This coming Friday, April 5th, is the feast day of our parish patron, St. Vincent Ferrer. It is also the 600th anniversary of his passing from this life to eternity with God. It is our special joy to celebrate this occasion by having our shepherd, Bishop Barbarito, offer the 5:00 pm Mass this Friday and to confirm 40 of our teens in their Faith, fortifying them for the times in the future when they will have to make courageous decisions in matters that not only will affect their relationship with God, but will determine their ultimate destiny.

They have been preparing for this Sacrament for the past two years, and I’m grateful to our volunteer catechists for working to bring them to this day in their faith journey. Too often we think that this moment in life marks the conclusion of our learning about the Faith. Too often, too, parents make light of this occasion because it interferes with “other plans” that they may have made for that day. In this manner, they downplay the significance of God’s strengthening power in the faith of their child, so that they may be ready to confront the challenges to our Faith that will remain with us for the rest of our life; and rather than give support to their children, they deny them the very opportunity to receive this grace at a critical juncture in their formation. They have forgotten the promises made at their child’s baptism to see that their children are properly raised  in the Faith and grow in their relationship with, and knowledge and love of God. Is it any wonder then, that our children wander away from their God, their Faith and their Church as they pass through some of the most turbulent years of their life? Why would we want to jeopardize the salvation of those young souls entrusted to our care? Jesus tells us that it would be better that a millstone should be hung about our neck and be drowned in the oven than to give bad example to these “little ones.”

Perhaps these aforementioned thoughts will give us some perspective to what I am now about to relate in the following.

It was my privilege and a great honor, once again, to offer the prayer at the opening session of the Florida Senate this past Wednesday. Though protocol on what to say and what not to say in the prayer is based on a PC (politically correct) agenda, I was able to invoke God’s name safely in that setting, where his help and wisdom are sorely needed. I received the invitation from the Senate President, who is a devout and practicing Catholic, much to the surprise of our local senator.

She was kind enough, though, to greet me after the prayer and extended the courtesy of meeting with me later that afternoon in her office, despite an overcrowded schedule. Earlier that morning, our delegation met with a local member of the other House, who had been raised Catholic (though he now refuses to be labeled such) to discuss three items of concern in pending legislation that were of particular interest to us as Catholics. It’s interesting to observe how the machinations of political correctness and the subtle dominance of certain political agenda in such situations can affect a person’s moral fiber, despite the fact that those very issues may be in direct opposition to Catholic teachings. It becomes quite evident that in the hallowed halls and offices of our government leaders, Catholic doctrine and Christian upbringing are so readily sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Why is it that men and women who were baptized in the Catholic Church take the path of least resistance when called upon to live their faith in the marketplace?

Pray daily and often for our government officials, that they may “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s!”