Have we got a busy issue of ParishWorld for you this first weekend of Lent.
The Holy Father talks about Lenten Rites, such as the imposition of the ashes and the "stations," and how they have maintained their significance over the centuries. He reminds us that the Christian life is a ceaseless struggle against evil.
Pope Benedict XVI also urges our youth to read the scriptures and "build your life on Christ, to accept the word with joy and put its teachings into practice." In the US, however, studies reveal many of our church-going American teens are marginal believers in historic Christianity. Why? The answers strike closer to home than you think.
During this season of fasting, a Benedictine father suggests we observe Lent by abstaining from radio, TV, telephone and criticism of others. And how and exactly who determines when Lent starts? We have the answer.In Iraq, Catholics there have set up a donation drive to help rebuild the Islamic Samarra mosque that was damaged in sectarian violence last week, despite the violence launched against them. While in Europe, Italian leaders blame the “moral and spiritual crisis” in the continent for the confusion and fear over Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.
In Washington DC, a group of Democratic congressmen play politics with their Catholic faith by claiming "commitment to the basic principles at the heart of Catholic social teaching," but refusing to accept the Church's opposition to legal abortion. And so we ask: Are Democrats or Republicans really more in tune with the Catholic faith? Five prominent Catholic TV pundits from both sides of the political spectrum exchange their thoughts in this lively exchange.
We have the inspiring story of a world champion bass fisherman with a "little" disadvantage. He was born with no legs, no left arm and a right arm that reaches only to the elbow. Also this issue, we debut "No Crying at my Funeral," a blog by long-time Catholic Paul Dion.
In our Lifestyle section, find out how couples can avoid fighting over finances by following the advice we list from the pros. We report on the cancer-causing chemical in the most common soft drinks in the market. And take out the flour and eggs as we show you how to make fresh homemade pasta. It's easier than you think and definitely worth the effort.
TGIF, my friends. Have a blessed weekend.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
Publisher and Editor-in-chief