Tag Archives: faith and the Public Order

Confraternity of St Lazarus

Recently, the Confraternity of St. Lazarus was founded to respond to the those who are in need of a proper, dignified Christian burial. It is an initiative between the Eastern and Western Churches. Other Christian communities are welcome to participate in this spiritual and corporal work of mercy.

At the moment, we have the commitment of St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Church in New Haven and we are looking to work with other New Haven Churches. Groups like the Knights of Columbus, Communion and Liberation, the Secular Franciscan Order, the Fraternity of St. Dominic are involved.

In many ways the Confraternity of St. Lazarus continues the work of the Archconfraternity of St. Mary of the Oration and Death which was founded in 1538 in Rome, and spent nearly 500 years offering a Christian funeral and burial to those who would otherwise never have one. The Roman group had changed their work in the 1950s when the Italian government began to provide basic human and social services. Today, we are taking up two of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy –praying for and burying the dead.

Honoring Life with Dignity

The Confraternity is honored to be able to be present for burials for our poorest sisters and brothers: stillborn and abandoned babies, late term aborted babies, the homeless U.S. Veterans, the homeless and those who die alone or with no known as the next-of-kin (indigent). We collaborate with local funeral homes who have carried the costs and arranged the details for a dignified, personal burial. The Confraternity arranges with local Catholic clergy, and members of other Churches and ecclesial communities to offer funeral prayer services.

Being Present

We pledge to be physical and spiritually present to those who have died alone and abandoned. We need to stand beside the casket in friendship, solidarity and in prayer. However, presence can also mean for some the construction of coffins and gowns for the stillborn babies. There are a variety of ways to participate.

Prayer sustains

The practice of the works of mercy is sustained by the liturgical life of the Church, the practice of prayer, and the celebration of the greatness of God’s creation.  Moreover, it is a good and wholesome thing to pray for the dead (2 Maccabees).

From the beginning

Charitable activity on behalf of the poor and marginalized is based on the principles of Christian life given in the Acts of the Apostles, lived in a vivid expression of people like St. Lawrence, and countless saints. Certainly this is the good example of the recent Church leaders and laity.

An Invitation

All members of the Confraternity of St. Lazarus, whether laity or clergy, devote themselves to the values of Christian charity; striving for spiritual perfection by working for the good of others in giving a proper Christian burial for the vulnerable persons of our society: abandoned stillborn babies, homeless US Veterans and the abandoned. Membership in the Confraternity is open to Christian men and women, who want to engage in this ministry.

As Pope Benedict XVI teaches, “In Jesus’ Resurrection a new possibility of human existence is attained that affects everyone and that opens up a future, a new kind of future, for mankind” (Jesus of Nazareth, vol. 2).

We view, therefore, this work of the Confraternity through the intercession of St. Lazarus as a keen and necessary remembrance of the Lord’s Resurrection and His offering new life to those in the graves, and works of hospitality and friendship.

How We Work

The Confraternity of St. Lazarus works to provide a dignified Christian burial to those who have been forgotten in our society, to understand and speak about the reality and dignity of the human person. We work with others around Connecticut to build a culture of prayer and charity (service) that supports and nurtures the dignity of each human person who has died (the stillborn and abandoned babies, homeless/indigent US Veterans and the homeless/indigent of our cities). We are dedicated to the defense of human dignity through respect of the human body and its final disposition, and works of charity, prayer, education and advocacy.

The Confraternity of St. Lazarus is the fruit of all the work done in the last 25-plus years by religious leaders, philosophers and activists on what it means to have human dignity. Questions like what is a person, who are we as persons in community, and what is our responsibility for the other person, especially a person in need or on the margins of society.

By focusing on the whole person (the physical, spiritual, moral, emotional and intellectual) we resist the reduction of the person understood as an object but think of the person as a subject, a protagonist in history.

No matter the length of time the person has lived or circumstances of that person’s life (socio-economic, medical, and political spheres), all deserve respect and a proper burial. The Confraternity is rooted in the Christian tradition and is informed by the Scripture, Tradition and Mission.

Mission

To promote the dignity of the person by being present, either physically or spiritually, at the burial the stillborn and abandoned babies, homeless/indigent US Veterans and the homeless/indigent of our cities and then to articulate, defend and serve the dignity of the person in their final disposition.

Vision

A world in which the dignity of the person is the foundation for policy and program implementation, in which we understand that progress entails a commitment to the dignity of each human person and the adoption of person-centered solutions.

Want to get involved? Here’s how:

    • become  a companion of the Confraternity of St. Lazarus
    • to help build the coffins for the babies
    • to help sew the burial gowns for the babies
    • to help coordinate the funeral services for the babies and the adults
    • participate in the burial services of those received by the Confraternity
    • participate in the projects that contribute to the burying a person with dignity
    • participate in the formation program
    • pray for those enrolled in the St. Lazarus Society (a perpetual liturgical remembrance of the souls buried through the Confraternity).

Our contact information:

Paul Zalonski and Frank Quadrino: stlazarusct@gmail.com

Happy Independence Day!

Queen ElizBlessings on Independence Day to the United States of America!

Some don’t like separation.

Stalinism alive and well in the Ukraine: Church faces crisis

Archbishop UkraineReligious Freedom, the freedom to worship, and the freedom to live by a fully formed conscience (all three are not the same things) are not only crucial issues for the citizens of the USA, Egypt, the Sudan, parts of Asia, but also for various places in Europe but further East, in Russia. Religious freedom is the basis of all freedoms.

Joseph Ratzinger wrote an article sometime ago on freedom and truth where he said, “freedom is the theme that most characterizes modernity.” We could also say that Americans most care about, but freedom is not just an American thing, it is a human thing that all people want to enjoy. From the American dream which is the achievement of freedom, human development we to need to sustain a work that helps all peoples, not just Catholics but Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims and the like, be truly free.

 

Of late, the Christians in the Ukraine are being forced to re-live Stalinist power plays to shout down the Church. The Catholics in the Ukraine, especially the Byzantine Catholics as lived in The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), are facing political fights with the state over the right to pray in public and to pray in public for the good of the nation. Here we have a keen issue of how faith and the public order intersect. Looks like a new John Paul II has risen…

George Weigel outlines the scene in his article in a  National Review (January 14, 2014), “The Exhaust Fumes of Stalinism.” Weigel is good a pointing to the fact that culture, faith and good political order has been the hallmark of the Church: the dignity of the person and the God-given rights were only help up and promoted by the Church. A Church that is not beholding to state pressures and coercion. Metropolitan Shevchuk is articulating the hope and the path forward…

Pope calls for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, Sept 7

September 7 prayer for SyriaOn Sunday, the Pope’s weekly Angelus prayer and address included an invitation to prayer, fasting and awareness for the situation of peace in Syria. On the vigil of the Nativity of Mary, Pope Francis –with all local churches around the world, will meet in supplication. The portion of the Pope’s invitation from the Angelus address is here:

May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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