Thursday, October 19, 2006

"God is not against the rich!" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What three commandments require restitution when violated? Tell us what youthink. Post a comment today.

THIS WEEK'S FEATURED BLOG: "The Cross at Cahuenga" - Shining God's love down upon Hollywood - by Hope Frances

Dear Friends,

The Pope's Islamic comments, Catholic Hollywood and our new Spanish language blogs top our ParishWorld list this week.

We are happy to announce the launch of "Fe Y Razon!" - a Spanish blog that debuts this week in as part of our committed mission to spread the word of God to all people. It is penned by Fr. Roberto Mena, S.T., who also happens to be an active minister on radio and TV. Check out Fr. Mena's multimedia ministry story. And you if you read Spanish, definitely give our new Spanish blog a look-through.

NO RETREAT – that's the Pope's stance to Islam as he spoke out with even more determination this week in a 'reciprocity' challenge to Islam. And Islam - at least the moderate sectors - seem to be responding well to the Pope's challenge with the publication this week of an open letter to the Pope from 38 Muslim leaders from various countries and of different outlooks. And more good news from from Singapore with this report that Muslim-Catholic relations in that country remain strong and unaffected by all the tension.

Catholic Hollywood is in full force this week with the Gabriel Awards set for Friday and the Angelus Awards scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21. FREE tickets are available for the Angelus Student Filmfest Awards - to be held at the Director's Guild of America in Hollywood. If you are a film buff, this Saturday is your chance to view the winning films. And on Nov. 5, Sunday, Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA) invite you to their annual Mass and awards at the Beverly Hilton where they will honor "The Chronicles of Narnia" and TV's "Cold Case." God is truly alive and well in Hollywood!

"God Is Not Against the Rich" explains the preacher of the Vatican's papal household in his homily about last Sunday's Gospel from Mark 10:17-30, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the Pope in an address this week said that through Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Christ, we learn that Jesus respects human freedom and waits for a sinner's repentance.

More reader questions were answered this week. The first one is "Why are the Readings at Mass read from Scriptural Translations instead of directly from the Bible?" And the second question is "What is the most appropriate moment to pray the Divine Praises during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?" We have the answers to both.

We also bring you a "coming home" story about a law professor who has been living his Christian faith outside of full communion with the Catholic Church for a number of years. And a we have a reminder from a Catholic Cardinal who said, "Instead of simply criticizing Pentecostal churches that draw Catholics as members, Catholic leaders should consider why their parishes aren't meeting the needs of those who leave."

SOLA SCRIPTURA! See what happens when a catechist is accused of using too much bible. Paul Dion, STL, is his usual animated self in this wonderful blog about "bible-only" catechism.

With the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections just under three weeks away, the Cardinal of Chicago pronounced to both candidates and voters that “Conscience is not an excuse for doing something irrational” - like supporting abortion. On another hot election topic, a top Catholic bio-ethicist cut through the political spin with this clarification, "It is incorrect to say that the Roman Catholic Church is against stem-cell research. It is only correct to say the Roman Catholic Church is against embryonic stem-cell research." Remember these when you go to the polls in November.

GET INSPIRED! Check out how a lay Catholic renewal ministry in the Philippines is fighting poverty and brining people closer to God by building self-sustaining low-income communities - over 850 communities to date - in that nation. Also, see how great the love of the Father can be in "The Father's Choice." And what would you do if the Virgin Mary spoke to you in person? Read "We must be as open as a child" and then tell us your answer.

YOUTH AND LIFESTYLE. "Bella" is a little family-friendly film that was mostly ignored by critics and U.S. film distributors. To everyone's surprise, it won the People's Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Check out the movie trailer here and find out why it is a favorite among Catholics in the Hollywood media. Also, a new cartoon show approved by the Vatican is set to make the late Pope John Paul II a star.

And if you happen to walk into a church in Western Pennsylvania and the priest looks a little bit different, don't let the earrings and goatee fool you. Fr. Bob Lubic - PA's 'Punk Priest' is packing all the youth Masses he celebrates.

And here's one just for fun. This video won the best Young Director award for 2005. And that's not surprising. This film is amazing. Turn up your speakers and check it out.

Another God-filled week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed coming week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor-in-chief

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Where in the Bible does it say we have to celebrate Mass?" & other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Why do Catholics say the rosary at funerals?" Let us know what you think. Post a comment today.

THIS WEEK'S FEATURED BLOG: "A Community of Many Colors" By Paul Dion, STL

Dear friends,

What a great issue we have for you this week! Because last Sunday's Mass Readings focused on Marriage, it naturally generated a lot of buzz through the week. Stories about Technology and reader questions about our Catholic beliefs round up our other main stories.

We start off with "Five non-religious arguments for Marriage over living together" by Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. What a great read! Then we bring you an article that explains the difference between "getting married" and "becoming married." And another one called "Fill your Home with Love!" that explains how to stay in love when the initial intensely romantic high fades.

And with Divorce reigning today as the scourge of Marriage, we have an article that urges couples to replace the "use and discard" mentality with that of "use and repair." Repair the big tears, and repair them immediately.

Still on this subject, Pope Benedict called on all Christian spouses this week to embrace the mission to be a sign of love to all. And in "The couple that prays together, stays together," we give you the steps to enrich your prayer life and your marriage.

And we have reader questions, great reader questions! "Where in the Bible does it say we have to celebrate the Mass as part of our Christian Worship?" kicks off these questions. "Is it an obligation to go to First Friday Mass?" asks another. And "Why do Catholics say the rosary at funerals?" We have all the answers.

Then we go to Technology News. The Pope this week declared, "The Church must not be afraid to use technology to spread the good news." The late John Paul II called it "The New Evangelization" and this Pope is running with it as well. And it all makes sense because the latest polls show that for the first time ever, the hours spent by Americans on Internet use has surpassed newspaper and magazine reading. And it only gets more exciting as the $100 internet-ready laptops are set to debut worldwide very very soon. Read about it here.

And with media becoming more and more a part of Christian evangelization work, Pope Benedict issued a pointed warning to all theologians down to the parish level not to speak to merit applause, "To speak to meet with applause, to speak oriented to what men want to hear, to speak obeying the dictatorship of common opinions, is considered a sort of prostitution of the word and of the soul."

In LIFE STORIES, there seems to be a growing openness in the U.S. to having more than two children - in some cases more than four. 11 percent of all U.S. births in 2004 were to women who already had three children, up from 10 percent in 1995. While another poll conducted by the Pew Research firm finds that a sampling of nations in Asia, Africa and South America are more pro-life on the issue of abortion than residents of the United States.

GET INSPIRED! "I Can Only Imagine!" is one of those stories that will make you go, "WOW!" It's about an out-of-shape father whose disabled son's one wish was for both of them to enter a grueling full-scale triathlon. Make sure you watch the accompanying video at the bottom of the story. In "Old Dogs," the wisdom expressed by a little girl upon the death of the family dog is pure treasure. And if you're struggling with forgiving those who have done you wrong, "How To Forgive" is just for you.

In YOUTH & LIFESTYLE, "Cool Clergy" deals with today's young crop of seminarians. Their seminaries are not places where they only chant Latin and say the rosary - these men are playing basketball and lifting weights and listening to rock music. But they still remain committed to the call made this week by Pope Benedict to all young people, "Proclaim the Gospel on the streets and squares, in schools and hospitals, as well as in places of recreation."

We round up this week's issue with "How to protect yourself - and those around you - from the Flu" and "How to make the thickest milk shake" so that the straw stands up on its end!

And many other great stories.

Enjoy this week's edition of your We hope you have a blessed week ahead.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in Chief

Friday, October 6, 2006

"Lights, Camera, God!" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: When St. James wrote about the need to "keep oneself unstained by the world'" what exactly did he mean by "the world?" Share your thoughts with us. Post a comment today.

NOTABLE BLOG: "Lights, Camera, GOD!" - a Faith Journey in Hollywood by Hope Frances

Dear Friends,

Unauthorized baptisms, Immigration, Bible Christians and beating slumping home sales are our top stories this week.

What would you do if your adult son and his wife refused to baptize their child - your grandchild? This grandmother took matters into her own hands. Was it a valid baptism? Check out this story. And a ParishWorld blogger responds to a solicitation letter he received from a prestigious Catholic institution regarding the need for Catholics to be Bible Christians. Read this interesting discourse on the concept of sola scriptura or scripture-only Christianity.

On the Vatican front, the Pope made two assertions this week. First, he urged that families return to the old Christian rituals - such as taking children to church on Sundays, kneeling in prayer at bedtime and saying grace before meals. He also preached that it is not possible to understand the figure of Jesus if both his divine and historical dimensions are not taken into account.

And October being the month we dedicate to the Virgin Mary and the holy rosary, he also reminded the world that when it comes to teaching others about Christ, Mother Mary's example is the one to follow.

Have you had a Faith Checkup lately? Take this periodic review of key areas of your life - your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, your relationships with your family and others, and your faithfulness to him in your everyday life.

In Catholic news from around the world comes this inspiring story about a group of New Orleans parents who banded together to revive a Catholic school that was closed during Katrina. From Beijing, a bishop reports that Catholicism is winning in China - many Churches are open for worship, the seminaries are full - despite the government's restrictions. In fact ,the government even funded the construction of a $9 million dollar seminary - the largest in China.

In Washington DC, the Catholic justices of the Supreme Court joined Catholic cabinet members and senior administration officials for the annual Red Mass marking the start of a new term of the Supreme Court. The presiding bishop urged them all to uphold their Christian beliefs in the performance of their duties.

Still from the US Capital, the US Senate passed legislation to build a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexican border over the objections of the Catholic Church. While in Switzerland, Church leaders have criticized a late-September referendum in which citizens voted to give the country some of the toughest immigration laws in the Western world.

And last Sunday, at all parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, taped messages of Cardinal Roger Mahony were played urging Catholics to vote yes on Proposition 85. If approved, this proposiition would amend the state constitution to require that at least one parent of a minor girl be notified before undergoing an abortion.

GET INSPIRED! "Define Your Core Gift and Remain Faithful To Who You Are" by Bo Sanchez kicks off this week's round of warm, inspiring articles. "F.R.I.E.N.D.S." by Jerome Placido deals with the challenges of keeping your faith strong when your friends pull you the other way.

"The Luck of an Unemployed Graduate," "You are welcome" by Kathi Scarpace, and Steve Ray's "An Open Letter to Filipino Catholics," are great reads. Check them all out.

In YOUTH and LIFE stories, Fr.Stan Fortuna -the rapping priest - has just released a new Catholic rap CD. He says the genre speaks more closely to the youth. And did you know that rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg is a practicing Catholic? Check out his story.

And with the real estate sales slumping nationwide, many realtors are turning to a most unlikely source to help sell their listed homes - St. Joseph. Realtors swear that burying the icon under the listed home helps sell the property. Superstition or faith? You be the judge.

And how was your week? Have a blessed and wonderful coming week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in Chief

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Why Confession is the most difficult Sacrament " and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Who is the Church?" Do you really know who the Church is? Tell us what you think. Post a comment today.

FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: "Jesus asks us: Who do you say I am?" - A personal reflection on life by Paul Dion, STL

Dear Friends,
The world's reaction to Pope Benedict's comments continue to make headlines this week as well as our youth's continuing struggle with their Christian values.

"Why Benedict XVI did not want to fall silent or backpedal" by Sandro Magister offers one of the most in-depth look at the real issues behind the controversy. This is a must read. And "Benedict XVI, Faith, Reason and Islam" takes another stab at explaining the real message that Pope Benedict had for the world at large.

And somewhat related to this issue, you may have heard that last week Rosie O’Donnell raised ire and drew fire when she boldly asserted that "radical Christianity" is "just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state." If Jesus was alive today, WWJD (what would Jesus do) in response to statements like these? Check it out.

The struggles of our youth to stay in the faith remain top stories as a result of our report last week that 66% of our college youth fail to follow through with their strong spirituality from high school.

And let's talk about Generation-Y (teens from grades 6-12). New studies show a very strong spirituality in this age group with 65 percent say they pray to God regularly. While this number shows a generation that is truly running after God, the problem is that this same generation is portraying itself much differently on its MySpace accounts as our featured article shows. Have you seen your teen's accounts?

The solution to these difficulties, however, seems to hit closer to home than we think as the article "Parents: The most effective youth ministry" asserts.

And parents are also the focus of "Where have all the padres gone?" as the article tries to explain the declining number of priests in this generation. This article further explains why having a priest for a son is really not as bad as many parents think it is.

"Young and old, we all feel inadequate. This is firstly because we are so few in comparison with the many needs and we come from different backgrounds." This was the lament an older priest made to Pope Benedict in the open forum, free-flowing style of discussion this Pope is becoming quite famous for. The Pope answered the question without cue cards, straight from the heart.
And we bring you the story of a very talented young man - the webmaster of the Archdiocese of Vancouver - who has decided to turn off his computer and embrace God’s silence in the ascetic solitude of an "eremite," a hermit who seeks God. I was blessed to have met him last month during my visit to the Archdiocese.

We also have some very interesting faith-filled articles starting with "Confession - the most difficult Sacrament." "Does the real presence of Jesus remain in the Eucharist when consumed by non-believers?" will enlighten you more about God's gift of Himself to us.

In "If any would be first," Fr. Cantalamesa explains why it is possible to want to be first and why Jesus, in fact, encourages it. This should be suggested reading for the members of the 2006 Forbes 400. For the first time in its history, every member of this exclusive list has an individual net worth of well above $1 billion.

In Catholic News, Spain’s Socialist government has decided to eliminate its long-standing subsidy to the Catholic Church. From Calgary, Canada, comes the news that Catholic schools there will stop using bingo and casino fundraisers within the next year.

In LIFE AND YOUTH stories, a youth event is gaining momentum across the country as the 16th annual "See you at the Pole" event drew over 100,000 students last Sept. 21 to flagpoles in schools all over the country to celebrate Jesus.

And it seems Corporate America has discovered the consumer drawing power of Christian music as companies like Suzuki, Chevrolet, McDonalds and Disney sign deals to aggressively promote Christian music. "The Perfect Cry" is just one such band that's bringing Christian music to new levels. This Catholic band is rocking coffee houses and clubs in the Los Angeles area when they are not playing their regular gig: Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's in Long Beach, CA.

GET INSPIRED! "PSALM 23 - A fresh reflection for today's world," "Hospital Ministry" by Kathi Scarpace are wonderful articles to get you going. As well as this story we have about a man who, at 101 years old, still walks every day to his local Catholic church for Mass.

And finally, here's a special treat for you music fans out there. You have to see this simply stunning performance by a young virtuoso as he plays George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on his ukelele! Yup, you read right, his ukelele. Watch the video here.

And how was your week? May you have a blessed and happy week ahead of you.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Is Catholicism at a Crossroad?" & other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is the Communion of Saints?"
It's part of the Apostle's Creed, but do you know what it means? Share your thoughts with us. Post a comment today.

FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: "Have Fun When You Can" by Bo Sanchez

Dear Friends,

Hollywood and Pope Benedict's misunderstood remarks in Germany are the top stories this week.

First the good news. The company that brought TV viewers racy and irreverent programs such as "Nip/Tuck," "Temptation Island" and "The Simpsons" has found religion. In the biggest commitment of its sort by a Hollywood studio, Fox Films unveiled plans today to produce and release up to 12 films a year - all of them aimed at the massive Christian audience that made "The Passion of the Christ" a global phenomenon.

And now the not so good news. The Pope's remarks in Germany last week has resulted in a Muslim backlash in capitals all over the world. Some Muslim groups have accepted the Pope's explanantion. But others have not. A radical Islamic group even called for a world-wide Day of Hate for today, Friday, Sept. 22, 2006. We have an article that tackles "Islam's unreasonable war against Pope Benedict XVI." Another writer ponders this question, "Is Catholicism at a Crossroad?" And yet another dissects the situation calling it "God's Strange Act."

In Rome, the Romans are worried as Muslim threats rattle their city. While in Somalia, a 79 year old nun - who was shot to death in what some say is a reaction to the Pope's remarks - reportedly died whispering the words, "I forgive, I forgive."

All this has not stopped the Pope from spreading God's message. He preached this week that Jesus excludes no one from his loving embrace because he came especially to save sinners and social outcasts. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household, also posed this reflective question to us all, "Who is Jesus for you?"

In other stories, we answer a question about whether Catholic cathedrals can be used as venues for non-liturgical music. And we report on a vanishing fixture in our Catholic schools: Catholic nuns.

In other Catholic News, the Vatican this week opened its secret vaults that hold papers dealing with its role in World War II. In Indonesia comes the news that three Catholics convicted of leading a mob that killed Muslims were executed by a police firing squad in Indonesia. From Hong Kong we have the story that Chinese Catholic youth can now study Catechism via the internet. This opens the floodgates of evangelization to millions of Chinese in mainland China.

And in U.S. political news, Sen. John Kerry talked to a crowd in Malibu, CA this week about his loss - and eventual renewal - of the Catholic faith. Critics, however, say he was just fishing for Catholic votes. We bring you both sides of the story.

GET INSPIRED with the story of a 9/11 survivor who saw the airliner approaching the window to his office before it came crashing in. And he miraculously survived to tell the story. "Proud To Be Catholic" is a great reflection by Kathi Scarpace. So is "Prayers from a Deserted Island."

In YOUTH and LIFESTYLE stories, Wash for Life, a new national organization based out of Washington D.C., has taken the concept of a fund-raising car wash and turned it toward pro-life issues. Over 179 youth groups from 38 states participated Sept. 16 in a variety of car washes to raise funds for the worthy cause.

Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu - a Catholic - is not an NFL superstar who happens to be a man of faith. Rather, in his heart, he is simply "a Christian with a passion for Jesus." Read his story. If back to school for your child means back to losing homework and forgetting their soccer gear at home, you're not alone. Organizing expert Elizabeth Mayhew offers tips for tackling teenage clutter.

And this coming week on Wordnet TV's "Power of Love," Fr. Mike Manning hosts Msgr. Jerry Lopez, Chancelor of the Diocese of San Bernardino, as they discuss what members of our Church heirarchy do every day. Tune in to TBN on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8:30 a.m. PST.

Another busy week in our Catholic World. May you have a blessed week ahead of you.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Thursday, September 14, 2006

DOES GOD WANT YOU TO BE RICH and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "DOES GOD WANT YOU TO BE RICH?" Simple yes or no. We know you have an opinion about that. Think it over. And then join the fun and post your comments.

FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: "Religion is a virtue, Believe me." An interesting discussion that stems from a reader's comment that being "saved" is not a matter of religious affiliation.

Dear friends,

This week 9-11 was in the news. It was an attack that shook our faith's foundations. Where was God? Why did God allow them to happen? Five years later, we ask ourselves, "Can we forgive 9/11?" We also bring you the story of a Catholic hero of flight 93 who, before dying in the crash, told his wife he believed God had a message for him. We bring you that message here.

And was Pope Benedict busy this week visiting his German homeland. Since becoming Pope, he has become one of the most beloved popes ever. The crowds, journalists and security detail accompanying him during his Bavarian visit rival those of a travelling pop star's.

And he has been preachin non-stop.In Munich, he warns that secular society is becoming deaf to God and is losing touch with reality. On another occasion he invited the faithful to rediscover the beauty of family prayer. At yet another venue, he preached, " Man is not the chance result of Evolution." And on Ecumenism, he cited the three keys to making progress as "confession" of Christ, witness and love.

And all this action and more was constantly monitored by a young Catholic blogger from Pennsylvania who has lately been making waves with his daily report on the Pope. The word is, even the Pope himself reads Rocco Palmo's daily blogs. We bring you this report via a live streaming audio.

ParishWorld blogger Jeri Westerson continues her dissertation on the Old Testament with the story of Abram and Sarai. If you haven't been following her blog series, you have to see her explain how people can better understand the Bible from a Catholic point of view.

In the news, a new study reports that an alarming 60% of our 20-something youths are failing to translate their teen spirituality to their adult lives. That's enough cause for a serious dicussion on the issue. In the business world, a company is actually using Catholic Church teachings as their guide post in investing their money and they're gaining good success!

From Utah, a report shows how Latinos - now 78% of the state's Catholic population - are changing the church landscape there. And elsewhere in the U.S., a group is suing the federal government over grant money that went to a marriage counseling center which promotes Christian family values.

GET INSPIRED! "Becoming the Eyes, Hands, Feet, Heart and Voice of Jesus" is the wonderful story of a youth group that took over a soup kitchen in low-income Aberdeen, WA and the lessons they took home with them. "Spiritual Tightropes" explores the challenges people in church ministry face as they try to balance their missionary work and the needs of their own families.

"To All the Kids Who Survived the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's," we have this story for you. "Jimmy's Handwritten Letter from Heaven," "Life is short," and "People come into your life for a reason," are all stories that will tug at your heartstrings.

In Youth and Lifestyle, we kick off things with a Catholic teen band who's drawing crowds to their local church by re-arranging pop songs with Christan lyrics. The Monkees "I'm a Believer" becomes "I'm a Christian Believer!" and more. And a contestant in the hit reality TV show Apprentice 5 is so fired up about his line of Christian apparel that he donates part of his proceeds to Catholic Pro-Life charities.

If you're in the Santa Monica, CA area this weekend, Sept. 15-16, try to make it to the First Annual "Leading with Passion" Music and Worship Festival! Keynote speakers and Catholic musicians like Jessie Manibusan ad Paul Harrigan will be leading the crowds.

And in the year 2025, will it matter if people can't read? This article that we have postulates that question in light of the developing multimedia environment of the future. Take a peek into the near future. Check out this story.

And how was your week? May you have a wonderful and blessed week to come.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor

Saturday, September 9, 2006

It's the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Tell us what you think. Join the hearty discourse on this weekly blog. If you feel too shy to post your name, you can always sign it Anonymous.

FEATURED BLOG: "You can choose to be happy" by Bo SanchezWIN A FREE IPOD! Just subscribe FREE to ParishWorld before Sept. 15 and you qualify to join a raffle for a FREE iPod. Join now.

Dear Friends,

“People know whether we’re putting on a show or are in conversation with God.” These powerful words were spoken by Pope Benedict this week to a group of priests in the diocese of Albano, Italy. He engaged them spontaneously on how to celebrate Mass well and many other matters relating to being good pastors. This is a super article.

He also said this week that the Catholic Church will survive all tests as it has always done over the last 2000 years. And while confirming the importance of inter-religious prayer meetings, he clarified guidelines on respecting the various religious traditions.

The mystery of substantiation is discussed in "Jesus gives himself to us," a powerful piece about the Holy Eucharist. And when was the last time that you turned your mind to the celebration of the Virgin Mary's birthday? You might have to think about that question a little bit because today, Sept. 8, is the day the Catholic Church celebrates her birthday.

"Catholic school teachers are special people," says a noted speaker who adds that children in our schools experience love and learn to their full potential. We also have an inspiring story about an Italian volunteer who has spent over 30 years of her life helping the people of Somalia.

With the 2006 elections heating up political discussions in the U.S., we take a look at the concept of democracy from a Christian point of view. In Europe, Catholic politicians have united to counteract anti-Catholic sentiment in European political environments. In Mexico, the Catholic and pro-life Felipe Calderon has been installed as the country's new president. And from the Philippines, a new e-bible was recently released to make the word of God more accessible to an ever-increasing digital society.

GET INSPIRED! A 6th grader battling cyctic fibrosis had one wish: to graduate from his Catholic middle school that was being shut down. His story inspired so many people, they raised $260,000 to stay open. "T-Bone Steak and Yellow Roses" and "A Tale of Two Cities" are two stories that will move you in their respective ways. And we tell you how a friendly discussion about "The Apostolic Church" between a Catholic and his Episcopalian friend changed minds and hearts.

In LIFESTYLE, Newsweek's "The New First Grade: Too Much Too Soon?" explores how our society may be pushing today's first graders a bit too early and too hard. "What Have We Done? " is a candid commentary on the sad state of sports and its heroes from a Christian point of view. And "Make your phone...100% Catholic" by Catholic Mobile just might be the answer for busy Catholics who want to keep God at the center of their lives.

Several weeks ago, we launched Youth Ministry Blogs for all the parishes in our ParishWorld family. And it is amazing to see how the young people have responded, eagerly sharing their strong spirituality with the rest of us. So, we decided to feature two of these youth blogs in this week's issue: "We are the Church of Now," from St. Christopher in Moreno Valley, CA and "Broken into Pieces" from St. Edwards in Corona, CA.

Wordnet's "The Power of Love with Fr. Mike Manning" airs on Sept. 13, 8:30 am PST, on TBN with "NetSurf4Life," a conversation with the founder of, the only pro-life internet search engine in the world.

It was another busy and blessed week in the Catholic world. Don't forget to greet our Blessed Mother a "Happy Birthday!" today. And may you have a great weekend.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Friday, September 1, 2006

"Catholic Theology does not endorse Creationist views" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is Passion? Is it Good or Bad? Dig deep into your heart and tell us what you feel about this question. Share your thoughts with us. If you feel too shy to post your name, you can sign it anonymous.

Featured Blog: "Today I saw God the warmth of true friendship" by Wally Arida

Win a FREE iPod! That's right. An iPod Nano could be yours and you do not have to buy anything! All subscribers from now until Sept 15 get included in a raffle for a FREE iPod. Just like that. Tell your friends about it. Subscribe to ParishWorld.

Evolution and Family seems to be the dominant story of the Catholic world this week.

How's this for starters: Unlike the fundamentalist Protestant view that God created the world in six days as described in the Book of Genesis, "Catholic theology does not endorse creationist views." This teaching was shared by the Theologian organizer of the "student circle" of religious thinkers that brainstormed this week with Pope Benedict about about God and evolution. And this is the very same theme that ParishWorld blogger Jeri Westerson covers in her weekly blog, "Taking the mystery out of Bible history."

Over on on the Darwinian Theory spectrum, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn asks, "If Evolution is science rather than ideology let it be debated in schools." He hopes that the shorcomings of Darwin's theory could one-day be discussed freely in schools. The Vatican also criticized this week the newly developed stem cell procedure - one that that does not destroy the human embryo - saying "it is still manipulation."

Family was a hot topic this week beginning with a reflection by the preacher of the pontifical household on last Sunday's readings, where St. Paul asked husbands to love their wives and wives to be submissive to their husbands. On the relationships between parents and children, the Pope made examples of St. Monica and St Augustine for youth who go down 'wrong roads' and 'dead ends.'" Still on this topic, a new study warns that children today are spending too much time watching TV and not enough time in family interaction. Maybe it's because American parents are not spending enough time with their kids as they become fast members of the "The Cult of the Busy."

As school season starts, we have an article that takes a dig at parents to be better models for the young. Plus we have a story that tells parents to reject the offensive messages on the t-shirts that your chidren are buying for back-to-school.

We also have the gutsy story of a California parish that's actually doing something so radical, it's causing an uproar among parents- a positive uproar. The parish this week initiated a 7-day class that's required for all parents of children enrolling in their Religious Education program. Over 400 parents willingly enrolled in the classes. Now that's taking faith formation to the heart of the home.

In political news, it seems religious voters could doom the hopes of Democrats at the November 2006 US elections. And the Vatican is getting into the mix with this advice to conservatives, "Do not miss the forest for the trees," as it points out the key issues of "Life" that are non-negotiable.

In Catholic News, Turkmenistan is a country of 5 million people with ony 64 Catholics but the local priest say their faith is strong. In Vietnam, a Bishop told a gathering of 60,000 young people that they have the right to join the Communist Party provided their faith is not threatened. In Uganda, Catholics bishops are worried about foreign ideologies and practices which are being imported into the country.

In the Philipines, its Catholic bishops came to the defense of women as cases of domestic abuse and violence rise. From China comes the news that the government has released a bishop that has been in jail for 10 years signalling a possible mending of relations with the Vatican. And from the 2006 Great New York State Fair, the unthinkable happened this week: the fair hosted a Catholic Mass as a big part of its activities last Sunday.

GET INSPIRED. From the 2005 Katrina deluge comes this touching story of a 75 year old deacon and his wife who were "kept alive by God's hands." Bo Sanchez brings home another weekly winner with "GOD IS A HAPPY GOD." "The Doll and The Rose" and "Can You Sleep While the Wind Blows?" are two tales that will definitely inspire you.

Headed off to college? We have the list of 'Stone-Cold Sober Schools' and Christian Colleges top the list. Plus we reveal the least religious college campus in the USA.

And don't miss next Wednesday's episode of TBN's "The Power of Love" at 8:30 am. "Lights, Camera, a Priest" airs Sept. 6 and it will teach you how to appreciate movies through the lens of faith.

Another eventful and blessed week in the Catholic world. May God continue to bless you during the new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"What is a 'Just War' from the Catholic perspective?" & other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is Faith?" This is not an intellectual exercise. We are not looking for left-brained answers this week. But the simplicity of the question may stun you, so think it over. And let us know what you think. Post your comments today.

FEATURED BLOG: "Why We Babble" (Gen 11) by Jeri Westerson takes the history out of the story of the Tower of Babel.

Pope Benedict XVI had a lot to say this week. First, he postulated that human beings experience the anxiety of constant search and that only "God meets the rational search of Man." He also referred to the the Apostle John as the Theologian who "proclaims With radiant insight That 'God Is Love.'" And as a further followup to his discourse on John, Pope Benedict said the Apostle John's objective in writing the Book of Revelation is to unveil, "from the death and resurrection of Christ, the meaning of human history."

His office likewise touched on Ecumenism saying "If the division of Christians, says Vatican II, openly contradicts the will of Christ, it is a scandal for the world and harms the most holy cause of the preaching of the Gospel."

With the conflicts in the Middle East causing our politicians to undertake wars in our name, it's time we take a look at the "Just War Theory" from a Catholic point of view. Along this thought trend, it seems that Muslims who desert the Islamic faith and convert to Christianity are becoming some of the most serious victims of the conflict.

And speaking of wars, meet a Catholic priest whose ministry includes dodging bullets. He is Fr. Jim Danner, the Catholic U.S. Pacific Fleet Chaplain. Back on the state side, fewer U.S. priests are resulting in more and more parishes being run by lay people who - although they can not be called "pastors"- are doing everything a pastor does except the sacramental roles.

As things continue to evolve in our Catholic world, it becomes more critical that our teachers and catechists learn to hone their skills at navigating the media culture from the faith perspective. A Media Literacy Course set for teachers and catechists has been announced by the Pauline Center for Media Studies. Check out the program.

We ran across a web site that features miracles from the time of Jesus as well as from modernity. It's published by the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelization. It's an interesting read. Immigration was in the news this week as studies show 42% of all legal immigrants to the U.S are Catholics. And so this question begs to be asked, "Is the Catholic Church pro-immigrant?" You bet! We also found out that Catholic-run centers are swamped with immigrants eager to learn the English language. And as expected, a new study says the Catholic Church is the key in integrating Mexicans into the U.S. culture. And we also found out this week, that while the Catholic population in the U.S. has dipped, it has grown worldwide.

Elsewhere in the news, President Bush's action may have caused him the Catholic voter base when he approved the over-the-counter sale of the Morning After Pill. This came on the heels of the release of the "2006 Catholic Voter's Guide" that identifies five “non-negotiable” issues that should take precedence when Catholics are deciding how to vote. A U.S. town with deep Christian roots and traditions is fighting efforts to remove a painting of the "Head of Jesus" in its school. But on the plus side, a group that is spearheading efforts to promote the use of a Bible textbook in public schools seem to be making good headway.

GET INSPIRED! "A Call for Balance in Our Lives" by Paul Dion, STL, is a wonderful reflection on the Gospel of Matthew 19:16-22. "STOP FOR DIRECTIONS" by Bo Sanchez ask you what the hurry is and urges you slow down. A preacher wisely points out that "Prayer is a dialogue, not a Shakesperean monologue." And a priest follows his dreams to a small parish and the challenge they faced when "Katrina" evacuees start pouring in fom the Gulf.

Have you heard of Wordnet TV's "Power of Love?" Fr. Mike Manning, SVD, hosts this talk show every Wednesday, 8:30 am, on TBN. On August 30, he tackles "Human Traficking" with Namju Cho from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery/Traficking. Check them out on your local cable network or click here to watch a streaming video of the show.

And come Sept. 1-3, imagine 12,000 young adults packed to the rafters at the Anaheim Convention Center, each one of them on-fire with the Holy Spirit. It's the 35th annual convention of the Southern California Renewal Communities, the largest of its kind in North America. Join them for an entire weekend of worsip, music, seminars and everything else that's Catholic. If you haven't been to one of these, it's time you experienced it.

Another busy and blessed week for Catholics everywhere. Enjoy your weekend and stay in the spirit. God bless.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Friday, August 18, 2006

"How do you know if your Catholic parish a 'good' one?" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is more important, to believe in God or to believe in the Church? If you've thought of this before, you have an opinion. If this is a new question, thank God that you are getting a chance to delve into your conscience about it. Tell us what you think.

What an exciting issue we have for you this week! The Catholic world was buzzing all week and we're here to get you in the loop.

Let's start with Pope Benedict who gave a no-holds-barred interview to a German TV station. Why? “So that We Can See that Believing Is Beautiful.” He craftily steered through pointed questions from an obviously biased media and come out on top. And during the Feast of the Assumption, he reminded the world that Mother Mary knew God alone can satisfy the individual's thirst for truth and happiness.

ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion, STL, continues his insightful look into the hearts of Catholics, challenging them that ours is not just a "Roman Catholic Paper Chase." Read this, you just may find yourself in the story. We also have a great article that reflects on what Protestant evangelicals and devout Roman Catholics have in common. It is Christ as God who is the foundation upon which we both base our entire lives.

And how do you gauge if your Catholic parish is a good one? By growth? By the warm fuzzies you feel when you go? Check out this story. Also, ParishWorld blogger Kathi Scarpace looks into parish life with "Risky Business." She finds out that growth, after all, is not really that bad.

We have an incredible article about the saga of American nuns and the dire plight many of their elderly face today. We also found out this week that a new breed of Catholic college has opened in San Diego. John Paul the Great Catholic University's unique approach aims to graduate students with strong faith beliefs and put them in the fields of media and media technology where they can have a tremendous future impact. What a great concept!

And it seems like another actor would like to follow in Ronald Reagan's step and become President of the United States. Michael Moriarty of "Law & Order" fame - a Catholic - is running in 2008. Hear his thoughts in this interview. And do you remember Archbishop Fulton Sheen from the old black and white Catholic TV shows of the 1950s? A recent miraculous healing attributed to him may just put him on a faster track to sainthood. If he is canonized, he becomes the first native-born American to become a saint.

In other news, a gracious donor in Hawaii left $1 million of her estate to Catholic Charities. In Malaysia, a court is set to rule whether its citizens will be allowed to convert away from Islam. In India, a local bishop has warned Catholics there that it is a sin to refuse God's gift of children. From Indonesia comes the news that the Pope had successfully intervened to pospone the execution of three people.

While in China, the persecution continues as a bishop, a priest and 90 Catholics were arrrested and tortured by the Chinese government. And in Africa, bishops have warned priests not to moonlight as witch doctors and rely on Christ instead.

In LIFE ISSUES, we found a new pro-life internet search engine that donates money to pro-life charities every time someone uses its service. Try out And finally after three months of record-breaking heat waves, college student pro-life walkers arrive in Washington DC to complete their three month coast-to-coast mission of Life.

BE INSPIRED by Fr. Chales Smith's story of perseverence as he ministered to a violent Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who was born Catholic. In the end, a crying McVeigh asked, "Fr. Charles, can I still get to heaven?" We also bring you the story of how young people are helping put roofs over the heads of the homeless through "Habitat Homies."

And here's more. Another wonderful story called "AVOID POTHOLES BY TAKING HUMPS" from the poignant Bo Sanchez and a truly riveting piece called ""JUST CHECKING IN" will surely touch your spirituality. And see why the hero of the new "World Trade Center" movie says his Catholic faith saved him from a 9/11 death.

In LIFESTYLE, it's "Cruisin' with the Word!" Seven days of God and leisure on the high seas and it leaves San Diego on Nov. 25. Join Wordnet TV and Fr. Mike Manning aboard Holland America’s MS Oosterdam for a great vacation with God.

And if money is tight, there are ways you can go on your dream cruise for free. We show you how. And if you are looking for a car, there's a vehicle for you no matter your lifestyle. Check out "You are what you drive!"

We told you it was another busy and event-filled week for Catholics everywhere. May you have a great and blessed weekend. God bless you and your family.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Friday, August 11, 2006

"Why do Catholics believe in Purgatory?" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Is Religion for the weak of heart and mind?" What do you think? We would really love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment today.

NEW THIS WEEK: Our Sunday Homily is now available in both English and Spanish.

Tuesday, August 15, is the feast of the Asumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - a holy day of obligation for Catholics. In this issue, you will find a historical account that traces this teaching of the Catholic Church to the earliest centuries of Christianity. We also bring you several other related stories and meditations about the Virgin Mary.

We all believe in Purgatory because the Church teaches us that it is a reality. Now comes this question from a Catholic asking, "Why?" ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion, STL, goes deep into the Scripture, Tradition and Church doctrine to explain it. He also delivers another wonderful article about the saints and our proclivity as Catholics to name our children after them.

"I was born Catholic and I am going to die Catholic" is an interesting exchange that actually happened just this week between a "cultural" Catholic woman and the RCIA instructor of the woman's husband who is converting from Southern Baptist to Catholic. Great stuff.

"PARISH HERMITS" by ParishWorld blogger Kathi Scarpace touches on the harsh reality of a dying parishioner she has been visiting. And we have a very touching first-person story about a family that fell upon hard times into homelessness. "HOMELESS" By Judy Ann Eichstedt will change the way you look at our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

The face of youth ministers is changing. Youth ministers and directors today have more education, are staying in their positions longer and are being paid more than they were a decade ago.

Why don't teens pray more? And why is it that teens are more scared to praise God when their friends are around? We have a story that explores this further. And a study released this week asserts that teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs. Do you know what music your children are listening to in their iPods?

From Lebanon, a local Catholic youth choir defies the hostility of war and spreads joy by singing to the young displaced war victims in the refugee camps. While in Chico, CA a Catholic activist prays for compassion as she presents an exhibit of 85 panels, including poems, photographs and other items relating to the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Catholic Church faces a crisis of immense proportion and the clock is ticking. Tens of thousands of U.S. nuns are over age 70. Spending for their care in 2005 alone was $926 million. Compare this with the $499 million received over the last 18 years from annual special parish collections to aid them and the massive shortfall is evident.

With the 2006 and 2008 national elections looming, we have an opinion piece that bets the Democrats will have a hard time turning righteous indignation and dissatisfaction into votes. Why? Religion – or the Democrats’ lack thereof – may be the answer. And EWTN celebrates its 25th anniversary. It now bills itself as the largest religious media network in the world.

In LIFE ISSUES, the day many ethicists have long feared has arrived. A U.S. “embryo bank” has begun to process made-to-order babies with specific genetic traits requested by the potential parents. And sadly, the FDA has reached a deal to allow manufacturers to sell the "morning-after pill" over-the-counter to any woman over the age of 18.

GET INSPIRED. Read the stirring story of an ex-con who works toward opening a boxing gym with a Catholic businessman's help. Bo Sanchez delivers another winner with "DO WHAT LOVE DEMANDS." By the way, Bo starts his US and Canada speaking tour in Richmond, BC, Canada on August 12. Click here to see when he is coming to your city.

In LIFESTYLE, an estimated 20,000 Catholics rocked in Cleveland last weekend at the "The Fest," a Catholic rock concert sponsored by their Diocese. For those of you with children in college, you face pitfalls - including jail time - on your path to financial aid if you fiddle with your financial information. And we present the Top 100 pro-Catholic movies of all time. See if your favorite movies made it to the top ten.

Finally, we just could not pass up this joke that talks about a contest between Jesus and Satan to determine who was a better computer whiz. The punch line is a definite winner.

Another exciting week for Catholics all over the world. Have a blessed and exciting weekend. And don't forget to go to Mass on Tuesday, August 15, the feast of the Assumption.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Friday, August 4, 2006

"DID I MARRY THE RIGHT PERSON?" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Is Divorce a sin, according to the Catholic Church?" Let us know what you think. Post a comment, any comment. And next week, we will post what the Church really teaches.

A NEW BLOG DEBUTS! "Today I saw God..." is a compilation of a young adult's reflections on how and where God manifests Himself in our daily lives. This blog will touch your lives spiritually. Click here and share with us how and where you experienced God today.

We start off this week's edition with a question that I'm sure has popped in many a married couple's minds at some point over the span of their marriage: "How do I know if I married the right person?" This article will make you look at your relationships from a different light. Also this week, we debut a new blog by Jeri Westerson, If Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were the first people, how did Cain find a a wife when he was banished from the Garden of Eden? Jeri's debut blog, "Genesis - An introduction that takes the mystery out of the Bible," explains this.

Who is the Pope? Why is a Pope Important? We explain the Papacy and its role from both a scriptural and social point of view. And speaking of the Pope, Benedict XVI takes on the new Socialist Spanish government and their new anti-family, anti-life policies. We also take a look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation (that's Confession for you who were raised in the Pre-Vatican II days). It has emerged from the days of dark confessionals into the light in today's churches.

In Bolivia, newly elected President Evo Morales has backed off a proposal to remove Roman Catholic instruction from Bolivia's schools. In China, hundreds of Chinese police clashed with 5000 Christians who were desperately trying to save their church from destruction.

In Orlando, FL, thousands of Knights of Columbus members garthered for their international convention in plumed, 19th-century hats, colorful capes, sashes and swords. They represented over 1.7 million members from all over the world. While over in San Diego, 5000 youths jammed the city last weekend for prayer and worship during the annual Steubenville Youth Conference. And World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia is looming to be a monster event with over 25,000 people expected from the US alone. Better start making your travel plans.

Can you imagine a natural history museum that's inspired by the Bible and the literal interpretation that contends God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them just a few thousand years ago. $25M is being spent to build it in Kentucky. And do you remember shock rocker Alice Cooper? He has found God! Alice is spending $3M to build a Christian rock center in Phoenix, AZ. God does work in mysterious ways.

A pro-life Democrat challenges all pro-lifers to take a pro-life stand on other issues. It's not just abortion you know. More Life news as the FDA re-opens its attmpts to make the Morning-After abortion pill available over the counter. And an Argentine Catholic University has offered to adpot the unborn child of a handicapped woman to keep her family from pursuing its abortion.

In LIFESTYLE, ParishWorld blogger offers some very helpful tips on how to set up a Book Club at your own parish. We have the story of an elctrician who discovered a 118-year-old Bible in a dumpster. Now everyone wants it and he's not selling.

Did you know your cell phone is dirtier than the average toilet seat? And that 75% of obsese people say they eat a healthy diet? And what about the new study that shows deep breathing can do more to lower your blood pressure than reducing your salt intake? And here's one from the comic books: Scientist thinks invisibility is possible in the future. The Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman may just be on to something.

BE INSPIRED by the story of a beautiful couple who suffered the greatest trial imaginable - the death of their 5-year-old son who was crushed under the wheels of a car they themselves were driving. "When Life Seems Out Of Control," "SAY THANK YOU OFTEN by Bo Sanchez" and "God saved me" are other articles that will surely touch your lives this week.

And finally, we are excited to announce that Asia's top Catholic evangelist and ParishWorld blogger Bo Sanchez is coming to the USA and Canada for a series of FREE 'Power and Inspirational Concert' on August 12-29, 2006. Also appearing in this dynamic worship event is Arun Gogna, one of the the leading evangelist in the Philippines. God has been using this dynamic team of preachers to bless millions of people all over the world in powerful ways. It's your turn! Don't miss the spiritual event of the year that will refresh, restore and fire up your life for God. Check out their road schedule here.

Another exciting and blessed week in our Catholic world.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Publisher and Editor in Chief