Thursday, April 30, 2009

"I am the good shepherd."

Issue Date: May 3, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Easter (Easter4B)

BURNING QUESTION: Can we get sick from the Communion cup?
FEATURED BLOG: Adoration, Silence and the Lamp of Fire
RECONCILIATION: Peace Corps provides alternative in tough economy
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús es nuestro Buen Pastor

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday. And it makes you realize that what really ticked off the ancient Romans still ticks people off today — Christians have the “arrogance” to claim that Jesus is the only savior. Our Discussion Questions will guide you, your family or your bible study group as you spend time reflecting on the Gospel Readings.

GOD'S CHURCH. Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio explains that while the Readings account for the fact that godly people are also found outside the visible boundaries of the Church, it is also made clear that God wants only one unified church. Father Cusick refers to the Catholic Church as the "House of God and gate of heaven." Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen says the Readings explain God's desire for the unity of all men in Himself. And Fr. Phil Bloom describes how salvation involves taking up our role as members of Jesus' flock, the Church. This discussion is quite interesting amidst a recent Pew Research survey that while Americans change religions often, U.S. Catholics are staying Catholic. The study also reported that children who go to Mass, continue going as adults. This explains why almost 70 percent of Catholic youth stay Catholic when grown-up.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Shepherds were at the very bottom of the status in the ancient world. And Fr. Andrew Greeley finds it simply astonishing that Christ whould choose this depiction of Himself. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB tells us that like the Good Shepherd that He is, "God seeks us out. Let us come to Him." Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm talks about "Knowing" Jesus and being "known" by Him. This is the same shepherd who laid down His life for us and established with us the new and everlasting covenant. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS tells us Jesus pledged to guide us to verdant pastures and restful waters. This is why Jesus, Fr. John Foley, SJ explains, Jesus can say “I am the good shepherd. I know mine and mine know me.”

The question, according to Fr. Joseph Pelligrino, that we all need to ask ourselves is: Do we want the Cornerstone? Do we want Jesus? Fr. Thomas Rosica prays that each person may strive to be a good shepherd today, in the Church and in the world.

PRIESTS AND VOCATIONS. Parishes nationwide are also urged to mark this Sunday the46th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Fr. Rich Lifrak, SSCC says this is a day to appreciate these shepherds, these priests, brothers and religious sisters we find on this earth. As we pray for more servant leaders to arise, Fr. Alex McAllister asks us if we challenge our young people enough in the area of faith-development.

SWINE FLU. We are being warned that it could become a pandemic. In Mexico, Masses have been cancelled and the people are turning to Our Lady of Guadalupe in face of the crisis. While in the US, the USCCB has posted on the Web a series of 10 questions and answers related to participation at Mass during the time of the swine flu. In the middle of all the health warnings, our Burning Question asks you to reflect on this: Can we get sick from the Communion cup?

TWEETS, THE PASTOR-POPE & IRAQ. From Italy, a Cardinal has put out a call to promote a "Sea of Prayer" by sending Prayer Tweets. What a great idea. And you may also want to tweet us at From Iraq, the Catholic Relief Services director for Europe reports finding a whole lot of Iraqi Catholics who, in the fear and chaos that is Baghdad still today, insist not only on staying in Baghdad but, more than that, are determined to live fully as Iraqi Catholics. From Italy, the pope moved among the quake victims not like the high-profile leader of the mother Church but as a simple pastor to the suffering victims. And from Washington, DC, the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus urged Americans to emulate the example of the nation's first Catholic Bishop and keep their faith in the public square.

WHAT THE YOUTH NEEDS? We're pretty sure your youth group is as diverse as a menu at a fast food restaurant. Here's a great story: Keeping Harmony in a Diverse Youth Group. And did you ever imagine how the early Church kept the attention of the young without the special field trips and entertainment? They simply told them the truth. "Ah, Youth - When the Church was Young" will bring your youth ministry back to the basics.

INSPIRATION IN DANCING. In the movie, Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't." To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant." The Slow Down Culture gives us the rest of the story. "How to Dance in the Rain" talks of an elderly gentleman in his 80s who was rushing to have stitches removed from his thumb because he was in a hurry for a "special" appointment. And "Slow Dance" summarizes the lesson from these different stories: You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Finally, ever wondered what MacDonalds might serve in India, Hong Kong or Palestine? Here's a list of the 10 most unusual items from the MacDonalds menu in different parts of the world. The selection is certainly informative and definitely intriguing. Check it out.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Peace be with you"

Issue Date: April 26, 2009
Third Sunday of Easter (Easter3B)

BURNING QUESTION: Is the Mass a Sacrifice or is it a Banquet?
FEATURED BLOG: Small Groups, Catholic Style
VOCATION NEWS: US Ordination Class Exhibits Cultural Diversity
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús Resucitado les da pruebas que está vivo

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, our Readings talk about the journey of the two disciples to Emmaus where they encounter our risen Lord. Why they set out on this trip is unclear. Our Discussion Questions this week will help you talk about this Gospel story in your family bible study sessions or at your small faith community groups.

Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS says it is likely that the journey for the two disciples was more a trying to get away from something than trying to get somewhere. Jesus appeared and walked with them. But they did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them. Father Cusick explains that at this point in Emmaus, Jesus gave his Body and Blood as he celebrated the Eucharist. There the disciples encountered the Easter Christ: "they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread."

BREAKING BREAD. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says when we break bread, it is a means of sharing in the body of Christ. Fr. Joseph Pelligrino adds that this is why we come together on Sundays - to meet Christ in the Scripture and the Eucharist. We come because we enjoy being in His presence just as the disciples at Emmaus enjoyed His presence. As an aside, here's our related Burning Question for the week: Is the Mass a Sacrifice or is it a Banquet? And check out this interesting blog about "Small Groups, Catholic Style" and how it relates to our celebration of the Mass.

NOT A GHOST. The two disciples then ran all the way back to Jerusalem and the other apostles where Jesus again appears in their midst. As might be imagined, explains Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen, the disciples are spooked by the appearance of someone they buried just a few days before. "They were startled and frightened." Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains the gnostic mindset prevailing among Jews during the heyday of the Roman Empire and why Jesus had to insist that he was no ghost.

Jesus kindly pointed out to the assembled apostles that ghosts do not have flesh and bones. Fr. John Foley explains how our Lord showed them His hands and feet, with the wounds of the cross now overlaid by God’s healing love. He even asks for something to eat - ghosts can't do that. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB tells us that like the apostles, part of our Christian experience at times is about disillusionment and really wondering if God is indeed present in our lives. And Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB explains why Luke's gospel together with his Acts of the Apostles may well be called the good news of the Holy Spirit.

CONVERSION & FRIENDLY PERSUASION. Here's a compelling piece which reminds us that the most powerful defense of the faith lies not in what we say, but in how we live. Abel Escobedo, who converted to the Church last Easter, is testament to this. He describes his old self thus, "I was the worst. I was a devil." Another convert in the news this week is well-known anti-Jesus British author A.N. Wilson who announced in the pages of The Daily Mail that he, after years of running from the Hound of Heaven, has come back to the Christian faith. "My own return to faith has surprised no one more than myself," he exclaims.

These conversions confirm Pope Benedict's affirmation this week about the continually relevant message of St. Anselm - that the journey in search of God on earth never ends. The Pontiff also said this week that Christian charitable action, more than mere philanthropy, is a form of evangelization, based on Gospel values and the desire to share them with others.

FIVE THINGS CATHOLIC & MORE. Here's an interesting list of "Five Things Every Catholic Should Know (and many don't)." What a great read. We also have a story called "Giving Jesus us a Hand" that tells how the devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague began. And “To heal an open wound,” Vatican officials express hope that a new book will clear up “tragic and reciprocal misunderstanding” over Church’s treatment of Galileo several centuries ago.

MORE CATHOLIC NEWS. The Colorado House this week voted 33-32 to repeal the state's death penalty. And the lawmaker that cast the tie-breaking vote credits Archbishop Chaput for his vote. From Philadelphia, a nun who works with the homeless has made it to Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. And a survey reports that the U.S. ordination class of 2009 shows a wide diversity in culture and background, including converts and men of all careers and ages.

Here's good news. Many young Catholics are volunteering more of their time than their parents. "A lot of adults don't think we care and see my generation as just rebellious and self-centered," one teen said, "But there are a lot of teenagers who care." And if you've ever wondered “Where’s a good place to study theology?” This article will help you decide.

HOLLYWOOD FAITH & RED MEAT. Guided by his Catholic faith and inspired by prayer, actor Chris Kramer is quickly making inroads into Hollywood. “I think, first and foremost, I am a disciple of God. Second, I’m an actor who is trying to inspire people.” Really inspiring stuff. And if you like your grilled red meat burned or charred, U.S. researchers reports you have a 60 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Food for thought.

RECESSION IN OUR PARISHES. Finally, American Catholic pointed out this week that during economic hard times, people traditionally turn to their faith. It means more people will be interacting more closely with the parish. And the parish Web site can be a relatively inexpensive way to strengthen the bonds of communication.

But the trick to having a successful parish Web site is to keep it fresh with content, maintained at least weekly. Also, Web donations are a growing area of online activity. And while many in the Church may recoil at an “online collection basket,” the fact remains that some of your parishioners are making online donations to other causes they support.

PARISHWORLD CAN HELP. Find out why 97% of all Catholic parish websites are based on a "failed model" with virtually no readership. Ask us how we can assist your parish with "A Superior Alternative to your Parish Website."

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

A Superior Alternative to your Parish Website

Dear Pastor,

Did you know that 97% of Catholic parish websites today are not even being read by the very parishioners they were designed for?

Now imagine that your parish website IS NOT in that 97%.

And imagine further that your parish website is like St Paul, going from house to house and evangelizing 24 hours a day – even while you sleep.

Imagine how more VIBRANT & SPIRITUALLY CHARGED your parish will be if your website:

- Greatly INCREASED STEWARDSHIP in your parish - Time, Talent & Treasure
- Contained over 8,000 orthodox Catholic articles to CATECHIZE your parishioners
- Displayed your NEW FRONT PAGE every day with 40-50 new Catholic articles weekly
- Offered your parishioners multiple REFLECTIONS & HOMILIES for the Sunday Readings - plus daily Readings
- Dynamically communicated YOUR LATEST PARISH EVENTS, activities, community news, programs, etc.
- Enabled you to EASILY ENTER YOUR OWN ARTICLES - and with no web design knowledge
- Included A SPANISH VERSION for your Hispanic parishioners!
- Was ACTUALLY READ BY YOUR PARISHIONERS thousands of times - each day! (Proof: we already have 50+ parishes using it.)
- Could do all these wonderful things and more - And WE ALREADY DID almost all of the work for you!

This is not just a parish website. It’s an online evangelization system – The New Evangelization
A superior alternative to Catholic parish websites that didn't exist before. And it is now available to you.

This unique ministry can do more for your parish. Evangelize. Catechize. Touch lives spiritually.Find out by calling us now at (951) 205-3346 or email us at

Wally Arida, Editor in chief
“Parish Websites that Make a Catholic Difference”

P.S. A new and vibrant, evangelizing Parish Website will be yours soon. Give us a call at (951) 205-3346 or email us at

But maybe you're thinking, “How much is this going to cost me?” Well, we’ve got good news! The very low monthly payments are unbelievable. And your parish is already 100% approved for the easy financing. It sounds even more interesting now, doesn’t it?

Call us now at (310) 933-0941 or email us at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them"

Issue Date: April 19, 2009
Second Sunday of Easter (Easter2B)

BURNING QUESTION: What is Conscience?
FEATURED BLOG: Why not just get rid of the Old Testament?
RECONCILIATION NEWS: "I don't want to revenge!"
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús nos revela su divina misericordia

Dear Friends, The Catholic Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday this weekend. And it couldn't have come on a better day because our Sunday Gospel and related Discussion Questions talks about the most famous apostle story of Doubting Thomas. The apostle was not there to receive the Spirit and so he could not trust the good news that the other disciples shared with him. However, when he met Jesus later, everything changed and he allowed Jesus to become thenceforth the center of his life.

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm says, "We must at all cost learn how to trust." That is the lesson of this gospel Story. Fr. Joseph Pelligrino explains that human doubt has a positive aspect that can lead to a living, active faith. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB talks about Thomas being pushed into a corner before he actually believes. He said we should pray that God would also push us into a corner so that we too can believe. And Fr. John Foley, S. J. asks us all a direct question, "Do you believe?" If we do, then we believe that love is the foundation of life. And Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS reflects on the resurrected Jesus and wonders why are the wounds still visible on the transfigured body of Jesus?

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. During the eight days (which the Church views as a single day) from Easter to this Sunday, we reflect on one event: the resurrection of Christ - and the Divine Mercy that flows from him. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reflects on the relationship betwen Divine Mercy Sunday and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Father Cusick preaches that when we celebrate Easter, we celebrate Confession. And we bring you the story of how a vision of Christ prompted a Man to devote his life to the Divine Mercy ministry.

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION. In the first paragraph of the Sunday Gospel, Jesus says to the apostles, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; and those whose sins you retain, they are retained." Fr. Alex McAllister tells us that this is generally regarded as the foundation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is during this event when Jesus breathes upon them the Spirit of mercy and commissions them to be instruments of His Divine mercy. They are at last truly “apostles” for they are “sent out” for the forgiveness of sins.

GOING TO CONFESSION. Fr. Dwight Longenecker talks to us about why we do and should go to Confession. And if you haven't been to Confession in a long time,or just need a primer on how to make a proper Confession, here's "A Guide to the Sacrament of Confession."

A CHRISTIAN NATION. President Obama made headlines last week when he declared in Turkey that the US is not a Christian nation. Benedict XVI countered rightfully that the Church will never sink. He points out that while many think the Church is dying, or ought to be dead already, it continues on, held up by the hands of Christ. And a new survey of US Catholics reinforces the Pope's thoughts. A majority of US Catholics are mainly optimistic about their religion according to the new study.

SUSAN BOYLE, NEWT & THE CAPTAIN. Catholics made news headlines this week starting with the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism last week. Watch him testify to the faith in this video. You also have heard about the ship captain who was held hostage by Somali pirates this past week. See how his daring rescue left his Vermont parish overjoyed. And if you haven't heard of it by now, a 47-year-old Catholic church lady is new internet sensation after surprising Simon Cowell and company during last weekend's episode of Britain's Got Talent. At over 9 million views and counting, here is why Susan Boyle matters: "The beauty that matters is always on the inside."

STORIES OF HOPE. This tailgating motorist's story of "A Case of Mistaken Identity" will hit you hard. Read it to the end. Wow. And we present a man's life journey he calls "How to be Awesomely Holy."

DEBTS, GERMS AND THE OLD TESTAMENT. "Help! My debts are killing me!" If that sounds like you, then this story is for you. Also, if you're worried about colds, flu and other germs, go ahead and touch those doorknobs and elevator buttons. They're cleaner than the telephone, fresh laundry and sinks, a top expert advises.

Finally, let's face it. The Old Testament can be hard to take sometimes. Parts of it are full of famines, wars, people who should have known better doing terribly immoral things, a God that seems to be angry a lot. So, "Why Can't We Just Get Rid of It?" It's a great article. Go ahead and read it.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"They have taken the Lord from the tomb"

Issue Date: April 12, 2009
Easter Sunday (LEasterB)

BURNING QUESTION: Do you invite the poor to your banquet?
FEATURED BLOG: "Easter is not a low-budget Christmas!"
PASTORAL HISPANA: La resurrección de Cristo cambió al mundo

Dear Friends,

This is the week we celebrate the Easter Triduum - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Pope Benedict calls it the "Fulcrum" of our liturgical year. It is our Holiest Week and we would like to share with you "A Practical Guide to the Liturgies of Holy Week."

HOLY THURSDAY. Fr. Richard Lifrak, SSCC delves into the events of Holy Thursday and explains the "The Inspiration and Application of the Eucharist." And Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB preaches about "The Bare Facts and Bare Feet of the Last Supper." Then we look at Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece and explain an artistically sublime way to understand the passion of Jesus. And "Servant Kings" dwells on Christ, a King with a towel around his waist.

GOOD FRIDAY. The examination of the relationship between the Transfiguration and the Passion of Christ, between Mount Tabor and Calvary, makes for helpful reading either for Holy Week. From Tabor to Calvary, "Did God abandon Jesus?" We also share with you a powerfully poetic sermon on the "Cross of Christ as the Cosmic Tree" that was preached during Holy Week in the early church, somewhere around the 5th century. Fr. Thomas Rosica, shares his Good Friday homily, "Embracing the True Science of the Cross." And Paul Dion, STL shares his Holy Week report from the Holy Land called "Jerusalem - Good Friday."

HOLY SATURDAY. Here's a Holy Saturday reflection from Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB: "Between the Sadness of the Cross and the Joy of Easter."

EASTER HOMILIES. First, here are the Discussion Questions for Easter Sunday's Readings. Fr. James Gilhooley kicks things off with a very reflective Easter parable. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler explains that the climax of the Easter gospel lie in the statement "he saw and believed." Fr. Thomas Rosica echoes the sentiment when he talks about the silence and courage of the Resurrection witnesses.

The tomb is empty. But the world is full. The Savior Lives. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains this in "From Sacrifice to Salvation." Father Cusick says this is the beginning of the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection.

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Fr. Phil Bloom preaches that by prayer and sacraments, He wants us to have His life - eternal life begins now. And without us - you and I - such a Savior would never have had a reason to come. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says now Christ’s wounded arms can sweep us up, comfort and absolve and hold us. And Deacon Jonathan Sorensen preaches that today we can laugh and rejoice in the great gift of our Risen Lord.

Finally, Fr. Alex McAllister reminds us that this is also the acid test of Christianity: whether there actually is a difference in our lives. And our Burning Question appropriately asks each of you: Do you invite the poor to your banquet? Check out "Chicken ala Carte," a moving video about the forgotten of our society for whom food is a luxury.

MORE ON EASTER. Many of us are getting ready for our Easter Sunday fiesta. The Easter ham has been bought, the other goodies are being prepared, the Easter eggs arew getting decorated. So here's a loud reminder to all: "Easter is not a low-budget Christmas!" Easter is what gives faith its meaning. Fr. Romy Seleccion, MS shares his "Ten Alleluias of the Resurrection." And Paul Dion, STL reminds us that this is the season of new life and vitality, the season when the cleansing that took place during Lent blossoms into greater resolve in the life of the Spirit.

ON LITURGY AND FAITH. we often hear the ambiguous assertion that the liturgy should be solemn and that people are looking for a solemn liturgy. Here's an article that serves to remind us that "A 'Solemn' Liturgy is Not a Somber Liturgy." And Paul Dion, STL reminds us that we Catholics have so much religion. We’re so proud of it that even when we haven’t the slightest idea of what it means to be a disciple of Christ, we still brag, “Yeah, I was Baptized Catholic.” Paul's "Lotsa Religion, How Much Faith?" will challenge you.

CATHOLIC NEWS. By now you've all heard about the Notre Dame-Obama controversy. Finally, here's an article that finally talks about the decades-old elephant in the closet: the issue that many Catholics privately disagree with abortion while publicly supporting it. And this week the Vatican, here's the full text of the Pope's homily for Chrism Mass for the church of Rome in St Peter's.

SPRING HEALTH TIPS. First, we bring you an article that challnges what is really a healthy weight. after reading this, you might decide that "Maybe You Need to Gain 10 Pounds?" Plus here's 9 health tips you can ignore right now. From eggs raising cholesterol to cold weather giving you a cold, Health magazine busts the biggest health myths out there.

Another eventful and reflective week in our Catholic world. Have a happy and most blessed Easter.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Post a comment.
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."

Issue Date: April 5, 2009
Palm Sunday (LPalmB)

BURNING QUESTION: What sacraments were instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday?
FEATURED BLOG: Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
VOCATION NEWS: El Grano Que Muere
PASTORAL HISPANA: Pontiff: God Never Ceases to Call Vocations

Dear Friends:

The Sunday before Easter is observed by virtually all Christians -- Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox -- as Palm Sunday. Scholars tell us that what we will hear this Sunday is the oldest written account of the passion and death of Jesus. So by reading it in dramatic form, we are able to get very close to the most significant of all events in the history of the world. Our Discussions Questions on the Sunday Readings will guide you during your personal reflection or at your bible study groups.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains why the Catholic practice of careful, repeated meditation on the Passion of Christ is important. It is the climax of the entire history of Revelation and Redemption. It's the ultimate Revelation of two intertwined realities: human sin and divine love. Fr. Alex McAllister says it entirely typifies the paradoxical nature of the Kingdom Christ came to inaugurate.

The King had come to dinner at Simon’s house. Fr. Joseph Pelligrino homilizes how Jesus was anointed with costly perfume in respect. But the Noble One said it was actually a preparation for his burial. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm says If we take this little story of the anointing of Jesus seriously, we will learn that the passion story is not primarily about how much Jesus suffered, but rather about how much he loved. The glorious Son of God who "reigns from the wood" transformed our death from a curse into the door of eternal life, as Father Cusick explains.

Fr. John Foley declares that the real basis of kingship is serving the people. And Jesus, the true leader, lets go of everything in allegiance to God and in service of His people. And the cross, Fr. James Gilhooley explains, reveals people's hatred for God and God's love for people. And this, according to Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS, is the week we carry our own cross. While Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that if we fix our attention on Christ crucified., we will see a more profound justice at work. And it has a name: the Divine Mercy.

HOLY WEEK. The Holy Week message is "Salvation Through Christ: This is where we're going!" as we celebrate with Christians all across the world. And if like many, you haven't been blessed with the opportunity to spend Holy Week in the holy city of Jerusalem, you can follow Paul Dion, STL, as he narrates his Holy Week in the Holy Land experience - one day at a time - begining with this Palm Sunday Report: "JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM!"

In the weeks leading to Holy Week, many of you might have witnessed First Eucharist celebration for the young children in your parish. Fr Longenecker explains quite well "The Many Advantages of First Confessions at a Tender Age." And as we move towards the end of Holy Week, hundreds of thousands - over 150,0000 by USCCB estimates - are expected to join the the U.S. Catholic Church during April 11 Easter Vigils.

CATHOLICS MORE LIBERAL? A Gallup Poll this week concluded that Catholics are the same and in some cases even more liberal than non-Catholics when it comes to moral issues - namely premarital sex, embryonic stem cell research and the death penalty. As an example, the topic of contraception seems to be a touchy topic even among Catholic couples who are preparing to get married in the Church, as a pre-Cana lecturer from New York explains in "Contraception: the Bitter Pill."

It is no big surprise then that the media would have a field day when the Pope spoke against the use of condoms last week in Africa. Here's a great commentary on "Media and Religion's Uneasy Relationship" by the editor of Catholic Information Service for Africa.

CATHOLIC NEWS. With the new Obama administration moving to repeal the federal "conscience clause" at hospitals, many health workers at Catholic hospitals will now be coerced to perform medical practices that are violations of their personal moral values - abortion being one of them. Also this week, the USCCB had to issue a statement denouncing the Reiki Therapy, a popular Japanese treatment, as unchristian and not to be practiced in Catholic instututions. And finally, we bring you "Memories of John Paul II" on the fourth anniversary of his death this week on April 2.

STORIES OF HOPE. Small miracles of goodwill are running deep in flood-stricken Fargo, ND. Even as thousands of people are driven out of their homes, most of the local storm shelters are virtually empty. Why? Neighbors are going out of their way to take in neighbors and strangers alike. And just as many have decided that online dating was dangerous and risque, we ran across a story that good can come out of just about anything. Check it out: "How I met my husband online."

LIFESTYLE. Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP reports on an interview she did with Ryne Pearson, one of four writers who scripted the film, "The Knowing" starring Nicholas Cage. . Ryne is a practicing Catholic who went to public school and attended CCD (catechism classes). Check out his story. And here's a simple health tip that can save your life: Brush your teeth; it could prevent a heart attack. Plus here are "5 Things you Must Know About Sleep."

nother eventful day in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief