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Virtual Tour of the Vatican, part two PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 10:35

Virtual Tour of the Vatican via You tube PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 10:33
Take a look at this.

A clip from a National Geographic program on the Vatican. Martin Sheen narrates:

Light From the East: Orientale Lumen Conferences PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 09:21
Orientale Lumen

Eastern Christian Publications and the Society of Saint John Chrysostom regularly sponsor ecumenical conferences for lay men, lay women, religious and clergy entitled Orientale Lumen that focus on the dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Open to the public, these conferences provide an opportunity for Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Catholics to gather, discuss and learn about their respective traditions. They include presentations by scholars and theologians, liturgical celebrations of many varieties, and opportunities for everyone to learn from each other and participate in a "dialogue of love and understanding."

Eastern Christian Publications and the Society of Saint John Chrysostom regularly sponsor ecumenical conferences for lay men, lay women, religious and clergy entitled Orientale Lumen that focus on the dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches

Open to the public, these conferences provide an opportunity for Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Catholics to gather, discuss and learn about their respective traditions. They include presentations by scholars and theologians, liturgical celebrations of many varieties, and opportunities for everyone to learn from each other and participate in a "dialogue of love and understanding."

There are Orientale Lumen conferences coming up in June in Washington, DC and in San Diego. Looks interesting!

Also check out the Society of St. John Chrysotom and Eastern Catholic Publications.
Must Call to Activate PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 07:44
Marcellino D'Ambrosio has a very nice essay on his website: The Gifts of Pentecost:
The Charisms of The Holy Spirit
In fact, it sounds remarkably like parts of the Called & Gifted workshop.

"Vatican II also taught that every Christian has a vocation to serve. We need power for this too. And so the Spirit distributes other gifts, called “charisms.” These, teach St. Thomas, are not so much for our own sanctification as for service to others. There is no exhaustive list of charisms, though St. Paul mentions a few (I Cor 12:7-10, Ro 12:6-8) ranging from tongues to Christian marriage (1 Cor 7: 7). Charisms are not doled out by the pastors; but are given directly by the Spirit through baptism and confirmation, even sometimes outside of the sacraments (Acts 10:44-48).

Pentecost, Confirmation, Sacrament of ConfirmationDo I sound Pentecostal? That’s because I belong to the largest Pentecostal Church in the world. Correcting the mistaken notion that the charisms were just for the apostolic church, Vatican II had this to say: "Allotting His gifts “to everyone according as he will” (1 Cor. 12:11), He [the Holy Spirit] distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. . . . These charismatic gifts, whether they be the most outstanding or the more simple and widely diffused, are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation, for they are exceedingly suitable and useful for the needs of the Church" (LG12).

Powerful gifts, freely given to all. Sounds like a recipe for chaos. But the Lord also imparted to the apostles and their successors a unifying charism of headship. The role of the ordained is not to do everything themselves. Rather, they are to discern, shepherd, and coordinate the charims of the laity so that they mature and work together for the greater glory of God (LG 30).

Sacrament of Champions, Confirmation, Catholic Church

So what if you, like me, did not quite “get it” when you were confirmed? I’ve got good news for you. You actually did get the Spirit and his gifts. Have you ever received a new credit card with a sticker saying “Must call to activate before using?” The Spirit and his gifts are the same way. You have to call in and activate them. Do it today and every day, and especially every time you attend Mass. Because every sacramental celebration is a New Pentecost where the Spirit and his gifts are poured out anew (CCC 739, 1106)."

The Global South is Coming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 07:13
Michael Gerson of the Washington Post Writer's Group had a fascinating piece published on Sunday.

As he put it:

"AN EPOCH-DIVIDING event recently took place in the religion that brought us B.C. and A.D. Too bad hardly anyone noticed."

"The intense, irrepressible Christianity of the global south is becoming -- along with Coca-Cola, radical Islam and Shakira -- one of the most potent forms of globalization. When I visited Martyn Minns, the missionary bishop installed by Akinola, his first reference was not to St. Paul or to St. John but to St. Thomas: Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. "The Church is flat,'' Minns told me, paraphrasing the title of Friedman's best-selling book. Rigid, outdated church bureaucracies are proving unable to adjust to the shifting market of world Christianity. "People used to pronouncing from on high,'' he said, are now "gasping for air.''

In 1900, about 80 percent of Christians lived in North America and Europe; now more than 60 percent live on other continents. There are more Presbyterians in Ghana than in Scotland. The largest district of the United Methodist Church is found in Ivory Coast. And many of the enthusiastic converts of Western missions have begun asking why portions of the Western church have abandoned the traditional faith they once shared. Liberal Protestant church officials, headed toward international assemblies, are anxiously counting African votes, because these new voters tend to take their Bible both literally and seriously.

This emerging Christianity can be troubling. Church leaders sometimes put more emphasis on communal values than on individual human rights, and they need to understand that strongly held moral beliefs are compatible with a commitment to civil liberties for all. Large Pentecostal churches are often built by domineering personalities making easy promises of health and wealth.

But the religion of the global south has a great virtue: It is undeniably alive. And it needs to be. A mother holding a child weak with AIDS or hot with malaria, or a family struggling to survive in an endless urban slum, does not need religious platitudes. Both need God's ever-present help in time of trouble -- which is exactly what biblical Christianity claims to offer."

Indeed. It's worth a read.
Another Catholic Quote of the Day - From the Office of Readings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 18:17
Our old friend, John Jensen of Pukekohe, New Zealand (and a member at large of the old Nameless Lay Group) reminded me that this following passage from Lumen Gentium is in today's Office of Readings:

The mission of the Holy Spirit in the church

When the Son completed the work with which the Father had entrusted him on earth, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost to sanctify the Church unceasingly, and thus enable believers to have access to the Father through Christ in the one Spirit. He is the Spirit of life, the fountain of water welling up to give eternal life. Through him the Father gives life to men, dead because of sin, until he raises up their mortal bodies in Christ.

The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful as in a temple. He prays in them and bears witness in them to their adoption as sons. He leads the Church into all truth and gives it unity in communion and in service. He endows it with different hierarchical and charismatic gifts, directs it by their means, and enriches it with his fruits. By the power of the Gospel he enables the Church to grow young, perpetually renews it, and leads it to complete union with its Bridegroom. For the Spirit and the Bride say to the Lord Jesus: "Come!"

In this way the Church reveals itself as a people whose unity has its source in the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The whole company of the faithful, who have an anointing by the Holy Spirit, cannot err in faith. They manifest this distinctive characteristic of theirs in the supernatural instinct of faith ('sensus
fidei') of the whole people when, from the bishops to the most ordinary lay person among the faithful, they display a universal agreement on matters of faith and morals.

This instinct of faith is awakened and kept in being by the Spirit of truth. Through it the people of God hold indefectibly to the faith once delivered to the saints, penetrate it more deeply by means of right judgement, and apply it more perfectly in their lives. They do all this under the guidance of the sacred teaching office: by faithful obedience to it they receive, not the word of men but in truth the word of God.

Moreover, the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies and guides God's people by the sacraments and the ministries, and enriches it with virtues, he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every state of life, assigning his gifts to each as he chooses. By means of these special gifts he equips them and makes them eager for various activities and responsibilities that benefit the Church in its renewal or its increase, in accordance with the text: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for a good purpose.

These charisms, the simpler and more widespread as well as the most outstanding, should be accepted with a sense of gratitude and consolation, since in a very special way they answer and serve the needs of the Church.

Fuller Seminary & the Saints PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 09:13
Richard J. Mouw, the current President of Fuller Theological Seminary (one of my alma maters) has an intriguing article in the Christian Century about his changing attitude toward the Catholic belief in the communion of saints. It is the subject of much discussion on Amy Welborn's blog this morning.

Mouw has his own blog and his post of April 7 illustrates clearly the sort of currents flowing through intellectually oriented evangelicalism right now:

"There is a very strange ad in the current issue of Crisis, a conservative Catholic magazine. Billed as “An Appeal from Faithful Catholics to America’s Bishops,” it issues this plea: “Please Protect the Body and Blood of Christ from Pro-Abortion ‘Catholic’ Politicians.” I don’t pretend to be able to give advice to Catholic bishops about their sacramental policies, but I certainly don’t think that in either their theology or mine the Body and Blood of Christ need to be “protected” from Catholic politicians who defend Roe v. Wade.

Actually, I may end up being a part of a group that does give some kind of Eucharistic advice to the Catholic bishops. I am presently co-chairing, along with Bishop Patrick Cooney of the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan, the official Reformed-Catholic dialogue. The four Reformed denominations are the United Church of Christ; the Presbyterian Church (USA), which I represent; the Reformed Church in America; and the Christian Reformed Church. We are just finishing up a few years of talking about baptism and will soon get started on the Eucharist.

In the Reformed congregations in which I was raised, there was never any suggestion that the Table needed to be protected from threats posed by sinners. Indeed, it was the other way around: we were the ones who needed protecting. We were constantly warned against eating and drinking “unworthily,” lest we do so “to our own damnation.”

I broke with that tradition of “fencing the table” in two stages. The first occurred in a kind of instinctive manner. When Phyllis and I first moved to Pasadena, we worshipped frequently at All Saints Episcopal Church, in good part because they had a active program working against South African apartheid, and having worked hard on that issue in my Grand Rapids days I joined the cause at All Saints. Each Sunday when the time came for the Eucharist, the rector, George Regas, would say in a gentle Southern drawl, “Wherever you are in your journey of faith, we welcome you now to this Table.” Even though I had questions about the theology at work there, that felt right to me.

One Sunday I noticed Dr. Art Glasser in line to receive communion at All Saints; Art is a conservative Presbyterian (PCA), but his wife Alice was an active member at All Saints. The next day I went to Art (a Fuller colleague) and asked him how he worked all of that out theologically. “Oh, Richard,” he said, “long ago I was convinced by John Wesley that the Eucharist has an important evangelistic function!”

That too seemed right to me, but I still had to get past the I Corinthians 11 passage about eating and drinking unworthily, which had been so prominent in my upbringing. When I actually studied the passage in its context, I made my peace. Paul begins by chiding the members of Corinth for making a gluttonous meal out of it. They were overeating, and even getting drunk on the wine. It is with that in mind that he tells them that they are treating as if it were just another meal, and by not approaching the Lord’s Supper with respect they are risking judgment. There is nothing in what Paul says that would suggest that an honest seeker who is drawn to the Table without yet having a well-formed faith will be damned for partaking.

I hope that my thinking about the Eucharist will get further clarified in my forthcoming discussions in the Reformed-Catholic dialogue. To be sure, I doubt that my Catholic partners will be very interested in any practical advice I might have to offer. But if anyone does ask, I’ll tell them that, on my reading, the Crisis ad is very confused. While, like the persons who published the ad, I don’t agree with the pro-abortion politicians, I do hope they will continue to feel drawn to the Table of the Lord."

Many of the old anti-Catholic barriers have fallen but where that will lead?

As Mouw shows, it is most often the influence of articulate Catholics that evangelicals respect and trust, whom they know to be thoughtful, serious intentional disciples, that open new windows on the Christian faith for evangelicals.

It is an important spiritual work of mercy in our day.
Catholic Quote of the Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 08:25
"The laity derive the right and duty to the apostolate from their union with Christ the head; incorporated into Christ's Mystical Body through Baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, they are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord himself . . .

For the exercise of this apostolate, the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the People of God through ministry and the sacraments gives the faithful special gifts also (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), "allotting them to everyone according as he wills" (1 Cor 12:11) in order that individuals, administering grace to others just as they have received it, may also be "good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Pt 4:10), to build up the whole body in charity (cf. Eph 4:16). From the acceptance of these charisms, including those which are more elementary, there arise for each believer the right and duty to use them in the Church and in the world for the good of men and the building up of the Church, in the freedom of the Holy Spirit who "breathes where he wills" (Jn 3:8)."

The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, 3
Second Vatican Council

Images of Pentecost PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 08:19

From Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry

I love the fact that the Wicki article where I found this notes that this image's copyright has expired.

Ya think?
A New Wave of Evangelists? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 07:54
There are so many dynamic programs of evangelization and formation cropping up for high school and college students that it is hard to keep track. But here are a couple more and they are very media savvy:

St. Paul's Outreach in Minneapolis "Our Mission: To Engage Young Adults in a Life of Christian Discipleship."

Like many of these groups, St. Paul's is holding Schools of Evangelization and training what they call a "Missionary Corps" to do evangelization among high school and college students and young adults.

And then there is Youth Arise North America
Youth Arise is an international movement that emerged in the mid 90's in Malta out of a Catholic charismatic covenant community. (Youth Arise will be sponsoring a "festival" as part of World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.)

Anyway, Youth Arise North America is sponsoring a national gathering (Arise 07) in Prescott, Arizona this weekend and they aren't shy when it comes to describing their purpose:

We are a generation of young adults in pursuit of truth. We have seen the offerings of this culture and we are not satisfied. We are thirsty, for it is a dry well. But we have tasted and seen Him, and He is glorious. Immense. Loving. Breath-taking. Worthy.

We are a generation raised by John Paul II. We are ready to go where God leads, to do what pleases Him, and to live lives that proclaim God's glory, His grandeur, His renown, and His love. We want to live lives that count. We want to be among the saints that have gone before us and become the generation that reverses the tide of a crumbling society. We shall not be afraid.

So we will unite at a college campus in Prescott, Arizona for 4 days of worship, teaching, and fellowship—with our hearts set upon His Most Sacred Heart.

The JP II generation - on-fire intentional disciples and yet, if you watch the video on their homepage, obviously not traditionalist.

Now if only our parishes, Newman centers, and these sorts of ministries were all working together: on the same page, with the same purpose: Raising up the disciples, apostles, and saints of the 21st century.
A Doctor is Healed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 07:33
Dr. Joe McKenna's testimony was posted this morning on the Madonna House blog website:

The turning point?

"But I still was not taking my faith seriously enough. Then an eight-year struggle with back disease and constant pain brought me for healing prayer to a small charismatic community. There I got to know spiritually committed Christians for the first time.

I decided to learn more about this life in the Spirit they talked about, and as a result, I made a firm commitment to turn away from sin. Soon after that, I was prayed 'over, and my back was totally healed.

But far more significant than the physical healing, genuine repentance and the sacrament of reconciliation had a great cathartic effect, lifting the sense of guilt and despair from my spirit.

Recognizing that we are eternal beings and that the earthly portion of our eternal existence is infinitesimal was an important breakthrough for me. Equally important, I now discovered the spiritual component in disease."

It changed his practice of medicine:

"Early in my newfound approach to cancer management, God showed me the importance of prayer in conjunction with the standard forms of treatment. When I prayed over the dying mother of an Italian family, both she and her family received dramatic spiritual healing.

This incident encouraged me to be bolder in praying for others. I began to do so even while operating and had some dramatic results.

This power is available to all who wish to plug into the Source: an all-loving God."

"My primary objective now in all my patient contact is to help people save their souls and to bring them closer to God."
A Surprising Ecumenism at CELAM PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 07:00
John Allen had an interesting set of observations about the gathering of Latin American bishops yesterday.

"To be sure, several bishops have complained of aggressive “proselytism” by Pentecostal and Evangelical groups. Guatemala’s Ramazzini, for example, said that 20 years ago these groups launched a well-organized campaign called “New Dawn,” which aimed at making 50 percent of the Guatemalan population Protestant by the end of the century. By most measures, it worked; in 1970, according to a national census, Guatemala was 88 percent Catholic, while in 2002 the official number was 52.6 percent. Many religious sociologists believe that today, Guatemala is Latin America’s first majority Protestant nation."

Sherry's comment:

I'm sure that "New Dawn" is a reference to the Discipling a Whole Nation movement (DAWN) that I wrote about in my article on Independent Christianity.

Starting thousands of brand new small evangelizing Christian communities is known as “saturation church planting” and has become the central strategy in both evangelical and Independent missions over the past 20 years.

As the DAWN (Discipling a Whole Nation) movement puts it: “the whole Church of a whole nation is committed to reach the goal of seeing Christ become incarnate in every small group in every village and neighborhood and for every class, kind and condition of man. This means having at least one gathering of believers sharing Christ within easy access of every person in each country.”

DAWN’s webpage on its ministry in Latin America puts it this way: “Evangelical Christians compose 18.35% of the population. This percentage has been the result of a massive church planting effort in the last ten years. The rest of the population is primarily Catholic—characterized by the popular religiosity and nominalism found in the region... we have established a goal for the next 15 years to challenge, train, and mobilize the church and its leadership to plant 3 million NEW healthy, holistic, and harvesting churches.

Saturation church planting is very much a present reality, not just a past campaign. And it is an approach being used all over the world, not just in Latin America.

It has long been predicted that Guatemala would become the first majority Protestant country in Latin America. Whether or not that has actually happened at this point is still unclear - but the fact that the question is being seriously raised shows what a massive transition has gone on in that country since 1970 when it was still 88% Catholic.

In the midst of all this, Allen points out the surprise: creeping ecumenism.

"For one thing, the assembly includes seven observers from various Christian bodies, including the Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Pentecostal traditions, as well as representative of Latin American Judaism.

Towards the end of last week, the “representatives of the Reformation,” as the Protestant observers were designated, had the opportunity to address the bishops. Néstor Oscar Míguez, a Methodist pastor from Argentina, spoke on behalf of the group, urging that the “diverse Christian presence” in Latin America not be marked by “confrontation and competition,” but by “the common vocation to be disciples and missionaries of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Latin American Protestantism has an anti-Catholic tradition within it that makes US anti-Catholicism pale by comparison. So this is really significant - but the majority of the Reformed "representatives" are from main-line denominations. I doubt that any represent Independent churches.

But just as in the US, it is common cause in social issues that is making allies out of historic enemies.

"Observers say that one factor driving this new ecumenical sensitivity in Latin America is awareness that despite inter-confessional rivalries, there is also tremendous opportunity for common cause on social and political concerns.

In Brazil, for example, where the Minister of Health has recently floated the idea of broader legalization for abortion, it’s generally the Pentecostals who are most receptive to a pro-life message."

Harold Segura, the Baptist delegate to CELAM, has his own blog where he has been posting in English as well as Spanish:

"Ecumenism is not merely a matter of specialized theologians enclosed with monastic walls, deciphering the mysteries that separate them and arriving at fixed agreements," Segura wrote. "Ecumenism has another dimension, that of daily life, of respect among people who do not believe the same thing, of easy friendship among those who are different, of courtesy which is a sign of charity and a breath of a new world. ... Without renouncing our faith, we can stop our hatreds and give testimony to reconciliation."
Ask, Seek, Knock PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 May 2007 16:33
"Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7,8

"Anything God has ever done, He can do now.
Anything that God has ever done anywhere, He can do here.
Anything that God has ever done for anyone, He can do
for you."

A. W. Tozer
Images of Pentecost PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 May 2007 14:10

We are hoping to post images, prayers, writings of the fathers, saints, and popes regarding Pentecost during this week leading up to the Feast. Here's the first

From the parish website of St. Therese of Carmel, Carmel, California.


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