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!
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.
Filed under: (Read More)
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)