Friday, October 26, 2007

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled."

Emailed October 26, 2007

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Do Catholics believe our salvation is a sure thing?"FEATURED BLOG: "It's Personal - why Faith is always a fit topic for public discussion"VOCATION NEWS: "From Rome to home: seminarians stay connected on the web" PASTORAL HISPANA: "Oración humilde, confiada, llena de arrepentimiento"

Dear Friends,

This coming week will be a busy one for all as we celebrate Halloween, All Saint's Day and All Soul's day - on consecutive days. We also remind you that this Sunday is "Priest Appreciation Day" in the United States. Please make it a point to try to do something special for the priests in your parish. Get them a nice present or - at the very least - talk to them after Mass and tell them how much they are appreciated.

The Readings for this Sunday asks us to look deep into our hearts and reflect upon how we really pray to God. Jesus relates the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Both were present at the temple, but each one prayed to God in their own way. In a compelling audio podcast, Fr. Phil Merdinger, Chaplain of the National Federation of catholic Men, asks us which of the two men we are most likely to emulate when we pray. His question is simple, "Are we praying to ourselves?" Listen to it here. This is the same Gospel lesson Fr. Romy Seleccion, M.S. reinforces with this reminder from Jesus, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled."

"Have mercy on me, O God, for I need you" is a moving homily that encourages us to pray with humility and contrition - just like the tax collector. In "The Cry of the Poor" Fr. Phil Bloom talks about our God of justice who listens to the poor and the weak. And our Theology editor Paul Dion, STL takes a different look at Luke's Gospel with this incisive Burning Question, "Do Catholics believe our salvation is a sure thing?"

On October 31, the young and the young at heart dress up in costumes and have a genuinely grand time. Many parishes - mine included - will be hosting events for the community. There will be "Witches, Ghosts and Magic." The question is what do we Catholics really believe about these? Halloween has grown into a major secular holiday in American culture. But for those who don’t value devotion to the saints, the Eve has become "hollow" instead of "hallow." "How Halloween Can Be Redeemed" explains how we can turn things around.

Who are the saints? Who decides who is and is not a saint? How many are there? Do saints hear our prayers? Find the answers to these and other questions about our saints by clicking here. And what about the Communion of Saints that we mention every Sunday during Mass. Do you know exactly what is means? We explain it here.

You may have heard some of your Protestant friends say that the Bible contains no references to purgatory. What is the basis for the Catholic Church’s teaching about this? Why do Catholics pray for the dead? It is a timely topic as we celebrate All Souls Day.

For the last two years, we've been talking about a "Catholic Renaissance" that I observed to be quietly brewing in our midst. Apparently, Author David Hartline has noticed it as well saying in a recent interview that the Catholic tide is indeed turning. He credits this to young people who he says, "want something built on a solid foundation after seeing how the culture of death is destroying society." Also, Denver Archbishop Chaput credits Hispanics as a key for defending Life and marriage in the US.

Blogger Mark Shea agrees with the trend. He reminds many that "It's personal" should not be an alibi for not making Faith a fit topic for public discussion. And in "Faith of our (founding) fathers: America's Christian roots," atheism is taken to task. It argues that there's no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone mathematical ones. So where did Western man get this idea of a lawfully ordered universe? From Christianity. It's quite an interesting read.

Can a Pro-Life film make its mark at the box office this weekend? if the initial successful reports are an indication, it seems "Bella" is another manifestation that the Catholic tide is indeed turning. This pro-life movie has won its share of international film awards before being released in the US this weeekend. And it all started after a chance meeting after Mass. Read their story.

From Naples, Italy, Pope Benedict this week said, "Prayer, not politics, is what transforms the world." Known as one of Italy's most crime-ridden cities, Pope Benedict told the world from Naples that religion must never be used to justify violence. And on the 40th anniversary of Paul VI's Social Encyclical "Populorum Progresio," the archbishop of Dublin noted how it is just as valid today as it was when written 40 years ago. And we have a great audio series on "Ten Popes who shook history." It begins with the story of St. Peter. Listen to it here.

We have stories of Hope. In Louisiana, a pro-Life catholic was elected governor of the state. From California comes "Pray hard for us, America," a first person report from the from the frontlines of the Southern California fires that are still raging. And from the Philippines, a husband writes about losing his beloved wife in a terrorist blast in that country last week. He reminds us all to value our relationships through the highs and lows.

Finally, we never thought anyone could take "The Passion" and make a video of it without making us cringe from the gore. Sarah Brightman did. And her beautiful new music video "All of my life, I've been in hiding..." will move and inspire you. Watch it here.

Another inspiring week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Pray always without becoming weary"

Emailed FREE to subscribers Oct. 19, 2007

Dear Friends,

"Pray always without becoming weary," St. Luke reminds us this Sunday. You will see the messages of Persistence, Faith and Intercessory Prayer weaving in and out of this week's Readings. Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow and the dishonest judge, Aaron and Hur raises the hands of the tiring Moses to keep the Israelites victorious in battle and St. Paul tells Timothy to learn, be faithful and have faith. It's also World Mission Sunday.

Just as Aaron and Hur supported the arms of Moses, so must we men - and priests - of today not let down our arms so we can lead our communities and families to God. This is the message delivered by Fr. Phil Bloom's "The Manly Task of Intercession." Fr. James wayne, the Director of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh strikes an even stronger message with his podcast homily: "Study the Gospel truth. You can not defend what you do not know." Reflect on that awhile specially when he adds this, "Ignorance is the devil's playground."

Th call to faith is reiterated by Fr. Romy Seleccion, our Sunday homily editor, in "PRAYER and FAITH challenge us to become faithful disciples." And we are reminded by Franciscan Fr. Greg Friedman to be like the widow and remain persistent because "God is with us in the struggle" - always.

Speaking of Faith, "Does Doubt Belong to Faith?" If one doubts, is one already on the road toward unbelief? Check out this erudite presentation by Fr. Edward T. Oakes, S.J. And be touched by "Who is real quarterback?" - the story of Mary Favre, wife of star quarterback Brett Favre. Both Catholic, she talks about how their faith was built through her personal life struggles.

October, the month of the Holy Rosary, is in full swing. And last week, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. And so we thought it best that we bring you in this week's edition the most complete guide to understanding and praying the Holy Rosary. This guide will open your life to the many faces of this most wonderful devotion. Make sure you bookmark this page.

"The Fruits of Fatima: 24 years on - He averted World War 3 and saved millions of lives." Many of us do not know how close we really got to a full blown nuclear war with the Soviet Union in 1983. Read this story. From Nepal, we found this article about how in the only state where Hinduism is the national religion, people there still respect and love the Crucifix. And if you're planning to go to China for the 2008 Olympics, your rosaries and bibles will not be welcome. The government there is talking about banning these religious items for everyone entering the country. As you pray your rosaries this week, please ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede so religious freedom may be a reality for all people everywhere.

We have LIFE STORIES. In "The Hour Of Our Death," we bring you an article that explores the Catholic teaching on who decides. And as the "40 Days for Life" campaign pushes on nationwide, we thought we should share this update report, "The dump truck of Death," from outside an abortion clinic in Sacramento, CA.

In CATHOLIC NEWS, we will hear how 854 million people will go to bed tonight with an empty stomach even though enough food was produced to feed everyone. Aware of this sad reality, Pope Benedict XVI marked World Food Day this week by urging all countries to recognize food as a universal human right. He also continued his piercing diatribe on culture proclaiming, "The hierarchy of values isn't determined by either trends or politicians." And how true he is.
Then we have internet news beginning with "GodTube: The Big Guy Goes Online." I've been telling you all that studies show 2 out of 3 people online use it for religious purposes. Now maybe everyone will see the light. This article explains how it is the fastest growing segment of the online world. And ParishWorld is right in the middle of this mix!

Attention Catholic parish leaders! Here is the most profound piece of advise we have ever found for those ministering to the youth and young adults: “It is important for us not to fall into the trap of defining young adults as the church’s next generation. Rather, young adults are the present generation of Catholics." The truth rings loud and clear in "Googling God" which discusses the religious landscape of people in their 20s and 30s.
More youth stories, we have the list of the "Top 50 U.S. Catholic High Schools of 2007." And “Why am I Catholic?” is a great video we found on youtube. It was prepared for a Confirmation Retreat and it gives six reasons for being Catholic. Check it out. It could give you ideas for your next round of Confirmations.
STORIES OF HOPE. "An angel walked the beat tonight on Highway 109" will move you. We also tell you about the homeless man who is the chess king of Washington. He sleeps on a bench but, during the day at Washington's Dupont Circle, he dazzles beginners and masters alike with his winning moves on the park's stone chessboards.

In LIFESTYLE stories, we have several health-related items starting with the arrival of allergy season and how to avoid the ailment as the weather gets colder. Avoid the sniffles. Read how here. "What to eat and what to avoid to cut cancer risk?" Fill your diet with veggies, fiber, vitamin D and calcium to prevent disease. And a serious health warning to all that a drug-resistant staph is loomming nationwide and deaths from it may surpass the AIDS toll. It is passed on through skin on skin contact. Be careful out there.

Finally, we would like to welcome several new parishes to our ParishWorld family: St. Christopher in West Covina, CA; St. Cyprian in Long Beach, CA; Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Los Nietos, CA and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Los Angeles, CA. We look forward to sharing our ministry with the people of your parishes.

Another exciting week in our Catholic world. Have a great and exciting coming new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It is fundamentally more accurate to say that God is "pro-life," and not merely "anti-abortion"

By Wally Arida
Distributed by e-mail Oct. 4, 2007

BURNING QUESTION: "Does the Church allow abortion if the mother's life is at risk?"
FEATURED BLOG: "It's Respect Life Sunday. But what Life?"
VOCATION NEWS: Seminarians - "Just regular guys God called to serve"
PASTORAL HISPANA: "Tomar Conciencia de nuestros Sentimientos"

Dear Friends,

Faith and "Life" are intertwined in this week's issue of your The mustard seed starts small and unpretentious. And anyone who throws the seed into the ground does it with full faith, believing it will grow into a full and luscious tree. It's the same with human life. In this week's Gospel, Jesus uses the small size of mustard seed to illustrate the infinite power that faith in our living God can bring into our lives.

"What is faith? How does it grow?" This is a powerful podcast reflection on this week's Gospel that discusses what happens to our faith when it is challenged. Then in another podcast homily, Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M., assures us that everything in our lives will be alright because, "When one makes that total surrender to the Lord, then all else follows naturally." Our Spanish Theology editor Fr. Roberto Mena, S.T. proclaims this week, "Tener fe como un granito de mostaza," for our Spanish readers. Also if you dread Mondays, maybe you need to take a fresh look at Sunday. We ahve a great story about personal faith building. And in another reflection this time on St. Paul's letter to Timothy in our Second Reading, you are urged to "Stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands."

And since this weekend is the first Sunday of October, the U.S. Catholic Church celebrates the annual "Respect Life Sunday." All members of our Church are reminded to recommit themselves to fashioning a culture of life. We challenge you, however, to re-think just what it is you really mean when you reflect upon the concept of "Life."

Our Theology editor Paul Dion, STL, delivers this ringing message: "When we say that we respect life, do we forget every other form of life but that which is forming in the womb of pregnant females around the world? I'm afraid that we do." To be truly pro-Life is to be more than just anti-abortion. To be pro-Life is to be totally and completely for Life. It is fundamentally more accurate to say that God is "pro-life," and not merely "anti-abortion." He not only wants to end the killing but also to enhance our living in Him. Any attack on human life, then, necessarily involves a rejection of the God who is life.

"Choose life and end the death penalty" will challenge many who believe it is just an election issue. In a perfect illustration of true respect for Life, the surviving Amish families of the Pennsylvania classroom massacre last year talk about completely forgiving the person who massacred their children. "The Amish, one year later - forgiving the unforgivable" tells the story. "'Can' Doesn't Equal 'Should'" is a sermon by the Vatican's Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán that discusses the raging issue of bio-ethics.

From Anchorage, Alaska comes "No one dies alone," the story of a man who has launched a remarkable and inspiring ministry to those who are facing their final hours. And from Louisville University, we bring you the most inspiring video-story of a young musical genius who, though born blind and crippled, has emerged to be a hero as he performs with the school's prestigious marching band - on his wheelchair. It's a true celebration of life.

The answer to our burning question this week may surprise many. "Does the Church allow abortion if the mother's life is at risk?" Nationwide, the pro-Life position is showing a steady rise aming U.S. voters, a significant swing since the "abortion wars " of the 1980s. Priests for Life's Fr. Frank Pavone explains this further in "A Dozen Reasons why Life Is Winning."

Cardinal Arinze, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments was in the U.S. recently and noted that priests and laypeople here have a desire for ongoing formation. He specifically mentioned the Eucharist and Marriage as two issues cited as of utmost importance. "Focus Groups and Marriage: A Match Made for Heartache" is a great article that explains how the Church bases her teachings on truth, not on market research. And "Why are 20-somethings not marrying?" Many are saying it is due to the poor catechesis these 20-somethings have had. We have an article that says it's more than that.

In our Stories of Hope, the saving grace of the rosary is illustrated in this amazing tuue story of a life saved. And the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati shares a story about military chaplains that gives him another reason "Why he's happy he is a priest."

In Youth & Lifestyle, Benedict XVI presented St. Francis of Assisi as a role model for youth, saying that his life was exemplary in its fidelity to the Gospel. "Catholicism on Campus" explains how young people arrive at the university looking for answers to serious questions about the meaning of life - including their Catholic faith. And if they don't find an elevated vision of that truth, they face disappointment. We need to feed them the complete truth. They want it. And they can take it.

Have you been wanting to reconcile your religious beliefs with work? Then you're not alone. Many companies are now increasingly asked to accommodate their employees' faith beliefs. We have the report. And did you know that organized people get Alzheimer's disease less than the disorganized ones? It is time to put your life in order. And from the Philippines, we bring you a high-tech story about how millions there are turning their cell phones into virtual wallets - a concept unheard of in America - using texting to transfer money over mobile banking services.

Another wonderful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor-in-chief

Thursday, September 27, 2007

By Wally Arida
Emailed September 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

This Sunday's Readings tell the story of the rich man who ate with gusto while ignoring the beggar Lazarus who, at his foot, was pleading for a little food. "Woe to the complacent - The scandal of faith not lived." Fr. James Wayne, Director for Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh, brings us this message in his podcast. Listen to this rich sermon here.

"What was the rich man's sin?" Being wealthy is not sinful. What tortured his soul was his decision to not share his wealth. Fr. Phil Bloom raises a similar thought in "Why Was the Rich Man Condemned?" And Fr. Romy Seleccion, our homily editor, shares his own reflection with a pastoral call for all of us to love and "hug" each other for God. Our Burning Question asks us this related question, "Who is your neighbor?"

Striking a common chord with the sunday's reflections, Pope Benedict said last wednesday, "The Gospel must reach all of society not just the poor." Think about that statement for a moment. How many times have we done things to help the poor but ignored our own calling to please our God?

It's the same important message delivered by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Denver in "Renewing the Church, Converting the World". when Christ said, "Be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect,” the archbishop said He wasn’t talking only about the clergy. The demands of holiness apply to every one of us. No excuses. No exceptions. And Pope Benedict chimes in perfectly again by proclaiming, "Life is always a choice between God and Satan, between love and selfishness."

And what brings people to stay in the Church? It's the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP, clearly explains this in "Kids These Days: What they don't want from the Church." He urges us all to "Teach the apostolic faith full on, no compromises on basic doctrine or dogma." The youth would rather hear the bald-faced Truth and struggle with it than listen to a priest/minister try to sugar-coat a difficult teaching in the vain search for popularity or “hipness.” And this applies to adults as well. You have to read this.

And the truth we speak about in the Catholic Church just keeps ringing loud and clear. Case in point: Another Episcopalian bishop - the third in the past few months - has announced he is converting to Catholicism. And in light of the rising surge in popularity for the Sacrament of Confession among Catholics, it seems even the Protestants are coming back to the Sacrament of Confession that they have all but ignored for over 100 years. This summer, the second-largest North American branch of the Lutheran Church passed a resolution supporting it.

"The American Church lost sight of its men - The men’s club revisited." This is a great article that discusses how the Church has seemingly lost its grip on its Catholic men. You - men and women alike - need to read this. Also this week, on Sept. 26, 2007, “The largest simultaneous pro-life mobilization in history” started. We have an interview with a co-director of Sacramento’s 40 Days for Life Campaign, a local chapter for this national campaign. Read this and see how you can help in your area.

And we bring you stories of Catholics from all over the world beginning with the surging faith that is building up in China where churches are so full during Mass, people have to patiently sit outside in makeshift benches on Sundays. And we bring you a story about the evangelization history of Korea, a nation which is 40% Catholic. Did you know this country was evangelized by lay people and that by the time the Europeans arrived, there were already about 50,000 Catholics there? From Malawi, this video of a local Easter Mass will infuse you with the same energy as the local congregation.

BE INSPIRED. "Don't Hide Jesus" by Aimee Milburn tells the story of a man who used to hide his crucifix under his shirt - but not anymore. You always hear the usual stories of "Pennies" on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something meaningful to think about.

LIFESTYLE NEWS. Watch out all you heavy cell phone users. Long term use of mobile phones could cause hearing problems. And if you're thinking of getting a tattoo. Think again. Tattoo regret is now very common in the U.S. And the removal process is painful, expensive, and time-consuming. Finally, there's a new Brad Pitt movie that's coming out about the life of Jesse James. Surprise, surprise. The writer of the novel is a Roman Catholic deacon.

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

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & editor-in-chief

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Should we and, if so, why do we fast one hour before Communion?

Dear Friends,

The Gospel in this Sunday's Readings has Jesus making a distinct call to "Honesty." "What do you do when....?" is an audio podcast by Deacon Alex Jones of a homily for this Sunday presented from the perspective of Catholic male spirituality. Listen to this and be blessed. In the homily entitled "The Best of a Bad Situation," Jesus advises us to make the best of a difficult situation - like the dishonest steward in the Gospel did.

We also bring you "The Duck & the Devil," a heart-warming tale of a little boy who accidentally shot his grandma's pet duck and how he suffered when he tried to cover up for the deed. It illustrates the value of honesty and God's loving grace against the cunning nature of the devil. Check it out. Speaking of the devil, Fr. Martin Fox reflects about him in "I was thinking about hell the other night." It is a sobering reflection.

The Sacraments also comes up as a unifying theme this week starting with "Confirming Others," an article about the evolution of the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation and how they apply today. We also cover the Sacrament of Holy Communion with two interesting articles. First, Paul Dion, STL, asks us, "Why do Catholics call this wonderful divine mystery "COMMUNION?" And secondly, a reader asks, "Should we and, if so, why do we fast one hour before Communion?"

And the Sacrament of Matrimony was the topic of a talk by Pope Benedict who said, "Well prepared married couples close the door to divorce." And while most people put a lot of energy into preparing for a wedding, we need to remember that a Marriage is for a life time of wedding days. Read this great article.

This week, the Vatican upheld the moral necessity of administering food and drink – even artificially – to patients in a “persistent vegetative state.” Remember the Teri Schiavo case? From the Pope's visit to Loreto a few weeks back, Pope Benedict reminded the world that "Jesus Has a Fondness for Young People."

And as the Hispanic population continues to grow in the US, they are beginning to create major influences within the US Catholic Church. With this growth comes the need for more Hispanic priests. They are a hot commodity and the US Church is actively recruiting priests from Central and South America to serve the growing Hispanic ministry needs. Another influence is the seeming surge of participation in the energy-filled Catholic Charismatic movement which celebrates its 40th anniversary in the US this year. Read more about this movement here.

Also, when I make my rounds speaking about internet evangelization to different parish communities in the Southern California area, I commonly hear this mantra: "Spanish people are not using the internet." Well, now have I got some news for you! An AOL/Roper study has concluded that hispanics spend more time online per week compared to the national average! They also convert to broadband at rates higher than the national average. If your parish still believes that the hispanic Catholic community is not ripe for parish internet evangelization, you need to rethink matters because you are losing out on the perfect opportunity to reach them.

Five years ago, John Paul II gave us the gift of the luminous mysteries. It has since infused new life in the praying of the rosary. We have the story. And we bring you the conversion story of a Jew who says his spiritual journey follows much the same transition as Christianity’s development from the seeds of Judaism.

"When I Heal Her, I Will Change the Lives of Many." We bring you an update on Gloria Strauss, the 11 year old Catholic girl in Seattle who is currently hospitalized with neuroblastoma. Gloria and her remarkable, devout Catholic family continue to impact the lives of thousands with their story of love and faith. While "Do You Smell That?" brings you the story of a brave couple and their decision to deliver their perilously premature one pound nine ounce baby. You will be touched by their commitment to life.

And then we have Lifestyle News! Prepare to be amazed by this youtube video called "A Wonderful World." It's an unbelievable hand-shadow video played to the music of Louis Armstrong's classic song. And do you want to know "The dirty truth?" Mounting evidence suggests that child allergies are linked to sterile environments. You can be too clean! And if you've been missing out on a good night's sleep lately, "The Benefits of a Good Night's Rest" will make you quickly realize that sleep is as important as regular exercise and a good diet. We hope having this information will help you make sleep a priority.

It was another wonderful week in our Catholic World. May you have a great and blessed coming week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"God is truth and God is love -- and both demand communication."

By Wally Arida
Emailed Sept. 14, 2997

You will be hearing a lot about the Prodigal Son in this Sunday's celebration of the Mass. And following our homily-centric weekly editorial approach, we bring you many ways of looking at this parable from Jesus beginning with "Never Give Up" - a reflection by Fr. Phil Bloom who sums it up this way: "God never gives up on us. No matter how cold or hostile, never give up on that other person."

Yes, the story is so simple, yet there is a problem in interpreting it. We all know the father is God, the elder brother the Pharisees, but "Who is the prodigal son?" Paul Dion, STL throws his two cents into the mix with "PRODIGAL SON -- HE LIVES ON" as he explains how both sons were wrong-headed and the father was the wise person in the family. It's a similar sentiment that is expressed in "Change That Title," an in-depth look into the story that suggests renaming the parable to "The Forgiving Father."

The father welcomes the prodigal son back instantly—doesn't even wait for him to get to the house. And he isn't at all interested in the young man's confession, only in celebrating. It is therefore quite inevitable that our personal reflections on this parable include "Celebrating God's Forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation."

Which brings us to a very encouraging emerging trend: Teens are returning to the Confessional! The indications are modest, but consistent, including one that comes from Loreto, where 12,000 young people received the sacrament of forgiveness, with the Pope's encouragement. And a story from a young Catholic whose friends said, "It must be awful to have to tell your sins to a priest!" And Catholics are disagreeing.

And we discuss a disturbing trend in the U.S.: Marriage continues to decline, bringing with it numerous adverse consequences for individuals, and society in general. On the other hand, U.S. singles are outnumbering married, with many finding spiritual meaning. "Single, Catholic, connecting to God" has the story.

Here's a liturgical question, "Is it permitted for a lay person to read the homily?" We have the asnwer for you. Plus a follow-up Burning Question from Paul Dion, STL: "Would you applaud after the homily? Why?" We'd love to hear your thoughts on that one because we've seen many parish congregations break out into applause over the past months.

Pope Benedict had a lot to say to the world this week. He started by saying, "Abortion is not wrong because the Church says so, rather, the Church says so because it’s wrong." Then he reflected on the Mass noting that "for early Christians, Sunday Mass was not a commandment but an inner necessity -- a time to meet Christ." How many of us still see it this way?

And a former Vatican official synthesized what some are beginning to call the "theology of communication" in a phrase: "God is truth and God is love -- and both demand communication." This is exactly the ParishWorld mission. I share this article so everyone may understand how communication can and should play an important role in parish evangelization efforts. Also as we reflected this week on the anniversary of 9/11, chew on this,"You can't survive hate. You have to survive by doing something good." There's a great story that comes with it.

Working to make the faith of the young stronger in your parish? This Georgia parish has the trick to getting them to experience Christ's personal love: "Teens evangelizing teens." Check out their success story. And to all parents and youth ministers, mark down Sep 23-29 in your calendars. It's "Bring Your Bibles to Public Schools Week!" So tell all the Catholic students you know to "Tote 'em & Quote 'em! And use 'em in class!"

In LIFESTYLE, we bring you "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time." See if your favorite car's on the list. And a deacon is making this stretch of a claim: "Rock and roll is a distinctly Catholic form of art!" Read his story.

And finally if you happen to be in the Southern California area next Saturday, Sept. 22, Fr. Mike Manning, host of TBN's "The Power of Love," invites you all to join Bishop Rutilio del Riego for the grand opening and blessing of the Wordnet TV studios in San Bernardino, CA. The party starts at noon. Click here for more details.

And how was your week? Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Thursday, September 6, 2007

"Discipleship - How have you gone out of your way for Jesus?"

By Wally Arida
Emailed Sept. 7, 2007

We welcome two new parishes this week to the family: St. Martha Catholic Church in Valinda, CA and and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in Los Angeles, CA.

Over the past weeks, you might have noticed the latest development in our editorial coverage. In some Catholic circles, the term they use is "whole community catechesis." We prefer to call it "homily-centric."

Every week, your features articles that revolve around the theme of the readings and homilies for Sunday. This editorial approach allows the pastor to weekly help focus the attention of his parish community on the universal theme the Catholic Church has chosen for all Catholics worldwide.

Last week's theme was Humility and you might have noticed that our article selection reflected that. This week, the readings focus on Discipleship. We kick things off with "Discipleship: Going Places With Jesus." And you've probably wondered what God's role for you can be. "Deciding When You Don’t Know for Sure" is a story that will show you the way.

We also bring you a reflection on the Gospel from Fr. Jude Botelho called "The cost of discipleship!" As well as "Reinvent Yourself " - a homily (in English and Spanish) that says, "You and I can choose who we will become. The person who chooses Jesus discovers his true identity." Plus our usual stirring homily by Fr. Romy Seleccion, MS.

Last Wednesday, Sept. 5, was the tenth death anniversary of Mother Teresa and the world remembered the life lived by this saintly woman. We picked several wonderful articles plus a video tribute - with music by U2 - to remember her. "The Sanctity of Mother Teresa" is a reflection by the Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the pope.

The plight of lapsed Catholics made headlines this week with two stories. The first is a national initiative in England that reaches out to the hundreds of thousands of people in England who have been baptised but very rarely, if ever, attend Mass. The second story is a six-week program a Florida parish is using to transform inactive Catholics to active apostles. Parishes everywhere can and should learn from their experience.

The Pope was in Loreto last week and used the youth there - over 100,000 strong - to minister to the world. He started by saying, "The human person is made to reign over all creation, but he must allow God to be present within him if he is to reach his true greatness." He told the youth, "Don't be seduced," because the world needs daring Christians." Reminding them that "Holiness is fulfillment," Pope Benedict told young people not to be afraid to dream, since the Spirit of God is the one who places great aspirations in their hearts.

Here's another great conversion story: "Conversion as Christian Longing Fulfilled" where the convert says, "All roads lead to the Mass, and the Mass is a physical, sensory, emotional, mystical, and spiritual experience." Plus a great reflection by another convert - Catholic Apologist Steve Ray illustrates "How big is our God?" You have to see this.

And to top this issue off, we share with you a couple of TOP TEN lists plus a TOP 20. "10 Ways to Have a Better Day Today" will lift you out of the doldrums. "Ten Rules Kids Won't Learn In School" is a list you need to make sure your children see. And "20 Timeless Money Rules" is a must-read for all.

Another exciting week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor-in-chief

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

By Wally Arida
Emailed August 31, 2007

Allow us to start your weekend with great news from a study that just came out very recently: "Religious youth tend to be more joyous than their non-spiritual peers." It seems that for many kids, faith is the key to happiness. Now that's something you can take to the bank!

When it comes to prayer, the following are probably two that you have asked for at some point recently: healing and winning the lotto. In "Does God answer prayers for healing?" we are reminded that prayer doesn’t bring an entitlement. And in "Prayer -- God and the California Lotto," Paul Dion, STL brings you a fun conversation he had with God and with his wife when the California lotto hit $80 million a few weeks back.

And have you ever wondered why God would not intervene in your most difficult situation only to find out afterwards that He did, but His timing was different from yours? Check out this story. And what is it that God wants you to do to build up humanity and give glory to Him? Maybe part of your discernment of God’s will in your life is finding out the gifts with which He has blessed you.

And if you are into really deep reading, we bring you St. Augustine's Spiritual Ladder: "Seven Steps Mounting To Eternal Wisdom."

This Sunday's Readings is focused on Humility. "The Beauty of Humility" is a wonderful article for all. "Real Servanthood" is another insightful reflection related to humility. Read it here. And Of course, Fr. Romy Seleccion's English homily and Fr. Roberto Mena's Spanish homily round up's homily-centric editorial offering for the week.

Mother Teresa was in the headlines a few days ago when a new book opined that this holy woman also suffered from her own personal crisis of faith - just like us all. We also bring you a great Time Magazine article on her life called "SEEKER OF SOULS - Mother Teresa."

From the Vatican, Pope Benedict preached this week that "The supreme human good is found in Christianty." Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone said liturgy should inspire action as he urges all Christians to be good citizens. And in observance of the holiday this weekend, the U.S. Bishops urged all to mark a new work year on Monday, Labor Day, as they called for the protection of immigrants.

And you have to read this inspiring story of survival about a California girl in recovery from a serious brain injury "that leaves people dead." Her story will move you.

Attention Coffee drinkers! LIFESTYLE NEWS talks about a new research that concludes "Whether it’s 1 or 8 cups a day, java jolts the likelihood of hypertension." And some good news that the benefits of eating tomatoes remain bountiful. And if you're traveling by air soon, the word is that there is not one true magic website that offers you the one true single solution. This article however, will show you how to navigate the internet and find the best airfare.

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

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The one thing that you seem to have difficulty in surrendering to Jesus

Emailed August 24, 2007


This week we launch VOCATION NEWS - a new section in Here you will find stories about the priesthood, priests and religious, and the many joys and challenges they face in their lives. We debut this section with the story of a would-be Harvard lawyer whose paper chase ended up in the priesthood. We also have the remarkable story of three brothers - all priests - who concelebrated Mass just recently. And we have the story of a widower, a father and military veteran. And now, he is a priest.

We also launch this week new websites for the following parishes: Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pomona, CA, St. Joseph the Worker in Loma Linda, CA and St. George Catholic Church in Fontana, CA. Welcome aboard!

PRAYER takes center stage in this week's issue. Often, we wait for the right environment or the right prayer book or the right prayer partners. When really God just wants us in our simplest form - our heart and soul. "Just P-R-A-Y: A Simple Formula for Prayer" tells this story. "Our search for order in the darkness" deals with prayers spoken at moments of darkness or chaos and how at times they can mean more than the ones we say in our prayer groups.

In "Grace," Mark Shea and his wife somehow find that in prayer we are able to put things in perspective, remembering that God remains God and that, in the grand scheme of things, financial hiccups are pretty small. And Pope Benedict sums it up well by declaring that prayer is the encounter of God's thirst for us and our thirst for Him.

"Where do you stand right now?" Do you stand with Jesus or not? It's a choice that must be made every day up till that last and final day - and no one know when that is. And "There is always that one thing more!" If you reflect long enough, you will discover the one thing that you seem to have difficulty in surrendering to Jesus - think about it. And when you stand before the Lord in judgment, I am certain of at least one thing and that is you do not want to be saying to yourself, "If only I had taken that opportunity when it came to me..."

Do you believe in Astrology, palm reading and tarot cards? Archbishop Sean Brady say they are superstitions that conceal a lack of trust in God's providence. And if you've found yourself saying this to yourself, "I thought they knew the Lord... why do those things still happen to them?" then "Never Alone" is an article you must read. What is the peace of Christ? Pope Benedict explains this quite profoundly saying it is not "the absence of conflict" but the "struggle against evil."

The Church challenges the youth this week beginning with a Bishop's answer to letters from teens about pornography. And "In the Name of Freedom," the youth is reminded that Freedom is capacity to greatness, the ability to say “yes” to what is noble and right when you could just as easily say “no”. And as a followup to our "back-to-school" series, Ben Stein delivers a winner: "Old-School Lessons for the College-Bound"

Finally, we have LIFESTYLE NEWS. "How Does a Catholic Invest His Money Morally?" And now it also seems that the safe place for Catholics to meet Catholics is no longer just in church. An archbishop frecently gave his blessings to an online dating service. And if you've ever had the hiccups, here's how they work, what causes it and how to stop it.

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

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Is gossip a sin? is it reason to go to Confession?"

Emailed to readers on Aug. 17, 2007

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is a Sacrament? How many are there?" By Paul Dion, STL

FEATURED BLOG THIS WEEK: "THE BIBLE IS NOT A JIGSAW PUZZLE" - A Protestant corrects the way many evangelicals read the Bible"

El Papa se solidariza con víctimas del terremoto en el Perú, 8/15/07
New Age y supersticiones pueden causar posesiones diabólicas, dice exorcista, 8/15/07

Dear friends,

If they are not in school yet, millions of students head to campuses nationwide in the next few weeks. We thought we should prepare them with a few Catholic-inspired articles beginning with "25 Things Every College Freshman Should Know Before Classes Start." This is a must read for all college students and parents. We also suggest students download "The Freshman Survival Study Budget," a formula for success in College.

College is a very trying time for students and parents. It's the time when the young tend to stray from the faith. "Why don't teens pray more?" will help them keep things in perspective. And if you go to a Catholic school, welcome back to the structured world of school uniforms.

August is the month of the Eucharist. "The Truth about Eucharistic Adoration" is an honest plea for Catholics to regain their veneration and love for the Eucharist. And Mark Shea explains his faith again to his Protestant friends by proclaiming, "One More Time: It's All About the Eucharist!"

In CATHOLIC Q&A WITH FR. MIKE, a reader asks, "Why should I have to go to Church? when I can experience God so much better on a trip to the mountains or the beach?" See Fr. Mike's great response. And since you've been hearing all about the Latin Mass lately, we thought we should give you a "Tutorial on the Tridentine Mass" your resource for the Latin Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962.

While some say there seems to be a decline of priests and church attendance across the nation, the Archdiocese of Atlanta is bucking both trends, with packed churches and more than 50 seminarians in training. But this pales compare to the evangelization that's going on in china where a reported 10,000 Chinese become Christians each day. In the next generation, China will be the largest Christian and missionary force in the world.

However, all is not well in China. We have a five-minute-long film that has popped up in several places on the internet. If you've wondered what it is like to be Catholic in China, watch this. Now. And then, if you are free to pray, pray for all those who are not. The other video we bring you is one of the most powerful videos we've seen. It starts with a painting of the Last Supper with Jesus surrounded - not by his apostles - but by twelve homeless children. The plight of the poor will move you.

Where can you find God? How about at the airports and at the subway trains. See how Catholic chaplains at our busiest airports minister to the needs of bustling travellers. And marvel at how a Jesuit manages to find God every day during his commute in Washington DC.

Pope Benedict was busy this week. On Assumption Day, he reminded all that “The protection of Mary accompanies you throughout your life.” In sponse to last Sunday's homily, he urged all to "Detach from material goods and prepare interiorly for Christ's return." And we received word that his second planned encyclical is said to condemn tax evasion by the wealthy as 'socially unjust.'

Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez is the retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. He defined the good priest this week in "Guide for Priests: Spiritual Recommendations." He said, "In him one finds Gospel and Christian virtues, and the behavior of one who is a priest of God and pastor of the Church."

Finally, if you've ever wondered if gossip is a sin, a moral theologian explains it in detail. You may be in for a surprise.

And how was your week? May you have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief