Noticias de la Diócesis de Allentown

Five Faith Fridays

Here is this week's installment of "Five Faith Friday" which contains five, faith-based things I found interesting and am sharing on Friday.

What I'm Watching --
The rollout of the various new covid-19 vaccines. The latest one is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the USCCB came out with a statement around it and even my own Bishop (Schlert) stated, "The recently-approved Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus vaccine is morally compromised – produced with abortion-derived cell lines – and should not be accepted by Catholics if other choices are available." What options exist out there and what is the moral profile of each? Check out this chart to learn. Make sure that you make your opinions known. I suggest writing to each of the companies. A quick google search for "[Insert company name] mailing address" will provide you with where to address your letter.

Which Video Clip I Watched --
This one of a FedEx driver stopping to pray at a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This driver knows the priorities in life and took just a few seconds to express it. How often do we prioritize our faith? Are you willing to express your faith in public? Do you pray before meals at home but not at your work lunch or out at a restaurant with your family? God bless this driver! And for all the non-Catholics out there... remember, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary shouldn't be just a "Catholic thing." Afterall, the Bible teaches us to honor our father and mother. It doesn't say honor your father and mother... just not Jesus's mother.

What I Learned --
The pardon crucifix is the only crucifix that has associated indulgences for those who use it. If you ever see a crucifix, it typically bears "INRI" above Jesus's head which stands for "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." John 19:19-22 shared that Pontius Pilate had written it in 3 languages (Hebrew, Latin, and Greek). But since Latin has no letter for "J" the abbreviation became INRI. However, there is one crucifix that does not bear an abbreviation, but the entire Latin inscription: “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum.” That brings us to the pardon crucifix. It first came to prominence at the 1904 Marian Congress in Rome. On June 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved the granting of indulgences for those who use a pardon crucifix. That is one of the reasons why the rosary I carry The Combat Rosary on me at all times. If you want to learn more about the history or the indulgences associated with it, check out this link.

What Else I Learned --
That our first President, George Washington, had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary! I first learned about it on this Jesus 911 podcast episode where Jesse Romero went into detail about the encounter. If you'd prefer to read about it (vs. listen) you can visit this link.

What Book I Read --
"When You Suffer: Biblical Keys for Hope and Understanding" by Jeff Cavins. Wow! This is one of the best books that I've read in a long time. Anyone who suffers in any capacity can learn the powerful way we can use those sufferings and unite them with Christ. "To be human is to suffer—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In addition to our own suffering, we also encounter the suffering of those around us. While the world of medicine attempts to relieve suffering and the media tries to sell us on a life without pain, only the Church offers the perspective that suffering has meaning. St. John Paul II said that suffering without meaning can lead to despair, but if we can attach meaning to our suffering, we are capable of going through anything. When You Suffer is a refreshing look at the mystery of pain and suffering and how to find meaning and even joy in the midst of it. Jeff Cavins discusses why we suffer and how our suffering can draw us closer to God. He explains that suffering is the greatest opportunity to love as Christ loves and how, by “offering up” our suffering, we join in Christ’s mission to redeem the world."

Have a wonderful weekend and may God bless you and your family!