Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"God is Winning" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Can a Catholic person marry a non-Catholic person in a Catholic church ceremony? Let us know what you think. Click here to post your comments.

READER QUESTION: "Will I be judged on my state of grace when I die? Or will I be judged based on a lifetime of deeds?" ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion, STL, provides a very insightful reflection on the subject.

Ecumenism seems to be the central theme enveloping the Catholic world this week. Vatican observers say Pope Benedict has been exhibiting a different attitude towards the subject and the results are evident. An ecumenical breakthrough was achieved this week as Methodists and Catholics mend a historical rift that date back to the 1500s Reformation Movement. We also bring you a historical overview of the relationship between Catholics and Pentecostals.

From Northern Ireland, we have the story of Protestant and Catholic teens who have learned the lesson of understanding at a program called Program Ulster. They plan to break long-standing cultural barriers when they get home. And a Vatican official reminded the bishops of Asia that Vatican II taught Christ's church is to be found only in the Catholic Church.

God is winning. Religion seems to be playing a more influential role in our modern world. Cincinnati-area private and Catholic schools gain 682 new students now that the first round of Ohio Educational Choice Vouchers has been awarded. The successful beginning of Russia’s first pro-life maternity hospital may hold the answer for saving Russia’s dying population from plummeting into a demographic catastrophe and finally reversing the culture of abortion in Russia.

In Italy, while Mass attendance has certainly dropped over the years, local parishes are experiencing a lively resurgence as the faithful flock to standing room only services. In the U.S., Vietnamese Americans are becoming Catholic priests in greater numbers. The first National Asian and Pacific Catholic Convocation affirmed the vital contributions that U.S. Catholics from Asia and the Pacific islands bring to the church.

"Guarding Unity" by ParishWorld blogger Kathi Scarpace talks about the unique challenges those in the parish ministry work need to face. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was hailed this week as the antidote to pride. And will we ever see the return of the music of Palestrina and the Gregorian Chant? An interview with maestro Domenico Bartolucci sheds light on the subject.

From the Family front, a significantly greater part of adult life is spent without kids being in the house, revealing changes in attitudes towards kids. But is marriage really a part of God's plan for everyone? We have an article that says being Christian and single can be very fulfilling. Also, a study has shown that cohabitation is not the road to happy marriage, or even to a happy relationship, but rather ends in separation 90 percent of the time.

In Italy, a court has issued a decision clarifying that under their law there is no such thing as a “right not to be born.” In Spain, the government has decreed that children as young as ten years old will be taught pro-homosexual material as part of a new school curriculum. And remember the lesbian couple whose landmark lawsuit helped Massachusetts become the only state in America where same-sex couples can marry legally? The couple has split up.

GET INSPIRED! A New York Port Authority policemen said this week, "I actually saw Jesus coming toward me," when he was trapped in the 9/11 ruins for several days. "KNOW YOUR DEEPEST DESIRES" by Bo Sanchez is another winner in his series of life-touching articles at ParishWorld. "The Daughter of a Marine" tells of the gallant sacrifices our military people and their family face. And in "When What Seems Broken is Perfect," the mother of a disabled child tells her story.

In Youth Life, LIFE TEEN's Bible Geek said bored faith is the greatest threat to Catholics. And in Lifestyle, learn how the simplicity of the grill does not preclude a gourmet meal. And Catholic cell phone users can now let 'em ring to the tones of the Ave Maria and track the latest movements of the pope, thanks to the world's first Catholic mobile phone service, which launched last week.

Another vibrant and eventful week for Catholics everywhere. Have a wonderful and blessed weekend.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"PINGING PRAYER" & Other Great Stories

THIS WEEK'S BURNING QUESTION: What does "pray without ceasing" mean to you? Let us know what you think.. Click here to share your thoughts.

A NEW SECTION DEBUTS! "ParishWorld Readers Speak Out!" Talk to us and let us know what you have in mind. We'd like to hear from you. Post a comment today.

Prayer takes center stage in this week's edition. ParishWorld Blogger Paul Dion kicks it off with a wonderful discovery his new srticle burning question listed above for you all. He reports that the Catechism of the Catholic Church has over 350 paragraphs on the topic of prayer.

ParishWorld blogger Kathi Scarpace follows it up with her new article "PINGING PRAYER." She talks about several online sites that are great places to help you get in the mood to pray fervently. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is a prayer devotion that has been around for many centuries. A Jesuit Cardinal explains how it can be a strong lesson in humility and generous love which speaks to the men of today.

A mindful Catholic shares his thought that "Forgiveness is not a weakness," saying forgiveness courses through the religion of his birth like a life-giving river. "I am a proud member of the Roman Catholic Church community" is another great piece that explores the universal and accomodating nature of Catholics - even to people of other faiths.

In Catholic news, crisis and hope face the Toledo Catholic Diocese. Despite the priest abuse crisis it went through, it witnessed this year the ordination of four new priests - the most number of priests it has ever ordained in several decades. "Downsizing and the Catholic Church" talks about the closing of hundreds of Catholic parishes, schools and hospitals nationwide and how they have long provided the foundation - as well as provided for the faith - of urban neighborhoods everywhere.

Violence in the Middle East ripped into the heart of the Christian faith straining a Catholic population that is concerned for its safety and those of its Christian pilgrims. In Malawi, a man dressed as a choir member set off an explosion during Mass at a Roman Catholic church injuring many inside.

In Washington DC, the contributions of Asian and Pacific Catholics to the Church were highlighted during the first Asian and Pacific Catholic Convocation held last week. From China comes this story about how a Jesuit order has been quietly working for many years, restoring several of Shanghai's great cathedrals that were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. We also have a story about the brave struggle of Mexico's priests-martyrs during the 1920s revolution that brought with it a widespread persecution of Catholics. And guess what is the most sought-after export of Poland? Polish Catholic priests!I

n LIFE issues, did you know that United States tax dollars are funding sterilization programs in the Philippines? We have the story. In Buffalo, NY, the local bishop - “In the tradition of the early church where pagan temples were turned into holy spaces" - recently blessed the site of a former abortion facility and consecrated it as the new "Chapel of the Holy Innocents." And we have an interview that reflects on the emotional grief and related issues that women can go through as a result of sterilization and contraception.

GET INSPIRED! ParishWorld Blogger BO SANCHEZ is back this week with a most wonderful suggestion that we "Hold Hands" and make our relationships better. "SLOW DANCE" is a touching poem that reminds us to take the time to slow down and live our lives fully and purposefully. Check it out.

We have several YOUTH STORIES this week. The first one is about a senior at Benedictine University who chose to spend her 21st birthday walking across the U.S for 11 weeks to promote Life. We also have the story of several hundred youths in Indiana who are spending their entire summer in a camp from where they head out everyday to refurbish and paint old Catholic parishes in the area.

In LIFESTYLE, it seems that emails are losing steam among the youth as their preferred medium of communication. Text Messaging is in! And did you know you can have 24/7 Catholic music on the web? It's here! Check out this website that offers Catholic music podcasts to subscribers worldwide. And for those of you that like the finer things in life, we have a very informative article about sheep's milk cheeses - like Spain's delightful Manchego - and the staggering variety now available in the market.

It was another purposeful and eventful week for Catholics all over the world. We hope you have a wonderful and blessed weekend. God bless. And don't forget to hold hands!

Keep the faith. Peace.

Publisher and Editor in Chief

Thursday, July 13, 2006

IS U2 A CHRISTIAN ROCK BAND? And other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What, if any, influence does the Pope have on your personal life?" Please share your comments and thoughts with us.

A NEW BLOG DEBUTS THIS WEEK: A Place at the Table by Kathi Scarpace. "Many Mouths to Feed" is her maiden story. Check it out.

The world was once again buzzing with things Catholic this week.

You all know about the Holy Grail, right? The Pope this week said Mass in Valencia, Spain, using what many Christians believe to be the actual chalice that Jesus used at the Last Supper. He also told Catholic parents, "Renew your faith to be authentic teachers" to children. And he strongly defended the traditional family, taking on a Socialist Spanish government that has sanctioned liberal reforms such as gay marriage and fast-track divorce.

Still from Spain, a Cardinal recommended the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a "unique help" for families to discover the beauty of the faith and transmit it to their children. And we have the "Top 10 Catholic parenting tips" found in the Ten Commandments. All parents need to read this.

In Medjugorje, Bosnia, the local bishop has urged the six alleged Marian visionaries to stop claiming that the Virgin Mary has been visiting them for 25 years, saying the church "has not accepted any of the apparitions."

Catholic counselors at a Billy Graham Christian festival? They were present at the Baltimore event this week, bringing people to experience the Catholic Church. From Amarillo, Texas, Bishop John Yanta urged modesty in dress, especially at Sunday Mass, arousing strong reactions even in the more conservative circles. And Poland pulls a first in world politics, as it's newly elected pro-Life President appointed his equally pro-Life twin brother as Prime Minister.
Searching for Happiness?

Recent research confirms that material wealth alone does not bring lasting satisfaction. ParishWorld Blogger Paul Dion tackles this same issue with his latest blog, "THE POOR YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU." Related to these, gambling fever is on the rise in the world - with reveneues of over $82B every year - and the Catholic Church chimes in with its ethical concerns.

And talking about the wealth and insane luxury of today's pop stars, Ben Stein's farewell Morton's Restaurant column talks about why these stars are not heroes in his eyes. This hot piece is currently buzzing around the internet. Read it here.

GET INSPIRED! A Catholic US Senate Candidate professes, "You will find that you cannot divorce your faith from your public service. There can be no conflict between God's will and my duty as a public servant." Check it out as well as "Take your marriage one day at a time," "The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee," and the story of the US soldier who gave his life for all of us.' And a must-see video, see the inspiring story of a remarkable woman born with no arms and how she manages to live a full life.

For the youth, we have the story of three groups of teens who are walking from California to Washington DC to promore Life. And a special message from someone who went through it himself, "Rebellion leads to a dead end!"

And finally on the lighter side of life, ever wonder why it's so hard to stick to a diet? We tell you why. Is U2 a Christian rock band? A Catholic priest thinks so. And a Catholic sociologist says Internet friendships can foster deep personal relationships.

Another busy week for Catholics everywhere. Have a safe and blessed weekend.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Thursday, July 6, 2006

"LET SOME THINGS NOT CHANGE" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "When Catholics talk about the Real Presence of Christ, what are they talking about? How many other forms of Christ's presence in our midst can you think of?" Share your comments with us.

We have a wonderful collection of stories for you this week beginning with a priest who spends a lot of time on the road as he services the spiritual needs of four parishes every weekend - in both the US and Canada! It seems Major League Baseball has found the Catholic faithful as "Faith Nights" prove to be a winner for both camps. And surprise, surprise! Young people are for the first time spending more time looking at internet sites than watching TV.

Read the story of several youth volunteers who rediscover their faith as they work side by side Catholic nuns in the poorest sections of Tijuana, Mexico. We also bring you the awesome story of a teen who decided to spend nine months on a mission trip to preach the Catholic faith to young people across America and "to see where I am with God."

Pope Benedict urged adults and parents this week to renew and deepen their faith in Christ so they can become better examples and teachers to their children. As the 5th World Meeting of the Families opened in Valencia, Spain, he hoped that the meeting will lead to transmission of the faith to future generations. The synod of bishops held in the Vatican last October on “the Eucharist, source and summit of the Church’s life and mission” will soon finalize its results and Pope Benedict is expected to write the final chapter. When he reflected on the life of the Apostle John, the Pope said that "to be a disciple of Christ means to be his close friend. "

And in contrast to his predecessor John Paul II, Pope Benedict this week seemed to hold a tougher line in the Catholic Church dialogue with Islam. While suggestions were made also this week by a prominent Egyptian Muslim that the Blessed Virgin Mary could be the figure who brings Christians and Muslims together.

We bring you an article that helps us to better understand the the sacrament of "Anointing of the Sick." And the US Bishops present "A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women." It's very thoughtful reading.

Catholic-related events were buzzing all over the world this week. In Mexico, Felipe Calderon - a conservative Catholic- has won a narrow election and is posed to bring that nation back into the folds of the Church. In India, nuns of Mother Teresa's order were arrested under the statutes of the country's new anti-conversion laws as they visited a hospital to help its poorest patients. While in San Diego, CA, the 42-foot Mt. Soledad Cross which was ordered removed by a previous court order was given a reprieve by the US Supreme Court.

Despite the increase in the number of bibles in circulation in Europe today, knowledge of the Scriptures and the Church seems to remain weak in that continent. And to give new insight into what the Catholic Church knew and did as Europe saw the rise of Nazism in Germany and the Spanish Civil War, Pope Benedict has decided to open all Vatican archives from 1922 to 1939.

In life issues, did you know there are now close to 3 million babies who have been born through In-vitro fertilization? This raises some serious concerns about its ethical implications. And remember Terri Chiavo? Her family continues on with her fight againts Euthanasia.

"What is the point of Catholic schools?" This incisive article explains it quite well. At the Boston College, the nation's first graduate program to train priests, nuns, and laypersons who manage Catholic parishes and organizations will be launched.

Get Inspired! "The Yellow Shirt" will touch your hearts. "LET SOME THINGS NOT CHANGE" by Bo Sanchez is a warm testimonial to parents' love for their children. And see how a chance e-mail helped bring help and rosaries to U.S. troops in Iraq.

Have a great and blessed weekend. God bless.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief