Pope Francis: Synod was a journey filled with grace and temptations

synod-family-picPope Francis gave a speech at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, addressing the Synod Fathers, and likened the Synod to a “journey together,” a journey that involved consolation and grace as well as desolation and temptation. Below is an excerpt of his speech, translated by Vatican Radio:

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned: (more…)

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‘Our lives are worth living': Seminarian with terminal brain cancer responds to Brittany Maynard

A beautiful testimony, from the Diocese of Raleigh web site:

Philip Johnson, a 30-year-old Catholic seminarian from the Diocese of Raleigh who has terminal brain cancer, has written an article responding to Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman who has publicly stated her plan to commit suicide due to the fact that she has a terminal brain cancer. Johnson is vocal about his disagreement that suicide would preserve one’s dignity in the face of a debilitating illness. His article is below:

 

Dear Brittany: Our Lives Are Worth Living, Even With Brain Cancer

by Philip G. Johnson

Last week I came across the heartbreaking story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer one year after her wedding.  When doctors suggested that she might only have six months to live, she and her family moved from California to Oregon in order to obtain the prescriptions necessary for doctor-assisted euthanasia.  She is devoting her last days to fundraising and lobbying for an organization dedicated to expanding the legality of assisted suicide to other States.

Brittany’s story really hit home, as I was diagnosed with a very similar incurable brain cancer in 2008 at the age of twenty-four.  After years of terrible headaches and misdiagnosis, my Grade III brain cancer (Anaplastic Astrocytoma) proved to be inoperable due to its location.  Most studies state that the median survival time for this type of cancer is eighteen months, even with aggressive radiation and chemotherapy.  I was beginning an exciting career as a naval officer with my entire life ahead of me.  I had so many hopes and dreams, and in an instant they all seemed to be crushed.  As Brittany said in her online video, “being told you have that kind of timeline still feels like you’re going to die tomorrow.”

I was diagnosed during my second Navy deployment to the Northern Arabian Gulf.  After many seizures, the ship’s doctor sent me to the naval hospital on the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain, where my brain tumor was discovered.  I remember the moment I saw the computer images of the brain scans – I went to the Catholic chapel on base and fell to the floor in tears.  I asked God, “why me?”  The next day, I flew home to the United States to begin urgent treatment.  A few months after radiation and chemotherapy, I was discharged from the Navy and began formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood, a vocation to which I have felt called since I was nineteen years old.  Despite all of the hardships and delays in my training and formation over the past six years, I hope to be ordained to the transitional diaconate this Spring and to the priesthood one year later.

Read the rest at the Diocese of Raleigh web site.

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Nurse with Ebola uplifted by prayer and Catholic faith

nina-phamFrom Women of Grace blog:

Nina Pham, the dedicated Dallas nurse who was infected with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to die in the U.S., is a devout Catholic whose faith very much informed her work as a nurse.

WFAA.com is reporting that Pham, 26, is currently in stable condition after receiving a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who survived Ebola.

Blood from survivors is thought to contain antibodies and proteins that may help victims to fight off the disease.

Meanwhile, Pham’s family and friends attended a special Mass for her on Monday night at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Fort Worth.

“I think 90 percent of what she is doing at the hospital is directly involved with her faith,” said Tom Ha, a friend of the family.

Ha, who is vice president of the Vietnamese American Community in Tarrant County, and a Bible teacher at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church where Pham’s family worships, is asking the faithful to pray for Pham.

“Please pray for her and her family, because we believe in the power of prayer,” Ha said, adding that the Pham family practically lives at their parish.

In a statement released by the hospital on Tuesday, Pham wrote:

“I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers. I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.”

Read more at the Women of Grace blog.

 

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