Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Holy Father's First Tweet

Many Catholic bloggers have made a big deal of Pope Benedict’s first tweet. Here is Rocco Palmo’s writing about it on his blog, “Whispers In The Loggia.” The occasion was the opening of a new Vatican news website.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Discovering An Anniversary

With everything that has been happening in my life this past year, it appears that I have missed a very important anniversary in the Franciscan World. April 16th, 2011 marked the beginning of a year long celebration of the 800th Anniversary of the founding of Order of Saint Clare, commonly known as the Poor Clares. On Palm Sunday, 1212, Clare of Assisi, daughter of a noble family, decided to leave all of her riches and privileges, and join Francis of Assisi in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She would be soon joined by her sister Agnes and other women; Francis gave them the chapel San Damiano as their monastery.

Saint Clare and her community became the contemplative branch of the Franciscan family, and preserved the ideal of Franciscan poverty. The community continues to this day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Is the Gospel Message on the Web "Sticky" Or "Bouncy?"

I daily check out America magazine’s website; I find it very interesting and informative. Today, I came across an article by Father James Martin, SJ, based on an address he gave at the Diocese of Brooklyn celebration of the 2010 World Communications Day. He examines the status of the Catholic Church’s use of digital communications, where is the Church in the world of the Internet.

There are hundreds of websites out there, established by various Church organizations, and individual Catholics. Some of them are very good; the Vatican, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Archdiocese of Boston, which includes Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s own blog. There are many well constructed blogs created by individuals, many of whom are listed on my blog roll.

The biggest fear that many Catholic leaders have is that the Church is not reaching young digital savvy persons. The Web, if used well, can be a means of reaching out to the young, but it must be done in such a way that it addresses the spiritual needs and concerns of these persons. Finally, what is written on the Web, it must to be lived in the real world.

So will what the Church preaches electronically be “sticky” or “bouncy.”

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Time To Think Outside The Box?

While checking out America magazine’s blog site “In All Things,” I came across a posting on an Associated Press story, reporting on discussions concerning the consolidation of parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston. The Council of Parishes, a local group that opposes the closing of parishes, had obtained a copy of a memo that outlines a possible approach, and they forwarded it to the AP.

The reporting states that there have been suggestions that several parishes in a local area be clustered under one pastor, supported by a combined staff, one financial council and pastoral council. It in turn would look at needs, and ministries versus assets, and recommend to the Archdiocese on the closing or preserving of any the cluster’s facilities. The word has already been out on the ecclesial street, that this might be an approach the Archdiocese might take to address the reduction in active clergy, and the drop in active church membership and donations. It is already being tried in Dorchester, MA, where a former classmate of mine, Father Jack Ahern, is the pastor of three combined parishes.

The idea of creating church clusters is not written in stone, but is still being thought through. Nobody wants a repeat of the last reconfiguration, which was a confused, ill-thought process. Whatever savings it might have had for the Archdiocese, it was not worth the pain, the suspicions, and the strains on the relationships between the laity and the Archbishop. Whatever decisions is made, is must be carefully explained, with clear standards for preserving a parish, and the process must be transparent.

The thing is that the Archdiocese must do something concerning the Catholic communities it is responsible for. The problem is not just financial; it is the number of priests that are available to fully staff all of the parishes. Where there is no Eucharist, there is an ecclesial community in danger of dying. To answer this danger may require thinking outside of the box. A local Catholic community can take many forms, as long as it celebrates a common Eucharist, it remains united with its bishop, and through it’s bishop, is united with the world wide Church.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Looking For Thomas Merton, Find Francis of Assisi As Well

It sometimes happens that while you are looking for one thing, you may come across something else that is just as interesting. Today, while checking out America magazine’s website, I came across a video by Father James Martin, SJ, in which he was giving a short introduction into the life of Thomas Merton. After viewing the video, I saw the site gave a link to another video, also by Father Martin, about St. Francis of Assisi. It is a very nice introduction into the life of the world’s most popular saint.