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Tintinnabulation in church

April 19th, 2015 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags: ,

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Why the bells are ringing (if it’s customary) during Mass at your parish

 

In 1979, disco singer Anita Ward made all of America aware that she told the man she loved, “You can ring my bell.” This gruesome little bit of 1970s disco gruel should be a forgettable number-one hit. But that song still occasionally haunts my brain, as I can hear the chorus sung with the clanging of bells in the backdrop.

Those bells are memorable. Likewise Paul McCartney opened one of his most successful songs “Let ’Em In” with a memorable invocation of bells. I guess you could say both songs, “Ring My Bell” and “Let ’Em In,” had some a-peal. (ouch)

Bells announce things. They let us know what time it is; they tell us our three-minute egg is ready; they announce a phone call; they announce that you have reached your floor on the elevator; they announce a person is at your door to visit with you. Bells do a lot – and they have a special place in the heart of the church in terms of announcements and other purposes. Read more »

Family friendly ‘Monkey Kingdom’ includes ‘timely social commentary’

April 17th, 2015 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Timely social commentary may seem an unlikely ingredient in a wildlife documentary. Yet it’s hard to miss the implicit human subtext underlying the enjoyable chronicle “Monkey Kingdom.”

This is a scene from the nature documentary "Monkey Kingdom." The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. All ages admitted. (CNS photo/Disney

This is a scene from the nature documentary “Monkey Kingdom.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. Motion Picture Association of America rating is G — general audiences. All ages admitted. (CNS photo/Disney

Those looking beyond this film’s placid surface will easily recognize the similarities between its simian heroine, a toque macaque named Maya, and an entire class of economically challenged workers in the world’s more developed economies.

Disadvantaged by her low rank within the rigid hierarchy of her species, sympathetic Maya is forced to struggle both for her own survival and for the welfare of her son, Kip. When the aggression of a rival tribe displaces Maya’s troupe from their bountiful home territory, however, the apparent misfortune turns out to have a silver lining.

Though the group’s resulting exile involves short-term dangers for Maya and Kip, it also presents them with unexpected opportunities. Because the forced move has suddenly thrown the prevailing social structure into flux, Maya has a shot at improving her standing and, therefore, her lifestyle.

She does so primarily through the rise of Kip’s dad, an outsider to her band whose fighting skills eventually gain him the respect of Maya’s male counterparts.

Co-directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill make the most of their movie’s picturesque setting. Dubbed “Castle Rock” by the filmmakers, Maya’s jungle dwelling stands amid the ruins of an abandoned city in Sri Lanka. Tall domes and weathered statues of the Buddha in the surrounding landscape moodily evoke ancient glories gone to seed.

Such dramatic scenery, together with pleasant narration by Tina Fey, helps compensate for the low-speed pace of events. So, too, does the fact that “Monkey Kingdom” provides a rare cinematic refuge for families.

The occasional intrusion of Darwinian conflict, though it exacts only a single fatality, might be unsettling for the very smallest viewers. But this is otherwise a completely comfortable option for parents.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G — general audiences. All ages admitted.

 

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Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, dies at 78

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CHICAGO — Cardinal Francis E. George, the retired archbishop of Chicago who was the first native Chicagoan to head the archdiocese, died April 17 at his residence after nearly 10 years battling cancer. He was 78.

His successor in Chicago, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, called Cardinal George “a man of peace, tenacity and courage” in a statement he read at a news conference held outside Holy Name Cathedral to announce the death.

Retired Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George died April 17, after a 10-year bout with cancer. CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Retired Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George died April 17, after a 10-year bout with cancer. CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Archbishop Cupich singled out Cardinal George for overcoming many obstacles to become a priest, and “not letting his physical limitations moderate his zeal for bringing the promise of Christ’s love where it was needed most.”

A childhood bout with polio had left the prelate with a weakened leg and a pronounced limp throughout his life.

With the cardinal’s death, the College of Cardinals has 223 members, of whom 121 are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for a pope.

Cardinal George was a philosophy professor and regional provincial then vicar general of his religious order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, before being named a bishop in 1990.

He was named bishop of Yakima, Washington, in 1990, then was appointed archbishop of Portland, Oregon, in April 1996. Less than a year later, St. John Paul II named him to fill the position in Chicago, which was left vacant by the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in November 1996.

By retiring in 2014, Cardinal George accomplished what he often joked was his aspiration, to be the first cardinal-archbishop of Chicago to step down from the job, rather than dying in office, as his predecessors had. In the last few months the archdiocese had issued a series of press releases about changes in Cardinal George’s health status as it declined.

At an event Jan. 30 where he received an award from the Knights of Columbus, Cardinal George spoke frankly about living with terminal illness, saying that his doctors had exhausted the options for treating his disease and that he was receiving palliative care.

“They’ve run out of tricks in the bag, if you like,” he said. “Basically, I’m in the hands of God, as we all are in some fashion.”

In a catechesis session during World Youth Day in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 2005, Cardinal George told the youths that having polio at the age of 13 left him, “a captive in my own body. I soon learned that self-pity got me nowhere. Faith was the way out, because in faith I was not alone, and good can come of something that appears bad at that time.”

Archbishop Cupich in his statement also noted that when the U.S. church “struggled with the grave sin of clerical sexual abuse, (Cardinal George) stood strong among his fellow bishops and insisted that zero tolerance was the only course consistent with our beliefs.”

He observed that Cardinal George had offered his counsel and support to three popes, serving the worldwide church. In Chicago, Archbishop Cupich noted, the cardinal “visited every corner of the archdiocese, talking with the faithful and bringing kindness to every interaction.”

 

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‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2′

April 17th, 2015 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

The stout bromides of “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” only serve to make its thin plot and deliberate artlessness more glaring.

Kevin James stars in a scene from the movie "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2." Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Sony)

Kevin James stars in a scene from the movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.” Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Sony)

Kevin James, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nick Bakay, returns as the earnest, perpetually suspicious, hypoglycemic security guard first seen in the 2009 original. As before, Blart is a presented as a comically awkward figure, one who’s far more graceful on a Segway than on his own feet.

As the sequel opens, Blart is newly divorced from his second wife and quite sad. He receives a sudden jolt of happiness, however, when he’s invited to a security officers’ conference in Las Vegas. He sets off at once for the fabled oasis, his teenage daughter, Maya (Raini Rodriguez), in tow.

Once there, both of them get mixed up in a criminal scheme: Gang leader Vincent (Neal McDonough) is plotting to steal valuable artworks from Sin City’s casinos.

Under the direction of Andy Fickman, the humor in the ensuing scenes is supposed to derive from sight gags and from Blart’s frequent intonation of such inspirational mantras as “Integrity is a bewitching gumbo.”

But none of this comes off; the movie is leaden and bereft of laughs. Blart’s fellow watchmen appear only as cruel caricatures of the socially inept.

Blart’s supposedly stirring words as he delivers the convention’s keynote speech are as unobjectionable as most of the content surrounding them. Yet they land on the ear as mawkish cliches.

“If you believe the purpose of life is to help yourself, then your life has no purpose,” he intones. “Help someone today!”

The film contains frequent slapstick violence and mishaps. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I, general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested.

 

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It’s hard out there for aging rock star ‘Danny Collins’

April 17th, 2015 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

A flat, vaguely fact-based blend of comedy and drama, “Danny Collins” has nothing new to say about the corrosive effects of fame and vast wealth.

Al Pacino stars in a scene from the movie "Danny Collins." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Bleecker Street)

Al Pacino stars in a scene from the movie “Danny Collins.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Bleecker Street)

As for the saccharine dialogue through which writer-director Dan Fogelman tries to convey his film’s tired message, it’s likely to set viewers’ teeth on edge.

Aging rock stars have it tough, it appears. Take, for example, Danny (Al Pacino), a Neil Diamond-esque singer whose fame peaked in the early 1970s.

Danny has been through three marriages, and is currently paired up with cheating girlfriend Sophie (Katarina Cas). He has a palatial mansion, a private jet and a steady flow of antic energy fueled by a combination of booze and cocaine. Though he still makes lucrative tours that satisfy his senior-citizen fan base, Danny hasn’t recorded an original song for 30 years.

On Danny’s birthday, his manager, Frank (Christopher Plummer), presents him with a life-altering gift: a framed 40-year-old letter from John Lennon that went astray when initially dispatched. The note offered young Danny advice about surviving celebrity.

“Being rich and famous doesn’t corrupt you,” the former Beatle advised. “Only you can corrupt yourself.” (The real-life Lennon penned similar sentiments to youthful musician and vocalist Steve Tilston in a 1971 missive that met an analogous fate to that of its screen counterpart.)

Bereft at his failure to live up to the model of a true artist, Danny, now in full-blown identity crisis mode, adopts the letter as his totem. He dumps Sophie, along with his cocaine, and sets out on a time-honored Hollywood-style odyssey of self-discovery and redemption.

This is where Fogelman starts hitting potholes. Danny temporarily forsakes Los Angeles for leafy Woodcliff Hills, New Jersey, where he checks into the local Hilton. He flirts with hotel manager Mary (Annette Bening), who becomes his age-appropriate moral compass, and attempts to reconnect with his estranged adult son, Tom (Bobby Cannavale).

Afflicted with leukemia, Tom is also struggling in his construction job and with his daughter Hope’s (Giselle Eisenberg) hyperactivity. On the upside, he’s blessed with an understanding wife, Samantha (Jennifer Garner).

Initially, Danny’s wealth helps heal all wounds, as he gets Hope into a special school for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and pays for Tom’s health care. Augmenting his repertoire by writing and performing a new, heartfelt ballad, though, turns out to be considerably more challenging.

Sincere and affecting performances can’t disguise this picture’s inability to scratch together some inventiveness or to convey realistic human emotion.

The film contains brief upper female nudity, a scene of drug use, a few instances of profanity as well as fleeting crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

 

 

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Model-turned-CEO Kathy Ireland brings message of faith, success to Padua students

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Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON – When Kathy Ireland was gracing the covers of magazines during her career as a supermodel, she was used to hearing one particular instruction over and over: “Shut up and pose.”

Ireland vowed that would be the last time she’d be without a voice, and on April 16, during a visit to Padua Academy in Wilmington, she told the student body of more than 660 girls how she has made herself heard as a businesswoman and philanthropist in the years after her modeling career ended.

“Don’t let anyone put you in a box,” Ireland said. “And please don’t let anyone silence you.” Read more »

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Retired Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his 88th birthday

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — An inability to dialogue and to accept that God may be doing new things are signs of disobedience to God, Pope Francis said.

Obedience often leads people to a path for their life that is not the one they planned on taking, he said. To obey is “to have the courage to change paths when the Lord asks this of us.”

Retired Pope Benedict XVI makes a toast during celebrations marking his 88th birthday at the Vatican April 16. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Retired Pope Benedict XVI makes a toast during celebrations marking his 88th birthday at the Vatican April 16. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

Celebrating Mass April 16 in the chapel of his residence, Pope Francis told the small congregation that because it was the 88th birthday of retired Pope Benedict XVI, he wanted to offer the Mass for him. “I invite you to pray for him, that the Lord might sustain him and grant him much joy and happiness.”

In his homily, Pope Francis looked at the story in the day’s first Scripture reading, Acts 5:27-33, about Jewish leaders ordering the disciples to stop preaching about Jesus, but the disciples reply: “We must obey God rather than men.”

The Jewish leaders, the pope said, “were doctors, they had studied the history of the people; they studied the prophecies; they studied the law; they knew the whole theology of the people of Israel, the revelation of God, they knew everything, they were doctors and yet they were incapable of recognizing God’s salvation.”

Their “anger and desire to silence those who were preaching the newness of God, that is, that Jesus was risen,” was the clearest sign that they were “not open to the Lord’s voice and to the signs of the Lord in the midst of his people.”

“They were the same ones who paid the guards at the tomb to tell the disciples that Jesus’ body had been stolen,” the pope said. “They did all that to avoid opening themselves to God’s voice.”

The leaders, he said, were not simply “hard headed, it wasn’t a simple stubbornness.” The problem, he said, was “hardness of heart.”

People are not born hard hearted, he said; they’ve practiced “closing in on themselves” and refusing to dialogue or listen to others.

“They didn’t know how to dialogue,” not even with God, he said. “They did not know how to pray and hear the Lord’s voice, and they didn’t know how to dialogue with others.”

Their only key for interpreting the law, Pope Francis said, was “to make it more precise. But they were closed to the signs of God in history and were closed to his people, their people. They were closed, closed.”

The tragedy of the doctors of the law, “these theologians of the people of God,” he said, was that “they did not know who to listen and they didn’t know how to dialogue. Dialogue is what you do with God and with your brothers and sisters.”

 

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Father Oscar Frundt dies at 87, known for ministry to Delaware State Police

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Dialog reporter

 

Father Oscar H. Frundt, a retired priest of the Diocese of Wilmington who was a longtime chaplain for the Delaware State Police, died April 13. He was 87.

Father Frundt was born in Jersey City, N.J., and attended Catholic schools there.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College in Lebanon, Kentucky; he continued his studies for the priesthood at St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook, Pa., and graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., in 1956. Read more »

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St. Hedwig’s celebrates Divine Mercy, St. John Paul II relic

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Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON – A busy and grace-filled week at St. Hedwig Church included a celebration of God’s mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday and a the opportunity to host a first-class relic of St. John Paul II for two days later in the week.

Hundreds of people gathered on April 12 for Divine Mercy Sunday, which included Mass and a procession around the Hedgeville neighborhood where the parish is located. Read more »

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St. Vincent de Paul leader honored for his work at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Easton, Md.

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For The Dialog

EASTON, Md. — Alex Handy downplays his impact on the St. Vincent de Paul Society at Ss. Peter and Paul Church here.

“What I’ve done is I’ve assembled people who are smarter and more talented than me around me,” said Handy, 72. “My job is to step back and let them do it … to just love my people to death.” Read more »

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