Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Blessed are the poor in spirit"

Solemnity of All Saints (AllSaintsB)
November 1, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Why do we pray for the dead?
FEATURED BLOG: I'm Catholic because I can't do it alone
STORIES OF PRIESTS: 6-10 hour Confessions each Sunday
PASTORAL HISPANA: Los santos y santas interceden por nosotros

Dear Friends,

This weekend we celebrate the feasts of All Saints Day and All Soul's Day. In our Sunday Readings, Matthew talks about the famous Sermon in the Mount. Jesus moves up the mountain upon seeing the crowds gathering and teaches them The Beatitudes. Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

For the feast of All Saints we are asked to reflect on the first, and perhaps most important, verses of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. These verses have come to be called the Beatitudes. Jesus did not invent beatitudes. In fact, they had been used up to 50 times before him in the Old Testament. But Jesus re-packages them as a template for Christian living.

The Beatitudes

The first four are actually assurances to people who suffer. The next three are incentives to those who want to take action in the world on behalf of the Kingdom. And the last two presumes that you might actually want to take up the cross with Jesus. These, according to Fr. John Foley, S. J. are the three stages of ascent in the following of Jesus: Suffering, Working for Others, and Endurenduring Persecution, as a result. And the saints are perfect examples in each of this.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus affirms the blessedness of those who, because they are powerless, are saved from the illusion that worldly power can in fact give us the only truly important and lasting gifts. Being delivered from that fateful illusion, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. explains, they are free to turn to God. Father Cusick says the Beatitudes shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life. They are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations and they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured for Christ's disciples. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB calls them the new law proclaimed by Jesus as the expression of His holiness. While Fr. Ron Rolheiser refers to Pope John XXIII who preached about bringing the Commandments and the Beatitudes together and making them a practical guide for our lives.

Regular People Just Like Us

saint is someone who achieves perfect joy here on earth by putting God ahead of any comfort, honor or satisfaction - and thus opens his soul to the endless joy with God. And Fr. Phil Bloom says life offers only one tragedy: to not become a saint. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino saysthey are real people whose heroic lives give us the example of what it is to be fully human, and whose prayers give us the grace to be fully the Lord’s. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS adds further that Saints "are really sinners who keep trying.” And the difference between a Saint and a Sinner? A Saint has a past, while a sinner has a future. while Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA reminds us that on the feast of the Solemnity of All Saints, we actually concentrate on those who became saints in ordinary and hidden ways - those who will never be canonized.

Finally, Fr. James Gilhooley sums it all up. The marvel of Jesus' Gospel, he says, is that while it is admittedly difficult to put into action, its simplicity allows it to be understood even by a young child. Exegesis is not required. Christ's Gospels remind us we can have a hundred pounds of dogma while not having an ounce of salvation.

All Saints Day, All Souls Day & Halloweeen

What are the origins of All Saints Day and All Souls Day? Check out this historical account of how they developed. Another article we bring you explain how these feasts evolved in the life of the Church independently of paganism and Halloween.

Come Saturday night, young trick or treaters will be running all over our streets scavenging for candies. 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." Here's a piece on "How Halloween Can Be Redeemed." And if you've ever wondered about witches, ghosts and magic, here's a good explanantion on what the Catholic Church teaches about these mystical items.

Catholicity, Eternal Life & Unchurched

Youth Msgr. Charles Pope thinks we haven’t done a very good job in setting forth the doctrine of Eternal Life. Heaven is often poorly understood. And in their description of it, most moderns never get around to mentioning God. That's probably why a large number of young adults don't belong to any church. However, a recent book says that doesn't mean they are insensible to religion. So, how to attract young people to Christianity is a topic on the mind of just about every church leader today. Plus, here's a related story: How to help our college-aged children keep the faith.

And as part of his ongoing series, Webster Bull delivers another ditty: Why I am Catholic - Because I can't do it alone. Our Theology Editor says this simple-sounding reason is a direct shot at Protestants and points out a key difference between their beliefs and Catholicsm.

Reading the Bible Pope Benedict this week provided a lesson on the theological renaissance of the 12th century, advising Christians to learn from the monks and set aside time every day to meditate on the Bible, “so that the Word of God will be the lamp that illuminates our daily path on earth." He tells us further that "It reminds us that there is between faith and reason a natural friendship, founded on the order of creation itself."

And from California, the Bishop of Santa Rosa issues a guidance for his diocese on the reading of sacred scriptures. He explains “What the Bible is and what it isn’t

Motherly Rules & A Father's Love

A few of you may have heard of this little rock band called the Jonas Brothers. We learned a little bit this week about Mom Jonas — aka Mrs. Denise Jonas. She speaks out to moms around the country as a representative of, an organization that discuss parenting, peer support and family bonding. As a part of her role with iMom, Mom Jonas recently released her “words of wisdom” for moms. This is a must-read. Another mother, Danielle Bean, was so inspired by Jonas' list that she wrote her own "This Mother's Rule of Ten - 10 ideas for every day."

This is one of those truly remarkable stories. This gripping video will remain in your consciousness for a very long time. "I Can Only Imagine" is a moving true story about a father's unbelievable love for his disabled son. Youth, Hollywood and the Cross Here's a ParishWorld classic from Frances Rose. She writes about stumbling upon a secluded landmark on the hills above Hollywood - the Cross at Cahuenga - and how she was "wowed" by the discovery. She says the cross is proof that God continues to shine his love down upon Hollywood.

From the Archdiocese of Hollywood, organizers at their annual youth rally were delighted that for the many attendees, faith has been renewed. After the event, many teens professed that they are not afraid to show their love for Christ. And if you;re a fan of Dancing with the Stars, you know snowboarder Louie Vito was eliminated this week. But what many don't know is that this young man lives a Catholic life and has a history of giving to his parish.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Post a comment a comment below
Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Your faith has saved you."

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (30B), October 25, 2009

FEATURED BLOG: Recovering Stray Catholics
VOCATION NEWS: Confessions of a Gypsy Priest
PASTORAL HISPANA: El Ciego Bartimeo nos da Ejemplo

Dear Friends,

Last week, Jesus chides the disciples for failing to see that authority is for service, bitterly arguing instead who is the greatest in God’s kingdom. In this Sunday's Gospel, Mark seems to be laboring the spiritual blindness of the Twelve. Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

his is the last healing miracle in Mark's Gospel. In Bartimaeus, Mark presents a trinity worth pondering. The blind fellow begins with a need. Secondly he offers a heartfelt thank you to his Healer. Finally in Mark's economic prose, "he followed Him along the road." That trinity is what Christian discipleship is all about - need, gratitude, and enlistment.

Affliction and Faith

As the Catechism teaches, Fr. Phil Bloom starts off, affliction often provokes a search for God. It makes a person mature, to help him discern what is not essential and to turn to what is. Fr. Ron Rolheiser explains further that it is our own crosses that can allow us to rip away the veil to see into the holy of holies. And oftentimes our spiritual blindness is plain hard-heartedness to face the truth about ourselves.

Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS reminds us that in order to be healed, we must sincerely desire to be healed. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us that in the stories of those who "once were blind but now they see," the connections between seeing and believing are so strong that these miracles worked by Jesus are more about growing in faith than letting the scales of blindness fall away. So now, we ask you to reflect on this most basic but profound Burning Question: What is Faith?

What do you want?

Jesus says elsewhere in the Gospel that he who asks, receives. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio emphasizes that had Bartimaeus just believed quietly, Jesus would have walked right by him. Fr. James Gilhooley adds that Bartimaeus did not wear the Master down with small request. He went for the whole nine yards. He said Mark's point is none too subtle. When you come to the Christ, do not bother Him with Lilliputian requests. Go for broke.

So, Fr. Jim Kirstein asks, what might be hindering you from going to Jesus? This may call for great honesty to face what we may not want to admit. But God will help us if we ask him in faith. Now, Fr. John Foley, S.J. challenges you.If Jesus asks us, “What do you want,” how would you answer?

Cynicism, Gratitude & Enlistment

The crowd around Bartinaeus was cynical and told the loud blind beggar to quiet down. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. notes with wonder that they nonetheless respond to Jesus' command to call Bartimaeus. And we, likewise, are also called to offer this same encouragement to the people in need whom we meet every day.

Fr. Steve Porter, STL reminds us that whatever we have received, we have received it from God. So how many times have you received forgiveness for your sins, solutions to a problem, comfort and sympathy in our distress and turned to Jesus with thanks and a recommitment to follow him? We have been blessed. Therefore, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells us, we must join Bartimaeus and follow the Lord on a new path of greatness, a path of sacrificial love, a path that leads to a New World that is the Kingdom of God.

Struggling with Faith

In the US, we know of many who have lost jobs and homes. In Asia, we hear stories of friends who lost their homes, businesses and even loved ones. These crises have triggered a crisis of trust - in institutions, corporations, banks, and government. Some have even raised this deep question - Can God be trusted?

But we must have faith that "Every Storm Will End," Bo Sanchez writes in this very inspiring piece. Maybe it’s the moment when we need to reevaluate the Christian proposal and rediscover the value of authentic trust in God. Pope Benedict reinforces this by encouraging all men to have a personal relationship with God.

Recovering Stray Catholics

To know history is to become Catholic. We, along with the Orthodox are the only Churches that have a living Tradition of cherished teachings and memories going back to Chirst himself. Despite this, many have left. Not one of you does not have a friend, relative, colleague, or acquaintance who has fallen a way from the Church. We offer a plan you can use for recovering stray Catholics.

On the flip side, many are converting to the faith. But its puzzling to many of these new Catholics why life-long Catholics remain quite proudly Catholic despite the fact that much of what the Church insists we must believe is something they flatly reject. Mark Shea explores the world of converts and cradle Catholics. Plus we offer you some ideas from Cardinal Bertone how you can spark an interest in Scripture reading among the youth.

Anglicans, Tridentine Mass & History

An extraordinary event occurred this week in the Vatican - the celebration by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the first High Mass according to the old Latin rite in St. Peter’s Basilica in 40 years, since 1969. Also historic this week, the Pope announced that groups of Anglicans will now be able to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the Anglican spiritual and liturgical tradition.

Life & Family

In Madrid, one million people took to the streets to protest abortion reforms in Spain. From Phoenix, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told a Catholic doctors’ group in that God will “demand an accounting” from Catholics and from societies who fail to welcome the poor, the weak and the unwanted unborn. Each of these people is “an icon of God’s face and a vessel of his love,” he said.

From the USCCB, the US Bishops declared that the "Church's Vision Can Sustain Spouses" as they voted to approve a Pastoral Letter on Marriage. While in his second article this week, “I Love The Perfection Of Your Imperfections,” Bo Sanchez shares the monstrous mistake we make in our relationships: We try to fix the people in our lives.

TV, Confession and Comedy

If you're Catholic and a fan of the TV series House MD, you had quite a treat in this week's episode. It featured the character Dr. Robert Chase - a Catholic and in the show's back story attended seminary for a year before deciding he wanted to become a doctor - going to Confession.

nd Sr.Hosea Rupprecht, FSP, said she thoroughly enjoyed "Thou Shalt Laugh 4," calling it a great piece of Christian comedy. Hosted by John Tesh, the good sister says it offers plenty of opportunities to giggle, groan, and outright guffaw.

Another event-filled week in our Catholic world. Have a safe and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida Publisher & Editor in chief

Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant."

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (29B), October 18, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Is it more noble to volunteer for secular or church work?
FEATURED STORY: To be deep in history is to cease to be angry
STORIES OF PRIESTS: Pope: Priests are “Essential and irreplaceable
PASTORAL HISPANA: La autoridad se trata de servicio y no de poder

Dear Friends,

In the Gospel this Sunday, brothers John and James make their famous request for preferred seating next to Jesus' throne in heaven. And our Lord Jesus takes the opportunity to give them a lesson on the nature of true greatness. Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

Wanting Glory?

Like the disciples who walked with Jesus, many of us have great ambitions. Fr. James Gilhooley says Jesus Himself was clearly a person of ambition. And he explains why ambition is not all bad. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains that Jesus also wanted the apostles to be ambitious, but for true greatness, which is not about big heads but big hearts.

By depicting the naked ambition of James and John in his Gospel, Mark is telling us that neither one of these gentlemen was a saint. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA discusses the marvelous reality that Jesus did not give up on these disciples despite His frustrations and efforts to educate them about what He was about. And neither will Jesus give up on us. No matter how often we fail, he will stand by us. Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that Jesus spelled out the price for us: Not by using others, but by allowing oneself to be used. What a more attractive Church we would belong to if each of us had the ambition, like the Lord, to serve and not to be served.

Call to Service

This Gospel story is another call to service. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB declares that Jesus meant this service to be a free service of love, not out of fear for God. Jesus was not servant out of servile fear of a tyrant Father, but as beloved Son, who in turn loved as he was loved. So must we also learn the difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a servant. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS tell us that when we chose to serve, we decide whom we will serve and when we will serve. But when we choose to be a servant, we surrender the right to decide when we will serve. We become available and vulnerable.

What Jesus is saying, in effect, is this: we will taste suffering, everyone will. Fr. Ron Rolheiser warns us however that while suffering can make us deep in compassion and forgiveness, it can also make us deep in bitterness and anger. And only compassion and forgiveness can bring glory into our lives. We are, after all, a Eucharistic People. And as such, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains, our celebration of the Eucharist must encompass washing the feet of the Lord’s people.

Our calling is to share our God-given gifts with others. All of us have different gifts. And we have a responsibility to develop our gifts in service to the Lord. What can I do best? What do you do best? Our Burning Question for you this week will strain you to reflect on the concept of service: "Is it more noble to volunteer for the benefit of secular communities, like hospitals, city halls and such? Or is it better to volunteer for Church work, like teaching catechism, reading the Scripture at Mass, carrying communion to the sick, etc.?" Think about it and share your thoughts with us.

Asking of God

Fr. John Foley, S. J. says often we think of God as someone who helps us get everything we need, the great parent in the sky. He says sometimes this is good, sometimes it is not. So when you pray, Father Cusick asks, do you "ask for the world" in your prayers. Well, he says don't stop there, go ahead and ask for heaven as well. If we share the desire of James and John for a high place in heaven, perhaps our first prayer should be for the grace to accept our own share in the Lord's suffering, to accept the crosses that are given to us, not merely the ones we choose for ourselves.

A Call to Priesthood

Finally, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB homilizes that the readings for this Sunday invite us to prayerfully consider the priesthood and priestly ministry. The first reading is the passage of Isaiah's mysterious suffering servant who takes upon himself the people's iniquity. The second reading speaks of Christ the high priest, tried in every way like us but sin, and the Gospel passage speaks of the Son of Man who has come to give his life in ransom for many. These three passages bring to light a fundamental aspect of the heart of priestly ministry and one that we celebrate together as God's people in the Eucharistic mystery.

Angry Catholic Bloggers & Evangelizing Like St. Paul

Many of us have friends who have "fallen away" from the Catholic Church and we simply didn't do anything about it. Ask your average Catholic about evangelization and you get a mumble and a shrug. Mark Shea says it's not that Catholics think it’s bad. Rather, it is that most Catholics simply have no idea what to do. So he offers some concrete help. Some, however, have taken the more active approach and actually evangelize on the internet via one of the many Catholic blogs. But take a quick survey of the Catholic blogosphere, and one can't help but notice that one of the more common attributes of many Catholic bloggers is that they are angry. Eric Sammons says he thinks one of the main reasons why is that they are not “deep in history.”

Saints, Infant Baptism & Daily Mass It is a simple historical fact that the Church has always baptised infants. Even our earliest documents speak of the practice. Msgr. Charles Pope talks about it in relation to the "Complete Gratuity of Salvation." From the Vatican during the canonization of five new saints, Pope Benedict defined sainthood: "A saint is one who doesn't put themselves at the center, but rather chooses to go against the grain and live according to the Gospel." And a daily Mass-goer, a convert to the faith, reflects on how amazingly often the liturgy speaks directly to the questions of our hearts.

Family, Youth, & Life

People of all faiths worldwide will join as one voice to pray for life and peace during the world’s largest day of prayer Oct. 18. Worldwide Fatima Sanctity of Life Day was organized by the World Apostolate of Fatima/Blue Army, USA to inspire one hundred million prayers for Life and Peace. In Romania, its Catholic Bishops Conference expressed concerns regarding the cultural and religious cleansing that the Greek-Catholic Church is currently facing in that country.

From the Vatican, the Holy See is countering the suggestion that "reproductive health" includes the right to abortion, and is urging the United Nations to consider human persons as the world's greatest resource. It's a lesson Dr. John Bruchalski takes to heart, but not always. He used to perform abortions, then he returned to his Catholic faith. Now, his mission is to help spread the message of Divine Mercy through his powerful conversion story.

More good news, sort of. Carl Anderson reports that whatever problems the recession has created, it has also created a great opportunity for families: Divorces are down as married couples rethink the financial implications. It's a good opening for each of us individually, as well as for parishes and Catholic organizations, to help save marriages. And here's an important related reflection for married couples: If the “I Do” Becomes “You’d Better”

Still from the Vatican this week, Benedict XVI wasjoined via satellite by university students from nine African metropolises to pray the rosary "with Africa and for Africa." And a new US research reports that religion makes “quite a significant difference” in teenagers’ lives.

God Shines Bright in Hollywood

Hollywood's "Prayer and Pasta" is a a spiritual home for young Catholics trying to make a difference in the entertainment industry. Usually held the third Wednesday of each month at Family Theater Productions offers on Sunset Bl., you will always find a crowd sharing scripture reflections and a potluck bowl of pasta.

And this Friday, Oct. 16, also at Family Theater Productions,the 44th Gabriel Awards will honor The Tale of Despereaux; The Express; Pray the Devil Back to Hell; Raising the Bar; Handy Manny, and Marathon Love. Actress Ann Blyth will accept the Gabriel Personal Achievement Award. KCRW Radio (Santa Monica) was named “Radio Station (Secular) of the Year.” The Gabriels honor industry professionals who produce films, television and radio programs, features and spot announcements that serve viewers and listeners through the positive, creative treatment of human concerns.

2010 "Try Prayer! It Works!" Contest Launched

Entries are now being accepted for the 2010 “Try Prayer! It Works!” Contest. Open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the 15th annual national competition sponsored by Family Rosary encourages children to express their faith through art, poetry and prose. Finally, we give you 9 Web sites that can make your life easier. From finding local goods to tracking gifts, these sites will definitely click with you.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
lick Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Go, sell what you have"

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (28B), October 11, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Does God want you to be rich?
FEATURED BLOG: On being Catholic and incarcerated
VOCATION NEWS: Confessions of a Basilica Confessor
PASTORAL HISPANA: Las riquezas nos pueden dominar

Dear Friends,

In the Gospel this Sunday a rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. But he is saddened by Jesus' reply to him, "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor." Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

Mark's Gospel story of Jesus' encounter with the man seeking eternal life is is the only story in Mark in which the individual called responds not by following, but by going away.

Attached to Wealth

The young man wanted God as a part of his life. But, as Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio points out, he wasn’t ready to give God control of his life. Simply put, explains Fr. John Foley, S.J., possessions can control one's life. And unless we can moderate our need for them, we will be halted in our journey to the highest value there is in life, God. The implication therefore, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino adds, is that the amount of one's possessions is not nearly as dangerous as is the degree of one's attachment to them.

Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA homilizes that like many good Christians, the young man wanted God on his terms. But we cannot just have God on our terms. We must hear what God wants of us. This makes us recognize how many of us are more inclined to sacrifice our needs for our wants. But giving into temptation because of weakness or passion doesn’t make us bad, according to Fr. Ron Rolheiser. What does is when we deny, rationalize, excuse ourselves, and accuse others after we sin. That’s what hardens, warps, and embitters the soul.

The Good Steward

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. postulates that to be liberated from the drugging influence of possessions is to be ready to put the needs of others before one's own comfort and convenience. This remedy, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS explains, is called the life of faithful stewardship. A good steward is grateful to the Lord. He is responsible in taking care of those blessings and generouly shares God’s gifts in justice and in love.

So now we challenge you with this week's Burning Question: Does God Want You to be Rich? Think about it and share your thoughts with us.

"Come, follow me!"

In the story, Jesus does not simply say, "Do what I say." He says, "Come, follow me!" Fr. Phil Bloom uses St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres as the best exegetes to illustrate this point. These two saints show us that that Jesus' teaching is not just a beautiful idea. It is possible for weak human beings to sell all, give to the poor and to come, follow Jesus. Because in the end, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains, Jesus lovingly reminds us that life is to be had in its fullness not by accumulating things, honors, privileges, reputations, and prestige, but by letting go of things.

"Then who can be saved?"

Jesus made achieving eternal life look so hard for the wealthy - through the eye of a needle - that the astonished disciples had to ask Him, "Then who can be saved?"

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says Jesus is plainly teaching us that only divine grace can enable us to enter the Kingdom of God. We are invited to take the plunge of faith and commit our whole lives to God freely and without thought of reward. We are called to follow the Him unreservedly, Father Cusick adds, as the young man was unable to do when he walked away in sadness from the Lord who beheld him with love.

Discovering Spirituality

Kathy Coffey has seen some of her friends leave the Church. So she asked herself, "Why do you stay?" This personal challenge led to an articulation of beliefs she has held so long and so deeply, that they had become almost dormant. Here's her "Ten Reasons to Be Catholic." And from the the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, we bring you the story of a prisoner who converted to Catholicism while incarcerated. A militant, anti-Catholic, he describes how after his conversion, his theology, dogma and ethics changed without warning.

Do you have a spiritual director? Every Catholic should have one. Not having a spiritual director is like building a house without the help of an architect. We will show you how and where you search for a spiritual director.

Stories of Priests

Why should young men enter the priesthood? A small diocese of only 121,000 Catholics seem to know the answer. 46 seminarians have stepped forward from the diocese - a number unprecedented in the USA. And after seeing two of her friends send off their sons to the seminary, Theresa A. Thomas noted that while God certainly is the one calling, the family is the fertile ground which prepares and allows a young man to say “yes”. That, she explains is the "Formula for a Vocation."

Then we bring you "Confessions of a Basilica Confessor." They have a fixed schedule, a day of rest, and a couple of hours for lunch. Their office is not a desk but a confessional. They are the full-time basilica confessors at the the four major basilicas of Rome.

Around the World

In a packed Sydney Opera House studio Sunday evening, Cardinal George Pell confronted the myth of modern atheism in the first ever Festival of Dangerous Ideas. He told the atheists, "Without God We're Nothing." From China, an American banker shares his "Reflections on a Beijing Mass." He notes that in many respects the Faith in Asia is alive, vibrant and deep. From India, we call it "The Kerala exception." There are ten times more Catholics there than elsewhere, but it is a miracle that they live in peace with the Hindus and Muslims.

From Rome this week, Pope Benedict XVI urged the European bishops to refrain from excluding the Church from social and cultural life, even while upholding its just distinction from the State. While from the USA, a new national survey by the Pew Research has found that fewer Americans express support for abortion now than in previous years. The poll also showed that 4 out of 10 don't know President Obama's position on abortion.

The Power of the Rosary

Venezuela's National Council of the Laity is encouraging children throughout the world to pray for peace and unity. The plea is part of the annual campaign "One Million Children Praying the Rosary," which is set to take place this year on Oct. 18. Back in the U.S., a blogger talks about celebrating the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary last October 7, by attesting to the great power that praying the Rosary had in his own life. The Rosary was the final step in his conversion to Catholicism.

Film, Lebron and Coffee

More Than A Game, a new documentary by filmmaker Kristopher Belman, tells the amazing story of five friends, more like brothers, really, and the coach whose memorable run to the 2003 high school basketball national championship made history. The movie open this weekend and Sr. Hosea M. Rupprecht, FSP offers a wonderful review. Whiel from Woilmington, Del., the head of its Catholic Youth Ministry has written a book, “Using the Remote to Channel Jesus: 50 Movie Clips for Ministry,” to help youth ministers and catechists find film scenes that dramatize moments of grace and inspiration and engage young people in conversations about their faith.

And if you've ever wondered exactly what is inside that coffee you drink everyday, we have the full report: Water, 2-Ethylphenol, Quinic Acid, Dicaffeoylquinic acid, Dimethyl disulfide, Acetylmethylcarbinol Putrescine, Trigonelline and Niacin. We tell you how - with every single sip - each one of these ingredients affect your body. It's an interesting read.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"And the two shall become one flesh"

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (27B), October 4, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Is Divorce a sin?
FEATURED BLOG: Hints for Happy Marriages
PASTORAL HISPANA: El Matrimonio es una Alianza

Dear Friends,

In the Gospel this Sunday Jesus tells his listeners plainly that there is a truth and permanence in marriage and it was always meant to be that way. Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

The Church has quite a lot to say on marriage because it is one of the most important foundation stones on which society is built. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB clarifies that no extension of terminology for legal purposes will ever change the observable reality that only the committed union of a man and a woman carries, not only the bond of interdependency between the two adults, but the capacity to bring forth children.

Equal Partners

Father Cusick says Christ's Gospel teaching this Sunday on the indissolubility of marriage stands and is built upon the truth that there is no such thing as marriage without the entire and sincere gift of self, man for woman and woman for man. Jesus is stating that both the man and woman must stay and make the marriage work despite difficulties. Fr. Alex McAllister says Jesus is squarely placing both marriage partners on an equal footing. It is this wonderful harmony, according to Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B., that Jesus refers to when He brings up the Genesis story of creation this Sunday.

A Tough But Loving God

Our Lord said it bluntly, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." Fr. Phil Bloom points out, that the Church rightfully does say, "No," to many practices even if they some of them are widely accepted in our society. But, she does so to say, "yes," to Jesus and, "yes," to the beautiful love he proposes.

The fact is Jesus often showed that people were more important than rules or laws. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA explains how our Lord did not condemn the Samaritan woman who had had five husbands. Instead, Jesus forgives her. We are therefore not to judge those involved in sinful activity. Heaven knows that all of us - especially in today's society - have difficulty living Jesus' teaching on sexuality. So if you are divorced or if your mate and you don't get along, Fr. John Foley, SJ advises you to remember often the love that God has for you, and his very special interest in the relation of love he created you for.

Hints for Happy Marriages

A Marriage, after all, is for better or for worse. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells is that it is the one gift given by God before the fall which was not taken away by man’s sin. However, it does bring out either the best or the worst in us. Let's face it, relationships need maintenance to make it work.

Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS advises couples that opening themselves to listening to their partners In the midst of emotional meltdowns and misunderstandings is a vital step. The Lord had very good reasons for giving us two ears and one mouth. Fr. Michael Ryan agrees. In his "Hints for Happy Marriages," he advises married couples that their positive comments should outnumber their negative about 5 to 1. And you have to read "Partners and Marriage." Originally written by a young man as a college philosophy paper on marriage, it has become an inspirational internet sensation.

Some Burning Questions

This week we ask ask you to reflect on the core burning question: Is Divorce a sin according the Catholic Church? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio talks about marriage and family as he postulates this question, "Is annulment just a Catholic Divorce?" While Fr. Edward McNamara answers this question that's a sign of our times: Are civilly married couples considered cohabiting if not married in church?

And finally, Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us that while at our core we all intuit the value of chastity, somehow the deep-down sense that something is not best for us doesn’t always make us resist temptation.

St. Francis of Assissi & Respect Life Sunday

Sunday, October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis’ is the saint of peace. His prayer is: “Make me an instrument of your peace.” We cheapen the memory of St. Francis by reducing him to the saint of animals. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio tells us that like St. Francis, we are all given the same gift of supernatural faith through Baptism. Some Christians choose to develop this muscle and some do not.

This Sunday is also Respect Life Sunday. the USCCB through Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia called attention to those who are most vulnerable in recent debates on health care reform – the unborn, the poor, the elderly and the immigrant. He also noted that "despite the opposition of 67% of Americans to taxpayer-funded abortion, all current health care proposals being considered by Congress would allow or mandate abortion funding, either through premiums paid into government programs or out of federal revenues."

Holiness is Still Relevant

From Czechoslovakia, Benedict XVI reflected on holiness this week asking, "Is holiness still relevant? Or is it now considered unattractive and unimportant?" He also told the youth of the world that that Christ wants to make them happy, and that his voice is not difficult to hear for those who have their hearts open.

Our Lady of the Rosary Feast is Oct. 7

The month of October is dedicated to the Rosary. And October 7 is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving for the great 1570 naval victory in Lepanto that saved Europe from being overrun by the forces of Islam. We offer some suggestions on how to celebrate this feast.

There's a great video from Family Theater Productions called "Rosary Stars: Praying the Gospel." This DVD features several young adult celebrities reflecting on the power of Rosary. Check it out. And if you're all stressed out, try reciting a few decades of the rosary? Experts say repetitive prayers like the Rosary can actually help reset your stress thermostat.

"New Media at the service of the Word"

Pope Benedict expressed his hopes this week that the communications media will be a new way to bring Christ to the streets. The Holy Father urges priests to "consider the new media as a powerful resource for their ministry in the service of the Word." Fr. Tim Finigan calls this a very positive signal, an encouragement for Catholic bloggers, noting that there are already many good priests and lay people out there working hard to use the new media in the service of the gospel.

Floods & Earthquakes

It has been a most catastrophic week. First came the massive flooding in the Philippines, then the tsunami in the Samoas followed by the massive earthquake in Indonesia. So far 287 people are dead in Manila and over 670,000 are still living in rudimentary evacuation camps. Through all of this, another supertyphoon is poised to hit land today. Please send any relief donations through either Kerygma Families or the Ateneo University. Every little bit helps.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Follow us on Twitter
lick Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email