Archbishop Silvano Tomasi (CNS/Paul Haring)
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi preferred that the focus wasn’t on him.
The real attention should be on the difficult work needed to protect poor people in developing nations in African, Asia and Latin America from predatory lending practices that deprive them of life’s necessities, he told a Capitol Hill dinner hosted by the Jubilee USA Network the evening of Nov. 10.
The archbishop accepted being named a Jubilee Champion by the Jubilee USA Network by saying people of faith must unite in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people by seeing their suffering.
He recalled how he learned what it means to help with development of a country when he served as apostolic nuncio to Ethiopia and Eritrea and later Djibouti.
“You can study it in school. There are courses on development. There are long debates (about development) in parliaments or the Congress of the U.S., but you need to go and see what a village is like,” he said, describing his work in bringing clean water to poor communities.
“Unless you participate in the actual life of the people you have a hard time to understand the needs and the aspirations of these communities,” said the archbishop, who retired in February as the Vatican observer to the U.N. agencies in Geneva and is credited for securing a key agreement on debt relief, tax policy changes and trade reform for developing countries.
Such experiential learning will bring greater understanding among people, he said.
“So all the efforts that people in Congress are making to build bridges instead of building walls becomes the real main road in which it is possible to build peace,” he continued. “Instead of enforcing with force concepts of public life, I think this kind of dialogue of reality is going to really transform society.”
Archbishop Tomasi was one of four Jubilee Champions honored for their work on debt relief efforts at the dinner. Others were Spencer Bachus, a former Republican member of Congress from Alabama who ushered legislation through Congress that led to more than $130 billion in debt relief; Kent Spriggs, a Florida attorney who was the lead author of “amicus curiae” brief spearheaded by Jubilee USA, signed by 80 faith-based organizations and filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2014 case that helped Argentina block the predatory debt collection practices of a so-called “vulture fund”; and Ruth Messinger, (Read More)
By Barb Fraze
Cubans pick up the pieces following the damage and havoc caused by Hurricane Matthew in Baracoa, Cuba, Oct. 6. (CNS photo/Alejandro Ernesto/EPA)
What’s a bishop to do?
Even as the death toll from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti was climbing toward 800 in early October, the storm was hitting eastern Cuba as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.
Days after the hurricane hit, Bishop Wilfredo Pino Estevez of Guantanamo-Baracoa spoke of the damage he saw: chaos, trees without leaves, houses without roofs. “All this horror was experienced in few hours, in the night of Oct. 4,” he said.
In a translation just obtained by Catholic News Service, the bishop spoke of what he asked his priests and nuns to do in the days after the hurricane:
A woman stands in a street near damaged homes Oct. 5 after Hurricane Matthew swept through Baracoa, Cuba. (CNS photo/Alejandro Ernesto, EPA)
— Be there with the people right where they are. To wipe away their tears. Raise their spirits. Give them some hope. Do what the apostles did and said: “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you.” (Acts 3:6)
— Give food to those who are hungry. By the way, yesterday, we picked up a man who was walking along the road looking for his family, and he confessed that he had not eaten anything or slept for two days. Fortunately, Caritas-Guantanamo staffers … are taking care of this case.
— The coordinators of every community had to make a list with the names of the persons that need help. There is a truck from the diocese transporting … all the donations: crackers, rice, beans, cooking oil, sardines, sausages, soaps, candles, detergent, matches, etc.
— Invite everyone to pray, like Moses did …. You can suggest any initiative about it. To say the rosary to the Virgin, consolation of the upset people, it could comfort in all these days.
— Don’t stop celebrating the Sunday Mass, especially in those places where the churches collapsed. I recommended to put away the rubble and use a table as a temporary altar and invite the faithful to bring an umbrella or something to cover their head for the sun or if it rains. We have to be clear on something that you all know: The building was destroyed but not the church.
He also spoke of things that gave him hope: Catholics and Protestants praying (Read More)
“The King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.” — 2 Maccabees 7:9
Nov. 6, Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15
2) 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
Gospel: Luke 20:27-38
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
While reading this week’s Scriptures a song from the 2005 David Crowder Band album, “A Collision,” came to mind. One line in the song says, “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.” The reading from 2 Maccabees describes how many members of the Maccabee family were tortured and martyred by the occupying Greek army. To a person, they all welcomed death rather than violating their faith because they knew they would see God upon their death.
To be sure, this is an extreme situation and few of us will ever be required to choose faithfulness to Jesus over death, but the question all of us can ponder is: “How real to us is the prospect of eternal life?”
Years ago at a Bible study, my pastor asked for a show of hands of those in attendance who were ready to go to heaven that night. Of the 50 or so people in the room only a few people raised their hands.
Believing in the Resurrection is one thing, but the process of taking part in it can be less than appealing because, of course, it involves our death.
Last year at a young adult retreat, I listened as one of the participants was explaining how fearful she was about a particular situation. I said, “Worst case scenario is that you will die and get to see Jesus.” There was some laughter, but then the truth of my snarky comment began to settle in along with the realization that no matter what happens in this life, there is a greater, holier life that awaits us all.
A woman I worked with at my parish embodied this attitude and outlook on life. She was terminally ill and had the good fortune to be in her home as she passed to the next life. She had always said she wanted to die sitting up with her feet on the ground as though she had someplace to go, and that is exactly (Read More)
Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
PITTSBURGH (CNS) — Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh has asked every church in his diocese to be open for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament all day Nov. 7, so that people of faith can pray for the nation and the Nov 8 election.
“Let us pray that all people will vote in good conscience, seeking the common good and the dignity of all human persons, even when the choices before them seem neither good nor dignified. We must pray that, no matter what the results of the election, our people will work to build a civilization of love, hope and peace,” he wrote in an Oct. 27 letter to all pastors.
“Encourage your people to come before the Lord present in the Eucharist and ask for God to guide our nation and shape the consciences of its citizens. Pray for all of our political leaders, present and future, to support laws and promote programs that respect human life at every stage, promote peace among people and nations, care for God’s creation, preserve religious freedom and protect those who are the most poor and vulnerable,” Bishop Zubik wrote.
In his column in today’s issue of the Pittsburgh Catholic, he urges Catholics to “pray before you enter that voting booth.”
“A conscience rooted in true and open prayer will never let you down,” he writes. “Then vote as that Catholic conscience tells you. Vote in faith, hope and prayer this Tuesday. Vote as a faithful citizen.”
In the column he also talks about the flood of political ads this election season that he thinks “have helped to create an unprecedented level of distrust and division as Election Day approaches.”
“One side calls the other criminal; the other side declares many of the other’s supporters deplorable,” Bishop Zubik says. “We are going to need to go a long way to bring back any sense of unity, decency and harmony in our culture after Tuesday’s election, no matter the result.
As a bishop, he says, in this presidential year more than any other, he has heard on a daily basis that he should speak out, “telling the faithful why they cannot vote for Donald Trump, or why they cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.”
“The church never — this bishop never — will tell you which candidate to embrace or which lever to pull or which button to press (Read More)
Two priests of the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., and their bishop are the stars of a new video making the rounds on the internet that parodies the “Carpool Karaoke” segments made famous by James Corden’s “The Late Late Show” on CBS.
According to the Rockford Register Star, the video was unveiled last Sunday at an annual youth summit in the diocese attended by 1,700 teens. Father Keith Romke and Father Kyle Manno pretend they’re driving to the summit. Halfway there (at about 3:50 into the video) they pick up their “boss,” Bishop David Malloy, to give him a ride. You can watch the whole thing here:
So far, the video has nearly 21,000 views. The paper called it a big hit with the teens.
Filed under: (Read More)
(CNS photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, EPA)
By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — In the weeks leading up the hotly contested Nov. 8 election, many Catholic bishops have written columns, issued statements or preached homilies encouraging their people to weigh the issues carefully as they enter the voting booth.
Many of the statements draw on “Faithful Citizenship,” the quadrennial document issued by the bishops to help guide Catholics in weighing the issues deciding whom to support.
Some of the statements express dismay at the choices presented in the persons of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, New York, put it bluntly: “The political climate in the United States is chaotic and dispiriting. The Presidential nominees of both major political parties seem scandal-plagued and corrupt. America deserves better but perhaps these two contenders for our nation’s highest political office are simply a reflection of the citizenry.”
As Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote in his column, “Both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.”
The archbishop went on to say: “This is depressing and liberating at the same time. Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become. Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps.”
“The deepest issues we face as a church and a nation this year won’t be solved by an election,” he said in another column. That’s not an excuse to remove ourselves from the public square. We do need to think and vote this November guided by properly formed Catholic consciences. But as believers, our task now is much more difficult and long-term. We need to recover our Catholic faith as a unifying identity across party lines.”
For Bishop Donald J. Kettler of St. Cloud, Minnesota, it was important to encourage some of his flock: “’Do not be afraid,’ Jesus told his disciples. In this election year, as we prepare to vote for candidates who will make important decisions for our country and our state, I would add: ‘Do not be discouraged!’”
“We modern-day disciples face many challenges when it comes to voting and living out our civic responsibilities,” he wrote. Being a responsible voter isn’t easy, he acknowledged, but “Our Catholic voices are needed more than ever this election year.”
For Archbishop (Read More)
“You spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!” — Wisdom 11:26-12:1
Oct. 30, Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Wisdom 11:22-12:2
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
2) 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
Amid last summer’s series of tragic shootings in cities across the country, a news story reported that the alleged gunman who killed several police officers in Dallas had received tactical instruction at a private self-defense academy two years earlier.
According to the story, an instructor at the school recalled that the man had attended training there, but said, “I don’t know anything about Micah … he’s gone. He’s old to us. I have thousands of people.”
Naturally, this school spokesman wanted to distance the academy from the tragedy. But someone he’d once called by name in his class now had become to him a nonperson forgotten in a faceless crowd.
That gunman is an extreme example of a person lost from God.
While society no longer desires to claim him, today’s Scriptures tell us that God still does.
As unbelievable as that may seem, the Book of Wisdom explains the Creator’s unconditional love: “You love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made.”
Whether it is an extreme case or a mild case of someone turning away from God, Wisdom says God has “mercy on all” and “overlook(s) people’s sins that they may repent.”
It is unimaginable to the human mind, but the depth of God’s love and mercy is such that he forever seeks out the fallen and failed of his children to lift them free of evil and redeem them for a new life.
Simply put, that’s why he sent Jesus.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus embraces the reviled, sinful tax collector Zacchaeus, who then, transformed by love, responds by becoming the good man God created him to be. Jesus explains, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
He wants us to believe it — and to be part of it — even today when we see our world rocked and riven by meanness, violence and hatred.
Because we ourselves are blessed and redeemed by God, when we encounter a person (Read More)
I am taking a break from blogging regularly at the Way of Beauty for a while while I work out the future of the site.
I will be posting regularly at the Pontifex.University blog – blog.pontifex.university. Hope to see you there!
Are we creating a holy place, or fitting out the living room?
The nature of the dividing line between sanctuary and nave in a church has been a hot topic over the years. I raise the subject today not to spill yet more ink in complaining about the removal of altar rails in churches over the last 50 years or so, although it is something I do feel strongly about. Rather, I am interested in trying to establish how, with due regard for tradition, we might encourage in the Roman Rite a renewed engagement with art in the liturgy, in the such a way that it deepens our participation, rather than distracts from it.
One thing that always strikes me when I go to an Eastern Rite Catholic Church, (recently I have been attending St Elias Melkite Church in Los Gatos, California,) is how much more naturally priest, deacon, cantor and congregation engage with the icons during the liturgy. In contrast, in the Roman Rite, even in traditional congregations, apart from perhaps the crucifix and altarpiece, the choice of art seems to be governed more by the priest’s personal devotion than liturgical considerations, and there appears to be very little engagement with it during the liturgy itself. At best, sacred art provides a decorative backdrop that helps set an appropriate mood for the worship of God with direct engagement in the liturgy itself, which is largely a hands-clasped and eyes-closed activity.
First a quick presentation of different options available to us.
According to my research, the original division in both East and West was more like today’s altar rail, with gaps or doors for processing. The typical “transenna” might have looked as this one at Sant’ Apollinarre in Ravenna, which I understand was restored in the 20th century.
Another example from the 12th century, at San Clemente in Rome, which seems to follow the early traditional style……
To read the rest of this article, go to blog.pontifex.university
“Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner.” — Luke 18:13
Oct. 23, Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Psalm 34:2-3, 17-19, 23
2) 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
By Deacon Mike Ellerbrock
Catholic News Service
When I pointed out in a homily that not all saints are officially canonized, a woman said to me after Mass, “That may be true, but the great saints get to wear a crown in heaven, like St. Paul in today’s epistle!” It got me to thinking: Are there trophies for us in heaven, blue ribbons as eternal accessories?
The real underlying issue in today’s Scriptures is: Why is it OK for Paul to boast of his faith, but not for the Pharisee in the Gospel to declare his virtues superior to the tax collector? Actually, the distinction is clear.
Paul boasts of his unwavering trust in the Lord, not of his own earthly merits. Conversely, the Pharisee believes that his diligent efforts obligate God’s praise and eternal reward, especially relative to the despised tax collector.
Like Paul, the humble tax collector gets it. Unable to proudly raise his face to God’s, he simply bows and begs for God’s mercy.
We cannot make deals with God, punching our ticket to paradise. Salvation is attained not by virtuous acts — adherence to the law — but by our acceptance of Jesus’ redemption on the cross, which was perfect and complete. We could never do enough good works to demand eternal residence with God.
Our task is to humbly accept God’s gratuitous love and respond by living a life of gratitude. Hence, we are eucharistic people: The Greek term “eucharisteo” means to give thanks. We must do good works, not to earn salvation, but because it is the only logical response to Jesus’ free and unmerited gift to us.
Note that Paul proclaims the crown is available to all, whereas the arrogant Pharisee bases his self-righteousness relative to other sinners.
The heavenly crown, trophy or ribbons we might receive upon crossing that threshold may be the sacred privilege of seeing firsthand the wounds Christ bore for us. What greater testimony do we need of his love for us?
It has been said that the Bible can be summed up in one word: trust. (Read More)
By Rhina Guidos
While some are letting out a sigh of relief that the last of the presidential debates — and the prime time nastiness that’s accompanied them — is over, part of me will miss the running debate commentary of @onegroovynun.
Sr Mary’s current feelings about the state of American politics…#debate pic.twitter.com/g7tL4lP5Sb
— Sr. Miriam James (@onegroovynun) October 10, 2016
If there’s a tweet that describes how most voters feel this presidential election season, Sister Miriam James captured it here:
Sr Mary’s current feeling about #debatenight #debate pic.twitter.com/BnP4B3A3LL
— Sr. Miriam James (@onegroovynun) October 20, 2016
I first heard about her tweets from Michele Dunne, a lay Franciscan during a Washington reception. If I need a laugh and distraction from some of the particularly disagreeable language, egregious allegations and bitterness the election has sown, a quick glance at @onegroovynun and her, perhaps, unintentional Twitter ministry makes me smile, at least briefly.
Her low-budget cast of characters employs sidekick Sister Mary and various bobbleheads of saints of the pope to make her point.
Sr Mary has a little chat with St Michael the Archangel and her @Pontifex bobble head before the #debate begins…pic.twitter.com/tlBNyJbpxj
— Sr. Miriam James (@onegroovynun) October 10, 2016
Here are other goodies from her Twitter feed:
Sr Mary chats with Pope Francis during #debatenight I think he’s saying “y’all are on your own on this one…” pic.twitter.com/nQr6caeV99
— Sr. Miriam James (@onegroovynun) October 20, 2016
Sr Mary gathers Jesus and the saints to watch #debatenight #debate (we need it, God help us all) pic.twitter.com/nFe0Lpq1sy
— Sr. Miriam James (@onegroovynun) (Read More)
Images from the Philippines’ war on drugs. (CNS layout/Images by Reauters, EPA)
By Tyler Orsburn
Filipino American History Month is October in the United States. Feelings between the Philippines and the United States have been good for a long time, although the U.S. military presence has been an ongoing source of tension among some Filipinos.
Legend has it when U.S. troops liberated the mostly Catholic country from Japanese occupation during World War II, locals swapped their home-cooked meals for GI MREs. This simple gesture of camaraderie may have been the beginning of Filipinos’ legendary fascination with corned beef and canned meats.
Today, another topic of conversation among Filipinos in and outside the country is President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, and several shared their thoughts with Catholic News Service. Reuters reported Oct. 17 that Philippines police killed nearly 2,300 people since June 30, with another 1,300 murders by vigilantes.
Ariel Turalio, a small-business owner in Antipolo, supports Duterte’s drug policy. He told CNS his country has a massive drug addiction problem and that people want to earn easy money by pushing drugs.
“Filipinos are lucky to have a president who has the will to fight illegal drugs,” he wrote. “What will become of future generations if everyone is addicted to drugs?”
Jesuit Father Joel Tabora in Mindanao echoed those sentiments.
An alleged drug user is arrested during a police operation against illegal drugs in Manila Oct. 6.(CNS photo/Mark R. Cristino, EPA)
“Are the means unnecessarily illegitimate?” he asked the British news agency Reuters from Davao, where Duterte was mayor for 22 years. “People are dying, yes, but on the other hand, millions of people are being helped.”
Many islanders think like Turalio and the Catholic priest. According to a recent survey, Reuters reports, Duterte and his drug war command a 76 percent satisfaction rating.
But for those old enough to remember President Ferdinand E. Marcos and the 1970s, martial law may be just around Duterte’s domestic policy corner.
“Filipinos’ compassionate culture is now being corrupted by Duterte’s counterfeit war on drugs, which I suspect is just a prelude or dress rehearsal to a more violent form of martial law,” a parishioner at Santisima Trinidad Catholic Church in Manila told CNS. He said his father was incarcerated during martial law in the 1970s and ’80s, and that he will oppose it through peaceful means when it returns.
“I’m against extrajudicial killings,” wrote a former Catholic college student from Sibuyan Island. She said she (Read More)
By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY — In a clandestine graffiti game of Tic-Tac-Toe, an artistic rendition of Pope Francis turns the O’s into peace signs and makes the win while a Swiss Guard acts as the lookout.
A removable paper art piece in the “Borgo” historic neighborhood near the Vatican by Rome artist Mauro Pallotta. (CNS photo/Carol Glatz)
Mauro Pallotta, who signs his work, “Maupal,” pasted his latest creation to a corner store wall near the Vatican today in the historic neighborhood of “the Borgo.”
The Rome-born artist draws and paints removable street art onto paper that he then glues to building walls with a water-based adhesive in an effort to display street art in a way that doesn’t damage the buildings that become his canvas.
“Super Pope” by Mauro Pallotta appeared briefly near the Vatican in January 2014. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)
The easy removal of his works, however, meant an early demise for his “Super Pope” piece from 2014.
Affixed in the same “Borgo” neighborhood on a side street, that wall art only lasted a few days when city “decorum police” had it peeled off and repainted the wall. Its mere three-day “exhibition” still attracted a large amount of international attention.
p.s. Can you find the “mistake” in the Tic-Tac-Toe piece? While lots of passersby praised the work, one older gentleman immediately saw an anomaly that I didn’t catch until he mentioned it.
Filed under: art, CNS, media, Vatican Voices (Read More)
Pontifex University Will Teach the 13th Century English Gothic Style of the School of St Albans.
When I have had discussions about reestablishment of beautiful sacred art in the Roman Catholic Church (as opposed to in the Eastern Church) it usually comes down to picking an style from the past and then using that starting point from which a style for today emerges. So some feel that the Western Church should adopt the iconographic tradition – and then we get into discussions about which particular iconographic tradition we should go for: should it be the Greek style, the Russian style or a historic Western style such as the Romanesque? Fra Angelico’s name also often crops up as a model for today. Some feel that he has sufficient naturalism to appeal to the modern eye, and sufficient abstraction for it to seem other worldly and holy. A third is the style of English illumination in the early gothic/late Romanesque style of the Westminster Psalter, which as painted in the 13th century.
I first started looking at this latter style when I was looking for alternatives to Greek and Russian icons as teaching models for the students I was teaching to paint when I was Artist-in-Residence at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire.
I noticed that when we studied images from this period the students engaged with them much more readily – they like them more than Eastern icons and seemed to understand more instinctively what they were painting. As a result some quickly developed a feel for what they could change without straying outside the style they were working in. In contrast, most who had not seen it before found the style of the Eastern icons slightly alien, and in class they had no instinctive sense of what they could change while remaining within the traditions. This meant that we had to copy rigidly for fear of introducing error. It was a bit like learning words from a language by rote without understanding the meaning of what you are saying. This is not always such a bad thing – copying with understanding is an essential part of learning art, but at some point the students must apply his understanding in new ways. This latter (Read More)
St. John Paul II greets American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 1997. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via EPA)
So Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Some folks would have much preferred someone else had won. To others, it’s a welcome recognition of his lyric gifts.
Nineteen years ago, Catholic New Service ran a guest commentary by Ivan Kubista, then editor of The Courier, the newspaper of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota, who recalled his college days when he and Dylan were classmates. Kubista also was a struggling folk singer trying to land a few gigs to pay for college tuition. He sometimes shared a stage with Dylan in their native Minnesota. When Dylan announced he was dropping out of school to head to the West Coast to get a job as a backup musician, Kubista tried to discourage him. A couple of years later Dylan released an album of his own songs. “It was already apparent to me, if not to the rest of the world, that Bob’s genius was in his compositions, not his performing,” Kubista noted.
He described following Dylan’s career over the years and had high praise for his lyrics at least: “He has become a poet of the highest caliber, articulating the human condition with a clarity unmatched by any of his peers.”
Kubista’s reflections came on the eve of Dylan performing before St. John Paul II — and about 350,000 of the pope’s closest friends — at a concert in Bologna, Italy, as part of an Italian eucharistic congress in 1997. It was heralded as the first rock concert ever attended by the pope, or any pope for that matter. There was a to-do over the appropriateness of Dylan being invited to perform at a religious gathering, but it never reached the controversy of Dylan “going electric” at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
Dylan was invited because his music was “true and beautiful” and “the church welcomes whatever is true and beautiful and good,” said Msgr. Ernesto Vecchi, a vicar of the archdiocese. Dylan sang “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” and “Forever Young” in his set, and shook St. John Paul’s hand. The pope acknowledged the true of the refrain of one Dylan staple, “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” “Not, however, in the wind that blows everything away into nothingness,” he said, “but in (Read More)
“All Scripture is inspired by God … so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” — 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Oct. 16, Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1) Exodus 17:8-13
2) 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service
There’s a saying that I hear fairly frequently these days, especially in response to someone who is asked to take on a ministry or mission for which he or she feels unprepared: “God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called.”
In other words, we can usually expect to feel inadequate and assume that when God invites, the “yes” comes before the preparation. For most people this is a scary proposition.
Today’s readings give some insight into how God alleviates those fears that come with saying “yes” — and how he equips us to become fully engaged in the work he gives us to do — much like Joshua unhesitatingly engaging Amalek and his armies in battle.
First, we must always recognize that we’re not alone, but that “our help is from the Lord,” the very creator of heaven and earth. Lifting our eyes to him when we’re in trouble, or even long before we sense trouble, is an exercise of trust that becomes habitual with practice.
A sure way of becoming “equipped for every good work” is through the consistent learning and application of sacred Scripture. A surprisingly small percentage of Catholic adults are familiar with the Bible, and yet we have so many excellent resources at our disposal to help us overcome our ignorance that there’s really no excuse for remaining uninformed.
Scripture is inspired by the very breath of God so that we can trust it to form us toward competency.
Finally, the readings today emphasize the importance of persistence in proclaiming the word “whether it is convenient or inconvenient.” Tenacity in the face of difficulty and discouragement, grounded in the confidence that God always desires to sustain us, is simply what faith in action looks like. It’s what kept Joshua fighting Amalek all the way to a victory, and it’s what kept the persistent widow petitioning the judge until he delivered a decision on her behalf.
God is asking us to be his partners in the work of salvation. Are you willing to become equipped for his work?
Have you ever been asked to do something for which you have felt unprepared, even while knowing it was the (Read More)
Earn 3-studio credits towards your Masters in Sacred Arts. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land, assisted by priests of the Melkite Church, will be offered in conjunction with the Institute of Catholic Culture. Pontifex University is offering 3 studio credits at Masters level to all those who attend this pilgrimage and submit a paper.
Fr. Sebastian Carnazzo, who teaches three theology courses for the Pontifex University Masters in Sacred Arts is among the primary instructors (he teaches alongside his brother, the Institute of Catholic Culture’s Fr Hezekias Carnazzo!). We will visit many of scripture’s most significant places including: the Mount of Olives, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and the Jordan River. Seeing and worshiping in these places associated with the prophets, the Apostles, Our Lady and Christ himself will bring the lessons of scripture and the sacraments to life in a profound way. Additionally, this pilgrimage is intended to be an immersion into the liturgy, culture, images, music and architecture of the Holy Land mediated by the local Melkite Church.
The Melkite Rite, which has its origins in the Middle East, is one of the Byzantine rites of the Catholic Church. The traditions of the Melkite Church reach back to Apostolic times, and bear eloquent witness to the harmonious interplay between Catholic liturgy and the culture of the region in which that liturgy developed.
Those who wish to transform the culture of the West would do well to learn from this relationship between the liturgy and sacred images and in turn with the broader culture. For more information on the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land view the Brochure here: icc-holy-land-2017-revised-brochure. If you are interested in the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, download and fill out the registration form here: icc-holy-land-pilgrimage-2017-registration-form-1
The painting above is of Nazareth in the 19th century by David Roberts
Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis. (Photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)
It appears in high school yearbooks at some point — the grateful appreciation from a classmate who writes, “When you’re a (fill in the blank) I’ll be able to say ‘I knew him when…’”
Now, I can say the same about Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis, who was chosen Oct. 9 by Pope Francis to join the College of Cardinals. Not that Cardinal-designate Tobin and I went to high school together. But I really did know him when.
The setting: The parish center (i.e., former convent) of St. Raymond of Pennafort Church in Detroit in the early 1980s — possibly 1982. I was there making a weekend retreat called “Exercise in Christian Living” for young adults in college or a bit older. I had been invited to bring my guitar, so I did. Apparently, the same invitation was issued to my friend Pat. At the time, the two of us were preparing for our annual St. Patrick’s Day set of Irish music. Taking a cue from the Blues Brothers, who were big a few years before, I billed us as the Blarney Brothers. But we had some practicing to do.
We carved out some time in the parish center basement, where then-Redemptorist Father Tobin, then assigned to Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit, was hearing confessions of retreat participants. One song in our set that needed work was Tommy Makem’s classic “Four Green Fields,” an allegorical tale of the split between the majority-Catholic Republic of Ireland and the Protestant-majority Northern Ireland, still part of the United Kingdom. But knowing that there were confessions nearby, we had to keep it quiet. And so we did.
Not quiet enough, apparently. Before the night was over, he saw us with our guitars and said, “Here I am hearing confessions, and then I can hear ‘Four Green Fields’ over it all. I thought maybe I was already in heaven.” Hey, how were we to know the Detroit-born priest was not only a Redemptorist, but Irish, too?
It was a charming moment, but was quickly stored away in my brain until I noticed in 1997 a CNS story that said he had been elected superior general of the Redemptorists. I was doubly impressed, since I thought that such leaders tend to come from Europe and not Detroit — the Galilee of our time — and (Read More)
By Barb Fraze
Migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are seen in the back of a Mexican police vehicle in this 2014 file photo. (CNS photo/Miguel Sierra, EPA)
Editor’s Note: Judith Sudilovsky is participating in an Egan Fellowship awarded by Catholic Relief Services.
By Judith Sudilovsky
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — I scroll down my Facebook feed trying to decompress after an intense first day in Honduras.
Some of the interviews we have had today as CRS Eileen Egan Fellows have been emotionally draining for me.
This morning Catholic journalist Janeth Lagos of Fides described a visit to the Guatemalan-Honduran border 2 years ago to meet a busload of returning migrants sent back by the Mexican government, never having made it across the border to the U.S. She made it a point to explain that she does not use the word “deported” in order to protect the dignity and self-esteem of those migrants who are sent back to their country of origin. Among those on the bus who made the 20-hour-ride from the U.S.-Mexican border, across Guatemala to the Honduran border was a little boy — she put his age at 3 years old — curled up alone on one of the seats sleeping from exhaustion. He was dressed in a little white T-shirt. Next to him, she said, was the bag with a water bottle and sandwich distributed to the migrants for the ride.
No adult took responsibility for the child. There was no way of knowing who he was, if his mother or father died along the way as they sought a better life, or if he was sent by grandparents or other relatives with a “coyote” smuggler to join his parents in the U.S. But what was clear was that someone along the Mexican border dealing with migrants thought it was OK to put this boy on the bus alone.
The image of that boy curled up, abandoned, in his seat haunts me as, later in the day, we went into one of the sprawling “colonias” that have invaded the city, spreading up the sides of the mountains surrounding the capital city of Tegucigalpa, to interview participants in one of the CRS-sponsored programs.
Details about the program, about the location and about the people will for now not be shared because CRS wants to protect the people interviewed. There will be no pictures of people, either, for the same reason. And there are no pictures of the shantytown because (Read More)
“He fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” — Luke 17:16
Oct. 2, Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) 2 Kings 5:14-17
2) 2 Timothy 2:8-13
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
I am terrible at sending thank-you notes. If I don’t do it right away it usually doesn’t get done. It is not that I am not thankful; I am truly grateful for the service or gift I have received. I am just forgetful, especially when the next day is filled with more activity and soon the thought of thanking the individual slips from my radar.
My negligence in sending thanks in a note is much like my neglecting to give thanks in my prayer life.
When I teach about how to pray I use an acrostic for the word “pray”:
Praise and thank God.
Repent for your sins.
Ask for what you and those you love need.
Yield to God’s will in your life.
This can be used as a prayer formula or just as a guide to make sure you are, at least from time to time, including all the basic aspects of communication with God in your life of prayer.
I am pretty good at the asking part, and through music, Scripture and Mass I regularly praise God. The examination of conscience and sacrament of reconciliation help me repent of my sins, and I try to always end my petitions with the prayer: “God grant me all of these things, or in your wisdom give me something even better.” This is my way of yielding to the Lord’s right of way in my life.
What I too often miss is thanking God for all he has given me and for answered prayers. Things often play out as they do in this week’s Gospel.
I beg God for help and when he comes through for me, I am happy and go along my merry way glad to have my prayer answered. I tend to be like the nine lepers that do not return to thank God for the blessings that have been showered upon me.
It is not so much that God needs our thanks, but more that we need to thank God to complete the initial request. Just as it is the right thing (Read More)