Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Easter to All!

It's Spring Break! It's the begining of spring! It's Easter Sunday!

Let us welcome the thousands of new Catholics who join our fold this Easter Sunday after completing the RCIA program. Check out "Lotsa Religion, How Much Faith?" a pointed Easter -related article from ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion.

To the secular world, Easter may be a time of candy, colored eggs and Easter bunnies. But for us Christians, Easter is what our faith is all about. The Catholic Church devotes eight days of worship begining with Easter Sunday to retell the Resurrection narratives. Check out the rich history of the Christian celebration of the Holy Week in this week's issue.

It's a time to personally converse with God through the sacrament of Reconciliation. At the Vatican, Pope Benedict led over 60 priests in personally hearing confession from the thousands of Catholics who came. He reminded all Catholics, young and old, that happiness depends on a personal encounter and friendship with Jesus.

Also at the Vatican, A Cardinal urged Catholics to be more reverent during Mass and to venerate the Eucharist properly. He reminds us all, "People go to Mass to pray, not to be entertained."

See how the Catholic Church is striving to revitalize the faith in homegenuous Japan, in communist Cuba, and England. And see how Asia has turned the tables on Europe and North America. It now sends more missionaries than it receives from the North in a phenomenon called "reverse missionary work."

Conscience and politics are front and center once again. U.S. Catholic politicians are reminded that the crucial factor in their decision making is not fidelity to one's chosen moral principles, but rather fidelity to the moral principles given to us by God. A case in point is the abortion issue as advocates in Congress introduce a measure that would legalize unlimited abortion and overturn key pro-life laws. In the immigration debate, the moral question is, how do members of the Body of Christ welcome immigrants and regulate immigration in a way that is both legal and moral?

The Gospel of Judas made it into the news this week. A biblical scholar warned that the media is not exactly telling the whole story behind it. We also bring you the complete truth about Opus Dei, the Catholic organization that has been severely maligned by writer Dan Brown in The Da vinci Code. And see how Christians can "make lemonade out of the Da Vinci lemon" when the movie comes out in May.

Catholicism is alive and well! In Major League Baseball? First baseman Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals, a five-time All Star, is a very devout Catholic who is but one of many in pro baseball. And here's another one. She was a stunning actress who starred opposite Elvis Presley in two movies. Then she decided to become a nun. Forty three years later, she's now the superior of her order. Check out her story.

If you have "tweeners" kids (aged 9 to 13) a new bible has been released just for them. It's called Bible for Young Catholics.

We Christians continue to flex our economic muscle. In the music scene, expect to see more Gospel-friendly music. Recording studios are begining to realize that the church-going demographic is a huge untapped market. Country legend Kenny Rogers addresses the sorrow felt by many men after they lose a child to abortion, in the title track of his new album, Water and Bridges.

Several inspiring tales will delight you this week. "Family," "Daddy's Empty Chair," "Christian is not an Adjective," and "Take my Son" are great stories that will inspire you and touch you heart. Feel free to share them with your family and friends.

Enjoy your Easter weekend. God bless.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida

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