Social Media Icons

Urban Impressions of the Stations of the Cross

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila

St Teresa, whose name was Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, was born in Avila, Spain, in 1515.

Her parents were devoutly Catholic which set a strong foundation for the development of St Teresa’s spirituality. Her family was large – Teresa had 3 sisters and 9 brothers. She found great comfort in her youth in spiritual readings, in particular, she was struck by the stories of martyrs for the faith.

Teresa was a pupil of Augustinian nuns in Avila; as an adolescent she read the classics of Franciscan spirituality introducing her to contemplation and prayer. 

At age 20, Teresa entered the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation in Avila. The spiritual focus of the Carmelite Order is contemplation – encompassing prayer, community and service. Teresa developed a deep spirituality through her devotion to the Order and its mission. In one of her many writings, she shares the following to describe her deep spirituality;

‘A feeling of the presence of God would come over me unexpectedly so that I could in no wise doubt either that He was with me or that I was wholly absorbed in Him.’ 

St. Teresa wrote several works that are observed by scholars to be remarkable as ‘mystical literature of the Catholic Church’. 

Through her experiences in the Carmelite Order, she became disenchanted with the practices of the Order, particularly the lax manner in which the Order observed cloister – a practice designed to strengthen spirituality and the practice of prayer. She developed a desire to return the Order to more conservative practices and held an ideal to reform the Order. She succeeded in this regard when in 1562 she founded the first reformed Carmelite monastery in Avila, with the blessing of church hierarchy and heads of the Carmelite Order. She dedicated her efforts to continue to found more reformed Carmel monasteries, several of which were built in Spain. In 1580, through her strong efforts, she received approval from Rome which authorized reformed Carmels as a separate and autonomous province. 

St. Teresa died in October 1582 while actively working on expansion and the building of new Carmel monasteries.

St. Teresa was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1614 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. She was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970; she and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women to be honored with this title. 

Quotes attributed to St. Teresa of Avila:

“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers” 

“The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”

By: Ken Henriksen
Faith Formation Commission 

If St. Teresa of Avila interests you, watch for photos and reflections from the group of parishioners that will be visiting Avila this summer as part of a pilgrimage.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Doctor of the Church: St. Thomas of Aquinas

The young St. Thomas was born into Italian nobility, and the youngest son of Landolfo Aquino. He spent the first five years of his life in Roccasecca, Italy. His mother was given a prediction by a hermit that Thomas would grow up to be great scholar and ultimately achieve sanctity.

He was sent to the care of the monks in Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino, at the tender age of five. During his stay there, the political climate changed and he was forced to leave to the Benedictine house in Naples. While in Naples, he was taught the writings of Greek and Arabic philosophers. In particular, he learned of Aristotle and Averroes, both of which had recently been translated in the West. 

In an act of defiance to his parent’s wishes he joined the Dominicans and received the habit in 1244. His parent’s responded by sending his older brother to capture Thomas and return him home. He spent a year locked up in the castle, having to endure multiple attempts of mischief by family members to break his will.

Ultimately, St. Thomas prevailed the family efforts and he made it back to Napels. Eventually, he made his way to the Dominican house at Paris and Cologne. It was here that he became a pupil of the leading Dominican theologian, Albert Magnus. 

There is an extensive amount of work St. Thomas accomplished over his life time. In as much, it ranges from philosophical and biblical commentaries, hymns and main works. 

His most renown work is his Summa Theologica. It is a remarkable study on his life long pursuit to answer his question of “What is God?” and how man can reunite with God through Christ. The book is divided into three main topics of faith, hope and charity. In turn each of the topics has further subtopics and questions.

In conclusion, St. Thomas had his mission presented to him early in life. Simply put he asked a question of “What is God?” He spent the remainder of his life in action to answer the question. His reward for his effort was experiencing a vision while saying mass. The result of which he never wrote again. 

If it interests you to read St. Thomas’s Summa consider the following questions. 
  • Is it possible to know God in this life?
  • Is man created for a definite purpose in life?
  • Is it possible to reach the kingdom in this life?
By Jaime Gonzalez

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Doctors of the Church: St. Jerome

St. Jerome devoted himself to producing an authoritative edition of the Bible. His translation is referred to as the Vulgate.

He regarded the Word of God as a treasure.

Corresponding with a noble woman regarding the education of her daughter, he wrote “Instead of jewels and silk clothing, may she love the divine Books"

For St. Jerome the Word of God was not merely to be read, but also to be lived.

He recognized God in the poor. His words attesting to this are similar to those of St. Teresa of Calcutta.

In another letter with regard to wealth, he advised that it be used to “clothe Christ in the poor, to visit Him in the sick, to feed Him in the hungry, to shelter Him in the homeless.”

When the Goths invaded Rome, St. Jerome turned from writing biblical commentary to helping refugees who came to Bethlehem where he was then living. "I cannot help them all, but I grieve and weep with them, and am completely absorbed in the duties that charity imposes on me," he wrote. "I have put aside my commentary on Ezekiel and almost all study. For today we must translate the precepts of the Scriptures into deeds. Instead of speaking saintly words, we must act them."

St. Jerome's translation of the Bible has had an enduring impact in conveying God's truth.

In considering how you might influence others, you might ponder:
  • How can my work lead others to God?
  • How can I show love for others by what I do and say?
And besides what you can do individually, do you ever wonder:
  • If there's a possibility of bringing the Good News to the nightly news, how would you do so?
  • Though we cannot eradicate all problems what help can we provide?
  • How can we join our efforts with those of others so that together we can do more?
For information about the archdiocesan anti-violence Initiatives - Watch the April 4th press conference here and read information here

Please visit these links to read more about St. Jerome:life & work and thought

To listen to a podcast, about St. Jerome please click here.

By Laura Ross
Faith Formation Commission

Note: Holy Name Cathedral Parish provides any links within these pages to other web sites for your convenience on an “as is” basis and cannot vouch for the correctness or appropriateness of their content.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Little Change, a Major Difference

This Lent you may have participated in the Rice Bowl initiative by vowing to deposit money into those little cardboard banks that were distributed at all masses before Ash Wednesday. Those little banks or “Rice Bowls” will be collected on Palm Sunday and turned over to Catholic Relief Services for its relief efforts throughout the world. According to Catholic Relief Services, depositing one dollar a day during Lent can provide three months of clean water for four families, two years of seed for a farmer, and one month of food for a family. 

I promised to make daily contributions to my Rice Bowl during this Lenten season. By doing so, it made me more conscientious of what a difference a dollar a day can make to people in other parts of the world. Rather than regularly stopping at Starbucks or going out to lunch, I started depositing the money I would have otherwise spent on coffee and food into my Rice Bowl. 

I was taught that the purpose of giving something up for Lent is to develop a spiritual strength by detaching myself from the things I wanted or believed I really needed so that I can resist the temptations I know are not good for me during the rest of the year. Not that there is anything wrong with stopping at Starbucks a couple times a week, but when I realized that a family of four can get six months of clean water (something many of us take for granted) for the amount I spend on my regular grande cup of brewed coffee, I decided that my money should instead go toward a greater good. 

I, along with many of you, will turn in my Rice Bowl on Palm Sunday but I just might replace it with another little bank to deposit my loose change because I recognize that helping the poor is something I can easily continue to do beyond the Lenten season. 

Gabriella Moretti