The Original Dynamic Duo


During my research for the Church Alive series I came across this epic CNS file photo of Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. The photo’s caption reads, “Paul VI, who served in Poland during his early priesthood, held the future Pope John Paul II in high regard.” Not only do they both look like don dadas, but they’re the original dynamic duo when it comes to the Second Vatican Council. Although John XXIII called the Council, Paul VI was the person who actually did all the work. He’s responsible for promulgating the major documents that came out of the Council. Pope John Paul II, moreover, was the person who enacted the Council’s vision throughout his reign as one of the longest serving pontiffs in Church history.

So if you want to know what the New Evangelization is, just take a page out of either one of these men’s lives. I highly recommend Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi: although this document was penned just under forty years ago, it reads as if it was written yesterday.

And if you really want to up your game, check out the Church Alive series! This is a sure way to level up when it comes to this huge and sometimes intimidating topic. Included in our DVD set is a 75-page study guide which is very handy literally and figuratively: its small and fits in the palm of your hand and it gives you all the goods like bios, resources, synopses, and study questions.

As Robin would say: Holy History, Batman!

 

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Credit: CNS file photo

Do Monkeys Go To Heaven?

Do Monkeys Go To Heaven?

“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” Psalm 111:2

Do Monkeys Go to Heaven?  And by that I don’t mean you and me. Real monkeys, you know the ones that climb in trees or apparently pose for selfies (true story).  Well, that’s the question posed by a new book by Fr. John McCarthy, SJ an expert in boreal forest ecology. The book is a compilation of his musings on everything from Our Lady to monkeys, and everything in between.  Although the title of the book suggests something light and cheeky, I’d liken reading this book to the delight of eating a chocolate cake (only to realize it was actually a bowl of bran).  The ol’ bait and switch, in a good way.  I enjoyed it so much that we’ll feature Fr. John McCarthy and his book Do Monkeys Go to Heaven on an upcoming episode of Catholic Focus, so stay tuned for that!

Even though concerns about the environment are pressing, let’s get real, the minute you pull out a long list of encyclicals one should read (and no, Church nerds I’m not talking to you here) most people’s first reaction is “ain’t nobody got time for that. No matter how much you admire the Popes, or the Church, or monkeys.

And herein lies the rub…

Although these encyclicals are great, can you imagine reading a 32 page blog or 60 000 character tweet?  Consider today’s mediums, the reality is people’s attention spans are growing shorter and shorter.   When it comes to the written medium, it’s a situation of diminishing returns; the more one writes, the less one is inclined to read.  So perhaps, it’s time to the get back the basics. As St. Paul says, there are two books by which we can come to know God, the book of nature and the good book.  And what better way to contemplate the divine than with the rediscovery of awe?  I suspect that’s what Jesus meant when he invited us to become like children; it’s an invitation to childlike curiosity and wonder at the goodness of the created order. It’s only when you see how smart ravens really are, or delight in the superb complexity of a beetle that your imagination gets fired up and you start asking the really important questions – why do we exist, and how did we get here?  It’s then that you intuit that creation is precious and fragile and that our fate as human beings is intricately intertwined with the environment – but enough from me; I’ll leave the last word to the Pixies.

Okay I have to add one more thing: another great resource for those who want to get a crash course in how the new evangelization can be a bridge between the church’s theology of creation and the growing concern for the environment is the Church Alive Series Episode 12. We’ve even short listed the encyclicals, in our super-nifty study guide, just in case you wanted to get into the meaty stuff. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Fr. Michael McGivney – a model for the New Evangelization

COLORIZED IMAGE OF FATHER MICHAEL J. MCGIVNEY

Today marks the 124th anniversary of the death of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. This young priest from New Haven, Connecticut remains a compelling model for all as we’re called upon to participate in the New Evangelization. Inspired by the Beatitudes, he was a man ahead of his time. He  worked to restore the dignity of the marginalized, especially widows and orphans. He inspired the men of his parish to see themselves as capable of changing the world for the better. He made parish life  - not just an obligatory pit-stop at the end of the week – but the centre of community life. Under his leadership his flock grew in faith and eventually made an invaluable contribution not only to their neighborhood, but far beyond it.

There’s so much that we can learn from this humble, imaginative priest. When I was working on the The Church Alive series, I found many parallels between today’s vibrant parishes and the approach that Fr. McGivney adopted in his day. In fact, many of the great ideas that we see with regard to the work of the laity and the importance and relevance of Catholic social teaching are exemplified in Fr. McGivney’s parish ministry (long before Vatican II was on the horizon!) What’s particularly noteworthy is that he was born into difficult, turbulent times and yet through God’s grace shone with heroic virtue. And the same can be said of the Knights of Columbus, the lay organization which he founded; these men in as much as they remain faithful to the original charism of Fr. Michael McGivney are a tremendous force for good in the world.

To learn more about Fr. Michael McGivney  check out the Fr. Michael McGivney documentary trailer. Interested in finding out more about the Knights? Watch the 132nd Supreme Convention which took place recently in Orlando, Florida. We’ll rebroadcast our live coverage on August 23, 2014. Here’s the line-up.

And if you’re still trying to wrap your head around what exactly the New Evangelization is, then check out the Church Alive Series. We’ve got a comprehensive study guide to accompany the series for those who’d like to tackle these big issues  in your prayer group or classroom. After all, the Synod on the Family is around the corner, and you’ll want to be up to speed as the Church examines some of the most pressing questions of our times.

CNS photo – Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, is depicted in an image from the Knights. Father McGivney’s cause for sainthood took a step forward with a decree in 2005 approved by Pope Benedict XVI, when Father McGivney was given the title “venerable.” Father McGivney founded the fraternal order for Catholic men in 1882 in New Haven, Conn. It has since become the largest lay Catholic organization in the world with more than 1.7 millions members.

S+L’s The Church Alive Wins 2014 Gabriel Award

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Salt + Light Television was once again recognized by the Catholic Academy for Communications Arts Professionals and was awarded the prestigious Gabriel Award for the fifth time since the network’s inception in 2003. The Church Alive, a fast-paced, segmented and interactive show on Salt +Light hosted by producers Cheridan Sanders and Sebastian Gomes, was named Best Religious Series for the 2014 season.

Sebastian Cheridan Gabriel 2014

An international Vatican-approved organization for communication, the Catholic Academy for Communications Arts Professionals began the Gabriel Awards in 1965. Each year the Gabriel Awards celebrate and honour excellence in film, television, radio and other communication projects that serve audiences “through the positive, creative treatment of concerns to humankind.” This year, winners will recognize at the Gabriel Awards banquet of the Catholic Media Conference in Charlotte, NC on Thursday, June 19, 2014.

Panes of Glory

Past Gabriel Awards for Salt + Light include:

    • 2014-Best Religious Series The Church Alive
    • 2012-Best Arts Documentary for Panes of Glory
    • 2011-Religious Television Station of the Year
    • 2008-Television Station of the Year
    • 2009-Television Station of the Year

 

 

 

 

 

     The Church Alive will be available for purchase this fall.

Stay tuned!

Thanks to Lois and Carl Davis of Houston, Texas Sponsors of “The Church Alive”

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We are deeply grateful to Lois and Carl Davis of Houston, Texas, who have sponsored “The Church Alive” series over the past year. It is the biggest and boldest project ever undertaken by Salt and Light, and has been a very fitting one to mark our tenth anniversary year.

Carl is a retired executive from the Oil Industry in Texas. He and his wife Lois moved from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church. They have been outstanding leaders, benefactors and volunteers at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church & Shrine, the Principal Church of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in Houston, Texas. They are also generous supporters of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, as well as benefactors of countless charitable projects.

Lois and Carl are great friends and supporters who have believed in our work at Salt and Light and made it possible through their generosity. During this season when we reflect on the meaning of gifts and the goodness and kindness of our God who becomes flesh and dwells among us, we give thanks to God for Lois and Carl Davis who teach us the meaning of gratuity, philanthropy, goodness and kindness.

An honest look at politics inside and outside the church

Does our religious perspective inform our political perspective, or is it the other way around?  On episode six of The Church Alive: Politics, Cheridan and Sebastian take a closer look at this timely question.  What has become apparent in our culture is the degree to which some Catholics are willing to ignore – or even subvert – the Gospel for the sake of a purely political or worldly point of view.  If the New Evangelization is going to succeed, that has to change.  In this excerpt from an extensive interview with the Editor in Chief of America Magazine, Fr. Matt Malone, SJ sheds some light on the meaning of a truly “orthodox” faith.  In this regard, it seems that a profound reordering of heart and mind – what the church calls conversion – is the necessary prerequisite for bringing the truth about Jesus into the modern world.

Watch The Church Alive: Politics  Sunday, November 3 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT on Salt + Light TV

Who are the Laity?

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This post comes to us from Leanna Cappiello, a former Salt + Light intern, turned blogger and storyteller. This post was first published online by The Catholic Register. You can read Leanna’s blog Curious Catholic, on The Catholic Register’s website.

Before Vatican II, the laity served a passive role in the Church behind ordained religious figures such as priests, sisters and brothers. But post-Vatican II much has changed. As recounted in the book The Many Marks of the Church, in response to a dismissive, rhetorical question “The Laity? Who are they?” posed by a Vatican official, John Henry Newman replied, “The Church would look rather silly without them.”

In addition to the clergy, parishioners and lay members of the Church have a responsibility to voice the Good News to the world. In The Church Alive series by Salt and Light Media, Cheridan Sanders summarizes Fr. Julian Fernando, as saying, “Priests are responsible for the Church, and lay people are responsible for the world.”

Not everyone can be a priest or a religious sister. Most people are called to a different sort of ministry within the same mission of the Church. Lay men and women have a job that clergy can’t do. Priests, sisters and monks may wear beautiful physical signs of their devotion (a collar, a habit, etc.) that are outward signs of hope for many. But ordinary men and women also have an extraordinary purpose — to evangelize face to face, bearing witness in everyday life.

In the theatre, you hear the phrase, “there are no small parts.” Artists are aware there is more than one type of artistry, or one way to accomplish something. A performer knows he is nothing without a writer, other actors and a stage manager’s cue to enter the stage. Likewise, the director knows she is nothing without the props, costume and set designers to bring their vision to reality. Everyone is dependent upon, and inspired by, everyoneelse’s roles and duties.

The Church, like the theatre, is designed so that many hands can work effectively toward the same goal. We all have different roles that play to our strengths and we are all equipped with unique gifts. At the end of the day, we are collaborating with each other, and with God, to show the world a taste of what heaven could look like here on Earth.

(CNS Photo / Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

The Church Alive: watch new episodes online

The Church Alive is off and running!  Episode two on “Catholic Education” aired last night and got a great response from our viewers (see above). Thanks to all who tuned in! We want to share an important piece of information regarding the availability of the show: Salt and Light TV will make each episode available for ONE WEEK following its initial air date. Watch it, share it, discuss it as much as you can while it’s available!

The Church Alive airs Sundays at 9pm ET / 6pm PT
saltandlighttv.org/thechurchalive

The Church Alive ep.2 looks at Catholic education today

classroomWhat role does Catholic education play in the New Evangelization?  That’s the question The Church Alive team is looking at this week on episode two of Salt and Light’s new 13-part series.  If you’re a teacher, catechist, parent or student, be sure to tune in to this critical analysis of effectiveness and best practices, and discover the uniquely broad and inclusive nature of a truly catholic formation.

Tonight at 9pm ET on Salt and Light TV and online at: saltandlighttv.org/live

Perspectives Daily: Thursday, Sept. 12

Today on Perspectives: Greek Melkite Patriarch Gregorios Laham speaks out about the situation of Christians in Syria, Pope Francis writes a letter to the editor of an Italian newspaper, and we have information about two S+L season premieres.