Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for October 16, 2005

Although I can hardly believe it, this weekend marks five months of priestly ordination for me. God has blessed me so generously, and in so many ways in these past months; I am particularly grateful for each of you, the parishioners of St. John Neumann, and for your kindness and openness. I simply love being a priest!

Thank you also to those who have expressed interest in the Italy pilgrimage for October 2006. I will publish the final itinerary and costs as soon as they are determined.

In two weeks, the Archdiocese of Detroit is hosting its annual Women’s Conference at Macomb Community College. The conference theme is “Reflecting the Light of Christ: Embracing the Genius of Women.” Expect dynamic speakers, enlightening discussion, and excellent fellowship with other Catholic women. The day begins with Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Maida, and confessions are available throughout the day. For more information, or to register, please call (734) 459-9558.

This week, the Church celebrates Saints from the first century to the eighteenth. St. Ignatius of Antioch is October 17; St. Luke (Evangelist and companion of St. Paul) is on the 18th; the Jesuit martyrs St. Isaac Jogues and companions are on the 19th; and St. Paul of the Cross (eighteenth century founder of the Passionist order) is on the 20th.

St. Ignatius of Antioch was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, and was the third bishop in Antioch (a diocese founded by St. Peter himself). Ignatius is called a “Father of the Church,” or one of the earliest writers and teachers of the Faith. The Church owes Her early growth to the efforts of these men, inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit, to preserve doctrine in the face of heresy and unity in the face of schism.

The study of the Fathers of the Church is called “patrology” and the study of their writings is “patristics”. Among these writings are a series of letters St. Ignatius wrote as he was being taken to Rome for martyrdom. These letters are extant, and they give us remarkable insight into the teachings of the Church in the first and second centuries. The writings of the Fathers confirm the unchanging truth of the Catholic Faith: what the Fathers of the Church taught is what we still teach today. All of the patristic writings are available on the internet at

While the universal Church owes Her initial growth to the Fathers, the Church in the New World owes Her growth to the great missionaries of the 16th and 17th centuries. The tireless Jesuits Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf, and their companions evangelized the native peoples of North America and explored the interior of the continent. Jogues and Brébeuf, along with their six companions were brutally martyred by the Iroquois in the 1640s. Their sacrifices were not in vain, however; St. Kateri Tekakwitha would be born to a Mohawk tribe that had been evangelized by these men just ten years earlier. A shrine in Auriesville, upstate New York, commemorates the site of their martyrdom.

As we reflect on the martyrs’ sacrifices – whether of St. Ignatius in the 1st century or of the Jesuits in the 17th – we are inspired by the power of the Gospel in their lives. The message of the Gospel was not vague or foggy to those who gave their lives in its service. Through their example and intercession, we should be inspired to be martyrs in our own time, fearlessly preaching the Gospel with our words and deeds. We may not be killed with swords, spears, or clubs; but we cannot fear the world or its threats. Instead, remember our Lord’s words to the Apostles at the Last Supper (Jn 16:33): “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”