St. Vincent Pallotti's call to rekindle faith and charity celebrated at St. Michael Church
BEDFORD — Bishop Michael Olson summed up Jan. 22 as a day both sad and joyful.
Sad because the day marks the anniversary date of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in the United States.
“Which, even though it's been overturned, still its presence continues to produce bitter fruit,” Bishop Olson said.
But Jan. 22 gives rise to hope as well, Bishop Olson stressed.
“On this painful [anniversary] day when sin abounds we must remember that grace abounds all the more,” Bishop Olson said. “Even more so as this is the Feast Day of St. Vincent Pallotti.”
Bishop Olson celebrated St. Vincent Pallotti's Feast Day Mass at St. Michael Church in Bedford with several members of the religious order. The Diocese of Fort Worth has 14 Pallottine priests serving 19 parishes.
Born April 21, 1795, in Rome, the date of that city's founding, St. Vincent later founded the Union of Catholic Apostolate.
“St. Vincent's charism is the insight that every person is called to be an apostle,” said Father Jonathan Wallis, Diocese of Fort Worth vicar general. “Every one of us is called, in each one's state and condition of life, to proclaim the good news and rekindle faith and charity.”
Bishop Olson concurred.
“That really is the heart of spreading the Gospel,” Bishop Olson said. “It's being kind and compassionate and recognizing in other human beings God's presence and their dignity. The lived faith in the Gospel is simply kindness, especially to those most in need.
“A simple message, but one much in need of heeding today,” Bishop Olson said.
“The decisions we make so often in our society and political lives right now are based on expediency and an insensitivity and lack of care and concern and callousness for other human beings,” Bishop Olson said.
Pallottine priests, Bishop Olson added, have greatly benefitted the Diocese.
St. Michael parishioner Dotty Vanicek called Bishop Olson's homily a wonderful reminder.
“That we should follow St. Vincent's example of compassion and caring for others especially in a world that has turned away from much of that,” Vanicek said.
Father Vijaya Mareedu, SAC, pastor of St. Michael, participated in the Mass as did several other Pallottine priests.
“The charism of the Pallottines is that clergy and laity should work together to renew faith and rekindle charity and love,” Fr. Mareedu said.
Father Marion Emmanuel, SAC, of the Diocese of El Paso spoke of the miracles and achievements of St. Vincent's life.
“His love for people was immense,” Fr. Emmanuel said in describing why he chose to become a Pallottine priest. “All of that grabbed me and showed me that these things can happen in the lives of regular people.”
Father Jesuraj, SAC, associate pastor at St. Michael, said St. Vincent's life of love for God and others attracted him to the order.
“Showing the goodness of God in your life and projecting that to others through your actions,” Fr. Jesuraj said.
St. Vincent, Fr. Jesuraj said, stressed the need to act according to the time and situation in helping others but always with God in mind.
“Show love of God through your activities,” Fr. Jesuraj said. “But what should not change from situation to situation is that in doing anything we must always glorify God in all our actions.”