Month: April 2010

“Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.   My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J Sheehan

Archbishop of Santa Fe

 

Quiz

The first to send the right answers to joyfulcatholic@comcast.net will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.

1.     Who was the Church official Henry VIII sent to Rome to try and get Papal approval of annulment so he could marry the already pregnant Anne Boleyn?    

2.     In what year did Pope Pius IX define the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?    

3.     What was the name of the tax collector who left his customs post to follow Jesus and later gave a great banquet for him?   

 News flashes

        As I predicted in my “Cheap Shooting” column, The Washington Post, a true master in the art of cheap shooting, confirmed it is going to milk the pedophilia subject to the fullest. In the April 21 paper, they put it on the front page.

The British House of Lords voted down the requirement that churches had to hire non-believers and those “whose private conduct is inconsistent with their teachings”.  (comment: Hurrah!)

The Pope is encouraging priests to use the Internet which can help “create deeper forms of relationship across great distances, opening up enormous new possibilities of evangelization.”

My new blog friend 

George Torres is a poet and the editor of Sofrito for Your Soul, a splendid website for the Latino-Hispanic communities worldwide.  He has succeeded in establishing an invigorating center for cultural information. Welcome, George, to the pack!

 

What a Priest!

 

 

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.  

My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J Sheehan

Archbishop of Santa Fe

 

What a Priest!

I noticed the difference as soon as I went in the church.  For many decades, when in London I have attended Mass at St. Mary’s Cadogan Street Church, just a few blocks from Sloane Square.  Instead of it being the dark and foreboding place I remembered (built in 1879), I found the church was bright and inviting.  I was greeted at the door and made to feel welcome. The priest’s homily was brief and of value. He made a special point of inviting everyone to the annual picnic to be held after the service.

          At the end of the Mass, he asked everyone to remain and get to know the persons sitting beside them.  Five minutes later, my wife, the young woman next to us and I were strangers no longer. She was from Australia studying to be a nurse, and as she had relatives living in the States, she asked many questions about America.

          Leaving the church, I congratulated the priest, who was Canon Stuart Wilson. Even though we could not stay, he insisted that he lead us to the picnic in the large courtyard behind the church.  There I was shocked to see a happy event taking place, like a 4th of July celebration.  Everyone was having a splendid time, laughing, talking and clapping hands to the music of the four-piece Dixieland band.

          Having been awed by what I had seen, I called the next day to have an interview with Canon Wilson. He graciously agreed, and I met him Tuesday for morning coffee at the rectory.

          He proudly showed me how he had converted the former dismal rectory into a bright and happy residence. “This,” he said, “is not just the residence of the priest—it should be the home of everyone in the parish.”

Later he showed me an attractive meeting hall which had been storage space for unwanted items.

          In quizzing him about his involvement with St, Mary’s, he told me had been assigned to the church in 2006, when the church, rectory and community were in shambles. His first task was to get church members to join him in physically cleaning up the buildings. Then he began to renovate the buildings and developing a joyful sense of community.  An indication of his success is the fact that contributions to the church increased from 1,500 pounds a week to 3,700. 

          When we realized we both were converts, I told him about my conversion and asked about his. I was surprised when he told me he had been an Episcopal minister with a large church in London.  After years of prayerful concern, when he announced to his parishioners that he was to join the Roman Catholic Church, the entire congregation came with him.  “Wow!” I said.  “Don’t you need a bodyguard when you walk around the streets of London?”  He laughed and shook his head.

(And what are your thoughts? 

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Other recommended Catholic Blogs

The American Catholic

Deacon’s Bench

Hermeneutic of Continuity

Recommended reading

 In the April 18 Sunday Opinion section of the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof has an excellent column “A Church Mary Can Love.” He ends with: “It’s high time for the Vatican to take inspiration from that sublime—even divine—side of the Catholic Church, from those church workers whose magnificence lies not in their vestments, but in their selflessness.  They’re enough to make the Virgin Mary smile.” (comment: Amen!)

The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century, by Robert Royal

 

 

Cheap Shooting!

cheap shot… (def.) a blow, shove or tackle maliciously against an opponent     who is defenseless or off guard. 

This is an imagined staff discussion that took place in mid March in the office of the editorial editor of The Washington Post:

Now that we have milked dry the battle about health legislation, we have to pick a new focus agenda.  Although we are the fifth largest paper in the country, we’ve lost circulation that we’ve got to try to regain.

What about a study about how the apathetic African-Americans have let industrious Latinos take 94% of their jobs?

Are you crazy? Remember years ago when we ran an article that was considered critical of African Americans, every black church in the region organized and crippled us for two days. They jammed our phones with incoming calls and dumped so many tons of our newspapers in front of the building that we had to use the rear shipping entrance.

Could we do a study, showing that the Jews—the most persecuted race in history—for fifty years have ruthlessly persecuted the Palestinians?

If we did, the next day B’nai B’rith and the powerful Jewish lobby would blow us out of the sky.

Perhaps we could question the same-sex marriage situation.

Sure we could! And the lesbians and gays would form a two-mile long protest march and end up sending bricks through all our windows.

Well, that leaves religion. I understand the European press is having a hay day about the Catholic pedophiliac priests in Ireland and Germany.  It’s too bad we cashed in on that years ago. Perhaps, we would blow on the ashes and rekindle the fire.

Good idea! Let me show you this drawing from our cartoonist, Tom Toles, who hates Catholics with a passion.  It shows two ghoulish priests who are using Christ’s words to trap kids so they can abuse them.

Wow! That’s powerful stuff. But is it fair?  The 4,400 pedophiliac priests are only 4% of the 110,000 Catholic priests who served during at that period.  Studies prove there is a higher percentage of pedophiliac Protestant ministers and rabbis. Also, it is confirmed that 8% of American males are guilty of this crime.

Maybe so, but it’s the number of bad priests, not the percentage, that will increase circulation.

This cartoon will offend seventy million Catholics.

So what?  Their only action will be a mountain of protest letters that we’ll trash, and we’ll publish a few approving letters from cranks.  So, all in favor of blasting the Catholics say “yes.”

Yes, yes, YES, maybe so, O.K., YES! why not?

Agreed!

(And on the 29th of March in the year of our Lord, 2010, the honorable Washington Post dove to a historic depth in journalism, smeared its face with shit, and printed the infamous cartoon)

 

(And what are your thoughts? I promise I won’t trash criticism!)

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Interesting sayings 

 Has it not been thus throughout the history of the Church that the Pope, the successor of Peter, has been at once Petra and Skandalon—both the rock of God and a stumbling block?  In fact, the faithful will always have to reckon with this paradox of the divine dispensation that shames their pride again and again.

                                                Pope Benedict XV1

 

Do not seal up the fountain of life nor imagine that you can defeat God. The resurrection will not be stopped by force nor impeded by seals, nor put down by soldiers, nor concealed by bribes. Rather it shall be believed in.

                                                Saint Amphilochius of Iconium  380AD

 Some people are kind, polite and sweet-spirited until you sit in their pews.

                                                 (Anonymous)

If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor would make a wonderful living.

                                                Yiddish Proverb

An ounce of performance is worth a pound of promises.

                                                Mae West

My new blog friend

Jean M. Heimann, who has the excellent site Catholic Fire, is a remarkable woman with these qualifications: Catholic wife, mother, writer, retired educator and psychologist.  My only complaint about her is that she doesn’t live in my neighborhood so that we could have weekly coffee meetings. But you and I can enjoy her Catholic Fire. So, do it! 

 News flashes

–   Last month in the British House of Lords voted to permit same-sex marriages to be performed in houses of religion. It was introduced by a gay Muslim named Lord Alli. It is feared this is the first step of requiring Anglicans, Catholic and other religion to conform. (comment, good going, Cutie Alli)

 

 A study of administrative costs of non-profits has confirmed that Catholic Charities is the best with a cost of 3%. This means that out of every dollar we contribute, we know that $.97 is going to the cause we support. Some charities have administrative and soliciting cost of up to 80%.

 –   Be aware of how modern we Catholics have become and click on to Catholic TV Com. (comment, amazing!)

                                        Recommended reading

 –   In the April issue of The Catholic World Report, Jeff Ziegler, a writer in North Carolina, has an excellent article, “Pope Benedict Goes Bravely Forth.”

 –  You will enjoy “The Spirituality of Meiser Eckhard and its implications for Christian life today” by James A. Wiseman, OSB, in the spring issue of Spiritual Life. 

Other recommended Catholic Blogs 

 Sacred Space is a great website, produced by the Jesuits in Ireland.  You will like it. 

Communiqués received 

George Thatcher is an inspiration for both us born-Catholics and those who are potential-Catholics. His account of his conversion is a treasure.

                                                          Eleanor Dinson

 I think your blog is too long. You try to cover too much material.

                                                          Roger Evans

(and you readers, what is your opinion about Roger’s advice? I welcome it.) (joyfulcatholic@comcast.net

Why do you promote other Catholic blogs?

                                                          Willie Backstrom

(answer: There are many splendid blogs with inspiration for us joyful Catholics. I want you to know about them)

      My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization

 Jane Goodall has been my pen pal since she first endorsed my book, Next in Line, Everyone’s Guide for Writing Your Autobiography. I know nothing of Jane’s religion, but she radiates a spiritual glow with her effective concern for all of God’s creation – animals, deprived humans, nature and our environment. Jane, in appreciation of your lifetime of service, we honor you for being the great person that you are.

(Now, tell me about your favorite priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference.)

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net

 Quiz

 The winner of a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics, who clocked in at 4:31PM on April 6 is Dottie Jones in Tucumcari, NM.

 1. The three disciples Jesus took with him when he went up to the mountain where the Transfiguration took place were Peter, John and James.

 2. The pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was Pope Julius II.

3. The patron saint of brewers is St. Augustine of Hippo (because of his life of loose living prior to his conversion)           

Chuckle time

          When the churches in a small Oklahoma town were overrun with pesky squirrels, the Protestant churches caught the critters, hauled and released them ten miles away, and they were back in a week.

The Catholics were smarter. They caught all the squirrels, baptized them and registered each as a member of the church. Now they only see them on Easter and Christmas.

 

Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is joyfulcatholic@comcast.net. They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, Isola Todd, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Tom Medved, Eileen Grotsky, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb, Violeta Zepeda,

Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards,

Gertrude Goldstein, Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, Hugh Cannon, Eric Moore, Joan Barrett, 8-year-old Michael Fotta and his parents, Lolita Alvarez, Camilus Musselman, Jack Conner, Ed Block

As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been deleted and added to our Deo Gratias list.

Never too Late, a Conversion Story

 We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.   My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe

Never too Late, a Conversion Story

 By George Thatcher

George Thatcher is a remarkable man.  After a successful career in publishing and banking, he has continued his active involvement in helping others. Three times he was recognized as the outstanding citizen of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As an author, his fourth book, A Decade of Beach Walks, is a compilation of his daily newspaper columns in which he demonstrates his delightful Thoreau-style appreciation of nature.

          As a fifth generation Episcopalian, he has been an international church leader, serving as Honorary Lay Canon of St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi, Africa,  and heading for ten years the Bishop’s Fund for World Relief.  Then he recently converted to our Roman Catholic Church.  Here is his story:

           For me, traveling the road to Rome has been a long spiritual journey, beginning many years ago when an Anglo-Catholic rector, brimming with liturgical riches, came to the parish. Then there was the reading of Newman and Chesterton and Merton, of Muggeridge and Graham Green, of Teilhard and Dulles, and many more.  These were the days of the old American Church Union (does anyone remember?) of which I was a member. There we share a dream of the reunion of the Episcopal and the Roman Churches.

          In recent years the Lord’s call to me became frequent and more insistent. After much prayer, numerous retreats, consultations with family and friends, now an old man, I made the well-considered decision to spend the last years of my life as a Roman Catholic. I could have remained in my parish protected for a time from the drama that is unfolding elsewhere in the Episcopal Church. But I fear the wave of change sweeping the church endangers all of us who hold firmly to traditional beliefs.

          Why is it that modern churchmen devise new ideas, rejecting the teaching of the early Church fathers?  Does one of the modern revisionists have a mind or faith comparable to those of Athanasius or Augustine or Aquinas?  Yet they are eager to discard centuries of orthodox Christianity for contemporary materialistic philosophies.

          With wide open eyes, I see that the Roman Church in the U.S. is beset with problems, too, but it affords me an orthodox haven. This pope and the next assure continuation of church stability, rooted in Biblical verity and traditional values. In my new church I will simple be one of more than 50 million members in the U. S, and one of the nearly 2 billion worldwide. The catholicity appeals to me, and the spiritual leadership offered by the pope. the diocesan bishop, the pastor and luminaries like Cardinal Avery Dulles, Fr. Richard John Newman and others is something I need and want. In my 81st year, I embark on a new religious journey!

         (What is your story you would like to share?)

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Interesting sayings 

More blessed is the person who greets his neighbor than the one who waits to be greeted by a neighbor or stranger. Don’t tell a person what it is to be a Catholic. Show by your joy and enthusiasm for the faith and your love for all of God’s people. Christianity is caught more than taught.

                                                Brother Ed Adams, F.S.C.

 

The Savior becomes all things to all, according to the need of each. To those who ask for joy, he becomes the vine; to those who wish to enter, he becomes the door; to those who are under the weight of sin, he becomes a lamb, a lamb slain for them. He becomes all things to all, but he remains nonetheless what he is.  

                                                Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (386)

I am ready to meet my Maker — but whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

                                                Winston Churchill (1965)

Oh most merciful One, teach me to throw a party for the unworthy, knowing that I may be the guest of honor.

 Sister Macrina Weiderkehr, O.S.B.

 

 

Mother Teresa’s seven steps to spiritual achievement:

1.     Slow down

2.     Make some room.

3.     Open your eyes

4.     Put great love into the small things

5.     Do not tire

6.     Remember — it’s faithfulness, not success

7.     Leave the rest to Jesus.

 

My new blog friend

Thomas Peters, who lives in Washington, DC, is a splendid young lay Catholic with graduate degrees in theology. He edits the excellent American Papist blog, which I strongly endorse.  For your enjoyment, check it out. 

 

News flashes

–  Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is placing 3 to 1 odds that the Pope will resign because of the allegations of child abuse in Germany. (Comment: Paddy, you ought to stick to horse-racing.)

 

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of  Washington has close its 80-year-old foster care and public adoption program to avoid the risk of having to accept same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents. (Comment: This is like a kennel keeper who decides no longer to care for his hundred pedigreed dogs because he might have to accept a cur.)

–   In New Zealand the Atheist Bus Campaign is fuming because of the rejection of its ad, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”  And here in USA, Annie Laurie Gaylor, of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, is protesting the issuance of a Mother Teresa stamp. (Comment: Annie Laurie, don’t you have something better to do, perhaps like empting the dishwasher?)

                                      A Shocker

Regardless of my thoughts about pro-life and pro-choice, this account sickened me, because I recognized it as a sign of today’s materialistic me-me-me society. I learned of a woman, desperate to have a child, who finally conceived with medical assistance.  Three months later, when she found she was carrying twins, she didn’t want the trouble and expense of caring for two children, so she had one of the babies aborted.

At the Vigil Mass for my much beloved friend, Msgr. W. Louis Quinn, even though the coffin was closed, I could picture this saintly man shaking his head in protest when a member of his family (who evidently had read my column “Communion-Juicy Fruit Flavor”) chewed gum throughout the service, even while receiving the Sacred Host.

 

Recommended reading

 –   In the March 3 issue of America, John J. DiIulio, Jr. author of Godly Republic, informs us about our prison problem.

–    On page 56 in The Economist (March 13) there is an excellent article about the problems of the Church in Germany.

 –   You will enjoy Father Mark Plaushin’s article, “St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, 1609-2009” in the March issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review.

Contributions

  (Let me and others know about a special non-profit organization you support)

     joyfulcatholic@comcast.net 

 

Other recommended Catholic Blogs

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (UK)

Catholic and enjoying it.

Connell Society for a Good Time

Deeps of time

Insight Scoop

Intentional Disciples

More than enough

 

Communiqués received 

Our mother has few weeks left and we are planning her final Mass, one that is joyful, uplifting and soothing. Mom always had an unwavering affection for the Blessed Virgin; therefore we are trying to find readings and music that would reflect Mom’s embracement of her Catholic faith and joy of life, her service to others and her strength..   

                                      wetseas@aol.com

Thank you for your note, letting me know of your kind mention of our work in your blog.

                   Steve Mosher, President of Population Research Institute

As Quintanilla says there are cultural differences. However, we Catholics can be happy that the Mass in whatever language is seen and experienced permitting different Rites because it believes in cultural approach and in the enrichment of Catholic faith in different forms of worship. I belong to Syro Malabar Rite which is confined to the State of Kerala in India. When we grow in the universal faith of Catholicism giving utmost value to family and its sacredness, there will be joy and satisfaction.

                   Kalapurra Thomas

Just found your blog. Nice place you got here! By the way, last I saw, the presidential dollar coin had “In God we trust” inscribed on the edge of the coin rather than either side.

                   S. Murphy

I found young Hugo’s article about the English and Spanish Masses to be thought provoking. Let’s hope our priests conducting the English services can learn from this.

                   Adam Wentworth

Your blog is one of my favorites on BlogSpot.

                   Jim Woods “56, male, last seen 1 day ago”

Young Hugo’s article confirmed the virtues of immigration. For example, 37 of the 40 of the finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search were children of recent arrivals from China, Japan and India. What does that tell you?

Roger Bertram

My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization

Special recognition is deserved for Mark Neilson, editor of Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions, published by Creative Communications for the Parish.  For many years, I have started my day by reading Living Faith, which never fails to inspire me. It is like benefiting from a brief visit with some of the best of today’s theologians.  I recommend that you subscribe to Living Faith (www.livingfaith.com.).

Thank you, Mark, for your outstanding contribution to our Catholic community!

(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference.)

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net

Quiz

 The first to send the right answers to joyfulcatholic@comcast.net will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.

1.     Which three disciples did Jesus take with him when he went up to the mountain where the Transfiguration took place?

 

2.   Who was the pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

           

3.     Who is the patron saint of brewers?

 

Chuckle time

In a remote Irish parish on the final day of Lent, the parish caretaker felt obligated to go to confession.  His sin was having stolen the priest’s watch. Inside the booth, in a disguised voice, he confessed he had stolen something, and the priest said to be absolved, he had to return it.

          The caretaker said, “Instead, I’ll give it to you.”

          “But I don’t want it,” replied the priest.

          After a moment of silence, the man said, “I have offered it to the man I stole it from, and he doesn’t want it.”

          “In that case,” the priest said, “I absolve you of your sins and you can keep whatever it is.”

Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is joyfulcatholic@comcast.net. They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, Isola Todd, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Tom Medved, Eileen Grotsky,

Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb, Violeta Zepeda, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo,

Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby,Russell Edwards, Rev. Lawrence Boedt, Gertrude Goldstein,

Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, Hugh Cannon, Eric Moore, Joan Barrett,

8-year-old Michael Fotta and his parents, Lolita Alvarez\,

Camilus Musselman

As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been deleted and added to our Deo Gratias list.