Bishop Jackels asks faithful to strengthen their relationship with Jesus during this Year of Faith
By Bishop Michael O. Jackels The need for us, in the Year of Faith, to strengthen our relationship with Jesus and the practice of our Catholic Faith has been greatly on the mind of the Pope Benedict.
Not long after announcing the Year of Faith, the Pope shared with the Cardinals in the Vatican his concern for the Church, especially in Europe, saying that it is characterized by "faith fatigue ... [a] sense of having had enough of Christianity."
As evidence of this, the Holy Father observed that regular church-goers are increasing in age and decreasing in numbers; that recruitment of priestly vocations is stagnating; and that skepticism and unbelief are growing.
Pope Benedict contrasted the faith fatigue in Europe with the "joyful passion for the faith" that he encountered in his pastoral visit to Benin in Africa and to World Youth Day in Spain.
He described what he experienced on these visits as "a new, more youthful form of Christianity" that is expressed in five notable ways:
* Belonging to a universal Church family. We have the same inner encounter with Jesus as the basis of our living faith. We pray in the same way, especially in our common liturgy.
* Readiness to serve others. The encounter with Jesus inflames us with love that inspires service, even self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the benefit of others.
* Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The spirit of adoration determines our life and enables us to celebrate the Eucharist correctly and receive Holy Communion rightly.
* Making a regular Confession. This calls for humility, asking God for forgiveness, seeking purification, and awakening in us love of God and others.
* Living in joy. This comes from the certainty that we are loved, accepted, wanted by God. Only then can we love and accept ourselves.
The Church in our country, in order not to follow what is happening in Europe, should ensure that these five notable expressions of a more youthful form of Christianity are in evidence here as well.
And if this is going to happen on a national level, then it has to begin on a local and personal level: in the Diocese, in each parish and institution, in each religious community, and in each of the faithful.
What will you do during this Year of Faith?
Year of Faith: Oct. 11, 2012-Nov. 24, 2013
"…They called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith..."(Acts 14:27).
In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that God has opened the door of faith for the early Church. But did you know that God has opened the door of faith for each one us and he invites us to step through the threshold into a deeper relationship with him. The upcoming Year of Faith is an opportunity for every Catholic to turn towards Jesus Christ, encounter him in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and rediscover the Faith and Church.
With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Porta Fidei. . . , Pope Benedict XVI declared that a "Year of Faith" will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, 2012, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council . . . (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.
"The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church."---Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei for the Indiction of the Year of Faith.
The upcoming Year of Faith is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.
Read the Catechism in a Year
For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here's an easy way to do it. Simply enter your email address here and - starting October 11, 2012 - you'll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you'll read the whole catechism in a year. Cool, right?
Faith in Action
Sign up here for a free email newsletter, Faith in Action, and each week get an inspirational reflection and action step written by some of the Church's most popular and gifted authors and speakers.
October is the Month of the Rosary
Rosary - History
It is usually suggested that the rosary began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Office (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), by which monks prayed the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50 or 150 Ave Marias for the Psalms. Sometimes a cord with counters on it was used to keep an accurate count. The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (+1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin. One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, it's most active promoters have been Dominicans. Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys, Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (also referring to a crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads." This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).
The Feast of the Guardian Angels October 2nd "From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God." - from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336.
Prayer to Your Guardian Angel
Angel of God, my guardian dear, To whom God's love commits me here, Ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, rule and guide.
Anna Wishall joined the Dominican Sisters, Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer on October 7th, 2012. The Servants of Relief serve adults with terminal cancer who are unable to pay for adequate medical care. They rely completely on Divine Providence and always welcome donations. The foundress is Nathaniel Hawthorne's daughter, Rose. She is now Blessed Mother Mary Alphonsa, and hopefully will be canonized within the next few years.
Anna graduated PSU in May 2007 with a BA in Music. While at PSU, Anna was very involved at the Newman Center. She recently worked as a Case Worker for adults with Developmental Disabilities in Kansas City. Please keep Anna in your prayers.
Cardinal Dolan Slams Giving Morning After Pills to 14-Year-Olds
Cardinal Dolan, the head of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of New York, is slamming a program that will give morning after pills to girls in NYC schools as young as 14-years-old.
The New York City Department of Education is furnishing morning-after pills and other birth control drugs to students at 13 city high schools and without parental permission. School nurses supplied with the drugs, which can cause a very early abortion, are dispensing “Plan B” and other oral or injectable birth control to girls as young as 14 without telling their parents — unless the parents opt out of the program after receiving a school letter informing them of the new policy.
In a blog post titled, “Tragic and Misguided,” Dolan pans the idea.
The public schools of the City of New York have announced that they are providing so-called “emergency contraception” and long-term contraceptive injections to high school students as young as 14 years old. This policy of dispensing of powerful medicines to young women — without their parents’ knowledge and consent — is tragic and misguided.
Parents have the right and the responsibility to be the first and primary educators of their children. This plan usurps that role, and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents. It also places minors at risk, because no school system can be expected to know all the pertinent health information about their son or daughter, and be able to properly judge what is in their best interests. Requiring parents to “opt-out” of the program is hardly adequate, either. In New York State in recent weeks, laudable legislation has been passed and signed into law requiring explicit consent from parents if a child wants to get a piercing or a tattoo. We now also have a law on the books banning minors from using tanning salons even if the parents consent, out of concern for possible long term health risks. And, for every other medical procedure, explicit, informed consent is required. But not when these powerful drugs – with their potentially serious side effects – are involved. Then we let these young teens do what they want, without a word to their parents.
Feast of the Archangels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael
September 29th, 2012
Back to School Getaway 2012
Thirty eight students and Father Adam braved the rainy weather and car-pooled to Sky Ranch Cave Springs in Quapaw, OK for the annual Back to School Getaway. The weekend started with Mass at the Newman Center, followed by pizza. Next, everyone loaded up for the trek to Oklahoma. It was a great bonding time as the group participated in Mass and Liturgy of the Hours as well as fun activities such as paintball, the blob, bonfires and the giant slip-n-slide. As you can see by the slideshow, the misty weather did not dampen the fun!
Our prayers are never wasted, Pope Benedict says
Pope Benedict XVI used his weekly General Audience to explain that there is no such thing as wasted prayer.
“We can be sure that there is no such thing as a superfluous or useless prayer. No prayer is lost,” said the Pope to over 8,000 pilgrims in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall Sept. 12.
“When faced with evil we often have the sensation that we can do nothing, but our prayers are in fact the first and most effective response we can give, they strengthen our daily commitment to goodness. The power of God makes our weakness strong.”
Pope Benedict was continuing his weekly exploration of prayer in the story of salvation with a particular focus on the second part of the Book of the Apocalypse, the concluding book of the Bible.
Within its passages, he explained, the Christian assembly is called “to undertake a profound interpretation of the history in which it lives” so that it may learn “to discern events with faith” a thus “collaborate in the advancement of the kingdom of God.”
Thus the assembly is invited to ascend into heaven “in order to see reality with the eyes of God.” God’s plan for history and mankind, however, is contained in a scroll which is “hermetically sealed with seven seals and no one can read it.”
It ultimately requires “Christ, the Lamb, who immolated in the sacrifice of the cross but stands in sign of his resurrection” to “progressively open the seals so as to reveal the plan of God, the profound meaning of history.”
This episode, said the Pope, should remind us all “of the path we must follow to interpret the events of history and of our own lives.” Both as individuals and a community we should realize that in “raising our gaze to God’s heaven in an unbroken relationship with Christ” in prayer we can learn “to see things in a new way and to grasp their most authentic significance.”
While this “realistic examination of the present time in which they are living” can lead to the discovery of great evil and injustice in the world, the Church “is invited never to lose hope,” said Pope Benedict, as “the power of God has entered man's history, a power capable not only of counterbalancing evil, but also of overcoming it.”
“God became so close as to descend into the darkness of death and illuminate it with the splendor of divine life. He took the evil of the world upon himself to purify it with the fire of his love.”
This is why as Christians “we can never be pessimists,” concluded Pope Benedict, as prayer “educates us to see the signs of God, his presence and his action” or rather “it educates us to become lights of goodness, spreading hope and indicating that the victory is God’s.”
The Pope then addressed the enthusiastic gathering in several different languages before leading pilgrims in the singing of the Our Father in Latin and imparting his apostolic blessing.