Friar Jack's Musings

To all those who so kindly e-mailed me last month after reading the story of my name (Friar Jack), I must say: A million thanks! I can't tell you how high I felt in receiving all your wonderful responses. You instantly detected my self-doubt regarding the evolution of my name. And you came flying to my support as if to say: "Hey, each person's name and identity is sacred, so praise God and accept your name!"

Thank you! You set me free and helped me accept God's love through your support and kindness--which came from as far away as New Zealand. One writer, a lay Franciscan, delighted me immensely by reminding me that St. Francis of Assisi was actually named John at his Baptism, but ended up with the nickname Francesco (or Francis) because of his father's love for southern France. Anyhow, "Francis" is the rough equivalent of "Frenchie." After hearing this, and many similar comments, I could more happily embrace "Jack."

Your loving responses from the four winds made me reflect on the positive power of the Internet. You'll find those reflections at the end of this e-mail, so read on.

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ARE YOU A WEB CATHOLIC?:
St. Anthony Messenger Online begins a new column this year called Web Catholic, by John Bookser Feister. Each month John will choose a parish site, a media site, an inspirational site and one outstanding site from any category to showcase. John welcomes your suggestions. Please send them to webcatholic@franciscanmedia.org. But take a moment now to visit and see what's featured this month: http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/Jan2001/Web_Catholic.asp

WHAT A WOMAN WANTS:
St. Anthony Messenger Online features "Steve McEveety: Catholic Producer in Hollywood" by Greg Heffernan. This 20-year Hollywood veteran has produced some of Mel Gibson's most popular films--including the current hit "What Women Want." Here he exclusively discusses his Catholic faith, family and career. http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/Jan2001/Feature1.asp

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A FAITHFUL RESOLUTION FOR THE NEW YEAR:
Begin your new year with daily prayer and reflection with David Knight's Living God's Word: Reflections on the Weekly Gospels—Year C.

This book will tell you what the Sunday and weekday Gospel readings are so that you can look them over ahead of time, see the context in which they are found and come to Mass prepared to sit back, enjoy and absorb what you hear.

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MAKE A NEW YEAR'S PEACE PLEDGE AND SEND AN E-GREETING:
In this first week of 2001, start off the new year right by making a peace pledge at: http://www.PledgePeace.org/. Then, encourage others to do the same by sending a FREE peace e-greeting: http://www.CatholicGreetings.org/Peace/. We received 600,000 hours of pledges last year and are hoping someday to reach 8.5 million hours--a thousand years! It's as simple as pledging an hour to help a neighbor.

MARRIAGE, DIVORCE AND ANNULMENTS
In January, Fr. Pat's "Ask a Franciscan" delves into to the sticky questions about divorce and annulment. See if some of your questions are answered at http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/Jan2001/Wiseman.asp. As always, please continue to submit your questions about the Catholic faith to "Ask a Franciscan."

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FRIAR JACK'S CHOSEN SITE:
Check out http://www.CatholicWeb.com/. Here's a site that offers free Catholic web sites. Perhaps your parish should consider hosting your site here?

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CONCLUSION TO FRIAR JACK'S MUSINGS:
Have you ever thought of the Internet as a reflection of the omnipresence of God? To be a bit poetic, can we not see the Internet as a metaphor of the Body of Christ--the matrix of God's loving presence that holds us all together?

God is often referred to as "Eternal Light." In my book "Lights: Revelations of God's Goodness," I wrote a chapter entitled "Let There Be Light." In it I see God as somehow symbolized by light and by the vibrating energy said to be at the heart of all things. I wonder out loud: In addition to the sun, moon and stars, could not this pulsating Light be "revealing itself in millions of glowing TV and computer screens that instantly unite people to each other through an Internet of energy"?

Perhaps my poetic musings have gone "over the top!" I believe nonetheless that I felt--somehow--the presence of God reflected in your loving Internet responses to my December "E-spirations."

As always, please e-mail your suggestions and comments to: mailto:friarjack@franciscanmedia.org.

You can learn more about my book "Lights: Revelations of God's Goodness."

--Jack Wintz, O.F.M.


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