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Archives for 2012

Perspectives Daily – Thursday, Nov. 22

Today on Perspectives: Pope Benedict told prison directors reintegration should be a key goal of the correction system, the bishops of Quebec release a pastoral letter about living faith in a multicultural society and CNS brings us the third and final installment of their interview with Fr. Robert Prevost, O.S.A., superior general of the Augustinians.

Three Seminaries Gather for Landmark Competition

by Daniele Muscolino and Joseph Palko, ISTC Founders, St. Peter’s Seminary

Over 100 seminarians and faculty took part in the first Inter-Seminary Theological Competition (ISTC) from Nov. 16-18 in London, Ontario. St. Augustine’s Seminary (Toronto) and Sacred Heart Seminary (Detroit) joined fellow seminarians from St. Peter’s Seminary for a weekend of prayer, fraternity and friendly contests on the theme of “New Evangelization”.

The three seminaries battled it out in gruelling hockey and basketball tournaments, an Amazing Race across London, an intellectual “Reach for the Top” challenge, a video challenge, and a homiletics competition—not for the faint of heart! Sacred Heart Seminary reigned victorious taking home the grand prize, the Aquinas Cup.

Included were addresses by Most Rev. Brian Dunn, Bishop of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and Mr. Andre Regnier, founder of Catholic Christian Outreach about their experiences from the Synod on New Evangelization.

We heartily thank all participants and supporters, including the Knights of Columbus who donated funds for our team coloured shirts. We came together as three seminaries primarily to support each other in our vocation to the priesthood, but also to socialize and have fun. It is clear that there is much optimism for our Church, as we saw talents displayed and fraternal bonds shared among future priests. It is our hope that the memories and graces from this past weekend will endure and provide strength.


For more pictures and results from the ISTC weekend, go to www.facebook.com/interseminarytheologicalcompetition

The Synod, the Year of Faith, and the Council: What’s Happening? Pt.1

Sebastian Gomes attended the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization in Rome this past October as a correspondent for Salt + Light.  In this first of three articles, he discusses the change in mentality at Vatican II to one of openness and adaptation.

During the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transformation of the Christian Faith, news came that Giovanni Battista Montini, better known as Pope Paul VI, could be beatified in the near future.  He was very much what we might call a “Vatican II” bishop, first in Milan and later as pope; in that, he adopted wholeheartedly one of the principle attitudes of many churchmen at the time – that the Church must be open, dialogue with, and even adapt (as much as possible) to the modern world.  So, on September 15, 1965 Paul VI established the Synod of Bishops in words echoing the approach of his predecessor, John XXIII: [Read more…]

For Gaza’s Christians, there’s no place to go

What if you were in Gaza today, and you couldn’t leave? To what lengths would you go to get out? This question has been on the minds of the people of Gaza long before the latest escalation of violence (which, for the moment, has abated thanks to a ceasefire). Unemployment stands at 31.5%. A tightly controlled blockade on imports and exports — imposed by Israel to prevent arms from reaching Hamas militants — stifles the economy. And as we’ve seen, a new round of violence can erupt with little warning. For the many who want to flee, the congested strip of land feels like a prison.

All of this must have been racing through the mind of Berlanty Azzam when she was deported back to Gaza. The 21-year-old Christian had been studying at Bethlehem University in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the two Palestinian territories, are divided by Israel proper and governed separately, and thus feel worlds apart. Knowing how Berlanty’s deportation jeopardized her future, the religious brothers who run the Catholic university tried desperately to bring her back.

Berlanty is one of the students profiled in the documentary Across the Divide (view the trailer here), which, following a cross-country tour of screenings, airs on S+L on Thursday night at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT and 1:00 am ET/10:00 pm PT.

In Across the Divide, you will meet Berlanty and her family. You will see Gaza City and gain a sense of what it must be like for its terrified citizens, who, these past eight days, have wanted to be anywhere in the world but home.

Credit: CNS photo/Mohamad Salem, Reuters

Perspectives Daily – Wednesday, Nov. 21

Tonight on Perspectives: Pope Benedict calls for peace in Gaza and we take a look to today’s general audience.

Quote of the Day – God thirsts for us

“If you knew the gift of God!” The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, page 674.

CNS photo/Debbie Hill
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York prays after placing a note at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in the Old City of Jerusalem Jan. 30, 2012.

A Cloud of Witnesses

Pope Benedict XVI canonizes three new saints
from the countries where the Knights of Columbus are present.
By: Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB 

On World Mission Sunday, Oct. 21, during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI canonized seven new saints. Among them were two martyrs (a French Jesuit missionary to Madagascar and a young Filipino layman); two founders of religious congregations (an Italian priest and a Spanish sister); two laywomen (a Native American and a German), and a German religious sister who worked in a leper colony.

Three of the new saints spent their lives in countries where the Knights of Columbus is present today.


Mother Marianne Cope (1838–1918), formerly Barbara Koob (now officially Cope), was born Jan. 23, 1838, and baptized the following day in what is now western Germany. Her family emigrated to America shortly thereafter, where Barbara labored for a time as a factory worker before pursuing a vocation to the religious life.

The young Sister Marianne worked as a teacher and hospital administrator, and in 1870 was elected superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. In 1883, she received an unexpected invitation from Father Leonor Fouesnel, emissary of the Hawaiian government, to come and help the “afflicted members” of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Mother Marianne responded to the invitation to assist with the care of lepers on the island of Molokai. She left with six sisters in 1883, planning to get them settled and then return to Syracuse. However, after five years of managing a hospital in Honolulu, Mother Marianne herself volunteered to go to Molokai to work with the lepers who had been exiled there.

The life of Mother Marianne complements the life of St. Damien of Molakai (1840-1889), beloved for his self-sacrifice for the lepers of Hawaii. Mother Marianne spent the last 30 years of her life working closely with Father Damien and with the outcasts of society. When she died at the age of 80 in 1918, a Honolulu newspaper wrote:

Seldom has the opportunity come to a woman to devote every hour of 30 years to the mothering of people isolated by law from the rest of the world. She risked her own life all that time, faced everything with unflinching courage, and was known for her gentle smile.


St. Kateri Tekakwitha, known as the “Lily of the Mohawks”, was born to a Christian Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father in 1656 in upstate New York. At the age of 4, smallpox attacked Kateri’s village, taking the lives of her parents and baby brother and leaving Kateri with facial scars and seriously impaired eyesight. Although terribly weakened, scarred and partially blind, she survived and was adopted by her uncle, a Mohawk chief.

Kateri’s family did not accept her choice to embrace Christianity. After her baptism, she became the village outcast and was threatened with torture or death if she did not renounce her religion. Due to the increasing hostility from her people and because she wanted to devote her life to God, Kateri left her village in July 1677 and fled more than 200 miles to the Catholic mission at Sault Saint-Louis, near Montreal.

On March 25, 1679, Kateri made a vow of perpetual virginity, choosing to remain unmarried and totally devoted to Christ for the rest of her life.

The following year, Kateri died at the age of 24. Her last words were, “Jesus, I love you,” and the scars on her face reportedly disappeared immediately after her death.

Kateri is the first native North American saint. Her earthly life was hidden in the 17th century, yet her message continues to resound today.


A third newly canonized saint who models for us passion and devotion to God is the young migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist, St. Pedro Calungsod, from the Cebu province of the Philippines.

Few details of Pedro’s early life prior to his missionary work and death are known. He was a young lay missionary who traveled abroad to proclaim Christ to others. On April 2, 1672, he suffered a martyr’s death in modern-day Guam at the age of 17 while trying to defend a Jesuit priest (Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores) from those who hated Christianity. The attacker killed Pedro with a spear and a machete, and the bodies of Father Diego Luis and Pedro were then tied together and thrown into the sea, never to be found again.

The faith that was planted in the Philippines and Guam in 1668 did not die with Father Diego Luis, Pedro Calungsod and the first missionaries there.

St. Pedro Calungsod is now the second Filipino saint after St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who was martyred in Japan in 1637. Like St. Marianne Cope and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Pedro is now honored among the “great cloud of witnesses”that continue to inspire and surround us, showing us the way to our heavenly homeland (cf. Heb 12:1).

Amid conflict, suffering and martyrdom, these saints remained present to the people around them. Through their lives, they modeled for us authentic human relationships, with their feet firmly planted on earth and their eyes fixed on heaven.

This article appeared in Columbia Magazine, November 2012 issue.  Posted here courtesy of the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council.

Photo credit:
All above Photos: CNS photo/ Paul Haring (October 21, 2012).

Photo of the day

Outside the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus in northwest Missouri, The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, in an effort to fulfill the many orders coming in through their website, take in delivery of their ADVENT AT EPHESUS CD. It’s available worldwide on November 20, 2012 from De Montfort Music/Decca.

Photo Credit: The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Perspectives Daily – Tuesday, Nov. 20

Tonight on Perspectives: Catholic humanitarian efforts are put on hold in Gaza, the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation emphasizes the importance of Sundays, and Pope Benedict’s new book is ready for release.

Orthodox-Catholic Statement on Sundays

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has issued an agreed statement on the importance of Sunday in the lives of Christians.  The October 25th-27th meeting took place at St. Paul’s College in Washington DC, and was co-chaired by Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans and Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.  The statement, which calls for clergy and laity to work together to make Sundays about worship and family, can be read in full here:


The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation

Saint Paul’s College, Washington, DC
October 27, 2012

Recovering the theological significance of Sunday is fundamental to rebalancing our lives. As Orthodox and Catholics, we share a theological view of Sunday and so our purpose in this statement is four-fold: to offer a caring response to what is not just a human, but also a theological question; to add a little more volume to the growing chorus of Christian voices trying to be heard in the din of our non-stop worklife; to offer brief reflections in hopes of drawing attention to the fuller expositions elsewhere; and to reinforce the ecumenical consensus by speaking as Orthodox and Catholics with one voice.

For Christians, Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is a special day consecrated to the service and worship of God.  It is a unique Christian festival.  It is “the day the Lord has made” (Ps. 117 (118):24). Its nature is holy and joyful. Sunday is the day on which we believe God acted decisively to liberate the world from the tyranny of sin, death, and corruption through the Holy Resurrection of Jesus.

The primacy of Sunday is affirmed by the liturgical practice of the early church. St. Justin the Martyr writing around 150 AD notes that “it is on Sunday that we assemble because Sunday is the first day, the day on which God transformed darkness and matter and created the world and the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead (First Apology, 67).” Sunday has always had a privileged position in the life of the church as a day of worship and celebration. On Sunday the Church assembles to realize her eschatological fullness in the Eucharist by which the Kingdom and the endless Day of the Lord are revealed in time.  It is the perpetual first day of the new creation, a day of rejoicing.  It is a day for community, feasting and family gatherings.

As we look at our fellow Christians and our society, we observe that everyone is short of time and stressed. One reason is that many of us have forgotten the meaning of Sunday, and with it the practices that regularly renewed our relationships and lives.  More and more Christian leaders see the effects of a 24/7 worklife and ask “Where is the time of rest?”  As members of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, gathered October 25-27, 2012, we add our combined voice to their call.

Our purpose here is not to replace or replicate their message; it is to underscore and point to it.  Anyone who looks at the 1998 Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (The Lord’s Day) of Pope John Paul II and its cascade of patristic quotations will see there is already a feast of food for thought on the meaning of Sunday.  Anyone who reads the recent book Sunday, Sabbath, and the Weekend (2010, Edward O’Flaherty, ed.) will see there is also strong ecumenical consensus on the need to recover the meaning of Sunday– not just for our souls, but for our bodies, our hearts, and our minds as well.

Sadly Sunday has become less of a day of worship and family and more like an ordinary work day. Shopping, sports, and work squeeze out the chance for a day of worship or rest in the Christian sense.  By abandoning Sunday worship we lose out on the regenerative powers that flow out of the liturgical assembly.  And when Sunday becomes detached from its theological significance, it becomes just part of a weekend and people can lose the chance to see transcendent meaning for themselves and their lives (The Lord’s Day, 4).

Sunday is more than just the first day of the week.  In our faith we see how it is the ultimate day of new beginnings: “It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death, the fulfillment in him of the first creation and the dawn of “the new creation” (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world’s first day and looks forward in active hope to “the last day”, when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5. The Lord’s Day, 1).”

Sunday even unlocks the mystery of time itself, for “…in commemorating the day of Christ’s Resurrection not just once a year but every Sunday, the Church seeks to indicate to every generation the true fulcrum of history, to which the mystery of the world’s origin and its final destiny leads (The Lord’s Day, 2).”  The Lord’s Day is the day after the last day of the week and so it symbolizes eternity as well: what St. Augustine calls “a peace with no evening (Confessions 13:50).”  St. Basil the Great in his Treatise on the Holy Spirit writes, “Sunday seems to be an image of the age to come… This day foreshadows the state which is to follow the present age: a day without sunset, nightfall or successor, an age which does not grow old or come to an end (On the Holy Spirit 26:77).”

The apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II calls it a day of joy, rest, and solidarity.  Joy there is, because the disciples are always glad to see the Master. God scripturally established a day of rest as a gift to us, and rest there must be for every human person. Rest is built into our nature and also withdraws us “…from the sometimes excessively demanding cycle of earthly tasks in order to renew [our] awareness that everything is the work of God. There is a risk that the prodigious power over creation which God gives to man can lead him to forget that God is the Creator upon whom everything depends. It is all the more urgent to recognize this dependence in our own time, when science and technology have so incredibly increased the power which man exercises through his work. Finally, it should not be forgotten that even in our own day work is very oppressive for many people, either because of miserable working conditions and long hours — especially in the poorer regions of the world — or because of the persistence in economically more developed societies of too many cases of injustice and exploitation of man by man (The Lord’s Day, 65,66).”

As members of the Consultation, we strongly urge both clergy and laity to work cooperatively within their communities to stress the importance of Sunday for worship and family.  Foremost we call for all to render thanks to God and render love towards one another – and be willing to reserve time to do both — and avail ourselves of the riches of the Lord’s Day.  Appropriate authorities can be approached to schedule sports activities after 12 noon in order to give young athletes and their families the opportunity to worship on Sunday morning.  We call for our children to live in a timescape that respects the God-given rhythm of the week.

“Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction. He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and he gives us “his day” as an ever new gift of his love. The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings. Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human (The Lord’s Day, 7).”