Archive | January, 2015

Good News in Our Parish

19 Jan

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I want to share with you a great blessing that has come to St. Mary Magdalen Parish here in Altamonte Springs, FL.

Surely, other parishes have experienced this blessing as we have—or perhaps in different ways.

It’s the blessing of faith confirmed. In our more than a half-century as a parish, we have indeed experienced God’s love and care, as well as strong conviction in God’s actions in the Sacraments and in the proclamation of his holy Word.

It is also a blessing of faith renewed, deepened energized.

In the past year, our pastoral team and staff have launched a seasonal preaching/catechetical series designed to help the entire parish experience a deeper, more personal and more challenging encounter with the Gospel of the Lord.

We used the RCIA model of “breaking open” the Word of God. We sat together, read the Gospels for the specific liturgical season, broke up into groups, were assigned one Gospel, and thought deeply of what God wanted our parish to understand from  each particular Sunday in that particular season.

From this discernment came a number of insights from each Sunday. These reflection points were listed. Then selectively, these insights were to be used in homilies, catechesis and spiritual formation. Cards, listing the season’s reflection points, were printed and mailed to everyone in the parish. Slides were created for use in church. The aim was to get everyone in the parish on the “same page.”

It has been a tremendous help. We have a parish of more than three thousand families and ten thousand souls. We have three priests, seven for deacons, a Catholic school, vibrant religious education and RCIA ministries, a commitment to spiritual formation of all parishioners, and hundreds of lay people up to their ears in outreach to the poor, sick, bereaved, homeless and otherwise marginalized.

We are now gearing up Lent.

Thanks be to our God.

 

 

 

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‘Let Them Decide’

10 Jan

 

 

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Find your way t0 the Light of Truth.

“Let them decide.”

That’s the attitude of many people today in questions of morality and faith.

Two examples come to mind.

First: Religion in the family

From time to time, young parents will say they don’t want to force religion on their children. They will let their children decide what they want to believe—if they choose to believe.

Perhaps these young parents were force fed “religion” rather than led into a life of faith in God—a faith which recognizes God as the source of life and the promise of eternal life.

Perhaps these parents were never taught anything about God.

Whatever the case, I find this attitude both illogical and dangerous.

It’s an illogical attitude. It goes contrary to a parent’s desire to do what’s good and right for the child. A loving and sensible parent would never let a child decide if he wants to play on the highway, or jump from the roof to see if she can fly, or decide whether to learn how to read or study history.

It’s a dangerous attitude. It isolates the individual from what others need and what they have to offer. And, if that attitude becomes widespread, it leads to a society in which chaos and violence become the norm as each person vies for what he or she wants regardless of how it affects others.

Just look at those sections of our society in which men impregnate women and then leave them to earn a living for their children. Not to mention the burden it places on the welfare budget.

This attitude, where it does exist, marks a society going bad. There is no sense of right and wrong. There is no desire to know what is right because each person makes up his or her own mind about what “I want and what is right for me.” This is isolationism at its worst. Its leads to a disintegrated society promising nothing but angst, anxiety, loss of focus, hatred, violence and a continued frantic search for happiness and a reason for living.

Second: The Question of Marriage

As these lines are written, there is a rush of gay couples to become married in the eyes of civil law.

Again, judging from Face Book offerings, proponents of gay marriage believe folks have to make up their own minds about what is right or wrong—again, based on a mindset devoid of moral conviction.

I firmly believe that marriage, according to God’s revelation in Scripture, is intended for the union of one man and one woman. There is, according to revelation, in the Jewish and Hebrew Scriptures, no such thing as a marriage between same-sex couples.

Opinions to the contrary seem to be rooted in convenient humanism and the idea that human freedom is devoid of any responsibility to seek Truth and to live according to that Truth.

In short, proponents of same-sex “marriages,” as with any movement away from traditional moral standards, deny God’s supremacy and authority. As they try to fashion God in their own image, they have created for themselves a false god.

I can hear it now: “Homophobe!”

Get a life!

Truth cannot contradict itself!