My brother-in-law passed away 12 days ago while on a ship cruising off the Coast of Alaska. His passing from a heart attack was tragic, sudden, and very much unexpected. We miss him incredibly; he was such a good husband, father, and all around guy. He and I share a birth year – he was far too young to leave us at 60, with so many retirement years and experiences waiting just ahead.
My gathered family and friends spent a good portion of the weekend offering condolences to his wife, son, and sister. Of course, we laughed whenever someone would recount an amusing or heartwarming story of their personal experience with him. People like to share fond memories about a good person.
Though our family believes there is life waiting for us after our mortal tenure ends, his funeral was solemn and sad. Throughout the Mass service, I could not help but experience a great wave of compassion for my sister, while concurrently thinking about the potential impact my own sudden passing might have. I know that the loss of my spouse would be devastating for me, and I do not believe I was the only person present to experience these thoughts.
Several years ago Prince of Peace Center enjoined into a lawsuit with other entities within the Diocese of Erie challenging an application of the HHS Mandate filed against the Federal Government. Our Center is a Catholic Charities affiliate which receives nearly 19% of annual operating costs directly from the Diocese. The significant majority of those we serve are not participating members of the local Catholic parishes – but rather “folks in need” who reside in the area served by our affiliate.
A Federal Judge in Pittsburgh combined that suit with a similar one filed by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, and in November of 2013 ruled in favor of Prince of Peace Center and those other entities represented within the suit. The story is here.
The reaction to that ruling by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is here. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is quoted to say, “I’m strongly encouraged by the Court’s rejection of the government’s attempt to reduce freedom of religion to freedom of worship, as well as the Court’s recognition that service to those in need is at the heart of our faith.”
This is my first attempt at sharing some thoughts through a blog posting.
Folks who know me realize that I have little problem talking passionately about issues and life, but engagement in public “blogging” is surely a pretty intimidating concept for anyone – and especially for someone who facilitates an agency supported by, and in need of, monetary donations in order to complete its mission and work. Just the idea of a disappointing a donor, or even alienating a potential supporter because of some position, thought or concept I may type with my two forefingers is good enough reason to keep my thoughts to myself!
But the strong pull to post exists – and now, because of our revamped web site thanks to Seminarian Andy Boyd, the “tool” to do this is there as well. So here goes…