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Kathleen Lundquist's New CD PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 24 April 2007 07:59
A note from Kathleen Lundquist, a member of our multi-talented ID team:

Just a note to let you know that my newest release, Mystagogia – the EP, is available now for your listening (and purchasing) pleasure at CD Baby (www.cdbaby.com). Follow this link:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/klundquist2

This is a 5-song custom CD-R recording, a little taste of what I’ve been doing in coffeehouses and other small venues around the Northwest in the last year. There’s lots of information there on the webpage, including a link to my previously released album Light in Our Darkness and to my website (www.mystagogia.net).

What’s more, the Mystagogia EP is on CD Baby’s $5 Specials program, which means that if you buy 2 or more (different)CD Baby albums from this “bin”, they’re only $5 apiece. (The regular price for the EP is $6.50.) Such a deal! And, quantity discounts are our middle name!

So, check it out! Let me know what you think, too. And if there’s a coffee shop or other small venue near you that does live music and you think they’d like me, send me their contact info and I’ll send my press kit out to them. I’m currently booking for June onward.

Thanks so much, and have a lovely Spring day!

Kathleen Lundquist

 
The Evangelical Nature of Catholicism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Monday, 23 April 2007 11:27
A post from Sherry via her trusty, smug, Mac-using minion:

There was a kerfuffle all weekend at Fr. Dwight Longenecker's blog over his post on his experience at the Evangelical Catholic Institute the weekend before. Fr. Mike and I also attended the Evangelical Catholic Institute (I spoke several times) - as did Cardinal Avery Dulles, who gave one of the keynotes.

There seems to be two issues: 1) simply the term "evangelical Catholic" which is perceived by some as off-putting in and of itself; and 2) the fear that focusing on calling Catholics to a personal relationship with Christ, to intentional discipleship, is somehow a rejection and/or minimization of the role of the Church and magisterium. If we lay down our catechism for a moment, we are repudiating doctrine and revelation and the authority of the Church's teaching altogether and becoming Protestant.

What is, alas, no longer surprising for me, is to see clergy and lay people that I know to be devoted to Church teaching and meticulous about teaching with the Church being dismissed as covert dissenters because they are talking about the same thing that Pope Benedict has spoken about so movingly: personally following and entrusting one's life to Christ.

At the Institute and ID, we don't ever use the term "evangelical Catholic" because of its potential in our situation in the Protestant hotbed of the US to be understood as saying that the evangelical is not an intrinsic part of the Catholic faith and has to be borrowed from elsewhere and "tacked on".

But if we are going to be fully Catholic, we have to wrestle with the irreducibly evangelical nature of the Catholic faith - the mission to proclaim Christ to every person, every culture, every society. Protestants didn't invent the evangel or evangelism. They got it from us and then majored in it.

One commenter in the debate mentioned above pointed out this reality: The term "evangelical" is used 482 times in the documents of Vatican II and in papal and material teaching since. No reality spoken of 482 times in authoritative magisterial teaching can be dismissed as marginal, sectarian, or non-Catholic.

For instance, as in the Decree on the Laity, 31, doctrine and the evangelical are not, in any way, seen as opposed.

a) In regard to the apostolate for evangelizing and sanctifying men, the laity must be specially formed to engage in conversation with others, believers or non-believers, in order to manifest Christ's message to all men.(5)
Since in our times different forms of materialism are spread far and wide even among Catholics, the laity should not only learn doctrine more diligently, especially those main points which are the subjects of controversy, but should also exhibit the witness of an evangelical life in contrast to all forms of materialism.

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 41

"married couples and Christian parents should . . . imbue their offspring, lovingly welcomed as God's gift, with Christian doctrine and the evangelical virtues."

The "evangelical" is also clearly declared to be part of the priestly office (Decree on the Life and Ministry of Priests, 2,

"Their ministry, which begins with the evangelical proclamation, derives its power and force from the sacrifice of Christ."


And a critical part of the Church's mission to the world (from the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, 24,:

"By a truly evangelical life, in much patience, in long-suffering, in kindness, in unaffected love (cf. 2 Cor 6:4ff.), he bears witness to his Lord, if need be to the shedding of his blood."

The irony is that in defending ourselves against recent history (to a community that is 2000 years old, the 500 year span of Protestantism is a johnny-come-lately.) we can find ourselves rejecting as "foreign" something that is Catholic to the core, that is absolutely essential to the faith, and dates back to St. Peter's sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2).

"'Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.'

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, 'What are we to do, my brothers?'

Peter (said) to them, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.'"
 
We're Back and We Will Be Blogging PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 23 April 2007 06:57
Soon. Fr. Mike and I were on the road this weekend and poor Keith is suffering complete technical melt-down, it seems. But I seem to be able to post so we'll be working on stuff and posting later today.
 
Weekend Scarcity PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 April 2007 18:28

Written by Keith Strohm

Sorry I've been so scarece this weekend. My laptop decided (quite literally, I fear) to meltdown. I am hitching a ride on Deb's computer right now, but my connection over the next few days might be spotty at best. I hope that the issue is just one of fans and not a real meltdown on the motherboard.

Say a prayer for my Sony Vaio!


 
I Got That Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy . . . PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 April 2007 18:18

Written by Keith Strohm

Fr. Dwight has a beautiful reflection on the reality of joy in the life of a Christian. He writes:

I'm not sure exactly how to describe joy, but I know what it's not. It's not mere happiness or feeling fine. Neither is it giddiness, hilarity or what some people call 'evangelical perma-grin' (that everlastingly smug smile some pious people paste on) Neither is it a sentimental, twee religious happy time, nor some spooky religious high that you sometimes find in devotees of Eastern religions.

Instead Christian joy is a tough, shrewd realism built on a bedrock of optimism. The energy and determination of joy is formidable. Joy is a steam engine that is unstoppable. Joy laughs quickly, but it also weeps quickly in compassion. Joy is an authentic clarity of vision, a simplicity of style and a direct way of speaking in total honesty, but without a touch of malice. It is honest, open, attractive and infectious. Joy is more than a lift of the heart or the buoyancy of spirit that comes from external circumstances. Joy springs up from the depths of a heart that has been truly converted by the power of the resurrection.

That is the best way to describe joy: it is a heart raised up and being raised up and forever being raised up. It is the everlasing lift of the heart renewed. It is tough, tender, hilarious and alive.

We are so often caught up in the notion that joy is simply happiness. That to be a Christian means "putting on a happy face" in the midst of your trials. But, as Fr. Dwight has written, it is so much more than that. Christian joy transforms and renews everything it looks upon. This is why Mother Theresa talks of suffering as the loving embrace from the crucified Christ. When I listen to that description with through the ears of modern culture, it seems almost repulsive and pathological.

Yet, Christian joy embraces suffering and responds to it with the gentle, beautiful, and captivating love of Christ Himself.

Knowing what I now know about the spiritual aridity that Mother Theresa suffered throughout most of her life, I am moved even more by her joyful witness. As we move out in the world of our everyday lives, may we, like Mother Theresa, radiate the very joy of Christ to those we meet.


 
Buddhism & Catholicism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 20 April 2007 09:45

Put this one under inter-religious dialogue. Most interesting. From a Buddhist blog Buddhist Jihad:

A National Catholic Register article about Catholic reactions to the visit of the Dalai Lama with many quotes from Catholics who left the Church for Buddhism and have since returned. The two faiths are contrasted in some detail.

“Anthony Clark, an assistant professor of Chinese history at the University of Alabama and a noted Catholic expert on Buddhism, urges Catholics to show respect but not receptivity. “As Catholics, we should not allow our respect to evolve into a belief of sameness,” Clark said. “We’re not the same.”

The Buddhist blogger who posted this ended with this comment: “It's a very civil and respectful article. Yay. Way to go!”


 
Evangelicals in the U.K. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 20 April 2007 09:42
Evangelicals make up 40% of the UK's church-goers and the majority of Anglican church-goers. 72% of Britains consider themselves Christian but the vast majority don't attend church. The majority of UK Christians are nominally Anglican but only 10% of Anglican are in Anglican services on Sunday. And the majority of those who are, belong to the evangelical wing.

White evangelical churches have been heavily influenced by the Alpha course which began in a charismatic Anglican church in London: Holy Trinity Brompton.Black evangelical churches are fueled by heavy African immigration (nearly 1/3 of the 160,000 new British citizens in 2005 were from Africa).

Both groups are intensely evangelistic and tend to be charismatic/Pentecostal in their spirituality. Living British Christianity is losing its stiff upper lip and can no longer be described as the "Tory party at prayer". And disputes have broken out on campus with regard to evangelical student groups :"At Exeter University in southwest England, the student guild suspended an evangelical group and had its bank account frozen because it was asking all its members to sign a statement of belief in Jesus as savior. Conservative Christians have challenged the legality of that decision under the Human Rights Act, which bars public bodies from violating a person's freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The High Court is expected to hear the case soon.

"Two questions:What happens when a secularized society that presumed the death or complete privitization of Christianity, finds that Christianity is resurgent in a new, more vibrant, and more evangelizing form?What about UK Catholics? They weren't mentioned in the article. How do they fit into all this?
 
For Such a Time as This: How to Find and Live God's Purpose for Your Life. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 20 April 2007 06:32
Obviously, in a single day, we can only scratch the surface of this fascinating topic. If someone has never been to a Called & Gifted, the day of discernment seems to have a big impact. The day runs from 9 am - 3 pm and includes four talks:

You Are on a Mission from God:
A basic introduction to the Church's teaching on lay apostleship and the secular mission of the laity.

You Have Been Gifted to Answer the Call:
An introduction to charisms and discerning charisms. This was one of the talks that I gave at the Evangelical Catholic Institute last weekend.

There is No Such Thing as Vocational Unemployment:
An hour on the basics of recognizing the vocational clues that are probably already present in our life, including the charisms that God has given us.

The Exercise in Releasing Control:
How to identify ways that we learned to control life as a child that get in the way of using our gifts and answering God's call as adult. This is not a lecture but very much an exercise that is very powerful for many people. (And you don't have to share anything with anyone else!)It's all drawn from Church teaching, Scripture, and the lives of the saints, filled with stories and humor, and is useful and illuminating for adults of all ages and all vocations - from college onward.

As in everything else we do, we use Power Point slides and hand-outs. These days are mostly a form of play for me, especially if the group is responsive. And they can be electrifying for someone who has never been exposed to the Called & Gifted process. I'm giving one this weekend in Riverside, California at St. Andrew's Newman Center at the University of California, Riverside, and again on May 5 in Denver at the John Paul II Pastoral Center. My experience is that many adults feel as one woman put it in a workshop in San Francisco: "I know there is something else that God wants me to do but I don't know how to find it."

As a Church, we hardly provide any assistance to Christian men and women trying to discern a non-ecclesial call. But the Day of Discernment seems to speak to that hunger and serves as a good introduction to the whole Called & Gifted process. The day is open to all but let the sponsoring organization know that you are coming so they can make sure we have enough hand-outs. (I'm told, for instance, that a group from the Diocese of Orange is coming to the Riverside Day of Discernment but we don't know if that means two people or sixty!). And yes, there is a lot of God language. Just in case your non-Christian friend wants to come along (as some do) because they are facing a career crisis. They are certainly welcome and may well enjoy it if they are open to the spiritual aspect but it isn't a typical secular career workshop. Its all about answering a call from God.

Because you and I were raised up for such a time as this - and someone out there is waiting for what we have been given to give in Christ's name.
 
Could the Gospel of John be evangelical? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Thursday, 19 April 2007 10:58

While preparing last night to preach this morning, I looked at the "New Testament Message" commentary on the Gospel of John by James McPolin, S.J. At the conclusion of his commentary on the encounter in the third chapter of John between Jesus and Nicodemus, McPolin added a section titled, "The Gospel of Belief" which I found quite interesting. I'll share a bit of it with you.

"Faith is the key theme not only of Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus and the rest of the chapter but also every chapter in the gospel is about faith, from beginning (1:9-13) to end (20:30-31). Therefore it has been rightly called the gospel of belief. Still, not once does the abstract word "faith" occur in the gospel because there is only the personal activity of believing which is almost exclusively directed towards the person of Jesus. One may believe something about Jesus, for example, that he is Messiah and Son of God (20:30-31) or give credence to him by accepting as true what he says (2:22). But the element of personal commitment to Jesus is expressed in the most frequent phrase: "believing into" Jesus: "He who believes in (to) me has eternal life" (6:47; 3:18)

This "believing in (to)" Jesus goes far beyond accepting his message for it is a movement towards the person of Jesus, an attachment to him as the promised one and Son of God in such a way that the believer appropriates the very life of Jesus. Thus faith means to enjoy a life-giving relationship with him and to give oneself to Christ in dedication and full confidence.... Furthermore, believing in Jesus leads to "knowing" him; but this knowledge extends beyond the understanding of faith (6:69) and includes the experience of the person of Jesus in understanding and love, and a fellowship and communion of life with him (17:3)..."

Yesterday on Fr. Dwight Longenecker's blog, "Standing on My Head," he mentioned that he had been a speaker at the Evangelical Catholic Institute at which Sherry also spoke. He received several comments from people who were skeptical about EC - one, who was very concerned about orthodox belief, even went so far as to claim there was nothing on their website even remotely Catholic. But here's a quick quote from EC's welcome page:

"Jesus' ministry represented a continual invitation to a life of purpose and abundance that is discovered through communion with God, fellowship with His people, and mission to the world.

The Evangelical Catholic extends this same invitation, welcoming you to experience the profound love of God and to reflect that love in relationship. This transformational experience serves as the foundation and wellspring of our ministry, our deepest calling, and the very mission of the Church universal-calling people to interior conversion in Christ, helping people to grow in their faith, discerning and sharing our personal gifts in his Body, and transforming society by the power of the gospel."

I find it disturbing that a Catholic might read this and suspect that somehow it's creeping Protestantism.

We are hearing from the Gospel of John throughout this Easter season. Is our Catholic culture such that we don't recognize the call - the demand - for personal conversion and relationship to Jesus? How can I participate "fully, actively, and consciously" in the Mass if I'm not consciously seeking transformation in the encounter with Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity? How effective is the grace poured out upon me in any of the sacraments if I'm not willing to allow Christ to prune all that is unfruitful and un-Christlike from me? Can we say with St. Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me" (Gal 2:19b-20a)? How can I participate fully in the Mass if I'm not willing to offer myself in loving obedience to the Father with Jesus in his one, perfect sacrifice?

The assent to doctrine alone does not constitute a saving faith. Orthodoxy is necessary, but right doctrine alone does not save us. Otherwise, the Pharisees wouldn't have come under Jesus' critique. The Council of Trent, in chapter 7 on justification, says, "For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless..." Faith informed by love of God and neighbor, made joyful by the hope of salvation that is ours in Christ is a living faith - a faith that transforms our lives. It is a faith that is, at its foundation, a relation with Jesus.

Is the Gospel of John evangelical? Of course! The word evangelical comes from the Greek for "Good News!" And, of course, it's Catholic. After all, we included it in the canon of inspired texts!

Let's hear the call to become Beloved Disciples of Jesus that is contained on each page. Moreover, let's respond to that call.
 
The Current Crop of Seminarians PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 19 April 2007 08:55
One of the fringe benefits of my job is the chance to have fascinating conversations with Catholic leaders all over the world whose ministry gives them insight and experience that I will never have. Recently, I had the chance to chat with a director of formation at a major US seminary and asked him how he would characterize the current crop of seminarians. He'd clearly thought much about it. Here is how he described his students:

1) They are extremely devout.

2) They are academically poorly prepared and need more remedial work than his generation.

3) They know they are loved by their parents ("baby on board" babies) but at the same time, oddly lonely and vulnerable - some of which they pour into their prayer life.

4) They are not workaholics (like his generation, he said) but more balanced in their approach to life.

5) They tend to fold rather than fight under pressure so you can only ask so much of them.

Presumably, some of this will change as they mature through the formation process. But they are going into a high pressure situation where they will be made pastors almost immediately and may well have responsibility for two or three parishes, (due to the shortage of priests), have to work very hard and deal with conflicting demands on every side, will probably live alone, etc. I couldn't help but be concerned about their future.

The number of priests will stabilize about 2015 when the last of the V2 generation leaves ministry but every indication is that the number of Catholics in the US (especially Hispanics) will keep growing so the pressure on the newly ordained won't let up.

Comments? How can we help support them and carry the load?
 
Great Internet Research Resources PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 21:27
If you are a history or research maven like me, you'll love this:

There are great new internet research data bases being created as we speak. For instance,

if you are at all interested in St. Vincent de Paul or any bit of Vincentian history, bookmark this: The Vincentian Encyclopedia - basically a Vincentian Wickipedia that is still in the early stages but already has a good deal of fascinating info - including pictures of still existing sights associated with St. Vincent.

There is also the amazing Franciscan Women Internet Guide with over 5,000 searchable bios of Franciscan women from the thirteenth through eighteenth centuries.

Franciscan historical mega links page (13th through 18th centuries)
 
Evangelical Does Not Mean Protestant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 21:17

A thought-provoking comment from Fr. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary's in Greenville, SC about the fear that some Catholics manifest: If something is not clearly non-Protestant, it can't be true, unadulterated Catholicism.

 

"Some Christians think of the Reformation like a nasty divorce: You get the kids; I get the dogs. You get the house; I get the car. You get the Scriptures; we get the sacraments.

Once this mentality has taken hold in the Catholic imagination, reading the Bible is something the Protestants do and evangelical is an adjective that can modify only the noun Protestant.

But it is the Catholic Church which teaches us that ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. And is the Catholic Church which offers the adjective evangelical as a way of applying the Gospel to every part of Christian life.

An Evangelical Catholic (as opposed to a cultural, cafeteria, or casual Catholic) is one who understands that Baptism makes every Catholic a herald of the Gospel with the duty and privilege of bearing witness to the Lord Jesus. For more than 25 years, John Paul the Great called the entire Church to the work he described as the New Evangelization.....announcing the timeless Gospel as though for the first time to a world that once received but then forgot the Word of God. Being an Evangelical Catholic is nothing other than accepting the work of the New Evangelization and doing our part to fultill the Great Commission.

Please do not allow false dichotomies to rob you of your own patrimony. Evangelical does not mean Protestant; it means of and for and by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. That is exciting stuff, and it is great to be an Evangelical Catholic."

 


 
An Encouraging Word from France PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 15:15
A French cardinal has urged Catholics to follow Christian principles in the April 22 presidential election. "I'd like Christians to be Christians and speak out more," said Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon. He said that meant "defending what, in the view of Christians, is right for everyone." Twelve candidates are vying to succeed French President Jacques Chirac. In an April 9 TV interview, Cardinal Barbarin said he saw the emergence of a "new, exceptionally dynamic generation" of French Catholics whose faith had developed outside "previous frameworks and structures." "The terms right and left don't fit Christians, whose actions should be guided by the love Christ shows for people and for life," Cardinal Barbarin said. "We should remember democracy is only a means of action. It's the best we have, but it isn't God and it can sometimes lose its head," he added. In a statement in his diocese's Eglise de Lyon magazine, Cardinal Barbarin said Christian politicians were "called to show a coherence between their faith and engagement, the Gospel spirit and service to the current society," adding that Catholics should oppose "a capitalism which becomes purely financial."

Catholic News Service, April 12

I wish the good Cardinal had been able to give more details about those exceptionally dynamic Catholic and what "previous frameworks" they had developed apart from. Any ideas?

 
More on New Chinese Catholics PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 15:10
Although no firm number is available from China's 100 dioceses, there are estimates:

"Song estimated that the total number of Easter baptisms on the mainland exceeded 10,000 and said 80 percent of the newly baptized in major Chinese cities have at least some college education. "It's hard to account" for all the baptisms, "as parishes are numerous, and some dioceses baptize at Pentecost, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or at Christmas," he said. Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao of Linyi told UCA News April 11 that he credited laypeople for actively evangelizing their relatives and friends and priests and nuns for spreading the Gospel."

From Catholic News Service, April 13.

 
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