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Food in Scripture: A sign of God’s love and steadfastness

May 19th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

 

Since the beginning of creation, humanity’s relationship with food has been inseparable from its relationship with God. In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In disobeying this commandment — and seeking to be like God — Adam and Eve fell from grace and were expelled from the garden. Read more »

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Catholic food blogger Jeff Young connects food and faith

May 19th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

Food culture is nothing new to Jeff Young, founder of the Catholic Foodie blog and podcast.

“I grew up in southeastern Louisiana. If we’re not eating, we’re talking about eating. That’s just the way it’s always been.”

Young, whose blog mixes spiritual observations with recipes, also has a keen perspective about Catholics’ relationship to food: “Food plays a very important role in salvation history, starting with the eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Read more »

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A Catholic take on food culture

May 19th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

Probably no one has expressed the place of food in life better than American writer and gastronome Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher.

“First we eat, then we do everything else.”

From a spiritual point of view, Catholics might say, first the Eucharist, then everything else.

Food is first and foremost sustenance. We need it to nourish our body.

But it is also ritual and heritage. Food connects us to our beliefs, our communities, our ancestors. Read more »

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Living Our Faith: Food and faith

May 19th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Assortment of breadThere is an ever-growing “food culture” today. The constant barrage of food advertisement, blogs and television shows fuel a “food obsession.”

Yet food connects us to our beliefs, communities, ancestors. “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life,” Christ says.

Food seen in Scripture is often a prefigurement of the Eucharist, the bread of life.

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Ailing teen rescued from her mother’s quarantine in ‘Everything, Everything’

May 19th, 2017 Posted in Movies, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Cynics beware: The teen-oriented romantic drama “Everything, Everything” bears more than a little resemblance to one of those fairy tales involving a princess locked up in a castle who needs a handsome prince to rescue her.

Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson star in a scene from the movie 'Everything, Everything." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Warner Bros.)

Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson star in a scene from the movie ‘Everything, Everything.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. (CNS/Warner Bros.)

Anachronistic thinking aside, director Stella Meghie’s adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s young adult novel, which features the genre’s familiar theme of embracing love even at the risk of death, is gentle, tasteful and faithful to the book. A bedroom scene shared by its barely-of-age main couple, however, makes it doubtful fare even for mature adolescents.

Amandla Stenberg is Maddy, a very bright and literate teen who has been told since her earliest years that she has severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID. She’s just like the famous bubble boy, except with the run of an entire hermetically sealed house.

This structure was specially designed for her by her mother, Pauline (Anika Noni Rose). Visiting nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera) rounds out the isolated household.

One step into the outside world, and any virus or bacteria could prove fatal. Maddy lives the most solitary of lives, but insists to her mom that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.

Her one melancholy wish is to see the Pacific Ocean, which is just three miles away. Occasionally Pauline still mourns for Maddy’s father and brother, who died in a traffic mishap.

Then handsome, sensitive Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in — right next door! He, of course, turns out to be Maddy’s instant soul mate.

Olly has troubles of his own, though. He sometimes has to protect his mother and sister from his abusive drunken father, who has difficulty holding down a job.

Conveniently, the windows in Maddy and Olly’s rooms are directly across from each other. So, soon enough, they’re not only texting but communicating through placards held up to these panes.

Maddy starts dreaming about the big wide world, having long soulful conversations, and anticipating that all-important first kiss. “I’d rather talk to him than sleep,” she announces.

What could possibly happen now? Will Pauline’s protectiveness turn out to have been excessive? Will true love triumph?

You betcha it will. Aware of the target audience, screenwriter J. Mills Goodloe sustains the romantic fantasy without letting any harsh real-life consequences intrude. In fact, his script displays all the gritty realism of a Gidget movie. Still, to borrow a line from the late Roger Ebert, this is a picture with which only an old grumpypants could find fault.

The film contains brief sensuality as part of a mostly off-screen nonmarital encounter and a single instance of rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III, adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13.

 

Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

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Delaware HB160: Suicide, by any name, isn’t dignified

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Legislators in Dover are considering a physician-assisted suicide bill this month, HB160, that’s strongly opposed by the Diocese of Wilmington.

The difficult and heart-breaking decisions faced by families and patients during end-of-life care shouldn’t end in deaths of despair or “convenience.”

Both hospice care and palliative pain-killing measures can effectively eliminate suffering at the end of life.

This graphic, prepared by Maryland Against Assisted Suicide, highlights the dangers of assisted-suicide bills.

Please contact the Delaware Catholic Advocacy Network, at www.cdow.org/DCAN, to oppose HB160 and other anti-life bills pending in Dover.PAS-Infographic-2017_To-Print_Page_1

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Sunday Scripture readings, May 21, 2017

May 18th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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May 21, Sixth Sunday of Easter

            Cycle A. Readings:

            1) Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

            Psalm 66:1-3a, 4-7a

            2) 1 Peter 3:15-18

            Gospel: John 14:15-21

 

I love the progression of this week’s Old Testament and New Testament readings, and how they speak to the “communication” of the Holy Spirit among believers.

The first reading tells about the apostles laying hands on new believers who then received the Holy Spirit. The Gospel talks about the Father sending an Advocate, “the Spirit of truth,” to those who love him, to live in them and reveal God to them (one might add, again and again). Read more »

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Saint of the Week: St. Rita of Cascia

May 18th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Rita of Cascia

Feast Day: May 22

Born near Spoleto, Italy, Rita wanted to be a nun but married in

St. Francis Convent Springfield IL

St. Rita of Cascia (CNS)

deference to her parents. For nearly 20 years, she endured her profligate husband’s mistreatment. Following his violent death, she was admitted after three refusals to an Augustinian convent at Cascia, where she spent the next 40 years. She is remembered for her devoted care of sick nuns and for a deep forehead wound that lasted 15 years, caused she said by a thorn from Christ’s crown of thorns. She has a large popular following, and is invoked in Italy for difficult situations.

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Analysis: Fatima trip shows pope’s respect for pilgrims’ faith

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is not shy about showing his love for Mary in public and, like many Latin American bishops, he strongly has resisted attempts to dismiss as superstitious or “simple,” in a negative sense, popular devotion to the mother of God. Read more »

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The art of the church architect

May 12th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

A simple, white-granite altar, together with the crucifix and striking white baldachin suspended above it, catches and holds the eye as soon as one enters the remarkable church constructed in the early 1960s at St. John’s Abbey and University in central Minnesota.

In planning this church, its Hungarian-born architect, the widely known Marcel Breuer, and members of the abbey’s Benedictine community, known for expertise and leadership in all things liturgical, confronted a key question.

Could a way be found, through the church’s very design, to foster unity among everyone present during celebrations of the Mass and to encourage their full participation in the liturgy?

The church opened in the fall of 1961, not long before the promulgation late in 1963 of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. It asked that “great care” be taken when churches are built “that they be suitable for the celebration of liturgical services and for the active participation of the faithful.”

Those present for celebrations of the Mass “should not be there as strangers or silent spectators,” the council declared. “Full and active participation by all the people” is the aim.

When you think of artists serving the church, architects might not be the first to come to mind. But they came to mind for St. John Paul II in his 1999 “Letter to Artists.”

An artist’s work has the potential to reflect God’s creative work, he suggested. It was particularly the beauty created by artists that captured the pope’s attention.

“It can be said that beauty is the vocation bestowed on (the artist) by the Creator in the gift of ‘artistic talent,'” a talent that ought to “bear fruit,” he wrote. Among the artists mentioned were poets, painters, sculptors, architects, musicians, actors and others.

I confess that I am partial to the church at St. John’s and to its uniquely simple beauty. My 1963 class at the university the monks run was the second to graduate in the new church.

Years later when I participated in Sunday Mass there, I felt that the underlying purpose of the Liturgy of the Eucharist still to come was made plain when several monks came forward after the homily “to set” the Lord’s table at the main altar.

Of course, the church’s interior architectural design drew all eyes to this action at the altar. No columns obstruct one’s view of the altar, or the monastic choir, or the congregation. The floor plan, with its trapezoid-like shape, lends itself to pulling the assembled community together and making it one.

Thus, it aids worship by nurturing a sense that those participating in the liturgy are bonded both to God and to each other.

Contemporary architects frequently “have constructed churches which are both places of prayer and true works of art,” St. John Paul noted in his “Letter to Artists.”

The church, he told them, needs artists, needs them to “make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God.”

Gibson served on Catholic News Service’s editorial staff for 37 years.

• • • 

“There is something about art that touches the soul” writes Alaine DeSantis in a March 25 article for the Catholic Stand. “Whether it be a breathtaking painting, a powerful poem or a song that speaks to the heart, art — in all forms — has the unique ability to transform, uplift and inspire.”

Without art, Catholic churches would lose part of their vibrancy, DeSantis says. Art is a means to visualize faith in paintings, sculpture, statues. Music, too, lifts worshippers’ voices and spirit in song and prayer.

DeSantis also points to church architecture as a form of art: The design of churches and cathedrals draw attention heavenward.

“Art connects to us at a very human level,” bringing intense emotions, she writes. It holds power, as “it connects us with the true beauty of God himself.”

When we place ourselves before art, “we are uplifted into a new awareness of who we are” and ultimately, “encounter God.”

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