Today was Respect Life Sunday, as well as the beginning of the Month of the Rosary and Mission Awareness Month. The parochial vicar at St. Clement of Rome (Mom and Dad's parish) gave a fine homily on what it means to Respect Life. He pulled no punches, covering issues related to the beginning of life, the natural end of life and what that means in an age when technology can sometimes seem to take the "end" out of the end of life. He talked about the problem of capital punishment. He talked about Rachel's Vineyard retreats for post-abortive women, men and couples. He talked about marital intimacy being by its nature lifelong and faithful. He talked about not living together before marriage--he also admitted that there are some couples who are living together "for financial reasons" who really aren't "messing around" and batted that down by reminding people of the obligation we all have to give witness even to nieces and nephews, neighbors and godchildren who have no way of knowing what does or doesn't go on behind closed doors.
And to cap it all off, there were two baptisms at Mass: Celeste and her little brother Blaise were "claimed for Christ" today. May their young parents, who perhaps have just returned to an active life of faith, keep that flame of faith alive in their home!
I forgot to mention that St. Clement of Rome was listed among the "Top 100 Catholic Parishes" (in the US, I think). This parish sings all the usual contemporary stuff, with the music projected onto the wall of the Church; it has all sorts of ministries and meetings; it has had perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for 21 years (interrupted only by Hurricane Katrina, when the chapel and church were flooded and had to be restored); next week it will have its 20th annual "Rosary Rally." The parish complex sustained over $1 million in hurricane damage beyond what their insurance will cover; the ailing pastor is hoping that other parishes might consider "twinning" with St. Clement's to help out. I think that St. Clement's would have a lot to share in terms of vibrancy.