A Real-World Joomla! Template

Serendipity Is . . . PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2007 11:52

Written by Keith Strohm

The last two posts on this blog! :)

Mission Hollywood PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2007 11:34

Written by Keith Strohm

Barb Nicolosi, former Executive Director of Act One and a tireless advocate for impacting American Culture through Hollywood, shares a little bit of her vision for how the Church can have a greater impact on culture over at her blog, Church of the Masses.

The thing I love about Barb is that she understands both the creative and business side of Hollywood and has a deep understanding of the Lay Office. Her work and thought brings all of these things together in surprisingly practical ways.

Here's some snippets from her post:

I was asked by a group of Catholic business leaders recently, to give some ideas as to how the Church could make a more strategic impact on the culture. I think everybody expected me to say that the answer is in writing checks to fund movies. But that's not what I said. I don't think we need to get Catholic millionaires to write big checks to pay for movie budgets. I think we need to get Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony and the like to start financing movies that would have a Catholic worldview.

And how do you do that? It's so damn simple I can't believe it has to be said. Still not getting it? The secret to changing what is on the screen is mysteriously connected to the Church carrying out her perpetual mandate. Which is not to start production companies...

Barb then lays out a very well-thought out vision and plan of execution on exactly how to get that done. Here she is again:

Problem: Pope John Paul II noted with dismay many times, and in particular in his Letter to Artists (2000), that something must be done to “renew the fruitful dialogue that used to exist between the Church and the arts.” There is a great need for the Church to connect to the creative and business communities that are setting the global arts and entertainment agenda. Inspired by the success of The Passion of the Christ, the Lord of the Rings franchise, and the Narnia franchise, many young Catholics are finding their way into Hollywood careers. Programs like Act One, the Angelus Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Study Center exist to help them in their initial steps. There is currently very little to support Christians who are established in the business, who want to stay close to Christ, as well as grow in their professional achievements.

Goal: The Church needs to offer professionals in the entertainment arena:
- ethical guidance
- spiritual formation
- vocational and professional discernment counseling
- state of the art professional and artistic training and mentoring informed by a Catholic worldview
- RCIA geared specifically to media professionals- A community of peers centered around Christ and the desire to do good

Vision: 1) An Artists Chapel that would become a place of pilgrimage for everyone who is setting out on a new entertainment/media/arts project. A place of real artistic beauty, the Chapel would be dedicated to God the Creator, the Holy Spirit as the Author of new Epiphanies of Beauty, and to the Angels who are the Patrons of Communications and of the City of Los Angeles. We would decorate it with all the artist saints of the Church: St. Gregory the Great, Bl. Fra Angelico, Ven. Hildegrard of Bingen, Bl. James Alberione, etc. The Chapel would be geared to minister specifically to people in the arts and media world. It would be staffed by priests and religious who spend their time praying for the media when they are not hearing confessions, giving spiritual direction and teaching RCIA to industry converts.

2) A Think-Tank Center of Study on the Church and the Arts – With state of the art conference facilities, a production library and screening rooms, this center would offer the broader entertainment industry a continuous program of topical conferences and seminars on topics like “Human Development and Entertainment,” “The Nature and Power of Beauty,” “Good Comedy and Bad Comedy,” “Marrying Truth-telling and Creative License,” etc. In addition, the center would be a place for scholars in residence who will come from ecclesiastical and other places of higher learning in the Church, to brood, write and think on the theology, spirituality and ethics of man as a creative being.This Center would also be a source for the secular media which is looking for informed statements from the Church on cultural topics. This Center would have been the one to be on all the networks discussing The Da Vinci Code, and why James Cameron’s documentary is only significant as a sign of the spiritual bankruptcy of our times.

3) A large Theater/Screening Facility – to rival the coolest ones in the city (ie. The TV Academy, the WGA Theater, the DGA theater). From here, the Church can hold film festivals that look at the intersection of cinema and spirituality. We can give prestigious screenings to secular industry projects that are worthy of praise or discussion.

4) A State of the Art Graduate Level Cinema School. Act One is already doing this, but with rented facilities and without the resources to expand the program to offer training and mentoring to actors, directors, and technical professionals. Act One needs a building. It needs a long term financial structure that will allow it to expand without the insane trying to pay the bills month-to-month.

5) A center of ministry - To give a home to the myriad Christian ministries that operate in Los Angeles that are beggars and renters without a permanent home. Ministries that could be brought together under the Center's roof include, LAFSC, the City of Angels Film Festival, Open Call, Catholics in Media Associates, Inter-Mission, the Hollywood Prayer Network, Hollywood Connect, the Actors Co-op, etc.

6) Community Housing – There is a great need for housing for young Christians just arriving in Hollywood, and those who are already here, but who want to live in an environment of prayer and Christ-like fellowship. We need an apartment building with quiet, orderly places for the students to work on scripts, storyboards, audition prep, etc. It will need a Chapel, and quarters for a chaplain. There should be some common areas and maybe a coffee shop operated by the young people who live there, which would be open to the general public. It could be a first place to land and work for young people just arriving in Hollywood.

Strategic Plan:
- Gather a core team to support this right now. Find somebody who is spiritually mature, philosophically trained, experienced in non-profit management and conencted in Hollywood to run it. (Not me...and not anybody who is a religious or priest either. The religious and priests will work at the place but this is innately a LAY initiative. The media is absolutely the temporal sphere. Besides, we don't want to pin our fortunes here on the weird inner workings of a religious community in which people too often get power because they don't rock the boat.)

Write the person a big check, and then trust. Over sight yes, but trust. Because most of us orthodox Catholics have no idea of what beautiful art is. We only know what we like. Not what we are talking about, as a rule.)

Barb continues her plan in remarkably practical ways. Do go check out the whole post!

Reading her vision and plan stirs something inside of me personally. As an artist (a novelist) who hopes to communicate the beauty and truth of God in some small way through my chosen medium, and as someone who has had dealings with movie studios, I can clearly see the need for what she proposes.

I think that all of us who are serious about living as a lay apostle in the 21st century, however, should sit up and take note of how Barb has combined her experience in Hollywood with the mission of the Church in the world. What she has proposed flows directly from her lay office, her secular competence, and her faith in God. Her plan is clear, measurable, and practical. And her approach refuses to have the Church retreat into an enclave where She produces "Catholic" movies for a Catholic audience.

Pray for Barb and pray for the Church in Hollywood!

Cashing In On The Charismatic Economy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 05 March 2007 10:11

Written by Keith Strohm

God wants your parish to be rich . . .

Rich in faith, rich in hope, rich in love--

and rich in charisms.

In fact, God has given each parish community all of the gifts it needs to fulfill the mission to which He has called it (and its members). If we take the both written and oral Tradition seriously and acknowledge the reality of the charisms in our midst, then we begin to realize that there is a charismatic economy to the Church--a way in which God intends for His Body to go out and continue the mission of Christ to the world.

We are not left to our own devices in responding to the call of Christ to "go make disciples among all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:18-19). Rather, God has equipped us with particular talents and charisms to accomplish the particular work of love that He has called us to. We limit ourselves and we place artificial boundaries upon God when we simply throw bodies at particular issues, deploying resources like any solely human institution.

In honoring this economy (by discerning the charisms among us and connecting particular gifts with particular work) we not only realize the full flowering of effectiveness in our mission, but we also honor the Giver of These Gifts. Recognized in this light, calling forth and nurturing the gifts and vocation of the community becomes one of the fundamental expressions of the pastoral role of governance and a living example of good stewardship.

Solid stewardship of treasure, for example, seeks the maximum result for every single penny spent. Why do our parishes not have the same approach with its members. We should seek the maximum effect in every area of our formation, our worship, and our mission to the world. Lining up people's experience and charisms with particular tasks that must be accomplished. Their are charisms of leadership and administration waiting to be used to address the particular issues of the local community in which the parish is placed. There are charisms of teaching and encouragement that are waiting to be used in our sacramental preparation and formation for mission. There are an abundance of riches that God has showered upon us in the charismatic economy.

How, then, can we best cash in on this economy? How can we, at the parish level, provide better formation, discernment, and "deployment" so that all of the God-given resources of each parish may be offered for the sake of the world?

Too Funny PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 05 March 2007 09:50
I'm sure you have all heard about this:

esus married Mary Magdalene, had a son named Judah, died, and stayed dead, says Simcha Jacobovici, an award-winning filmmaker. A Discovery Channel documentary on his findings, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, will be televised March 4.

As Christianity Today puts it:

"The only thing more ridiculous than filmmakers' claims that a tomb outside Jerusalem once held the bones of Jesus of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene, a son of Jesus, and other family members is some of the media coverage those claims have garnered.

It's hard to top James Cameron when he says things like, "This is the biggest archeological story of the century. It's absolutely not a publicity stunt." But some media outlets seem to be trying hard to do so."

So CT is sponsoring a contest:

What media outlet has the most credulous, exaggerated, or otherwise wacky report on the "tomb of Jesus"? Entries (use the feedback form below) are due by Friday, March 9. The winner will receive a one-year subscription to Christianity Today (or one of our sister publications) and a copy of The Tomb of Jesus (the tie-in book to the Discovery Channel "documentary"). The winner will be determined purely at the whim of one or more editors here at CT.

So don't take the contest too seriously. We hope you're not taking the documentary too seriously, either.
Vatican Glass Ceiling . . & the Laity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 05 March 2007 08:28
Catholic News Service has an interesting article this morning Women chip Vatican's glass ceiling with increased numbers, influence.

To sum it up:

Women now make up 21% of Vatican employees but few have real decision-making power. That's because the power to "govern" in the Church has historically been understood to require ordination.


In 2004, Salesian Sister Enrica Rosanna was named an undersecretary of the Vatican congregation that deals with religious orders. That's No. 3 in the chain of command, a position that has always been understood to involve governance, and it made her the highest-ranking woman at the Vatican. But it didn't settle the question of whether she, as a non-ordained person, could exercise the power of governance in her role.

CNS points out that

"Strangely, women remain a small minority -- about 10 percent -- in the ranks of consultors to Vatican agencies. These are experts around the world who advise the congregations or councils on matters under study, and who generally come to the Vatican once or twice a year for meetings.

Most congregations have between 30 and 40 consultors. But at present, the congregations dealing with doctrine, liturgy, clergy, saints' causes and Eastern churches have no women consultors at all.”

(Sherry’s note: the Congregation for the Clergy oversees all matters related to parish life and the catechesis and the religious formation of the all baptized, two areas that profoundly affect the lives of nearly all practicing Catholics and where lay consultors would seem to be not only appropriate, but essential.)

Since I can never think in tidy politically correct categories, I have often been struck by the fact that the acrimonious debate over the ordination of women and feminism in general in the west has obscured and distorted several other critical discussions.

Like the fact that the debate over governance is not first and foremost a male-female issue. It is a ordained/non-ordained issue. And male cleric and non-ordained woman are not the only two categories at issue here. What about lay men?

Of the approximately 500 million Catholic men in the world, only 441,669 are ordained bishop, priests, or deacon. That's .0008833 %, folks. Only 9/100th of 1 % of all Catholic men are ordained. Yes, we ordain men but it doesn't therefore follow that the charisms, leadership and creativity of men, as a whole, have been honored and welcomed. (Of course, that also imply that simply changing the gender make-up of this tiny ordained minority would not mean that the charisms, leadership and creativity of women, as a whole, would have been honored and welcomed either.)

It has been my experience that the role of lay men is the least honored and appreciated one in the western Church today. The debate over feminism have made most western Catholics eager not to seem to be sexist. (This is clearly less true in cultures where women are regarded as inferior). In the west, because the image of the male cleric looms so large, there isn't a lot of room for another kind of strongly Catholic male image.

The debate over governance and leadership in the Church is not just, as it is so often portrayed, a battle of the sexes. It is most profoundly, a opportunity to consider the implications of the Church's teaching on the apostolic anointing of all the baptized (female and male), the insistence that the Church's primary identity is that of mission outward, and the integration of the “co-essential” (as Pope John Paul II put it) charismatic and institutional dimensions of the Church.

As we become clearer about the mission and role of the laity, it sheds new light on the ordained priesthood, whose entire purpose for existence is the fruition of the baptismal priesthood, and the larger issue of leadership as well. If Church’s primary mission is truly outward, not inward, that has huge implications for all forms of leadership, ordained or lay.

The CNS story acknowledged the larger issue of the role of the laity with these final paragraphs:

"Some sources noted that while attention is often given to the men-women ratio at the Vatican another slow but significant shift has occurred in the number of lay employees in the Curia.

Laypeople now represent about 38 percent of employees in major curial agencies, numbering close to 300 people. Fifty years ago, half of the 12 Vatican congregations had no laypeople on their staffs; among the handful of laity who did work there at the time, none were women."

Easter blitz PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Monday, 05 March 2007 06:24
I've got just a few hours before I hit the road again, but I have a question for all of you who read Intentional Disciples. We know that many "Christmas and Easter" Catholics will be filling our churches in a few weeks. Rather than crack jokes about them, are your parishes doing anything to help not only welcome them, but reach out to them?

I can guarantee that your parish staff is probably not going to take the initiative on this one. Not because they don't care, but because they are immersed in liturgical preparations, working on Lenten projects to help you grow in your faith, and focusing a lot of attention on the people in the RCIA process.

If you or others in your parish are interested in the faith of the "C&E" Catholics, what might you do? Or, if your parish is doing something to intentionally reach out to these folks, what is it? Is it transferable to other parishes? Could people with the charisms of evangelism and hospitality work together to figure out some way of connecting with folks who are simply brushing the tassle of Jesus' cloak?

Labels: ,

Spirit and Truth: Praise, Worship & Adoration PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 04 March 2007 20:53
This intriguing initiative began in Georgia with college students and is spreading around the country. There are now S & T groups in 16 cities in 11 states.

Spirit and Trust is a weekly prayer group combined spontaneous praise and worship with contemplative time in front of the Eucharist. The group’s name was inspired by John 4:23, where Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, “The hour is coming, and is here now, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.” It sounds wonderful since Eucharistic Adoration is one of the Catholic traditions that has been most nurturing and important for me.

Scroll down on their site to find a map and contact information for groups around the US.

Spirit and Life will be sponsoring its first young adult (19 - 29) conference, April 13 - 15 in Pensacola, FL.
Lenten Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 04 March 2007 20:25
On March 29, 30, the residents of Minneapolis (brave, frozen souls!) will be able to attend an original theatrical production at St. Olaf's Church - the Scrutiny Passion.

Maggie Mahrt, who played Therese of Lisieux in the original St. Luke production of Story of a Soul, will be one of the performers.

If you live the Minneapolis area, check it out! It looks really interesting.
St. Mary's. Greenville, Reaches Out to Hispanics PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 04 March 2007 20:09
Here's a very interesting initiative - from the famous St. Mary's in Greenville, South Carolina - the home of Bob Jones University and Fr. Dwight Longennecker. St. Mary's is known for it's liturgy, preaching and the St. Mary's Center for Evangelical Catholicism.

(I've been to St. Mary's several times to do Called & Gifted workshops and training. In fact, we'll be offering training next weekend at St. Mary's for those who want to facilitate the discernment of others and offering a Called & Gifted worksshop there on April 20/21.)

But back to the topic.

Fr. Christopher Smith - the administrator pro tem during the pastor's sabbatical issued this letter to his parish on February 11.

Many of the original Scotch-Irish settlers in this part of Carolina were Catholics; in a generation, they overwhelmingly became Protestants. Why? Because the Church was not visible to them, because there were no priests and no sacraments available to them. The same thing is happening again, this time to the Hispanics. There are now approximately 37,000 Hispanics in Greenville County. In theory, almost all of them should be Catholics. But at this moment, there are now more practicing Latino Protestants than Catholics.

How has this happened? Many of the non-Catholic churches have become very aggressive in converting Catholics away from the fold. They learn Spanish and congregations invest time and money into what they see as fertile ground for evangelization. They bring highly trained native pastors to do missionary work within the United States among the Latinos. What’s more, so many of those who come from Latin America are so poorly catechized that they are easily taken in by those who shower them with love, gifts and the Gospel. Who can blame them?

I have spent a year and half trying to meet with the Latino Protestant pastors in Greenville, and they refuse to even return my letters and calls. Their tactics have become more antagonistic; they have now bought a radio station, 1580AM, and are broadcasting anti-Catholic programming in an attempt to take away their countrymen from the Church of their forefathers. Are we going to let this happen, again?

Many of our Anglos want to help the Hispanics, but do not know how. Here is a chance: we are in the process of putting together a newspaper which would tell people the truth about the Catholic faith, a weekly or monthly which will go into Spanish shops all over Greenville. Also, we want to buy time on 103.9FM so that we can counter the attacks on our Faith and on our priests. Say you don’t speak Spanish? It doesn’t matter. We need money, we need volunteers, we need paper, we need graphic artists, we need ink, we need people who can help us reach out to the Latino community. We need you!

Deacon Diego Ferro is waiting for your call or email to help make this happen:

Deacon Diego Ferro
Director of Hispanic Ministry
864.271.8422, ext. 126
Send E-mail »

If we are a parish that wants to spread the Gospel, why not start with the largest group of people in Greenville who are Catholics and the largest group in Greenville who are on their way out because we are not doing our part to reach them? You can help save souls, one at a time – all for Jesus!

Padre Cristóbal Smith

I'm Back! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 04 March 2007 16:31
From the knee-deep-in-frozen snow upper midwest. I spent most of Friday trapped in the Minneapolis airport (my home away from home!) and reached Milwaukee at 5:30pm after leaving home at 4:30 am. But I was in time for the workshop and a very good time was had by all. The participants were very enthusiastic.

One of the things that is exciting about this work is to see the amazing new initatives that people undertake when they begin to discern their charisms. At Christ King Parish in Wauwatosa, Joan Carey and Cindy Stuart with a team of collaborators have created Simply the Word, a Catholic Bible study that incoporates music, prayer, small group discussion and lecture.

Joan and Cindy had spent 7 years in Bible Study Fellowship (I've talked to hundreds of Catholics over the years who have been part of Bible Study Fellowship, which is "non-denominational" but whose assumptions are exlicitly Sola Scriptura and anti-Catholic) but wanted to create something equally effective that was truly Catholic in its approach.

Cindy, who has a PhD, does the research and writing and Joan gives the 20 min talk. Each member of the Simply the Word team contributes their unique charisms and the results have been very exciting. In a parish where Bible study has fizzled before, 80 -90 excited Catholics from around the diocese are now attending every week.

Good stuff is happening all over.

It is good to be home however, especially to arrive home in early afternoon on one of the those brilliantly sunny Colorado days. I'll be blogging more this evening as I plow through my e-mails.
A picture of the Charism of Hospitality PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 March 2007 21:32

Written by Kathleen Lundquist

Check out this article in yesterday's Oregonian, the major newspaper of western Oregon. It's a beautiful illustration of a man using his spiritual gifts in a simple, small, unobtrusive, consistent way and making a big difference in the life of his church - indeed, the whole Church. Enjoy.

Sherry Will Be Pleased To Know ... PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 March 2007 19:01

Written by JACK

That Intentional Disciples (at the moment) is accessible behind China's Internet firewalls. (See The Great Firewall of China.)

Off I go, parents and kids in tow... PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 March 2007 15:07

Written by the other Sherry

I, too am heading off for a few days. My uncle Don, a retired missionary, has been very ill for some time and has been readmitted to the hospital; it seems likely that his homegoing will be quite soon. My Dad wants to see his brother. I will be driving my parents and my three girls from here to there tomorrow, with about 8 hours of road time. We plan to be home sometime Tuesday or Wednesday, unless events intervene otherwise.

Prayers for safe travel, reasonably happy kids, and my sanity/alertness would be appreciated. Most of all, please pray for a happy, peaceful death for my Uncle Don in God's time, for his wife, my Aunt Norma, and for my cousin Sarah who is in charge of his care.

I am reminded by all of this of the wonderful heritage of faith that is mine in my family. None of my extended family is Catholic, but I was in Sunday School from the first Sunday of my life (Mom was teaching) and cannot remember *not* knowing the basics of the faith. My parents met in the home missions, and my Uncle Don and Aunt Norma were missionaries overseas for more than 30 years. Most of all, my parents taught me to love Jesus, that loving Him matters more than anything else, and that loving Jesus means helping others love Him too.

Tell your children about Jesus. If you don't have any of your own, tell somebody else's children about Jesus.

Oh, Slushing Through the Snow . . . PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 02 March 2007 03:27
Yeah, Keith - you are abandoning the frozen north for California and I'm off to join Fr. Mike on the tundra tour. Who set this up?

But if you have shoveled out in Milwuakee, consider coming to the Called & Gifted at Christ King Church in Wauwatosa, WI and saying "hi!". It's a great Lenten thing.

Back Sunday afternoon. In the interim, we leave you in the capable hands of Sherry the Greater, Kathie, JACK, and the gang.
<< Start < Prev 11 12 13 Next > End >>
Page 12 of 13

Order From Our Store