“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” — Luke 2:19
Jan. 1, Solemnity of Mary
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Numbers 6:22-27
Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
2) Galatians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke 2:16-21
By Deacon Mike Ellerbrock
Catholic News Service
For nine months after the angel Gabriel’s annunciation, Mary pondered his message about her miraculous child to be.
During that time, while visiting her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s unborn baby leapt for joy, and Mary spoke with eloquence and humility about her understanding of God’s action in her life:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. … For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages called me blessed.”
Later when shepherds visited the manger, sharing the good news they had received during their night watch, Mary again reflected on these things in her heart.
In today’s Gospel we see Mary pondering and accepting her crucial role in the salvation of humankind. Luke’s subsequent narrative further reveals the burdens placed on her heart as the mother of Christ — and challenges us to likewise ponder and accept God’s call to each of us.
As Mary takes Jesus to be dedicated in the Temple, we recall that she was following the Mosaic law of her time — a time when Jews believed that life is governed by the Ten Commandments as written on the tablets that once were stored in the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple’s innermost chamber. Now we realize Mary, as mother of God, is the new Ark of the Covenant.
Yet we know Mary’s joy was tempered when she encountered Simeon inside the Temple and he gives her something more difficult to ponder when he said, “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel … and you yourself a sword will pierce.”
For me, the challenge began while in my 20s. Feeling called to the priesthood, I consulted priests, read Thomas Merton voraciously, prayed and took frequent retreats. Eventually, the deciding factor was my fear that I could fall into spiritual arrogance as a celibate priest on a pedestal, taking pride in my sacrifices for the Lord and parishioners.
Choosing marriage has drawn me into the mystery of Mary’s simultaneous joy and fear about her Son’s destiny, challenging (Read More)
By Jim Lackey
Well, this might be a surprise! Or maybe not. Our list below of the year’s most popular print stories looks nothing like our list of most popular video stories for 2016.
But if we’ve learned anything in the last seven or eight years that we’ve been supplying video stories to our clients, print storytelling and video storytelling are like the proverbial apples and oranges — each appealing in different ways to different types of news consumers.
Following is our list of most-read print stories, according to our mobile-friendly public site, “CNS top stories.”
Actor Jim Caviezel pays his respects at the casket of Mother Angelica before her April 1 funeral Mass at the the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Ala. Mother Angelica, who founded the Eternal Word Television Network and turned it into one of the world’s largest religious media operations, died March 27 at age 92. (CNS photo/Jeffrey Bruno, EWTN) See MOTHER-ANGELICA-FUNERAL April 1, 2016.
” data-medium-file=”https://cnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/20160401t1416-2498-cns-mother-angelica-funeral.jpg?w=275&h=183?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://cnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/20160401t1416-2498-cns-mother-angelica-funeral.jpg?w=275&h=183?w=640″ src=”https://cnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/20160401t1416-2498-cns-mother-angelica-funeral.jpg?w=275&h=183″ alt=”Actor Jim Caviezel pays his respects at the casket of Mother Angelica before her April 1 funeral Mass. (CNS/Jeffrey Bruno, EWTN) ” width=”275″ height=”183″ srcset=”https://cnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/20160401t1416-2498-cns-mother-angelica-funeral.jpg?w=275&h=183 275w, https://cnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/20160401t1416-2498-cns-mother-angelica-funeral.jpg?w=550&h=366 550w, https://cnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/20160401t1416-2498-cns-mother-angelica-funeral.jpg?w=128&h=85 128w, https://cnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/20160401t1416-2498-cns-mother-angelica-funeral.jpg?w=300&h=200 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 275px) 100vw, 275px”>
Actor Jim Caviezel pays his respects at the casket of Mother Angelica before her April 1 funeral Mass. (CNS/Jeffrey Bruno, EWTN)
1. Homily: ‘God was full of surprises when it came to Mother Angelica’
2. For Catholic astronauts, flying to space doesn’t mean giving up the faith
3. Pope announces 17 new cardinals, including three from U.S.
4. Christians should apologize for helping to marginalize gays, pope says
5. Final resting place: Vatican releases instruction on burial, cremation
6. Pope offers red hat to priest whose story moved him to tears
Pope Francis arrives for Mass in Malmo, Sweden, Nov. 1. (CNS/Paul Haring)
7. Pope offers new beatitudes for saints of a new age
8. Military mantra, Catholic faith drove terminally ill woman to meet the pope
9. Pope meets parents of U.S. student found dead in Rome
10. Pope snaps at pilgrim who caused him to fall into boy in wheelchair
11. Pope Benedict denies latest rumors about Fatima ‘secret’
12. Catholic Church never likely to ordain women, pope says
Filed under: (Read More)
By Jim Lackey
It’s the end of the year and, like it or not, you’re getting flooded with top story picks for 2016.
We’ll make this easy on you: These are the top 12 most-viewed video stories on our YouTube channel for the past 12 months. Skim through these and see if you missed seeing any.
And remember, these aren’t the choices of editors in some ivory tower inside the Beltway — they’re the stories you picked by watching them!
Which one is your favorite?
Filed under: (Read More)
The Twenty-fifth Day of December
From the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created the universe, 13.7 billion years,
From the formation of the first galaxies, 10 billion years,
From the formation of our galaxy, sun and solar system, five billion years,
From the formation of planet Earth, 4.6 billion years,
From the origin of life on Earth, the first living cells, 3.5 billion years,
From the time when the continents of earth stabilized, 2.5 billion years,
From the time of the first ice age, 2.3 billion years,
From the birth of sea life and fish in the ocean, 550 million years,
From the first plants and vegetation on land, 400 million years,
From the age of the dinosaurs, 230 million years,
From the age of the first apes and monkeys, 35 million years,
From the age of Homo habilis, 2.6 million years,
From the time of Homo erectus and the use of tools, 1 million years,
From the time of the first female from whom all human DNA can be traced, 160,000 years,
From the time of Homo sapiens and the use of language, 80,000 years,
From the time of the last ice age, 12,000 years,
From the time of the first cities, 10,000 years,
From the invention of phonetic writing, 3,500 years,
From the time of the flourishing of civilization in Egypt, 3,000 years,
From the time of Abraham and the Patriarchs, 1,925 years,
From Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, 1,280 years,
From the anointing of King David,1,011 years,
From the time of the prophets Amos, Hosea and Isaiah, 750 years,
In the 194th Olympiad,
In the year 752 since the founding of the city of Rome,
From the time of the poet Homer, 700 years,
From the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, 450 years,
In the 42nd year of the empire of Octavian Augustus, when the Roman world was at peace,
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father
Desirous to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
Having been conceived of the Holy Spirit,
And nine months having elapsed since his conception,
Is born in Bethlehem of Judah,
Having become human of the Virgin Mary.
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to the Flesh.
Peter Schineller, S.J., America (December 15, 2008)
By Julie Asher
Dominican friars sing carols Dec. 23 in downtown Washington. (CNS photo/Julie Asher)
WASHINGTON (CNS) –- Amid the hustle and bustle of last-minute holiday shoppers, long lines of Capitals hockey fans waiting to get into the game, restaurant-goers and various street performers, a large group of Dominican friars — accompanied by drum, guitars and banjo — spread some Christmas joy last night with their caroling on the steps outside the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in downtown Washington.
Passers-by are “always positive. We’ve never had a negative response,” said Dominican Brother Timothy Danaher, who is in his sixth year with the religious order. He is studying for the priesthood at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington’s Brookland neighborhood, near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The idea to take their singing to the streets started five years ago, Brother Timothy said, when the Dominicans were thinking of ways to evangelize, “especially outside the chapel walls.” And “we live right near the Metro (subway), so why not take Metro down and carol?”
The goal is twofold, he told Catholic News Service: “First and foremost is to do something that’s beautiful and gives people joy and to do that simply” — and be a Christian witness. “The second thing is to create conversation.”
In a city it’s especially hard to engage folks in conversation, Brother Timothy added, but with music, especially songs that people know, people stop to listen. Other religious men and women join the Dominicans. Some of them sing carols with the friars but others join those Dominicans who are their to mingle with the crowd.
On Monday the Dominican brothers were joined by a couple of Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who are studying in Washington. Last night the friars were joined by Capuchin Franciscans from Capuchin College, also in the Brookland neighborhood.
And the friars’ singing isn’t limited to street performances. The Schola of the Dominican House of Studies just recorded its fourth CD, titled “Christ Was Born to Save,” with Christmas carols old and new. This CD, Brother Timothy said, was recorded in another Washington religious landmark in the neighborhood — the church at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land — with the recording expertise of Dominican Brother Justin Bolger, a singer/songwriter. Information on the CD can be found (Read More)
By Julie Asher
WASHINGTON (CNS) — A new Marist poll shows that a majority of Americans — by 20 percentage points — say they like the greeting “Merry Christmas” rather than the generic “Happy Holidays” this time of year. In addition, a strong majority also associates the meaning of the holiday with Jesus’ birth.
The poll was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
Almost six in 10 — 57 percent — say they prefer “Merry Christmas,” while fewer than four in 10 — 37 percent — prefer “Happy Holidays.”
“Celebrating Christmas is a reminder that Christ came into the world out of love for us and to teach us to love one another,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in statement Dec. 22, the day the poll results were released.
The poll also found that nearly eight in 10 Americans — 79 percent — strongly or very strongly identify the birth of Jesus with the meaning of Christmas.
And almost two-thirds of Americans — 63 percent — think the meaning of Christmas is strongly or very strongly linked with attending church services.
The Marist Poll organization conducted the survey of 1,005 adults from Dec. 1-9. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed on either landline or mobile phones using live interviewers. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Filed under: (Read More)
“From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.” — John 1:16
Dec. 25, The Nativity of the Lord
Cycle A,B,C. Readings:
1) Isaiah 52:7-10
2) Hebrews 1:1-6
Gospel: John 1:1-18 or John 1:1-5, 9-14
By Deacon Mike Ellerbrock
Catholic News Service
Why does Christmas bring out the best in us? Powerful enough to induce a 24-hour cease-fire with music among combatants in World War I, the image of an innocent infant in a barnyard manger offering peace and hope to a broken world causes hearts to pause and consider the possibility.
Beginning at home, could we be so moved as to rewrite the rules of life?
Who was this special child born to a virgin? If he was indeed the long-awaited Messiah (“Anointed One”) revealed by angels, a star and a dove, what was his mission?
When the guns of war fell quiet that silent night along a 460-mile front in Belgium and France, Allied and German troops spontaneously broke into a volley of Christmas carols. Reverberating voices displaced the deafening roar of artillery fire. For a glorious moment, peace reigned instead of terror.
World War I altered history by unleashing dramatic advancements in the technology of warfare that killed 17 million and wounded another 20 million in only four years. Evil was raw. The human toll and utter devastation of the land drove many survivors into deep pessimism about the human condition.
Two young British soldiers who experienced that war in the brutal, filthy trenches — J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis — later bonded into lifelong friends. Despite the devastation of World War I, Tolkien held onto his Catholic faith, and he played a large role in Lewis converting from atheism to Christianity.
Leaping the existential abyss, Tolkien and Lewis chose Christ and his Gospel message. Soul mates and literary colleagues, they inspired each other for decades to put their faith in print to explore the essential goodness of humanity redeemed by God’s grace. Using mythology to spark the Christian imagination of generations, their legacy includes “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Screwtape Letters.”
Similarly, John’s Gospel invites us into the Holy Family’s sacred home “full of grace and truth” where light dispels darkness and believers become children of God. Giving (Read More)
“For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” — Matthew 1:20
Dec. 11, Fourth Sunday of Advent
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Isaiah 7:10-14
2) Romans 1:1-7
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24
By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service
On more than one occasion, I’ve heard the Holy Spirit described as the “forgotten” member of the Trinity — and I can understand why. As a cradle Catholic, I think the only time I heard anyone preach or teach about the Holy Spirit was on Pentecost Sunday and at my confirmation, although in every sign of the cross the Holy Spirit is certainly mentioned. But in today’s readings, the Spirit of God is front and center.
Reminiscent of the Genesis account of creation and the Spirit “sweeping over the waters,” today’s responsorial psalm describes the earth and its fullness as being “founded … upon the seas.” In the great tradition of the prophets of Israel, Isaiah prophesies in the power of the Spirit that a “virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.”
But most striking is the role of the Holy Spirit in the pivotal event of human history: the incarnation of the Son of God in the womb of Mary. Twice, Matthew’s Gospel states that this happened “through the Holy Spirit,” and this claim is borne out in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel and also professed in the Nicene Creed.
We’re not talking about some anonymous, shadowy “force” that is the stuff of science fiction. In fact, Scripture describes a divine being so intensely personal that Mary has been identified as the “spouse” of the Holy Spirit in an ongoing, eternal relationship. In other words, it is the unique union of Mary and the Holy Spirit that made Jesus’ incarnation and birth possible — not only as a past historical event but continually and eternally (wrap your mind around that one!).
When we’re not overwhelmed with holiday hype, we Catholics tend to think of Advent as simply a religious preparation for Christmas, a one-time occurrence until Dec. 25 rolls around again. In truth, Advent is an anticipatory celebration of the unceasing entry of Emmanuel, “God … with us,” into our hearts and lives. It’s the Holy Spirit that accomplishes this, and when it occurs (Read More)
“Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.” — James 5:7
Dec. 11, Third Sunday of Advent
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
2) James 5:7-10
Gospel) Matthew 11:2-11
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
While I was studying for my degree in theology, a professor told us: “The secret to joy is waiting.” I had never considered waiting as criteria for joy. I had always thought of joy as something experienced in the moment at some event or in a person or thing. But as he expounded on this concept, I was reminded of my grandmother and finally understood the connection between joy and waiting.
There were four children in my family for 12 years and then Matthew came along. I was 15 when this happened. Growing up, I was not blessed to live in the same city as my grandmother so anytime we got to see her was a big deal. When Matthew was born, we found out that Grandma was coming to stay with us for a few months to help around the house. The excitement and anticipation was overwhelming for all of us.
You see, Grandma coming meant homemade bread, cookies, jam and on and on. I am sure my mother was excited for other reasons, but to a 15-year-old, food was pretty important. Not only did Grandma make homemade bread, but she always “accidentally” made too much dough and would use the leftovers for cinnamon rolls.
As this expectancy swirled in my mind, the days, hours and minutes of waiting for Grandma to come seemed merciless. But finally she arrived and oh, the joy that filled my heart (and stomach).
This week’s readings tell of the preeminent experience of waiting and joy. In Isaiah we hear the prophecy about the good things that will occur when the Messiah comes. The Letter of James exhorts us to have patience, and the Gospel reveals that Jesus is the long awaited fulfillment of the prophecy.
The Israelites had waited centuries for the promised Messiah and he came. Now, we, the pilgrim church, await the second coming of Jesus. We are in the days between the promise and the fulfillment, but even as we wait, we encounter moments of joy as we each (Read More)
Especially the young!
Why has church attendance dropped off so dramatically in the last 50 years? There are a whole range of reasons, I am sure, and nearly every article in this blog is addressing the issue in one form or another, but if you ask me one of the main contributory factors is the music that is generally heard at Mass. And the degree that the music is influential, I would say that the influence of the style of music that is epitomozed by that offered by the most common pew misalettes is contributing to that decline.
I am talking about a style of music that seems to have started to develop around the late 1960s and sounds to me like a sort of fusion of American folk, Disney and Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and a hint of Victorian hymnody. Whatever you call the genre, it is responsible, I suggest for many to flee the pews.
Before anyone writes to me to say how much they like the music they hear each Sunday, or tell me how high quality the painist or band that plays and how heartily those in the congregation that do attend join in, I want to say one thing. My argument, as you will see, is not based upon the assertion that it is bad music. I do have strong opinions on that, but my personal taste has no bearing on the conclusion that I draw. My argument is that the whole philosophy that has contributed to the composition of such music is fataly flawed.
Even if we assume that the music we hear in Mass is of the highest quality within its genre, it would still have the same effect, which is to tend to drive most people away from Mass. (This is despite the fact that its proponents usually claim that it does the opposite.) Furthermore, if the standard of the musicianship is of the highest order, and the choir consisting of the best trained professional singers it would not chage my argument one iota.
The problem in my opinion lies in the whole ethos that underlies the creation of music for the missals. The goal, it seems is to connect with people by giving them music that derived from popular secular forms. The problem with this approach is that it can only connect to those people who actually listen to enjoy that style of music (Read More)
By Julie Asher
Even 75 years later, the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Dec. 7, 1941, continues to rivet the attention of Americans because it is “such a powerful event,” a priest-historian told Catholic News Service in an interview in advance of tomorrow’s anniversary of the attack.
“Before that, we were debating whether to get involved with World War II or not. We were basically a neutral country, trying not to get engaged in it. It (the attack) changed the tenor, and the president’s resolve,” Father Daniel Mode said in a telephone interview from the Pentagon, where he where he works for the chief of chaplains. “It brought our country together to fight a common threat.”
A ship is seen sinking during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. (CNS photo/Pearl Harbor Museum)
In a video interview with CNS, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services reflects on the “incredible heroism” that day by members of the military that day, including Father Aloysius Schmitt, a chaplain aboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor.
The priest pushed a dozen men out a narrow porthole to safety during the attack at the cost of his own life as the ship was sinking. He was the first U.S. chaplain to die in World War II. It was only recently that his remains had been positively identified and returned to his home Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, for burial.
The Hawaii Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Honolulu, in its Dec. 1 issue recalled some of the paper’s coverage of the time. ” The Herald’s 1941 war edition, published four days after the bombing, expressed the faith and patriotism of island Catholics.
These reflections on the Pearl Harbor attack and the more than 2,000 American lives lost prompted us at CNS to look back into our own news archives:
NOTABLE REVIVAL OF FAITH ACCOMPANIES OUTBREAK OF WAR
(Special Correspondence, N.C.W.C. News Service)
Honolulu, Dec. 29 — With war come to Hawaii; with Catholics carrying on in the way that has marked their loyalty in every national emergency; with priests, religious and members of the laity giving edifying examples of their courage, a notable revival of the faith has also come to these islands.
Confessions have been heard in record number and the Communion rails have welcomed many a strange face. Catholic churches were packed more than ever the (Read More)
Here is a both a request and proposal for the Anglican Ordinariate, if I may be so bold.
Can you produce a version that can be reduced to a short booklet that contains the psalter and the unchanging prayers? If in addition to that we can find a way for the changing parts to be supplied by smart phone then I think that you will have something that will really catch on. It will be simple to use and cheap.
If the Ordinariate would produce something like this, then I for one would use it and promote it tirelessly. I know of several others who would be just as enthusiastic to see such a thing. Furthermore, I am ready to create online courses at Pontifex University that teach the singing of the Office in the home, and this would be my prefered option to recommend to families and lay people.
The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham is wonderful but complicated to use and I’m never quite sure if I am getting those parts proper to the day right – and I am reasonable adept at breviary navigation. I have spoken to a number of lay people who bought it and gave up. This would work well for religious and those especially devoted to the Office who are likely to take the time to work out what
I am a great fan of the Divine Office as given to us by the Ordinariate because I think that it creates the possibility of greater take up of the praying of the Office by lay people. It offers the chance of praying the full psalter (ie no missing cursing psalms) in English in a translation that is both poetic and accessible. I have written about this in previous articles, such as this one here: The Anglican Ordinariate Divine Office – A Wonderful Gift for Lay People and a Source of Hope for the Transformation of Western Culture. (And incidentally, if you think I was resorting to hyperbole in the title of that article, I wasn’t. I really to do believe that it has this potential.)
Looking at the general guide for Morning and Evening Prayer for the Personal Ordinariates (which consitutes a recitation of the full Office), and drawing on its application in the Customary, I think that I can get the psalms for the day and all that is specified in the table below from (Read More)
“Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” — Isaiah 11:5
Dec. 4, Second Sunday of Advent
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72: 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
2) Romans 15:4-9
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
“Going to church” in the Protestant American South holds a certain amusing lore through which I fondly recall the small Louisiana congregation of my girlhood, although at the time I was embarrassed by some of its quirky traditions at worship services.
One was the singing of a favorite hymn, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,” in which congregants would eagerly remain on the edge of their seats during the organ’s introductory notes then suddenly (with great rustling of arms, legs and hymnals) rise up as one and belt out, “Stand up! Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross!”
Another was “Roll Call Sunday,” when the preacher called the roll of church members and each family would stand and be counted as their name was called. That annual service unfailingly opened with an enthusiastic (by the pastor, at least) rendition of “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder (I’ll Be There).”
The Scriptures for this Second Sunday of Advent refer to a similar call to accountability at the coming of Christ. But they emphasize a deeper requirement of faithfulness than symbolic acts of loyalty. Isaiah notes, “Not by appearance shall he judge.”
I would never question the true committed faith of the people of my childhood church. After all, they are the ones who first introduced me to Jesus. Today’s Gospel points out what they knew and modeled for me: Producing “good fruit” is the telling proof of one’s relationship and commitment to Jesus. (I’m just glad there wasn’t a hymn about every tree not bearing good fruit being thrown into the fire.)
Jesus came to us in his day, and comes to us now, to re-create the peaceful world the Father intended. Isaiah declares the promise of Christ bearing the gifts of the Spirit — wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, knowledge and awe before God — gifts he offers us to serve God’s purposes well.
His overriding purposes are justice and peace brought about through compassion.
As we prepare the way of the Lord this (Read More)
Pontifex faculty member, Fr Sebastian Carnazzo, pastor of St Elias Melkite Catholic Church, Los Gatos, CA has instituted an ‘Outreach Divine Liturgy on the campus of University of California, Berkeley. Celebrating with Fr Carnazzo will be Fr Christopher Hadley. It is taking place at the Gesu Chapel at the Jesuit School of Theology, 1735 Le roay Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709.
An Outreach Divine Liturgy is the first stage to the establishment of a weekly mission. Please pray for this endeavor and if you are able to, make plans to attend. Dinner will be provided afterwards.
I shall be attending myself, singing the drone (eison) for the liturgy. We would love to see you there, especially any UC Berkeley students and professors!
Aside from teaching theology for Pontifex University on the Masters of Sacred Arts program, Fr Carnazzo is offering our Advent and Christmas meditation, which is offered free. You can sign up anytime and join in what is a wonderful to deepen your participation in this great season in sacred time.
The year was 1994, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I had been in Anaheim, California, covering the National Catholic Educational Association’s annual convention for CNS. Since I was so close to Hollywood, management thought I could stay some extra days to snag interviews with some emerging stars like Nick Turturro, then on “NYPD Blue,” David Hyde Pierce of “Fraser,” Jay Leno, who was settling in comfortably on “The Tonight Show,” and a pre-“Everybody Loves Raymond” Ray Romano. I also got to interview some more established types, like Robert Wise, who directed “The Sound of Music,” and everybody’s favorite blended-family mom, Florence Henderson, ex of “The Brady Bunch.”
Florence Henderson (1934-2016). (CNS photo/Fred Prouser, Reuters)
For the Henderson interview, I got to meet her on a Monday evening at a restaurant near her home in Santa Monica, California, where she was a member of St. Monica Parish. We talked about her life and career, with the conversation invariably rebounding back to “The Brady Bunch.” The series still has a home in the 500-channel universe; Me-TV plays four episodes in a row every Sunday, calling it a “Brady Brunch.”
It’s not a surprise, since despite her ample acting and singing skills — she was the original Maria on Broadway in “The Sound of Music” — Henderson helped make the Bradys a family that the ratings just couldn’t kill.
Even after the original sitcom was canceled after five seasons, “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour” soon followed, as did “The Brady Girls Get Married,” “The Brady Brides,” “A Very Brady Christmas,” “The Bradys,” and playing Grandma Brady in “The Brady Bunch Movie” in 1995. She even did a turn as Carol Brady in a 1987 episode of “The Love Boat.”
The unmistakable impression I got once the interview was over was how unfailingly polite Henderson had been. Not that at her age — which is my age now — she needed to go traipsing out of her house to do interviews on her free time. But she did, and she was a great interview subject.
Henderson talked about how she chose her confirmation name of Gemma after a Benedictine sister who taught her in grade school, and with whom she still corresponded 50 years later. She also spoke of doing a fundraiser for Ursuline-run Brescia College in Kentucky, not far from her Indiana birthplace. She even talked about prayer, which isn’t the typical subject actors talk about. (Read More)
Pontifex University is now offering a free short course, An Advent and Christmas Seasonal Meditation as a promotion for its new Masters in Sacred Arts. It is a meditation in art and scripture for these seasons through to Epiphany It is taught by Fr Sebastian Carnazzo and myself using a method that we have developed for the scripture classes in the MSA program.
Each day, Fr Carnazzo, an experienced scripture scholar who, for example, spent several years teaching FSSP seminarians in their seminary in Nebraska, gives a short meditation on the gospel account of the nativity.
Fr Carnazzo, who is also pastor at the Melkite Church of St Elias, in Los Gatos, also has a deep knowledge of the icons of the Church. So he connects the scripture with the icons of the church. I offer additional ‘artistic sidebars’ on certain feast days during this season and on major feast days we discuss the art together. As a result, this is simultaneously a scripture class that uses beautiful art to communicate truths beyond words and so increase our grasp of the Word; and an art class that explains the scriptural roots of the icons of the Church.
Most importantly, we connect all of this to the worship of God in the sacred liturgy where, one hopes it will deepen our encounter with Him during this wonderful time in the Church year. It includes an encouragement to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in your domestic church and even offers suggestions on how families can sing the psalms as they do so.
Question: why would we be considering the Baptism of the Lord during this seasonal meditation? And who are these figures on fish in the Jordan? And the significance of the rock that Christ is standing on? Answers can be found for free…if you sign up for the course! To go to the MSA catalog page and sign up for the free course: An Advent and Christmas Seasonal Meditation
Gerrit van Honthorst, 17th century, Dutch. The Adoration of the Shepherds.
By Rhina Guidos
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Quoting from the Book of Ecclesiastes and referencing judgment, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, of Miami issued a statement on the Nov. 25 death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
“Now he awaits the judgment of God who is merciful but also just,” wrote Archbishop Wenski in a brief statement posted on the archdiocese’s website Nov. 26. “His death provokes many emotions — both in and outside the island. Nevertheless, beyond all possible emotions, the passing of this figure should lead us to invoke the patroness of Cuba, the Virgin of Charity, asking for peace for Cuba and its people.”
Pope Francis and former Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana in Sept. 20, 2015. (CNS photo/Reuters)
Castro was 90 and ruled Cuba from 1959 — when his regime overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista — until 2009 when he handed power over to his brother Raul.
Pope Francis sent a telegram in Spanish to Cuba expressing condolences for the “sad news” of “the death of your dear brother” to Raul Castro, who currently rules the island. He also expressed condolences to the government and to its people, and said he was offering prayers and entrusting the nation through intercession of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba.
Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist party in Cuba, said the formal public mourning period and homages to Fidel Castro will begin today and go through Dec. 4. On Nov. 30 the transport of his ashes to the province of Santiago will begin, concluding Dec. 3 at the cemetery of St. Ifigenia in Santiago de Cuba, where the Cuban national leader Jose Marti is buried.
Archishop Wenski concluded his message asking that “Our Lady of Charity, hear her people’s prayers and hasten for Cuba the hour of its reconciliation in truth, accompanied by freedom and justice.”
Through the intercession of the Mary, may “the Cuban people know how to traverse that narrow road between fear which gives in to evil and violence, which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse,” he added.
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“They shall beat their swords into plowshares.” — Isaiah 2:4
Nov. 27, First Sunday of Advent
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Isaiah 2:1-5
2) Romans 13:11-14
Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44
By Deacon Mike Ellerbrock
Catholic News Service
Noah’s neighbors were so engrossed in celebrating their good fortune that they were caught unprepared for the calamity of the Flood. Had they invited the less-fortunate villagers, perhaps the party may have ended in joy.
Historically, lack of economic opportunity has led to civil wars and international conflicts, including terrorism. Hence, our economic choices involve ethical dimensions, moral issues and global challenges. Let us beware: Poverty remains a scourge invoking God’s wrath.
Today, 3 billion people (about one-third of humanity) live in “poverty,” on less than $2.50 per person per day. Half of those people are perpetually stuck in “extreme poverty,” living on less than $1.25 per person per day. The dollar distinction reflects the desperate reality that extremely poor people cannot save any money at all and thus are unable to invest in their children’s future.
The amount of money necessary to lift those 1.5 billion people out of extreme poverty equals only 0.7 percent of world gross domestic product, an amount equivalent to only four days of military spending by all nations!
To build peace on earth, converting a few swords into plowshares appears to be a no-brainer.
For another frame of reference, consider the Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations in September 2000. Signed by the U.S. and 190 other nations, the goals commit each nation to allocate 0.7 percent of their annual income for official development aid to the poorest countries. Note that’s 0.7 percent — not 70 percent or 7 percent of our nation’s annual wealth. It is only seven-tenths of 1 percent!
So, is America a generous country? Yes and no.
In absolute dollars, we donate more money in development aid than any other nation, yet we are also the biggest laggard in meeting our millennium goals commitment. In 2015, the U.S. has contributed only 0.17 percent of our national income in development aid. That is about one-fourth of our official pledge. Though generous, we could do a lot better.
Advent is a time of spiritual reckoning. If the Christ child was welcomed by Magi from the East with gifts (Read More)
By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY — After the bells tolled for the noon Angelus today, the melodies and drone of Scottish bagpipes could be heard near St. Peter’s Square.
Pipe Sergeant Mauro Nenci of Rome helped catch the attention of passersby and media as part of the Archdiocese of St. Andrews & Edinburgh’s announcement of the development of “The Catholic App.”
The new GPS-powered app is meant to help people find the nearest church offering Mass and confession in the way most people today find things: with their smart phone or tablet, Archbishop Leo Cushley said.
Mauro Nenci on bagpipes and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews & Edinburgh presenting a new app Nov. 22 that uses GPS to help people find church Mass and confession times. (Photo courtesy of the Scottish Catholic Media Office)
“Websites are losing popularity. What is needed to engage with the mobile generation is an app that is smart and personal, an app that is like a companion, a friend that takes the initiative to inspire you — that’s the vision behind the Catholic App,” said Maciej Zurawski, founder and CEO of Musemantik, the Scottish tech company designing the app.
Inspirational messages, news and parish information will also be among some of the app features.
The archdiocese hopes to release the app early next year, but it also needs as many dioceses as possible across the world to take part, offering needed data (Mass and Confession times, location etc…) to make the app even more effective, said David Kerr, the archdiocese’s director of communications.
Check out the interactive mock up here: https://marvelapp.com/9faa1d/screen/10012695
Dioceses, parishes and individuals interested in finding out more can contact the developer at email@example.com or David Kerr.
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“Today you will be with me in Paradise.” — Luke 23:43
Nov. 20, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Cycle C. Readings:
1) 2 Samuel 5:1-3
2) Colossians 1:12-20
Gospel: Luke 23:35-43
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
It’s not easy to get your head around the concept of the kingdom of God and its meaning for your own life. Then, just when you think you understand, it eludes you again.
No surprise. After all, it’s beyond us, right?
Wrong. It’s not beyond us. God desires us to be drawn into God’s kingdom, and he sent his Son, as king, to bring us there.
This week’s Scriptures describe Christ’s place in the kingdom and his unrelenting, sacrificial effort to keep God’s beloved children with him there forever.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians reminds us that Christ’s life didn’t begin with his earthly birth. No, he “is before all things.” All things were created through him, for him, and in him all things hold together. Mind-blowing.
With such knowledge, it’s surprising that we don’t feel smaller and less self-determined. But we often forget who lives in whose kingdom.
I’ll never forget hearing that confusion laid to rest by a casual comment of the late Bishop Joseph Delaney of Fort Worth, Texas. Lamenting oft-told stories of faithful people running into burning churches to rescue the Eucharist, he said, “They’re going to save Jesus.” He raised his eyebrows, “Save Jesus — from what?”
Another time, I heard Steve Colecchi, now director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace, tell a gathering of parish social justice ministers not to get too stressed over their efforts to “save the world.”
“Remember,” he smiled, “that’s already been accomplished.”
In Luke’s Gospel this week, onlookers at Jesus’ resurrection, as well as one of the criminals hanging beside him, mockingly challenged him to prove his power by saving himself. Of course, there was no need. He was fully alive in the world that mattered: the kingdom of God.
But as savior of humanity, he would willingly give up his earthly life to ransom the lives of his Father’s faithful children who suffer in weakness and sinfulness.
Christ the King powerfully “reconciles all things” for the sake of the kingdom of God. We are indeed drawn into his kingdom (Read More)