Vatican City, Feb 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday asked Christians to proclaim God’s love with “boldness, humility and coherence” like Jesus.
“Let us ask the Lord to give each of us a spirit of courage and wisdom, so that in our words and actions, we may proclaim the saving truth of God’s love with boldness, humility and coherence,” said Pope Benedict in his remarks after the Sunday Angelus prayer.
“Jesus did not come to seek the consent of men, but to give testimony to the truth,” Pope Benedict told the thousands of pilgrims gathered at St. Peter’s Square.
“The true prophet does not obey anyone other than God and places himself at the service of truth, ready to pay in person,” he added from the window of the Apostolic Palace.
He noted that “it is true that Jesus is the prophet of love, but love has its own truth.”
He explained that love and truth are “two names for the same reality” and “two names of God.
The pontiff added that the Sunday liturgy echoes the words of St. Paul.
“Love does not boast, it is not puffed up with pride, it is not disrespectful, it does not seek its own interests and does not get angry,” said Pope Benedict.
“It does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice over wrongdoings but rejoices with the truth,” he said.
The Pope said that to believe in God is to “give up prejudices and accept the concrete face in which he has revealed himself, the man Jesus of Nazareth.”
“This way also leads to recognize him and serve him in others,” he added.
He talked about the Sunday reading in which Jesus reads a passage of the Old Testament at a synagogue.
Jesus said that “no prophet is accepted in his own country” and named two miracles performed by the prophets Elijah and Elisha.
Pope Benedict said Jesus’ words “showed that sometimes there is more faith outside of Israel.”
“At that point the reaction was unanimous as all rose to hunt him down and to try to throw him off a cliff, but he calmly passes through the angry people and leaves,” said Pope Benedict.
“Why did Jesus want to cause this failure?” he asked.
“But this is precisely the point: Jesus did not come to seek the consent of men, but to give testimony to the truth.”
Anchorage, Alaska, Feb 3, 2013 (CNA) - In societies that have largely forgotten or abandoned Christianity, Catholic schools are often seen as vital tools for reintroducing faith to the wider culture.
Principal Jim Bailey of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School can testify to this. He was in the process of entering the Catholic Church when he became the principal of the South Anchorage elementary school in 2008.
The children will lead
“Being principal strengthened my desire to join the church,” Bailey told the Catholic Anchor.
He credits the Catholic school experience and its immersion in faith with influencing him. It is a phenomena he sees occur with many parents who send their children to Catholic school.
This year, Bailey said the school has at least three parents going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — the process by which adults are introduced to the Roman Catholic Church.
“And that’s fairly typical,” Bailey said of parents who come to the faith through their contact with the school. Evangelization, he said, is the natural outgrowth of being part of a Catholic school community.
Non-Catholics or inactive Catholics may send their children to Catholic schools for academic reasons, smaller class sizes or better discipline, but often the faith component draws them in unexpectedly, Bailey observed.
Family of faith
Stacy Reiman, the mother of a kindergartner at Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage, agrees. Her young son, Nicolas, was baptized at a school Mass on Jan. 17.
When Nicolas asked his mom if he could be baptized as a Catholic, she was willing because “it’s something I’ve been gravitating towards for some time.”
Raised an Episcopalian, Reiman said she has been pondering the direction of her faith and “anytime I’d have a question about something, I’d Googled it and discover that the Catholic answer seemed to conform to my own thoughts.”
But she wasn’t sure how far to involve her family — husband Robert, son Nicolas and her two preschool-aged daughters. Then came Nicolas’ request, which Reiman views as “a bit of a sign” and clearly the result of his school environment.
“From the first day I walked into the school, I felt embraced by a warm community of believers who welcome you into this family,” she said. “It’s the most loving community I’ve encountered since I moved to Anchorage.”
She also said she appreciates the pro-family atmosphere of the Catholic school.
Holy Rosary principal Catherine Neumayr thinks a welcoming environment and an emphasis on prayer help draw people into the faith through Catholic education. Holy Rosary students maintain a list with prayer requests, and frequently school Masses are offered for people in need in the community. This adds an element to Catholic education that public schools don’t offer. In addition to prayer for families in need, the Catholic school also offers assistance with care and casseroles.
Power of the Mass
Father Scott Garrett, pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Wasilla where Our Lady of the Valley School is located said he has seen “quite a few people come into the church through their association with a Catholic school.”
Father Garrett is himself a convert, and his best childhood friend was also non-Catholic.
“He married a Catholic, but never went to church,” Father Garrett said. “But after they sent their kids to Catholic school, he became a devout Catholic.”
When people become involved with what their children are learning, they begin to appreciate the faith in a whole new way, Father Garrett explained.
Perhaps one of the greatest conversion mechanisms is the Mass itself. Some people who attend their children’s weekday Mass come because they want to see their children in a liturgical role, as a reader or cantor. They might never ordinarily attend Sunday Mass much less a weekday Mass, but find themselves drawn by the church’s liturgy in ways they never expected.
“When we brought the school (from a strip mall in Wasilla) onto the church property this year some people in the parish were a little hesitant,” Father Garrett recalled. “But when the school kids became involved in the Friday parish Mass, I couldn’t believe the unity it brought to the whole parish and to those who attend that Mass.”
Tom Sorci, principal of Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage, said that on the very morning the Catholic Anchor called him for comments, “I had a parent come to me and say he’d like to become a Catholic.”
Moreover, like other school principals, Sorci has seen many Catholic parents become more engaged and active in their faith as a result of being involved with Catholic schooling.
Sometimes the Catholic school plants a seed in students and families that may bloom later, Sorci said.
“We have two graduates from last year’s class who are now in the process of becoming Catholic,” he continued. “Sometimes our non-Catholic graduates go off to college and discover they are more Catholic than some of the Catholic kids they meet.”
Posted with permission from Catholic Anchor, official publication of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska.
Denver, Colo., Feb 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Among Welsh Catholics, Feb. 9 is the liturgical memorial of Saint Teilo, a sixth-century monk and bishop who led the Church in the Llandaff area of present-day Cardiff. His time as bishop included a major disease outbreak, which forced the local church and its leader into temporary exile.
Though many details of his life are lost or unknown, the remaining evidence makes it clear that Teilo was an important and revered figure, who became a popular namesake for churches in Wales. St. Teilo is sometimes known under alternate versions of his name, including “Theliau” and “Eliud.”
While it is unclear exactly when Teilo was born, he is described as having lived to old age by the time of his death around 560, making it likely that his life began during the second half of the preceding century.
There are indications that Teilo’s father was a man named Usyllt, who may have been canonized as “Saint Issell.” A clearer connection exists between Teilo and the well-known Welsh patron Saint David, Teilo’s fellow monk and bishop, who was also his cousin. Finally, it appears that Teilo’s nephew, St. Oudaceus, succeeded him as the Bishop of Llandaff.
Teilo’s education took place at two institutions directed by saints. The first was established by the renowned Church leader and educator Saint Dubric (or Dyfrig), while the second was the school directed by Saint Paulinus of Wales. Later, Teilo himself became a monk and headed a monastic school in Llandaff.
A late but traditional account of Teilo’s life states that he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with St. David and their companion St. Padarn, and that the three were made bishops by the Patriarch of Jerusalem in approximately 518. Afterward, Teilo purportedly went to France, serving the Church there for several years alongside his friend St. Samson of Brittany.
It is unclear exactly when Teilo became the bishop of Llandaff, but it appears he took over leadership after its previous bishop St. Dubric retired to a hermitage on Bardsey Island. The question of Teilo’s reported pilgrimage, and the varying chronologies of Dubric’s life, make the date of this succession difficult to establish.
Teilo earned the acclaim of the faithful as a worthy successor to Dubric. The depth of their trust became clear in 547, when a severe disease outbreak prompted Teilo to lead a large portion of his flock into exile for several years. He and his followers fled to Brittany, staying with St. Samson and waiting for the plague to pass.
Almost eight years passed before Teilo and his companions returned to Wales. His admirable leadership continued in Llandaff for several years after the crisis, and he died peacefully in a local monastery. In the centuries that followed, St. Teilo was honored in parts of France as well as in England and Wales. A town in northwestern France, “Saint-Thelo,” still bears his name.
Washington D.C., Feb 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Organizations that offer pro-life aid for women facing difficult pregnancies stressed that there are both resources and tools available for mothers in need.
The Sisters of Life “invite the women to come and live with us,” Sister Johanna, Superior of the Holy Respite in Manhattan, told CNA.
In addition to the religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, Sisters of Life take an additional vow to protect and defend the sacredness of human life.
Founded in 1991 by Cardinal John O’Connor of New York, the sisters care for expectant mothers, offer retreats and provide aid to women suffering from a past abortion.
Sister Johanna explained that women can come to the sisters at any stage in pregnancy, and “they are welcome to stay with us until they get back on their feet.”
During their stay at the convent, the material needs of both the mother and child are taken care of, allowing them “to just relax and be and pray and dream,” she said.
Even after their child is born and they have moved out of the convent, the sisters provide “any materials we’ve been given,” to continue assisting each mother.
“We always walk with them for as long as they need,” Sister Johanna added, saying that many mothers will often “check in” and visit, creating a strong and lasting community among the women.
Numerous members of the Sisters for Life attended the 2013 March for Life in Washington, D.C. The annual march – held this year on Jan. 25 – commemorates the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that effectively legalized abortion throughout America.
The National Maternity Housing Coalition was also present at the march. Sponsored by Heartbeat International, the coalition seeks to help homeless mothers in crisis pregnancy situations connect with housing providers.
“We can say to any woman in a crisis pregnancy situation in the United States, you can get help,” said Christopher Bell, founding member of the coalition.
He told CNA that the organization seeks “to help maternity homes that are already doing good work do better, and to help people who want to start new homes.”
The National Maternity Housing Coalition also offers training and educational opportunities to address the situations surrounding maternal homelessness, in order to help providers better meet the needs of the women who come to them.
Bell said the group plays a vital role in educating the public and aiding in the pro-life movement.
When asked in a recent study what they would do if their congregants were facing a crisis pregnancy, many said that they did not know, he explained.
While pro-life alternatives have existed for decades, Bell said, “we’re not known well enough by members of our own congregation, our own clergy, as well as certainly the general public who really needs it.”
“Pregnancy centers are small, so no one has an advertising budget,” he added, “so we need to get the word out there.”
Bell also noted that the organization “can handle it all,” providing aid for a variety of situations.
Various homes within the coalition can care for women with longer-term needs, mothers who already have multiple other children and special needs moms and babies.
“There’s so much love in the world to take care of every single child in those situations and every mother,” he said.