Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

December 6, 2013

Joy of a different kind of life

St. Jude’s. Food drives. Toys 4 Tots. Coat collections.

‘Tis the season for charity — all the world’s inspired by the Christmas spirit once Thanksgiving comes around. You can’t help but wonder about the rest of the year, though.

The word “solidarity” is a little worn, and, at times, poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It presumes the creation of a new mindset that thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.

The Sunday before we celebrated Thanksgiving here in America, Pope Francis held in his arms the remains of St. Peter, excavated from below St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in the 1940s.

He did so as the Catholic Church was marking the close of a year of celebration of faith, a year meant to remind us of some fundamentals, to make clear what has often been clouded by politics, division and cultural upheaval in the 50 years since the second Vatican Council. He did so in an outpouring, a plea and a prayer.

When Pope Francis held the first pope’s relics in his hands, he said, “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” He asks the world: Do you believe? If you answer in the affirmative, what are you doing about it? How does the world see you? Do you know what you’re saying? Do your words have meaning? Do words themselves have meaning?

Earlier in November, a main street in Philadelphia was shut down as thousands walked from a convention center there to the Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul, a procession sponsored by the Magnificat Foundation, a sister organization to a monthly devotional magazine. (Disclosure: I am a consultant to the Foundation.)

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