Sunday, June 15, is the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time. This weekend Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi — two Italian cities on the Adriatic coast. Find photos of the events at

Diocesan is the website of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.

This year’s International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Quebec City, Canada. These are wonderful events — Tom attended one at The Catholic University of America. It’s a little bit like a Catholic World’s Fair, only with the Blessed Sacrament as the main attraction. The way they are set up, a diocese, with the approval of the Pope, invites other dioceses to a big celebration and rejuvenation.

The theme of the congress is “The Eucharist, gift of God for the life of the world.” A variety of activities are planned to help pilgrims worship, learn catechesis and participate in youth and family activities.

At our parish, one of the priests promoted the event to the congregation, and invited everyone to pray in solidarity with those who will attend.

Family offers Next Sunday Ideas for the family.

“Give each family member a gift-wrapped box inside which is a gift from Jesus,” suggests Familia’s website for June 15: “a smiley face, or helping hand, or a pleasant voice, or a desire to share, or a cooperative spirit, or an encouraging word. Remind them they have received a gift from Jesus (whatever was in their box). Now they must give that gift away for the next 24 hours.”

Then, presumably the next day, the website suggests: “Repeat the gift giving. This time place the gift in an envelope with an ‘I love you’ note in it from Jesus. The next time, place the gifts in an empty plastic Easter egg and hide them. If you have had the gift before, keep it. Obviously the Holy Spirit thinks it is the right gift for you. Talk about the gifts that each had received this week. Which were easy to give away? Which were hard? Did they all feel like gifts? Distribute gift bags this last time. This time, include a thank-you note from Jesus and a sweet treat. Speak often of the gifts that were given, and how, as his disciples, we need to give them away over and over.”

Readings offers free homily packs for priests.

Exodus 19:2-6, Psalm 100:1-3, 5; Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 9:36-10:8

Our Take

This week’s Gospel falls neatly into two parts.

In the first paragraph, Jesus looks at the crowds and has pity on them “because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” But rather than go to them himself, he turns to his disciples — those who have already been won over — and asks them to pray for him to send out laborers to this “harvest” of souls.

It’s the same way in our world today. God is well aware of the problems of the world. But he doesn’t intend to make the problems go away by a miracle for our comfort. He wants us to pray that he will send more laborers into the field. In other words, we must both accept that he is the master of the situation — and that he wants his graces to reach mankind through apostles like us.

As if to show us that we shouldn’t lose heart in this prayer, the next paragraph shows results. Christ immediately deputizes the 12 apostles, giving them new authority, and the Gospel of Mark names them for the first time.

This should give us great hope.Our family has prayed for vocations every day for 15 years, and this Gospel assures us that there are indeed more vocations today because of our years of prayer.

Rather than lament the difficulty of the job, we can take heart that, now no less than before, Christ is at work in the quiet but effective way he has been at work from the beginning.

The Hoopeses are

editorial directors of

Faith & Family magazine (