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Sanctification in Daily Work
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For Your Vocation

The Bishops of the U.S. have created a new website/initiative to be a resource for men and women who are discerning a vocation. It provides “an aid for promoting a vocation culture within the home, and a range of tools for educators, youth leaders and vocation directors.” The website is titled For Your Vocation.

Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life are tremendous and essential gifts to the Church, and it is the bishops’ desire that their two goals for this initiative are achieved:

To help individuals hear and respond to the call by God to the priesthood or consecrated life,

and

To educate all Catholics on the importance of encouraging others through prayer and activities to promote vocations.

Follow along on Facebook, YouTube and their blog.

NYPRIEST.com

Speaking about priests, the New York Archdiocese has a vocation campaign that features a great video which is incredibly well done and inspiring.

Pray For Future Priests On Twitter

Archbishop EijkHere are a couple of Twitter feeds you should start following. One is for Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht and the other is for FuturePriests.com. The Archbishop has issued a call for prayers for vocations on Twitter.

If you’re Twitter savvy just use the #futurepriests hash tag in your tweets.

On Friday, June 19, Dutch Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht asked the world to join in prayer for vocations to the priesthood – using Twitter. Using one of the computers of the archdiocesan seminary in Utrecht, the bishop launched a ‘Global Twitter Campaign for Vocations’ by posting a call for prayer on the fast-growing social network. In his message, he invites his Twitter-followers to spread the initiative around the world.

“The world is in dire need of priests to celebrate the Eucharist, the heart and the source of our faith,” the archbishop said. “We want to join the Holy Father at the start of this ‘Year of the Priest’ by answering Jesus’ call to pray for workers to bring in the harvest (Luke 10:2). Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world, so it’s a great medium to get many people involved in this prayer-campaign.”

You can learn more on the Future Priests.com website. Here’s the homepage prayer:

Loving God,

Jesus urged us to pray
for workers for the harvest.
Through the intercession
of Saint Willibrord, patron saint
of our diocese, we ask you:
call young people to follow Jesus
as a priest, a deacon or in
consacrated life.

Through your Holy Spirit,
grant them the strength
to answer their calling.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Digital Evangelization

In today’s homily the priest started out by saying, “Happy Birthday,” as in today is kind of like the birthday of the founding of the Church when the Apostles received the Holy Spirit and were sent to spread the Gospel.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

That’s from today’s Pentecost Mass reading, Gospel of St. John, 20:21-23.

One of the ways we can all do this today that’s very different than back then is with online communications tools like Twitter, blogs, podcasts and other forms of social networking like Facebook. Now that we have an iPhone app which allows us to view or listen to Vatican video (wifi connection only) the Pope is calling on young people in particular to use these mechanisms>

It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this “digital continent”. Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the “Good News” of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds!

Called to Serve

Laying on of HandsYesterday a good friend of mine was ordained a Deacon in the diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph. Through this sacrament Angelo, and the two others ordained with him, pledged to live his life totally committed to serving Christ and the Church. He will be ordained a priest this December.

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. (Jn. 12:24-26)

    prostrate

    All three newly ordained Deacons with Bishop Finn at the end of Mass:
    the newly ordained

    Here I am at the reception with the overjoyed Deacon-soon-to-be-Priest:
    me and Angelo

Angelo’s brother Matthew is studying at a seminary in Rome and will likely be following his big brother into the priesthood sometime in the next couple of years! Please keep Angelo, Matt and all of our seminarians, priests and deacons in your prayers everyday!!

If you are interested I also have a Flickr account with more pictures from the ordination.

The Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope

nullRead St. Louis Catholic’s interview with the well-known Catholic apologist and Jewish convert Rosalind Moss about her in St. Louis with the permission of Archbishop Burke. Her plan is to “flood the world with holy habits as signs to God.” Some excerpts:

The desire that I have is to reach the poor, and the rich, and every class of society, and race, creed, tribe, tongue and people…

We will be a contemplative/active, evangelistic and teaching order. Contemplative and active, because service is the fruit of prayer, and we wanted nothing apart from prayer and apart from God…

we are in the process of designing the habits. And they will be to the floor (laughs), that’s for sure! We’re going to work with families, we’re going to teach the faith in the convent, we’re going to show films in the convent, we’re going to talk about God. I just want to reach people. I want to help families live for God.

The order will be under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales and they have already received dozens of vocation inquiries.

Love as God Loves

See my latest blog entry at Reflections of a Paralytic: Reclaiming the Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality

Regarding the WHO abortion study that I mentioned in Wednesday’s post another conclusion that many come to upon seeing the numbers of abortions carried out world wide is that something must be done to prevent so many “unwanted pregnancies” in the first place. Now that is a rational conclusion. What is irrational, however, is the promotion of contraception as a solution when the underlying problem is immoral sexual behavior to begin with. Now they want to offer birth control to 11 year olds?! We are really failing our children if this is the best we can do. How about teaching them to love and respect their bodies and live out their sexuality in the manner in which God intended? We must reclaim the truth and meaning of human sexuality (which does not include condoms or birth control) if we are to ever dream of having an impact on abortion numbers.

Christopher West boldly asserts that, in the final analysis, the abortion debate is not really about when life begins, but the meaning of sex. Naturally, people don’t advocate abortion because they believe they have a right to kill their own offspring, but because they want to have the right to have sex without limit or consequence. In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, JPII says,

It is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not help the young to accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection (n. 97)

So what is this “true meaning” of sexuality? Here’s what I told a group of Confirmation students a few weeks ago…

Read more

Opus Dei Vicar ‘Zapped’ by God

Canada’s Opus Dei Vicar Msgr. Fred Dolan shares his vocation story with Canadian Catholic News:

On Dec. 5, 1975, Dolan had what he calls his “Road to Damascus” experience. Working on a paper on Gulliver’s Travels, he decided to take a study break. He went over to the center’s book shelf and took down C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. A friend had told him about scene depicting a lizard on a man’s shoulder arguing with his guardian angel on the other. He found it immediately.

“The Holy Spirit used the pages of C.S. Lewis to zap me,” Msgr. Dolan said. Instantly he saw two paths open up before him.

The path of a “numerary,” Opus Dei’s term for members committed to lifelong celibacy, promised “enormous happiness and fruitfulness.”

The other path – that of marriage and a family – also opened up and he saw he could choose it with no problem. He realized instantly, however, the celibate path “was what God wanted” for him…

He’s never experienced any doubt that he made the right decision and remains “grateful” for a “powerful sense I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

“If you give the Holy Spirit ‘carte blanche,’ you just fasten your seat belt and hold on for the ride,” he said. “It’s always pretty good.”

He also said Opus Dei’s support through excellent spiritual direction and the stress on the Sacrament of Penance helps keep any attacks of doubt or conflict at bay. “Nothing gets beyond the level of a brief skirmish,” he said.

Born in 1952, Dolan grew up in Bethesda, Md., as the oldest of six children in a family that took the Catholic faith seriously. His father attended mass daily and his mother converted as a teenager. Dolan said at age 16 he “met Opus Dei just at the right time” through his best friend…

Opus Dei gave him input on how to make his life complete, he said. It helped him develop a disciplined prayer life, take a professional attitude towards his studies, and “aim high in everything I do.”

Pope John Paul II ordained Dolan in 1983 at St. Peter’s in Rome…

Opus Dei celebrates its 50th anniversary of coming to Canada this June, and next year, Msgr. Dolan will celebrate his 10th anniversary here.

I love this part of the article. It’s very typical of an Opus Dei priest:

Msgr. Dolan always wears his clerical collar. In fact, when he was interviewed by CBC Television’s Evan Solomon last year during the height of “The Da Vinci Code” movie controversy, he showed his empty closet, bare except for a few black shirts and slacks off the sparely furnished bedroom bed at his residence in Montreal.

He said the clerical garb signals to others, “I exist for you. How can I serve you?”

“It pays to advertise,” he said, smiling. He often has people coming up to him, asking for prayer. He now makes a practice of going to the train station or the airport at least an hour early so people can approach them. “If priests are invisible, that shuts down,” he said.

38 New Opus Dei Priests

From Zenit:

The new priests come from Ireland, the Netherlands, the United States, Australia, Germany, Spain, Colombia, Italy, the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, France, Congo, Brazil, Argentina, Kenya and Guatemala.

During the Mass, Bishop Echevarría offered the new priests some advice from Opus Dei’s founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá: “We priests must only speak of God. We will not speak of politics, or social ideologies or questions extraneous to the priestly task. In this way, we will make the Holy Church and the Roman Pontiff loved.”

Brian Maguire, an American who flew to Rome to attend the event, said: “Many Americans are understandably discouraged by the so-called vocations crisis here at home. They should go to Rome. There’s no doubt that God is renewing the Church from its heart in Rome.

“Saturday’s ordinations showed not only that many young men are responding to this call, but that they are doing so generously and enthusiastically when it’s presented to them as a lifelong surrender of self for others.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Our LadyI want to wish all mothers, especially my own mother and my beautiful wife, a very happy Mother’s Day! And, of course, I can’t leave out the Mother of God and our own very Blessed Mother.

Mary, our mother, the Queen of all mothers, we love you! Pray for us!

Heavenly Father, You have been pleased to give all human beings the joy of having a mother, one who works with You to give them life and bring them to human adulthood.

You have given followers of your Son the added joy of a Christian mother, who works with You to give supernatural life to a child and to bring up that child to Christian adulthood.

Over the centuries there have been countless such mothers—heroic, courageous, loving, dedicated, and unconquerable. They have given us the Christian Ages and Christian Saints and in the final analysis the Christian Faith. Without them, there would be no Church, no religious vocation, and no Christian influence in the world. Most of these mothers are unsung in the eyes of the world; they must be content with little things: a smile, a thank you, and a token of remembrance.

In your eyes, however, they are of inestimable worth. Your Word in the Bible uses a mother’s love to describe your overwhelming love for your people, and Jesus uses the image of a mother bird to indicate his love for his people. Most of all, when He wants to convey an idea of the joy of those in heaven, He does so by using the image of a mother’s pure joy in bringing a child into the world.

Dear Lord, let me honor my mother if she is living and remember her in prayer if she is dead. Pour down your grace on her and on all mothers on this day dedicated to them.

Amen.

What The Pope Said

There’s certainly a lot of erroneous information floating around the media over a statement that Pope Benedict made recently. I think the main confusion is not only over what he said that has irritated the militant Islamic folks who I don’t think speak for their people but more over what he said in terms of an apology. The Pope didn’t apologize for what he said and there’s no need for him too. The media and these hate mongerers have taken things very out of context for their own personal reasons/gain.

Here’s what the Pope did say prior to the Angelus in Rome on Sunday:

“At this time, I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.

“Yesterday, the Cardinal Secretary of State published a statement in this regard in which he explained the true meaning of my words. I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.”

I don’t think he can be any more clear.

Pray For Vocations On Priesthood Sunday

Priesthood SundayToday is Priesthood Sunday USA. This is being promoted by the USA Council of Serra International.

Please join me on this special day, Priesthood Sunday, in praying for our priests, in praising God for their courage and their generosity. As your bishop I urge you to make your appreciation for your parish priest known. A simple note, a smile or a phone call to assure him of your loving care and gratitude for his presence in the life of your local church will go a long way to serve the greater good of our wonderful and growing Catholic Church.
BISHOP JOSEPH GOSSMAN, Diocese of Raleigh