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Looking for More Information About the Called & Gifted Process? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 09:05


Welcome to EWTN and Ave Maria Radio listeners!  We're excited that you are seeking to discern how God has empowered you for the sake of others and for the sake of his redemptive work in the world and the Church.


For upcoming live Called & Gifted workshops, check out our calendar.

For more information about the Called & Gifted discernment process in general, check this out.

To obtain a copy of the Called & Gifted small group set (that Vanessa was using), go here.

For Called & Gifted basics for an individual, call our office at 878 678 6789 or send us an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

To contact Sherry Weddell, drop me a line at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Blessings on your discernment!





Honey or Vinegar? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:39

“Speak with warmth and with devotion, with simplicity, candor, and trust... The words need to be inflamed, not through yelling or oversized gestures, but rather through inner feeling; it needs to come from the heart rather than the lips... The heart speaks to the heart, and the tongue speaks only to the ears.” Sermons are good if they change the lives of those who hear them."


Saint Francis de Sales was famous among his contemporaries for his holiness, which was also expressed through good manners. “His biographies speak of Francis as a perfect gentleman with everyone, whether they were noble, learned, or simple people,” says Father Scudu, “a man who always had a smile for the people he spoke with, who treated everyone with kindness and friendliness; who, when arguing with his Protestant adversaries, never used harsh, threatening, arrogant, or humiliating words. His adversaries came away from Francis perhaps unconvinced by his theological arguments, but won over all the same by his always-respectful behavior.” He himself summarized the importance of good manners in his own pastoral work, saying: “You attract more flies with a drop of honey than a barrel of vinegar.”


But what did Francis de Sales know?  He had only gone in on foot, by himself, and re-evangelized an entire area of alpine France where every Catholic church had been padlocked for 60 years because its ruler was Protestant.  He was only a bishop and the man whom, his generation - the "generation of saints" who began the Catholic revival that transformed France and whose effect lasted 150 years - regarded as the greatest living saint.  He is only a Doctor of the Church.


Frances de Sales didn't have to deal with idiots in comboxes.  What could he possibly have to say to us?  After all, someone out there on the internet is wrong!


Win Hearers, Not Arguments PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:16

This new UK book on apologetics looks great.  Based upon the experience of the ordinary Catholics who made themselves available to the media during Pope Benedict's visit to Britain, Catholic Voices: Putting the Case for the Church in the Era of 24 Hour News, can help us with an approach and skills that win "hearers, not arguments."

It combines arguments and facts with practical media skills, hearing the ‘question behind the question’ and listening for the ‘positive intention’  behind the criticisms. It gives insider tips on how to present arguments clearly, compellingly and concisely in a quick-fire atmosphere.

from a review in Eureka Street:

"The teaching and practice of the Catholic Church are summarised, the reasons for them explained, and the objections against them teased out.

The treatment is urbane, respectful of journalists and of the media to which they belong. In each case attention is paid to the positive values that underlie both Catholic teaching and the objections raised by its critics. The eirenical character of the presentation flows from the simple principles of good communication enunciated in the book. They are based on respect due to partners in conversation and on recognition of the positive values that animate them. Respect enables differences to be explored in a way that generates light, not heat, speaks to the heart as well as the mind, is compassionate, and focuses on winning people rather than winning battles. Respect for truth entails respect for those who seek it, despite disagreements with the positions they take."

You can get a copy in the US through Amazon.

The Church's New Ecumenical Partners: Pentecostals and Muslim Background Believers? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 19:02

As the Christian community around the world changes, so does the nature of the Church's ecumenical mission.  Cardinal Koch talks about the Church's newest major ecumenical partner:

"We have very strong growth among Pentecostal movements. That is a new reality worldwide, which is almost the second largest [Christian] movement after the Catholic Church. Actually we should speak of a Pentecostalization of ecumenism."

But there is an even more astonishing kind of Christianity emerging on the horizon. The Vatican Insider has a piece this morning about a mysterious Kuwaiti Prince who recorded a radio broadcast saying that he had become a Christian. I found it interesting that VI acknowledges the reality of a growing number of Muslim background believers.

I've been tracking it as best I can but only became aware last week of the stunning acceleration in the number of converts from Islam to Christianity that has taken place over the past decade. As in a half million Bengali Muslims who have become Christians, 300,000 among North African Berbers, 350,000 in Iran and more in the Iranian diaspora. Not to mention the explosive T4 movement in Muslim areas of China. Based upon what I was reading last week, it seems that there must be at least one million Muslim Background Believers in the world now,  which in world history terms is absolutely unprecedented.  90-95% of these conversions have occurred over the past 20 years, most in the past decade!

Because of the historic distrust and vast cultural differences between "historic" Christians and these brand new Christians, we are seeing the development of two separate forms of Christianity in the Muslim world. Some of these new Christ-followers are not baptized, some are.

It is not impossible to envision a point where there will be more "new" Christians from Muslim backgrounds than "historic" Christians living in the traditional Muslim world. Another unprecedented challenge in the area of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:44

Today is the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The resources for prayer on the Vatican website were composed of representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and Old Catholic and Protestant Churches active in Poland.

THE THEME FOR THE YEAR 2012 is an encouraging one.

“We will all be changed by the Victory of our Lord Jesus Christ”

(cf. 1 Cor 15:51-58)

Pope Benedict's catechesis today was challenging:

Benedict XVI explained that the Second Vatican Council “placed the ecumenical search at the centre of life and of the Church’s work.” It is up to “the responsibility of the entire Church and of all the baptised, who must augment the partial communion that already exists among Christians until achieving full communion in truth and charity,” he added.

This is why prayer for unity “must then be an integral part of the prayer life of all Christians, in all times and places, especially when people from different traditions come together to work for victory in Christ over sin, evil, injustice and the violation of human dignity.”

Benedict XVI reminded faithful that “since the birth of the modern ecumenical movement, over a century ago, there has always been a clear awareness of the fact that a lack of unity among Christians prevents a more efficient announcement of the Gospel, because it destroys or jeopardizes our credibility. How can we give a convincing testimony if we are divided?”

And if it is true that “as far as the fundamental truths of the faith are concerned, there is far more that unites us than divides us,” “divisions over practical and ethical questions do remain, spreading confusion and mistrust, weakening our ability to pass on” the Gospel.

In this sense, according to Pope Benedict XVI, ecumenism “is a great challenge for the new evangelisation, which will be more fruitful if all Christians together announce the truth of the Gospel and Jesus Christ, and give a joint response to the spiritual thirst of our times.”

Here are some Vatican resources for this week.

Slavery & Chocolate PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:38
I may be the last person on the planet to hear about this - but the majority of the chocolate consumed in this country involved slave labor at some point in its production. Because the Ivory Coast is the largest cocoa producing country and 90% of the cocoa there is grown with slave labor. 100,000 children are thought to be involved in the Ivory Coast. CNN has an excellent detailed expose:  The Human Cost of Chocolate.

There are a number of websites that monitor various chocolate brands for their involvement in slavery. But the simplest standard seems to be buy 1) fair trade or 2) organic.

The Book is Done. Long Live the Blog! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:32

Back.  Sorry for the long blogging vacation.

The book manuscript on parish-based evangelization is done.  I sent it to my editor at Our Sunday Visitor last week.  The original plan was publication this June but we'll see.

Since I only had 5 months to get it done, I worked 12 + hours a day, 7 days a week except for Christmas and when I was already scheduled to be on the road.  So, no time for blogging.

Here's a taste from Chapter 3 "The Weight of My Neighbor's Glory"


The presence of a significant number of disciples changes everything: a parish’s spiritual tone, energy level, attendance, bottom line, and what parishioners ask of their leaders.

Disciples pray with passion.  Disciples worship.  Disciples love the Church and serve her with energy and joy.  Disciples give lavishly.  Disciples hunger to learn more about their faith.  Disciples fill every formation class in the parish or diocese. Disciples manifest charisms and discern vocations. They clamor to discern God’s call because they long to live it.  Disciples evangelize because they have really good news to share.  Disciples share their faith with their children.  Disciples care about the poor and about issues of justice.  Disciples take risks for the Kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit is planting charisms and vocations of amazing diversity in the hearts of all his people.  Like the graces of the sacrament, they are real but they are not magic.  Just as the gifts of children must be fostered deliberately and with great energy by parents if their children are to reach their full potential, so vocations must be fostered by the Church.  In this area, we are not asking for too much, we are settling for too little.  God is not asking us to call forth the gifts and vocations of a few people; he is asking us to call forth the gifts and vocations of millions.  Our problem is not that there is a shortage of vocations but that we do not have the support systems and leadership in place to foster the vast majority of the vocations that God has given us.  Most fundamentally, when we fail to call our own to discipleship, we are unwittingly pushing away the vast majority of the vocations God has given us.


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