Who’s that bishop talking to #U2’s #TheEdge last week at the Vatican? (Hint: He’s Irish too) https://t.co/JiKLStqFbq pic.twitter.com/xT95OfsYyW
— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) May 2, 2016
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“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” — John 14:23b
May 1, Sixth Sunday of Easter
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
2) Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
Gospel: John 14:23-29
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
The college student I was interviewing for an article in the North Texas Daily at the University of North Texas had retained his Jewish identity when he converted to an evangelical mode of Christianity.
Ron was very late to our appointment, and I found out why once he arrived.
People kept stopping him along the way and engaging him in conversations about his newfound faith.
I’ve always thought it had something to do with a giftedness he had for sharing the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
I’ve always thought Ron had a special measure of the Holy Spirit that caused him to draw people to himself so he could share the wisdom of God’s love, the wisdom Jesus was talking about here.
On that first meeting with him, we began walking around the journalism offices on campus where I got to witness firsthand how God used Ron to communicate his love.
Person after person whom we greeted got into long, deep conversations about God and Jesus. People with slender faith backgrounds were eager to discuss faith with this exceptional guy.
While I had started out to get a factual story about Ron, it turned into a faith-filled feature story that ran in the secular campus newspaper.
Hmm, Holy Spirit at work?
Have you ever known anyone who had a special wisdom that seemed to come from the Holy Spirit? Have you ever experienced God seeming to bring to mind answers you needed to help you in a time of special need?
Filed under: (Read More)
Some of you might already be aware of the conversion of a Chinese artist, Yan Zu, to Catholicism, as recounted on National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency. A Dominican friar from the Western Province, who is from Taiwan originally, recently brought this story to my attention.
It was the study of European art history, and specifically medieval illuminated manuscripts that brought Yan to the Faith. She has a Chinese language blog, here, from which these images of her own work are taken.
This story is interesting to me for a couple of reasons. First, I am wondering if this is further indication of a natural affinity between Chinese and European figurative art, that allows for mutual influence to occur very easily. (I wrote about this in detail here.) The style of the traditional Chinese landscape, is formed by a Doaist worldview in which the material world directs us, through its beauty to heaven, which is a non-material realm of perfect order. Christian artists of the West might articulate just the same goal for their landscape painting, especially those painting in the baroque tradition. The difference is that for the Christian, heaven is occupied, so to speak, by God and his saints and angels.
Second, it seems to suggest that traditional Christian culture is as much universal as it is specific to particular times and places. If we were set the task in advance of dreaming up an art form that would convert Chinese people, many would say that we should adapt something that is of the Chinese culture into a form that speaks more directly of Christianity. I certainly think this approach has its place (when done with discernment). However, it is clear that this Christian art form with no Chinese connection at all, and which originated in Western Europe in the middle ages, spoke powerfully and eloquently to this Chinese lady.
While I do think that there are geographic and time-bound elements that characterize all aspects of the culture, I have never been of the view that these are the only influences. Christian culture reflects also the Faith, which is universal – that is, it is true for all people. So I would say that traditional Western European culture, for example, looks as it does because it is Christian and to a large degree would have looked the same if it had originated in the southern tip (Read More)
Covers of some editions of Origins (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
By David Gibson
Origins, the CNS documentary service, recently wrapped up the last edition of its 45th volume, so we thought we’d share a bit of its history, compiled by David Gibson, the founding editor of Origins.
A basic hope for Origins from the outset was that it could get important texts to subscribers quickly at a time when, typically, it took months to get a new document of major importance like an encyclical into people’s hands.
In this, I think it is safe to say that Origins exceeded expectations and surprised many. Today it must sound astonishing to many to hear how long it took just a few decades ago to gain access to these kinds of materials.
It really is difficult in talking about the history of Origins to recall how different things were in the early 1970s. One thing for certain, however, was that there was a huge interest in those years after the Second Vatican Council in pastoral ministries of all kinds, with speeches being given and pastoral letters being published continually on parish and diocesan ministries, and ways to make them more effective.
This was a boon to Origins. We never lacked for materials to publish that we were certain our subscribers would want to see because they wanted to put them to good use. I think, too, that in the early history of Origins many really welcomed the opportunity to see full texts of current speeches, pastoral letters and policy texts for themselves and to be able to view what today we might call the “sound bites” in their fuller context.
Origins started in what in hindsight looks like a completely different era of publishing. Its pages were typed on, yes, typewriters. Within a year or so we began to input texts for Origins onto a “computerized” typewriter of some kind. Naturally, we needed typists for this, and we editors did a lot of typing ourselves. But we usually were aided by a student or two from Catholic University who wanted part-time work.
In those days, too, we employed a graphics technician to do the corrections; if there was a typo, a corrected line was pasted in. It was all amazingly hard work, and we worked amazingly long hours at that time.
Covers of some editions of Origins, along with binders for entire volumes (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
In Origins’ first year, double-sided individual pages (Read More)
The liturgical music of composer Paul Jernberg is deservedly beginning to catch attention. In the next few weeks his Mass of St Philip Neri, which is written for the Ordinary Form celebrated in English will be sung in the Pittsburgh, St Milwaukee and St John’s Clinton, MA. The details are as follows:
Tuesday, April 26, 7pm: Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee, WI – Mass of Confirmation; they will be singing Propers for the Sacrament of Confirmation composed by Jernberg as well as the Mass of St. Philip Neri.
Sunday, May 8, 5:30pm: St. Monica Parish, Methuen, MA – Mass of Confirmation; we will also be singing my Propers for the Sacrament of Confirmation as well as the Mass of St. Philip Neri (and other chant and polyphony, including music by another contempory composer of note, Roman Hurko.)
Wednesday, May 25, 5pm: St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland (Pittsburgh), PA: Mass of Ordination to the Priesthood and Diaconate for the Pittsburgh Oratory of St. Philip Neri; they will be singing the Mass of St. Philip Neri. This Ordination will be taking place on the Vigil of the Feast of St. Philip Neri!
I have no doubt that Paul’s music will be beautiful and solemn occasions. Below you can hear excerpts from his Mass of St Philip Neri and his Salve Regina:
Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief agency and member of Caritas Internationalis, has been training people in Nepal in earthquake-resistant construction to help them rebuild in an effective way and to help them get jobs.
(Photo courtesy CRS/Jennifer Hardy)
By Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle*
KATHMANDU — As I traveled from Kathmandu airport this morning I saw areas affected by last year’s earthquake. I’m in Nepal for the Caritas solidarity conference to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the disaster. As I looked at the countryside, I could almost see the wounds of our Mother Earth.
Cardinal Tagle is welcomed by the staff of Caritas Nepal. (Photo courtesy Michelle Hough, Caritas Internationalis)
I’ve joined Caritas organizations working on the Nepal emergency in one of the earthquake-affected areas outside the capital. We are here to fill ourselves with courage and knowledge regarding how to best accompany the Nepalese people as they forge their future.
We are also here remember the wounds of our brothers and sisters who survived the earthquake and who now have to rebuild their lives. The risk is, if you forget the wounds inflicted -– on others and on the Earth — you may inflict other injuries.
It’s easy to forget or even ignore the disasters which are the scourge of many countries. Nepal, Japan and now Ecuador -– these are just some countries hit by recent earthquakes, but there have been many more disasters. When was the last time you thought about the people of Haiti?
We should never tire of seeing the face of Christ in all of the victims of these disasters. This is a challenge, but Pope Francis has given us the opportunity to pump up our “compassion muscles” this year by asking us to focus on mercy. True mercy has no geographical or spiritual boundaries.
Communities here in Nepal are resilient and are trying to rebuild their lives and revive their dreams, but they cannot do it without our help.
Nepalese resident Bal Bahadur Budathoki Chetri, 97, flanked by his grandchildren answers Caritas questions April 8.
His house was destroyed during the 2015 earthquake. (Photo courtesy of Matthieu Alexandre, Caritas Internationalis)
Caritas is love in action and love without borders. We are here in Nepal not just to help rebuild homes and schools, help people get back to work or to ensure their water supply is repaired. We are here to offer hope.
With Nepal we have seen people offering support from all parts of (Read More)
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” — John 13:34
April 24, Fifth Sunday of Easter
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 14:21-27
2) Revelation 21:1-5a
Gospel: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
In today’s Gospel, Jesus urges his disciples to take care of one another when he’s gone. But when he says, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another,” he emphasizes that the love he hopes will remain among them is of an uncommon kind.
For God, love is unconditional and absolute. But for us human beings, it seems, all love isn’t so equal. Nevertheless, Jesus calls us to hold one another in the kind of unconditional love that he has for all of us.
I can understand what Jesus is getting at. The other day, one of my grown children was complaining to me about a sibling — also one of my children, by the way, so I didn’t much like hearing it. In fact, I was stung as though I’d been the object of the criticism myself.
That wasn’t the intention. This child was simply airing out minor family issues. I’d certainly listened to criticisms among the siblings before. No one meant to hurt me or each other, and the complaints always were prefaced by a sincere, “I love (sibling), but …”
I know that. But I wish they’d consider my feelings and see each other through my eyes as a parent, where even when my child goes wrong, I instinctively recognize, love and defend his inherent goodness.
However, such an attitude doesn’t come easily in our daily encounters with others — even friends.
When I catch myself complaining about someone, I often stop because I sense God’s disapproval of my behavior — not out of consideration for his love of that person.
Today’s Scriptures take us beyond morality to living as one of Jesus’ own: loving others not only as he loves me, but also as he loves them.
Revelation’s image of God dwelling with us is of God living and loving his entire human family — being not just my God but our God.
Jesus lived briefly among us in the flesh. Like a parent loving his children (Read More)
A mission parish of Argentinian order, Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), it commissioned four large new panel icons of the Mysteries of the Rosary; and is the place where in 2010, a statue of Our Lady wept tears of blood.
It is funny how one story leads to another, or perhaps I should say two others. I posted a recent article about my visit to the seminary of the Argentinian order Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) in Washington DC. First, I was contacted by English icon painter, Ian Knowles, who told me that this is the order that had commissioned him to paint icons of the Mysteries of the Rosary for a church run by them in Jordan. It is the Shrine of Our Lady of the Mount.
This was further evidence that the order is committed to the creation of beauty to evangelize the culture, as the description of their charism says, see here, item 5. I wanted to know more about the church and started to dig around. then I found out that it is also that it is the site of a miracle validated by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in which a statue of Our Lady wept tears of blood in 2010. The church was visited by fellow Argentinian, Pope Francis in 2014. The statue is old, perhaps 150-200 years old, and was purchased by the church shortly before the miracle occurred.
Culture, beauty, prayer and devotion to Our Lady, all aspects of the charism of the order and somehow all of this is entwined in a dynamic mix for the mission of the Church in this one shrine in the Middle East.
For the icons, there are some photos below at the bottom of the blog post. Immediately below is artist Ian with one of the panels in progress (who incidentally I met several years ago when we both attended a class taught by Aidan Hart!) .
I am so heartened to hear of IVE wanting to encourage ‘eyes-open prayer’ through the commission of these icons. It shows, in my opinion, a true understanding of the New Evangelization as, regardless of the miracle, the simple beauty of each in the church, will encourage a deeper prayer that engages the whole person. This will facilitate a supernatural transformation of the person in Christ and lead, in turn, to the transformation of the culture as each (Read More)
People call for action on climate change during a rally in June in Washington. (CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA)
World religious leaders, including a Vatican official and the heads of regional bishops’ conferences, are calling on countries to promptly sign and ratify the Paris climate agreement.
In a statement sent to world leaders ahead of the Paris agreement signing ceremony at the United Nations April 22, Earth Day, some of the world’s most prominent voices in religion said caring for the earth is a shared responsibility.
The Paris agreement emerged from December’s U.N.-sponsored climate change conference — known as COP 21 — after four years of negotiations. Nearly 200 countries agreed to take steps in an effort to hold global warming to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
Citing Pope Francis’ encyclical “‘Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” and other climate change statements from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other faiths, the leaders stressed that “humanity is a crucial turning point” and urged the world to act immediately on behalf of all people of the planet.
“We are united in our support for the full and ambitious implementation of the Paris agreement and of all other decisions adopted at COP 21,” the statement said in calling governments to accelerate climate action before 2020 and to increase commitment to the nationally determined contributions to slow climate change that each country submitted to the conference.
“Climate change presents our global family with the opportunity to embark on a path of spiritual renewal defined by deeper awareness and greater ecological action. Every act to protect and care for all beings connects us to one another, deepening the spiritual dimension of our lives,” the religious leaders said.
“We must reflect on the true nature of our interrelationship to the earth. It is not a resources for us to exploit at our will. It is a sacred inheritance and a precious home which we must protect, they said.”
Thirty-five Catholics were among the 264 religious leaders lending their names to the statement. Among them were Bishop Marcelo Sanchez, chancellor, pontifical academies of sciences and social sciences; Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, president, (Read More)
I want to direct your attention to a collection poems by Andrew Thornton-Norris called The Walled Garden. It has been positively reviewed by figures known on both sides of the Atlantic such Annette Kirk, Fr Aidan Nichols, Fr John Saward and Roger Scruton who said of Andrew’s poems that they ‘convey a gentle Christian vision, pertinent to the world in which we live.’
Quarterly Review‘s Michael Davies hailed it as ‘a return to the great tradition’. You can read his wonderful and detailed review of Andrew’s poems in this collection here.
Andrew Thornton-Norris’s work is accessible and noble and speaks to someone, like me, whose eye’s ordinarily glaze over at the mention of poetry – honestly, read my article The Need for Beauty and Form in Poetry if you don’t believe me. I never studied literature formerly at any level (I never did an English Literature class at high school – an omission in my education for which I am profoundly grateful).
Andrew’s poems have simultaneously the simplicity and the depth of a psalm, or an Ambrosian hymn. This is not surprising for he has a deep understanding of the connection between faith and the culture; and between the Faith and Western culture. It is because he understands both the cultural traditions of his faith, and the culture of modern man that he knows how to make the first speak within the second though his poetry.
For evidence of his understanding of the tradition, I suggest you read Andrew’s book, the Spiritual History of English. In this book he analyses the form – the underlying sentence structure and vocabulary – of the English language since the time of the Venerable Bede and he demonstrates how it has changed to reflect the culture of faith from which it emanates. As he describes modern English is less able to articulate the ideas and beauty of the faith than it was in the time of Shakespeare. You can read my review of this brilliant book in an article entitled A Book For Anyone Interested in the Evangelization of the Culture.
As the title of my review suggests, Andrew is not pessimistic however, and is ready to try to influence the culture through his own work and restore what has been lost and, who knows help to raise it to something even greater. This is the what (Read More)
“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” — John 10:27
April 17, Fourth Sunday of Easter
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalm 100:1-3, 5
2) Revelation 7:9, 14b-17
Gospel: John 10:27-30
Gospel: John 20:19-31
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
While leading a youth ministry retreat on how to hear the voice of God, I presented an activity that involved one person being blindfolded and then challenged to navigate an obstacle course by listening to directions from others in the group. The catch was each group member played a different role.
One person was the calm assuring voice of God — giving the right directions through the course. But the other voices were: a loud voice of chaos yelling random directions, a quiet voice of deception whispering the wrong information, a voice of confusion giving contradictory directions, a voice of flattery complimenting every move made and a voice of disapproval criticizing every move.
The task was for the blindfolded person to listen to the cacophony and distinguish the “voice of God” in order to make it through the obstacle course.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” As with most aspects of living the Christian faith, this is simple but not easy.
As our retreat exercise showed, there are many voices assaulting us, often all at the same time. It can seem almost impossible to decipher which voice is God’s.
There are no short cuts to learning to distinguish the voice of God: It simply is all about exposure. Imagine that you are in a crowd and many people are calling your name, but one of them is your mother. You have heard your mother call your name hundreds of times, so it will be easier to pick out her voice. In the same way, it takes time to learn the voice of God.
We can grow in our ability to recognize God’s voice by reading and meditating on the Scriptures, listening attentively to homilies, sitting in silence to hear God’s voice inside our hearts and by seeking the counsel of trusted spiritual mentors.
The more exposure we have to the truths of God, the more we will know how God (Read More)
This is an annual conference that grew out the a one-off event organized speculatively two years ago. To the surprise and delight of all involved it attracted a large and engaged crowd of people wanting to hear about and discuss Catholic literature. Now in its third year it is an established annual event. The speakers are Joseph Pearce, Gary Bouchard, William Fahey, president of Thomas More College, and Fr Michael Kerper, pastor of St Patricks’s in Nashua, NH.
For more details go to the Thomas More College site, here. You save $5 if you book before April 20th, so hurry!
It is sponsored by Christ the King Parish, Concord, and Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
A former student of mine, a graduate of Thomas More College in New Hampshire who is now studying at Catholic University of America and attends the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family in Washington DC has contacted me about this project. The shrine has issued a call for icon painters to undertake the painting of icons for the iconostasis and for selected walls. Go here to find out more about the commission.
The Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family in Washington, DC is the face of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the capital of the United States. Located adjacent to the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of CUA, and less than 4 miles from the Capitol Building of the United States of America, the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family is not only a center for worship for Ukrainian Catholics but has been built to convey information about the Ukrainian Catholic faith and about Ukrainians and their history. It has recently completed two phases of a three phases building process and are now ready to go forward with the third – the commission of sacred art for the interior.
Over 35 years, thousands of generous Ukrainian Catholics have contributed financially to the construction of the church. The shrine, designed by architect Myroslav Nimciw, was built in three phases: the lower level in 1979, the upper sanctuary shell in 1988, and the sanctuary interior in 1999. The final phase, as mentioned, is to install iconography in the sanctuary both within the structure of a new iconostas, designed by architect Larysa Kurylas, and on select walls of the sanctuary.
If you put the cursor over the lower image, above, then you will see a larger version and will be able to read the schema.
For information about the commission follow the link here.
This is an ambitious and worthy project and a great opportunity for a good icon painter. Oh that more of our Roman Rite churches would embark on such a systematic and informed process in the commissioning of art!
On the heels of the White House’s announcement that the United States has made its first $500 million contribution to the Green Climate Fund more than 120 faith-based organizations called on Congress to continue to support the effort in the fiscal year 2017 federal budget.
In a letter to members of Congress April 11, the organizations — including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — urged Congress to approve an allocation of $750 million in President Barack Obama’s budget plan submitted in February.
The contributions are part of the four-year $3-billion U.S. pledge to the fund, which is helping developing countries respond to climate change.
A woman and children walk through a drought-stricken rice field April 3 in Cebu, Philippines. (CNS/Jay Rommel Labra, Reuters)
The groups urged congressional action because rising sea levels, caused by a changing climate, threaten small island nations and that extreme weather is occurring more frequently around the world, endangering food security and the political stability of least developed countries.
“Our scriptures and religious texts call us to care for God’s creation and our most vulnerable neighbors,” the letter said. “We believe that climate change presents an unprecedented threat to all of creation, but particularly to those living in poverty around the world.”
Budget negotiations are in the early stages in both houses of Congress. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change established the fund in 2010. It particularly funds countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially least developed nations, small island developing states and African nations.
The fund gained wide support during the climate meeting in December in Paris. While the most advanced countries have committed to provide $100 billion annually for mitigation and adaptation programs within a decade, by mid-March countries had contributed a bit more than $10 billion to the fund.
The fund is allocating about half of its money for mitigation efforts and half to help communities adapt to the changing climate.
Catholic organizations signing the letter include (Read More)
An order that embodies the principles of joyful evangelization in accordance in the spirit of Pope St John Paul the Great and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
This past week, I was lucky enough to be invited to give a couple of talks on art and culture to seminarians of IVE, the Institute of the Incarnate Word. This is an order of priests, religious and of lay people (in a 3rd order) founded 32 years ago in Argentina and which has seminaries in the US (in Maryland in the Washington DC conurbation where I visited), in Italy, Brasil, Peru, the Philippines, and in Argentina. They have missions in many parts of the world including Iraq, the Gaza Strip and Papua New Guinea; and monastic foundations in Spain, Argentina, the Middle East and Italy.
My visit coincided with their 32nd anniversary on the Feast of the Annunciation (that’s how I know precisely how long they have been going).It was celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. The celebrant was Bishop Quinn of Winona, MN. He and his Vicar General who flew in for the day just to celebrate Mass for IVE (IVE has a minor seminary in Bishop Quinn’s diocese). Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington DC spoke at the Mass (all three attended the very festive celebration meal at the seminary afterwards). This was a beautiful and dignified Mass in which the choir of seminarians and sisters from the order chanted Gregorian Mass IX for the Ordinary of the Mass and the music included beautifully sung and moving polyphony.
Before I go on, I should declare a personal bias. I became aware of them for the first time only a few months ago, because a parishioner from one of their parishes in San Jose contacted me and said that the priest there, a member of this order, was quoting my book the Way of Beauty in his homilies and encouraging people to read it because it reflected, he said, the charism of the order. Naturally I was excited and curious and got in touch, and given this interest in my book have a natural in what they are doing.
As a result of this initial contact I was asked to speak about the Way of Beauty to the priests, seminarians and sisters who live at the seminary. I was very happy to do so, of course, (Read More)
Raeda Firas kisses her 4-year old son, Luis, as he leaves their modular home April 7 to attend a church-run preschool in Ankawa, Iraq. The family was displaced by the Islamic State group in 2014 and lives in a church-provided modular home. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
By Paul Jeffrey
IRBIL, Iraq — Every morning, as her son prepares to leave for preschool, the mother of 4-year old Luis Firas takes a stick of oil and makes the sign of the cross on his forehead.
Blessing is important for this Christian family, which fled from Mosul during the 2014 takeover of the area by Islamic State militants and today — like tens of thousands of other displaced — live in a small modular temporary shelter in Irbil, a town in northern Iraq controlled by Kurds.
As I photographed their morning ritual, Luis grabbed the stick and marked a cross on his mother’s forehead, also blessing her.
Luis Firas, 4, marks the sign of the cross on his mother’s forehead April 7 at their home in Ankawa, Iraq. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
When the displaced families arrived in Irbil, a booming oil town fallen on hard economic times and the looming threat of Islamic State they found physical safety. But since they weren’t refugees — they had crossed no international border — they weren’t eligible for assistance from a variety of international agencies. Neither the governments of Iraq nor the autonomous Kurdistan offered much. It was the church that walked with them as they fled from ISIS, and the church that struggled to find them food and shelter in exile.
As almost 20 months have gone by, the church continues to be the de facto manager of aid. The displaced camps are managed by priests-turned-mayors, the schools run by nuns who are themselves survivors of what many consider genocide, the clinics staffed by volunteer doctors who go home at the end of the day to a tiny prefabricated house in a camp for the internally displaced.
Sister Ferdos Zora sings along with students April 7 in a preschool for displaced children run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Ankawa, Iraq. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
To be blessed by those who suffer, one must walk with them. It’s the essence of accompaniment, which comes from the Latin words “ad companis” that could be translated as “breaking bread together.” Here the church has broken bread together with those suffer, and yet I (Read More)
“At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.” — Psalms 30:6
April 10, Third Sunday of Easter
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
2) Revelation 5:11-14
Gospel: John 21:1-19 or John 21:1-14
By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service
Most moms have their favorite proverbs that, repeated often enough, become embedded wisdom in their children’s brains. One of my mother’s sayings was, “This too shall pass,” and it still pops up into my head whenever I feel stuck in a rut or am going through a tough time. It reminds me that trials are temporary and that there is always hope.
I imagine that in those days following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, his disciples must have been grasping for some way to make sense of their situation. Words alone, while comforting, could not suffice. Jesus’ continued presence — which he had promised them at their last supper together — would be the only thing to sustain them.
At first, Jesus made himself known by way of post-resurrection appearances, usually accompanied by a meal. Today’s Gospel narrative describes one of those appearances in superb detail, noting that the disciples didn’t recognize him immediately. Once Jesus’ identity became apparent, however, Peter literally jumped out of the boat to meet him. The ensuing meal and conversation would serve to strengthen him in the days ahead.
When Peter is later confronted by the Sanhedrin for speaking in Jesus’ name, he boldly counters their accusations with the words, “We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” Therein lies the key: We are never asked to be witnesses (literally, “martyrs” in Greek) by ourselves. Even if it takes us a while to recognize it, the promised Holy Spirit has already been poured out, ensuring that Jesus is always present to us.
This same Holy Spirit gives us the hope to carry on in the midst of trial. As the psalmist writes, the weeping of nightfall will enter in — it’s part of living. But just as surely as dawn follows night, rejoicing will come. Jesus’ abiding presence isn’t simply a platitude. It’s a promise. And the sacred sustenance he provides isn’t simply a meal. It’s himself.
Is there a (Read More)
I have been invited by the OQ Farm in beautiful farmland close to Woodstock, Vermont) to lead a weekend retreat centered around the traditional formation that would been given to the great Catholic artists of the past. This will certainly be of interest to artists of any creative discipline; but not just artists. It is open to anyone seeking a traditional formation in beauty and inculturation that engenders creativity and openness to inspiration. It takes place from the 3-5th June, 2016.
John Paul II said in his Letter to Artists, written in 1999, that every person has a personal vocation to contribute creatively and beautifully to the culture in some way as we go about our daily lives. In that sense we might become artists through supernatural means: by being united to Christ we are transformed and participate in the divine nature. St Athanasius was referring to this supernatural transformation in the 3rd century AD when he said that, ‘God became man, so that we might become god’. Maximus the Confessor, in the 7th century AD, in reiterating this said that, ‘One becomes all that God is, except an identity in being, when one is deified by grace.’ Benedict XVI said that through this each of us can participate in the ‘creative love of God’.
It is an extraordinary privilege, yet it is one that is offered through the Church to every single person.
This call to be raised up so that God works through us, and to contribute creatively and beautifully to society, is the essence of the New Evangelization. Through grace we lead a life of beauty and contribute creatively to a new culture. It is by this beauty and love in our lives that others see Christ and are drawn to the Faith. This result is described by Benedict in his paper on the New Evangelization, written in 2001; and in the same paper he gives us the method by which we can participate in this. The method of the ‘New’ evangelization is rooted in the one which worked so successfully for the early Church. It is a traditional pattern of prayer, which incorporates different sorts of prayer and contemplation, and has the worship of God in the sacred liturgy at its heart. This will be a journey in which together we will study this short document (under 10 pages) and try to put into practice what he (Read More)
By Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo*
Twelve-year-old orphan named Mos during exercise time at the Baan Dek Thammarak orphanage in Lopburi province, north of Bangkok, Thailand. The orphanage cares for children with HIV. March 7, 2016. (CNS photo/EPA/Diego Azubel).
VATICAN CITY — Massive progress has been made in relation to the diagnosis and treatment of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, since the 1980s. In 2015, UNAIDS announced we reached the milestone of getting 15 million people on anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs).
Timely diagnosis and effective treatment mean that many people are living with HIV rather than dying from it. However, only 42 percent of children with HIV were receiving ARVs in 2014.
Pregnant women are now diagnosed earlier and receive timely treatment. There’s less mother-to-child-transmission but once women see that their children are born healthy, many may go off treatment and this leaves the child open to infection with HIV through breastfeeding.
Caritas Internationalis cares deeply about the fates of these children and we want them to have a fighting chance of living a long and healthy life. We have joined efforts with UNAIDS, the U.S. President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Vatican’s pediatric hospital Bambin Gesù to organize the conference “Strengthening the engagement of faith-based organizations in the early diagnosis and treatment for children living with HIV.”
At the conference we plan to build the groundwork for a roadmap to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children with HIV. We will share information with grassroots faith-based organizations (FBOs) so they promote or provide HIV testing for infants born to HIV-positive mothers and get children into treatment early. Many FBOs are doing this already, but the goal is to have no new HIV infections among children.
We’ve been able to bring HIV rates down in a number of countries across the world. But there are still a number of countries where we need to make progress in reducing mother-to-child-transmission. It’s not only a case of improving care and treatment but also we need to tackle issues such as stigma and ensure men support mothers when they are on treatment so they continue taking it.
A greater number of medicines have become available for children living with HIV, but we still need greater research on more child-friendly formulas. In some parts of the world certain medicines require refrigeration. For families in low-income countries who barely (Read More)
I am looking for ideas for making the church cry room – that sound proof room where you can take children and which usually has an array of toys and books.
This has been inspired by photographs sent to me by friends who spent Easter at St. William’s parish in Greenville, Texas. They were struck by the effort that the priest, Fr Paul Weinberger had made to make the cry room holy.
As Sherri wrote to me: ‘The cry room is pretty small, but Fr. Paul has managed to fit in a lot for the little ones to examine, and it really adds a sense of holiness to the room.
‘How simple but clever to put everything behind locked glass storm doors, so it is both accessible to the kids for viewing and yet safe from little hands. It’s like a tiny museum! Besides the items behind glass, there are wooden statues of saints and Angels on the top of each cabinet, keeping a watchful eye on the kids.’
George and Katy Rose are the boy and girl in photos. It takes something pretty powerful to keep young George quiet, I know, so Fr Paul must be getting something right.
So, if anyone has anything interesting from their cry room, send the photos along!