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"
Faith and "Life" are intertwined in this week's issue of your ParishWorld.net. 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.
Publisher & Editor-in-chief