Director of mission education for Catholic Extension
Last month, I made a visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands still in the midst of recovery from hurricanes Irma and Maria. The visit was strangely disquieting: I was in a place of great natural beauty, hoping to serve people in their rebuilding efforts, and yet I found the experience highlighted the profound historic and social challenges that are unique to this place.
Bishop Herbert Bevard describes his diocese as “a very poor part of the richest country in the world.” In a press conference hosted by Catholic Extension this past November, he pointed to the double difficulty of people first having lived through two Category 5 hurricanes, and second having to respond to the loss of income resulting from the absence of tourism – the industry that touches nearly everyone on the islands.
By Jim Beckman
Director of the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis
A number of years ago, I was heading to Bismarck for a business trip. I ran into a friend the week before. When they heard I was going to Bismarck, their reaction was dramatic, “Oh, you have to go to this little restaurant up north of the city! They have the best burgers I’ve ever eaten!”
It was a short conversation. Maybe a little more about how cold it was up there since I was going in January, but that was about it. A week later, though, when I was actually there, the comment about the “best burger I had ever eaten” had stuck with me. The problem was, my friend couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant, and the directions were somewhat vague: “Just go up north, keep driving until it seems like you’ve left the city, and then go over one more little ridge. There’s a shopping center up there as you come over the hill – that’s where it is. Just ask around – the place is famous for their burgers!”
The profound and challenging meaning of “Abba”
By Pedro A. Moreno, O.P.
Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis
I am blessed my daughters still call me dad, daddy and other titles that I won’t write down. Even some of my daughters’ friends call me “Papi!” Yes, being a dad, or daddy, is something we need to reflect on, especially since Jesus himself taught us that the Father is “Abba,” which means dad or daddy.
“Abba” is a unique Aramaic term in the Greek New Testament. It is unique in the fact that translators leave the word just as it is; they do not give us an equivalent term in our own language. They just leave us with “Abba.”
By Anamaria Scaperlanda Biddick
For the Sooner Catholic
A few years ago, for Lent, my husband gave up complaining. As I decided on my Lenten disciplines for this year, I reflected on that restraint: What things do we normally complain about? What spiritual benefits might follow by refraining from mental or verbal grumbling and whining?
Our complaints generally center around small issues, daily irritations, that make our days less smooth: getting cut off in traffic, the person who gets on our nerves, the dish that took twice as long as the recipe suggested, the neighbor’s porch light that shines into the bedroom in the middle of the night, the child who leaves her socks in the middle of the floor, again.
By J.E. Helm
The Sooner Catholic
Sophia Press has just republished a book by Father Ralph Gorman, C.P., originally produced in 1960. “The Last Hours of Jesus: From Gethsemane to Golgotha” draws on Father Gorman’s scholarly background to present historical and archeological facts that explain things not readily understood from even a close reading of the narratives found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The book’s back cover states that “the Gospels were written for readers already familiar with the persons, places, parties and politics that governed events in those long-past days.”
By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Brian Gionta, captain of the U.S. men's Olympic ice hockey team, competed in the 2006 Winter Games and played on three NHL teams, but his skating roots go back to his Catholic high school and college teams.
Before playing with travel teams in high school, Gionta was on the hockey team at Aquinas Institute, a Catholic middle school and high school in Rochester, New York. In college, he played for the Boston College Eagles and was the team captain in 2000-01, when the team won the national championship.
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "I am on a pilgrimage toward Home," retired Pope Benedict XVI wrote, capitalizing the Italian word "casa" or "home."
Almost exactly five years after announcing his intention to be the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign, Pope Benedict wrote the letter to a journalist from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
National Marriage Week is Feb. 7-14.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On the first day of National Marriage Week Feb. 7-14, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced the launch of a new mobile-responsive ForYourMarriage.org website.
"I hope this new platform will reach many more people with the message of God's plan for marriage and be a source of support to husbands and wives at every stage of their vocational journey," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said in a Feb. 7 statement as chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
WASHINGTON—National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day are opportunities “to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with supporting and promoting marriage and the family,” wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a letter to his brother bishops.
WASHINGTON—Catholics can encounter, learn and act to address poverty in the United States through two new websites from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
PovertyUSA.org and its Spanish mirror site, PobrezaUSA.org, were launched Jan. 31, the last day of Poverty Awareness Month (January). The mobile-friendly sites offer tools and resources to help Catholics put faith in action by working to address poverty. Resources include an interactive map with state and county level poverty statistics, learning activities about poverty, prayer materials, and multimedia. The sites also feature stories of hope about how communities are working to address poverty locally, and an interactive map to find community organizations funded by the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development.