The Gospel from St. Luke reminds us that the historical time of Christ’s birth was filled with social unrest and dislocation. But it is in the midst of these challenges that God becomes present in the flesh to us.
Many times we look back on the Christmas story and romanticize it. In fact, it was in no way an easy or certain journey for Joseph and Mary. Their story and their faithful courage in responding to God gives us strength as we ourselves move through often uncertain times.
Guardian angels are a part of the entire vision of care which God desires for the church and for the whole human community. It is appropriate as the Church begins observance of Respect Life Month, that we hear of God’s own duty of care which is part of God’s own nature of love for each of us. And it is fitting that we begin this month reminding ourselves of the Guardian Angels who stand watch over each and every human life.
In my role as Director of Certification for Ecclesial Ministry at the USCCB, it has been a privilege to work with colleagues in the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition and the National Association of Catholic Chaplains as they in turn have worked with the USCCB Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service to develop these innovative and comprehensive competencies, which will help prepare Catholics across the country for the vital work of providing spiritual care for those who are incarcerated or affected by incarceration in any way, including those in immigrant detention.
In my role as Director of Certification for Ecclesial Ministry at the USCCB, I consulted with colleagues from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) in their efforts to ensure that previously existing competencies in these areas were properly updated and new competencies developed to address the need for well-prepared lay ministry leaders and clergy in these important areas of ministerial care provided by the Catholic Church.