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The ‘Ten Commandments’ of conduct on the Internet

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These “commandments” for communication on the Internet are adapted from the principles proposed by Archbishop Eamon Martin, coadjutor archbishop of Amagh, Northern Ireland, in his May 20 statement on “The New Media and the Work of Evangelization.”

  1. Be positive and joyful; offer digital smiles.
  2. Do not be aggressive, preachy or judgmental.
  3. Do not lie.
  4. Fill the Internet with love.
  5. Turn the other cheek when criticized and, when possible, gently correct.
  6.  Pray online.
  7.  Build community by sharing a Gospel witness.
  8. Teach the young to use the Internet responsibly.
  9. Be a witness to human dignity; avoid sites that exploit and degrade others.
  10.    Be a missionary on the world wide web.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, cccoadjutor archbishop of Armagh, Northern Ireland, has proposed “Ten Commandments” for the Internet.. (CNS photo/courtesy of Irish Bishops’ Conference)

Following is Archbishop Martin’s full text on evangelizing in the new media that includes the unedited version of his 10 principles “to guide our presence in the digital highways.”

The New Media and the Work of Evangelization.”

By Archbishop Eamon Martin

Many people say that it was a four-minute speech which led to the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as pope. In his pre-conclave speech to the other cardinals, he used the popular image from the Book of Revelation of Jesus standing at the door and knocking. But in an unusual and inspired way he turned the image around: “Obviously, the text refers to his knocking from the outside in order to enter but I think about the times in which Jesus knocks from within so that we will let him come out. The self-referential church keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not let him out.”

A church, which does not come out of herself to evangelize, he said, becomes self-referential and then gets sick.

We have become familiar over the past year with this consistent theme in the teaching of Pope Francis. In “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) he writes: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security… . If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.”

It is in this context that I would like to introduce the challenges and opportunities for new media in evangelization. I am going to take it for granted that all of us here accept the necessity of people of faith to be involved in new media if we want to make the Gospel widely known in today’s world. The Catholic Church has always advocated the use of whatever media are available to it in bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Fifty years ago, at the Second Vatican Council, one of the first decrees issued by the Council fathers, “Inter Mirifica,” was on the media of social communications. Its first paragraph reads:

“Among the wonderful technological discoveries which men of talent, especially in the present era, have made with God’s help, the Church welcomes and promotes with special interest those which have … uncovered new avenues of communicating… news, views and teachings of every sort. The most important of these inventions are media such as the press, movies, radio, television and the like. These can … reach and influence, not only individuals, but the very masses and the whole of human society.”

Note the welcoming and positive tone of the message for these “wonderful technological discoveries.” Mention of “press, movies, radio, TV” seems miles away from smartphones, tablets, Netflix, Skype, Twitter and Facebook!

Christians always made use of all forms of media to spread the good news – whether it be parchments and scrolls, high crosses, art, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, the printing, television or radio. We must welcome the use of so-called “new media” in this task. Many parishes have websites, there are ‘sacred spaces’ on line, priests on Facebook, the pope on Twitter, i-Catholic, soul waves radio and many more. Last year Proposition 18 from the Synod on the New Evangelization stated, “Education in the wise and constructive use of social media is an important means to be utilized in the New Evangelization.”

By way of example, last week along with Cardinal Brady I led the Armagh diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. Our first morning Mass at the grotto was web-streamed across the world and within minutes we had requests for special intentions from home and beyond.

There are different ways of looking at the use of new media in evangelization – one is to see the new media as yet another tool to reach people with the message of the Gospel. By means of the various forms of new media, we can reach out to the peripheries and draw people in, so that they can hear the Word of God and understand it better. They may then be open to a face-to-face encounter with a church or parish group, or feel drawn to Mass and the sacraments.

Another way is to see the digital, online, or virtual world itself as a new space which is itself in need of evangelization. It is in this context that we notice references to a “digital continent to be won for Christ,” a “digital sea in which the barque of Christ must set sail,” a “virtual world ripe for mission.”

If the first of these is described as “evangelizing through” the Internet, the second might be termed “evangelizing on’ the Internet.

One of my favorite chapters in the New Testament is Acts 17, which speaks about Paul going into Athens, the bustling communications capital of the ancient world. Paul is greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. Verse 21 comments: All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.

I see the Internet as being like the “new Athens.” new marketplace or Areopagus, a “global village” to be won for Christ. Our challenge is to become witnesses for Christ in this strange new world, to enter into dialogue with the digital culture.

If only to be able to reach our young people and an increasing percentage of people of all ages, we need to be present in this new Areopagus. Our young people are spending huge proportions of their time in this virtual world, so much that for many it is becoming increasingly the place where they live their lives, and what we call the real world of face to face seems often dull uneventful to them, and their secondary existence. Never cease to be amazed at the ability of young people to text, Snapchat, Facebook with others all while talking to you.

The Internet has become like the nervous system of our culture, in which more and more people are expressing and exploring their identity, picking up and discarding their values and attitudes, expressing their feelings and prejudices, befriending and unfriending each other, measuring each other’s status and importance, relevance and appearance. If our young people and people are living in this gigantic network, then we, as people of faith need to be in there, dialoguing with the inhabitants of this world, with the men and women who dwell in the web.

When in the church we speak about new evangelization, we more often than not think of the so called “real world,” but billions of people live in the social networks. These have been described as among the biggest countries in the world – and they are countries with no barriers.

For example, 1.2 billion inhabit the world of Facebook. The majority of these people may never enter a church, but if we are to respond to the Gospel mandate given us by Christ to “go out to the whole world,” then we must nowadays include the digital world and proclaim the Good News there. Our challenge as evangelizers has always been to reach out and encounter people where they are at, and nowadays, more and more that means online.

In his message for the 48th World Communications Day, Pope Francis speaks about “Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter.”

The Internet, in particular, he says, “offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.”

Pope Francis recognizes the problems and drawbacks with authentic communication in the virtual world, for example – problems with achieving balance, fighting stereotypes, the ease with which people can isolate themselves or “barricade themselves” online “behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.”

However, he is clear that as Christians we need to “walk the streets of the digital highways, to encounter like the Good Samaritan those who are lying on the side of the road and witness to them in tenderness and love.” Thanks to the Internet, he says, “Christian witness can reach the peripheries of human existence.”

I quote from the message: “The digital highway is … a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope. By means of the Internet, the Christian message can reach “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

There is a temptation to see evangelization in the new media as simply bombarding people with religious messages. Pope Francis encourages us to go beyond this. He challenges us to think about how we can effectively encounter people and witness to them in, and using, new media. He asks: “Can we be available to them, hear their issues and problems, engage with their questions and doubts and their search for truth?”

In a beautiful passage he says: “May the image of the Good Samaritan who tended to the wounds of the injured man by pouring oil and wine over them be our inspiration. Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts.” He urges us: “Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world… in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ. [The church] needs to be a church at the side of others, capable of accompanying everyone along the way.”

I would therefore like to suggest a number of principles to guide our presence in the digital highways:

1. Be positive and joyful. Offer “digital smiles” and have a sense of humor. Remember that it is the “joy of the Gospel” that we are communicating, so, as Pope Francis says: no ‘funeral faces’ or ‘sourpusses.’

2. Strictly avoid aggression and “preachiness” online; try not to be judgmental or polemical – goodness knows, there is enough of this online already. Instead, try Pope Francis’ approach of “tenderness and balm.”

3. Never bear false witness on the Internet.

4. Remember “Ubi caritas et amor.” Fill the Internet with charity and love, always giving rather than taking. Continually seek to broaden and reframe discussions and seek to include a sense of charity and solidarity with the suffering in the world.

5. Have a broad back when criticisms and insults are made; when possible, gently correct.

6. Pray in the digital world. Establish sacred spaces, opportunities for stillness, reflection amd meditation online.

7. Establish connections, relationships and build communion. Church has always been about “gathering.” In this, it is worth considering an ecumenical presence for the Christian churches online. The Internet tends to be a place of ethical and intellectual relativism, and often of aggressive secularism. The scandal of disunity among Christians can be easily exploited and exaggerated. Therefore, we must seek to share resources so that we can have a powerful Gospel witness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people started noticing online: “See how these Christians love one another.”

8. Educate our young to keep themselves safe and to use the Internet responsibly.

9. Witness to human dignity at all times online. Seek, as Pope Benedict once said, to “give a soul to the Internet.” We are well aware of the pervasive prevalence of pornography on the Internet which can “pollute the spirit,” destroy and degrade human sexuality and relationships, reduce persons to objects for gratification, draw millions into the commodification and commercialization of sex, feed the monster that is human trafficking.

10. Be missionary, be aware that with the help of the Internet, a message has the potential to reach the ends of the earth in seconds. In this regard, let us foster and call forth charisms in younger committed people who understand the power and potential of the net to bear witness.

On 5 May Pope Francis tweeted: @Pontifex: What does “evangelize” mean? To give witness with joy and simplicity to what we are and what we believe in.

That is our challenge and our privilege as Christians. Freely we have received the joy of the Gospel; now let us freely give it.

· This address was delivered May 20, 2014, by Archbishop Eamon Martin, coadjutor archbishop of Armagh, at the Soul Waves Radio conference in Dublin. It’s posted online at the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference site, www.catholicbishops.ie.

 

 

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‘Love Is Our Mission’ — Planning for Vatican’s 2015 celebration of families in Philadelphia

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Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — The archbishop in charge of the Vatican office sponsoring next year’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia paid a visit to the city May 13 in typical tourist fashion: by viewing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia speaks as Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, looks on during a press conference with a delegation from Pennsylvania at the Vatican March 25 to discuss the September 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, was joined by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and the event co-chairmen, Gov. Tom Corbett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, for the morning visit to the Liberty Bell pavilion, then on to a tour of Independence Hall led by National Park Service guides.

Afterward at the Independence Visitors Center, Archbishop Chaput led a news conference at which he unveiled the theme of the Sept. 22-27, 2015, meeting in the city: “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”

He said Pope Francis’ compassion for the needs of people around the world “and his deep care for the institution of the family” were the inspiration for the theme.

“It not only reminds each of us that love should be our life’s mission but that also it is the engine of life. Our goal for the 2015 World Meeting of Families is to create a moment of hope and celebration for all of the world’s families, a moment in which we hope Pope Francis will join.”

Archbishop Chaput reiterated, as he has in the past, that he does not expect the pope to announce whether he will come to Philadelphia next year until about March. But he said that the World Meeting of Families is being planned as though the pope will attend.

Pope Francis appears to be involved in details of the planning even at this point. The archbishop said the theme was developed through consultation here and with officials of the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome. Two suggested themes were presented to the pope and he chose the one announced at the press conference.

It will form the basis of preparatory teaching and programming content for the World Meeting of Families. About 100 speakers are expected to participate in the international conference, along with thousands of attendees from more than 150 nations.

The theme “resonates not just with Catholics, but all people of good will,” the archbishop said. “It underlines the beauty and truth of family life. The love that we cite in our theme is a love that we must ensure fills every home and all family members with a unique and invigorating light and warmth.”

Archbishop Paglia, who had met Archbishop Chaput, Corbett and Nutter and the Philadelphia delegation during their trip to Rome in March, appeared to thoroughly enjoy his whirlwind tour.

Asking questions of guides at the historic sites and speaking better-than-adequate English, the Italian archbishop said May 13 is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima on the church calendar. It was also the day in 1981 when St. John Paul II as pope founded the Pontifical Council for the Family. He would have announced the news but was wounded by an assassin that same day.

The archbishop said Philadelphia was “important to the history not only of the United States but of the world,” and the fitting place to “celebrate the importance of families.”

He called the Catholic Church “a sign of unity for humanity … a family of people. Love flows from the family, and this is the great mission for us.”

Regarding the World Meeting of Families itself, no new details were revealed except that “every inch of the (Pennsylvania) Convention Center has been booked,” Archbishop Chaput said.

He, Corbett and Nutter said they expect plans to be firmly in place by this September, including a budget for which fundraising continues.

Archbishop Chaput said funds will be raised to help poor families attend the meeting and to help them materially, after meeting expenses for the meeting’s events, in the months and years to follow.

Getting people to the events from hotels in the city and surrounding counties will be a logistical challenge. Corbett said the planning team is looking at smaller yet significant recent events in the region such as last year’s U.S. Open at Merion and the Republican National Convention in 2000.

Once participants arrive they will find programming for all types of families, including “nontraditional families,” Archbishop Chaput said in response to the issue of families headed by homosexual couples.

“Everybody is welcome,” he said, adding that although the meeting will “primarily involve a Catholic understanding of the family,” the virtues of the family are the same: “love, fidelity and support in time of need,” he said.

The morning news conference also included Philadelphia’s Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Stefan Soroka and students from St. Francis Xavier School in Philadelphia. Afterward Archbishop Paglia and aides from his congregation traveled from the historic district to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and toured the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The wide stretch of the parkway offered the archbishop a view of what Pope Francis might expect to see if he comes to celebrate a Mass in Philadelphia. Nutter called the area the most likely place to host the Mass.

After walking through the cathedral with the rector, Msgr. Arthur Rodgers, the entourage of the two archbishops, Corbett and his wife, Susan, walked across the street to Sister Cities Plaza and an impromptu cup of Philadelphia water ice from a street vendor, who might want to prepare a lot more for September 2015.

 

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Nigerian church groups organize prayers for missing schoolgirls

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Catholic News Service

LAGOS, Nigeria — Religious groups in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state have organized prayer sessions and other activities to support the rescue of kidnapped schoolgirls.

But Hassanah Mohammed, a resident of the state capital, Maiduguri, told Catholic News Service that groups have been avoiding nighttime vigils for fear of additional attacks.

A woman holds a sign during a May 5 protest in Lagos, Nigeria, to demand the release of abducted high school girls. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction of 276 schoolgirls during a raid in the remote village of Chibok in April. (CNS photo/Akintunde Akinleye, Reuters)

“Chibok town and Borno state are now on the world map, and we pray that God will touch the hearts of the Boko Haram insurgents and release those innocent girls safely to their parents,’” she said May 8. She added that after about 200 villagers were killed in the state earlier in the week, groups had increased their prayers.

In an overnight attack in mid-April, armed gunmen abducted girls at Chibok Government Girls Secondary School and took them into the forest. Girls who escaped said the men identified themselves as government soldiers who had come to rescue them after gunshots were fired nearby.

By May 8, more than 250 girls remained missing; two had died of snakebites and about two dozen were sick, reported The Associated Press, which was dealing with an intermediary. AP also reported that May 5, 11 more girls, ages 12-15, were taken from other villages in Borno.

Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group with a somewhat undefined leadership and structure, took credit for the mid-April kidnapping. For years the group has attacked Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, leaving an estimated 1,500 people dead in the first three months of this year alone.

The lack of progress in rescuing the girls led to an international campaign, “Bring Back Our Girls,” as well as statements from government and church leaders.

In Maiduguri, Josephine Mohammed said most of the mothers in her religious group had been fasting from 6 a.m. to noon for the safe release of the girls.

The Ladies of St. Mulumba, a Catholic charitable group, condemned the kidnappings as “a shameful act by a shameless and a faceless group.”

The statement urged the kidnappers to pity the abducted girls, their parents and relatives.

“We are sure the insurgents will not like their own little girls, sisters, nieces and wives to be treated this way,” it said.

Some parents said they were considering transferring their children to schools in southern Nigeria, which is considered safer.

At the Vatican May 8, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Boko Haram is known for “horrible forms of violence.”

“The denial of any kind of respect for life and for the dignity of the human person — even the most innocent, vulnerable and defenseless — calls for the strongest condemnation, arouses the most heartfelt feelings of compassion for the victims and horror for the physical and spiritual suffering and incredible humiliations inflicted on them.”

“We join the multitude of appeals for their liberation and return to normal life,” Father Lombardi said. “We pray that Nigeria, with the commitment of all who can contribute, finds a way to put an end this situation of conflict and hateful terrorism, which is a source of incalculable suffering.”

The White House announced May 7 that it had offered the Nigerian government military, law enforcement and information-sharing assistance in finding the girls and securing their release. Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the U.S. ambassador would meet with Nigeria’s national security adviser to coordinate assistance, which would involve the Department of Justice and the FBI providing a range of technical aid and potentially hostage negotiation.

Later the same day, in remarks to the USC Shoah Foundation dinner in Los Angeles, President Barack Obama drew comparisons between the Holocaust and “today’s headlines,” including Syria’s conflict and the kidnappings in Nigeria.

“There are some bad stories out there that are being told to children, and they’re learning to hate early. They’re learning to fear those who are not like them early,” he said.

Though “none of the tragedies that we see today may rise to the full horror of the Holocaust, the individuals who are the victims of such unspeakable cruelty, they make a claim on our conscience. They demand our attention, that we not turn away, that we choose empathy over indifference and that our empathy leads to action.”

By Peter Ajayi Dada

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Pope Francis, soccer fan, says fun, not money should rule sports

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Soccer-fan Pope Francis urged professional athletes to always be sportsmanlike on and off the field because so many people, especially kids, look up to them.

The pope also said he wished all sports could be about celebration, not money and big business, which risk “tainting everything.”

Fiorentina’s coach Vincenzo Montella, third from left, presents a gift to Pope Francis during a special audience with soccer teams Fiorentina and Napoli at the Vatican May 2. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

The pope made his remarks during an audience May 2 with the top two ranking Italian major league soccer teams and representatives of an Italian soccer federation.

The audience came the day before the two teams, Fiorentina and Napoli, were to hit the pitch in Rome and vie for the Italian Cup championship title May 3.

The pope, who has been a lifelong supporter of the San Lorenzo soccer team in Buenos Aires, Argentina, said he has “wonderful memories” of going to the stadium. Watching games with his family members reflected some “joyous moments on Sundays,” he recalled.

“I hope that soccer and every other popular sport could recover the sense of celebration.

“Today, soccer, too, is immersed in a world of big business, with advertising, television, etc.,” he said.

“But the economic side must not prevail over sports because it risks tainting everything at the international, national and local levels,” he said.

People at the top of the sports industry need to be proactive, “restoring dignity” to sporting events, he said.

But soccer players and other pro-athletes have enormous responsibility, too, he said.

“You are at the center of attention and many of your fans are young, very young; keep this in mind, think about how your behavior” both good and bad, speaks volumes and influences others, he said.

“Always be true sportsmen,” he added.

The pope explained that sports have important educational value because they contribute to personal growth, highlight the harmony of body and spirit, foster social development and promote the values of “solidarity, loyalty and respect.”

“May soccer always develop this potential,” he said, adding that he hoped the next day’s championship would be “a wonderful celebration.”

The delegates visiting the pope gave him soccer balls and team jerseys signed by the players.

One of the players to greet the pope was a former player on the San Lorenzo team who now plays for Fiorentina.

The future pope played basketball when he was young, and was a longtime card-carrying member of the San Lorenzo soccer team.

When he was cardinal of Buenos Aires, he lamented that the fan scene had deteriorated since his youth.

At the worst, “people would yell at the referee that he was a bum, a scoundrel, a sellout … nothing in comparison to the epithets they use today,” he said in a book of interviews titled, “Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio.”

 

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Most U.S. Catholics under 30 are Hispanics — Parishes that don’t do Hispanic ministry well, face uncertain future, researcher says

May 8th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Training of pastoral leaders and provision of most other resources for Hispanic ministry aren’t keeping up with the fast-approaching time when Hispanics will make up the majority of Catholics in the United States, according to a new report.

Hispanic teens and young adults who celebrated “Pascua Juvenil,” a young people’s Easter, at Our Lady of Fatima Church in New Castle, April 26-27. More than 170 Hispanic youth from the Diocese of Wilmington participated in the diocesan event that included Scripture reflections, Easter Mass at dawn, dramatic presentations, as well as songs and music. (Courtesy Office of Hispanic Ministry)

“Hispanic Catholics have reached critical mass in the church,” said Hosffman Ospino, lead author of the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry. He said 55 percent of all U.S. Catholics under the age of 30 are Hispanic and Hispanics account for 71 percent of the growth in the U.S. Catholic population since 1960.

“Ignoring the growth of Hispanic Catholics in the United States would be self-defeating for our churches and schools,” he added.

Ospino, assistant professor of theology and ministry at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, presented his findings from the first major survey of how parishes are handling the rapid demographic shift May 5 at the college.

Hispanics currently account for about 40 percent of all U.S. Catholics and their share of the population is continuing to increase. Nationwide, 4,358 parishes, almost one-quarter of the U.S. total, were identified as having some sort of organized ministry to Hispanics.

The study cited many signs of vitality in parish Hispanic ministry — including youth, a strong permanent diaconate system and thriving apostolic movements. But other areas require urgent attention, it said.

Among the “urgent dynamics” of parish Hispanic ministry that are in need of attention, it listed: disproportionately limited financial and human resources, a “disquieting gap” in Hispanic enrollment in Catholic schools, and a cohort of pastoral leaders who are approaching retirement age with too few people in training to replace them.

The study pointed out that the oldest Catholic parishes under the flag of the United States were and continue to be Hispanic.

In the Southwest, a vibrant Catholic Church existed long before the United States acquired parts of Mexico, making for Hispanic-dominated parishes that predated the development of “national” parishes. National parishes were created in the 19th century to minister to European immigrants such as Germans, Italians and Poles, intended to be a temporary system for helping newcomers maintain their faith connections while they integrated.

As the study notes, “when absorbing the annexed Mexican territories, long-standing Hispanic parishes were typically treated as ‘only’ national parishes,” although many different nationalities fall under the cluster of Hispanic.

The report is a summary of the findings of a national study, conducted by the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate of Georgetown University. Several future reports will delve into angles such as education and leadership training, Ospino told Catholic News Service.

The study is based on responses to surveys sent to diocesan and parish leaders who work in Hispanic ministry. Parishes were counted as offering Hispanic ministry if they offer Mass or religious education in Spanish, for example, even if they don’t formally have a Hispanic ministry program, Ospino said.

Other elements in the report include discussion of leadership structures and leadership development; apostolic movements such as Cursillo and Communion and Liberation; and programming and education for children, youth and adults

In an event at Boston College where the study was released, Mark Gray, of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, said one conclusion he draws from the study that should catch the attention of church leaders is “if you don’t do Hispanic ministry well, then you face an uncertain future.”

Unlike past generations of immigrants, he said, people today have many more choices in where they can go to worship, whether another Catholic parish that offers something different, a non-Catholic Christian church that is welcoming or even the growing phenomena of dropping all religious affiliation.

“We call them drive-bys,” Gray said, because people will drive by a church that doesn’t offer what they need and go elsewhere.

Timothy Matovina, a University of Notre Dame professor of theology and executive director of that school’s Institute for Latino Studies, pointed to some of the study’s findings he thinks are significant: that two-thirds of the pastors doing Hispanic ministry are not Hispanic; that most of them got any training they have in Hispanic ministry on their own; and that just 13 percent said they received relevant training in Hispanic ministry in the seminary.

Matovina also observed that the immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean who are adding to the surge of Hispanics in the church are arriving to find a different sort of church than did earlier waves of immigrants.

“A hundred years ago, immigrants arrived to an immigrant church,” he said. “Now they are arriving to a middle-class church.”

It will be important to the future of the church for the more established parts of the church, where there is more money and power, to think of the growing sector of less-wealthy Hispanics as deserving of their support as part of the same church, Ospino said.

Ospino told a story to illustrate how that’s relevant to meeting the pastoral needs of a working-class or poor group of newcomers.

He described a parish with a high level of immigrants that was in financial crisis. The parish was administered by a religious order that also ran three wealthier, nonimmigrant parishes in the same region. The religious order leaders went to the three wealthier parishes asking for support to keep the immigrant parish open. “They said no,” Ospino said.

In a subsequent interview, Ospino said perspectives such as that of the nonimmigrant parishes in that story illustrate a basic flaw in how many American Catholics think about the growth of Hispanics toward dominance in the church.

“We need to shift the language in the church,” Ospino said. “We can’t simply treat Hispanics as a subgroup of the church anymore. In many parts of the country, to speak about Hispanic Catholics is to speak about the majority of the church.”

 

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Pope: New attitude of ‘evangelical service’ must take hold at Vatican

May 2nd, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told his new economic oversight council that it must be “courageous and determined” in its critical role of helping the church not waver from its real mission of bringing the Gospel to the world and helping those most in need.

The church has a duty to use its assets and manpower responsibly in promoting its spiritual mandate, and “a new mentality of evangelical service” must take hold throughout the Vatican, the pope said May 2.

The pope’s comments came the same day the new Vatican Council for the Economy met for the first time since the pope established the council in February. Read more »

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Cardinal O’Connor’s mother was convert from Judaism, research shows

May 2nd, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) — Cardinal John J. O’Connor, who as archbishop of New York cultivated and cherished his strong ties with the Jewish community, was born of a mother who was born Jewish.

It is not known whether he knew that his mother, Dorothy Gumple O’Connor, was born Jewish. She converted to Catholicism before she met and married Thomas O’Connor, the late cardinal’s father.

Mary O’Connor Ward, the cardinal’s sister, told Catholic New York, newspaper of the New York Archdiocese, that her mother never spoke about having belonged to another faith. Read more »

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Parish installs Marian shrine to bring comfort to those with addictions

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Catholic News Service

DARBY, Pa. (CNS) — Just about every Catholic Church has at least one and often several images of Mary, and that is certainly the case at Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Darby.

It is an old church, built in 1930, but one shrine to Mary is new. It was installed just last October and is unique among the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s 235 parishes.

A large icon painted especially for the church was executed by celebrated artist Brother Michael (Mickey) O’Neill McGrath, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, who also gave a reflection at the parish. It is titled “Our Lady of Light, Help of the Addicted.” Read more »

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Opinion: Where have all the kind people gone?

May 2nd, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Catholic News Service

I don’t know what’s going on — maybe it’s the long, lingering winter or the rising gas prices — but everyone seems testy and rude, visiting nastiness and annoyance on their fellow human beings: The guy in line yesterday at the sandwich place who called the new kid behind the counter an “idiot” or the woman who growled “get a job” to the homeless person panhandling on the corner this morning.

Sure, when you’re annoyed, frustrated or angry, it’s hard to be nice. It’s easier to listen to the fight-or-flight response that calls us to bite and scratch. But we don’t live in the annals of prehistory: This is 2014, and we should have learned by now that being kind is the way to go in life. Read more »

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Vatican statistics report church growth remains steady worldwide

May 2nd, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests, permanent deacons and religious men all increased in 2012, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.

The number of candidates for the priesthood also showed its first global downturn in recent years. Read more »

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