Here is early notice of a conference that will take place in the Fall. The Catholic Artists Conference is intended to encourage and guide Catholic artists and patrons. The central theme is prayer and it is entitled Prayer: Art from the Heart of God. You can read more about it at Catholic-Artists.com. Speakers include most prominently Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska. I am also speaking at the conference.
In conjunction with the conference is an exhibition which is the US debut of the Faces of Christ exhibition. An exhibition of works by living artists from around the world.
I have attached below images of the conference and exhibition promotional material. To read more about the conference to go Catholic-Artists-Conference.com; and about the exhibition go to Faces-of-Christ.com
I will be posting reminders as we get closer to the date.
In this post, by the English poet, Andrew Thornton- Norris, he discusses the ‘inculturation of the gospel into modern culture through the redemption of Romanticism’. Many who study literature will think of the Romantic poets of England – Wordsworth or Coleridge for example as perhaps the height of poetry in the English language. Thornton-Norris does not deny their brilliance, but says that we should be looking for something greater than this as we seek to transform the culture today. For him, raising Romantic poetry and literature up to something even greater, ‘represents a movement back from a religion of art to a religious art which recognises the Glory of the Lord’.
Romanticism and the attempt to escape it through formal Modernist strategies is the inescapable condition of modern art. This is the consequence of the spiritual individualism that is the result of the reformation, and the political and moral individualism that is its consequence. The refusal to accept the external authority of tradition or of the Magisterium means that each man is an island adrift in his own futile attempt to reconstruct a value system that re-connects him with a community and with objective reality.
This is the modern condition and its aesthetic consequence is Romanticism. The legitimate natural impulse towards transcendental beauty has no external object towards which to be directed, and so is tragically misdirected within, towards the creative impulse itself, thus becoming a religion of art. This can be seen in Wordsworth’s Prelude, Coleridge’s Rime, Beethoven’s Symphonies and Wagner’s Operas, as well as the whole movement from Impressionism towards Abstraction and Conceptualism in art.
I do not mean that these Romantic artists and the reactions to them are bad, quite the reverse, they are heroically good given the circumstances, just that they all contain a Romantic understanding of the universe, which turns art into a quasi-religious experience or act. This is damaging to both art and religion, because it expects too much of art, the replacement of religion, and thus contains flawed religious assumptions. Romanticism by the way is simply the flip-side of the Rationalism of the Enlightenment, and the endless movements that succeed them like the tides are more or less restatements of these basic positions.
The loss of the transcendent object of beauty, The Glory of the Lord (“the beauty of his Wisdom”) is the central theme of the work of Hans Urs Von Balthasar and his attempt to (Read More)
“Wait for ‘the promise of the Father … in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” — Acts 1:4-5
May 8, Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
1) Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9
2) Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
Gospel: Luke 24:46-53
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
This week’s Gospel shows the impressive patience and trust of Jesus’ disciples as they watch their beloved master depart from them, ascending into heaven.
From the time they first became his disciples, he had been preparing them to go forth and spread his message to the whole world. In his final words, he again declares this to be their mission. However, in the next breath he tells them not to go yet.
Nevertheless, their excitement and joy are undeterred by the command to wait. While confident in his promise that they will carry out his mission, they respect the fact that their desire and abilities alone will be insufficient for the task.
Jesus’ transformative work is possible only with the power of his Spirit — that is the strength of his loving presence.
It’s the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. For the latter to take place, we must sometimes wait and trust in God’s timing.
For instance, my friend Julie, a devout Catholic, very much wanted her husband Scott to share her faith, but over 20 years of marriage he showed no interest. She prayed for him earnestly but didn’t believe in pushing him to participate in church.
Then, grieving over her father’s death, Julie herself wandered away from the church for a time. She returned after attending a women’s retreat, where she received the emotional and spiritual healing she needed.
Subsequently, she joined a Bible study group who asked her to invite Scott to come along. Although uncertain about the wisdom of such an invitation, Julie assured Scott the group had no intention of converting him to Catholicism but simply wanted to know him and learn from his early experiences of faith in another tradition.
To her surprise, Scott accepted and quickly became an enthusiastic participant. He also began attending church with Julie and was welcomed by more of her friends. Then he signed up for a retreat where other men in the community shared their experiences of God with him. “It (Read More)
Rogationist Father Jalal Yako talks to an internally displaced woman in Ankawa, Iraq, April 8. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
By Paul Jeffrey
ANKAWA, Iraq — When a colleague and I arrived at the Ashti camp for internally displaced families on the outskirts of Ankawa last month, we asked for the “abouna,” the Arabic word for father, or priest. We were looking for Rogationist Father Jalal Yako, but he wasn’t in his small caravan, the modular container-like building that has become ubiquitous among the displaced in northern Iraq.
A woman is seen in a camp for internally displaced families in Ankawa, Iraq, April 9. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
In response to my one-word query, people pointed down a crowded passageway. We headed that direction, occasionally querying, “Abouna?” Everyone kept pointing us on, all the way to the toilets. There stood the priest, with several construction workers, remodeling some troubled toilets.
I’m not sure whether Father Yako’s seminary education prepared him for this, but today he’s the de facto mayor of a village of 250 families, about a thousand people. Toilets are just one of his challenges.
When tens of thousands of people fled from the Islamic State’s sweep through Mosul and Qaraqosh in 2014, they came to Iraqi Kurdistan, where they found physical safety. But since they weren’t refugees (they had crossed no international border), they weren’t eligible for assistance from international agencies. Neither the government in far-off Baghdad nor authorities in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan offered much help. It was the church that walked with them as they fled from Islamic State, and the church that struggled to find them food and shelter in exile. Twenty-one months later, the church remains the principal manager of aid. Providing spiritual care goes hand in hand with providing water, sanitation and electricity.
Father Yako is an Iraqi who studied and lived in Italy for almost two decades, but came home to begin a mission in Qaraqosh in 2012. Two years later, he fled alongside the people of the town. His bishop said he could return to Italy, but Father Yako refused.
“As religious, it’s our mission to stay, not to leave,” he told us. “Even though we lost our houses and everything else, it’s for the people that we are consecrated. Now is the most significant moment to continue to serve the people, from the smallest to greatest.”
Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Moshe of Mosul, Iraq, participates in opening a youth congress in Ankawa, April (Read More)
One of the greatest masterpieces ever painted, the Ghent Altarpiece (also known as the “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”) was created in the 15th century by Flemish brothers Hubert and Jan Van Eyck. While broad appeal is not the only necessary indicator of merit, it is, in my opinion, one of them. This being so, the Adoration of the Lamb passes the test with flying colors – it is the second most visited and viewed work of art in history (after the Mona Lisa).
My consideration of it was prompted by the publication of a book about the altarpiece. Called the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb it is published by Ignatius Press and Magnificat (the one that produces a portable Liturgy of the Hours, sent out monthly). The book is excellent resource with large (12in x 12in) reproductions of details, which are as sumptuous as I have ever seen. The commentary, written by French art historian Frabrice Hadjadj is excellent in its description of the historical background, provenance; and in the details of the content, viewing it as a pedagogical tool. Every figure is identified and every Latin inscription is translated.
In this article I want to consider additional elements that come into consideration of the altarpiece as a piece of liturgical art, focusing especially on how its design, use of medium and gothic style are in harmony with its purpose of promoting the right worship of God. These are the things that an artist, or patron need to be aware of if creating news works of liturgical art suited to their purpose.
I was invited by Chris Carstens, the new editor of Adoremus Bulletin to write a review of the book, and what I present here is an adaptation of what I wrote for him. I would recommend, by the way that this is read in conjunction with Chris’s excellent accompanying piece contained in the bulletin, called Mystagogy of the Lamb in which he explains in detail the meaning of symbol of the lamb for Christians.
Looking now at the famous reredos: when the panels are closed we see, painted largely in monochrome, white and graded tones of sepia through to black, a depiction of the Annunciation watched by a congregation of figures, including two Sybils, the prophets Zachariah and Micah, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. Also making an anachronistic appearance in the scene are the Van (Read More)
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
Filed under: (Read More)
“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)