“See, I am doing something new” – Pope Francis

from time to time, I am asked to publish one of my homilies…… from the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Eight years ago when Pope Benedict inherited the chair of Peter, the sense was that the cardinals had voted to continue the papacy of John Paul II.  Continuity was the catch phrase. It what make the verse from Isaiah stand out: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” (Isaiah 43:18) Continue reading

A Jesuit with a Franciscan Name….

Pope Francis

Where were you when the white smoke billowed from the Vatican?  I was on my way back to the parish when my cell phone kept rapidly beeping as one text after another poured in.  Back in the parish office, I learned the Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina had been elected and taken the name Francis – I assumed it was for St. Francis Xavier the great Jesuit missionary and that new evangelization would be the focus of his pontificate.  A good choice and a great aim.

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The Work of the Church

My Franciscan brother, Fr. Dan Horan OFM, had a nice insight this morning over at his blog DatingGod. In short, while the world has focused on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the gathering of cardinals, the pomp and circumstance of the electoral process, and all thing papabili, the work of the Church continues.

While the spectacle of papal elections, with the pomp and circumstance of crimson cassocks and Latin chant captures the imagination of many the world over, the work of the church doesn’t end (nor begin, for that matter) with these attention-grabbing events.

The work of the church is in the parish, the ministry center, the homeless shelter, the Catholic Charities office, the Franciscan missions in Peru, the classrooms of Jesuit schools, the hospices of the Sisters of Charity, and so on. The life of the church is found not in the grand processions of cardinal electors or the daily routines of the Roman dicasteries, but in the experience of the Body of Christ, which is the People of God, living a life of faith, striving to follow the Gospel, and caring about how to be a good and holy person — every day, here and now.

Journalists, columnists, pundits, and the like will get their fair share of news and “exciting events” over the next few days, but when the TV cameras and reporters vacate St. Peter’s Square, the nuns who care for Rome’s homeless population and the doctors who work in the Catholic hospitals of that city will continue the mission of the evangelica vita.

Forming a moral conscience

There is a current NY Times article about the “Vatican” and “bishops” being out of touch with the people of the United States.  My Franciscan brother, Fr. Dan Horan, OFM, has an insightful article over at his blog about what he finds truly significant about the poll.  Take a read. Interestingly, he touches on two points that are always close to my thoughts: (a) people and the formation of a moral conscience, and (b) US Catholics are really a very small percent of the whole-wide Catholic Church. Continue reading

Lent 101

A Word from Fr. George…
Lent is a time to reflect upon our life with God, and as the Orthodox theologian, Alexander Schmemann, notes all reflections should lead us to the Eucharist.  As you consider some of the “Lent 101” links provided below, take a moment and consider how your Lenten journey will lead you to a more full, complete, and holy encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist.

And if you would like – read some more musings on Lent, “So…what are you giving up for Lent?” here.

Need to Brush Up on Lenten Traditions?
There are many traditions and observances we as Catholics celebrate during the season of Lent. Over time, we may start to think of them as routine. But every one of them has developed into a tradition with the intent to deepen your reflection upon the Lenten journey. If you need to brush up on why we keep certain rituals or practices, please see the links below for more information.

History of Lent
What are the three pillars of Lent?
When does Lent begin, and when does it end?
When do I fast, and when do I abstain?
Is Lent really 40 days? Or is it longer?

Ash Wednesday
This Wednesday, February 13th, is Ash Wednesday. Why do we celebrate Ash Wednesday? Find out more.

What are the Stations of the Cross? And why do we pray them? Learn more.