Maggie Guiterrez (a Making Disciples alum) writes in the PCNEA Evangelization e-newsletter:
This Advent we are inviting our parishioners to put a sign of their faith in public, among their neighbors.
The campaign asks to put a yard sign in their homes, like the ones political candidates use during their campaigns. The sign shows the profile of the three Magi following the star to the stable in Bethlehem and the slogan "Find the perfect gift," which is the direction of a new webpage dedicated to exalt Jesus as the perfect gift of God to us. The web page has a video message from Cardinal Wuerl and other reflections to help people find the true meaning of Christmas, including an invitation find the nearest church to celebrate Christmas.
"In October 1859, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on three occasions to Adele Brise, a young Belgian immigrant. Brise stated that a lady dressed in dazzling white appeared to her and claimed to be the "Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners."
The Lady asked Brise to pray for sinners, as well as to gather the children and teach them what they should know for salvation. The Blessed Virgin followed the commands with these words of assurance to Adele Brise, "Go and fear nothing, I will help you."
Since 1859, countless faithful have made the pilgrimage to Champion, Wisconsin to offer prayers of thanksgiving and petition to Jesus and to ask for intercession from Our Lady of Good Help.
After receiving the apparitions, Adele Brise immediately began to fulfill the obligations the Blessed Virgin entrusted to her. She gathered local children and taught them how to pray, make the sign of the cross, and to give love, thanks, and praise to the Lord.
As part of her commitment to the Blessed Virgin, Brise set up a Catholic school and began a community of Third Order Franciscan women. Eventually, a school and convent were built on the grounds to further the mission entrusted to Brise.
Many prayers have been answered and healings and conversation recorded at the Shrine.
When "the Peshtigo fire of 1871 engulfed the surrounding area, the entire five acres of land consecrated to the Blessed Virgin remained unscathed. It is believed that the land was spared after Brise organized a prayer vigil that circled the area".
On this Sunday of Advent, I must share this magical version of Down in Yon Forest by Kemper Crabb, whose 1982 album, the Vigil is a cult classic among certain Christians of all traditions. From his PBS special of a couple years ago. The You Tube video has a few rough spots but it's still very fine.
Advent purists should avert their ears. The rest of you might want to listen cause the CD and DVD is available on Amazon and might make a great present for the music lovers in your life.
I've been working on a post for days on the history of the three basic kinds of Christianity:
Historic Eastern (Orthodoxy) which dominated the first Christian millenium,
Historic Western or Latin (Catholicism) which dominated the second Christian millenium; and
Reformation Christianity (Protestantism and all its many offshoots) which emerged in the middle of the 2nd millenium and is poised to become the largest form of Christianity in the course of this century.
I've done all kinds of number crunching and just needed to create the graphs showing the critical turning points but I'm working on a big project for January this morning so I haven't been able to finish the post yet .
In the meantime, here is an amazing 90 second depiction of the spread of the religions of the world which powerfully depicts how geographically constrained Christianity (as a whole) was until the Catholic expansion of the 16th century and then the beginning of the Protestant missionary movement in the 19th century.
Yesterday, November 30, was the 30th anniversary of Dorothy Day's death. Someday it may be her feast day so this seems like a wonderful time to share this amazing photograph taken in 1979: Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa in conversation and holding hands. (Hat/tip: dot.commonweal)
Just the thought of being in the presence of those two living saints together sends chills down my spine. Of course, now they have been reunited in heaven.