Wednesday, August 26, 2009

JustFaith Ministries

This weekend, my parish is hosting a workshop put on by JustFaith Ministries. Their mission statement is:

JustFaith Ministries aspires to enable people of faith to develop a passion for justice, to express this passion in concrete acts of social ministry, and to expand the work of social ministry in their faith communities. JustFaith Ministries creates and supports faith formation processes and resources that emphasize the Gospel message of peace and justice, Church social teaching and the intersection of spirituality and action.

I am looking forward to this event because now more than ever, we need to work toward a better understanding of peace and justice for all and how we can turn this knowledge into action.

You can find out more about JustFaith Ministries here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Permanent Diaconate

On the occasion of the feast of St Lawrence, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes (the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy) sent a letter to permanent deacons. The letter emphasizes the role of the permanent deacon in the Church. The letter is reproduced here on Zenit

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recovering Our Past















Sparta Catholic Cemetery - photo by R. Egan


Over the last couple of years, I have had the privilege to work with a dedicated group of men and women on the restoration of a Catholic Cemetery in rural northeastern Georgia. The property, located about 2 hours east of Atlanta, also included a small chapel.

Dating from 1869, this was one of the first Catholic communities in this part of Georgia. The site was abandoned in the 19th century and for the most part forgotten. However, once its presence became known, a concerted effort was made to investigate the site and its history. Today, the land is cleared and a cross now adorns each of the grave sites.

For Catholic Georgians, this is a special place. It marks the beginning of the Catholic presence in north Georgia and being a Catholic in the deep south was not always an easy existence. Even as late as the 1960s and 70s, being Catholic in the south had a stigma associated with it, which affected ones ability to join clubs or participate in government. Today, the Archdiocese of Atlanta has become one of the most vibrant Catholic communities in the United States.

But it all started with a few families who chose to make their home in this area and bring their faith with them. It is fitting that they should not be forgotten.

Monday, August 10, 2009

St Lawrence of Rome


















The Trial of St Lawrence: Vatican Museum

Today is the feast day of St Lawrence of Rome. He was martyred in August 258 three days after Pope Sixtus II. He was a deacon of the Church and was responsible for the treasury as well as the care of the poor. He was arrested, placed on trial and condemned to death. Legend has it that he was placed on a gridiron and burned over a fire. Emperor Constantine built a Church over his grave which is now one of the great Basilicas in Rome. Over the years, relics of St Stephen and St Justin Martyr were brought to the church as well.

As a candidate in the diaconate, St Lawrence is certainly one of the saints to model ones life after. He defended his church and was commited to the care of the poor.

Father,

You called Saint Lawrence to serve you by love
and crowned his life with glorious martyrdom.
Help us to be like him in loving you and doing your work.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sainthood



















John Paul II

" Do not be afraid to be Saints"

I read this quote from John Paul II this morning and it really struck a cord. Not because I do not believe this to be true because I do. We are all called to do Gods will and join him in heaven. It struck a cord because sometimes that statement can lead to the ultimate test of faith.

This morning the Church celebrates the feast day of St Pope Sixtus II and his companions (four deacons). These men were martyred during the Christian persecution by Emperor Valerian in August 258. They were arrested while celebrating the Mass in a private Christian cemetery. After a short trial that same day, they were lead back to the cemetery and be-headed.

"Do not be afraid to be Saints".

You can find out more about Sixtus II and the persecutions here.