The 21 Year Journey of the World Youth Day Cross
Follow the journey of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon Across Australia.
The World Youth Day Cross has been traveling the world with young Catholics for the past 21 years.
A group blog devoted to the baptismal call, spirituality, gifts, vocations, ministry, work, history, theology, evangelization, formation, bad jokes, and pastoral support of lay Christians seeking to live their faith in the 21st century. Sponsored by the Catherine of Siena Institute www.siena.org. INTENTIONAL DISCIPLES HAS A WONDERFUL NEW HOME AT http://www.siena.org/Blog. THE PARTY CAN'T BEGIN WITHOUT YOU.OUR BLOG HAS MOVED! CLICK HERE TO BE REDIRECTED
Follow the journey of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon Across Australia.
I'm feeling secure. Sure 'nuf. Per the New York Times
There is an interesting conference underway in Rome on "The Parish and the New Evangelization". It is sponsored in part by the Emmanuel Community which sponsors some wonderful evangelization events - such as the open house/Adoration/welcome initiative that my pastor stumbled across at the Parthenon in Rome a few years ago.
Houston here we come.
More than ever, Information technology has become an important economic engine for urban communities in India. Private and public enterprises, large and small are experiencing its benefits, and large investments are being made in the development and implementation of IT. However, the specific community that ASSET is focusing on, namely the Children of sex workers and the sex workers themselves have been left out.
The Dominicans of Australia and New Zealand have a blog dedicated to the preparations for World Youth Day. You might check it out from time to time at this address.
John Allen posted an intriguing and important piece yesterday:
Fun workshop in Riverside and some very fun and interesting interviews. Ate fresh oranges off the tree, reveled in hummingbirds, and the rare clear vista of snow capped mountains in southern Cal.
One night, in the chapel of the Dominican priory in Naples where St.
Thomas was then living, the sacristan concealed himself to watch the
saint at prayer. He saw him lifted into the air, and heard Christ speaking
to him from the crucifix on the chapel wall:
"Thomas, you have written well of me. What reward will you have?"
"Lord, nothing but yourself."
His request was soon answered. On December 6, 1273, St. Thomas
Aquinas was saying Mass for the feast of St. Nicholas in the chapel where
the crucifix had spoken to him. Some profound experience - spiritual,
mental, and physical suddenly overwhelmed him. He showed few
external signs of the change at first; but he declared to his long- time
secretary that he could write no more. "All that I have written," he said,
"seems like straw to me."
Sherry and I missed our connection from Salt Lake City to Colorado Springs last night, and may spend most of the day here until we're able to catch a flight back to Colorado.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) claims a worldwide membership of 13 million people, but fewer than half of them actually live in the United States.
Thirty-six percent of church members reside in Latin America and 17 percent outside of the Western Hemisphere. A significant LDS community exists in Canada.
Mormons recognize Jesus Christ as the head of their church, but they accuse the leading Christian denominations of a Great Apostasy, or loss of the original authority to lead the Christian movement.
In its formative years, the church and its members were subjected to intense religious persecution, which caused many members to flee to the interior West and settle in what is now the US state of Utah.
The church encourages its young members to serve for up to two years on full-time proselytizing missions around the world.
As a result, nearly 53,000 Mormon missionaries are working currently in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and other parts of the planet.
In addition, more than 3,500 special church envoys work worldwide as health care specialists, teachers, construction supervisors, agricultural experts and leadership trainers.
The drama of the entrance to Damascus is all about conversion. In Saul/Paul’s case the conversion was immediate and historically decisive. He was baptized; he preached in the Synagogue at Damascus; he recognized and proclaimed vigorously that Jesus was the Son of God. What an incredible turnabout!
For most of us the conversion, the turnabout, is more gradual and much less dramatic. Conversion is a process and a process takes time and effort to be properly effected; it is not a once and for all situation.
Actually conversion is a lifetime project. A dramatic conversion story like Paul’s invites each of us to reflect on where we are along the line of that process, and how we might enhance or open ourselves to enhancement of that most important project of our lives. Ultimately our conversion has to do with relationship: the relationship with Jesus the Christ, the object of our Christian faith.
Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
In honor of the Feast of St. Francis de Sales today, I thought I'd repost something I wrote last summer about the network of friends that gathered around Francis and, together, changed an entire nation. This is also related to Fr. Mike's intriguing post below on Vocations Work in which he describes the remarkable initiative of John Jacques Olier, who was a spiritual heir of Francis in many ways.
Me and Willy are about to hit that open highway (well, open skyway) again. . .
Take a look at this thoughtful post over at Gashwin Gome's place on the reluctance of most Catholic mission groups to proclaim Christ. As a native Indian and Hindu turned Catholic as a young adult, Gomes's comments are particularly interesting.
The following quote comes from an interview by the diocesan newspaper with the vocation director of a the diocese. It is interesting and somewhat worrisome in the assumptions that are proposed. It's also a bit different from the approach taken by my own Dominican Province.
While striving for quality candidates, the vocations office still has "wide open arms" to young men on fire for Christ who believe they may have a vocation to the priesthood, but given their age, may not be as certain as older candidates often are. "The place to test a vocation is in the seminary, not in a culture where you're not supported. If there are seeds of a vocation, it's going to be stifled in the world."
Planting seeds must start young and involve the whole community, including the bishop, priests, parents, schools and other church ministries. In dioceses where there is a strong culture of vocations, "it's a totally normal part of the culture that if you're a Catholic man you should seriously consider priesthood at some point."
Other ministries involved in building up that culture include ministry to young adults. "The diocese has invested heavily in young adult ministry. We wanted to build up a lot of places where we could go fishing for these guys."
Having young priests and seminarians involved in activities like the Young Adult Mass, Catholic Challenge Sport and Theology on Tap. Young men can see that "they talk, they breathe, just like me. But they're in the seminary. Success builds on success," he said, "The more seminarians we have and the more visible they are, the more other young men can see themselves doing it.
A great little essay by my friend Mark Shea in today's Inside Catholic.
The cat has thrown up three times this morning and I'm feeling what my grandmother used to call "puny". (She also used to look at my brother and I and say we looked "peaked". Just how she arrived at this conclusion looking up at our respective 6'0" and 6'8" heights always eluded me, but it doesn't do to argue with your grandmother.)
Archbishop Chaput is not pulling his punches: (via Catholic News Service)
And from the Washington Post, this brave essay by physician and Jesuit scholastic, Dr. William Blazek:
I came across a really interesting conference and resource a few days ago but haven't had the time to blog about it until now:
After months of drought the parched land of Kenya thirsts for life-giving water. After years of oppression and exploitation the weary people of Kenya long for justice and peace. After four decades of independence the nation bleeds from a nearly mortal wound, while it reverberates with threatening accusations of tribalism, ethnic cleansing and genocide. This very morning yet another school and orphanage were torched in Mathare, Africa’s largest slum just a few kilometers from the Kware slums of Ongata-Rongai where I continue to facilitate various programs at VICODEC, a center dedicated to the promotion of human development.
Prompted by my Dominican Brothers in Raleigh I am writing this reflection, an attempt to respond to repeated questions from around the world. Why have 600+ Kenyans been so brutally massacred? Why have 250,000 people been driven from their homes and villages? Why are thousands more fleeing across the borders into Uganda and Tanzania? Why, this very day, are masses of Kenyans threatening to demonstrate in thirty cities and towns across the country? Because of an election, alleged by the opposition (Raila Odinga and his ODM Party) to have been fraudulent yet subsequently declared to have been free and fair by the Kenyan Electoral Commission, thus giving the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki of the PNU Party another five years in office? I don’t think so!
However controversial this decision is itself, it does not radically explain how the normally tolerant, long-suffering and peace-loving citizens of Kenya were driven to perpetrate such horrific death and destruction upon their beautiful country, once thought to be the most united and democratic nation in sub-Saharan Africa. While the failed electoral process is, without doubt, the catalyst that continues to spark such devastating reactions, fear and violence, it cannot account for the ensuing explosive situation. The root cause can be found only in the poverty, inequality and injustice that have plagued this country since independence and that have been systematically incorporated into the structures of its society, ever widening the great divide separating the powerfully rich minority from the masses who languish in poverty and hopelessness. Bridging that divide seems to be so far beyond the reach of ordinary poor Kenyans that they regrettably resort to anger, bitterness, acrimony and despair.
In such an anti-gospel milieu, it appears almost impossible for the everyday Kenyan to accept that God’s reign does not reach down from the presidential State House, nor from the Parliament, nor from the heights of power and wealth, but that the God of peace only breaks through in real acts of compassion, healing and justice, only in the nonviolent liberation of the poor and oppressed.
Sharing the pain and anguish of my Kenyan brothers and sisters, I am pushed and pulled into the confrontation and indignation of their experience. But even more I am emboldened to pursue God’s promise of peace on earth. I am compelled to continue to confront my own country’s “wars on earth”. I am driven to resist the present U.S. administration’s militaristic and arrogant imperialistic ambitions around the world. I am persuaded to oppose handguns, the death penalty, abortion, racism, sexism, poverty, corporate greed and the environmental devastation of our spectacular planet Earth.
Even as I conclude this reflection, the skies suddenly break open to release a soft, gentle rain. I am reminded of Isaiah’s “Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum”(45:8) in which the prophet expresses the world’s longing for the coming of the just one. I pray that the refreshing rain, now at last gently falling on the parched earth of Kenya, is a prophetic sign of the coming of God’s “Just One”, showing all of us the way to that New World without war, without poverty, without injustice – peace in Kenya, peace in the world, peace at last!
People at the 6:30 a.m. Mass were a bit surprised when I appeared wearing violet vestments today. I quickly explained that the U.S. Bishops have declared today to be a day of penance in commemoration of Roe v. Wade and the millions of children killed by abortion since. The following paragraph is from the Ordo for today's Mass.
In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373
Amy Welborn recommends this remarkable book:
There's a lovely post at Streams of Mercy by evangelical-become-Catholic, Heidi Hess Saxon, on the importance of gentleness and service in the mission of evangelization.
Many interesting comments below which I've spent time responding to rather than posting.
After spending a good part of yesterday and today trying to get a handle on exactly what we'll be doing at World Youth Day in Sydney, figuring out the budget, and considering how I am going to raise the monday necessary to pay for it all, it's refreshing
Very extensive coverage of the March for Life, Paris can be found at Blog by the Sea.
The Cafeteria Is Closed has lots of good pictures of the San Francisco Walk for LIfe which took place last Saturday.
Pippin (the cat) is insisting on helping me blog this morning by walking over my MAC as I type.
Up working early to plow through an enormous amount of stuff
The Pope's talk at today's heavily attended Angelus is about the Octave of Christian Unity:
Here are pictures and details from the Associated Press of the huge (200,000) turn-out for today's Angelus led by Pope Benedict in St. Peter's Square. The huge turn out is a show of support for the Pope after his appearance at a local Roman university was cancelled due to protests by a small group of faculty and staff. This is a much larger attendance than normal.
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus has a wonderful post about the late Cardinal O'Connor of New York in the First Things blog. He ends with this anecdote:
The news of massacres in Kenya has died away a bit but I just came across this gripping description of the situation in Kenya provided by the Dominican friars who run the OP Novitiate there. Their compound has become a haven for frightened families from various tribes. It sounds an awful lot like the movie "Hotel Rwanda". Read it. Pray for the people of Kenya.
The Archdiocese of Boston is also reorganizing their Youth and Young Adult ministry. Here's the entry from Cardinal Sean's blog (roll down):
I suppose this also made the rounds a few days ago but Allen Hunt, who, a year ago, was senior pastor of the third largest Methodist church in the world (Mt Pisgah in Georgia) announced that he will be received into the Catholic church. He had apparently transitioned out of the senior pastorate during the last year in preparation for this announcement not. and has focused upon his daily radio show. His wife will remain active in the Methodist church.
Today is the beginning of the Octave of Christian Unity. Ancient-Future Catholic has some good resources for the Octave which makes sense since their very interesting apostolate is focused upon articulating the Catholic faith to post-moderns, especially in light of reconciliation between eastern and western Christianity.
A fun bit of geekiness:
I was quite taken by this snippet from John Allen's column today: his topic the necessity of being imaginative about communicating the drama and power of what goes on inside our Catholic communities (especially our cathedrals) to the rest of the world.
The March for Life, San Francisco will once again be taking place tomorrow and it has become quite a eclectic gathering. Via Catholic online:
Over 500 attended Called & Gifted events during the first two weeks of January and there are more on the way: Maybe this is the weekend for you to begin your discernment journey:
I'm back. At last. For a week, anyway.
A researcher has uncovered evidence that apparently confirms the identity
of the woman behind the Mona Lisa's iconic smile, Germany's University of
She is Lisa del Giocondo, wife of Florentine businessman Francesco del
Giocondo, according to notes written in the margins of a book by a friend
of Leonardo da Vinci as the artist worked on the masterpiece, the school
said in a statement Monday.
The discovery by a Heidelberg University library manuscript expert appears
to confirm what has long been suspected. It is also an answer that has
been in plain view for centuries: the Mona Lisa is known as La Gioconda in
Del Giocondo was first named as the likeness in the painting by Italian
writer Giorgio Vasari in 1550, who also dated the work at between 1503 and
1506, the university said. But because Vasari relied on anecdotal evidence, there were always doubts
about the identification, and Leonardo is not known to have made any notes
about the model's identity himself.
Compounding the mystery, vague references in 1517, 1525 and 1540 point to
other identifications. "One possibility discussed is the presentation of a fictitious likeness of
a woman; Leonardo's female ideal," the school said. But the find by Heidelberg library expert Armin Schlechter settles the
matter, according to the university.
In a copy of the works of Roman philosopher Cicero, a Florentine official
and friend of Leonardo's wrote in the margins that da Vinci was working on
a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. The friend, Agostino Vespucci, dated his
notes October 1503, also helping to pin down the exact time Leonardo was
working on the painting.
"All doubts as to the identity of the Mona Lisa are eliminated (by) one
source," the university said.
The discovery was actually made in 2005, but was not widely known until a
German radio station last week aired it in a report.
Back in mid-December I posted the following under the title, "The Gift of Faith," and promised to respond "in a few days." Hah! I suppose a month might count as a few days, if you'll be generous with me. Here's the post, and my promised response.
While faith is a gift from God, it is often modeled for us by others. My parents never missed Mass, unless they were sick. I remember driving for an hour with them to church one Sunday when we were vacationing in Arkansas (Catholic churches weren't all that common). My mom would pray often before starting the car..
I prayed fervently at times when she was driving.
I'll never forget getting up one night to get a drink of water when I was about seven years old and glimpsing my dad on his knees at the foot of my parents' bed as he said his night time prayers.
I knew my parents were people of faith not only from their prayer, but from the way they lived.
But I have a question for you, dear readers.
How would you describe your faith? What does this great gift look like in your life? What are its characteristics and qualities? How does it impact your daily life? How would you describe the faith you hope your children have? If you aren't quite living your faith as you'd like, what is your goal? Describe how you'd like your faith to be.
One caveat: if you use the phrase, "practicing Catholic" or "active Catholic," please describe what you mean by that.
I promise to share my own response to those questions in a few days
Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] 150
This morning at Mass I used the second Eucharistic prayer. After the Memorial Acclamation, there's a line that has bothered many a presider, I know: "We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you." I know it has bothered some presiders, because I occasionally hear it changed to "worthy to be in your presence." A friend recently asked about the discontinuity of what the presider is saying in the first person plural, and what the congregation is doing.
Remembering therefore His death and resurrection, we offer to Thee the Bread and the Chalice, giving Thee thanks because Thou hast held us worthy to stand before Thee and minister to Thee.
“Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest thing you will ever encounter with your senses. . . if he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also, Christ . . . Glory himself, is truly hidden.”
It's the quintessential January early Sunday morning in Seattle. Mostly dark still (at 7:30 am), fairly cold but not raining (and as any true Seattlite will tell you, a day or hour in January without rain is like a day with sunshine!) . I'm staying in a funky 1930's nursing home turned inn at the foot of Queen Ann hill, the highest hill in Seattle, and also at the foot of the Space Needle which, graceful and glowing, is the first thing that strikes your eye as you leave the place. The Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World's Fair, is across the street and the theatre district is here as well.
After ten hours in Colorado Springs, I loaded Sherry in the used car my friend Liz has purchased in place of Lazarus, the old Ford Bronco she used to lend me that was condemned as "unsafe to drive." After driving to the Denver airport, we went our separate ways, Sherry to a family visit to Seattle, me to Jetmore, KS, for two one-day workshops with Jen Picotti, one of our wonderful Called & Gifted teachers.
Fr. Mike and I are on our way to the Bay area to put on an abridged version of Making Disciples for the Dominican pastors and parish leaders of the western Province. I have posts brewing in my head, we'll se if there is any time or opportunity to write them down.
Often I hear people complaining about the prison system in the U.S. Prisons are generally overcrowded, the recidivism rate indicates that little rehabilitation is happening, the majority of inmates are members of racial minorities, and too often they become "classrooms" for learning new criminal skills.
Compassion newsletter is written by death row prisoners in the United States and distributed without charge to all 3400+ inmates in this country currently under the sentence of death. Subscriptions are also available to those on the outside.
Compassion focuses its efforts on publishing compassionate and introspective articles written by death-row prisoners. Within its pages it also works to develop healing communication between capital punishment offenders and murdered victims’ families.
Under its self imposed guidelines Compassion directs that half of all its subscription and donation funds be awarded as college scholarships to family members of murdered victims. To date $21,000 in scholarships have been awarded to seven individuals from around the country.
Compassion urges prisoners to set a new moral decency for themselves. Through its pages, death row prisoners take an active role in restorative justice and reconciliation. Prisoners are encouraged to genuinely foster reconciliation between themselves and immediate family members of murdered victims.
The current editor of Compassion, Dennis Skillicorn, is on Missouri’s death row. He views Compassion as “an opportunity for us to have a voice and express our overwhelming desire to give back to society. In the process death row prisoners are able to work toward restoring some of what we’ve torn down.”
Back from Houston for two days. Then off the San Francisco Bay area where a tremendous storm is brewing and there are all kinds of power outages. Hey, its all part of the relentless glamour of mendicant life.
The visit highlighted one of Pope Benedict's favorite themes: personal charity as the ultimate expression of faith in Jesus Christ.
In Austria last fall, he told Catholic volunteers that love of neighbor is not something that can be delegated to the state or to institutions -- it always demands a personal commitment.
In his 2006 encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love"), the pope brought it down to the basics: "Christian charity is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for and healing the sick, visiting those in prison."
As pope, however, personal contact with the needy is not always easy. Every public papal event involves planning, security and protocol, and usually takes place under the glare of the mass media.
On his trips to Africa, Pope John Paul sometimes would make unscheduled stops to visit poor families in their huts. These off-screen events were fleeting, however; the papal motorcade was always waiting outside.
Sherry was mentioning an abridged version of our four-day seminar, "Making Disciples," that we will be presenting at the Western Dominican Province Pastoral Minister's Conference next week. If you are interested in knowing more about the full-length workshop, which focuses on identifying spiritual thresholds that people typically cross on the way to becoming intentional disciples - and ties that in with the Church's teaching on grace, justification, and proclamation of the Gospel - you can click here to go to our website where you can download a brochure with more information about the seminar, as well as a registration form.
Having Pippin around has revived the old dog vs. cat debate around here.
Everything was down yesterday: internet, phone, TV for over 5 hours! Thanks goodness for cell phones!
The January Lausanne World Pulse is out this morning and could not be more timely considering the news coming out of Kenya about the massacre of dozens of Kikuyu who had taken refuge in a church.
Inherited a black kitty named Pippin yesterday. Austin, one of our staff, raised Pippin from a kitten but now that she is 16, has developed terrible allergies and sadly, had to find a new home for her. Pippin is remarkably healthy and limber for her age. She found a hole in the wall behind the dryer last night and spent the night there but decided to come out and meet and greet this morning. She is now wandering about the Tuscan villa, bewailing her fate and throwing up occasionally. She is very friendly between spasms of angst so there is hope.
I came across a marvelous new resource yesterday: