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Pundamentals of Life PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Saturday, 23 February 2008 11:35
Energizer Bunny arrested. Charged with battery.
A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
A pessimist's blood type is always B-negative.
My wife really likes to make pottery, but to me it's kiln time.
Dijon vu. The same mustard as before.
A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but you mean your mother.
Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.
Electricity comes from electrons. Does morality come from morons?
A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?
Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
Sea captains don't like crew cuts.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.
A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.
Without geometry, life is pointless.
When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.
Reading whilst sunbathing makes you well-red.
When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

hat tip: Pat A.
Prayer request! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Friday, 22 February 2008 14:34
Brothers and sisters in Christ. I ask you to join the Western Dominican friars in a novena for one of our members, Fr. Thomas Kraft, OP. He is a few years older than me, and was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer. The cancer is not only
in his lower esophagus and upper stomach, but has also been found in his liver. Our Provincial, Fr. Emmerich Vogt, OP is asking all of the brethren to pray a Novena for Fr. Thomas to Mother Teresa. Tom has known with her priests and sisters for many years and has great devotion to her.

The novena will begin this Monday, February 25. I thank you for joining us in prayer for this wonderful priest. I have included a little biography of Fr. Tom below the prayer asking for Bl. Teresa's prayers.

Prayer for Canonization of Mother Teresa

Jesus, you made Blessed Teresa of Calcutta an inspiring example of firm faith and burning
charity, an extraordinary witness to the way of spiritual childhood, and a great and
esteemed teacher of the value and dignity of every human life. Grant that she may be
venerated and imitated as one of the Church's canonized saints.
Hear the requests of all those who seek her intercession, especially the petition I now
implore: the healing of Fr. Tom Kraft, O.P.

May we follow her example in heeding Your cry of thirst from the Cross and joyfully loving
You in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, especially those most unloved
and unwanted.

We ask this in Your name and through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and the
Mother of us all. Amen.

Fr. Tom Kraft, O.P. was born and raised in Spokane, WA. He is the second of four children born to Gene and Julia Kraft. As a grade school boy, he was blessed to live across the street from the Poor Clare monastery, where he served Mass for many years. The nuns were and still are a powerful spiritual influence in his life. Just two blocks down the street from the Kraft residence is the parish of St. Francis of Assisi. There, Fr. Tom enjoyed going to grade school and participating in all the activities of the parish and school. He delighted in serving mass and meeting many Franciscans, who were a positive influence in his vocation.

Fr. Tom attended a Jesuit preparatory school followed by two years at Gonzaga University and three at Eastern Washington University. Since grade school, he felt the call to be a priest and seriously considered entering the Franciscans while at the University. After graduating from college, he was blessed to work in a volunteer program in the archdiocese of Seattle. By the grace of God, he lived close to the Dominican parish, Blessed Sacrament, where he attended Eucharist. After Mass one day, a Dominican asked him if he had ever considered becoming a Dominican priest. He did not know what it meant to be a Dominican. Over the course of the year in Seattle, he was drawn to the Dominicans and the priesthood. After being accepted, he entered the novitiate in 1977, made vows in 1978, and was ordained a priest at the Oakland Cathedral in 1986.

His first assignment was at the Arizona State University Newman Center. There he found a wonderful ministry to the college students; he loved working with young Catholics. He continued his service to students by serving six years at the University of Utah Newman Center.

One of his interests was the Spanish language; he studied the language as a hobby. Soon he desired to study full time and was given permission to study Spanish in Bogotá for seven months. After completing his studies, he was blessed to be assigned to the new Dominican mission parish in Mexicali, Mexico where he worked for eight and half years. He treasured the years of serving the poor and needy of Mexico.

After such a unique assignment, he decided to get back into Newman ministry and was assigned to the University of Washington Newman Center for three superb years.

During this time his mother died of cancer and his father’s health began to fail. He decided to request a year to be close to his father so he is presently serving in University Ministry at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. There he is the coordinator of a retreat program and faith sharing groups among the students.

Fr. Tom loves the Dominican life and preaching. He lives the Dominican motto of contemplare et contemplada aliis tradere: to share with others the fruits of your contemplation.
The Holy Father and US Politics PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Friday, 22 February 2008 13:32
John Allen has an interesting little reflection on what Pope Benedict may say in the U.S. that could have an effect on the elections coming up in November. Will he say anything to indicate he favors one candidate over another, or one party over another?

Allen points out that if Pope Benedict XVI talks about the right to life, that that would favor John McCain, should he receive the Republican nomination, whereas if he speaks about ending the U.S. involvement in Iraq, that would favor whatever Democratic candidate emerges. Most likely, he'll discuss both. It's no secret that the Vatican sees both parties as significantly flawed, Mr. Allen points out.

He concludes his comments with what I hope more Catholics take to heart. That if we want our society to change, that change will be much more likely to happen if we Catholics begin living our faith and become leaven in our places of work, our schools, our parishes, and in our political parties.

In light of these considerations, I suspect the political subtext of Benedict’s April trip is unlikely to have much to do with the dynamics of the ’08 elections, since the Holy See, in tandem with many American Catholics, regards both parties as flawed. Instead, I suspect Benedict is likely to try an “end-run” around partisan politics, and talk instead about the formation of a Catholic culture in the United States capable of acting as a “leaven” within the existing formations, trying to transform them from the inside out.

That’s a more ambitious, and long-term, aim than sending signals about McCain, Obama or Hillary, but it’s likely to be Benedict’s message. What the pundits and spin-doctors do with it, of course, is another question.

Charisms, Healing, & Discernment Resources PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 22 February 2008 09:56
Off to the great Salt Lake for the weekend. Back Sunday.

Meanwhile, since there is a really good conversation doing on about healing and the charisms on the post on Raising the Dead and the Kingdom of God below, I thought I would point out the obvious.

Many of the questions about charisms and healing below are addressed in our Called & Gifted workshop. You can either attend a live workshop (check out our calendar here) if we are offering one near you or you can get it on CD (be sure and get a copy of the Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory which is an important part of the process and normally taken by everyone who attends a life event).

We also have lots of other discernment resources in English and Spanish in our webstore.

Discerning charisms is a great Lenten exercise!
The New Evangelization is Alive and Well in Soho PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 22 February 2008 06:27
One remarkable initiative in England is happening at St. Patrick's Church in Soho, London: St. Patrick's Evangelization School. (SPES) At. SPES, young adults spend 9 months being formed spiritually and in terms of the New Evangelization. It is one of the very few programs of its kind in the UK and is parish-based.

Anyway, I came across the SPES student's blog (Hope in the Heart of Soho) and this description of an outreach in the north of England that took place last May:

Christ Alive in the North

We're just back from a weekend up north, staying with Fr. Richard Aladics in Huddersfield. He's on his own in an area that is largely lapsed (and also the product of a drug and binge drinking mentality) and he feels that if he is to do anything significant there then he needs the help of a community. 'It's not a parish, this - it's missionary territory.' On Friday he held a prayer and healing hour in his church, and we spent the morning handing out flyers as he processed through the streets blessing them with Holy Water and saying 'May the peace of Christ reign here!' We also handed out flyers at the local Catholic primary school. For the prayer and healing hour Fr. Richard heard confessions as we prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, and then he blessed individual people with the Blessed Sacrament as they came up. He said to us there were more parishioners there than at any other event he had held in the parish.

On Saturday we went to Bradford to help the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal with their event: Christ Alive in Bradford! A tent had been put up in the green, in which there was an afternoon of talks, testimonies, adoration, a May Crowning of Mary, and praise and worship. Fr. John Wilson from Leeds gave a particularly good talk on the Eucharist and the family, stressing the importance of families spending time together and praying together. The weather was not on our side for most of the day, but that did not stop the friars and the rest of us from going downtown to invite people to the event. A few people came to the tent from off the streets, merely because they were curious, but left noticeably changed. It was a wonderful event and hopefully the first of many like it.

There are a number of these wonderful schools of evangelization around the world where young adults can live in community and receive both personal formation and formation for evangelism. I've blogged on some of them before here.

But how important it is for those of us who haven't had that opportunity to also have some experience of true Christian community, apostolic formation, discernment, and mission. And the parish is the only place where 99% of us will ever experience anything like it.

At St. Patrick's, prayer and mission is at the heart of everything. Eucharistic Adoration takes place from 11 am to 6 pm everyday and Mass is celebrated in Portuguese and Chinese. And there is a school of evangelization right at the heart of things. This is a very tough neighborhood. At least 1000 addicts and 60 brothels are found within the parish. But the parish has responded in some very creative ways, including the SOS Prayerline, operating at the top of the church's Victorian tower, in which the School of Mission students take the time to pray with and for the callers. The telephone line is open from 7pm to 11pm seven days a week (0011-44-20- 7434 92111). It is not a counselling service but rather a service that helps callers offer their prayers and petitions of all kinds to God, who is exposed in the Blessed Sacrament in the room where the telephones are answered.

Another move that met an important need in London was the 2003 opening of St Patrick's London Fertility Care Centre, offering expert help to individuals and couples seeking alternatives to artificial contraception and artificial reproductive technologies.

For more on St. Patrick's and its remarkable pastor and community, check out this article in the May, 2005 edition of AD 2000.
Raising the Dead and the Kingdom of God PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 21 February 2008 07:51
It has happened throughout Christian history. St. Dominic raised a Roman boy from the dead in front of a number of highly intelligent witnesses, for instance. We have their testimony which has been preserved as part of his canonization process. It is the experience of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ breaking through at its fullest.

But here's a medically documented story from February 1, 2008 news story on Palm Beach, Florida television station WSVN. (Hat tip: Mark Shea)

A well-known, local cardiologist tells the story:

Jeff Markin: "I drove to the Garden's Hospital, went in, took out my wallet and fell on the floor with a massive heart attack."

For 40 minutes doctors and nurses in the ER tried to revive him. When they couldn't get his heart started again they called for Dr. Crandall, who was doing rounds in the hospital at the time.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "As I entered the ER it was like a war zone. Here was this lifeless body on a stretcher."

The doctor couldn't do anything and could only confirm what everyone already knew, Jeff was dead. He had gone almost an hour without a heartbeat, and his body was starting to decompose.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "His face, his arms, his legs were pitch black with death. I said, 'Let's just call the code, let's end it because there's no life left.'"

As Dr. Crandall turned to leave, he says he got another call this time, a call from God to pray.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "A voice told me to turn around and pray for that man. I looked down at the body, and I said, 'Lord, what can I pray for this man? He's gone.' All of a sudden these words came out, 'Father, I cry out for this man's soul, if he does not know, you raise him from the dead.'"

Despite protests from doctors and nurses who were preparing Jeff's body for the morgue, doctor Crandall insisted they shock him one more time.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "So that doctor came over with those paddles and blasted that man and, all of a sudden, instantly a perfect heartbeat came up on the monitor. The stomach started moving, the chest started moving. This man started breathing on his own, and I said, 'This man has been prayed for, he has been brought back from the dead by prayer in the name of Jesus.'"


He woke up to a second chance, one that can't be explained by medicine or science. As Dr. Crandall puts it, the only answer is divine intervention.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "You are speaking to a scientist, a cardiologist, someone who loves medicine. I've never, ever seen this. There are always people that do not believe these events, and I will just tell them that it did happen. It was a real story, a real life that was restored."

What is interesting is that Dr. Crandall also mentions in the interview that he routinely prays for his patients.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "If you come in with a problem into our service, we are definitely going to treat you with conventional medicine, but we are going to believe it too. We are going to attack it with conventional medicine, and we are going to attack it with prayer."

He calls himself the Christian physician because he prays with each heart patient he sees at his Palm Beach practice. The difference, he says, is dramatic.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "The reason I pray for people is because I found, early in my trained practice, that there were miracles, unexplained healings."

The healer with a charism of healing. We've heard these kinds of stories from other medical professionals who exercise their professional skill and the charism of healing together and who see astonishing clinical results that definitely transcend the clinical norm. And I've met priests who are used in this way, through the sacramental ministry and outside of it.

My brother, who is a chiropractor who seems to also have a charism of healing, has a remarkable tale, which I've told before in my series on Independent Christianity.

Last summer he accompanied a team of volunteers from his evangelical church to build a house in an extremely poor Indian village in southern Baja. My brother is an experienced chiropractor who has pioneered new techniques and traveled around the world teaching them. Gary was treating local people when a frail woman was brought in who had suffered from a serious and very painful dislocation of the elbow for 3 years. Gary hesitated. There was no way to obtain an x-ray. Treating such a neglected injury in a woman who was already fragile without proper diagnostic tools is very tricky and he was afraid that he would hurt her. As he struggled to decide what to do, a local Protestant pastor suggested that he pray. Gary did so, asking that the bones align themselves properly.

My brother said that the woman’s arm started to quiver and then, with a loud pop that was heard all over the room, the elbow slipped into place by itself. The woman had full strength almost immediately. The visiting team asked the woman to share her healing with the teen-agers on the trip so that they would know that they could expect great things from God. My brother joyfully summed it up this way: “The whole experience was what church should be like.”

I once did a gifts interview with a woman who had had a international healing ministry for 30 years and described the experience of seeing the dead raised. I, of course, tried to affect a calm, matter of fact professional air about the whole thing and asked simply. "Hmmm. Raising the dead? Can you describe what you did and what happened step by step?"

Dang if she didn't want to talk about it but really wanted to talk about something else. Bummer.

There is such a need for the healing ministry out there. If you are interested in getting some top notch training in this area, I'd like to suggest the Institute for Christian Ministries in Seattle. Founded by a Dominican friar, Fr. Leo, who lived in the same priory with Fr. Michael Sweeney at Blessed Sacrament parish in Seattle, ICM combines the best of professional pastoral care with a confidence in the supernatural power and love of God to heal. The Formation in Healing Ministry Program is a portable two year training that produces teams of three who pray in a direct and sustained way for those sick in body, heart, or spirit.

During my Seattle days, I interviewed dozens of ICM alumni and so I have some sense of the remarkable things that happen when they pray. Fr. Mike brought the Formation in Healing Ministry Program into the Newman center in Eugene when he was pastor and had a wonderful experience with it.

As Fr. Leo used to say " wherever God's love is present, healing occurs." This is one big incentive for discerning the charisms you have been given and for facilitating the discernment of others. All the charisms are healing in the broader sense because all of them make God's love present. And then some in our midst are given the specific, narrow gift of healing and restore life and hope to so many.

Luke 10:9: "Cure it those who are sick and say, The Kingdom of God is very near to you."
Hungry for Spring? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 21 February 2008 06:13

This gorgeous photograph of a hummer enjoying a Lucifer Crocosmia (one of Fr. Mike's favorites from his gardening days in Eugene and one he has recommended to me) was the 2007 winner of the Dutch Gardens Best Flower Portrait.

I see Fr. Mike's point. Guess I'm going to have to plant me some Crocosmia this year. And consider my hummer-garden options.
This Weekend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 21 February 2008 05:33
Fr. Mike is due back in CS today from his missioning sojourn in Texas. Which allows him one blessed and badly needed day off before he has to begin missioning again - but this time closer to home at Holy Trinity Church in our fair city of Colorado Springs.

When I get back from this weekend's hop over the snowy Rockies to Salt Lake City to teach a Called & Gifted workshop at the Newman center, I will be joining Fr. MIke at the Holy Trinity Lenten mission.

Meanwhile, this coming weekend will also see our Boise teaching team putting on a Called & Gifted at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (I goofed when I blogged earlier that the Boise workshop happened last weekend. Last weekend was a Spanish language C & G in Moses Lake, Washington.)

What is nice is to realize that when I return from SLC, I will actually have 11 consecutive days at home before blasting off for Portland, Oregon. Not vacation days, you understand. Two parish missions, a consultation, and lots of other stuff - including blogging. But 11 days where I sleep in my own bed rather than a plane. Only the hard core road warriors out there can fully appreciate what that means.

God bless our many wonderful traveling teachers! I can't tell you how exciting it is to regularly read glowing evaluations from events around the country that I had nothing to do with! Like the upcoming Called & Gifted workshop in Greenville, South Carolina (February 29/March 1) where Mary Kaufman of Cedar Rapids - who also teaches seminars on the Theology of the Body - and our 2008 summer intern, Joe Waters - a grad student at Duke and the Dominican House of Studies in DC - will hold forth.

We have such quality people giving up their weekends to jet around the country for us. And 9 more from around the country, waiting to be trained. And most excitingly, several of these new teachers are bi-lingual (Spanish-English)!

It is also great fun to have people come up at events and say "I read your blog." So, if you are an ID reader, be sure and introduce yourself. We'd love to meet you.
The Parish As a House of Formation for Lay Apostles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 17:10
The whole concept of the parish as a house of formation for lay apostles. It's being discussed in interesting places and not just by us.

First of all Deacon James Kennedy's thoughtful essay in Envoy here. (Note: Envoy magazine is now part of the Envoy Institute at Belmont College in North Carolina).

Here's an excerpt:

Where real Eucharistic community exists, one sees fruit in bold public witness. If I think my Catholicism is private, I would be unwilling to risk my job, profession, or, in the case of politicians, an elected office, in order to stand up for what is true. Why should I risk all only to find that no one is there to help restore my life and pick up the pieces when my witness to Christ has been rejected and I am fired or lose an election. Barring negligence or fanaticism, it should be the rule of the Catholic community to support any layman spiritually, economically, and emotionally when authentic witness to the Gospel costs him or her dearly in the secular world. Without such a community rule, who would reasonably risk public sanction? The Pope informs us that "all the members of the People of God — clergy, men and women religious, the lay faithful — are laborers in the vineyard. At one and the same time they all are the goal and subjects of Church communion as well as of participation in the mission of salvation. Every one of us possessing charisms and ministries, diverse yet complementary, works in the one and the same vineyard of the Lord" (CL 55). So we need to first develop community through sacramental worship, charitable service, and formation in the Word of God and then send people forth to be leaven in the secular world.

Then over at Koinonia, there is this intriguing Orthodox version of the same conversation where Fr. Gregory Jensen writes:

What I am purposing is this: Taking seriously the concerned outlined by Nichols, Neuhaus, MacIntrye and others could we not as Orthodox Christians (and, Catholics, Protestants and Evangelical Christians could do this as well), establishes mission communities whose mission is not to grow, but to form missionaries, lay catechists, seminarians, monastics vocations and above all active lay Christians committed to the work of the Church in all areas of life?

and from the comments:

When I wrote “An Immodest Proposal” what I had in mind was not so much an academic community as it was a mission parish that would be established with the intention of focusing on the catechetical and spiritual formation of men and women as disciples of Christ. This formation would be guided by the tradition of the Orthodox Church certainly, but it would also be open to the insights of other Christian traditions as well as different secular arts and sciences.

What would I think make this mission unique would be the willingness of the community to focus not on its own numerical and material growth, but rather to have no more as a community than necessary to fulfill its fundamental mission: To create Orthodox Christians disciples for Jesus Christ.

We've been babbling about this everywhere we have gone for the past decade. (For more, check out our presentation in Rome on the subject The Parish: Mission or Maintenance?

Much as I resonant deeply with writers like Russell Shaw, James Kennedy, and Fr. Gregory, it seems from their writing that they are describing an ideal whose need they see very clearly - but which they either have not seen happen in real life or have seen only rarely (for instance, Kennedy's reference to the vibrant adult Sunday school in his parish).

The good news is that it is really happening out there. In real parishes. Not perfectly. Partially, Often stumbling and uncertain. But really. And lives are really being changed.

In places like San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Boise, Ann Arbor, Manchester, New Hampshire, Greenville, Colorado Springs, and even merry old London.

Feel free to let the rest of us know about great lay formation going on in your parish!
Milestones in the Lay Apostolate PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 18 February 2008 14:28
A couple of milestones of the lay apostolate:

1) Eduardo Bonnin, one of the lay founders of the Cursillo movement, died early this month. He was 90 years old and part of the movement since he was 26. In the 64 years since Eduardo attended the first Cursillo, this powerful evangelization tool has spread all over the world. It is estimated that 45 million people within and outside Catholicism, have attended a three day Cursillo.

2) The St. Vincent de Paul Society will be celebrating it's 175th anniversary in April. It was in 1833 that 7 college students at the University of Parish, decided to go personally to the poor and meet their needs. One of those students was 20 year old Frederic Ozanam. They were responding to this challenge: "One day, a student, praising the scepticism of Lord Byron, objected: "Christianity has done wonders in the past; but now it is dead! You, who boast of being Catholics, what do you do? What are your activities, activities which prove your faith and which might persuade us to adapt it?.”

This small group of students meet at 38 Rue de Saint Sulpice on 23 April 1833, the Feast of Saint George, at eight o'clock in the evening, (The parish of St. Sulpice in Paris has been a center of pastoral and apostolic innovation for centuries).

The movement spread like wildfire and had already reached the US by 1845. Today, there are nearly a million members of the Society of Saint-Vincent de Paul present and active in 132 countries in the 5 continents. Two thirds of the Conferences to be in developing countries. This month, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society was nominated for the Nobel Prize.

One point, at least, is obvious. Despise not the day of small things. All great things, almost all vocations start small - often because one man or woman senses "Jesus wants something done about this" takes the first, next, obvious, small, practical step. The step they can take right now.

And never underestimate what God will do through your small obedience or the cumulative power of a long obedience in the same direction.
Mini Peaceable Kingdom PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Monday, 18 February 2008 13:53

Answered Prayer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 18 February 2008 09:43
Praise God. Carol McGee of Boise (who I had asked your prayers for last week) left the hospital yesterday. It is still unclear exactly what caused her very serious illness. Doctors told her that if she had waited 4 -6 more hours to see help, she probably would have died. But the wonderful out-pouring of prayer, love, and care on her behalf has really made the whole experience a mysterious blessing, As Carol wrote on her website:

Dear Friends and Family:

I've been thinking for days about when I could get on this web site - about what I could possibly say to you. I'm overwhelmed!! And words just don't come. The love and support and prayers for me and my family have forever changed me. I can only imagine that for most people, it's their funeral where they hear the stories, the caring, and what they really mean to the people in their lives. I got to hear it on this side. And I can say with every ounce of confidence and belief that I am loved. Thank you for loving me back to health. I have been literally covered in prayer, and this is going to take the rest of my life to grasp and understand.

So thanks to all of you who prayed for Carol!
The Strangers in Our Midst PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 18 February 2008 08:26
Great post by Michael Scamperlanda over at Mirror of Justice on the immigration debate:

On Feb.1, 2008 in Napa, California, Archbishop Gomez of San Antonio addressed a special meeting of Latin American bishops on immigration.

He began by reminding his audience that the Holy Family and their flight into Egypt has provided a powerful symbol of migrants. "For many decades, the Popes have held up the Holy Family in exile as a sign of Christ’s solidarity with all refugees, displaced persons, and immigrants—in every time and in every place. In his exile in Egypt, the infant Jesus shares in the fears and worries of all who are forced by violence and need to rise and flee their homelands seeking a better life in a new land that is not their own.

"Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has said: “In this misfortune experienced by the family of Nazareth . . . we can catch a glimpse of the painful condition in which all migrants live . . . . the hardships and humiliations, the deprivation and fragility of millions and millions of migrants” (Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2007, para. 1)."

After assessing the current political situation, Archbishop Gomez offered his reflections on the root causes of immigration, the church's teaching on the contours of a just immigration law and policy, and practical concrete steps for resolving the current crisis. The full text of his insightful, prophetic, and nuanced remarks can be found here.

At the end of his remarks, Archbishop Gomez spoke to a critical issue that, IMHO, transcends the immigration debates.

"But before I leave you, I want to talk about one more area that deeply concerns me. In the bitter debates of recent years, I have been alarmed by the indifference of so many of our people to Catholic teaching and to the concrete demands of Christian charity.

It is not only the racism, xenophobia, and scapegoating. These are signs of a more troubling reality. Many of our Catholic people no longer see the foreigners sojourning among them as brothers and sisters.

In some ways we are back to the debates of the first evangelization. Then the Church, in the person of brave pastors like Bartolomé de las Casas, had to fight to establish that the indigenous peoples of the New Worldwere truly and fully human, worthy of rights.

To listen to the rhetoric in the U.S.and elsewhere it is as if the immigrant is not a person, but only a thief or a terrorist or a simple work-animal.

Throughout the lands of America, we need repentance and conversion to the Gospel. We need to restore the truth that the love of God and the love of neighbor have been forever joined in the teaching—and in the person—of Jesus Christ.

“As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).

Pope Benedict said in Deus Caritas Est that with Christ: “Love of God and love of neighbor have become one. In the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God” (no. 16)."

Isn't this problem - a problem that has been evident in the immigration debates in Oklahoma and elsewhere - part of a larger problem in our society where we so often fail to see the other as another "I"?

Of Multiple Catholicisms and Evangelical Transfer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 18 February 2008 06:45
As you can tell - I'm back. For 4 days.

Fr. Mike is doing his mission thang in Texas, then he and I will be joining forces again for two back-to-back missions here in Colorado Springs. But first I have to do a Called & Gifted in Salt Lake City next weekend. At least, I'll be sleeping in my own bed for most of the next two weeks. Beats sleeping on an airplane - something at which I have become exceptionally accomplished.

Loved the John Allen piece on Catholicism, Texas style, which Fr, Mike blogged about below. Allen's comment on the multiple Catholicisms of Texas - or the country - and the phenomena of "evangelical transfer" is absolutely dead on.

We have worked with two of the groups he mentioned as examples of "evangelical transfer": the Catholic Charismatic Center and Our Lady of Walsingham Anglican Use Parish. In fact, our Houston teaching team includes a priest from the Companions of the Cross (the religious association of priests responsible for the Charismatic Center) and Barbara Elliott, who is a parishioner at Our Lady of Walsingham.

Two more disparate approaches to the liturgy would be hard to find: the rarified solemnity of the Anglican use (complete with a host of intellectually inclined Anglo converts and a life-size replica of the original Holy House of Walsingham as the "Lady chapel") and the big box sanctuary and praise band (not to mention heavily Hispanic) worship of the Charismatic Center.

I have long thought that the relative vibrancy of Anglo American Catholicism is because of the continuous challenge of evangelicalism. It is great to have someone with Allen's credibility and bully pulpit say the same thing.

And I loved this:

At our student group meetings, ask a Catholic kid to pray and rather than reciting the 'Hail Mary' they're probably going to say something like: 'Father, we really just thank you Lord, we just want to give praise to you,'" Konderla said. "It sounds very much like what they hear from their Protestant friends in the dorms and sororities."

LOL! It was true when I was an evangelical student and it's amazing to see that they are still just praying "we really just want to thank you Lord!"

So deeply ingrained is this style of prayer as evangelical that I had a woman in Oklahoma come up and ask me if my teaching partner, Mark, was a Protestant. She did so because when I asked Mark to pray at the beginning of our sessions, he did so spontaneously and fluently, in his own words. You know, like the Baptists who surround the little parish in Prague. The irony is that was Mark, not I, who was the cradle Catholic on our team.

Unless Catholics live in a total ghetto, there will always be transfer from and to the majority culture. Traditionally, Catholics have been more comfortable with this than have Protestants. The question is: is it faithful, smart, discerned transfer that truly reflects the embodiment of the Gospel in this time and place or is it a transfer that obscures or denies a significant part of the faith?

I've said this before in my essay "When Evangelical is Not Enough" but here's the formula that I have found to work exceedingly well.

We must not believe that by default, we must follow evangelical models in order to be effective as evangelizers and formators. As Catholics, we have evangelizing assets in the Tradition, the sacraments, the Eucharist, and the communion of saints that evangelicals have not dreamed of. In my judgment, the most fruitful response Catholics can make to the challenging success of the evangelical movement is to return to the fullness of the apostolic Tradition with renewed expectations, asking, "How does knowing Christ change lives?" and then let the Tradition speak. Trusting in the fullness of Church teaching and letting it address the challenges of their times and experience has always been a source of tremendous creativity for saints and apostles over the centuries.
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