Mary Ellen Robinson
Chief Operating Officer
July is that joyous time of year when we settle into the summer season and come together with friends and family to celebrate Independence Day. May we ever remember the principles of freedom our nation was founded on and commit ourselves to knowing that it takes prayer, work, and generosity of spirit to ensure the endurance of those principles in society.
This is also a time of year when young people take a break from rigorous school schedules to relax, play, and develop character in less structured ways. It is a time of discovery – when bonds with friends and family are strengthened, new interests arise, and goals are set. It is also a time when young people look to elders and mentors for guidance.
The Christophers have two wonderful bookmarks that can be shared with young people to help provide direction and inspiration and remind them that they are an amazing gift from God to us. Our “God is Love” children’s bookmark features a prayer of thanksgiving for the talents and goodness given to each person, and teaches that God will always be present in good times and bad. Our “Grow in Faith” teen bookmark features a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s abundant blessings and teaches young people to put their talents to use for the good of all.
Let us also remember during this time the many people who have had their freedoms revoked due to mistakes that they made, often as a result of horrible life circumstances. In a recent visit to the Calabria region of southern Italy, Pope Francis spoke to inmates and staff at the Casa Circondariale di Castrovillari prison about the importance of reintegration programs. He said, “The Lord is the master of reintegration: he takes us by the hand and brings us back into the community.”
Pope Francis also said, “A true and full reintegration of the person does not happen as the end of a solely human path. On this journey, the meeting with God also comes into it, the capacity to let ourselves be seen by the God who loves us, who is able to understand us and forgive us our sins.” Let us join our prayers to those of Pope Francis that prisoners are afforded the ability for their incarceration to be “a precious time” to “seek and obtain” the grace of God.
Lastly, the Christophers recently took part in a leadership training program for directors and coordinators of religious education in the Archdiocese of New York. Pam Hammond, the National Coordinator of our Christopher Leadership Course, conducted a two-hour session where participants were introduced to some of the basic principles of our own leadership training program. We are so proud to have been able to provide this service to the Archdiocese and to these great leaders in our community. They have been doing such amazing work to build up the life of the Church here in New York, and the humility they demonstrate by always seeking to improve their approach to service is truly inspiring.
Let us pray for this summer season to be a time when we grow our talents, so we can share more abundantly with those in our lives and provide the leadership necessary for the freedoms we hold dear to flourish for generations to come.
Mary Ellen Robinson