Friday, June 30, 2006

June Weddings and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Is it more effective to pray than to study the tenets of a religion when seeking a spiritual home community?"

June has always been a traditionally busy month for weddings. And you've probably had your share of them this month. "Hints for Happy Marriage" is a wonderful article that teaches couples how to bring God into their lives. Paul Dion reflects on church weddings today and how spirituality seem to have taken a back seat in in favor of the "bling."

What about the father of the bride? It can be quite an emotional roller coaster for him as told in a story we bring you this week. "How to be a good wedding guest" tells it as it is. And ever wondered how Nicole Kidman managed to re-marry in a Catholic church? We tell you how.

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict said this week that being Christian includes living out faith through charity. He reflected on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus saying it "attracts souls thirsting for God's mercy." He also highlighted the inseparable relationship that unites Christianity and Judaism when reflecting on the life of the Apostle James the Less.

Ever wondered why, in our profession of faith and creed, we don't profess our belief in the Real Presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist? Here's the answer.

In relation to world issues, the Vatican advised Christian and Muslim migrant workers around the world about need to support each other. To Mexico, he said, "Be open to the mystery of God's love," on the anniversary on the renewal of the country's consecration to the Sacred Heart. In India, the number of Catholics are up despite laws passed there recently that prohibits conversion to Catholicism. And all signs point to the U.S. seeing a coming boom in its Catholic population.

Are you Pro-Life or Pro-birth? There is a difference, you know. This article reflects upon it and explains the newly coined term: Christianism. Take Capital Punishment. Not very Christian? We have a blogger that thinks so, in apparent agreement with the President of the Philippines who presented Pope Benedict XVI with a new law that abolishes the death penalty in her country. In the U.S., the Supreme Court affirmed the right of citizens to display pro-life messages on their cars’ license plates.

We have an inspiring story of a young man who is walking across the country with his pro-life message. And a Vatican Cardinal expressed his fear that the Church could soon be brought before an iInternational court for its defense of Life and Family.

A controvery is brewing in Canada as a bishop challenges a local Catholic school board to stop immoral fundraising or lose the Catholic label. In Delaware, a Catholic high school struggles with a $1 million donation in exchange for naming a building for one of the state's most notorious families. And a Bishop urges Catholic teachers to "be Catholic to your fingertips."

Get inspired! Bo Sanchez says, "God will meet you where you are." I'm constantly amazed at Bo's ability to find God in our daily lives. "Calming the Storm" teaches us how to turn to God when dark clouds come. We have the story of a man whose career change saved his marriage. And check out these great tips in "How to stay young."

On the Lifestyle front, Sister Rose goes to the movies and says, "In rain, wind, and fire: Superman Returns!" Check out her review. We feature "Lobster: the king of summertime feasts." And we bring you the music of Jason Morant. He's young, hip and he's packing Christian music bred from New Orleans.

Another busy and interesting week in the Catholic universe.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Make God Your Home" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Check out this interesting question about certain culinary preferences.

The mystery of the Eucharist takes center stage this issue with last Sunday's feast of the Corpus Christi. New York Cardinal Edgar Egan used the feast as a chance to explain the meaning of some of the Church's central rituals. At the Vatican, Pope Benedict explained that the Eucharist is the secret to charity in the Church. He also called it "Bread From Heaven."

The Pope also explained that just as Sts. Peter and Andrew were brothers, the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are also sister churches. And in light of rash of women ordinations in the Episcopalian Church, a Cardinal explains the Catholic position on the matter. While another Cardinal explains Love when viewed through the eyes of Pope Benedict and his recent encyclical.

Pilgrims still flock to Medgugorje 25 years after the apparition and Church officials are still cautious about the authenticity of the events. In Las Vegas, a valedictorian thinks "God had bigger plans" when her microphone was turned off by school officials when she began mentioning God in her speech.

In New Orleans, Catholic schools have started using a tuition-free pre-kindergarten program to lure displaced by hurricane Katrina families back home. While in Delaware, a court upholds a Catholic school's firing of a pro-choice teacher. This event triggered a great editorial: "Let Them Discriminate! - Religious liberty in the classroom."

Globalization is in full swing but we are reminded this week that religious values are important in the process. And speaking of growth, it's projected that 1/3 of California's population by 2025 will be Catholics. And What about priests seen as CEOs? Yup, they're "Christ’s Employees Only."

On the Life front, Amnesty International is considering declaring abortion an international human right placing them in direct conflict with the Church, their long time ally in many issues. In Los Angeles, U.S. Bishops reaffirmed the Church’s support for adult stem-cell research and opposition to research that destroys human life.

They also reiterated that the decision to deny communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians is up to the local bishops. To prepare the nation for the 2006 elections, Priests for Life announced over the weekend that it is leading an 18-week prayer campaign leading up to the elections. And we answer some of the common questions about marriage and annulments.

Get inspired! A bunch of great articles await you this week starting with "Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude." A suffering mother finds out that "Friends are God's way of taking care of us." Evangelist Bo Sanchez explains how you can 'Make God your home."

Musician Paul Harrigan, who found himself back in the Catholic Church after a long absence, shares his inspiring story and wonderful music with us. And we have the unbelievable story of a young man who resigned his lucrative software job to work in a Catholic center for destitutes.

Check out these Lifestyle stories. A $100 burger? Well this Florida restaurant is surely whipping one out. And now that summer is in full swing, check out the all-American barbecue sauces and the right wine to brighten your backyard cookouts. And if you think you know what's good and what's not good in your diet, think again. This short quiz may surprise you.

Another exciting week for Catholics everywhere. Have a great and blessed weekend.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's Corpus Christi Sunday! And 1 million hits at ParishWorld!

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is not right about this chain email?" Click here to see the email and to give us your thoughts.

We are thrilled to announce that ParishWorld has eclipsed 1 million hits since we launched our current model last January. That's over 600,000 pages read by you, our readers - over 600,000 pages of evangelization in action. We thank you for your patronage. Please continue to spread the news about ParishWorld and what we do. If your parish is not yet a part of our networlk, let us know. We can get them up and running in no time at all.

We celebrate the Feast of the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ this wekeend - Corpus Christi Sunday. Pope Benedict XVI says that the solemnity of Corpus Christi is a privileged opportunity to deepen one's love of the Eucharist. As surveys show a number of practicing Catholics are not clear about the doctrine of real presence, we feel this weekend is an opportune time to explain it.

In observance of Holy Trinity Sunday last week, the Pope compared the family to the Trinity. And we help answer the question about why Christians believe in the Trinity. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is "a joyful experience of God's grace," declared the preacher to the Pontifical Household. And the role of the laity as the principal force behind the evangelization and transformation of society is now being rediscovered.

Also this week, U.S. bishops convene in Los Angeles and are considering a new translation of parts of the celebration of the the Mass that could change the prayers spoken by a generation of American Catholics. The Bishops also urged Congress to create a program to give the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. a path to citizenship.

Miami Bishop Felipe Estevez feels the Catholic Church needs to better understand how to keep its young Hispanics, "Many pastors don't quite know how to relate to Hispanic young people in an organized, caring way." These teens were themselves challenged by the Church at a national youth conference held last week at Notre Dame in Indiana.

Artifacts from old churches are turning up in the most unusual places in the U.S. - like the gambling floor of the Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe - as more and more old American churches are torn down. But in Italy, all eyes are looking to the Church of the future at the Cathedral of Milan where the glory of historical Christian art blends with today's form of arts - electronic images and video - in the spiritual meditations.

There is a lack of education about angels, especially among young Christians, and experts warn other groups may take advantage of this vacuum. And remember the Gregorian Chants? It continues to be the official chant of the Catholic Church of Latin rite.

On the family front, a group of prominent signatories have issued a new document, "Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles." Check out the list. The FDA rejected an abortion group's petition to have the Morning After pill sold over the counter. A federal appeals court has upheld the firing of a Catholic school teacher who publicly supported the Roe v. Wade decision in a newspaper ad. In another case, a California federal trial judge has dismissed the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the American national motto, "In God We Trust."

In Denver, the Diocese announced a program that would give cash vouchers of up to $3000 for the Catholic education of indigent families. And just what makes a Catholic Univesity truly Catholic? We have the answer.

Conversion touched several prominent people recently. Actress Nicole Kidman rediscovers her faith and will wed singer Keith Urban in Catholic ceremonies. The scientist who cracked the human DNA code discovers God after marveling at the wonderful complexity of his discovery. And a mother talks about her life in her words and "Growing up Catholic."

Get Inspired. We have a real tearjerker for you this week. Pump up your computer speakers, take out a box of Kleenex and click here. Also, Bo Sanchez reminds you that "Your past doesn't define your future." And ex-NBA player AC Green calls for chastity and obedience to God at a commencement ceremony.

Here's some intersting lifestyle tidbits. Did you know that drinking coffee can cut down the harmful effects of alcohol? Also, there is a new cutting edge gadget that combines an iPod with a toilet paper dispenser - weird but true. And in a new comic book release, Spiderman does the unthinkable for Super Heroes - he publicly revealed his secret identity.

It has been another busy week for Catholics everywhere. Enjoy your weekend. May it be blessed and joyful.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Publisher and Editor in chief

Thursday, June 8, 2006

It's Holy Trinity Sunday!

Burning Question of the Week: Given a choice, will you vote for Abortion or Gay Marriage? Share your thoughts with us.

We are experiencing great growth in ParishWorld. We have a report that says the Internet, our chosen medium for evangelization, is now the #1 media in the world. In another report, it's apparent that religion is now getting immersed into the mainstream media. And that's a good thing. Religious information is buzzing all over the internet. And ParishWorld is right in the middle of the mix.

This Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday. And the "Work of Pentecost continues." ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion delivers his final reflection on readers' comments regarding the divinity of Jesus in his conclusion of last week's burning question: Is God and Jesus the same? And Fr. Romy delivers a compelling homily on the Trinity.

Christ entrusted a pre-eminent role to St. Peter among the apostles. And Benedict XVI used the Gospels and other biblical passages to explain this. And remember "The Angelus?" We have an article that helps people understand what it is and how it is prayed.

Women are gaining more influence in the Catholic Church as they play bigger roles in administering our parishes. And with the rise of more lay movements, parishes are learning new ways to work with them as they continue to learn to build the Church together.A new translation of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body addreses key questions about love and sexuality. Related to this, Pope Benedict assured the youth that the Church does not stifle a couple's love.

More on the youth. The Catholic Church faces a unique challenge as it seeks ways to keep Hispanic youths in the fold. In Philadelphia, a parish that values young people like gold has hit upon a way to lure them. British Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife explains why she raied her children Catholic. And reports say nearly two of every three undergraduate students are going into debt to go to college.

Life issues. The Vatican says Abortion is a serious crime that must be punished. This comes at the heels of a report from Cuba that the women there prefer to use abortion as a birth control method. Good news from the Philippines where the government has passed a ban to end the Death Penalty. And in the US, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriages was stopped in the Senate.

June 6, 2006 (06/06/06) came and passed without any apocalyptic incident. The Church asssured expectant mothers that there is no biblical foundation for dooming children born on that day, as claimed in the movie "The Omen 666." A movie review by Sister Rose calls the film "Popcorn Theology." While a senior bishop said the Catholic Church had stomped "The DaVinci Code" because Christianity did not change and the Church is still as it was before the movie.

Get inspired! Bo's Soulfood for the week reminds you to "Hug someone today while there's still time. " "Do you smell that?" is another one of those stories guaranteed to melt your heart. A family cherishes its eleven "blessings." While a priest helps another deal with the horror of multiple deaths in their family. And do you ever worry about your future? About ending up unhappy? Read this piece and get over that funk.

It's been another busy week for Catholics everywhere. Have a fun and blessed weekend.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Catholic Church!

Burning Question of the Week: IS JESUS AND GOD THE SAME? Check it out.

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Catholic Church, the time when the apostles, touched by the Holy Spirit, went out to begin preaching God's message to the world. We have a story that depicts just how that first Pentecost might have transpired.

Earlier in the week, Pope Benedict visited Poland and upon entering Auschwitz posed a very compelling question: "Why was God was silent during the Holocaust?" And in a startling interpretation of the Holocaust, he said, "They wanted to kill God."

Also from Poland, he asked all Christians to work toward unity in a push for Ecumenism and he exorted the youth of the world to be unafraid to "lean on Christ." Remarking that while priests need not be skilled in business or construction, they must be experts in spiritual life. And he exhorted believers to resist the temptation to remove uncomfortable truths and traditions from the Gospel.

Elsewhere in the world, did you know that the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball embraces a Christian Code of Conduct? And that the producer of such blockbuster movies such as X-Men 3 is a devout Christian who tries to apply his faith in the very secular Hollywood world? How does he find balance? A Cardinal provides the answer as he preaches that moral values are actually the most reliable friends of business people.

In Europe, Catholic Bishops look for ways to counter the tendency of their newly catechized to fall away from the faith. But signs look very promising that France and Quebec, Canada are experiencing a rebirth in Catholicism thanks to the rise in charismatic movements. In Vietnam, Catholics join in prayer for the development of the Chinese Catholic Church. And in the Philippines, a city council actually passsed a resolution asking the Catholic Church to tell their local faithful to pray the Angelus.

In the U.S., California Gov. Schwarzenegger has said he will veto a bill that requires mandatory gay education in schools. And Bishop Gerald Barnes, speaking in behalf of the U.S. Bishops, said while the U.S. Immigration Reform Bill that passed in the Senate last week incorporates some important provisions, he is hoping the legislation will improve when the House and Senate versions are reconciled.

Here's a few answered questions this week: "Can I receive communion at Episcopalian service?" and "Should I allow my child to listen to Christian rock music?"

Prepare to get inspired. We have several stories that is sure to touch your heart: "Enjoy the Coffee," and "The Cracked Pot." "You can make your life beautiful" by Bo Sanchez talks about lessons learned from a person you might least expect it from - a pareplegic girl.

And finally, you have to check out "Do you also want to leave?" (John, 6;67), a powerful blog by Paul Dion that talks about why he has chosen to stay in the Catholic Church. A must read.

It's been another busy week for Catholics everywhere. Have a great and blessed weekend.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief