Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Highlights of Lent/Easter 2009 - Rome, Madrid, Switzerland -

I am in the city of Madrid on a sort of RETREAT. I am looking over the sanctuary of a beautiful Church where my room has a sort of secret door that can be opened to this holy beauty. I participated in the Holy Week procession of the World Youth Day cross thru the streets of Madrid.
While in Madrid I also was asked to sing the Great EXSULTET at the Easter Vigil.... aka El Pregon Pascual. First off I was asked to do it in Spanish, secondly to Sing it. But at the last second a professional showed up. Nonetheless I rehearsed and rehearsed and here is what it is suppose to sound like in ENGLISH and another one in SPANISH, I will stay in Madrid on retreat with some occasional work in preparation for World Youth Day Madrid 2011
Before Madrid I made some family visits to Milan and surrounding areas. It was a gorgeous train ride and wonderful time with family. (totally providentially, I was clueless that it was the anniversary) But when I arrived in Rome I went straight to the MASS honoring the death of Pope John Paul II. It was celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI and maybe 5 Bishops, a lot of Cardinals and many Priests and Pilgrims from around the world. There were rumors that he would be beatified there; but no luck. After this I was part of an audience with the Holy Father and the Diocese of Madrid. As well as PALM Sunday Mass with the Pope and the exchanging of the World Youth Day cross from the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, and Madrid, Spain.
I was invited to see the famous city of POMPEII, in August 24, 79 A.D. the city was buried by the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius. Most people fled the eruption at the start, but an estimated 2000 people were buried in the eruption along with the city. Pompeii was buried under some 25 feet of volcanic material which preserved it. Now it is a archeological and tourist site to see an ancient Roman City still preserved and continually more is being discovered. I also got to visit the neighboring town of NAPLES
Before Rome I was on a 21 day adventure in Switzerland. Upon arriving I was promptly given a hat that said "I Like Switzerland" (it's cool). I also received my schedule for the next 17 days. It was filled with over
30 talks/retreats at parishes, schools, monasteries, radio stations and praye groups all over Switzerland. The main event is giving 2 talks at their annual World Youth Day, not to be confused with the international gathering that happens every three with the Pope. The mission was excellent, the feedback was touching, and the views were outstanding.
As a result of this trip, possibilities have arisen to go to Germany, Austria, and Poland. As usual, wherever the next trip, the mission is "ALL FOR THE GREATER GLORY of GOD"... "FIND A NEED, FILL A NEED", and it will be at the service of the Jesus Christ, His Good News of Salvation, and His Church on Earth. Doing it all abandoned to the Providence and Will of God. To be prayerful, and frequenting the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession frequently. So we'll see what comes next. Wherever it is, it will involve the faith and technology... "the Techno Missionary" as some say.. ha! I think that's funny. Sounds catchy though. I look forward to sharing the adventures, glory stories and memorable moments with you that will surely ensue in these next few weeks or months.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pope Speaks on the Effects of the Eucharist

ON HOLY THURSDAY the Pope Speaks on the Effects of the Eucharist. The Eucharistic mystery, a gift of love born from Jesus' "transformation" of the bread into "communion with himself," meant to be "the start of the transformation of the world – into a world of resurrection, a world of God. Yes, it is about transformation – of the new man and the new world that find their origin in the bread that is consecrated, transformed, transubstantiated."...It was 'today' that He did this: he gave himself to us for ever in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. This 'today' is first and foremost the memorial of that first Paschal event. Yet it is something more. With the Canon, we enter into this 'today'. Our today comes into contact with his today. He does this now. With the word 'today', the Church’s Liturgy wants us to give great inner attention to the mystery of this day, to the words in which it is expressed. We therefore seek to listen in a new way to the institution narrative, in the form in which the Church has formulated it, on the basis of Scripture and in contemplation of the Lord himself...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic social teaching is complex, linked with changing social conditions and deepening understandings of both the work of God in history and ethical principles. Nevertheless, this complexity can be summarized imperfectly in terms of seven key principles of Catholic social teaching. The following are highlights: READ FULL ARTICLE HERE I. Respect the Human Person - The foundation for Catholic social thought is the proper understanding and value of the human person. In a sense, all Catholic social teachings articulate the ethical implications of a proper understanding of the dignity of the person. Each and every human being, as a child of God, has certain immunities from harm by others and merits certain kinds of treatment. In particular, the Church has been forceful in defending the right to life of every single innocent human being from conception to natural death. II. Promote the Family - The human person is not simply an individual but is also a member of a community. Failing to acknowledge the community aspect leads to a radical individualism. III. Protect Property Rights - Catholic social teaching has defended the right to private property against the claim that the state should own all things. Private property is essential to human flourishing. IV. Work for the Common Good - only together as a community, and not simply as isolated individuals, is it possible to enjoy, achieve, and spread this good. All people are obligated to work towards making the common good a greater and greater reality. V. Observe the Principle of Subsidiarity - Some Christian thinkers conceive of the state or government as being established simply to repress evil desires and evil people. In Catholic thought, the government also has a more positive role, namely to help secure common good. The government has many necessary and indispensable functions to play, roles that cannot be accomplished by individuals acting alone or even by smaller groups in society. The government should no intervene to attempt to alleviate all problems. A welfare or "nanny" state, offering cradle-to-grave security and attempting to provide for all human needs, expands the state beyond its proper scope and violates the principle of subsidiarity. All Catholics are obliged to work to find solutions to contemporary social problems in light of the Gospel and their best practical wisdom. VI. Respect Work and the Worker - God not only creates man but puts him to work naming the animals and caring for the garden. Obviously, this task was not given to Adam because God was too tired to finish the job. Rather, human work participates in and reflects God's creative and providential care of the universe. Furthermore, workers are not mere drones, means to the production of capital for owners, but must be respected and accorded the opportunity to form unions to secure collectively a just compensation. VII. Pursue Peace and Care for the Poor - Peace means more than just an absence of violent conflict. Peace is the "tranquility of order" in Augustine's phrase. War between nations may be necessary at times — but solely in order to restore peace. This just order of society also includes solicitude for the poor. Not only the direct or indirect effects of individual actions, but also wise social policies are necessary for a just ordering of society, social policies that must take into account the likely effect on the poor.