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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pope Francis will refocus America's Roman Catholic Church

Although I'm certainly not a theologian or religious historian, as a practicing Roman Catholic woman, I'm advising church leaders to reconnect to the social justice mission of the past, especially, as the Pope prepares to visit America.  

In other words, support, care and lead the care for the poor and immigrants, in the tradition of St. Vincent de Paul.

Faithful Roman Catholics are wondering how much Pope Francis can inspire a revival of evangilization for the faith, when he visits the US .  There's no question, the Roman Catholic Church is experiencing a reign of ambiguity among many Catholics.  This is correlated with the horrible scandals, capped by a decidedly sea turn of support for same sex marriages, in contrast to the intention of the Sacrament of Marriage.  

Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is this. Regardless of how the Roman Catholic Church has behaved in recent years, the ambiguity has resulted, in my opinion, from loss of focus.  There's a direct inverse correlation to ambiguity among Roman Catholic Church faithful and the mission of social justice and peace.  Rather than putting its focus on puffing up the Church's hierarchy, the church should return to the mission of caring for the poor.

In fact, the poor immigrants who built our nation over the past several centuries are among the same population that, likewise, created and supported Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, the Church must return to the mission that built its infrastructure, in the first place. Certainly, Pope Francis and his progressive stance for reaching out to the poor, can be a catalyst for the changes needed to re-inspire the Evangelization, currrently needed in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Venerable Pierre Toussaint (27 June 1766 – June 30, 1853) was a former slave from the French colony of Saint-Domingue, who was brought to New York City by his owners in 1787. There, he eventually gained his freedom and became a noted philanthropist to the poor of the city. 

He was freed in 1807 after the death of his mistress. Afterward, Pierre took the surname of "Toussaint" in honor of the hero of the Haitian Revolution, which established that nation.

After his marriage in 1811 to Juliette Noel, Toussaint and his wife performed many charitable works. Among those works included opening their home as an orphanage, employment bureau, and a refuge for travelers. He contributed funds and helped raise money to build Saint Patrick's Cathedral on Mulberry Street. He was considered "one of the leading black New Yorkers of his day."[1] His ghostwritten memoir was published in 1854.

Due to his devout and exemplary life, the Roman Catholic Church has been investigating his life for possible canonization and in 1996 he was declared "Venerable", by Pope John Paul II, the second step in the process. Toussaint is the first layperson to be buried in the crypt below the main altar of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, on Fifth Avenue, normally reserved for bishops of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853)

As America anticipates the arrival of Pope Francis, it's also a time to prepare to reinvent the social justice and peace missions of the past, to help the Church rebuild for the future. 

Our refocus should be the Church's original "focus". 

Social justice and peace will lead the faithful back to the foundations (inspirational and foundational) built by our American ancestors.

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