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Archive for the ‘christian’ Category

The feast days of the church were drilled into me from an early age. But frankly by the time I was in my 20’s I only paid attention to the 4 major events of the Incarnation, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Penecost. Of course being Irish-American I have to add St. Patricks day naturally (and I mean that in a religious celebration not a bar room one).

In my 30’s the seasons of Lent and Advent came back, especially after having children. 

In my 40’s however I started an off and on prayer life with the Liturgy of the Hours. At first I only found infrequent revelance to the daily readings in my life, but the more I applied myself in reading them the more it seemed that funny/quirky coincidences kept coming up, which were too timely to be just that – a considencie.

These were issues of reforming sinful areas in my personal life. But then it seemed that I found my self having read something that day that applied to another person in my life or even a stranger whom I struck up a conversation with & no thought of sharing the Gospel with them.  They seemed to open up the subject and the daily reading seemed to fit the bill. Frankly it was rather unsettling. On the one hand it had a sort of direct line to God element to it. The odd thing was it wasn’t something I could call upon when needed. There wasn’t a on/off switch. Any time I tried to use it, it never seemed to be effective.

In my late 40’s I seemed to get to caught up with family and work matters and that part of my prayer life declined. I picked it up again now that I’m starting on my 50’s.

The reason I’m posting this is a lead in to something like one of those type of “quirky coincidences” I referred to earlier.

 

Michael A. Monsoor Michael A. Monsoor

I was reading about a young Navy Seal who received The Medal of Honor for his action in Iraqi. His parents named their child Michael after St. Michael the Archangel. President Bush noted “On Saint Michael’s Day — September 29, 2006 — Michael Monsoor would make the ultimate sacrifice.” Perhaps Michael’s parents saw the “coincidence” of the date or perhaps the President did.

I guess many or perhaps most would call this a coincidence. I prefer to see the hand of God in it.

A final point of reference for me was out of curiosity I happened to look back at what Pope Benedict said in his Sunday sermon the week that Michael died to save his fellow soldiers. For a Catholic a sermon is used to try, with the best of their ability to apply the message of the sermon they received and incorporate it in their lives for that week.

The sermon is IMO uncanny. The references to human self sacrifice for their fellow man, giving of the supreme sacrifice and then the message after the sermon with reference to the Stella Maris (apostleship of the sea) & the care of seafarers(since he was a Navy SEAL), just floors me. As a Catholic who attended mass, I am assuming that he listened to those words of the Gospel and perhaps the chaplain addressed a similar theme as Pope Benedict XVI did. In any case Michael certainly lived out the Gospel message and honored all of humanity and the call of his Lord and saviour that fateful week.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In this Sunday’s Gospel, for the second time Jesus proclaims his passion, death and Resurrection to the disciples (cf. Mk 9: 30-31). The Evangelist Mark highlights the strong contrast between his mindset and that of the Twelve Apostles, who not only do not understand the Teacher’s words and clearly reject the idea that he is doomed to encounter death (cf. Mk 8: 32), but also discuss which of them is to be considered “the greatest” (Mk 9: 34).

Jesus patiently explains his logic to them, the logic of love that makes itself service to the point of the gift of self: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9: 35).

This is the logic of Christianity, which responds to the truth about man created in the image of God, but at the same time contrasts with human selfishness, a consequence of original sin. Every human person is attracted by love – which ultimately is God himself – but often errs in the concrete ways of loving; thus, an originally positive tendency but one polluted by sin can give rise to evil intentions and actions.

In today’s Liturgy, this is also recalled in the Letter of St James: “Wherever jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity”. And the Apostle concludes: “The harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (Jas 3: 16-18).

These words call to mind the witness of so many Christians who humbly and silently spend their lives serving others for the sake of the Lord Jesus, behaving in practice as servants of love, and hence, “artisans” of peace.

Sometimes, certain people are asked for the supreme testimony of blood, which also happened a few days ago to the Italian Religious, Sr Leonella Sgorbati, who died a victim of violence. This Sister, who served the poor and the lowly in Somalia for many years, died with the words “I forgive” on her lips: this is the most genuine Christian witness, a peaceful sign of contradiction that demonstrates the victory of love over hatred and evil.

There is no doubt that following Christ is difficult, but, as he says, only those who lose their life for his sake and the Gospel’s will save it (cf. Mk 8: 35), giving full meaning to their existence. There is no other way of being his disciples, there is no other way of witnessing to his love and striving for Gospel perfection. May Mary, whom we call upon today as Our Lady of Mercy, open our hearts ever wider to the love of God, a mystery of joy and holiness.


After the Angelus:

Next Thursday is World Maritime Day and I would like to invite all of you to pray for the men and women involved in seafaring, and for their families. I thank the Lord for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea, which for many years has offered human and spiritual support to those who live this difficult and challenging way of life. I welcome particularly the recent initiatives taken by the International Maritime Organization to contribute to the fight against poverty and hunger. May Our Lady, Star of the Sea, look down in love upon seafarers and their families, and upon all those who care for their human and spiritual needs.

Pope Benedict XVI -ANGELUS-September 24, 2006 

 
 

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The post-modern culture certainly has “moral” (I know I tried and failed to figure out how a group who rejects any moral absolutes) issues with China towards Tibet. But given the track record China has against suppressing the church for the past 60 years, why aren’t the Catholic and Evangelicals in a moral outrage?

Is it because we fear that the Christians over there will suffer more because of our actions? Or is it because of the acceptance of separation of church and state?

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Due to these three principle events the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced today numerous closings.

It must be an administrative nightmare to handle all that turn over.

These churches will all be closed by December 31, 08. It’s always sad to see any church close its doors. I hope that diocese like ours will be able to purchase some of the art work at these wonderful buildings. I really wish we could simply pick up some of these and relocate them to areas which need new buildings.

Heck ours was only built 5 years ago and we’ll need another parish within 5 years.

Good bye faithful servants you served a great purpose. I hope whomever takes you over will put you to a good purpose.

Blessed Sacrament, New Orleans

Epiphany, New Orleans

Immaculate Heart of Mary, New Orleans

Incarnate Word, New Orleans

Our Lady of Good Counsel, New Orleans

Our Lady of Good Harbor, Buras

Our Lady of Lourdes, New Orleans

Prince of Peace, Chalmette

Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Orleans

St. Pedro, St. Bernard

St. Brigid, New Orleans

St. Francis Cabrini, New Orleans

St. Francis DeSales, New Orleans

St. Henry, New Orleans

St. Julian Eymard, New Orleans

St. Lawrence the Martyr, Metairie

St. Louise de Marillac, Arabi

St. Mark, Chalmette

St. Mary, New Orleans

St. Maurice, New Orleans

St. Monica, New Orleans

St. Raphael the Archangel, New Orleans

St. Raymond, New Orleans

St. Robert Bellarmine, Arabi

St. Simon Peter, New Orleans


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Much has been written about the Pew Survey and the loss of the number of Catholics in the USA. If they qualified as a separate denomination, the Americans who have deserted the Catholic Church of their childhood would constitute the third-largest religious group in the country, with 10.1% of the population.  For every convert to the Catholic church, it losses 4. However, there are some positive numbers as well which bode well for the church.

CARA Reflections on Pew’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey 

None of these other Christian churches has had as much success as the Catholic Church in keeping those raised in the faith in the pews as adults. The Pew study indicates that the Catholic Church has retained 68 percent of those who grew up Catholic. If one accepts the notion that changing from one Protestant denomination to another is not a real change, the Pew report still indicates that 11 out of 100 adults in the United States were raised in any Protestant denomination and no longer identifies with any Protestant denomination today. If one includes changes between Protestant denominations as real changes, one in four U.S. adults no longer selfidentifies with the Protestant denomination in which they were raised.

The Latino population was underestimated in the survey. The number of Latinos in the Landscape Survey who identify themselves as Catholic (58%) is considerably lower than in a major survey of Latinos the Forum conducted in 2006 with the Pew Hispanic Research Center, where more than two-thirds (68%) identified as Catholic” (p. 41)

This would increase the Catholic numbers by 5% overall. CARA’s survey holds that 2% of adults convert to Catholicism whereas Pew says 2.6%. I’d tend to go with the lower figure.Thirty-eight percent of those who said they were raised Catholic and later left the faith said they stopped considering themselves to be Catholic before reaching the age of 18 and 6.6 percent said they did so before even reaching the age of 7, which is often used as the standard within the Catholic Church for the age of reason/discretion. Only 13.6 percent of former Catholics say they stopped considering themselves to be Catholic after the age of 35.

The point in a childs life where they become independant and determine to get married is when people make the choice to stay or leave the church. The teen years is when we have to get them more involved and better religious education. The latter point IMO mean to teach teens how to apply how to incorporate Christian principles to everyday life. I think secular society is a major factor in the losses. The lure of the material world requires sacrifices for the young and instead of calling our kids to a high standard, we lower expectations and in fact lose more folks.

The most interesting was the fact that protestant members changing to other protestant churches was 44%. That is unreal. People are either looking for the “True Church” or they are looking for a church which fits their values which naturally is what the true church would hold if it existed.

 

 

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Crisis, Reform and the Future of the Churchby George Weigel

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Mr. Weigel is a Catholic theologian and a Senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington,D.C. This book was written in 2002 so it’s still very current on the issues facing the church today. The author states that the book is

“For all those who will contribute to the genuinely Catholic reform of the Church in the Unites states. You know who you are. Be not afraid.”

The first 2/3 of the book is devoted to laying the foundation of what happened to the church over the past 35 to 40 years in the aftermath of Vatican II(no it’s not about what’s wrong with that council). He addresses how the role of the priest and the laity were mixed into the vague term of “ministry” and the role of priest as Vatican II teaches “living instruments of Christ the eternal priest”. An added insight is that the idea of the church as the body of Christ was diminished perhaps in church governance. The church is not a denomination defined by the will of its members, but an institution created and its boundaries defined once and for all by the will of Christ.

He address the issue of Humanae Vitae as one of the key points which bishops and Pope Paul VI failed to address what was created an environment that

“was to promote intellectual, moral, and disciplinary disorder in the Catholic Church in the United States.”

As far as I can tell he coined the phrase “Truce of 1968” when Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle took disciplinary action against 19 local priest for joining protests against Humanae Vitae. The Pope apparently feared it would create a schism in the church in America.

The last 1/3 of the book addresses what the author believes are need reforms, some like the seminaries and liturgy are already underway by Pope B16.

The book is an easy read and does provide some good insights for those especially that have come into the church in the past 20 years or so. As well as those who were raised in the church but were not born yet during the 60’s & 70’s. For those of us that have lived through these times, the book will not bring up much that is not already known, but would still be informative if your focus has been focused only on local church issues rather then national or universal ones.

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The center of the child abuse cases in the US was the Boston archdiocese. There are too many links to even attempt to select a few that carry what those Catholics have gone through in that area of the country.

The Boston globe however has an encouraging article on the new generation of Altar boys learning the Latin mass. This is not an easy thing to do, especially in this day an age. The priest in the article however drove home a point I’ve always suspected is true, which is raise the bar and boys will strive to achieve it. I use to be against girl altar servers from a traditionalist view, but now I’m more against them because boys of that age simply don’t want to do things that are perceived as “girl” tasks. Allow girls to serve the N.O. mass and allow the boys to learning Latin and bar the girls from serving will encourage boys to take up the challenge.

Full story  here.

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I thought it a stroke of genius to have the stations of the cross performed by Joesph Cardinal Zen of China. The Vatican has a link to the cards them made for this year. It’s in Italian so you’ll have to translate it.

I think this reflects the high priority of the Papacy in praying for those in China and for diplomatic relations with their gov’t.

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