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Saint of the Day: Nativity of John the Baptist

June 24th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Feast: June 24

In the Gospels, John, a kinsman of Jesus through their mothers, preached repentance and baptized to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. This feast

St. John the Baptist, by Leonardo da Vinci (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

St. John the Baptist, by Leonardo da Vinci (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

marks his exceptional birth to the aged priest Zechariah and the equally aged and barren Elizabeth.

The angel Gabriel announces his birth in a vision to Zechariah, who hesitates in believing and is struck mute until eight days after John’s birth.

Then, Zechariah, in a beautiful canticle that ends the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, proclaims that John “will be called prophet of the Most High.”

John’s eventual beheading is commemorated with an Aug. 29 feast. A patron saint of Canada and Jordan, John is also the patron of Florence and the Knights Hospitaller of St. John.

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Living the Gospel is risky, embrace challenges with courage, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Better to take risk of carrying the freshness of the Gospel to others than to be a “museum Christian” afraid of change, Pope Francis told Serra International.

“When Christians go about their daily lives without fear, they can discover God’s constant surprises,” he said June 23. Read more »

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Bishop: ‘Fundamental defects’ persist in Senate’s version of health bill

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 Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act contains “many of the fundamental defects” that appeared in the House-passed American Health Care Act “and even further compounds them,” said the bishop who heads the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

The Senate released its health care reform bill in “discussion draft” form June 22.”As is, the discussion draft stands to cause disturbing damage to the human beings served by the social safety net,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, said in a statement released late June 22. “It is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written.” Read more »

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Catholics urged to work for ‘holiness of freedom, freedom for holiness’

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — When Henry VIII, as England’s reigning monarch, was declared “a defender of the faith,” the future “must have seemed so bright to Thomas More and John Fisher,” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said in a homily June 21.

He described an England which “seemed to have been spared the painful divisions that racked the Catholic Church on the continent of Europe.” Under Henry, he said, “monastic life and learning were flourishing” while “ordinary Catholics showed their love and loyalty to the church.”

“Who could have imagined the severe test More, Fisher and English Catholicism would face in so short a time?” Archbishop Lori asked. Read more »

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Experiencing an intimate connection with God

June 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

Are you a mystic? It is an odd-sounding question, isn’t it?

We contemporary Christians — heirs of an elevated, rarified notion of Christian mysticism — tend to retreat from the whole idea.

Recently, however, Pope Francis struck a different tone in describing mystics. The mystic simply is someone who “experiences the intimate connection between God and all beings,” said his 2015 encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’.” Read more »

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Embracing (if not understanding) what mystics share with us

June 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

To the side of the altar at the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, not far from the Termini train station, is one of the High Baroque era’s most famous sculptures: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.

Completed by Roman master Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1652 (only 70 years after Teresa’s death and 30 after her canonization), the white marble sculpture depicts a vision of the 16th-century saint from Avila — the reformer of the Discalced Carmelites — in which she is pierced by an angel’s golden spear, a moment she said left her “all on fire with a great love of God.” Read more »

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How do we understand mysticism today?

June 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

In the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome stands what art critics believe to be one of the great masterpieces of the Baroque era: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The 17th-century statue, in stunning white marble, is also perhaps the most powerful artistic depiction of the mystical experience.

In Bernini’s classic sculpture, the great mystic St. Teresa of Avila lies back, her eyes closed, her mouth gaping open, as an angel of the Lord pierces her with a golden spear. Read more »

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Living Our Faith: Mysticism

June 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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A statue of St. Joseph is seen in Rome. An angel "appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you'" (Mt 2:13). Was this a mystical experience? The Gospel's assurance is that Joseph experienced an intimate connection between his family and God. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A statue of St. Joseph is seen in Rome. An angel “appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you'” (Mt 2:13). Was this a mystical experience? The Gospel’s assurance is that Joseph experienced an intimate connection between his family and God. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

 

 

 

Pope Francis defines a mystic as one who “experiences the intimate connection between God and all beings.”

The Catholic tradition boasts great saints who were mystics, including St. Joan of Arc, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen.

How do we reconcile mystical experiences today in an age of skepticism?

If God is in all things, and intimately involved in our lives, then perhaps we are all called to be mystics on some level.

           

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Saint of the Day: Joseph Cafasso

June 23rd, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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St. Joseph Cafasso

Feast Day: June 23

Born in Italy’s Piedmont region, Joseph studied at a seminary near Turin. He was ordained a diocesan priest in 1833, and continued studies in

St. Joseph Cafasso (Wikimedia Commons PD/USA)

St. Joseph Cafasso (Wikimedia Commons PD/USA)

theology at the Institute of St. Francis in Turin. Despite having a twisted spine, Joseph became a popular lecturer at the institute and in 1848 its rector. He was a wise mentor to his priest students, including St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesians, with whom he had an enduring friendship. He was a well-known confessor and spiritual adviser, and an advocate for prisoners, accompanying more than 60 condemned men to their public execution by hanging.

 

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Bishops urge renewed dedication to efforts to protect religious liberty

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Catholic News Service

 

WASHINGTON  — In launching this year’s Fortnight for Freedom, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for renewed dedication to protecting religious freedom.

“Freedom for Mission” is the theme of the 2017 Fortnight for Freedom, taking place June 21 to July 4. The 14-day observance of action, education and prayer focused on religious freedom began in 2012, stemming from a 12-page statement released that June by the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.” Read more »

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