Thursday, March 16, 2006

St. Patrick's Day, the legacy of Irish priests, the Da Vinci Code, spam mail, avian flu, media and the Church and more

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Get into the green spirit. Try out the Irish recipes we have lined up for you. And then get into the real spirit of the holiday with this article about the real St. Patrick and why he should be honored not just by the Irish but by all down-trodden people everywhere.

And this being an Irish holiday, let's not forget the sacrifices of the thousands of Irish priests who serve our American Catholic communities today. Did you know that becoming a priest in Ireland during the turn of the 20th century was so honorable that that mothers draped their infants in black diapers hoping they would become priests someday? Wow!

Lent offers us "40/40 vision - that's 40 days to care and share in 40 days of Lent." Check out the great article. And why can't we eat chicken instead of just fish during Lent? And why do we genuflect and when should we do it? We have the answers.

Feeling down lately? Reflect on this, "Our only guarantee is the love of the Father and the mercy of Jesus." This meditation given last week to members of the Papal household is the same message guiding all those in RCIA as they prepare to become Catholics this Easter.

But despite this guarantee, "the Church today is confronted more by indifference and practical unbelief," a loss of faith - not just among Catholics as noted by Vatican scholars - that induces people to live "as if God did not exist." Read up on the issues of "unbelief" and "bad belief," and how the media can play a role in it.

So, where is Jesus speaking today so that we can hear him? He speaks to us above all through our conscience. But conscience is not enough on its own. It is easy to make it say what we like to hear. Thus it needs to be illuminated and supported by the Gospel and the teaching of the Catholic Church. It's the same Church that Pope Benedict reminds us this week as "inseparable from Christ, despite the sins of the people who make up the church."

And here comes The Da Vinci Code. While waiting for the main feature to start at a moviet heater recently, two Catholics were stunned to see people roar in approval and stand to applaud an anti-Catholic trailer for the Da Vinci Code movie. Understandably, the Church is bracing for this onslaught with its own coordinated efforts to counter the misinformation.

Do you know anyone with Down Syndrome? It's a major challenge to raise these special-needs babies but the number of prospective adoptive parents waiting to adopt them is on the rise. See why the waiting list is getting longer. Here's more. In Spain, where gay marriages are now legal, the government has replaced the legal word for Mother and Father as "Progenitor A and Progenitor B." Unbelievable. But there's hope. In the Philippines, its Catholic president said this week she will fight all efforts to legalize abortion and divoce in her country.

On the Lifestyle front, we know you've received those well meaning Christian chain letters by email and probably even forwarded a few yourself. I like their messages, but I have to admit I hate it when they come with the threat of misfortune should you break the chain. I guess I'm not alone. See what people are saying about them. And ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion exhorts us to "Cry, cry, cry and be happy!"

Suffering from body aches? We help you pinpoint whether you're sufering from regular household flu or the dreaded avia flu. More great news about olive oil for all you cholesterol watchers out there. And we have a true story about a lady in Norway who thought God had performed a miracle when she turned on her kitchen faucet to see beer coming out from it instead of water.

These and more await you in this issue. Over 60 articles about all kinds of topics to keep you inspired, blessed, entertained and amused. All yours to enjoy.

So kick back, relax and enjoy everything we have prepared for you. And don't forget to send this to all your friends and offer them their FREE ParishWorld subscriptions. Enjoy your weekend!

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief

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