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Archive of March 17, 2013

Dominican sisters witness through Bible game show appearance

Santa Monica, Calif., Mar 17, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Three religious sisters are participating in a unique evangelization effort by competing on a Bible trivia game show in hopes of supporting their community.

“This isn’t something we would normally do, but when the opportunity arose, Mother (Assumpta Long) discerned that it would be good not only for the benefit of our community, but also for the New Evangelization,” Sr. Maria Suso of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist told CNA March 15.

Team Sisters of Mary will be featured on the March 21 season premiere of The American Bible Challenge, hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy on Game Show Network.

Facing off against Team Preachin’ Divas, a group of women dedicated to inner city outreach in Oakland, Calif., and Team Anointed Ink, a group of Texas-based tattoo artists who cover up questionable body art with religious symbols, the Sisters competed for a chance to win $100,000 for their charity of choice.

“We met the other teams and it was beautiful to see their love for the Scripture and their dedication to Christ,” Sr. Suso said.

Although Sr. Suso could not reveal how far she and a few of the community’s novices, Sister Peter Joseph and Sister Evangeline, advanced in the game show – which has already been filmed – she did say that they all had “a lot of fun” competing to win money for their rapidly expanding order.

Founded in 1997 with just four sisters in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist have now grown to 120 members. The order’s habited sisters are specially committed to Mary, the Blessed Sacrament and the New Evangelization.

By working to set aside money for the founding members’ retirement, the younger sisters are seeking to show their gratitude for the women “who have really spent themselves in providing a community and a home for us.”

“If they hadn’t said ‘yes’ to God’s call, what would we have done?” Sr. Suso reasoned. “Our vocations are here.”

Aside from trying to win money to support their community, Sr. Suso said their presence on the show was just one of the many ways their community is “engaging with the culture to try to bring them to Christ.”

“Anyone that sees us,” she said, “I hope would realize that the joy that we have and the love that we have for one another comes from Christ and that they can also come into contact with him.”

A deeper aspect of that mission is to help other people discern their vocation, Sr. Suso said.

“No matter what we do, we are always on the lookout to help people to discern God’s will in their lives,” she said. “I hope that there’s a young woman out there, even if she doesn’t come to our community, in whom it’s stirred; the question whether or not God might be calling her.”

Although she and her teammates were chosen to compete because of their knowledge of the Bible, Sr. Suso said preparing for the show gave them an even deeper appreciation of Scripture.

She explained that Catholics tend to focus on the “basic idea and the content” of Sacred Scripture rather than the small details.

While that aspect of the Bible is “important,” she said, “the Church Fathers didn’t feel that way.”

“The Fathers of the Church,” she said, “memorized the Scriptures and they knew all the details and they found them all significant.”

In their study of the Bible leading up to the show – and even more so after the show – Sr. Suso said she and her teammates have come “to look at the Scriptures in a different way” by learning “to appreciate the details more.”

“I hope that encourages some Catholics to rededicate themselves to discovering the riches of the Scriptures.”


 

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Consecrated widow St. Lea traditionally celebrated March 22

Denver, Colo., Mar 17, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - March 22 is the liturgical memorial of Saint Lea of Rome, a fourth-century widow who left her wealth behind, entered consecrated life, and attained great holiness through asceticism and prayer.

Though not well-known as a figure of devotion in modern times, she was acknowledged as a saint on the testimony of her contemporary Saint Jerome, who wrote a brief description of Lea's life after she had died.

Jerome, a scholarly monk best known for his Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate), is the Church's only source of information on St. Lea, whose biographical details are unknown. St. Jerome eulogized her in a letter written during the year 384 to his student and spiritual directee Marcella, another Roman consecrated woman who had left her aristocratic life behind after being widowed.

It is clear from his letter that Lea was a mutual friend to both Jerome and Marcella. Jerome states that his account is written to “hail with joy the release of a soul which has trampled Satan under foot, and won for itself, at last, a crown of tranquility.” Jerome also contrasts the life of “our most saintly friend” with that of the late pagan public official Praetextatus, held up by Jerome as a cautionary example.

“Who,” Jerome begins, “can sufficiently eulogize our dear Lea's mode of living? So complete was her conversion to the Lord that, becoming the head of a monastery, she showed herself a true mother to the virgins in it, wore coarse sackcloth instead of soft raiment, passed sleepless nights in prayer, and instructed her companions even more by example than by precept.”

Jerome describes how Lea, in her great humility, “was accounted the servant of all … She was careless of her dress, neglected her hair, and ate only the coarsest food. Still, in all that she did, she avoided ostentation that she might not have her reward in this world.”

Jerome's letter goes on to compare her fate to that of Praetextus – who died in the same year as Lea, after spending his life promoting a return to Rome's ancient polytheistic pagan religion. The monk retells Jesus' parable of Lazarus and Dives, with Lea in the place of the poor and suffering man.

Lea, Jerome says, is “welcomed into the choirs of the angels; she is comforted in Abraham's bosom. And, as once the beggar Lazarus saw the rich man, for all his purple, lying in torment, so does Lea see the consul, not now in his triumphal robe but clothed in mourning, and asking for a drop of water from her little finger.”

Thus Lea, “who seemed poor and of little worth, and whose life was accounted madness,” triumphs in salvation. But the punishment of infidelity falls on the consul-elect – who had led a triumphant procession just before his death, and been widely mourned afterward.

Jerome ends his letter by urging Marcella to remember the lesson of St. Lea's life: “We must not allow … money to weigh us down, or lean upon the staff of worldly power. We must not seek to possess both Christ and the world. No; things eternal must take the place of things transitory; and since, physically speaking, we daily anticipate death, if we wish for immortality we must realize that we are but mortal.”

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Pope Francis cracks two jokes in first Angelus, winning more hearts

Vatican City, Mar 17, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The new Pope's spontaneity was revealed again today when he cracked two jokes after his very first Angelus prayer in front of thousands.

On a more serious note, he asked people to never get tired of asking God for forgiveness.

“Don't forget this, the Lord never gets tired of forgiving, it is we that get tired of asking forgiveness,” said Pope Francis today at Saint Peter's Square.

“Let us not hear or condone words of contempt , but only words of love and mercy that invite us to conversion,” he told the crowd.

The new Pope said that the face of God is like that of a merciful father that always has patience and is always willing to forgive us.

“Have you thought about how much patience he has with you?” he asked.

Pope Francis told how he recently read a book by Cardinal Walter Kasper on mercy.

“That book has done me so much good, but don't think I'm trying to make publicity of my cardinals!” he joked. “It's not like that!”

“It's done me so much good because he says that mercy changes everything, it changes the world making it less cold and more fair,” said Pope Francis.

He explained that the prophet Isaiah said that “if our sins are red like scarlet, God will make them white like snow.”

Pope Francis also told how when the image of Our Lady of Fatima arrived to Buenos Aires in 1992 when he was Bishop, a big Mass was celebrated for the poor, during which he heard confessions.

He told of the conversation with “an old and very humble lady” who came to him towards the end of the Mass.

Pope: "Nonna, do you want to confess yourself?”

Lady: "Yes."

Pope: "But you haven't sinned."

Lady: "We've all sinned."

Pope: "But maybe God won't forgive you."

Lady: "God forgives everyone."

Pope: "How do you know, madame?"

Lady: "If God didn't forgive everything, the world wouldn't exist."

“I wanted to ask her, 'Have you studied at the Gregorian (University)?' because that is the knowledge that the Holy Spirit gives!” exclaimed the Pope, laughing.

Pope Francis then extended his greetings to all faithful and said he chose the name “Francis” to spiritually tie himself to Italy, of which his family is originally from.

“But Jesus has called us to form part of a new family of his Church, in this family of God walking together on the path of the Gospel,” he said.

“Let's not forget that God never gets tired of forgiving so let's never get tired of asking for forgiveness,” he added again.

Pope Francis ended his first Angelus prayer wishing everyone a “nice Sunday and a nice lunch.”

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August 21, 2014

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