A Time to Heal
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die … a time to heal …” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-3
This time next week I will be on pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, the site where Our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Bernadette in the mid-19th century. It is also the place where Saint Bernadette was instructed by Our Lady to dig in the dirt near the apparition site, after which water began to trickle forth and eventually reveal a gushing spring. In the intervening years millions have come to Lourdes to both pray and immerse themselves in the healing waters. Scores of miracles and healings have been documented there. I will be traveling with members of the Order of Malta from here in the Kansas City-Saint Joseph area and the greater United States, and we will accompany persons who will be making the trip with maladies, hoping for God’s healing.
Whenever I go on pilgrimage, I invite people to give me their petitions so that I can pray for them along the way and at the destination. In a place like Lourdes with Mary’s special presence, I especially desire to pray for married couples who desire the gift of children. So, I invite you to contact my office in the coming days to give me the names of couples who long for a child, but also for other special intentions, particularly those for which healing is needed in body, mind or spirit. [my contact information is below]
At the local level, our diocese will remember again in prayer this week those who have been harmed by child sexual abuse, and their healing. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and April 26th has been designated by our diocese as the “Diocesan Day of Atonement and for Healing of All Those Harmed by Sexual Abuse.” I will celebrate Mass that day at 12:15 at our Cathedral in Kansas City. There will also be events across our diocese in our schools and parishes to highlight the on-going importance of this matter and the priority we place on keeping our children safe and caring for the wounded.
Jesus spent a great deal of his public ministry healing the sick. It was a visible manifestation that the Kingdom of God had arrived, and a sign of the more significant healing God was bringing to the human race through the forgiveness of sins and the defeat of death itself. Our Lord then commissioned his apostles to “Heal the sick!” (Mt 10:8) as well as forgive sins (cf. Jn 20:23). The Church continues this mission through the spiritual healing brought about through the sacraments and prayer, and the bodily healing carried out in our Catholic hospitals and at special places like Lourdes. If we belong to the Body of Christ, we are all called to participate in this healing ministry of Christ in some way.
Please pray this week for healing in our diocese, and for me and all those who will be making the pilgrimage trip next week, and know that I will be praying for all of you, especially those in need of healing.
To submit prayer intentions for Bishop Johnston to take on the Lourdes Pilgrimage send them to firstname.lastname@example.org especially for couples desiring children and those in need of healing. Petitions need to be sent by May 1st.
Pope Francis’ April Prayer Intention
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.
Bishop Johnston’s April Prayer Intention
Please join me in prayer this April for all victims of human trafficking.