Adult Faith Formation

Human Rights Quiz

Take a quick quiz on Human Rights. Which of the following has the legal rights of a "person" according to its local jurisdiction? 

 

 Te Awapa Tupua River, NZ

Potamos_nea_zilandia

YES. Granted personhood by the New Zealand Parliament. Read this excerpt from Bioedge:

Riverine personhood is an untested concept in a Western legal system. According to the government, Te Awa Tupua will now have its own legal personality with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person. Lawyers say that the river cannot vote and cannot be charged with homicide if people drown in it. But it will have to pay taxes, if liable. The gender of the river is unspecified at the moment.

The government has awarded River Awapa (if I can be so bold to use the River's first name)  $80 million in pollution damages for the last 20 years along with $30 million toward improving its environmental, social, cultural and economic health. It will have two court appointed guardians: one by the indigenous people who brought the petition, the other by the crown. 

 Attorneys for the river indicated its gender had not yet been determined: "At this stage the river is referred to as "it" but it could be assigned a gender (and not just that of a man or woman). If the people appointed to act as the human face of the river want to ask people to use another pronoun, they can, just like everyone else."

With this Act of Parliament, I think that New Zealand has officially entered the age of liquid modernity. I am sure the search didn't take long for 2 guardians to administer the river's assets! Imagine the lawsuits When River gets angry and floods home and basements. I wonder if it has legal immunity from that?

 

Kiko  22308806-mmmain

 No, so far. (But litigating) Kiko is a deaf chimpanzee rescued by his current owners years ago from performing in circuses and movies, he lives on a Wild Life Preserve in upstate New York. A lawyer, Steven Wise is arguing before a court in New York that the chimpanzee's personhood rights are being violated by being kept in his enclosure. He should be freed according to Wise to live in a preserve in Florida.  

 

 A 35 Week Human In Its Mothers Womb

Bill of rights

 No. See Roe v. Wade for the irrational explanation. 

 

A 35 week old human in its mother's arms.

Et

Happily Yes, so far. 



The (Saint) Benedict Option

Another interesting book for Lenten reading, sobering but spiritual, The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher was published this week. A book in the genre of Archbishop Chaput's book, written from a slightly different perspective but arriving at the same conclusions: we (Christian believers) are in trouble around the world and here in America.

Dreher's thesis is that we have lost the culture war against religion. Just as the barbarians sacked Rome and then St. Augustine's city of Hippo, they have done so again in our age of "liquid modernity, a time when social change occurs so rapidly that no social institutions have time to solidify." Dreher complains we have become a society of strangers, each pursuing our own interests under minimal constraints. Barbarians abandon objective moral standards, refuse to accept any religious or culturally binding narratives except those they choose, repudiate memory of the past and reject history as irrelevant and distance themselves from community and any unchosen or unwanted social obligations.  

Capital-one-barbarians-425x246
Barbarians Enjoying the Culture They Destroy While It Lasts
Capitol One Ad Campaign 2003

Remember the Capital One credit card commercials with hordes of rapacious tribesmen rampaging through cities heedlessly destroying the structures of civilization? "Barbarians are governed only by their will to power, and neither know nor care a thing about what they are annihilating. By that standard, despite our wealth and technological sophistication, we in the modern West are living under barbarism, though we do not recognize it. Our scientists, our judges, our princes, our scholars, and our scribes—they are at work demolishing the faith, the family, gender, even what it means to be human. Our barbarians have exchanged the animal pelts and spears of the past for designer suits and smartphones." The barbarians are not at the gates, they are on the Supreme Court, in our national and state legislatures and our national security agencies in elected and non-elected positions of power. 

Don't think so? Consider how that in less than one generation, "Christian beliefs about the sexual complementarity of marriage are considered to be abominable prejudice—and in a growing number of cases, punishable."

He traces the roots of these losses from the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and  two World Wars. The most dramatic post-war losses here in America were the Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion and then only decades later the right to same-sex marriage. The gleeful, vindictive pursuit by same-sex marriage activists of a few Christian bakers and wedding planners who won't cater same-sex weddings should warn us, that Christian believers are the real targets, not a shortage of bakers and caterers for same-sex weddings.

 

 

Supreme Judgement
Lawmakers Unto Ourselves

Dreher laments that the West has "lost the golden thread that binds us to God, Creation, and each other. Unless we find it again, there is no hope of halting our dissolution. Indeed, it is unlikely that the West will see this lifeline for a very long time. It is not looking for it and may no longer have the capability of seeing it. We have been loosed, but we do not know how to bind."

The only thing to do is to become like St. Benedict of old, who preserved ancient wisdom, fostered communities of belief and nurtured the flame of faith until the time was right for the faith to rekindle the world with the love of God.

Guess what? During Lent that looks like pray, fast, give alms. Grandparents and wise elders need to educate their adult children and their grandchildren in the riches of the Faith. Stations of the Cross, Palm Processions, the Veneration of the Cross and the solemn celebrations of the most Holy Days of the Christian year, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil give us the strength to "keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts until the Lord comes," as our parents and godparents were charged during our baptisms. This is as urgent now as it was in the days of the Roman persecution.

 

 


The Magnificat Lenten Companion Will Be Available

Once again this year, the parish will have copies of the Magnificat Lenten Companion available after all our masses beginning the Sunday before Ash Wednesday until the supply is depleted. If you would like to be sure to have one, they are also available for purchase from the Magnificat webpage and there is also an electronic version for Kindle, etc.

Many find the daily reflections helpful in cultivating a prayerful disposition during Lent.

Magnificat

Link for printed copy purchase

Link for Kindle edition at Amazon


Praying As Family: Retreat for Parents, Grandparents: Monday December 5th in Holy Cross Auditorium, 7:00 PM

M_praying-as-a-family
M_praying-as-a-family

 

A Short Guide to Praying as a Family,

written by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia

as an aid for families who desire to grow in their lives of prayer.


 

Two Dominican sisters of St. Cecelia Congregation will visit and speak with us about praying as a family. In simple and engaging language, they will direct families step-by-step in beginning to pray together and in deepening their prayer.

Families who have used this book say that they have found especially helpful the sections on how to begin family bedtime prayers, the monthly family meeting, and praying with one’s spouse. They have commented that this guide is simple, practical, and profound. “Helping children learn the habit of prayer,” writes Archbishop Charles Chaput in the Forward, “becomes one of the most important lessons a family can share.”

Everyone is invited, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Babysitting will be provided. Call to reserve a copy of the sisters' book


Adult Faith Reflections During Advent: November 30 and December 7th

Adoration-of-the-shepherds
El Greco's "Adoration of the Shepherds

Join us for two sessions of spiritual reflections, prayer and discussion during Advent. We will begin in the church with Evening Prayer and then adjourn to the St. Joseph Meeting Room for a discussion of Eugene LaVerdiere's book The Firstborn of God: The Birth of Mary's Son Jesus (Luke 2:1-21)

The book is a perfect mix of scholarly tidbits about Scripture and pastoral reflection for prayer on the Gospel of Luke, especially the infancy narrative.

The "Conclusion" chapter discusses Luke's use of word paintings in his gospel and references El Greco's Adoration of the Shepherds.

We'll condense our sessions to two in order to free up time as the Advent season comes to a close and Christmas approaches: November 30 and December 7th. On November 30 we will have Evening Prayer at 7:00 in the church followed by the discussion and reflection at approx. 7:15 PM. On December 7th there will be a Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception at  7:00 PM. 

Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Parish Office for a donation of $15. 

Plan to join us for one or both sessions! All are welcome.

 


The Dominicans Are Coming - Save the Date - December 5th, Monday

We're excited to report that two sisters from the Dominican Community in Nashville

will be visiting Holy Cross on December 5th.

Dominicans

It was an amazing coincidence to discover that the sisters would already be in our diocese that week and were able to extend their visit and add us to their itinerary.

The sisters will make a presentation to our Holy Cross students during the day. Monday evening they will discuss the topic of Family Prayer with school parents and parishioners alike based on their publication 

 Praying As A Family

We will be extending an invitation for parishioners in our cohort and surrounding parishes to join us for this prayerful recollection in Advent. 


Just To Be Clear On Church Teaching...

 

A Statement from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities

An abortion advocacy organization called "Catholics for Choice" (CFC) placed deceptive full-page newspaper ads in multiple cities on September 12 calling for taxpayer funding of abortion in the name of the Catholic faith.

As the U.S. Catholic bishops have stated for many years, the use of the name 'Catholic' as a platform to promote the taking of innocent human life is offensive not only to Catholics, but to all who expect honesty and forthrightness in public discourse.

CFC is not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way. It has no membership, and clearly does not speak for the faithful. It is funded by powerful private foundations to promote abortion as a method of population control.

The organization rejects and distorts Catholic social teaching -- and actually attacks its foundation. As Pope Francis said this summer to leaders in Poland, "Life must always be welcomed and protected…from conception to natural death. All of us are called to respect life and care for it."

CFC's extreme ads promote abortion as if it were a social good. But abortion kills the most defenseless among us, harms women, and tears at the heart of families. Pushing for public funding would force all taxpaying Americans to be complicit in the violence of abortion and an industry that puts profit above the well-being of women and children.

According to a July 2016 poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 62 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 45 percent of those who say they are pro-choice.

Finally, the CFC pits the needs of pregnant women against those of their unborn children. This is a false choice. Catholics and all people of good will are called to love them both. Consider supporting local pregnancy help centers, which do incredible work caring for mothers and children alike in a manner consistent with true social justice and mercy.

 

from the USCCB Cardinal Dolan's Message


Indulgences and Sin: The Holy Door

Wednesday, March 2nd,  7:00 PM        St. Joseph Room, Church downstairs

HolyDoor

Join us in the St. Joseph Meeting Room on Wednesday, March 2 for a discussion on the meaning of indulgences in the Catholic Church. We'll take a look at the history of indulgences back to the time of the Crusades and the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent. We'll spend a time looking at the reform of the indulgences just after Vatican II and their modern revivification beginning with John Paul II. We'll conclude with a look at the meaning of the indulgence offered by Pope Francis during the Year of Mercy.

It would help if you would like to read the section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on indulgences before we meet, but it isn't absolutely necessary.

X. Indulgences

1471    The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.

What is an indulgence?

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.”81

“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.”82 The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.83

The punishments of sin

1472    To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.84 (1861, 1031)

1473    The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the “new man.”85 (2447)

In the Communion of Saints

1474    The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God’s grace is not alone. “The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.”86 (946-959, 795)

1475    In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.”87 In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

1476    We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church’s treasury, which is “not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the ‘treasury of the Church’ is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy.”88 (617)

1477    “This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.”89 (969)

Obtaining indulgence from God through the Church

1478    An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.90 (981)

1479    Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted. (1032)

 


The Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke

The books, The Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, by Donald Senior have arrived at the Parish Office. They are also available from Amazon and from the publisher, The Liturgical Press.

Call the parish office to reserve a copy if you would like one of ours. The requested donation covers the cost of the book, $ 20. There is no Kindle or e-book version. 

We will discuss the book                         March 9         Preface, pp. 40-104

                                                                March 23       pp. 105-160

 

 

Luke


Adult Faith Formation

Thank you to those who came to the viewing and discussion of the film Jerusalem held in the St. Joseph Meeting Room. There was good attendance and  the streaming media ran on our new OLED TV screen perfectly. The photography was stunning and even those who have been to the Holy Land gained a new insight into the geography and layout of the Holy City.

There is no meeting next Wednesday to make room for the Diocesan sponsored Holy Hour for Families being held in each parish which is fortunate enough to have Holy Door of Mercy.

Please join us next Wednesday at 7 PM for an hour of prayer and reflection in the church.

 

 


Adult Faith Formation During Lent

 

 Bible
LentSchedule

Here is the schedule for Wednesday night Adult Faith Formation meetings, Faith Seeking Understanding.  All meetings will begin at 7:00 PM in the St. Joseph Meeting Room in the lower level of the church.

The text for the Passion narrative of Luke with be the book by Donald Senior. We have ordered 10 copies. Depending on its delivery date, we will begin the discussion on March 9th and conclude it on March 23rd (during Holy Week). If the book does not arrive in time for March 9 (it is back ordered) we will defer the discussion until 23 March.

Please note there will be NO meetings on Ash Wednesday, February 24th or March 16th. 

Please feel free to join us for one or all the meetings. The book The Passion Narrative in Luke will be available for purchase in the Parish Center, or at the Wednesday meetings when they become available.

 


Lent - Prepare

Lent-graphic-cns

I like the former practice of counting down the days before Lent two weeks before Lent starts. Two weeks of violet vestments to get us in the mindset that Lent is coming and we’re not suddenly surprised by the need to find our dried out palms branches for burning and begin the observation of the Holy Season on Ash Wednesday.

Anyhow, surprised or not, snowstorm or not, Lent is coming. This Lent and Holy Week will be a wonderful opportunity to derive benefit from our beautiful church and its liturgical environment. What a spiritually nourishing time we pray this Lent provides.

Our Wednesday night Adult Faith Formation, Faith Seeking Understanding, will be held the Wednesdays of Lent (except NOT on Ash Wednesday evening).

The full schedule will be published next week, but plan on joining us in the St. Joseph Hospitality Room in the lower level of the church for a viewing and discussion of the award winning film, Jerusalem. Some of the staff enjoyed the movie at the IMAX theatre in the Franklin Institute. It is a beautiful and informative look at the importance of the city for three of the world’s major religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Wed., February 18th    7:00 PM               Jerusalem   (a 2014 National Geographic IMAX film)

Two printed resources will be available at Church this year: the Magnificat Year of Mercy devotional and the Magnificat Lenten Companion.


Wedding Annulments and the Diocese of Trenton from Bishop O'Connell

The revisions of canon law concerning the marriage annulment process promulgated by Pope Francis in his September 8 motu proprio letter Mitis Iudex Dominus Jesus (The  Lord Jesus, the Meek Judge) take effect December 8, 2015.  Until that date, the annulment process in the Diocese of Trenton will continue as it currently exists and those with cases currently pending will not be affected.
 
In canon law, valid consent exchanged between one man and one woman makes the marriage valid.  NO CHANGE PRESENTED HERE.
Marriages are presumed to be valid unless proven invalid through the annulment process. NO CHANGE PRESENTED HERE.
 
Annulments are not “divorces, Catholic style.”  A divorce is a declaration of civil law that the parties to a marriage have permanently separated because the marriage union has irreparably broken down.  The Catholic Church believes and teaches that, despite a divorce according to civil law, the “bond of marriage” cannot be dissolved by any power except death.   Divorced Catholics, therefore, are not free to remarry unless: (a) the spouse dies; or (b) an annulment is granted by the Church.  An annulment on the other hand is a declaration of canon law that the original consent to marriage was defective to the point that no marriage actually or ever took place.  Such a declaration requires investigation and proof.  Just as a civil divorce has no effects before the Church, a Church annulment has no effects before civil law.  For example, the children of an annulled marriage do not become illegitimate.   NO CHANGE PRESENTED HERE.
 
The only fee attached to the granting of an annulment concerns the costs of services employed in the process (eg., secretarial assistance and salaries in the Tribunal; the use of experts by the Tribunal; office utilities, stationery, communications in the Tribunal; maintenance of the Tribunal, etc.).  The Diocese of Trenton requests a $700 contribution for these purposes.  Last year, the a Diocese subsidized 2/3 of all Tribunal costs with contributions constituting less than 1/3 of all costs incurred.  Pope Francis has not eliminated this fee.  He has “recommended” its elimination whenever possible, in accordance with the considerations of the episcopal conference of the country and the ability of Tribunals to support themselves.  The total cost of the Tribunal operations to the Diocese was $292,412 last year alone.  
The revisions to the annulment process made by Pope Francis that will affect the Diocese of Trenton include:
1. The required automatic appeal of an affirmative decision regarding marriage nullify has been eliminated; parties may make an appeal if they so choose;
2.  The process itself has been simplified with the local bishop being granted more authority;
3.  The texts of some provisions of canon law have been changed; the revisions are procedural in nature and do not alter Church doctrine;
4.  The local bishop has been asked to develop structures for his Diocese that demonstrate an effort to expedite the marriage annulment process.  These will be communicated once developed.
 
The December 8 implementation date provides the Diocese of Trenton with ample lead time to study the revisions further, to discern their consequences and to make any required changes deemed necessary.  As Bishop, I do not anticipate the transition to be unduly burdensome.  Any effort to make ecclesiastical procedures less bureaucratic and more accessible, without compromise to Church teachings and beliefs, should be seen as positive.  
 
Most Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., J.C.D.Bishop of Trenton

Take A Catholic Book Home Sunday



Book
Next weekend, in preparation for our move into the new church from the St. Michael Media Room, we will be putting spiritual and Catholic reading material on a donation table. Take them, they're free, although a donation is gratefully accepted.

Fr. Manning will also go through his library once again and supplement the book table with books he doesn't want to move around anymore, especially with so many electronic resources available for homily preparation and spiritual reading.

 

 

 


Lenten Prayer Series Wednesday Nights

Download

This Lent our Adult Faith Enrichment program will focus on prayer and art. We will be using a newly published book  Art and Prayer by Msgr. Timothy Verdon. The book is lavishly illustrated with color photographs of the works of art discussed in the text.  We will order only as many books as we need, so please make a reservation with the Parish Office or obtain your own copy. The requested donation if the parish orders your book is $ 25.

Here is a tentative schedule:

                           

Ash Wednesday

February 18

Chapter 1

Prayer, Life, Art

 

February 25

Chapter 2

Spaces of Prayer

 

March 4

Chapter 3

Liturgical Prayer

 

March 11

Chapter 4

The Prayer of Pleading

 

March 18

Chapter 5

Lectio Divina

 

March 25

Chapter 6

Contemplative Prayer

 

April 1

Chapter 7

In the Hour of Death