Tuesday May 22, 2018
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March 9, 2016      
 Inside this issue
  Pope's Message for Lent 2016  
  With Lent more than half over, it might be helpful to reflect on Pope Francis' Lenten Message. Because this Lent is within the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis focused much of his message on the Works of Mercy. The following are some excerpts: "God's mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbor and to devote ourselves to what the Church's tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged. ...
 "For all of us the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favorable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God's word and by practicing the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy - counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer - we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. ..."Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favorable a time for conversion! We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God's mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Lk 1:48) and to call herself the Lord's humble servant (cf. Lk 1:38)."To read the Pope's complete Message for Lent 2016, visit the Vatican website.Thirty years ago, the U.S. Catholic Bishops in their 1986 Pastoral Letter,Economic Justice for All, addressed the need to both serve individuals in need and change unjust societal structures: "The life and dignity of millions of men, women, and children hang in the balance. Decisions must be judged in light of what they do for the poor, what they do to the poor and what they enable the poor to do for themselves. ... No one may claim the name Christian and be comfortable in the face of hunger, homelessness, insecurity, and injustice found in this country and the world."As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out in his encyclical, God is Love (Deus Caritas Est): "within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life. ... The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. ... The mission of the lay faithful is to configure social life correctly ..."
The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Bishops of Washington State.