Fear Not!

Fear Not!

“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father.”

It’s not very often that the Vatican gives approval to a film showing at the cinema, but it happened in 1997 when the Italian movie Life is Beautiful was first released. It’s an unusual film which deals with a sensitive subject, that of the Nazi Holocaust and the deportation of Jews to concentration camps. Although it won an Oscar for best picture, the movie has its critics as well as its admirers.

The film tells the story of a Jewish Italian man named Guido, an attractive clown-like figure who falls in love with Dora, the woman of his dreams. His humorous personality wins her affection and eventually they marry and have a son. The little boy is about six years old when the Nazi persecution takes over. The Germans round up Guido and his son and, because Dora refuses to be left behind, all three are taken to a concentration camp. When they arrive the couple is separated in preparation for hard labor. Any children are killed, but Guido hides his son and persuades him the whole business is a game in which he must co-operate if he wants to win a prize. The scenes unfold with a mixture of comedy and drama, exploring the rich themes of love, of sacrifice, and of courage. Continue reading

Let’s Thank Our Shepherds!

Too often, too many of us take our shepherds for granted; shepherds who have dedicated their lives in the service of God’s people; shepherds who lead us and guide us along the straight and narrow for the sake of our eternal life; shepherds who share in our grief and loss and hurts and disappointments and family issues; shepherds who are available to us 24/7 – in the wee hours of the night, at our hospital bed, during crisis and at our graveside. When did you last thank your pastor, priest, deacon, nun or religious? When did you last offer some encouragement, do something special, drop them a note or even just say thank you! They may be shepherds, but they are also human, and they too face the challenges of life. The typical parish priest works every weekend and holiday, lives in the same building as their office, gets one day off a week, not to mention they’re being asked to care for more souls and take on more responsibilities and roles than ever before. Here are some suggestions in thanking your priest/Pastors. Continue reading