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Urban Impressions of the Stations of the Cross

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What is going on at Mass?

The Mass is an integral part of our faith. The Eucharist is the source and the summit of our faith. Yet, how often do we find ourselves going through the motions at Mass? How often do we think about the history of the Mass or why we say the words we do?

The Faith Formation Commission is offering the chance to go through aspects of the Mass and answer some of these questions by offering another teaching Mass on June 8. All are welcome to join us. however, due to popularity, we ask that you register in advance. The registration form also includes the opportunity to ask questions.

In the meantime, you can find out more about the Mass parts here. All the answers to the question, "What's happening?" will be answered.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Doctors of the Church: St. Hilary of Poitiers

St. Hilary of Poitiers was born in Poitiers, France, in 315.

His parents were pagans and raised Hilary as a pagan; his education included learning Greek, a common language of the day.

Hilary lived the common life of the time working, marrying and having a family (a daughter). He dedicated himself to the study of the New and Old Testaments which led Hilary to abandon his standing as a pagan and become a Christian about the time that he was 35 years of age. He was baptized a Christian along with his wife and daughter.

He was held in high regard in the Christian community in Poitiers; he was elected as the Bishop of Poitiers in 353.

During the years Hilary served as the Bishop of Poitiers, the universal Christian community was divided in its interpretation of the relationship of Jesus Christ to God the Father. Two distinct concepts predominated thinking within Christianity at the time:
  • The assertion that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father, is distinct of the Father and is subordinate to the Father (known as Arianism- a belief held largely by the eastern Christian church);
  • The assertion of Jesus Christ as within the Holy Trinity – God in three persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. (a belief held largely in the western Christian church)
St. Hilary was a firm believer and guardian of the Holy Trinity. His strong beliefs brought him into conflict with the Roman emperor of the day, Constantius II; Hilary’s actions to defend his thinking on the Holy Trinity resulted in his being sent into exile in Phyrgia (a region in modern day Turkey) by Constantius II for a period of 4 years.

He devoted much of his time in exile to writing. Among theological works composed by St. Hilary while in exile, is De Trinitate (On the Trinity); it is comprised of 12 books and considered a major theological work on the topic.

St. Hilary of Poitiers died in 367; he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1851.

A quote attributed to St. Hilary of Poitiers:

“There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus He embraces, and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all.”

To Reflect Upon:
  • How do we respond when faced with topics or issues where individuals hold strong convictions or line of thinking that differ from our own? How can we face approach a dialogue on these topics constructively while holding true to our beliefs? 

By Ken Kenriksen

Monday, May 8, 2017

Doctors of the Church: St. Bede the Venerable

Saint Bede the Venerable

Feast Day May 25

Born in the Medieval Anglican Kingdom of Northumbria, in what is now northern England, Saint Bede made a significant impact on mankind while living of his life inside the walls of a Monastery. Entrusted to an abbot by his parents at the age of seven, Bede became Deacon at 19 and Priest at 30. Educated in scripture, lives of the saints, sciences, and history, Bede developed into a humble and trusting servant of God.

Among his more famous quotations are:

“All of the ways of this world are as fickle and unstable as a sudden storm at sea.”

“The life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are totally ignorant’

“Christ is the Morning Star, who, when the night of this world is past, gives to his saints the promise of the light of life, and opens everlasting day”

“I was no longer the center of my life and therefore I could see God in everything”

“Unfurl the sails, and let God steer us where He will.”

St. Bede is credited with writing 45 books on topics of history and faith during his lifetime. No small feat considering,

“I am my own secretary; I dictate, I compose, I copy all myself.”

Study and teaching were important to Bede’s path to sainthood and he embraced this path.

“I have devoted my life to the study of scriptures, observing monastic discipline, and singing daily services in church; studying, teaching and writing have always been my delight.”

Bede’s most famous work, Historia Ecclesiatica, is an account of the influence of Christianity in the unification of the disparate tribes and races of early Britain. It is written in a manner similar to Acts of the Apostles, where Luke relates the movement of the Church from Jerusalem to Rome, St. Bede introduces us to the Saints and missionary heroes who bring the gospel to tribal Kings and spread faith that brings a common bond to the people of the British Isles. Bede’s work shows how St. Alban, St Augustine, Pope Gregory the Great and numerous other bishops and monks influenced warlords and kings and ultimately brought faith in Christ to the non-Roman barbarian north.

St. Bede’s writings from the monastery were widely known during his lifetime. His work was read in churches and he was sought by kings and other people of importance, even Pope Sergius. Despite this notoriety, St. Bede remained true to his monastic calling and with the exception of one brief teaching expedition in the school of the Archbishop of York, he remained inside the Monastery of St. Paul, Jarrow all of his adult life.

St. Bede shows us how observing and understanding holy lives can supplement scripture on a personal path to a quality life. His discipline and devotion to learning on the journey to sainthood can be an inspiration to us all. He is the patron saint of scholars.

  • Who's lives inspire you to reach for your best?
  • Which gifts give you the greatest impact from your little corner of the world?
  • Are there practices you can use to maximize the benefit of your gifts?
By: Carl Casareto