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……
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“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)
By Judith Sudilovsky
GUATEMALA CITY — The plane landed at the Guatemalan Air Force airfield behind Guatemala City’s commercial airport and its weary-eyed passengers disembarked onto the tarmac in a straight, organized line.
Father Mauro Verzeletti, director of the Scalabrini Missionaries’ Migrant Shelter, confers with staff as they wait for the planeload of recently deported migrants to be processed and released from the immigration hall. (CNS/Judith Sudilovsky)
One by one, these 200 mostly young men recently deported from the U.S. filed into the receiving hall past us — three journalists participating in a Catholic Relief Services Egan Fellowship to Guatemala and Honduras to learn about the push factors for migration; one feisty Brazilian Scalabrini priest who directs a shelter for migrants; and Lucrecia Oliva, a CRS consultant on migration issues.
As each person entered they were registered by Guatemalan immigration officials before they could leave. Oliva greeted them with a polite “Good afternoon.” She had met with groups of expelled migrants before, but she had not seen them as they first returned.
Now she blinked heavily to keep back the tears.
This time it was different. She saw their individual faces. They were tired and scared. A few were, at least temporarily, jubilant and brash.
Four days a week, three times each day, flights arrive full of migrants deported from the U.S. For many of the young men it was not their first return trip home.
One man, 27, who had lived in New York for 11 years, said he might try to take the perilous journey across Mexico again as soon as the next day.
Though most people we spoke with agree that violence in Guatemala is not as serious as in neighboring El Salvador and Honduras, it does exist. Some of the youth may have been escaping gang or drug violence; others came seeking work to support their families in a country where half of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
A new government has been in power for less than a year, after the former president, vice president, and half of their cabinet were forced from office and are now serving prison terms for financial corruption. The new leaders have promised to tackle some of Guatemala’s pressing needs, but assert that it will take time to correct even the smallest of the ills of their predecessors who left the national till empty. People are waiting to see what actually gets done.
Oliva said she can understand (Read More)
November 4-6, Petersham, Mass.
I have just been sent information about this ‘vocations weekend’ for men. The monastery chants the liturgy in Latin – seven Offices a day and daily Mass. It is a daughter house of a wonderful monastery in northern Scotland, Pluscarden, where I have stayed many times.
Hurricane Matthew is seen in the Caribbean Oct. 2 in this handout satellite image made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Category 4 storm was on course to hit Haiti late Oct. 3. (CNS/NOAA via EPA)
With slow-moving Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba, aid organizations prepared to respond to emergency needs from flooding, winds and landslides.
Forecasters said up to 30 inches of rain were expected in some regions of Haiti, with devastating winds affecting much of the central Caribbean region.
Donations are being sought to meet emergency and long-term responses to the storm.
Among those accepting cash donations are Catholic Relief Services. Donations can be made online; via mail to P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, Maryland, 21297-0303 and indicate Hurricane Matthew in the memo; or call toll-free 877-435-7277 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time.
Catholic News Service will list other agencies accepting donations for hurricane response as they are received.
Filed under: (Read More)
Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Ky., raises the Eucharist during Mass on Sept. 21 at Ashford Stud Farm. On the left, 2015 Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah watches Mass from his stall. The Mass was part of Chicago Auxiliary Bishop John Manz’s pastoral visit to migrant workers in Kentucky on behalf of the USCCB Sept. 19-22, 2016. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
By Joyce Duriga
LEXINGTON, Ky. — “American Pharoah is on this farm,” Karen said.
“Shut. Up,” I said. “Really? Do you think they’ll let us see him?”
“Nah, he’s probably in a secure area,” she said.
Well, it turned out that not only did we get to see American Pharoah but we participated in the first Mass ever to be said next to his stall where he now lives at Ashford Stud Farm in Lexington.
If you don’t know, American Pharoah is a rock star horse who won the Triple Crown in 2015 — the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Before American Pharoah, the last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978. Only 12 horses have ever won the Triple Crown in the 147-year history of the three races.
We ended up at the Mass because Karen Callaway, photo editor for the Catholic New World, Chicago’s archdiocesan newspaper, and I were covering Chicago Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz’s pastoral visit to migrant workers on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church. Every year he makes a trip to some part of the country to meet with workers. This year’s trip focused on those who work in the horse racing industry.
Ashford Stallion Manager Richard Barry introduces American Pharoah to Bishop Manz on Sept. 21. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
While the bishop did meet with the workers at Ashford, the visit to the stud farm was sort of a perk. The owners of Ashford are Catholic and often donate American Pharaoh’s halters to be auctioned off at Catholic school fundraisers. They, with other local Catholic farm owners, provide scholarships to students in Catholic schools that will follow them all the way through to high school.
So American Pharaoh is used to the attention. You can walk right up to his stall and talk to him. I had a moment with him by myself and I told him we were going to have Mass right there and Jesus (Read More)
I was interviewed recently by Catholic Exchange’s Michael Lichens for their weekly podcast, here is the connection for any who are interested.
“The vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint.” — Habakkuk 2:3
Oct. 2, Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
2) 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Gospel: Luke 17:5-10
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
When Jesus walked the face of the earth, the science of psychology hadn’t yet been invented. Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis wouldn’t come along for another 1,800 years. But this week’s Gospel shows Jesus way out on the cutting edge of what the psychological world calls the power of positive thinking. The spiritual world calls it faith.
Jesus tells his followers they can accomplish unimaginable feats “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed.” He uses a bit of hyperbole — being able to uproot a large tree by a simple voice command — to explain that faith can strengthen us to overcome normal human limitations when we face challenges in life.
Today, psychologists continue to examine the effects of positive attitude. For instance, much has been written about improved responses to medical treatment credited to the positive mindset of patients. In one article, noted author and medical doctor Deepak Chopra suggested the “placebo effect” (improvement in patients given a placebo when they believed they received a prescription drug) showed that positive thinking could produce a positive physical response.
“Expectations are powerful,” he pointed out. “If you think you’ve been given a drug that will make you better, often that is enough to make you better.”
Although he concedes that medical research has found no proof that positive thinking can actually cure disease, Chopra emphasizes, “The real point isn’t to rescue a dying patient but to maintain wellness.”
That’s the real point for Jesus, as well.
Just as positive thinking is a source of strength for someone battling illness, faith gives us strength and hope in the “wellness” of God’s spirit with us when we struggle.
Even more thousands of years before psychology, the prophet Habakkuk told us to seek God’s positive promise when we are troubled: Write down the vision clearly, so you can read it, he said. “[It] will not disappoint … it will surely come.”
Whoever relies on God’s vision, he added, “because of his faith, shall live.”
Faith, in fact, employs positive thinking. However, (Read More)
By Julie Asher
All the films of the Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Dekalog” are set in contemporary Warsaw, Poland, a decade after the election of St. John Paul II as pope (he makes a cameo appearance in one installment via photographs), but still a communist-run nation as soulless apartment block after soulless apartment block fills the screen in each episode.
There are a handful of returning characters, mostly having to do with the post office and a university, but no character is a featured player in more than one installment. There is, though, a mute Greek chorus of sorts — Kieslowski himself? — who witnesses a pivotal moment in most, if not all (I hadn’t been looking for him early on) of the films. But with multiple pivotal moments in each episode, you can’t count on this fellow popping up each and every time.
Here is an overview of the plot of the “Dekalog” films, one for each of the Ten Commandments:
One: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me.” An agnostic (at best) university mathematics professor, so well off he has not one but two home computers — remember, this is 1988 — also has a bright and inquisitive son who is curious about God, aided and abetted by his Catholic aunt. The lad gets an early Christmas present of ice skates and he wants to try them out on the nearby pond. But, despite Dad’s computer calculations of ice thickness — plus a personal test — tragedy strikes, calling the meaning of virtually everything into question.
Two: “You shall not invoke the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.” A woman whose husband is desperately ill in the hospital insists on a prognosis from his doctor. She’s carrying another man’s child, but will go through with the pregnancy only if her husband dies; otherwise, she will have an abortion. The woman makes the doctor swear to the veracity of his diagnosis once she revealed the truth of her situation.
Three: “Remember the Sabbath day — keep it holy.” A woman, upon seeing an old flame at midnight Mass, enlists his aid on an all-night wild goose chase to find the woman’s missing husband. All is not what it seems to be at first glance.
Four: “Honor your father and your (Read More)
It’s not often that something that made its debut on Polish television gets this kind of acclaim, but Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Dekalog”(“Decalogue” in English) merited precisely that acclaim — even now, 28 years after its debut.
Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski. (Photo/Krzysztof Miller, Agenja Gazeta)
Kieslowski was commissioned by Polish TV to make a series of hour-long dramas on each of the Ten Commandments. This being state television, there were no commercials or promotions for other programs to rob Kieslowski of precious minutes to tell his tales.
“Dekalog” was heralded as a sensation when viewers first caught sight of it. Eventually, it made its way to the United States. I recall going to a film festival in Washington in 1994 hoping to catch the first two installments. I was at the multiplex a good half-hour early to buy tickets, but it was already sold out. I had thought that if I’d missed the first two, then the remaining eight wouldn’t make much sense to me. So I let them all slip past. The following year, Kieslowski’s “Tricolor” trilogy, based on the French bleu-blanc-et-rouge flag, makes its way to the film-festival circuit. And I caught each of the three full-length films.
Fast-forward to 2016. I’m doing my typical pre-dawn walk up and down the main drag close to my neighborhood. In full view during my walk is the marquee of the Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland. For a week, I pass by the marquee while the words “Dekalog: One and Two” or “Dekalog: Three and Four” roll by. I don’t make the connection, because in 1994 the series was being touted in English: “Decalogue.”
Then, one morning, I look at the marquee. I see five pairs of “Dekalog” encompassing 10 numbers. I realize that “Dekalog” is “Decalogue.” I make immediate plans to get out of work early to take in — well, the last eight. A phone conference commitment followed by a lunch commitment will force me to miss the first two installments yet again. Drat. At least this time, our online world can give me several days’ advance notice of screenings at the Silver, and “Dekalog: One and Two” will indeed play once more at a date and time I can slip out of the office yet again.
This time, though, there is no packed house. I’d be surprised if the crowd, if you can call it that, reaches (Read More)