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Muslim Background Believers Conference PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 11:51
Working steadily through five days of e-mail and came across this:

The Muslim Background Believers Conference is taking place in Dallas this coming weekend.

This is a gathering of Christian converts from Islam and a fascinating phenomena. It says a great deal about the evolving religious scene that Muslim Background Believers are meeting publicly and advertising their gathering (although I am sure that security is still an issue.)
Two Days at Home PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 08:06
Back. For two days. I jet off to Minneapolis on Friday to do a Morning of Reflection on Evangelizing Post-Moderns at the Cathedral of St. Paul. If any ID readers are in the Min-SP area and attend, please come up and say "Hi".

Back blogging in a bit.
Parental Care PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Friday, 25 September 2009 15:51

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for my father. He returned home last Friday after just over five weeks in two hospitals and a hospital rehabilitation unit. He is recovering from his broken hip, but also tore some muscle fibers - or strained - his right thigh adductor, so that has caused him significant pain and made rehabilitation more difficult. He started receiving dialysis three times each week while in the hospital, and is continuing that now that he's home.

I've been taking care of mom while dad was in the hospital, and now they're both home. I am grateful to have had this time with them. At 87 years of age, I may not have many more such opportunities. They're fun to be around - and, since both of them walk with walkers, it's a real insight into the lives of the elderly.

Getting dressed is a chore. Mom's back hurts most of the time, except when she's in her recliner, so simple tasks, even, are literally a major pain. Both are quite unsteady on their feet, so I try to hover when they're on the move. Taking a shower takes a long time, and is a major fall hazard, so next time you're around an elderly person you think could stand a bath, know that it might not be because they don't care about hygiene, but because they're terrified of slipping and having a devastating fall that would make them have to depend upon someone else - or end up in a nursing facility that they may not be able to afford.

Getting a meal prepared is pretty much beyond them. Just standing at the sink is a challenge, although the edge of the sink is something you can lean against. Of course, your forearms aren't long enough to reach the faucet then. And if you should sit down again and then remember you'd like a glass of milk with that sandwich it took you ten minutes to make and left you breathless... well, you might just stay thirsty and hope you don't get dehydrated.

Of course, milk's not something dad can drink anymore. At least not more than 1/2 cup a day or so. It has too much potassium, which is bad for the kidneys. Nuts are a no-no, which is a shame, since peanut butter has been one of his favorite foods. A few months ago - before his fall - dad told me over the phone, "I could commit suicide," which left me stunned for a moment. He intentionally included a pregnant pause before finishing his sentence, "by eating a banana." Bananas are off the list, too. And then some foods that are on the low potassium list aren't on the list of foods that are good for diabetics, so dad has very methodically gone over his "kidney approved" list and checked it against his "diabetes approved" list and checked the foods that are best for him.

It's a limited selection.

And then there's medication. Prior to his fall, dad was on some thirty-plus meds, which included medications to help overcome some of the symptoms of medications. Hypertension was an issue that has been overcome by dialysis, so now he's down to about 20 meds or so, if you include the 81 mg aspirin he takes daily for his heart. One of the blood pressure meds made him so drowsy, he'd have to nap for up to three hours after taking it, and he had to plan his day around it.

He's off it now, but spends three and a half hours getting dialysis - but at least that's not every day. I wonder, If I weren't here to drive to the pharmacy, how would they get their medications? Or their groceries? Or to dialysis?

While standing in line to pick up a prescription or two the other day, I overheard a pharmacist tell a patient at the drive-through window, "You realize that medication costs $257? Your insurance will only pay for $20 of that. Do you still want it?" The man replied, "I want to live."

And he didn't even get fries with that.

My dad has great medical coverage, which includes mom. They never have to choose between medication and heating, or medication and air conditioning, or medication and car payments, or clothing, or another trip to the doctor to have her tell me something else is wrong.

Or medication and food.

When I was a child my grandmothers took turns living with my parents and I. My brother was in the military and my sister at college, so there was room for them. They'd stay with us for three or four months at a time or more, and it was great for me. They were younger than my parents are now, and didn't require as much care, but I loved having them with us. It was only when they needed nursing care that they stopped living with us, and both died fairly shortly thereafter.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a temporary caregiver to my folks, and I know my sister is glad that she could take care of mom while he was in the hospital and I was on the road.

But next week I have to leave for work, as Sherry indicated. And yesterday dad had a tearful conversation with me in which he went through the list of his maladies, his inability to drive, or even walk to the dining area in the independent living section of the retirement complex where they live.

"I can't take care of mom anymore. I'm ashamed that I can't even take care of myself. We have to move to assisted living." It will be a gut-wrenching change for them. They have to admit that independence is no longer an option. They have to say good-bye to their beloved cat, which has given them lots of affection and entertainment over the last four years. And, most difficult of all, they have to become dependent upon strangers, because I'm a priest, my sister's alone and works as a teacher, and my brother and sister-in-law are both teachers. None of us are home during the day.

With all the wonderful drugs and procedures we have to keep people alive - we no longer die from things that killed off our ancestors in their forties and fifties - we don't have something they often did: extended families living as a unit, or in the same town.

So it's off to assisted living for my parents.

I'm grateful they have that option. My dad was an engineer, worked for the same Fortune 500 company all his career, lived well below his means and saved money. He and mom can afford to grow old.

Many of us can't. I don't know that my brother and his wife can. I know my sister's very carefully calculating when she can retire, and what she can afford to do in retirement. I've got the brothers to fall back on (note to self: be kind to the young ones, since they'll be pushing your wheelchair someday).

I'm glad President Obama is getting us to think about healthcare reform. It's a messy topic, but has to be addressed.

I think we should also examine "honor thy father and mother" a bit, too. The two issues are not unrelated.
On the Road Again PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 25 September 2009 05:24
5:24 AM. In the Colorado Springs airport headed to Atlanta. Back Tuesday. It's 39 here and 85 in Atlanta. My suitcase is bulging with the wardrobe for two climates.

Fr. Mike is in Tucson caring for his parents but he may find time to drop by. Keith Strohm and Gashwin will be teaching with me in Atlanta so we'll have a little bit of time to catch up, I hope.

More blogging from me on Tuesday evening, maybe.
Screwtape Steals the Show PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 24 September 2009 09:45
The brilliant Fellowship of the Performing Arts production of The Screwtape Letters has been playing about the country to rave reviews for 3 years now. In D.C., it played to standing room only audiences. The Chicago Tribune called Screwtape "the most popular show in the history of the Mercury Theater."

The fall, 2009 tour includes Chatanooga, Fort Lauderdale, Louisville, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. It looks marvelous.

There is one review that I found especially interesting in light of our recent discussions on reaching young adults.

It is from a Millennial heavily involved in the New York comedy sketch scene. Daniel Kelley, writing for, begins with lavish praise:

"The Screwtape Letters is just about everything you want in a night at the theatre. Thought-provoking, engaging, entertaining, well produced, performed and directed, and all based around the wonderful words of C.S. Lewis."

But ends with these thought-provoking observations.

"With all this marvelous stagecraft going on—from directors and actors, to writers and designers—my one question upon leaving the theatre was this: Why were my companion and I the youngest people in the theatre by at least 10 to 15 years?

There are obvious answers to this question, of course, foremost among them being the ticket price, and the fact that the generation that grew up reading The Screwtape Letters is a generation far more than 10 or 15 years older than I.

The fact remains, however, that The Screwtape Letters is a play that should and, for my companion and myself, did resonate with my life and the lives of my peers. For instance, when Screwtape talks about the pompous heady-pseudo intellectuals that Wormwood's mortal is associating with, they might very well be the posturing, ripped-jeans-wearing hipsters often seen around Williamsburg these days. Or when Screwtape tells Wormwood, after his mortal has come through a great ordeal and become humble, that the surefire way to turn that humility into pride is to have him write a book about it, the whole audience laughed appreciatively, no doubt thinking of entire genres of self-help books of the "I've done this, and you can too!" variety.

Perhaps the most overwhelmingly alienating part of The Screwtape Letters for people in the age group of my companion and myself—ironic post-college twentysomethings—is the play's strong identification with Christianity. C.S. Lewis is one of the giants of Christian writing in the 20th century. Among many of my peers, Christianity is something for bible-thumpers and right-wing conservatives—something that we are predisposed to mock rather than venerate. In the sketch comedy world, where I work frequently, sketches featuring Jesus Christ are so common they are cliché.

It is therefore doubly important that ironic post-college twentysomethings like myself go and see The Screwtape Letters. What is presented is an intelligent, accessible, bitingly satirical and funny exploration of profound issues of right and wrong. This is not bible-thumping, this is serious meditation on issues having to do with the human experience—and it is important reminder of what Christianity can be. Whether you're Christian, Muslim, Jew or any other religion under the sun, The Screwtape Letters explores fundamental questions about how we live our lives, and make the decisions that we make.

In addressing the audience, Screwtape is addressing Wormwood, his youthful, inexperienced nephew on the nature of the world. It might be beneficial for those who are young like Wormwood to go and see this play."

This is not bible-thumping, this is serious meditation on issues having to do with the human experience—and it is important reminder of what Christianity can be.

Kudos to the men and women of the Fellowship of the Performing Arts. They have produced a work of art that does cross the divide. *If* we can get young adults, who may only associate Lewis with children's stories or may never have heard of him at all, to see it.

Consider inviting some young adults of your acquaintance along to Screwtape. And be prepared to have an interesting post-play conversation over a glass of wine or a few beers.
Help An Atlanta Family Who Lost Everything in the Floods PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 24 September 2009 09:10
I leave for Atlanta tomorrow for 5 days and the floods there have been very much on my mind.

If there are any ID readers who haven't seen this yet, Mark Shea writes on his blog.

And, on a more personal note, my friend Rod Bennett (author of the terrific book Four Witnesses) writes:
Just a note to any of our friends who haven't got the word: we Bennetts lost our home and practically all of its contents in Monday's flash flooding here in Georgia. Please be in prayer as we look for guidance on where to go from here and as our kids (who've never really known any other home than this one) try to pick up the pieces emotionally.

We'll be staying with my parents in Marietta for the next week or so.

I spoke to Rod this morning. He was standing in eight inches of mud on the *third* floor of his house. He is the soul of Christian courage and fidelity in all this, though his voice cracked a couple of times and nearly broke my heart. They have lost *everything*. And they had *just* sunk $30,000 dollars into a renovation ("The roof didn't leak" he said.) Thanks be to God, they have flood insurance and so should be able to find a new home. But everything they own is gone and they are, like us, basically lower middle class folk. His library he built his whole life is goo. All their kids' things. All his wife treasured. Everything. Look around your home at all the dear familiar things you take for granted. Now imagine it all taken away. Every stick of it. He is meditating on Job and saying to God, "I'm not going anywhere." But it's bitterly hard.

They will stay in their folks' summer home for the time being. But that's 150 miles away, which means his wife will have to radically scale back her work hours as a nurse--and that means way less income. Plus, the kids are traumatized and are now suddenly thrust into a strange place far from friends and familiar things.

All of which is to say "They could really use, not just your prayers, but your help."

I know exactly what the Bennett family is going through since my family lost everything in a hurricane when I was a child. (I know that it is not a southern thing but it feels like it.)

Mark is unleashing the power of the blog and taking up a collection for the Bennetts. Your prayers and financial help will make a huge difference to this Catholic family.
The Name That is Above All Names . . .and Doors, Gates, etc. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 24 September 2009 08:23
This is one of the Holy Name of Jesus mongrams that devout Sienese put above the gates of their cities, their businesses and homes in response to the preaching of St. Bernadine of Siena. St. Bernadine urged devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as part of a peace-making response to the many family feuds that plagued the city.

It was St. Bernadine whose devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus led to the addition of Jesus' name to the Ave Maria. As the Catholic Encyclopedia puts it:

Because the manner in which St. Bernardine preached this devotion was new, he was accused by his enemies, and brought before the tribunal of Pope Martin V. But St. John Capistran defended his master so successfully that the pope not only permitted the worship of the Holy Name, but also assisted at a procession in which the holy monogram was carried. The tablet used by St. Bernardine is venerated at Santa Maria in Ara Coeli at Rome.

The Jesuits made this emblem the sign of their Society and added a cross and three nails. It was Pope Sixtus V who granted an indulgence for saying the ejaculation: "Praise be to Jesus Christ!" with the answer: "For evermore", or "Amen"

Which was the way the Pope John Paul II began most of his homilies and speeches.

I love the sturdy monogram above and wish there was some way to obtain one today for my own home. I would imagine a lot of Catholics would like one - if they were familiar with the meaning of the custom.

Any ID readers come across a source today?:
O Name of Jesus! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 16:22
A prayer of St. Bernardine of Siena

"Jesus, Name full of glory, grace, love and strength! You are the refuge of those who repent, our banner of warfare in this life, the medicine of souls, the comfort of those who morn, the delight of those who believe, the light of those who preach the true faith, the wages of those who toil, the healing of the sick. To You our devotion aspires; by You our prayers are received; we delight in contemplating You. O Name of Jesus, You are the glory of all the saints for eternity. Amen."
Living in a Land of "Nones": The Edge of a Demographic Precipice? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 07:29
A brief word on the "None" Study that is all the news today. (And here I speak as a native daughter of "Noneland").

I'm under the gun prepping future events today and have only been able to scan a few news stories and have not been able to look at the results in detail and see how they mesh with the Pew US Religious Landscape Survey (2008) and Faith in Flux (2009) and recent CARA studies. My first impression is that they all seem to telling us the same story.

As I wrote in a brief note to a national radio show that I don't have time to appear on tomorrow: We are standing on the edge of a demographic precipice.

1) "None" doesn't necessarily mean atheist or non-believer in the dictionary sense. A large number of "Nones" (millions) are religious, pray on a regular basis, move in and out of our congregations, even formally belong to congregations. So many don't even fall into the category of "unchurched" exactly. They just don't claim a particular "religious identity".

Religious "nones" or "religious unaffiliated" as Pew puts it are the closest group to Catholics in terms of their beliefs and practices. That's because so many are Catholics. But 1/3 say they are open to having a faith is they found "the right one".

2) The 15% of US cradle Catholics who leave and eventually become Protestants are motivated differently from those Catholics who simply become "unaffiliated" or none". Catholics-on-their-way-to-becoming Protestants tend to spend some years in "none" land before joining a Protestant congregation. They tend to be more religious altogether and are spiritually seeking. They become Protestant overwhelmingly because they have found a faith they like better. If we reached out to them creatively while they were in "none" land, many would return but the quality of life in our parishes has to improve for them to stay.

3) Religious change is overwhelmingly a young adult thing. The majority of Americans leave the faith of their childhood (any faith) by age 23. 70% of Catholics who got directly to "unaffiliated" do so by age 23

But the majority of Catholics who become Protestant leave a bit later, and after a few years of wandering in "none" land, enter Protestantism in their mid 20's to mid 30's). Because Protestants reach out and evangelize, they are picking off large numbers of searching, formerly "none", Catholics.

4) We are standing on the edge of a demographic precipice.

I just checked these figures with CARA last week: An average of their findings shows that only 13% of 18 - 29 year old Millennials attend Mass on a weekly basis while only 15% of Gen Xers attend weekly. That covers all adults 18 - 45 or so right now. Gen Xers and Millennials already make up 50% of the Catholic adult population.

That means that if this does not change, In 10 years it will cease to matter that we have a priest shortage because the Builders will be largely gone, the Boomers retiring, and our institutions - parishes, schools, etc. will be emptying at an incredible rate. Sacramental practice will plummet at a speed that the will make the post Vatican II era look good and the financial support for all of this will be vanishing like Bernie Madoff's investment portfolio. The American Church will be de facto majority Hispanic because their young adults aren't leaving as fast (although as this new study and the Pew foundation both found, as Hispanics assimilate, they begin to behave more like Anglos. "Latinos have tripled their proportion among Nones from 1990-2008 from 4% to 12%". says this new study.

Hopefully not even Catholics will be able to retain their dread of evangelization in such a situation.

As one exceedingly bright and theologically literate Millennial Catholic with a love for the Traditional liturgy *and* a passion for evangelization asked me last year, "My generation of Catholics isn't prepared to evangelize my generation, are they?"

Bingo. Because the vast majority of the small percentage of millennial Catholics who practice are so caught up in intra-ecclesial struggles and a profoundly different world view than most of their contemporaries that they just find them annoying. As the article on evangelizing "I-Gens" or millennials that I blogged about last week pointed out:

"One important caveat: not every American twenty-something is like this. In fact, many emerging adults have been reared into a world vastly different than the self-esteem culture. Some gravitate, instead, toward an Augustinian perception of the self and find their own contemporaries annoying." Which sounds like a pretty accurate description of the majority of the small minority (10 - 15%) of millennials who actually attend Mass on a weekly basis."

One brave, honest, and funny commenter on our blog put it this way:

"Because I am a complete cow, all I can think is how horrified I am by these people. Not that it's their fault - it's obviously about the way they were raised. But still, this is a generation I have (with a few exceptions) little empathy for."

And another on Mark Shea's link to my piece put it:

"I'm 23 and I'd hardly call myself immune from the rampant idiocies of my generation, but this may actually explain why I find so many of my peers illogical and infuriating when it comes to moral issues. It's like we are speaking entirely different languages."

The problem is, as Cardinal George pointed out a few years ago. "We will never evangelize what we do not love."

Distain is not discernment. And evangelism and mission outward is not Protestant. Protestant evangelization and missions that we are familiar with did not exist for the first three centuries of Protestant history. They are 19th century innovations. Before that, evangelism and missionary endeavors were all Catholic all the time.

Will we wake up in time? Will we recover our Catholic heritage of evangelization? Will we be willing and able to cross the immense cultural divide between the majority of our adult population and the current "Catholic identity insider culture" in order to reach them with the Good News?

Cause right now four times as many American adults leave the Church as enter it.

Or will we simply acquiesce in the loss of 80% of two generations of Catholics? And their children. And grand-children.
Evangelization on the Run PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 07:38
The Archdiocese of Washington D.C. has a great blog subtitled: Longing for Something? Maybe It's God.

In a post titled "Evangelization on the Run", Laura Fersti, Coordinator of Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese, writes:

"Last week a friend and I were on a run, and at one point we decided to take a break and walk for a block, continuing the conversation we were having about Satan’s lies and Christ’s redeeming grace. Hearing a conversation like this at a faith sharing meeting would be fairly normal, but for the woman walking just a few feet ahead of us I’m sure our conversation was a bit out of the ordinary.

We were saying that when we sin Satan makes us think that we are completely unworthy, unforgivable, and unlovable. He tells us that we cannot change and that, since we are sinners, we are not welcome in the Church community either to serve or be served. In contrast we affirmed that in Christ we can repent, leave our sin and shame behind us, and fully participate in the life of the Church.

I have no idea if that woman knew Christ or not or whether she was part of the Church community or not, but I have a feeling that God put her within earshot for a reason! And I pray that Christ touched her heart that day with His words of forgiveness and hope."

What a great conversation to have! But I have to say that it is not been my experience that it is "fairly normal" for Catholics to talk about "Satan's lies and Christ's redeeming grace" at parish faith sharing meetings. Would that it were. In my experience, that would be the mark of an exceptional group. A group of disciples.

But then I don't hang out in DC so maybe things are different there. In any case, remember to watch the Archdiocese's blog. Good stuff!
We "Know So Much As Ain't So" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 September 2009 21:47
I think our readers will enjoy this. From the April, 1997 First Things (if like me you are not a subscriber, much less a very long term subscriber) comes this cheerfully enlightening essay, The Myth of Soulless Women by Michael Nolan. It begins:

"Josh Billings remarked profoundly that “the trouble with people is not that they don't know but that they know so much as ain't so.” There are those who know John Chrysostom said that “the image of God is not found in Woman.” (Actually, he said that “the image of God is not found in Man or Woman.”) There are those who know that Thomas Aquinas said that a woman is a defective male. (Actually, he explicitly denies this no fewer than five times.) There are those who know that Aristotle said that a woman is a deficient male—a description based on an appalling mistranslation.

And there are those who know that an early council of bishops, held at Macon in Burgundy, France in a.d. 585 decreed that women do not have a soul. The bishops of course decreed no such thing, for if women do not have a soul how could they be baptized, how receive the Eucharist, how be venerated as martyrs in heaven? Yet it may be worthwhile to look at the story of this alleged decree, for one can see a myth in the making."

H/T Dot.commonweal
Korean Catholicism: Martyrs and Drop-Outs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 September 2009 18:55
September is the month of the Korean Martyrs. How fitting that the Korean Martyrs Museum-Shrine opened again last week. September 20 was the feast day of Andrew Kim Taegon, (the first Korean priest) Paul Chong Hasang and Companions.

The Catholic faith first reached Korea in the last 16th century when Japan invaded Korea. It appears that a group of Koreans were catechized and baptized, presumably by some Japanese Christian soldiers. This small beginning yielded little growth.

Around 1777, Christian literature obtained from Jesuits in China led educated Korean Christians to study. A home Church began. When a Chinese priest managed to enter secretly a dozen years later, he found 4,000 Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were 10,000 Catholics. Since then, there have been at least 10,000 Korean Catholic martyrs.

Fr. Mike wrote last year (during his trip to Korea) about the fascinating story of how the faith reached Korea and the plans to erect an enormous church in honor of those lay men who founded the Church in Korea at Chonjinam.

The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by lay people. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians in the Church of silence in the north of this tragically divided land" (Pope John Paul II, speaking at the canonization of St. Andrew Kim Taegon).

For those who would like to get a different perspective on Korean Catholicism, there is a really interesting blog by a group of American Maryknoll priests: American Catholic Eyes in Korea. The bloggers remain nameless but clearly at least one has spent many years in Korea. (Just FYI, I read quite a number of the posts and this group of this group of Maryknollers does not seem to be either particularly left wing or prone to group think.)

And they talk about realities I have never heard anywhere else - such as this story about Catholic involvement in the resettlement of North Koreans in the south. Somehow, I thought that escaping North Korea was almost impossible but 20,000 are expected to arrive from the north this year. And the difficulty that northerners experience in trying to adapt to their new home. They may speak the same language but how 50 years of separation has changed things.

"One refugee sighing : "I will have to get used to being a foreigner. The culture, economy, the value system is just too difficult to adapt to." This will be a large problem when unification does come."

Or like the fact that contemporary Korean Catholics are prone to skip Mass and leave the Church just like American Catholics. From an August 19 post:

Nahnews visited again the issue of Korean Catholics increasing as are the numbers leaving the church. This is similar to what is happening in the States. Masan Diocese has the lowest percentage of Catholics going to Sunday Mass with 19.1% and Chun Chon Diocese with highest attending Mass at 29.9% .

In Korea we have the system started by the French Missioners of giving Catholics a card with their name and address which they are to place in a prepared basket during Lent and the Advent; this will be recorded in the parish books. If this card is missing for three years then the person is considered tepid ( to have left the church). A person may be going to Sunday Mass and receiving the sacraments but not having submitted the card for three years, these will be considered tepid. Those who have left the Church are not necessarily the same as those who are registered as tepid.

A Gallup poll taken in 2004 mentioned that 42.8% who consider themselves without a religion did have a religion at one time. 13.3% of these at one time were Catholic. Of those with a religion 14.9% were at one time Catholic.

The reason for leaving is not easy to determine. However, those who were not faithful in their Sunday observance, those from 30 to 4o years of age, a high educational background and with a pay scale that is lower or higher than average, have a higher rate of dropout.

The report ended with the mention that those who are now presently going to Sunday Mass 16.8% consider themselves tepid. 15.4% have considered changing their religion, and many who continue to go to Mass consider leaving. 30% of those that are baptized leave within 3 years.

In conclusion the report stated that it is important that those who enter the Church remember that the important part of the preparation is not the teaching, the preparation for the sacrament and what has to be done but the internal change of the person attained before being baptized.

The Catholic paper had an article on a parish in the Suwon diocese that has over 61 percent of those on the registers going to Sunday Mass. It is an example of what can happen when the community and the pastor take an interest. Originally the parish had a percentage that was higher than other parishes in the diocese but this was increased sizably by the work of the community.

In every culture, time, and place, intentional discipleship is the non-negotiable foundation of the Catholic life.
Chinese Students Interested in Christianity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 September 2009 18:30
From Asia News comes this startling statistic (written in 2003 when John Paul II was still Pope):

Nowadays, curiosity about Christianity, the Church and pope John Paul II is widespread among the Chinese populace –above all in university environments. A sociological study conducted by China's Open University (Renmin Daxue) demonstrates that 61.5% of Peking's students are interested in Christianity and want to be believers. The majority of them search for information on the Christian faith by way of literature.

Wow. I wonder how true this is six years later.
Do You Believe in God? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 September 2009 17:57
From the Florida Catholic, an encouraging story of how tomato pickers on the east coast won a major battle because a farmworker organizer asked a simple question:

"Do you believe in God?"

And a businessman, who clearly did believe in God, stopped and contemplated the implications.

“I was in a meeting with Lucas Benitez, the co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (a farmworker organization that has been fighting for reform and justice since 1993),” explained Batista Madonia Jr., vice president and sales manager of East Coast Growers and Packers, and he asked, ‘Do you believe in God?’”

Even when you’re in a business meeting and a comment like that comes to you, you have to put your business thoughts aside for a minute and look at the situation you’re in. That was the turning point in our discussion. What we do in business is a very small part of what we do in life, and we felt that although it wasn’t a decision that went with the industry, it was a decision right for our company, our workers and ourselves.”

It has been a long and convoluted struggle. Beginning with Taco Bell in 2005, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers made great strides to get the fast-food industry to agree to a penny-per-pound increase paid to workers for a 32-pound bucket of tomatoes – from 50 cents to 82 cents – a 64 percent increase.

Problems arose two years ago, however. The strong Florida Tomato Growers Exchange threatened a $100,000 fine to any grower who attempted to pay the workers the increase. The money has been sitting in escrow accounts rather than being passed on to the laborers. East Coast Growers and Packers objected to this and eventually resigned from the exchange and partnered with the workers’ coalition."

Incredible. The money was being paid by business but was sitting in escrow and not reaching the workers?

God bless East Coast Growers and Packers.
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