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Showing posts from November, 2007

Joyous Sacrifice

Elizabeth Schiltz at Mirror of Justice offers a thought provoking passage from The Church and Culture War by Joyce Little:

The fact that self-sacrifice is regarded by less than half of all adults in this country as a positive moral virtue tells us far more about the current state of American religious belief than do all the polls indicating that more than 90 percent of the American public still believes in God. It tells us that the Trinitarian Godhead which is within itself a communion of self-giving love is no longer the God in whom the American public believes. It tells us that Christ, the source of the sacred or sacramental ordering of our lives, who becomes Head of the Church and source of that order by virtue of his sacrifice for the sake of the Church, no longer informs American religious sensibilities.

This is important to reflect on as we enter Advent. Our secular culture will drive us to material gluttony during the next few weeks. It is wise to spiritually prepare to resist …

Domestic Church News

Blogging has been pretty sparse since Thanksgiving. My list of blessings for which I am thankful is so very long. My Rice student came home for the holiday and it was such a joy to once again have him at the dinner table and in the church pew. This was a quick trip but he will soon be home for Christmas break. My Aggie stayed in College Station for Thanksgiving since the annual Aggie vs Longhorn football game was played there on Friday. The Aggies won, 38-30. Woo-hoo!! It makes not having my son make Thanksgiving dinner a little easier to bear. I’ve also been blessed with my parents’ visiting. They are still here as we are preparing for my youngest son’s Confirmation tomorrow. After tomorrow, all of my children will have completed their Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist). It is hard to believe that those milestones will be behind us now. Of course, since this is a Sacrament of Initiation, it is only a beginning. There is a whole lot more learning ahead.

Speakin…

Prayers answered...But Wait--There's More!

We had our second meeting of The Apostles study group on Sunday night. Our group is growing. I think we have about 15 or 16 participants. That is about the right size for a discussion group format. After some initial stumbling at getting the word out, I think we have our act together and things are running pretty smoothly. The study guide by Amy Welborn is very good. I find it most helpful to read the study guide first then read the book. This serves to focus my reading on the key points. I am very grateful to the Holy Spirit for stirring the hearts of those who are attending.

Of course with prayers answered for that project, I am emboldened to pray for my next project. As part of teaching seventh-grade CCD, I am inviting the parents in on occasion for some parent/child catechesis. I did this back in September for our second class session and used Cardinal Arinze’s presentation on the five pillars of a Catholic family. I am inviting them again for next Monday’s class and will be talki…

She Said....

God made us male and female. Such a simple statement. Such a complex reality. For those with Y-chromosomes who want to unravel some of the mystery, take a look at Karen Hall’s blog today. She offers a translation of frequently used female phrases. For example:

1. Fine : This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes : If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

Be sure and read the rest!

Treasure of the Magisterium

I am beginning my study of The Apostles by Pope Benedict XVI. When I picked this book up I was expecting to read the individual stories of the first followers of Christ. Naturally, I assumed I would identify with aspects of some them and their stories would guide me to more closely walk with Christ. However, this work is much bigger than the stories of a few individuals. It is the story of the conception and birth of the Church. With Jesus as the cornerstone, the Apostles form the foundation for the teaching authority of the Church, the Magisterium. Those on the outside of the Church look at the Magisterium as an onerous, oppressive construct. However, once inside the Church, the Magisterium is truly liberating. Pope Benedict describes it:

The gift of communion is safeguarded and promoted in particular by the apostolic ministry, which in turn is a gift for the entire community. The Apostles and their successors are therefore the custodians and authoritative witnesses of the deposit of …

Beware the Liturgist

Richmond Catholic has informed us that the Diocese of Richmond, home to the “Powerpoint Mass” among other liturgical “innovations”, has invited Jill Maria Murdy to offer a workshop on Church décor. While I have never heard Ms. Murdy speak, the items she offers in her Café-Press store raise some questions.

Is the Liturgy really all about you?




Given the dubious history of the Richmond Diocese’ faithfulness to the GIRM, I wonder if this sentiment is expressing warfare against the GIRM or with the GIRM.

The title of her upcoming workshop is Beyond Flowers: Liturgical Environment and Décor. If any of my readers attend I would love to know the focus. Will she support religious imagery such as statues and icons of saints, candles, and a real crucifix? These elements are missing from many Richmond Diocese churches. Or will she lean toward banners, labyrinths, smooth stones, and fountains? Maybe Richmond Catholic will have an update for us next week.

Catholic Carnival 145 is up!

Another great collection of Catholic writing is here. Many thanks to Fr. Valencheck at Adam's Ale for hosting this week. He starts with a very concise post on prayer from Silent Insight that is packed with wisdom about prayer. As we lurch towards the Thanksgiving and Christmas frenetic pace, this reminder to slow down and pray is a welcome reminder. There are many more posts that will also touch your heart, mind, and soul. Take a look!

Mother of A Soldier

Yesterday evening I received this picture from my son. He is a senior at Texas A&M and in the Corps of Cadets. If all goes as planned he will be commissioned as an officer in the United States Army. Just last week he received his branch assignment, Combat Engineers. He is thrilled.

As I think about this, it is only fitting that I received this picture on Veteran’s Day. November 11 was initially the day we commemorated the end of World War I—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. However, contrary to the hopes of the time, World War I was not the war to end all wars. In the decades that followed, thousands of men and women have stepped up to serve in the United States military. November 11 is now a day to honor all of them.

Back in July I wrote this post about the growing gap between those who serve in the military and those who do not. I sent this post to Rochelle Reed, editor of the San Luis Obispo Tribune, who wrote of her disappointment when her son chose t…

Another Twist to the Catholic School Discussion

I don’t think Catholic vs. public schools is an either/or proposition. The challenge is to strike the right balance. There is definitely a place for Catholic schools in the mission of the Church. Interestingly, one of the roles of Catholic schools I never questioned is their role in educating the inner city poor. Then I read this article in the Washington Post.

The Archdiocese of Washington announced yesterday that it planned to convert seven D.C. Catholic schools to charter schools, a decision that angers some parents, students and teachers who worried over the fate of their parochial schools.

The schools are elementary-level, have nearly all-African American student bodies and are located in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. To become charter schools, they would have to make changes such as ending school prayer and removing religious symbols. But as charter schools, which are independent public schools, they would receive operating funds from the District.

I understand thes…

More thoughts on Catholic Schools

The post below has been drawing lots of readers and comments. My reason for writing it was to stimulate discussion about some basic questions concerning suburban parish Catholic schools:

1. What is their mission?
2. Whom do they serve?
3. If a school is parish supported, how does it relate to the parish as a whole?

Parents choose or don’t choose Catholic schools for a wide variety of reasons. I went to a public elementary school and junior high, but attended a Catholic high school. My children have attended private secular schools, Catholic schools, and public schools, depending on where we were living at the time. Five years ago I was sure I would put my youngest in a Catholic school when we moved to Virginia. I arrived only to find the parish school was too full and couldn’t squeeze in one more kid. Within a couple of years, the enrollment picture markedly changed and there was plenty of room. However, I did not feel it was in my child’s best interest to uproot him from a stable quality…

A Good Start and Lessons Learned

Last night we had our introductory meeting of our The Apostles study group. Looks like we will start out as a group of seven. I am not in the least bit disappointed with that number. It is a beginning. However, I have learned that starting such a group is not as straightforward as one would think.

First of all, in a parish that does not have a culture of adult religious education, a blurb in the bulletin under the religious education banner does not get the word out. Every person that attended last night was there because I contacted them via email about the group. No one saw the notice in the bulletin. The fact that I had their email address means they had shown a previous interest in adult religious education so my outreach effort was made to a receptive population.

Here is my question: How do we draw in those who don’t even know they are supposed to be learning? If you are reading this blog or other Catholic blogs regularly, you are already way ahead of most of your pew mates. Ho…

Is a Parish School Good for the Parish?

There is an interesting discussion about Catholic schools going on at The Cafeteria is Closed. I joined in the discussion by referencing this post I wrote last year. What seems to be coming out of the comment box is that Catholic Schools are:
Not Catholic enough. There is a distinct impression that the schools are watering down the Catholicism so they are palatable to non-Catholics who are needed to keep the enrollment numbers up. The schools are not much more than generic private schools with crucifixes on the walls Too expensive A drain on parish resources without giving anything back to the parish.
The third item is one of my biggest complaints. I have often mentioned that the parish school makes the CCD program feel like unwanted tenants when we use the classrooms after school hours. In fact, this year the school had “smart boards” installed in two classrooms and would not allow the CCD program to use those classrooms.

Our parish is in the middle of a big capital improveme…

Happy Birthday Cardinal Arinze!

Francis Cardinal Arinze turns 75 today. He is truly a remarkable man. Read the book God's Invisible Hand and you will appreciate his unique gifts of profound wisdom and utter humility. He is the epitome of the servant leader. Take a few minutes and go to the Cardinal Arinze Webcast blog and leave a birthday greeting for Cardinal Arinze. God has truly blessed His Church by giving us Cardinal Arinze.