Thursday, October 19, 2006

"God is not against the rich!" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What three commandments require restitution when violated? Tell us what youthink. Post a comment today.

THIS WEEK'S FEATURED BLOG: "The Cross at Cahuenga" - Shining God's love down upon Hollywood - by Hope Frances

Dear Friends,

The Pope's Islamic comments, Catholic Hollywood and our new Spanish language blogs top our ParishWorld list this week.

We are happy to announce the launch of "Fe Y Razon!" - a Spanish blog that debuts this week in as part of our committed mission to spread the word of God to all people. It is penned by Fr. Roberto Mena, S.T., who also happens to be an active minister on radio and TV. Check out Fr. Mena's multimedia ministry story. And you if you read Spanish, definitely give our new Spanish blog a look-through.

NO RETREAT – that's the Pope's stance to Islam as he spoke out with even more determination this week in a 'reciprocity' challenge to Islam. And Islam - at least the moderate sectors - seem to be responding well to the Pope's challenge with the publication this week of an open letter to the Pope from 38 Muslim leaders from various countries and of different outlooks. And more good news from from Singapore with this report that Muslim-Catholic relations in that country remain strong and unaffected by all the tension.

Catholic Hollywood is in full force this week with the Gabriel Awards set for Friday and the Angelus Awards scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21. FREE tickets are available for the Angelus Student Filmfest Awards - to be held at the Director's Guild of America in Hollywood. If you are a film buff, this Saturday is your chance to view the winning films. And on Nov. 5, Sunday, Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA) invite you to their annual Mass and awards at the Beverly Hilton where they will honor "The Chronicles of Narnia" and TV's "Cold Case." God is truly alive and well in Hollywood!

"God Is Not Against the Rich" explains the preacher of the Vatican's papal household in his homily about last Sunday's Gospel from Mark 10:17-30, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the Pope in an address this week said that through Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Christ, we learn that Jesus respects human freedom and waits for a sinner's repentance.

More reader questions were answered this week. The first one is "Why are the Readings at Mass read from Scriptural Translations instead of directly from the Bible?" And the second question is "What is the most appropriate moment to pray the Divine Praises during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?" We have the answers to both.

We also bring you a "coming home" story about a law professor who has been living his Christian faith outside of full communion with the Catholic Church for a number of years. And a we have a reminder from a Catholic Cardinal who said, "Instead of simply criticizing Pentecostal churches that draw Catholics as members, Catholic leaders should consider why their parishes aren't meeting the needs of those who leave."

SOLA SCRIPTURA! See what happens when a catechist is accused of using too much bible. Paul Dion, STL, is his usual animated self in this wonderful blog about "bible-only" catechism.

With the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections just under three weeks away, the Cardinal of Chicago pronounced to both candidates and voters that “Conscience is not an excuse for doing something irrational” - like supporting abortion. On another hot election topic, a top Catholic bio-ethicist cut through the political spin with this clarification, "It is incorrect to say that the Roman Catholic Church is against stem-cell research. It is only correct to say the Roman Catholic Church is against embryonic stem-cell research." Remember these when you go to the polls in November.

GET INSPIRED! Check out how a lay Catholic renewal ministry in the Philippines is fighting poverty and brining people closer to God by building self-sustaining low-income communities - over 850 communities to date - in that nation. Also, see how great the love of the Father can be in "The Father's Choice." And what would you do if the Virgin Mary spoke to you in person? Read "We must be as open as a child" and then tell us your answer.

YOUTH AND LIFESTYLE. "Bella" is a little family-friendly film that was mostly ignored by critics and U.S. film distributors. To everyone's surprise, it won the People's Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Check out the movie trailer here and find out why it is a favorite among Catholics in the Hollywood media. Also, a new cartoon show approved by the Vatican is set to make the late Pope John Paul II a star.

And if you happen to walk into a church in Western Pennsylvania and the priest looks a little bit different, don't let the earrings and goatee fool you. Fr. Bob Lubic - PA's 'Punk Priest' is packing all the youth Masses he celebrates.

And here's one just for fun. This video won the best Young Director award for 2005. And that's not surprising. This film is amazing. Turn up your speakers and check it out.

Another God-filled week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed coming week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor-in-chief

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Where in the Bible does it say we have to celebrate Mass?" & other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Why do Catholics say the rosary at funerals?" Let us know what you think. Post a comment today.

THIS WEEK'S FEATURED BLOG: "A Community of Many Colors" By Paul Dion, STL

Dear friends,

What a great issue we have for you this week! Because last Sunday's Mass Readings focused on Marriage, it naturally generated a lot of buzz through the week. Stories about Technology and reader questions about our Catholic beliefs round up our other main stories.

We start off with "Five non-religious arguments for Marriage over living together" by Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. What a great read! Then we bring you an article that explains the difference between "getting married" and "becoming married." And another one called "Fill your Home with Love!" that explains how to stay in love when the initial intensely romantic high fades.

And with Divorce reigning today as the scourge of Marriage, we have an article that urges couples to replace the "use and discard" mentality with that of "use and repair." Repair the big tears, and repair them immediately.

Still on this subject, Pope Benedict called on all Christian spouses this week to embrace the mission to be a sign of love to all. And in "The couple that prays together, stays together," we give you the steps to enrich your prayer life and your marriage.

And we have reader questions, great reader questions! "Where in the Bible does it say we have to celebrate the Mass as part of our Christian Worship?" kicks off these questions. "Is it an obligation to go to First Friday Mass?" asks another. And "Why do Catholics say the rosary at funerals?" We have all the answers.

Then we go to Technology News. The Pope this week declared, "The Church must not be afraid to use technology to spread the good news." The late John Paul II called it "The New Evangelization" and this Pope is running with it as well. And it all makes sense because the latest polls show that for the first time ever, the hours spent by Americans on Internet use has surpassed newspaper and magazine reading. And it only gets more exciting as the $100 internet-ready laptops are set to debut worldwide very very soon. Read about it here.

And with media becoming more and more a part of Christian evangelization work, Pope Benedict issued a pointed warning to all theologians down to the parish level not to speak to merit applause, "To speak to meet with applause, to speak oriented to what men want to hear, to speak obeying the dictatorship of common opinions, is considered a sort of prostitution of the word and of the soul."

In LIFE STORIES, there seems to be a growing openness in the U.S. to having more than two children - in some cases more than four. 11 percent of all U.S. births in 2004 were to women who already had three children, up from 10 percent in 1995. While another poll conducted by the Pew Research firm finds that a sampling of nations in Asia, Africa and South America are more pro-life on the issue of abortion than residents of the United States.

GET INSPIRED! "I Can Only Imagine!" is one of those stories that will make you go, "WOW!" It's about an out-of-shape father whose disabled son's one wish was for both of them to enter a grueling full-scale triathlon. Make sure you watch the accompanying video at the bottom of the story. In "Old Dogs," the wisdom expressed by a little girl upon the death of the family dog is pure treasure. And if you're struggling with forgiving those who have done you wrong, "How To Forgive" is just for you.

In YOUTH & LIFESTYLE, "Cool Clergy" deals with today's young crop of seminarians. Their seminaries are not places where they only chant Latin and say the rosary - these men are playing basketball and lifting weights and listening to rock music. But they still remain committed to the call made this week by Pope Benedict to all young people, "Proclaim the Gospel on the streets and squares, in schools and hospitals, as well as in places of recreation."

We round up this week's issue with "How to protect yourself - and those around you - from the Flu" and "How to make the thickest milk shake" so that the straw stands up on its end!

And many other great stories.

Enjoy this week's edition of your We hope you have a blessed week ahead.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in Chief

Friday, October 6, 2006

"Lights, Camera, God!" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: When St. James wrote about the need to "keep oneself unstained by the world'" what exactly did he mean by "the world?" Share your thoughts with us. Post a comment today.

NOTABLE BLOG: "Lights, Camera, GOD!" - a Faith Journey in Hollywood by Hope Frances

Dear Friends,

Unauthorized baptisms, Immigration, Bible Christians and beating slumping home sales are our top stories this week.

What would you do if your adult son and his wife refused to baptize their child - your grandchild? This grandmother took matters into her own hands. Was it a valid baptism? Check out this story. And a ParishWorld blogger responds to a solicitation letter he received from a prestigious Catholic institution regarding the need for Catholics to be Bible Christians. Read this interesting discourse on the concept of sola scriptura or scripture-only Christianity.

On the Vatican front, the Pope made two assertions this week. First, he urged that families return to the old Christian rituals - such as taking children to church on Sundays, kneeling in prayer at bedtime and saying grace before meals. He also preached that it is not possible to understand the figure of Jesus if both his divine and historical dimensions are not taken into account.

And October being the month we dedicate to the Virgin Mary and the holy rosary, he also reminded the world that when it comes to teaching others about Christ, Mother Mary's example is the one to follow.

Have you had a Faith Checkup lately? Take this periodic review of key areas of your life - your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, your relationships with your family and others, and your faithfulness to him in your everyday life.

In Catholic news from around the world comes this inspiring story about a group of New Orleans parents who banded together to revive a Catholic school that was closed during Katrina. From Beijing, a bishop reports that Catholicism is winning in China - many Churches are open for worship, the seminaries are full - despite the government's restrictions. In fact ,the government even funded the construction of a $9 million dollar seminary - the largest in China.

In Washington DC, the Catholic justices of the Supreme Court joined Catholic cabinet members and senior administration officials for the annual Red Mass marking the start of a new term of the Supreme Court. The presiding bishop urged them all to uphold their Christian beliefs in the performance of their duties.

Still from the US Capital, the US Senate passed legislation to build a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexican border over the objections of the Catholic Church. While in Switzerland, Church leaders have criticized a late-September referendum in which citizens voted to give the country some of the toughest immigration laws in the Western world.

And last Sunday, at all parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, taped messages of Cardinal Roger Mahony were played urging Catholics to vote yes on Proposition 85. If approved, this proposiition would amend the state constitution to require that at least one parent of a minor girl be notified before undergoing an abortion.

GET INSPIRED! "Define Your Core Gift and Remain Faithful To Who You Are" by Bo Sanchez kicks off this week's round of warm, inspiring articles. "F.R.I.E.N.D.S." by Jerome Placido deals with the challenges of keeping your faith strong when your friends pull you the other way.

"The Luck of an Unemployed Graduate," "You are welcome" by Kathi Scarpace, and Steve Ray's "An Open Letter to Filipino Catholics," are great reads. Check them all out.

In YOUTH and LIFE stories, Fr.Stan Fortuna -the rapping priest - has just released a new Catholic rap CD. He says the genre speaks more closely to the youth. And did you know that rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg is a practicing Catholic? Check out his story.

And with the real estate sales slumping nationwide, many realtors are turning to a most unlikely source to help sell their listed homes - St. Joseph. Realtors swear that burying the icon under the listed home helps sell the property. Superstition or faith? You be the judge.

And how was your week? Have a blessed and wonderful coming week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in Chief