I am beginning to reacclimate myself to Merchantville after a quarter of a century serving other parishes in the Diocese. I have noticed that some things have changed while many things have remained the same here at St. Peter’s.
What remains the same are the wonderful, gracious and faith-filled members of our parish. I have noticed once again the sense of family, of hometown Americana, of civic pride and responsibility in Merchantville. Also, the beautiful homes and picturesque avenues of our locality; the care for personal property and landscaping; the young people and the families that stroll through town; the peaceful and fraternal spirit that prevails in our neighborhoods are readily apparent.
What has changed is the secular nature of our society in general; the growing intolerance for Christian values, which, ironically, are the very font of the beautiful features of our life that I mentioned above. Our country seems to have a case of societal amnesia, an inability to recall its Christian roots and the direct connection between these roots and the prosperity and high quality of life we enjoy. The United States of America is the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave” precisely because we are founded upon Gospel values.
Therefore, my friends, we build up our nation and contribute to the greatness of this country when we live and promote the sanctity of life, of marriage, of the nuclear family, of faith, hope and charity, of honesty and moral integrity, of concern for the poor and marginalized, of all those sacred truths that Our Lord taught us.
When we uphold and foster these principles as a parish, we are upholding and advancing everything that is good, beautiful and true in our American society. And so, we must continue to do this! In this project we rely totally upon Divine Grace and the powerful intercession of the Mother of God.
May God bless the USA!
Fr. Tim Byerley