Brothers and Sisters,
A most blessed Christmas to all of you! I pray that this day, and indeed this Christmas season may bring to you and your loved ones many blessings, and great love! In these next few days, as we worship our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, may we reflect upon the great love with which the Father has bestowed upon us. And may we seek, each in our own way, to reflect this love to a world in need of it, and to rejoice in this Christmas season, for we ourselves are greatly loved by God! Remember the words from St. John's Gospel (3:16): "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son." And from St. John's first Letter (1 John 4:9-10): "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to the expiation for our sins."
Praise God for His great love and for His Son!
St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology presents: Join Scott Hahn in celebrating the joy of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with this short video about God's greatest masterpiece, Mary.
The Advent season is time for us to slow down, pray and to seek to vigilant for the coming of Jesus Christ. Our cues from secular culture can easily move us in the opposite direction, becoming more frantic and materialistic. We may become feel the need to work hard to give gifts to our loved ones and that is a good thing as long as we realize that the greatest gifts that we can give them are to found in our communion with the Lord.
Advent Gangnam Style!
Why is this Advent season so important? It is a time to stop - to prepare - to wait. Take a look at this video on the real meaning of Advent.
Pope proclaims seven new saints, including St. Kateri Tekakwitha
VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Proclaiming seven new saints - including St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Marianne Cope from North America - Pope Benedict XVI said they are examples to the world of total dedication to Christ and tireless service to others.
In a revised canonization rite Oct. 21, the pope prayed for guidance that the church would not "err in a matter of such importance" as he used his authority to state that the seven are with God in heaven and can intercede for people on earth.
An estimated 80,000 pilgrims from the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Italy, Spain, Germany and Madagascar ﬁlled St. Peter's Square for the canonization of the holy women and men who ministered among their people.
The pilgrims applauded the proclamation of the new saints, who included: Kateri, an American Indian who was born in the United States and died in Canada in 1680; Mother Marianne, a Sister of St. Francis who traveled from Syracuse, N.Y., to Hawaii to care for people with Hansen's disease and died in Molokai in 1918; and Pedro Calungsod, a teenaged Philippine catechist who was martyred in Guam in 1672.
The other new saints are: French Jesuit Father Jacques Berthieu, martyred in Madagascar in 1896; Italian Father Giovanni Battista Piamarta, founder of religious orders, who died in 1913; Sister Carmen Salles Barangueras, founder of a Spanish religious order, who died in 1911; and Anna Schaffer, a lay German woman, who died in 1925.
Pope Benedict called St. Kateri the "protectress of Canada and the ﬁrst Native American saint," and he entrusted to her "the renewal of the faith in the First Nations and in all of North America."
The daughter of a Mohawk father and Algonquin Christian mother, St. Kateri was "faithful to the traditions of her people," but also faithful to the Christianity she embraced at age 20. "May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are," the pope said.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, who is of American Indian descent, told Catholic News Service, "I think many young people today are embarrassed about embracing the Catholic faith because they live in a secular culture that's hostile toward religious experience."
Dear President Obama,
In my capacity as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I write to express my congratulations on your re-election as President of the United States. The people of our country have again entrusted you with a great responsibility. The Catholic Bishops of the United States offer our prayers that God will give you strength and wisdom to meet the difficult challenges that face America.
In particular, we pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant. We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom. We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone.
May God bless you and Vice President Biden as you prepare for your second term in service to our country and its citizens.
Learn why Catholics and Protestants have different versions of the Bible. This is the video that was shown at the last Newman Club Meeting.
Communion of the Saints
Prayer for our Nation Before the
2012 Presidential Election
Saturday, October 27, 2012
In a little over two weeks, Americans across the country will go to the polls to elect the next President of the United States. Without doubt, this is an important time for all Americans, especially for those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. Currently many of the values that have shaped our Country from its founding seem to be at risk, religious liberty being one of the most prominent. Religious liberty, which is the first value guaranteed by the Constitution, is being eroded and is on the verge of being denied with the HHS mandate that would compel Catholic employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization. Pope Benedict XVI and the United States Bishops have recognized this erosion, and have encourage Catholics across the Country to defend our religious freedom and to defend those Christian values upon which the United States was founded.
So, as Catholics, we have always turned to the Mother of God for help in times of need. The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) is sponsoring a Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation. This novena is a great way to ask for the Blessed Mother's intercession! Each day, there is a short reflection and prayer, which can be prayed online everyday, or downloaded to print. It is a great way to pray with others all over the country and world for the future of the United States and for religious freedom. And if you start tomorrow, Sunday, October 28, the novena ends one day before the Presidential Election.
Tell your family and friends about the novena, and let's ask Mary the Mother of God to intercede for us so that religious liberty may be protected and the values we cherish as "one nation under God" would be respected and promoted!
Click here for the novena website.
Thank you and God bless you!
Q - I have heard a lot of people referring to Pope John Paul II as "John Paul the Great". I do not feel comfortable giving him this title although I think he is one of the greatest popes ever. What do you think about calling him John Paul the Great now, and how does a pope receive that designation?
A - Thanks for the questions. The first question is easy for me to answer, since JPII has had such a formative influence on my life - I have no problem with it at all.
The second question requires a bit more background.
There are three other popes who have been called "The Great":
Here is the interesting thing, none of the three have ever been officially recognized by the Church as "great". It is a popular title given, that rises up from the people and tradition surrounding the men. Since they received the popular title, the have been listed in Church documents with "The Great" appended to their name, but never has the Church given the title to them officially.
So, why would we list John Paul II as another "Great"? There are many reasons, so here is a short list:
I expect history won't downgrade John Paul from being the next "Great" Pope.
An online, video version of the Angelus has been produced by the Catholic Advance as part of the Year of Faith activities and to promote the traditional prayer. Bishop Michael O. Jackels leads the Angelus, a set of prayers in honor of the Incarnation. It is traditionally prayed three times a day, morning, noon, and evening, at the sound of the bell. The faithful are invited to bookmark the prayer which on the diocesan homepage at CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org.
Pope Benedict XVI opens Year of Faith
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the start of a special Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI called on Catholics to revive the "authentic spirit" of Vatican II by re-proposing the church's ancient teachings to an increasingly Godless modern world.
The pope spoke at a special Mass in St. Peter's Square Oct. 11, half a century to the day after the opening ceremonies of Vatican II. About 400 bishops from around the world, including 15 of the 70 surviving members of the 1962-65 council, attended. Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury attended as special guests.
The observances featured ceremonies recalling milestones of Vatican II, including the enthronement of a book of the Gospels used at the original gathering and a re-presentation of the council's final "messages" to various categories of lay Catholics, such as artists, workers and women.
Vatican II, Pope Benedict said, had been "animated by a desire ... to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man."
He noted that Blessed John XIII, in his speech at the opening of the council, called for both the safeguarding and the effective teaching of the "sacred deposit of Christian doctrine ... this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, (and) needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs our time."
"The council fathers wished to present the faith in a meaningful way," the pope said, "and if they opened themselves trustingly to dialogue with the modern world it is because they were certain of their faith, of the solid rock on which they stood."
One of the council fathers, retired Bishop William J. McNaughton of Inchon, Korea, traveled to the anniversary Mass from his home in Methuen, Mass. Speaking recently to Catholic News Service, he recalled the procession of more than 2,200 bishops into St. Peter's Basilica on the council's first day.
"Because television cameras from all over the world were taking pictures, all the lights were on in the basilica," said Bishop McNaughton, 85. "I thought I was at the gate of heaven."
The Year of Faith has started, but what is it all about?
The Profession of Faith
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Former Newman Club Member Enters Religious Order
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.
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?
"…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.
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?