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Formation in Evangelization - Roman Style PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 22:53
The Emmanuel Community sponsors several outstanding formation opportunities for budding lay apostles. For young adults (20 - 35)

1) The one year English language formation program in Rome.
(My pastor ran into students in this program conducting a remarkable outreach in the Pantheon. They invited people in to rest, listen to music, get a drink and go to confession. He talked to the students and was very impressed!)

2) A nine month French language program in France

3) A German language formation program in Austria.

And for those of us who belong to the not-under-35-anymore gang

A Master's Program in the Theology of Evangelization. One year residency in Rome and one year distance learning. Co-Sponsored by the Lateran University and the Emmanual Community.

One very small, very Roman requirement besides your undergrad degree. You need to know four languages: your native tongue, Italian, and two others. For those with no theological background, there is a summer crash course available. No age limit.

Of course, there is the new Masters/STL program in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.

Hmmmm. Rome or Detroit?

Hey, I'm thinking . . . How difficult could learning Italian be? I already know some: capuccino, lemoncello, ciao . . .

And then French. And how hard could it be to resurrect that high school German? Would a fading knowledge of Arabic grammer count . . .

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 16:18
Coming up in April. More information here. It's quite an event with Mass and reception the night before, scheduled events all day on Saturday and a tour of Catholic DC on Sunday. I presume this is to lure out-of-towners to attend.

The keynote is to be given by the new Archbishop of Washington. Speakers include Scott Hahn, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and there are some interesting workshops such as
"Catholics in Entertainment and the New Evangelization" with Raymond Arroyo of EWTN.

Have any ID readers attended a previous breakfast? Or know someone who has? Who attends and why? Is this the Republican party at prayer? Is the faith the central draw or conservative politics? Do non-conservative Catholics attend? Will some Presidential hopefuls be making appearances there?

I would appreciate any enlightenment from those who know.
Servant of God: John Paul II PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 13:46
Here is the website for the cause of the beatification and canonization of John Paul II with prayers in 33 languages.

There's something awe-inspiring and moving about seriously considering the canonization of someone I actually saw with my own eyes (well, my sister Rachel and I and Fr. Michael, and a couple hundred million other people). Someone who was the first Pope I was aware of; the only Pope I knew until April of 2005.

As a convert friend of mind observed the other day: I miss him.

O Blessed Trinity
We thank You for having graced the Church
with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit,
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered
among your saints.
Dave Brubeck: Catholic and All That Jazz PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 12:50
Writing music for the Church eventually led Dave Brubeck to enter the Church. Here is a fascinating article by Michael Sherwin, OP (a member of the Western Province, Tom!) about Brubek and the relationship between his faith and his music.

Hat Tip: Tom at the ever scintillating Disputations
The New Abolitionists and an Unlikely Alliance PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 07:12
For many Christians, sex slaves are now at the top of the human rights agenda according to this 2004 piece from the Seattle Weekly.

It just jumped off the pages of the newspaper." Richard Cizik, the influential vice president for government affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, is talking about how human trafficking became a cause for crusade. He remembers reading a piece about the trafficking of women in Eastern Europe, where the harsh economic realities following the collapse of Communism made many vulnerable to false promises.

"If we truly stood for human rights for all, surely the trafficking of young girls and boys for the purposes of human slavery could not go unchallenged." Cizik helped put together a coalition of groups across the religious and political spectrum to work the issue. Gloria Steinem sent a representative to meetings. So did the B'nai B'rith. The coalition succeeded in passing federal anti-trafficking legislation in 2000 that created Miller's office.

The coalition did not come about by accident. It was part of a deliberate strategy to move away from the unyielding methods of formative leaders like Jerry Falwell. "Second-generation leaders—people my age—saw the initiatives of the 1980s crash and burn and decided we had to do things differently," the 52-year-old Cizik explains. If evangelicals wanted to accomplish anything, they would have to build coalitions with people they previously considered opponents, on issues they could agree on.

Not only did they form alliances with feminists on human trafficking, Cizik says, evangelicals worked with Jews, Catholics, and Buddhists on passing the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, monitoring religious persecution around the world; with the Congressional Black Caucus on bringing about the Sudan Peace Act of 2002; with the American Civil Liberties Union on pushing through last year's Prison Rape Elimination Act; and with gay people on securing more international AIDS funding.

Speaking by phone from Washington, D.C., Cizik sounds practically giddy as he considers the victories won. He notes that some evangelicals take issue with the notice they are getting for their global activism, insisting that it is nothing new. "The difference is this," he tells them. "We have been internationally involved for 100 years, but we have never been successful before on Capitol Hill." Cizik recognizes that having a born-again Christian in the presidential office hasn't hurt.

If leaders like Cizik set a new alliance-building course for the evangelical movement, the topics that rose to the top of the agenda came more from the grass roots, according to Allen Hertzke, director of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of the forthcoming book Freeing God's Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights. Hertzke maintains that the dramatic growth of evangelical churches around the world has led "American evangelicals to an awareness of the plight of their brothers and sisters" in impoverished, often repressive societies."

You can't tackle a staggeringly complicated issue like global sex trafficking and only associate with those you consider ideologically pure - on either the left or the right. William Wilberforce couldn't do it in the 19th century and we certainly can't do it in the 21st.

Catholics have long known this and evangelical Christians are getting it. As one review of Freeing God's Children over at Amazon noted:


October, 2000. In support of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Bill Bennett gives a speech in a Senate caucus room and the next speaker reads a supportive statement from Gloria Steinem. One observer notes, "Bill Bennett and Gloria Steinem and Chuck Colson and Gloria Feldt are all saying the same thing."

Good Friday, 2001. Michael Horowitz, Republican think tank director, and Joe Madison, African American radio personality, chain themselves to a fence at the Sudanese embassy in Washington (to protest that regime's support of a growing slave trade) and are arrested, then call on Johnnie Cochran to defend Horowitz, and Ken Starr to defend Madison. Fearing publicity, prosecutors drop the charges.

Late in 2000. Pope John Paul II, U2's Bono, and Pat Robertson join the campaign to provide debt relief to impoverished third-world countries. "Tightfisted Republican Senator" Phil Gramm threatens to filibuster the legislation. Pat Robertson asks viewers of the 700 Club to contact Gramm and demand he remove his hold on the legislation. Gramm promptly does just that. "

Although the Church explicitly teaches that Catholics are to work with all people of good will in the pursuit of justice, some Catholics only want to do so with people they consider ideologically pure (and I'm sure this is true on both ends of the spectrum!).

Where is our confidence in Christ? You can't fight slavery from behind a barricade. And who knows how many, in the course of the battle, will be exposed to Christ for the first time in a meaningful way through us?



Social Justice & the Laity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 06:29

Written by Keith Strohm

Over at Evangelical Catholicism, once more, Katerina has a great post up about social justice, politics, the Church, and the role of the laity. It is, in some respects, a response to criticisms of the Catholic Worker Movement and the notion that the Church shouldn't be involved in politics.

Here's a snippet:

Some cringe at the word “social justice” perhaps because they are thinking of secular social justice, which is empty and without a true foundation that does not recognize Christ in the Eucharist. It is only by recognizing Christ in the Eucharist, and hence, in ourselves, that we can then recognize that same Christ in our neighbors and love them as we love Christ himself present in the Sacrament (Mt 25).

Without Christ, we will keep asking “who is my neighbor?” (Lk 10:29). And it was then that Christ told the parable of the Good Samaritan.Some Catholics try to make the term “social justice” so complicated and far-fetched that almost seems as something foreign or evil. To work towards a just social order or to ensure the common good is to simply care for each other, to love Christ in everyone: the sick, the prisoner, the stranger. When we take this love to a greater level in which we serve the criminal, the homeless, the immigrant, unconditionally united by a "sincere mutual love" (1 Peter 10:22) and we actively work in the political and social realm to take care of them and protect them as if they would be our own families or friends, that is when we are working towards a new social order, and this is what all Christians are called to do, to love one another intensely!
My only critique of her post is that, in attempting to make the distinction between the role of the ordained and the role of the laity, Katerina downplays the common priesthood of the baptized. This was, I'm sure, not her intent. The main thrust of her post seems to be that political action in the secular sphere is given to lay men and women to shoulder as their mission in the world.

Read the post, and do take a look at the comments. EC is a darn smart blog with lots of great things to say.
The Largest Catholic Retreat Center in the World . . .is in India! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 23:27
Go here to take a look at Divine Retreat Centre of Kerala, India. Wait for the changing picture on the right side to go through its whole cycle. Yep, we are not talking Traditionalism here.

The Divine Retreat Centre is run by the Vincentian order of India which makes perfect sense since it was St. Vincent de Paul who basically invented the mission.

Since 1990, over 10 million pilgrims from all over the world have attended retreats here. Weekly retreats in 7 languages are held back-to-back non-stop every week of the year. Their basic retreat seems to be based upon the renewal of the sacraments although clearly within a charismatic understanding.

I wonder what the true impact of such a ministry is. "Come Away by Yourself to a Lonely Place and Rest Yourself" is the motto on the home page. I don't know that "lonely" and "rest" are the words that come to mind when contemplating millions of retreatants.

Obviously, with those numbers, it won't exactly be a "silent" retreat. There are so many needs in India. I imagine that many non-Christians come seeking a touch of God. May they find it there and in thousands of places through his sons and daughters!

Also a great source for those Malayalam praise and worship songs you've been looking for.
Quote of the Day - from C. S. Lewis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 22:56

. . . “God,” said Pascal, “instituted prayer in order to lend to His creatures the dignity of causality.” But not only prayer; whenever we act at all He lends us that dignity. It is not really stranger, nor less strange, that my prayers should affect the course of events than that my other actions should do so.

. . . For He seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye. He allows us to neglect what He would have us do, or to fail. Perhaps we do not fully realize the problem, so to call it, of enabling finite free wills to coexist with Omnipotence . . . This is how (no light matter) God makes something — indeed, makes gods — out of nothing."

The Paradox of World's Most Catholic continent PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 22:47
Catholic News Service has a thought-provoking piece on the fifth general conference of the Latin American bishops' council, due to take place in May in Brazil. Pope Benedict XVI, who will travel to Brazil for a five-day visit May 9-13, will officially open the conference.

"In a meeting with papal nuncios from Latin America in Rome Feb. 17, the pope outlined some of the issues church leaders face in Latin America, including the growth of evangelical churches -- still generally referred to as "sects" in this majority-Catholic region -- and "the growing influence of postmodern hedonistic secularism."

In examining the reasons for the lure of Pentecostalism, the bishops will have to take a critical look at the Catholic Church's own practices.

Part of the attraction of other churches lies in "a failure to awaken a missionary commitment in Catholics and a lack of priests and religious," said Cardinal Javier Errazuriz Ossa of Santiago, Chile, who is president of the Latin American bishops' council, or CELAM.

"It's not that people leave the Catholic Church because they oppose it, but in seeking a relationship with God and seeking the Gospel, and having lost a livelier contact with Catholic communities, they go to other pastors who are talking about Jesus Christ," Cardinal Errazuriz said.

The conference's dual emphasis on discipleship and missionary commitment is meant to spur an awakening so that "every Catholic feels called by Jesus Christ to be a disciple and to be sent out to change the world in accordance with the Gospel," he said."

"I don't think it's just a matter of trying to get people who have left to come back or simply putting the brakes on evangelical proselytism," Bishop Ramazzini said. "The most important thing is to ensure that church communities are communities of disciples, that we live consistently with the Gospel. Everything else will follow."

Amen to that!

Repairer of Fences PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 22:05

I am alone in the dark, and I am thinking

what darkness would be mine if I could see

the ruin I wrought in every place I wandered

and if I could not be

aware of One who follows after me.

Whom do I love, O God, when I love Thee?

The great Undoer who has torn apart

the walls I built against a human heart,

the Mender who has sewn together the hedges

through which I broke when I went seeking ill,

the Love who follows and forgives me still.

Fumbler and fool that I am, with things around me

and of fragile make like souls, how I am blessed

and to hear behind me footsteps of a Savior!

I sing to the east; I sing to the lighted west:

God is my repairer of fences, turning my paths into rest.


based upon Isaiah 58:12 (Douay)


A poem by Jessica Powers (Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit)
from the website of her former monastery, The Carmel of the Mother of God, Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

The Slaughter of Eve PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 11:44
Do read this very disturbing Washington Times article by Julia Duin, which is the first part of a 4 part series.

A perfect storm of a historic disregard for girl children in certain cultures - especially India, China, and large parts of the middle east - and new technology means that 100 million girls are "missing" from the world today They have been aborted before birth.

"In a report released Dec. 12, UNICEF said India is "missing" 7,000 girls a day or 2.5 million a year. It is female genocide.

By 2020, the Chinese government estimates that men will outnumber women in China by 300 million - the fruit of the "one child" policy. If Chinese families are only going to have one child, they will make sure it is a boy.

One reason in India : "the dowry system, a Hindu marriage practice by which the groom's family demands enormous sums of money and goods from the bride's family as a condition for letting their son marry her." The custom is technically illegal but has spread to Muslim and Christian families as well. Even Indian Catholics follow the dowry system.

The wife's family also have to pay when she goes to the hospital to have a baby and sometime even for her funeral. "Medical clinics -- which Sister Mary calls "womb raiders" -- have advertised "better 500 rupees now [for an abortion] rather than 50,000 rupees later" [for a dowry]. The first amount is about $11; the second is $1,100."

As a result, a new class of wifeless men are scouring eastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal for available women. India, already a world leader in sex trafficking, is absorbing a new trade in girls kidnapped or sold from their homes and shipped across the country."

American companies like General Electric have profited hugely from the sales of ultrasound machines to India. Indian doctors who stand against female infanticide are black-balled and threatened.

Here is a situation like slavery which is deeply rooted in the historical practice and culture of a whole people.

What will it take to change? What can we do to help?
37% of US Hispanics are Evangelicals PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 11:31
A revolution is underway among America’s Latino population that will have profound implications for the future of American politics. Of the 41.3 million Hispanics in the United States today, 37 percent identify themselves as "born-again" or "evangelical." Just 10 years ago, the proportion that did so was about 15 percent. All told, there are now about 11 million Evangelical Protestant and 3 million Evangelical or Charismatic Catholic Latinos in the United States. In 1996, there were only 4 million.

An estimated 1 million US Hispanics become Protestant every year.

I gotta say it again.

If we don't evangelize our own, someone else will do it for us.
If we don't form our own, someone else will do it for us.

The Generation of Saints PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 10:34

I've spent the last 24 hours in a full-court press to gather in a meaningful way my rough notes on the Catholic revival that happened in 17th century France. I had promised them to one of our C & G teachers who is going to write an article on the history of the lay apostlate and intentional discipleship.

In many ways, the French "generation of saints" as they are sometimes called (actually there were three generations involved) reminds me of the group that gathered around Wilberforce in the early 19th century around the struggle for social change.

The 66 years between 1594 (when a young Francis de Sales embarked upon his one man crusade to re-convert the Chablis, an area of Alpine France that had been Calvinist for 60 years) to 1660 (when Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marrillac died) was a time of extraordinary spiritual creativity and fruitfulness for French Catholics.

It seems to have been made possible by a confluence of things

  • Relative peace and tolerance after years of brutal religious wars between Protestants and Catholics,
  • The reforms mandated by the Council of Trent,
  • Active support from the Kings and Queens of France and other wealthy and influential patrons,
  • Being able to import and build upon innovations from other parts of the Catholic world such as the Carmel of Teresa of Avila in Spain, the Oratory of Phillip Neri in Rome, and the Confraternity of Catholic Doctrine in Milan
  • A series of remarkably creative Catholic apostles who knew, influenced, mentored, and collaborated with one another.

The revival in 17th century France saw Catholics rise to meet the challenge of the Reformation and the needs of their time through, among other things:

The implementation of the decrees of Trent re: the establishment of seminaries and the universal formation of the clergy. Several men's communities were founded to form and support diocesan clergy.

The emergence of a truly lay spirituality and a new respect for and openness to collaborating in mission with the laity. The development of missions and retreats for lay people and country parishes. A new emphasis on universal catechesis. The emergence of lay missionaries and missionary initiatives such as the founding of Montreal as a missionary base. The prominent role of married and widowed women in starting and collaborating in many of these new initiatives.

Mission- mindedness. The foundation of a number of new, apostolicly-minded religious orders that were not enclosed and dedicated to work with the poor, the sick, or in education.

A new, systematic, parish-based approach to ministry to the poor

A strong evangelical outreach to Protestants which was a big departure from the usual method of simply enforcing the religion of the ruler upon the people. (In the words of Francis de Sales, "let us see what love will do.")

I wish I had time to share in more detail about some of the incredible people involved and the things that happened in France during this era. But one thing I came away with was the conviction that their time is not unlike our own.

We too are one generation removed from a Council that marks a real change of direction in the Church. We too can build upon many initiatives that have gone before us.

Will someday, scholars write about the apostolic revival of Catholicism in the United States in the early 21st century?

Jesus Kerfuffle PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 06:39

Written by Keith Strohm

Over at Evangelical Catholicism they have an interesting post on the "proof" offered by some documentarian (backed by producer James Cameron, of Titanic fame) regarding the burial Ossuary of Jesus and his son, Judah.

Most of you will probably remember that this "find" is not new news, but something that has been resurrected (sorry for the pun) from the recent past.

Take a look at the post and judge with your own eyes.

Is this really the tomb of Jesus?

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