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Year of Consecrated Life events to help laity learn about religious

October 2nd, 2014 Posted in Featured, National News

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Catholic News Service

In an effort to help lay Catholics gain a deeper understanding of religious life, priests, brothers and women religious intend to open their convents, monasteries, abbeys and religious houses to the public one day next February.

“If you’ve ever wondered what a brother or religious sister does all day, you will find out,” said Dominican Sister Marie Bernadette Thompson in announcing the open house scheduled for Feb. 8, 2015.

Father Jim Greenfield, provincial of the  Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Wilmington-Philadellphia,, who is president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, discusses initiatives focused on bringing together men and women religious and families, particularly young adults, during an Oct. 1 press conference in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Father Jim Greenfield, provincial of the Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Wilmington-Philadellphia,, who is president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, discusses initiatives focused on bringing together men and women religious and families, particularly young adults, during an Oct. 1 press conference in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

The open house is just one of the events for the upcoming Year of Consecrated Life, which begins the weekend of Nov. 29-30, the first Sunday of Advent is Nov. 30. It will end Feb. 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated life.

The special year dedicated to consecrated life was announced by Pope Francis and is similar to previous themed years announced by popes such as Year of the Priest (2009-2010) or Year of St. Paul. (2008-2009).

The year also marks the 50th anniversary of “Perfectae Caritatis,” a decree on religious life, and “Lumen Gentium,” the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. The purpose of the yearlong celebration, according to a Vatican statement, is to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent past” while embracing “the future with hope.”

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, announced the Year of Consecrated Life events at an Oct. 1 news conference at the USCCB headquarters in Washington.

He said the scheduled events will provide an opportunity, especially for young people, to see how men and women religious live. He also urged heads of religious orders to let his committee know of activities they are planning so they can be publicized.

Sister Thompson, council coordinator of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, said the purpose of the open house gatherings will be to provide people with an encounter with men and women religious and also an encounter with Christ.

Sister Marcia Allen, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas, and president-elect of Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said another initiative for the upcoming year is called “Days with Religious,” during which laypeople will have opportunities to join men and women religious in works of service throughout the summer of 2015.

She said these opportunities, to be announced locally, will not only give laypeople the chance to “work with us side by side” but will also enable them to become aware of the charisms of different orders.

Sister Allen said she hoped the experience would be a “coming together for the sake of the church’s presence” in the modern world.

The third major initiative for the year is a day of prayer scheduled Sept. 13, 2015.

“We will join hands and hearts with you that day,” said Father James Greenfield, president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, who noted that throughout that day people will be invited to join religious men and women for vespers, rosary or holy hours.

The priest, who is a member and the provincial of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales of the Wilmington, Delaware-Philadelphia province, said he hoped the year would not only encourage new vocations but also would allow people to “see our commitment with fresh eyes and open their hearts to support us with a renewed energy that stirs us all to embrace our pope’s ongoing call for the new evangelization.”

Although the year’s events are intended to give laypeople a deeper understanding of consecrated life, the men and women religious also said they will most likely benefit.

Sister Thompson said she hopes women religious experience a renewed joy in their vocation and Sister Allen stressed that by simply explaining their order’s charisms to others should give the sisters a deeper understanding and appreciation of their ministries.

“Whenever you think you are giving something you always end up receiving more,” she said.

Prayers intentions, prayer cards, a video on consecrated life and other resources are available at: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/consecrated-life/year-of-consecrated-life/index.cfm.

 

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Volleyball: Pandas grab road win over Ursuline

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For The Dialog

WILMINGTON – Padua and Ursuline resumed their volleyball rivalry Wednesday night at Ursuline, and Padua took this edition in straight sets, 25-18, 25-14 and 25-21. The Pandas jumped out early and did not look back.

They started the first set scoring seven straight points, including two thunderous kills by freshman Emily Jarome. A block by senior Vanessa Crumety a bit later increased the advantage to 14-4. Trailing 22-12, Ursuline made things interesting, as senior Madelyn Hughes served up three aces and three service winners to cut it to 22-18. Padua senior Stephanie Annone helped right the ship, drilling two kills in the final three points to give the Pandas the set.

The second game was back and forth, and tied at 12 when Padua went on a run, scoring 13 of the last 15 points. Senior Haley Baker contributed with strong serving, while freshman Emma Lucey and junior Lauren Mellor added the power.

The final set was tied 10 times, and at one point Ursuline led, 18-15. Padua rebounded to take a 21-20 lead, then Jarome finished off the match with two big kills.

Jarome had 15 kills, while Annone had nine to lead Padua (5-2). The Pandas waste no time getting back to work as they host Tower Hill Thursday night at 7:15 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s state championship.

Ursuline fell to 3-3 and travels to Newark Charter Friday afternoon at 5 p.m.

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Padua field hockey improves to 7-0 with road win

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For The Dialog

MILLTOWN – Padua remained unbeaten in the 2014 field hockey season with a big 2-0 win over Catholic Conference rival St. Mark’s Wednesday afternoon at St. Mark’s. The win propelled the Pandas to a 7-0 record.

Padua applied the early pressure, but Spartans goalie Gillian Bruce was their equal. However, with 11:40 to go in the first half, Lillian Chisholm scored on a nice pass from Gabriela DelliCompagni. Padua kept the pressure on but could not add to the lead before the intermission.

The Pandas kept the pressure on in the second stanza, adding an insurance goal off a penalty corner. This time, Shannon McGee took a feed from Lindsay Dunn, making it 2-0 with 15:40 remaining. Padua finished with nine shots on goal, while St. Mark’s had five, including one that Pandas goalie Danielle Clerval kicked out.

Next up for Padua is Charter, which beat the Pandas last year, 1-0. The Force are 4-1-2 on the season. The game is Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Forbes Field. St. Mark’s dropped to 2-5-1 on the year and will host Milford Friday at 4 p.m.

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Ask St. Therese of Lisieux for ability to love, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Everyone has a special gift to offer the whole church, just make sure it is used to serve everyone and not to puff up one’s own pride or to create division, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis poses with Argentine pilgrims during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Oct. 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis poses with Argentine pilgrims during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“It is a gift that God has given to someone not because he or she is a better person than someone else or because she or he deserves it,” the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 1.

God gives gifts freely, out of love, so that they can be “put at the service of the whole community for the good of all people,” he said.

The pope continued a series of talks on the nature of the Catholic Church, focusing on charisms or precious gifts the Holy Spirit bestows on individuals for the edification of the church.

“But what is a charism exactly? How can we recognize it and receive it?” he asked.

In the wider sense of the word, most people think of a charism as having to do with a particular talent or skill or a certain kind of charm seen in people who get labeled as “charismatic,” he said.

But in the Christian sense, it’s more than that; it is “a grace, a gift bestowed on us by God the Father through the action of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

Critically, these gifts have to be discovered and acknowledged within the wider church community, the pope said. “Someone cannot figure out by himself if he has a charism and which one.”

It’s a bit like that kind of person everyone has heard about, “who says, ‘Oh I have this talent, I know how to sing so well.’ And yet no one has the courage to tell him, ‘Hmm, it’s better you keep your mouth shut. You torment us when you sing,’” the pope said to applause.

It’s only within a community and with its recognition and encouragement that people can discover what their unique charism is, he said.

“It’s good for each one of us then to ask ourselves, ‘Is there some kind of charism the Lord has made evident in me?’” and then reflect on how that gift is used. “Do I live it with generosity, putting it at the service of everyone or do I neglect it and end up forgetting about it? Or maybe it has become a source of pride” and jealously, he said.

“There’s trouble in store if these gifts become sources of envy, division or jealousy,” he said.

The church, he said, should not be afraid of the huge array and variety of charisms out there. Rather than being seen as “a problem” or a cause for “confusion or discomfort, they are all gifts that God gives the Christian community so that is can grow in harmony, in the faith and in his love as only one body, the body of Christ.”

The Holy Spirit is the one that creates this multiplicity of gifts, he said, and the one who unites them in their diversity.

The pope said people could follow the example of one of his favorite saints, St. Therese of Lisieux, whose feast day is celebrated Oct. 1.

She loved the church so much, she wanted to do everything, “she wanted to have all the charisms” out there, in particular, to be a missionary, the pope said.

So she prayed and reflected on what she should do “and she felt that her charism was love,” to be the love that’s in the church’s heart, he said.

“We all have this charism, the ability to love. Let’s ask St. Therese today for this ability to love” and to “accept all these charisms with this love as children of the church, our holy, hierarchical, mother church.”

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Mount Aviat Academy named National Blue Ribbon School

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CHILDS, Md. – Mount Aviat Academy has been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, the school announced Tuesday. The Blue Ribbon program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are being made in academic achievement, the school said.

The honor is bestowed on just 50 private schools nationwide.

“I’m so proud of our teachers and the curriculum we offer, not to mention our outstanding students,” said Oblate Sister John Elizabeth, the principal.

Students heard the news at an assembly on the afternoon of Sept. 30. They were surprised when they left the assembly to find ice cream trucks waiting for them in the parking lot.

Mount Aviat is operated by the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales. The school will be honored at a ceremony Nov. 11 in Washington, D.C.

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Vikings battle, but fall in volleyball to Caravel

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Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON – Caravel Academy had rolled to easy wins in each of the first two sets Tuesday evening, but the homestanding St. Elizabeth Vikings were not about to give the Buccaneers an easy sweep in a nonconference volleyball match. The Vikings held four set points in that third frame, but Caravel fought off each one, scoring the final three points to finally earn the 3-0 sweep.

Caravel picked up the winning point on a kill by senior hitter Caroline Davis, but only after St. Elizabeth saved the previous spike with a dig that hit the fingertips of a Viking that were flush against the floor. With the win, the Buccaneers improved to 3-4, although three of the losses have come to Charter, Delaware Military Academy and Concord, among the best teams in the state. Read more »

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Charter powers past St. Mark’s in volleyball, 3-0

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Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON – Charter School of Wilmington has slid a bit under the radar this season on the scholastic volleyball scene, but the Force has quietly put together an outstanding first half of 2014. On Tuesday afternoon, Charter continued its dominant ways, sweeping St. Mark’s, 3-0, improving to 8-0 on the year while losing just one set. Set scores were 25-12, 25-21 and 25-19.

Charter’s roster is stocked with only juniors and seniors, and the experience was evident against the young Spartans. St. Mark’s put up a valiant fight against the Force’s twin towers, Olivia DiMaio and Liz Marcin, along with Kristen Edmiston. DiMaio is listed at 6 feet tall and Edmiston 6-2, while Marcin is 5-10 but plays taller. Charter also boasts a superior service game; they were credited with seven aces on Tuesday, and they added numerous service winners. Read more »

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School choice about fairness, not handouts, advocates say

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Hundreds of Catholic school students, parents and other supporters joined a school choice rally Sept. 25 at a Chicago building that houses Illinois state government offices.

The rally was aimed at demonstrating the need for more families to be able to enroll their children in the schools they choose, whether they are Catholic schools, other private schools, charter schools or other public schools.

Students from Chicago's St. Ignatius College Prep cheer during a school choice rally outside an Illinois state building in Chicago Sept. 25. The Archdiocese of Chicago's Office of Catholic Schools co-sponsored the School Choice rally with other organizations to raise educate people about school choice and possible ways the Illinois General Assembly could support it. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Students from Chicago’s St. Ignatius College Prep cheer during a school choice rally outside an Illinois state building in Chicago Sept. 25. The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Schools co-sponsored the School Choice rally with other organizations to raise educate people about school choice and possible ways the Illinois General Assembly could support it. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

In most cases, speakers said, the main barriers to school choice are economic.

“Parents are the primary educators of their children and deserve the right to choose their children’s education,” said Patrick Landry, principal of Maternity BVM School in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Twenty years ago, there were four Catholic elementary schools in Humboldt Park. Maternity BVM is the last one, Landry said, and it intends to remain open.

“Our school is a beacon of hope and love for our students,” Landry said. “We’re not going anywhere.”

Ninety-nine percent of the school’s 231 students are Latino, and 95 percent qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, he said. The average family income is $22,000 a year, and families are spending 10 to 20 percent of their income on tuition.

“They are making an investment in their children, because they want a life for their children that is better than theirs,” Landry said.

School choice advocates want the state to find a way to direct more money to nonpublic schools, whether by offering vouchers that would allow students to take a portion of the money their public school districts would have spent on educating them and applying it to the schools of their choice, or by allowing tax credits for private school tuition or for individuals and businesses that donate to scholarship funds.

Illinois does offer a tax credit for kindergarten through 12th grade educational expenses; the maximum credit is $500 for families that spend $2,500 or more on tuition or other costs.

But that’s a fraction of what parents pay for Catholic education.

The yearly tuition at Leo Catholic High School is $7,500, one of the lowest high school tuition rates in the Chicago Archdiocese, said Philip Mesina, principal of the all-male school. But it’s still too much for most of the families who send their sons there; after financial aid and scholarships, the average Leo family pays $4,000 a year.

“It’s a sacrifice every day for them,” he said. “They want their children to get a good education. They’re not looking for a handout. They’re looking for what’s fair.”

Students in the sophomore world religions class came to the school choice rally after learning that their parents pay property taxes to support public schools and pay tuition for them to go to Leo.

Khalid Manney, 15, said he chose to go to Leo after he met some people from the school at an elementary school basketball game and they invited him to shadow a student at the school for a day. He found a clean building with a warm, welcoming spirit, Manney said.

“It was my choice, but my parents agreed with me,” he said. He’s now a three-sport athlete — cross-country, basketball and track — and finished his freshman year with a 4.0 grade point average.

Leo was among more than a score of Catholic elementary and high schools represented at the rally.

Another group came from Pope John Paul II School. Parent and volunteer Maria Vega said the issue of school funding is very near to her heart and her wallet. She has one child in eighth grade at Pope John Paul II, where yearly tuition is $3,800 for one child, and one at St. Ignatius College Prep, where tuition is $16,500. As at nearly all Catholic schools, some financial aid is available.

“This is very important to us,” she said. “We wanted to give our children a better education.”

She doesn’t think the public schools in her Brighton Park neighborhood offer the same quality education as the Catholic schools her children attend, and she said she would fear for their safety in public schools.

In addition to a better education, she said, her children have learned values and morals that they will carry with them their whole lives, and involvement in Pope John Paul II School has drawn her whole family into deeper involvement in their Catholic faith.

Trey Cobb, youth director of EdChoice Illinois, challenged the young people in attendance to work for school choice. Cobb, a 17-year-old junior at DePaul University, noted that he cannot yet vote, but he can make his voice heard.

“There is no progress without struggle,” he said. “We need to go back to our schools, go back to our neighborhoods, and tell everyone what we were doing today.”

— By Michelle Martin

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State final rematch on volleyball schedule this week

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For The Dialog

 

Here are the girls’ game this week. Read more »

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Sals look for revenge for only 2013 football setback

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For The Dialog

 

Here are the boys’ game for the week. Read more »

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