to create stable families and provide for the safety, health and well being of children. The state has no such compelling legal interest in recognizing a relationship between two people of the same sex.
If there are injustices against those in relationships other than marriage, those injustices can certainly be reformed and corrected in a way other than by drastically redefining marriage.
We close with a final point from our 2008 statement:
“(W)e want to make absolutely clear that our firm beliefs about marriage … must not be misconstrued to be in any way a condemnation of homosexual people or an attack on their human dignity. Our Church teaches, and we affirm, that we must treat our homosexual sisters and brothers with dignity and love, as we would all God’s children. Indeed the Catechism of the Catholic Church warns that any form of prejudice or hatred – “every sign of unjust discrimination” – against homosexual people should be avoided. (CCC 2358)
+Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
+Howard J. Hubbard
Bishop of Albany
Bishop of Brooklyn
+Edward U. Kmiec
Bishop of Buffalo
Rev. Terry R. LaValley
Diocesan Administrator of Ogdensburg
+ Matthew H. Clark
Bishop of Rochester
+William F. Murphy
Bishop of Rockville Centre
+Robert J. Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse
We will extend our program of Wednesday evening Masses through the month of June. Here are the dates and the schedule for each evening.
June 3 and 17
7:45 PM – The side door at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 66th Street will be opened
8:00 – Holy Mass
8:30 – Eucharistic Adoration and Confession
9:00 – Compline (Night Prayer)
9:15 – Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Spread the word and bring a friend! Come and spend time with the Eucharistic Lord!