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!
By Cindy Wooden
By Gaby Maniscalco*
While some Villanova students watched from Rome, Villanova Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins celebrates with the student section April 4 after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston. (CNS photo/Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)
ROME — Feelings of hope and anticipation fill the air each year as students at Villanova University, a Catholic university in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, gather on campus to cheer on the Wildcats at the start of basketball season.
Avid sports fan or not, any Villanova University student can tell you the tale of the 1985 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game, which was the last time the Wildcats took home the NCAA tournament trophy.
The students embrace Villanova basketball as a part of campus culture that is instilled in them the moment they step on campus, and while the Cats have made the NCAA tournament the past few years, it’s been more than 30 years since they actually won the tournament or even made the Final Four. Yet, optimistic students consistently place Villanova at the center of their brackets.
So imagine what ran through my mind as a student abroad in Rome this semester while watching the Wildcats win game after game on a low-quality streaming service on my laptop when I’m used to being at games in person.
I mean, while we were truly happy that the team was doing so well, my friends abroad and I couldn’t help but feel pangs of jealousy as our friends at Villanova packed their bags to follow the team to Houston when the Cats progressed to the Final Four and ultimately the championship.
We wanted to complain that the team got this far the one semester we chose to go abroad, and at times we desperately wished that we could be there in person. But then we remembered that we’re living in Rome, having amazing experiences traveling, exploring and interning, and that we really shouldn’t be complaining at all.
Some of my friends studying in other countries felt the need to travel all the way home for the weekend to see the game. But in Rome, my classmates and I found that the deep-rooted sense of community at Villanova isn’t confined to campus borders. The hope and determination to win was felt strongly here, and we all came together as a Villanova family to watch the Cats however we could (Read More)
“These are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” — John 20:31
April 3, Second Sunday of Easter
Divine Mercy Sunday
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 5:12-16
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
2) Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Gospel: John 20:19-31
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
Jesus is risen! He is risen, indeed! And that seems to be much of what today’s readings reflect.
The Gospel relates the account of Thomas coming to faith when Jesus appears before him and the other disciples. Jesus offers Thomas the opportunity to put his finger on his hand, to put his hand into his side. But Thomas doesn’t need the proof he had earlier said he required. His response to Jesus is, “My Lord and my God!”
The chapter closes with the writer saying, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.”
When I came into the Catholic Church in 1974, I had already witnessed many great things Jesus had done in my life. In the intervening decades, I have seen him act again and again in my own life and the lives of those around me, often in amazing ways. Prayers have been answered, difficult situations that should not have worked out well did.
For example, once on ice-coated streets, moving downhill at 20 miles per hour, the pickup I was driving went from sliding sideways on a collision course with the trunks of five substantial cars into the one open lane on the far right side of the intersection and coming smoothly to a stop, as though there were no ice on the road at all.
I believe my experiences and similar ones of those who read this are part and parcel of those books that the next chapter of John refers to as being more than the whole world could contain. It was all brought about by the obedience of the son of God, who laid down his life to take it up again in its resurrected form, (Read More)
By Jim Lackey
If you’ve visited our new website, you may have seen the cute promo pictured here for our saints section.
Yesterday we learned the backstory of the boy in the photo dressed as St. Patrick for an All Saints’ Day Mass.
Yes, his name also is Patrick, partly because he missed being born on St. Patrick’s Day by one day.
Yes, St. Patrick still is his favorite saint.
And yes, he’s still active in his Georgia parish.
Patrick Jackson’s backstory comes courtesy of The Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Georgia Bulletin photographer Michael Alexander, who shot the photo of Patrick dressed as Patrick in 2006, caught up with young Patrick in time for St. Patrick’s Day last month.
And yesterday the paper tweeted about it:
Then and Now: ‘St. Patrick’ goes to high school | https://t.co/qJPRp5UxfI pic.twitter.com/8YlIC01K0R
— Georgia Bulletin (@georgiabulletin) March 31, 2016
Today, Patrick Jackson is a freshman at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta. He’s on the track team, he wrestles on the varsity squad, he’s been involved in his parish altar server program since third grade, and he’s a lector at parish youth Masses.
There’s more fun stuff in Alexander’s story (such as how the young Patrick thought in kindergarten that, because of his first name, he was having two birthday parties on two consecutive days). Read the rest of Alexander’s account here.
Filed under: clients, CNS (Read More)
The Catholic Artists’ Society series, Art of the Beautiful, concludes on Tuesday, April 5th, at 7 PM, with a talk by conductor Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Austria, Honeck has worked to great acclaim with the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, . In the United States, Honeck has conducted the New York Philharmonic (with whom he is appearing next week), The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra.
His talk is entitled “Faith in Music.” A reception and sung Compline will follow.
The latest edition of the Adoremus Bulletin is now out; you can read it online here.
This is a particular rich and attractively designed issue. The Adoremus Bulletin does really seem to have new vibrancy to it under the leadership of the new editorial team of Chris Carstens and Joe O’Brien. Highlights include an article about the mystagogy of the Lamb of God by editor Chris Carstens, supporting another article which analyses the Ghent altarpiece, also known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, as liturgical art; that is, how do its form and content work in the context of the liturgy? The Ghent altarpiece is the second most viewed painting in history, and the article has been prompted by the release of a book about the painting, a 15th century by the Van Eyck brothers, published by Magnificat.
There is also an excellent review, written by Mr Jeremy Priest, of Uwe Michael Lang’s new book Signs of the Holy One, published by Ignatius, which is a meditation on the assertion that the non-verbal symbols associated with the liturgy are more significant than the language itself. Follow link here to read it.
By Cindy Wooden
Pope Francis presides over the Way of the Cross outside Rome’s Colosseum March 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
ROME — Here is the Vatican’s English translations of Pope Francis’ prayer last night at the conclusion of the Via Crucis service at Rome’s Colosseum:
O Cross of Christ, symbol of divine love and of human injustice, icon of the supreme sacrifice for love and of boundless selfishness even unto madness, instrument of death and the way of resurrection, sign of obedience and emblem of betrayal, the gallows of persecution and the banner of victory.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you raised up in our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the faces of children, of women and people, worn out and fearful, who flee from war and violence and who often only find death and many Pilates who wash their hands.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those filled with knowledge and not with the spirit, scholars of death and not of life, who instead of teaching mercy and life, threaten with punishment and death, and who condemn the just.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in unfaithful ministers who, instead of stripping themselves of their own vain ambitions, divest even the innocent of their dignity.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the hardened hearts of those who easily judge others, with hearts ready to condemn even to the point of stoning, without ever recognizing their own sins and faults.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in expressions of fundamentalism and in terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those who wish to remove you from public places and exclude you from public life, in the name of a pagan laicism or that equality you yourself taught us.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the powerful and in arms dealers who feed the cauldron of war with the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in traitors who, for thirty pieces of silver, would consign anyone to death.
O Cross of Christ, today too we (Read More)
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” — Colossians 3:1
March 27, The Resurrection of the Lord, The Mass of Easter Day
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
2) Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
Gospel: John 20:1-9
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
The third-highest-viewed TED Talk, by Simon Sinek, is titled, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” He gave this talk in September 2009, and it has been viewed more than 25 million times. On the surface, it is about marketing and sales, as he compares successful companies, ideas and people with others in the same field that were not as accomplished. But when viewed from another perspective, Sinek’s talk reveals a truth of our faith.
The premise of his presentation is that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He used this idea to frame why some organizations excel and others don’t. Basically, he pointed out that when a company knows why it exists, it knows its purpose, and if it shares that purpose with the world, other like-minded people will jump on the bandwagon and buy its product.
This TED Talk came to mind while I was reading the Scriptures for Easter Sunday. St. Paul says: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” The connection is that we have to know our “why” if we are going to know our purpose.
The why for Christians is the Resurrection! If Jesus is not raised from the dead, then we are all fools for believing in him. Jesus is our “why,” and we need to seek the things that lead us to this “why” and then lead others to this “why.”
Another connection between Sinek’s TED Talk and the Christian life can be made if we see ourselves as on the marketing team for God: He is management, we are sales, and if we do not know the “why” of the kingdom, we won’t make many “sales.”
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. When we know the “why” of the kingdom of God, we have direction for our lives. But even more so, when we share the “why” of our faith, we reveal a truth that the (Read More)
By Julie Asher
This Good Friday, throughout the day and through the evening, Catholics around the world are joining in Way of the Cross processions — the symbolic walk with Jesus from his trial before Pontius Pilate to his crucifixion on Calvary. Walkers reflect on the sufferings Jesus endured leading up to his death.
In Rome, after the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis presides over the Way of the Cross service at Rome’s Colosseum.
In the United States, thousands of Catholics and religious leaders from five parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, are walking more than a mile tonight carrying crosses and statues through the streets of Bensonhurst — led by Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Paul R. Sanchez.
Some processions are organized around contemporary themes. Spearheaded by the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, the “Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion” is being held throughout the day in dozens of U.S. cities and in Calgary, Alberta. In India, Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical “Laudato Si’” inspired a parish’s Way of the Cross in the Archdiocese of Mumbai.
“A Contemporary Way of the Cross” is the title of a slim volume by Father William John Fitzgerald that came my way here at CNS. Father Fitzgerald, 83, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was ordained in 1958 but when he was 62, Omaha’s archbishop gave him early retirement — he suffered chemical lung poisoning and had to move to Arizona for his health.
In the intervening years, he told me, “I have thrived.” Among other things, he is active in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Voice of the Poor Committee and he is a prolific author — he has written 14 books. He also has a CD out of his Irish songs.
Father Fitzgerald dedicated “A Contemporary Way of the Cross” to “all those who carry heavy crosses.” “Walk the narrow streets of old Jerusalem today and you will discover plaques along the way that indicated the Stations of the cross. … There are other current roads around the world where modern cross-bearers share (Christ’s) cross — the paths of Africa, the roads to homeless shelters, the streets past foreclosed houses,” the priest writes in his introduction.
“Christ still walks beside his followers as they carry their own heavy crosses,” he says. “It is these modern-day (Read More)
Nuns carry a cross during a silent march during Good Friday celebrations in Durban, South Africa, March 25. (CNS photo/Rogan Ward, Reuters)
By Father John Fields
Today is Good Friday in churches that calculate the date of Easter based upon the Gregorian calendar.
March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas, is also the feast of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary she would have a son. The Knights of Columbus observe the feast of the Annunciation as the “International Day of the Unborn Child,” since this feast liturgically and scripturally demonstrates that life begins at conception.
Because these two important observances will occur on the same day this year, depending on the liturgical tradition, accommodations are made in the date and manner of celebration of the feast of the Annunciation and the Good Friday observances.
This year in the Latin church, the feast of the Annunciation is transferred to the first available day after the Paschal celebration. Therefore, this year, the solemnity of the Annunciation will be observed April 4, the first available day, the Monday after the second Paschal Sunday. Christmas will still be celebrated Dec. 25, although will not be a full nine months after the Feast of the Annunciation.
This icon depicting the Annunciation is from St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Edmonton, Alberta. (CNS photo/Western Catholic Reporter)
The importance of the feast of the Annunciation has such importance in the Byzantine tradition that this feast is always celebrated March 25, even if it falls on Good Friday or Holy Saturday. This tradition dates back to the third century.
This year, since the Annunciation falls on Good Friday, churches of the Byzantine tradition will also celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Good Friday, the only exception to the rule that the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated on Good Friday. Church fathers stress that the importance of Mary’s “yes” to the angel Gabriel is so important that, without it, there would not have been a Good Friday.
– – –
Father Fields is director of communications for the Ukrainian Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
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and how that connection reinforces the truth of the Catholic Faith.
Here are two books, covering what at first sight are unconnected topics, in which leading figures in their respective fields explain how each is consistent with Catholic teaching.
First, Modern Physics, Ancient Faith by Stephen M Barr. This is the best book about science and faith that I have ever read, bar (if you’ll forgive the pun) none. It is often supposed that science and faith are in conflict with each other. I have found that both people of faith and people who do not believe in God can hold this erroneous view (which in Christians leads, for example, to an irrational suspicion of science, the industrial revolution and modern medicine; which in turn reinforces an irrational view of religion by non-believers as superstition that rejects science). In this book Prof. Barr, who is a research physicist, lucidly explains how the conflict is not between science and faith, but between faith and the philosophy of scientific materialism. (Scientific materialism says that only science which is an investigation of the material world, can demonstrate truth). He is not the first to explain this, although the book is worth reading just for his clarity on the subject. It is when Professor Barr goes on to explain advances in physics since the turn of the 20th century that this book becomes most interesting. He describes how these advances consistent with traditional ideas about the cosmos as articulated by the Fathers of the Church in a way that classical physics up to the 19th century was not. Also, as he explains, these advances formulated by figures such as Albert Einstein and Nils Bohr,actually undermine traditional scientific materialism as a philosophy. He considers about half a dozen developments in past classical science, looking for example at Big Bang and quantum physics, and explains in layman’s terms what characterizes them and then demonstrates how they reinforce the Faith of the Church Fathers. Modern Physics, Ancient Faith is very clear and readable. If I had my way, I would make it part of the core curriculum of every general Catholic education.
Second is an introduction to a form of free market economics called Austrian economics by the economist Harry Veryser. His book is called It Didn’t Have to Be This Way: Why Boom and Bust is Unnecessary and How the Austrian School of Economics Breaks (Read More)
Willie McNeive escorts his daughter, Vivian, into church on her wedding day in 1948, 32 years after he fought in Ireland’s Easter Rising. (CNS photo/courtesy Susan Gately)
By Susan Gately
DUBLIN (CNS) — I am a child of Ireland’s Easter Rising, the disordered six-day insurrection against British rule in 1916.
My grandfather, Willie McNeive, was imprisoned in Wales following the Rising. His best friend was Joe Stanley, press agent to the Rising leader, Patrick Pearse. When Joe’s sister Jenny, visited him, she met Willie and they fell in love and married.
As a child, I questioned Granddad about the Rising but he was reluctant to talk. Seeing the Northern Troubles develop, he became disgusted that what was so nobly begun had ended in terrorist atrocities in the name of an Irish Republic. Fortunately, in 1978 he committed his 1916 memories to tape.
Initially during the uprising, Granddad was assigned a first-floor window overlooking a quayside. Rifle in hand, he watched a group of British lancers march by.
“We turned our face to the wall, said an act of contrition and waited for the order to shoot.” To their relief, the order did not come.
Next, commandeering “all forms of transport,” they moved material to the General Post Office.
“One of the greatest thrills of my life was when I looked up and saw the tricolour of the Irish Republic flying over the GPO. It brought tears to my eyes,” he recounted.
For six days my grandfather fought at the post office. Toward the end, he was ordered to break open a door, which he did. When he returned to pick up his rifle, it was gone, replaced by a German Mauser.
Outside, the squad was ordered to fix bayonets. With no bayonet or ammunition, Granddad fell out. The others charged around a corner only to be mowed down by British artillery.
“I often wondered who swiped my rifle. In view of the fate of the others, I concluded it was my guardian angel,” he recounted.
My relatives were ready to give their lives for Irish independence in an uprising that had no hope of success, and I am moved by that fact. Others think the Rising was a waste of lives. Ireland would have gotten home rule without the bloodshed, some say. Who knows?
Yet for better or worse, we are where we are today, in some measure, due to the 1,600 men and women who took to the streets to (Read More)
Partygoers wear 2016-themed hats as they wait to ring in the new year at Sydney Harbor Dec. 31. (CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters)
By Father John Fields
Happy New Year Friday, March 25.
For many centuries because of Christian influence, March 25 was celebrated as New Year’s Day.
Since March 25 was calculated as the date of the crucifixion of Jesus, there was a belief that one died on the same day that one was conceived. If Jesus died on March 25 — the 14th of the Jewish month of Nissan, then he was also conceived on the 14th of Nissan — March 25. Therefore, March 25 was not only the date of his crucifixion, but also became the date of his Incarnation, hence the feast of the Annunciation March 25. And since in God there is perfection, a full nine months after March 25 would be December 25, which became the date of the nativity of Christ.
But March 25 also had other significance. Many believed it was also the date of Adam’s creation and fall; some traditions maintain it was also the fall of Lucifer; the fleeing of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt through the Red Sea; and the immolation of Isaac. These beliefs are found in the early martyrologies and writings of the early fathers of the church.
March 25 was also celebrated for centuries as New Year’s Day on the civil calendar because of Christian influence in society. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25 continued to be New Year’s Day until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752. Until 1751, March 25 was also celebrated as New Year’s Day in the American colonies, since they were under British rule. Even the town of Pisa, in Tuscany, Italy, continues to hold a New Year’s celebration on March 25 every year, including this year, a custom dating back to 1749.
So have a Happy New Year March 25!
– – –
Father Fields is director of communications for the Ukrainian Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House during a show to celebrate the New Year Jan. 1, 2014. (CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters)
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I was walking through downtown San Francisco this morning on one of the busiest streets in the city center and I noticed this little alleyway to my left.
What caught my eye is how with very little of architectural interest to work with, a few well tended plants have turned the space into a tiny little peaceful oasis in a busy city. It could have been piled high with garbage bags or the like (others I saw were) but someone has made the effort to make this little corner worth looking at. And everyone who passes, not just those who live and work down here can now have the pleasure of looking at the results of their work.
All it would need to perfect it would be little icon of Christ on the back wall, or perhaps a statue of the BVM, and a place of peace might even become a place of contemplation!
The cobblestones help too of course!
“And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table.” — Luke 22:21
March 20, Palm Sunday
Cycle C. Readings:
At the procession with palms: Luke 19:28-40
1) Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
2) Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49
By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service
There’s an acronym often used to describe Catholics who come to Mass only seldom: PACE (or sometimes CAPE) Catholics. The letters stand for “Palms-Ashes-Christmas-Easter” (or “Christmas-Ashes-Palms-Easter”), referring to the four occasions when they usually choose to attend, for whatever motive.
Since the readings for Palm Sunday are unusually lengthy and the Mass is 20-30 minutes longer than normal due to the beginning procession, I can only imagine that for many of these occasional attendees, the big draw must be the take-home of blessed palms.
Setting aside my indulgence in a bit of self-righteous sarcasm, I find that it’s extremely easy to congratulate myself for not being a PACE/CAPE Catholic, just as it’s quite easy to place myself outside the narrative of Christ’s passion. After all, I’ve heard the story many times before, I wasn’t there when it happened and I’m familiar with the eventual outcome.
So I listen to the readings and reassure myself that Jesus’ suffering is at an end and that I can count myself among the religiously observant few.
Unfortunately, I’m not the first to succumb to this sanctimonious way of thinking, nor will I be the last, I suspect. No sooner had Jesus instituted the sacrifice of his body and blood and predicted his betrayal than the apostles not only absolved themselves of any responsibility, but they argued among themselves about “which of them should be regarded as the greatest.”
“What blind arrogance!” we say smugly, and proceed to the eucharistic table as if we aren’t culpable of any wrongdoing ourselves.
But note whom Jesus identifies as his betrayer: the one whose hand “is with me on the table.” It could have been anyone. And, if I’m truly honest, that “one” is me, especially when I compare myself favorably with others while remaining blind to my own sin. In doing this, I not only approach the Lord’s table unworthily, but I desecrate it without a (Read More)
“Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’” — John 8:10
March 13, Fifth Sunday of Lent
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Isaiah 43:16-21
2) Philippians 3:8-14
Gospel: John 8:1-11
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
All of the Scriptures this weekend point to the future, a future filled with good things that proclaim the goodness of the Lord and his forgiveness. The Gospel tells us the story of the woman caught in adultery and Jesus’ words to her, so appropriate in this Year of Mercy: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
I’m always reminded of a woman I encountered in the back of a church many years ago. I’d see her frequently in the darkened, empty church, kneeling in prayer, her head on her hands, a look of deep sorrow on her face.
For whatever reason, I spoke with her one day, and she alluded to something she had done that she said she could never be forgiven for. She didn’t say what it was, so I’ve never known, but she’s remained in the back of my mind across the intervening decades.
I remember gently trying to encourage her to accept God’s forgiveness and her insistence that she was beyond God’s grace.
She had a glow about her, a sense of holiness that I’ve seen in people I consider to be very holy. As much time as she spent in prayer, she had, no doubt, become quite familiar with what if feels like to be in God’s presence.
So what do we tell people when they fail to believe God can forgive them? How do we tell them to ask, to reach out to the hand extended in blessing? I still don’t know. I only know that those of us who know the depths of our own sinfulness must keep pointing the way, must keep telling those who have fallen that God himself will help them stand again.
Have you experienced deep feelings of unworthiness that make you doubt God’s ability to forgive you? How can you overcome these feelings to experience the unmerited favor of God, which is grace?
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Some of you may remember that on November 25th I wrote a short piece publicizing the idea of establishing parish based men’s groups that are part of the Holy League.
The idea is that the men’s Holy League meets monthly and has been formed in response to a call from Cardinal Burke and is intended to create a network of parish-based men’s groups in a structured Holy Hour.
The Holy League was first formed as part of the call to holiness and fortitude that occurred when Europe was under threat from Islamic forces and prior to the battle of Lepanto in 1571. The aim is to reestablish this in every Catholic parish. The intention is that it will form men to be engaged in spiritual combat and to participate in the transformation of the culture. Just as it did in the 16th century.
I would love to hear of any groups that have started and how they are doing. I would be happy to publicize your Holy League meeting.
The one I mentioned in my original blog post, in Manchester, NH is still going strong and is due to meet at St Raphael’s Church, Manchester at 7pm this coming Friday. The format is Compline, Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, short spiritual reflections, the availability of the Sacrament of Confession, Benediction and fraternity. Following the Holy Hour there is a Social Hour (bring something to drink). The conversation in this crowd of men is always hard hitting, intelligent and fun.
Aimed initially at ages 6-11 years in Chicago, it will offer a radically new form of education, that reaches back to the classical tradition in a way not seen in modern times. It will offer a formation in beauty and instill an ethos of creativity and the motivation to contribute to society in pursuit of their personal vocation.
Dostoevsky wrote famously, “Beauty will save the world.” But can it save Catholic education? The answer is yes! in the opinion of Michael and Kelly Sullivan who are creating The Sanctuary Academy in Chicago. I was excited recently when they contacted met to ask for advice in incorporating the principles of education on those described in the Way of Beauty into the school they are founding for students aged 6-11 years. Michael and Kelly are inspired also by another book, published last year by Angelico Press and written by Dr Ryan Topping. It is called, the Case for a Catholic Education:
As Ryan has masterfully pointed out, we are in a crisis of Catholic education. Our educational form has aped the public school industrial model of education with only marginal better testing outcomes, and disastrous results when it comes to faith engagement. The Church is losing 70% of its young people to apostasy and the remaining 30% are only nominally Catholic according to a recent study. We are living with the fruits of what Bishop Baron has called “beige Catholicism” where atheists and agnostics know our faith better than we do.
One response to this problem is The Sanctuary Academy, and they need your help.
The Sanctuary Academy is a new model of Catholic education that is combining The Acton Academy in Austin, TX with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and The Way of Beauty (inspired by my book).
The Big Idea is that when children are free to pursue their own interests they will have accelerated learning and become lifelong learners in pursuit of the work God has called them to fulfill in His Kingdom. What children need alongside this ordered freedom is a culture of encounter, love and Beauty.
The Sanctuary Academy is seeking to form “world changers” to change the world through their encounter with the World Changer Himself.
How do I know about this new effort? I know the founders and am was honored to be asked to serve on the advisory board (Read More)
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” — Luke 15:21
March 6, Fourth Sunday of Lent
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Joshua 5:9a, 10-12
2) 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
This week’s Gospel story of the prodigal son has always captivated me with its image of God the Father waiting with open arms, constantly ready to take his wayward child back into his loving embrace. There are so many facets to this parable’s message: the father’s unconditional love and mercy; the prodigal recognizing his sin and the joy of reconciliation; the sibling’s loyalty and how his resentment caused separation.
But who would think it has anything to do with climate change?
Well, think of “squander” and “a life of dissipation,” — or simply “prodigal,” which means wastefully extravagant — as the Scripture describes the son’s behavior.
Think of the father lovingly bestowing on his son all the resources he needed to maintain the good life he’d had under his parent’s care. Think of the son using up his inheritance that would have allowed him to ensure that same life for subsequent generations of his family.
When I read Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, “Laudato Si’” (“On Care for Our Common Home”), I got only as far as Paragraph 2 before I thought of the prodigal son.
The document reminds us that God has generously provided for all the needs of humanity through his gift of the natural world. Many of us, especially in the wealthiest countries, have wantonly, selfishly spent God’s gift of creation with increasingly wasteful consumption and depletion of its resources.
Does the parable of the prodigal son apply here? Is it a sin when I waste water or fail to speak up when my own electricity provider is destroying the habitat of endangered species? Of course it is.
In “Laudato Si’,” Pope Francis quotes Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians: “For human beings … to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth … to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air and its life — these are sins.”
Through his emphatic reiteration of Catholic social teaching in “Laudato Si’,” our pope calls us to turn away from (Read More)
I am delighted to announce that The Sanctuary Academy in Chicago, which is a newly founded Catholic independent school that is devoted to a formation of young children so that they can contribute creatively to a culture of beauty. In this program education science, faith and art are united in the contemplation and creation of beauty.
They are founding it on the principles of the Acton Academy model which promotes the values of the Acton Institute – human flourishing in a society of faith and freedom. In order to give it a distinctive and authentically Catholic ethos they are going to incorporate the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the principles outlined in my book the Way of Beauty adapted for young children.
I am a friend of the Michael and Kelly Sullivan who are the founders, and if you follow the link here you will find a video in which they explain the concept and they are asking for support. This is an exciting new project and it deserves support they are asking for – I am honored to be on the Advisory Board for the Academy. As an incentive, if you give to the project they are offering a number of book, including a copy of the Way of Beauty!
For more information go here.