Memories of June won’t be forgotten – June 2024

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

At the end of the month of June, we will have already celebrated six months of the year 2024. It does seem that time is illusive, for one moment we are celebrating the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, then walking with Him via Dolorosa and encountering Him on the road to Emmaus, only to turn around and walk toward the New Jerusalem. Each moment is an offering to God, should we choose to make it so, that we might infuse the earth with holiness and “upgrade” the world in which we live.

This is what St. Paul is saying to the Corinthians and to us today; to know and live God’s love that we excel in offering this gracious act of love to one another.

The month of June was full of gracious acts of God’s love. We witnessed the Ordination to the permanent diaconate for 18 men. This Sacrament is not only experienced by the men who are ordained, but also by the community of faith, beginning with the families of each man and his parish community, their formators, their friends. It is a Sacrament of a gracious act of love as they profoundly offer their fiat to God’s call, “Come, follow me.” They exercise a ministry that is not of their own wisdom but of the Word of God, calling all to conversion and holiness. Each man makes this commitment as each man’s family also commits to support this ministry in every way possible.

Father Laurence Olszewski, C.S.C. and Sister Patricia O’Malley, S.N.D.deN. died on the same day, June 3. Sister Maureen Cannon, O.P. and Father Peter Puntal died on June 11. Father Olszewski, Sister O’Malley, and Sister Cannon gave their lives for the love of God, through their religious orders, Congregation of Holy Cross, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and Dominican Sisters of Peace, respectively. Father Peter Puntal was ordained for the Diocese of Cebu, Philippines and later served the Diocese of Orlando. They heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life when they were young, and they echoed back their fiat with great courage and fortitude. We received them into our diocese and then into our hearts as they exceled in the gracious act of spreading God’s love, imbuing the earth with His generous mercy. They are examples of how the thread of ministry is woven into the fiber of every moment, no matter the age.

During the month of June, we experienced with God’s people throughout the world, the effects of storm, war, famine, and sinfulness. I know each one of you did not ignore the needs born out of these difficulties, responding to the call for assistance through prayer, donations and food and other volunteer opportunities through Catholic Charities of Central Florida or Catholic Relief Services. We remembered the acts of courage of our soldiers on D Day, June 6 and continue to pray that God’s Peace enlightens the heart of the faithful and war would cease forevermore.   

 We drew nearer to God at the Eucharistic Pilgrimage: The Gift of Sacred Mystery at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe with speakers on topics of the Eucharist and Synodality, the celebration of Mass followed by the Corpus Christi Procession. A beautiful gathering of approximately one-thousand people from diverse cultural backgrounds and all ages, we offered praise and adoration to God as we opened our heart to be a Eucharist.

On Father’s Day, we rejoice in the gift of the love of God the Father; the model of love by St. Joseph for our daily living; and honoring our own fathers as their love through, with and in God guides us to heaven. As we honor the sacredness of all life, we acknowledged the scourge of slavery, memorializing the end of chattel slavery on June 19, 1865, in the United States, known as Juneteenth Day. We hearken to the meaning of this day and pray that we continue to advocate for life and freedom for all people.

Taking vacation occurs during the month of June. No matter the activity, we are always called to excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, and all earnestness for the love of God. Wherever we may be, we seek to participate in the celebration of Mass that we might receive Jesus the Eucharist. Then we will be filled full to excel in the gracious act of God’s perfect love.