Catholic Free Press

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  • Jul
  • 26

Novena tackles contemporary issues

Posted By July 26, 2012 | 12:52 pm | Lead Story #3
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By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

LEOMINSTER – St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus, lived more than 2,000 years ago.
But Father Michael Lavallee, newly appointed pastor of St. Thomas-a-Becket Parish, delivered a very contemporary message last week during the St. Anna Novena, which ended yesterday.
Standing in St. Anna Church, Father Lavallee focused on that day’s events, which included a shooting rampage inside a crowded movie theatre in Colorado that claimed the lives of 12 people.
He urged the 70 people who had come to pray that night to include these victims and their families in their intentions.
“Such acts of violence are a logical outgrowth of a mentality that promotes the legal right to abortion,” he said.
Father Lavallee said the type of behavior that leads to such a tragedy such as we’ve just seen may be labeled as frustration or mental illness.
But Father Lavallee called it evil.
We live in times where people hesitate to use the word “evil,” he continued. “Evil does exist.”
He said breaking the Fifth Commandment – “You Shall not Kill” – is always inherently evil, under any circumstances.
These circumstances, he noted, include abortion of the unborn, euthanasia of the sick and elderly and everything in between.
Father Lavallee condemned the idea of “mercy killing” and the proposed “Death With Dignity” initiative in Massachusetts that will allow terminally ill people who want to end their lives to do so with medical assistance. Voters will decide on this issue in November.
Proponents of euthanasia, he said, cloud the issue by using nice-sounding terms and flowery language. But Father Lavallee said it is always the wrong thing to do.
“When we help someone to end their lives we are complicit in their acts,” he stated.
In fact it is a terrible crime against a human person, he added.
Father Lavallee then spoke about the loss of life, as well as the non-fatal injuries, when a gunman opened fire last week in a theatre in Aurora, Colorado. A reported 58 people suffered injuries.
“My friends in the Lord, we have to be a people who promote life,” he said, noting this has to be “from the moment of conception to natural death.”
He said every person is a unique and special individual and each human is “unrepeatable.”
“Human life is sacred,” he said, adding that each and every day we should pray “with all our hearts” that life will be preserved. “We can’t put a value on human life. We can’t play God. That gift of life comes from God and oh do we have to reverence it.”
Father Lavallee also talked about the new HHS mandate that will force Catholic employers to provide health coverage with provisions for free contraception that includes drugs that can cause early abortions.
“Where is our country going?” he asked. “Do we pray about the future of our country? I hope we do.”
“What is our country going to look like in 20 years, 30 years, 40 years,” he asked rhetorically.
Let us pray for the victims and their families and let us pray that we reverence life by how we treat one another, he said. “Let us add those prayers to this novena tonight and let St. Anne guide us.”
Walking out of church, Andrew Probert of Leominster commented on how much he liked hearing Father Lavallee make note of the ominous times we are living in.
Those are really important issues and we are glad to hear them brought out, he said.
His wife Kathy agreed. “It’s scary, very scary.”