Vatican Connections: January 31, 2014

The week started off with a shocking theft, the recovery of the stolen item (in multiple installments) the announcement of a new book that is already getting a mixed reception, an audience with an American University, the announcement that several people are moving closer to sainthood….and it closed with the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life laying out their two-year plan.  More details on how the Vatican is focusing on consecrated life can be found below. For everything else watch Vatican Connections, above.

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In preparation for the 2015 Year for Consecrated Life, the Vatican department that oversees religious communities is updating the documents that regulate different aspects of religious life.  

Presenting plans for the Year for Consecrated life Archbishop Jose Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life said the dicastery has been working with various organizations to revise the documents that regulate: the relationship between bishops and religious communities, societies of contemplative life, and institutes of religious brothers.  

Archbishop Carballo said, “we are expecting a document from the Holy Father during the year for consecrated life, to replace the current document on contemplative life, Sponsa Christi which was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950”

The archbishop added that Pope Francis asked for work to go ahead on revising Verbi Sponza, a 1999 document about the autonomy of contemplative cloistered communities. He said although the document is fairly recent, “the evolution of contemplative life in recent years has made it necessary to revise the current discipline and autonomy” of cloistered communities, paying close attention to formation in those communities.

In addition to the documents being updated, the congregation will release a new document directed at religious brothers.

Archbishop Carballo said the new text, “is about the vocation and mission of religious brother in lay institutes. A lot of work has gone into this document, in collaboration with these institutes.”

On March 8 and 9 the congregation will host a symposium at Rome’s Pontifical Antonianum University on managing community finances and assets.

During 2015 the congregation expects to hold several international meetings for members of religious institutes. Archbishop Carballo said there willbe one meeting specifically for young and newly professed religious men and women. A second international gathered will be held for formators in men’s and women’s communities.

Pope Francis announced the 2015 Year for Consecrated life in 2013 during a meeting with superior generals of men’s communities November 29. No opening date has been set, but Archbishop Carballo said, “we are thinking of a solemn celebration presided by the Holy Father. Possibly, if he can, November 21 2015 which is 50 years from the promulgation of Perfecate Caritatis” the Vatican II document about religious life.

 

 

 

I Need to Stay at Your House

Zacchaeus cropped

The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – November 3, 2013

Today’s Gospel story remains forever engraved in my memory. I still remember a song from my early grade school years that began with, “There was a man from Jericho named Zacchaeus.” Years later, I would visit Jericho on many occasions during my graduate studies in the Holy Land — to get away from Jerusalem on some damp, cold wintry day in order to enjoy Jericho’s mild climate, or to savor the dates, mangos, lemons and other fruits for which the city’s outdoor markets are famous. Jericho is rightly called the City of Palms in the Old Testament. It is truly an oasis in the desert!

The locals still point out to us foreigners the exact location of Rahab’s house. She was the infamous prostitute of the Old Testament who made it into Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Her “house” had become an accounting office on one of my last visits to Jericho.

The locals also take delight in pointing out the ruins of the walls that Joshua brought down in one of the Old Testament’s mighty battles that may have never taken place! Best of all are the 39 or so sycamore trees that Zacchaeus climbed in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was passing by, and the house of the town’s chief tax collector-turned-saint!

Small stature

Today’s Gospel is one of Jesus’ beloved meals scenes in the New Testament. Luke’s portrait of Zacchaeus is vivid and irresistibly charming! The story of Jericho’s famous tax collector (Luke 19:1-10) is unique to Luke’s gospel. We are told that he was the chief tax collector and very wealthy at that.  While a rich man, Zacchaeus provides a contrast to the rich man of Luke 18:18-23 who cannot detach himself from his material possessions to become a follower of Jesus. Zacchaeus, according to Luke, exemplifies the proper attitude toward wealth: He promises to give half of his possessions to the poor, and consequently is the recipient of salvation.

The evangelist’s graphic description is enhanced in also calling him a “little man.” His is a kind of smallness that is far more devastating and corroding than being short. His smallness emerges from his terrible self-image resulting from others’ attitudes toward him. Are we not most vulnerable at these moments in our lives?

Though a member of a group that was widely despised, Zacchaeus appears in today’s story as a fundamentally honest and humble man who seeks the truth and is open to finding it where he can, even if it means climbing a sycamore tree in a crowd, just to catch a glimpse of Jesus. He represents that figure who turns up again and again in the scriptures — the outsider, the person who for one reason or another looks in from the edge, but must always stay there. It is on the edge that we meet him, shut out by others, desperately anxious to be part of the proceedings, all the while failing.

The parade at our front door

Why would Zacchaeus be so intent on catching a glimpse of Jesus? Perhaps because Jesus is all that he is not! Jesus is admired, sought out, and above all accepted by a large following. If we are terribly honest with ourselves, we would admit that at some point in our own loneliness or alienation, in our real or imagined non-acceptance or un-love, we long to identify with someone else’s seeming acceptance.

Do we not often strain our necks, like Zacchaeus in his tree, imprisoned in our loneliness, envy, jealousy, self-pity, laziness? And then suddenly, the unexpected happens. The parade stops at our front door, and we get an invitation with astonishing words: “I’m really glad to see that you are here,” or “Let’s go out for a coffee, you’ve had a hard day,” or “Come and join us, it’s not good to be alone,” or “When are you going to invite me over? I’d really like to have supper with you.” And the list goes on and on. An invitation leads to the most intimate favor of hospitality.

Houseguest

“Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). “Zacchaeus”: Jesus called by name a man despised by all. “Today”: Yes, this very moment was the moment of his salvation. “I must stay”: Why “I must”? Because the Father, rich in mercy, wants Jesus “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Zacchaeus’ repentance is attested by his determination to amend his former ways, and shows himself to be a true descendant of Abraham, the true heir to the promises of God in the Old Testament. Underlying Luke’s depiction of Zacchaeus as a descendant of Abraham, the father of the Jews, is his recognition of the central place occupied by Israel in the plan of salvation.

When the favor is asked of Zacchaeus, and all those like him who are accustomed to being shunned and rejected, Zacchaeus and his types are dizzy with excitement. The walls of Jericho truly come tumbling down! Perhaps for the first time, Zacchaeus is accepted without reservation or condition. And that is cause for great rejoicing, not shame. In true Lukan fashion, there is a celebration! Once again, those murmuring are shocked that Jesus would go to the house — and even more shocked, to the table — of a sinner so famous as Zacchaeus. As Jesus sat at the table among such high-society, he watched Zacchaeus rise up out of the ashes and the tomb of alienation, self-deception, dishonesty, which he himself had constructed.

Salvation arrives

Jesus declares publicly, “Today salvation has come to this house.” It’s almost as if Jesus said to the chief tax collector of Jericho, and through him, to each of us, “Zacchaeus, don’t climb too high in that tree of yours … and hide from me. Don’t waste all your energy concentrating on your guilt as you see it. I need to talk with you and find out where you have boxed yourself in. Together we’ll find a way past all of your excuses and out of the maze. Look, the tree is sprouting. I’ve come to save you!”

Morals of the story

Over the years, I have found several morals in this ancient story. One of them tells us that when it comes to the love of God, we must first declare that we are lost and empty, and then begin the process whereby we are found. We must name and own the masks we wear before we can ever begin to remove them and the makeup, and see our true face. We have to experience the death at work in us, our hearts, emotions, intellects, relationships and self esteem, in order to begin the journey up to Jerusalem, the City of the Resurrection. And sometime, we may have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, let down our defenses, jump down from the trees in which we were hiding, give half of our belongings to the poor, and pay back those we have cheated. Who cares what the critics are saying? When salvation has come into our societies, our communities, our homes and our hearts, no one can ever rob us of that precious gift any longer.

Transformation

In his Letter to Priests written for Holy Thursday 2002 (Nos. 5-6), Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote these words about today’s delightful Gospel story:

“Everything that happens to him (Zacchaeus) is amazing. If there had not been, at a certain point, the ‘surprise’ of Christ looking up at him, perhaps he would have remained a silent spectator of the Lord moving through the streets of Jericho. Jesus would have passed by, not into, his life. Zacchaeus had no idea that the curiosity which had prompted him to do such an unusual thing was already the fruit of a mercy which had preceded him, attracted him and was about to change him in the depths of his heart. [...]

“Luke’s account is remarkable for the tone of the language: Everything is so personal, so tactful, so affectionate! Not only is the text filled with humanity; it suggests insistence, an urgency to which Jesus gives voice as the one offering the definitive revelation of God’s mercy. He says: ‘I must stay at your house,’ or to translate even more literally: ‘I need to stay at your house’ (v 5). Following the mysterious road map which the Father has laid out for him, Jesus runs into Zacchaeus along the way. He pauses near him as if the meeting had been planned from the beginning. Despite all the murmuring of human malice, the home of this sinner is about to become a place of revelation, the scene of a miracle of mercy. True, this will not happen if Zacchaeus does not free his heart from the ligatures of egoism and from his unjust and fraudulent ways. But mercy has already come to him as a gratuitous and overflowing gift. Mercy has preceded him! [...]

“This is what happens in the case of Zacchaeus. Aware that he is now being treated as a ‘son,’ he begins to think and act like a son, and this he shows in the way he rediscovers his brothers and sisters. Beneath the loving gaze of Christ, the heart of Zacchaeus warms to love of neighbor. From a feeling of isolation, which had led him to enrich himself without caring about what others had to suffer, he moves to an attitude of sharing. This is expressed in a genuine ‘division’ of his wealth: ‘half of my goods to the poor.’ The injustice done to others by his fraudulent behavior is atoned for by a fourfold restitution: “If I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold” (v 8). And it is only at this point that the love of God achieves its purpose, and salvation is accomplished: ‘Today salvation has come to this house’ (v 9).”

[The readings for the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time are Wisdom 11:22-12:2; Psalm 145; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10.]

This reflection first appeared on the Zenit International News Service in 2010 as well as on the Salt + Light Blog. The complete collection of reflections for Year B, entitled “Words made Flesh,” is now available in book form through our online store. Book editions for Year A and C reflections are coming soon.

Remembering September 11, 2001


From Pope John Paul II’s Evening Address to young people
Toronto, Downsview Park
Saturday July 27, 2002

The new millennium opened with two contrasting scenarios: one, the sight of multitudes of pilgrims coming to Rome during the Great Jubilee to pass through the Holy Door which is Christ, our Savior and Redeemer; and the other, the terrible terrorist attack on New York, an image that is a sort of icon of a world in which hostility and hatred seem to prevail.

The question that arises is dramatic: on what foundations must we build the new historical era that is emerging from the great transformations of the twentieth century? Is it enough to rely on the technological revolution now taking place, which seems to respond only to criteria of productivity and efficiency, without reference to the individual’s spiritual dimension or to any universally shared ethical values? Is it right to be content with provisional answers to the ultimate questions, and to abandon life to the impulses of instinct, to short-lived sensations or passing fads?

The question will not go away: on what foundations, on what certainties should we build our lives and the life of the community to which we belong?

Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI
Visit to Ground Zero, New York
Sunday April 20, 2008

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
[Read more...]

Photo of the Day: Piazza Giovanni Paolo II

Pope attends dedication of square in honor of Blessed John Paul II outside Basilica of St. John Lateran

Pope Francis and Cardinal Agostino Vallini look on as a plaque is unveiled, dedicating the plaza in front of the Basilica of St. John Lateran to the last Pope John Paul II. The dedication ceremony took place just before the Mass during which Pope Francis officially took possession of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Rome’s Cathedral.

(CNS Photo / Paul Haring)

The Shadow of Peter, the Touch of Thomas


Divine Mercy Sunday – Sunday April 7, 2013
The readings for this Sunday are: Acts 5:12-16, Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24, Rev. 1:9-11A, 12-13, 17-19 and John 20:19-31

Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:12-16) offers us a vivid insight into the early Christian community in Jerusalem. Luke has already mentioned the rapid growth of the early church (2:41, 47, 4:4; 6:1, 9:31). In today’s reading from Acts he wants to add the fact that large numbers of women as well as men were being baptized and becoming disciples (5:14). Signs and wonders are the visible result of some of the gifts of the Spirit such as “the working of miracles” and “deeds of power” (I Corinthians 12:9, 28).

A powerful image of Peter is presented to us (vs. 15-16): “They even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”

The shadow of Peter

I have always been moved by the image of the shadow of Peter passing over the sick and afflicted. People who passed within Peter’s shadow were healed, not by Peter’s shadow, but by God’s power working through Peter. These miracles of healing attracted people to the early Church and confirmed the truth of the teachings of the Apostles and the fact that the power of God was with them. We also learn that the religious leaders who were jealous of Jesus’ power and authority saw the Apostles as a continued threat and demanded respect for themselves. The apostles weren’t demanding respect for themselves. Their goal was to bring respect and reverence to God. The Apostles had acquired the respect of the people, not because they demanded it, but because they deserved it.

Pope Benedict among us

As I reflect on today’s first reading, I cannot help but call to mind the powerful images of Pope Benedict XVI as he moved among hundreds of thousands of people during his Apostolic Visit to the United States of America two years ago this month. The authentic shepherd, who models his or her life on Jesus, must love the people entrusted to him and imitate Jesus. Pope Benedict has done that very well.

Over the past weeks, the world has witnessed the scourge and pain of sexual abuse of minors and the vulnerable erupt in many European countries. The abuse is evil, devastating, and sinful. A small portion of priests and religious, who promised to protect, defend and love children, have brought disgrace upon the Church and upon society. Some people have tried to blame Pope Benedict for inaction, covert behavior, and blatant dishonesty in dealing with the sexual abuse of minors. Such blame is unjust, unacceptable, and extremely harmful to the Church, to victims, and to society in general.

I recall Pope Benedict’s visit to the USA two years ago with deep emotion and profound gratitude. During that visit, the shadow of Peter came upon America, as it has done wherever this Pope has visited over the past five years. And that shadow, which is God’s healing touch, covers us all with mercy, healing and peace. When Pope Benedict walked among us, he did more than connect with us. He bonded. He moved multitudes. He showed remarkable courage, wisdom and compassion.

The media did not miss the deep significance of the Holy Father’s private and moving meeting with victims of clerical sex abuse at the Vatican Embassy in Washington. The Pope was unafraid then and remains unafraid now to enter into the pain, confusion, sadness and evil of the abuse crisis. He let people know that he listened and understood and that the Pope will continue to act so that such a disaster would never repeat itself.
Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia

An ancient Latin expression, first used by St. Ambrose in the fourth century, came to my mind in April 2008, during several moments of the historic papal visit to the USA: Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia, which translated means: Wherever Peter is, there is the Church. Peter was in America two years ago, and his gentle smile and obvious serenity ignited a nation, a Church and a continent with hope in the midst of cynicism, despair and many who would like to hasten death for a Church that is alive and young. Only time, reflection and prayer will reveal if the healing of two years ago will bear fruit for the Church in America.
One thing is certain: In Pope Benedict XVI, the shadow of Peter fell on millions of people in America in 2008 and continues to fall on millions around the world to this day, especially upon those who are wounded and hurting from the evil actions of sexual abuse of children. Let us never forget that in Pope Benedict, Peter is still among us.

The touch of Thomas

John’s Resurrection story (Chapters 20-21) is a series of encounters between Jesus and his followers that reveal diverse faith reactions. Whether these encounters are with Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciple, Mary Magdalene, the disciples or Thomas, the whole scenario reminds us that in the range of belief there are different degrees of readiness and different factors that cause people to come to faith and help them in turn to become witnesses and teachers.

John’s story of Jesus and Thomas (John 20:19-31) records the first post-resurrection appearance of Jesus and provides us with an archetypal experience of doubt, struggle and faith. Herein lies every Christian’s experience: to believe without having seen. In this Gospel passage, we have a story within a story: the resolution of Thomas’ doubts during Jesus’ appearance to encourage the fearful disciples. Thomas only believes when he hears the Lord’s call to belief.

Thomas is not the eternal skeptic, nor the bullish, stubborn personality that Christian tradition has often painted. The Greek lexicon translates the word “skepsis” as “doubt, misgiving, hesitation, and disbelief.” Thomas, the doubter, was permitted to do something that we would all like to do. He was allowed to touch and “experience” something that by human means was not possible. For us it is more difficult. We need to begin with faith and then blindly touch our way to the heart of our lives.

Though we know so little about Thomas, his family background and his destiny, we are given an important hint into his identity in the etymology of his name in Greek: Thomas (Didymous in Greek) means “twin”. Who was Thomas’ other half, his twin? Maybe we can see his twin by looking into the mirror. Thomas’ other half is anyone who has struggled with the pain of unbelief, doubt and despair, and has allowed the presence of the Risen Jesus to make a difference. When this happens, the ice of skepticism thaws. Thomas and his twins throughout the world risk everything in Jesus and for Jesus and become sources of blessing for others, in spite of their doubts and despair and because of their doubts and despair.

Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday is not a new feast established to celebrate St. Faustina Kowalska’s (1905-1938) revelations. In fact it is not about St. Faustina at all! Rather the feast recovers an ancient liturgical tradition, reflected in a teaching attributed to St. Augustine about the Easter Octave, which he called “the days of mercy and pardon,” and the Octave Day itself “the compendium of the days of mercy.”

There is no need to force a link between Divine Mercy and the Gospel story of Thomas and the Risen Jesus. The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday does not compete with, nor endanger the integrity of the Easter Season, nor does it take away from Thomas’ awesome encounter with the Risen Lord in today’s Gospel. Divine Mercy Sunday is the Octave Day of Easter, celebrating the merciful love of God shining through the whole Easter Triduum and the whole Easter mystery.
At St. Faustina’s canonization on April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II said in his homily before more than 200,000 people in St. Peter’s Square: “Jesus shows his hands and his side [to the Apostles]. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in his heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity.”

Several years ago, when I was having difficulty in seeing the internal links between the Second Sunday of Easter, my patron saint, Thomas the Apostle, and Sr. Faustina’s revelations, I came across this quote by St. Bernard (Canticle 61, 4-5: PL 183, 1072): “What I cannot obtain by myself, I appropriate (usurp!) with trust from the pierced side of the Lord, because he is full of mercy. Thomas’ encounter with the Risen Lord gave me a whole new perspective on the meaning of mercy. Then I understood what this day is all about. Now more than ever in the Church and in the world, we need mercy.

Mercy within mercy within mercy

Canada’s most recent shepherd, Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon, was ordained to the episcopacy on March 25, 2010. Bishop Bolen, a priest of the Archdiocese of Regina in Western Canada, and former official of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity at the Vatican, chose as his episcopal motto “Mercy within mercy within mercy.” The quotation is from Thomas Merton’s 1953 book “The Sign of Jonas,” wherein Merton has God saying: “I have always overshadowed Jonas with my mercy. Have you not had sight of me, Jonas, my child? Mercy within mercy within mercy.”

At his ordination ceremony on the Feast of the Annunciation this year, Bishop Bolen said: “The Word which Mary welcomes with her ‘fiat,’ the Word which becomes incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, the Word who gives himself to us completely, even unto death, but which death cannot contain: what that Word speaks is mercy within mercy within mercy. If ever there was an episcopal motto that sums up a bishop’s life, it is this motto for a remarkable young bishop and leader of the Church in Canada who models mercy in high density!

As we continue to bask in the afterglow of the resurrection of the Lord, let us not cease praying that Peter’s shadow of healing and peace cover the Church, and let us beg the Lord that our lives be steeped in mercy within mercy within mercy.

Year C of “Words Made Flesh” will be published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Service during the course of the year 2013. Year B can still be purchased through Salt + Light’s online store. Sign up for our email news letter to be notified as soon as Year C is available: saltandlighttv.org/subscribe

Quote of the Day: the presence of Mary is close to us

The presence of Mary, Mother of Christ, is close to us. I entrust each one of you to this Mother. Because she is the source of our consolation and therefore of our hopes. Because the Mother of Christ, and our Mother, can give you the love of God as a gift. I want to entrust you to this Mother and I want this Mother to be among you as a sweet, utterly sweet presence.

Today I have been able to meet with my attempted assassin and repeat my forgiveness of him, as I did immediately, as soon as I was able. We meet as men and brothers, and all the experiences of our lives lead to this brotherhood.

Pope John Paul II, Meeting with Inmates of Rebibbia Prison, Rome, Italy
December 27, 1983.

CNS file photo/Arturo Mari
Pope John Paul II visits with Mehmet Ali Agca in a Rome prison Dec. 27, 1983. Their meeting came two years after Agca was arrested for shooting the pontiff in St. Peter’s Square. The pope publicly forgave his assailant. In 2000 Italy pardoned Agca and returned him to his homeland, Turkey.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Mystic of North America Model of the First Evangelization and New Evangelization

In honour of the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, Rev. Thomas Rosica CSB reflects on Kateri Tekakwitha’s life in light of the First Evangelization and the New Evangelization.

Find the full text of Father Rosica’s reflection below:

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Mystic of North America
Model of the First Evangelization and New Evangelization

In his final words spoken at World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, ten years ago, Blessed John Paul II addressed the throng of young people present at the Downsview Air Force Base on Sunday July 28, 2002, during the concluding Eucharistic celebration of Canada’s blessed event. The Holy Father said during his homily:

“At difficult moments in the Church’s life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent. And holiness is not a question of age; it is a matter of living in the Holy Spirit, just as Kateri Tekakwitha did here in America and so many other young people have done.”

For his last World Youth Day, Blessed John Paul II singled out a young native woman, one of the nine young saints and blesseds he had offered to Canada as patrons of World Youth Day 2002, holding her up as a model of holiness, goodness, humanity for millions of young people who were and remain part of the great adventure of World Youth Days. And yet Kateri’s story is a very curious one. We hear little of her own voice in her biographies. What drew Kateri to Baptism? What was the source of her love of Jesus Christ and the Church? How could the life of a 17th century young native woman speak to contemporary society, culture and Church today? What will her faith and Canonization do to heal the First Nations people today, broken because of a history of oppression, abuse, and discord?
[Read more...]

Flourishing in the New Evangelization


The last several months, the phrase “The New Evangelization” has come up in many different spheres here in our Salt + Light office. I cannot comprehensively cover all the ins and outs of our efforts on this – as this is in some sense what we do everyday! What I will say is that this “mission” has become truly big time for us with a renewed focus. In short, “The New Evangelization” is something to be really excited about, and Salt + Light has big things in store under this vision (for example: The Church Alive Series and our documentary on St. Kateri Tekakwitha).

These two words were brought together by Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi and continued by John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio. I believe that these words were very close to the heart our late Holy Father John Paul II. Here at Salt + Light we not only cherish what he gave us in his life and Pontificate, but we have the great privilege of making and carrying out his mission. The term “New Evanglization” is a broad term and can mean many different things. Our focus is its primary meaning: to bring the Light of Christ to the world in this day and culture in a way that can be understood.

When our Lord walked among us, he spoke in parables, stories; stories assembled with common elements that the people of his time could understand. He spoke of sheep, fields, wine skins, lamps, bread and yeast. His message was tangible, concrete. Not particularly for the learned, but for fisherman, peasants, children, the sick and ignorant. I think the challenge of evangelization today is threefold:

  1. To be understandable
  2. Our message to be practical for those who know nothing about us
  3. Living in the presence of God

We must always faithfully present the challenges of who we are called to be. So how is this best done? As a friend to a friend! Its not really ideas that change hearts, it’s through personal friendship and example. It’s never about pointing out faults, ideologies,  or “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” – it’s about reminding each other of the greatness of who we are called to be! In many ways we need to demonstrate what true friendship is, so that others can say, “behold how they love one another!” It’s not a show, it’s us living our life to the fullest in Christ. It’s us being a Church that is alive!

My team and I in marketing, are always in the process of developing and refining our presence in the digital sphere. The Church is a community and our work is really to give people access to this community – to make our Catholic (universal) connectedness all the more real and vivid in our day to day lives. We need to tap in deeper to the wealth of the second Vatican council and the silent labour of prayer. And I hope, by what happens to us individually in prayer, its effects will begin to seep into the hearts of all those around us. To be, as Our Lord said: a “Light to the world, for all to see!”

Chris Adamczyk
Communications Specialist
Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation

Photo of the day

Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows what is in man. He alone knows it.

So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt that turns to despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has the words of life – yes, eternal life.

Homily for the Inauguration of Pope John Paul II, October 22, 1978.

CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters

Perspectives Weekly: 10th Anniversary of WYD 2002

On this special episode of Perspectives: The Weekly Edition, Andrew Santos, filling in for Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann, walks down memory lane and celebrates the 10th Anniversary of World Youth Day in Toronto.

Santos is joined by Salt + Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica (former National Director of WYD2002), as well as David Knapp of CBC. Joining the discussion via Skype from Los Angeles is April Mullen, who played the role of Veronica in the Way of the Cross.

Don’t miss out on this special edition of Perspectives: The Weekly Edition.