Friday, September 05, 2008

Invite someone to RCIA

Eucharistic Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. Please join us!!
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Thinking about becoming Catholic? Do you know someone who is?
You are invited to join us for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes / discussions every Wednesday in the rectory, starting September 10, 7 pm. “All adult Catholics should have to go through the RCIA program”, a convert to the Church once said. RCIA is a great opportunity to grow spiritually and personally closer to Christ and to His Body, the Church. If you or someone you know is interested, please email me (gshaffer@adwparish.org).
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‘I don’t get anything out of the readings at Mass…I can’t relate to them’. Have you or someone you know experienced this? A Bible study can really help! The better we know Scripture, the better we know Christ. All are invited to get to know Him (and other parishioners) better by joining us on Mondays in the rectory, starting September 8, 7 pm, to discuss how the Sunday readings apply to our lives now. All are welcome! It is a good time!!

15 Comments:

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The Bible was inscribed over a period of 2000 years, in times of war and days of peace, by kings, tax collectors, farmers, fishermen, singers, and shepherds. The marvel is that a library so perfectly conducive could have been produced by such a large crowd, over a period of time that stagers the imagination. Jesus is a great subject, our good is designed, and the glory of God is its end!” – Lyrics, Casting Crowns

 
At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a homily that I listened to a while back that sort of offended me, and it’s hard to explain why. The priest talked about a family who ate dinner together every night and went on to talk about the family that “prays together…” There was a little more detail given to the lifestyle of this family, and I sat there feeling more and more alienated. My family certainly doesn’t resemble that one. I know everyone, and every family, has their problems, but, within the church, when you don’t fit into the mold of husband, wife and children (happily together), it’s hard to feel like a valuable part.

Much of what is spoken in the church is geared towards those couples working together to raise a family (and rightly so), but sometimes it’s hard to be one of those people who is struggling within a scenario that’s different. It’s something that’s bothered me for a while and again lately, and something I thought I’d finally say.

On another note-
There’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln that I’ve been remembering. He was asked how he felt when he lost the senate race to Douglas- "I feel like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh."

It’s hard when we experience things that wouldn’t factor to any one else in the way that do us, and NOT feel stupid that we’re so bothered. A friend told me those are the things we are to give to God- NO ONE ELSE WANTS THEM! I thought that was kind of funny.

 
At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 1pm

Some years ago, I watched some TV special about couples dealing with the ravages of Alzheimer's disease.

One of the couples featured was a pair of elderly gay men who had been partners for decades. The one cared for the other with a devotion that could not more clearly demonstrate the commitment of "...in sickness or in health."

I'm fairly conservative in my social views, but it just doesn't sit well with me that in the eyes of many, this couple's relationship has no value, and is even viewed with distaste.

 
At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To separate oneself or one's group-to say, Oh, no, we are different —is to set oneself against wholeness. To separate ourselves from the whole is to cut our options and erect walls of our own prison. When we create duality in our thoughts and lives, we have created opposition ... the separations and limitations are in our own minds. Joseph Campbell Osbon (1991, p. 7)

 
At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Campbell also wrote, “no meaning is in the group- all is in the individual," and advised us to, "Follow your own bliss!" He contradicted himself quite a bit.

Walls already exist- I haven’t erected them. The RCIA appeal brought this to my mind. I thought, “Hmm, why do people join the Catholic Church and who do I know who may want that?” The answer seems obvious- the Eucharist, but there are people- a family of ordained and lay people intrinsically connected. How many non-Catholics and Catholics do you know who don’t feel like they fit in? I honestly believe more people leave the church- NOT b/c they can’t deal w/the “rules,” but b/c they experience another kind of disconnect.

We don’t have greater value because our lives are organized in any certain way. I wonder if some in the church know that. When I heard the homily to which I referenced, I thought, “Well, it’s great that mother is able to be home to orchestrate that. Oh, and how nice that dad is able to make it to dinner each night- some dads work two jobs. Gee- if she were divorced, how sad it might be for some mother to sit down to an empty table.” I wanted to say, “Father, we aren’t dynamic mothers b/c we get everyone to the table at the same time!!” My goodness!! There are days I feel immensely successful when I get everyone fed, however that happens. I’m dynamic because I hold my family together, and most of the time that looks far from anything like the scenario that was held up as a great example.

Honestly, and I’ll be impressed w/FG if he prints this, I’ve wondered if “someone like me” has a place in the church, much less an equal place. It can be an act of sheer will to keep those doubts from changing my actions- for (my brand of) family values require that I put my feelings aside for the good of my children.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger fran said...

To Anon 1:00-

First of all, it is good to talk about things that are bothersome. I am sorry that you feel alienated at times. You probably have had these thoughts yourself, but I wanted to add that while what you are hearing may stir up feelings of unrest, the Church, also offers these words of comfort:

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves."
Matthew 11:28-29

 
At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Anon 1:00 PM wrote: "Much of what is spoken in the church is geared towards those couples working together to raise a family (and rightly so), but sometimes it’s hard to be one of those people who is struggling within a scenario that’s different."

I hear you, Anon 1:00 PM! I am not divorced or a single parent, but I am a Catholic married to a non-Catholic and we never had children (a disappointment!) For ever so long, I felt like a fish out of water within any given parish, because it seemed to me that people my age are "supposed" to be attending Mass with their Catholic spouse with whom they are also "supposed" to be having children. And that just didn't fit my life at all!

Some time back, I got into the habit of spending time reading the lives of the Saints, how much they loved God, how they searched for Him, how they were willing to endure any and everything for love of Him. Some of the saints lived during the 4th century, came to the Church later in life, and had brilliant and illustrious ecclesiastical careers (like Saint Augustine); some lived during the 20th century as humble peasant-farmers, and died while mere children (like Saint Maria Goretti). Some were rejected and abandoned by their own families (like Saint Margaret of Castello); some were rejected and imprisoned by their own religious communities (like Saint John of the Cross). The servant of God, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, whose cause for canonization was opened in 2003, was separated from her alcoholic husband and founded an order of sisters to care for indigent cancer patients. And the Bible speaks of the prophetess Anna who had lived with her husband for seven years, and then as a widow for many years afterwards. The elderly Anna was usually to be found praying in the temple. No matter what characterized the externals of their lives, however, my studies led me to the realization that the saints lived their lives intensely focussed on one thing and one thing only: to love and serve the Lord God.

I also realized that loving and devoted service to Him may take many forms and may manifest itself in many different ways. For every stage of life - almost from infancy, until our final moments in (we hope) a ripe old age, we can love Him and serve Him. Single, searching, married, widowed, separated . . . there is only one thing that can separate us from Him - sin! And the remedy for that is a good confession and a willingness to turn our life back to Him.

 
At 2:35 AM, Anonymous 11:19pm anon said...

It sounds as if anon at 1pm is the same as anon at 9:40 -

There are critics of Joseph
Campbell but I do believe it is fair to say that his inspiration to others is the result of being viewed as an authority on the analysis of myth. Campbell’s message is far more mystical than individualistic and he, more than anyone else, has helped revive popular interest in myth.

“Follow your bliss” is a statement that can be, and often is, removed from the general content in which it was said. Even when “Follow your bliss” is removed from Campbell’s overall theory on myths, it by no means encourages people to do one thing more than another.

As to walls, yes, they exist. So what. A wall is only what it is perceived to be and that will be different for each and every one of us. Furthermor, we never face any walls alone nor are we ever alone. God knove us us better than we know ourselves. He is also a great listener.

If a homily or homilies seem to favor the unity of a family when addressing an issue, and this makes you feel left out, weird, not part of the group, or it is simply bother some for whatever reason, perhaps you should sit and talk with the or a priest. If you are referring to a homily delivered at St. A’s, I find it hard to believe that our priests are unaware of the changing dynamics to the definition of today’s family. We have a school right down the hall from the church and kids tend to tell all, just as it is, from their point of view.

I also find it hard to believe that we can expect our priests not to offend or irritate us now and then. After all, they are human. Heck, I’m human and I know I irritate myself sometimes. I can only imagine what I do to others! We are truly blessed with two awesome priests here at St. A’s. I can’t imagine either FG or Fr. Mike not welcoming your perspective on an issue.

Lastly, “But what do I love when I love my God?” is a question St. Augustine asked himself. In search of his answer, he looked to himself and asked “Who am I?” He answered his question with “A man.” It became clear to St. Augustine that man was created with two parts; the outside or the body and the inside or the soul. He then asked himself which of the two, the inside or the outside, should he search to help him find his God?

St. Augustine felt his inner part was the more important part of his existence since it is the part that brings a message to one's bodily senses. My point being; the outside image, the different image is really not the important or valuable part, it’s what goes on inside a person or family that is valuable.

 
At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the beauties of childhood is the ability to see with uncomplicated clarity and tell it all as it is. I think we lose that ability as we age, and matters of what is appropriate to think, feel and/or say set in. My issue is that, sometimes, I think, not only do they (in the church) NOT tell it as it is, they don’t see it as it is, and that makes many feel less than. That’s wrong!!!

Some things in life are beyond our control. We shouldn’t feel like second class citizens when we do the best within any situation- even a less than an ideal (by the church’s standards) one. Those are the very times, the very situations when we are called to ask for God’s help, rise above and should be supported rather than slighted.

I do expect our priests to shake it up, now & then. I can look only to the past two homilies from Fr. Greg, and I am proud of him that he spoke as he did. I can be shaken, stirred and, yes- even irritated- that’s NOT what I’m speaking to. This isn’t singular in nature.

Yes- we are dealing with humans in our priesthood- that fact has been pointed out to me, so I do expect them to suffer from the inadequacies and prejudices to which we are all subjected. But that doesn’t make what I’m talking about okay. In talking with others, and in how I’ve felt, it’s like being made to feel like a square peg in a round hole- for nothing less than the circumstances of our lives. It’s wrong.

 
At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to Marion-

I have been reading about the lives of the saints. Particularly now, it's been helpful. I read about the women. I read about the difficult circumstances of some of their lives and how they stayed true to their faith. It is truly inspiring and the most impactful thing in keeing me outside of anger. Their examples make me humble.

 
At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:15pm anon:

“My issue is that, sometimes, I think, not only do they (in the church) NOT tell it as it is, they don’t see it as it is, and that makes many feel less than. That’s wrong!!!”

“We shouldn’t feel like second class citizens when we do the best within any situation- even a less than an ideal (by the church’s standards) one. Those are the very times, the very situations when we are called to ask for God’s help, rise above and should be supported rather than slighted.”

“In talking with others, and in how I’ve felt, it’s like being made to feel like a square peg in a round hole- for nothing less than the circumstances of our lives. It’s wrong.”

What I am hearing, and bloggers, please correct me if I'm wrong, is blame on others, institutions, circumstances or individuals for your feelings. I hear anger and frustration that the church does not seem to understand where you or today’s families are coming from.

With love, compassion, understanding and patience in the depth of my heart, the simple fact is that no one can make you feel the way you do. We are each responsible for our own emotions, feelings, actions, thoughts, etc. Blame will not fix the problem. Searching through the “who, what, when, where and whys” that have formed and continue to form your life might shed some light on the underlying issue(s). The most important thing is to remember that you are not alone in your finite search here on Earth. Jesus knows you and is right there with you, feeling your frustration and pain while holding your hands, if you extend and open them.

 
At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And for our kids:

LONDON, SEPT. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The creators of a pioneering Web site for children hope their new resource will appeal to an increasing number of young people showing an interest in religious studies and spirituality.

Yfaith.co.uk is designed to cater to children between the ages of 10 and 13, who have questions to ask and want to learn more about life, relationships, spirituality and the world around them.

The site, created by the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelization, an agency of the episcopal conference of England and Wales, is set to be launched Sunday.

It features more than 20 interactive pages covering music and film, "Girls only" and "Boys only" sections, book reviews, prayer and a questions area.

"Step Ahead" interviews feature teenagers 14-16 years old who serve as older role models.

Emily Davis, one of the Yfaith creators, said research suggests courses on religious studies continue to increase in popularity.

"Yfaith is a resource which aims to encourage and support children and young people in their journey of spiritual discovery and enquiry," she explained. "We hope that there is something on the site for everyone."

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger fran said...

Anon,

I offer these perspectives with respect and sensitivity.

You have read about the lives of some of the saints and how they stayed true to their faith, despite their circumstances. Don't you see? You keep comparing your set of circumstances to those that were given as examples in a couple of homilies that centered on the "traditional family." What you should be comparing (if you must compare at all )is your set of circumstances to those of the saints! If you do this, you can see that you are certainly not a "square peg in a round hole," where the church is concerned, but rather someone who "fits in" rather nicely, as we certainly hear a LOT about the saints in church too. And I am sure there are PLENTY of church goers who feel that they cannot identify with them (the saints.)

Over the summer, I attended mass out of town for three consecutive Sundays. Due to the large summer crowds, this particular church has one mass, in the main church, at 10:30am and another at 10:45am, in the parish hall.

I attended the parish hall mass on the first weekend I was there and found the homily ( read from a paper )to be less than inspiring. I had had similar experiences at this same church earlier in the summer with the same priest/homilist, always in the parish hall. Hoping to avoid the "parish hall" priest, I instructed my family that we were getting up earlier and
attending mass in the main church, the following two Sundays.

Upon our arrival, the next Sunday, I was pleased to see that the celebrant was a different priest who also gave a much more dynamic homily. I had figured it out, I thought, this must be the "main church" priest! Well, you can imagine my surprise on the third Sunday we attended mass, again in the main church, and the "parish hall" priest appeared.

I enjoy a good homily as much as the next person, and am especially glad when I hear one which resonates with me and my particular set of circumstances. But if I leave church with any feelings other than those of complete joy, then my focus has been on the wrong thing. The Eucharist is why we go to church, not the homily.

Finally, today is the birthday of the Blessed Mother. A woman who was an unwed teenage mother, engaged to a man who at one time was going to divorce her quietly, so that she would not be stoned to death, who travelled on the back of a donkey to give birth to her son in a stable. Not your ordinary family. Not your traditional set of circumstances.

 
At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the midnight anon-

“With love, compassion, understanding and patience in the depth of my heart, the simple fact is that no one can make you feel the way you do.”

Maybe I am blaming- you gave me something to think about there. We are each responsible for our own feelings but NOT always our experiences. If someone pinches you- it hurts, and words can jab. We affect the people with whom we come into contact- in both deed and word.

What I could have said-

“not only do they (in the church) NOT tell it as it is, they don’t see it as it is, and therefore, others may not see themselves.”

“We aren’t second class citizens when we do the best within any situation- even a less than an ideal (by the church’s standards) one”

“In talking with others, and in my experience, we ARE square pegs in round holes; we don’t fit”

I’m not angry with the CHURCH, but I do get frustrated. The church does and must promote what is correct among its members- I understand. But its teachers (and members) foster this ideal that isn’t and may never be a reality for some. They speak to that ideal OFTEN. You aren’t going to like to hear this, but if you don’t fit in with that ideal- you, sometimes, are treated differently- by the lay and ordained alike (not all of them). In my own life, I have been counseled to work towards that ideal when it is clearly unhealthy for me to do so. I walked away wondering if (in that) “I” mattered at all. But you’re right- with that, I have blamed, as likely have countless others.

I do appreciate your openness and honesty. I think I need to work towards creating my own “ideal” and allow that to be enough in the face of whatever anyone says.

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Anon 11:36 AM wrote, the Church's "teachers (and members) foster this ideal that isn’t and may never be a reality for some. They speak to that ideal OFTEN. . . but if you don’t fit in with that ideal - you, sometimes, are treated differently - by the lay and ordained alike (not all of them). In my own life, I have been counseled to work towards that ideal when it is clearly unhealthy for me to do so. I walked away wondering if (in that) 'I' mattered at all."

I am very puzzled. What could the Church possibly be presenting as "an ideal" that is "unhealthy" for its members? I'm asking myself whether we are talking about an abusive husband? If so, while it is ideal for families to remain intact, it certainly is not ideal to remain intact with someone who is beating the living daylights out of you or others, or is being otherwise seriously abusive. That's not "intact"; that's "that family needs a restraining order".

But before I go on and waste everyone's time by speaking about the wrong things: won't you tell us specifically how your situation is different from the ideal?

 

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