Friar Jack Muses About His Dream of Peace

It's again a delight to receive e-mails from the four winds--for example, from a parish council president in Istanbul, Turkey, and from a member of a Christian prayer group in Australia.

While it's wonderful to see letters come pouring in, it's also painful that it's just impossible to respond personally to so many good comments, as well as requests for prayers and other good things. When I do get a prayer request, I pause immediately and pray for you and your situation, but then move on and try not to be paralyzed with guilt feelings.

How else can you and I deal with this complex e-world--with its amazing technology that seems to bless and give us anguish at the same time, forcing us into an ever faster soul-eroding pace--if we don't stop and discern our limits? Where can we find those soul-restoring "oases of peace and contemplation," without which we whither and die? How can we lovingly try to respond to our neighbors' needs, and yet recognize our own finite, human capabilities? Holy Spirit, help us with your gifts of discernment and love.

Let me end this opening segment by quoting an e-mail that came in from a reader named Carolyn on April 9: "Friar Jack: I enjoyed your message about all of us being connected, not only via Internet, but--even more wonderfully--with our Heavenly Father, who is but a breath away living, loving always there." Thanks for your comforting words, as so many of us struggle with forces that seem to pull in opposing directions. May you be comforted too.

Read on! My conclusions about the unrest in Cincinnati are at the end of this message.


Last month when, a sister site to, was launched, a number of media outlets covered the event. Here's a front page article from the Cincinnati Post: Numerous "once Catholics" have visited this past month and many have posted personal stories about their Catholic faith journeys. Others have e-mailed the staff companions for personal direction on returning to the church or basic questions about Catholicism. Once , called "A Catholic Site for Seekers," is a welcoming interactive community to share your inactive Catholic Church story, find resources and reconnect with your local Catholic community. Stop by and see what all the media attention is about:

Do you have a prayer intention? Do you have some time to pray for others intentions? has a new "Prayer Intentions" feature on our newly redesigned Web site and we encourage you to visit and post a prayer and offer prayers for those that are posted. All posted prayers will also be presented on a following Tuesday among the prayers at the National Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua in Cincinnati, Ohio. God is calling us to be a prayerful community!

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The May issue of St. Anthony Messenger includes the article, Charming Alice McDermott: Award-winning Novelist. Her novel Charming Billy was bound to be an award-winner: Irish-Catholic characters who have St. Anthony Messenger in their homes. By Mary Jo Dangel.

Find a useful directory and see examples of how today's orders bring their charism (spiritual gift) into the emerging global culture of the Internet. Read more at:

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This month, "Every Day Catholic" readers are encouraged to answer: The best way I can help the family farmer is by (choose one or more) praying, educating myself as a consumer, purchasing food at local "farmers' markets, urging legislation that aids small farmers over multinationals, or advocating economic justice for farmers in my parish/diocese. Click here and let your opinion be known:


Perhaps you know a new mother who could use some encouragement this Mother's Day (May 13). A brand new book, Meditating Mamas: Reflections for New Mothers by Susie Whelehan and Rebecca Cunningham, was written by mothers for mothers. This attractive gift book invites new mothers to Stop. Breathe. Relax. Reflect. And in the midst of it all, to remember that God is with them and is already present in the life of their child. This lovely gift book is an oasis of calm in the sometimes stormy seas of new motherhood.


CATHOLIC E-GREETINGS FOR MARY AND YOUR MOTHER: has e-greetings this month for your Mary celebrations and touching e-greetings to send to your mother on Mother's Day, May 13. Stop by this month and check out our growing list of specialized free e-greetings for Catholics.

In May, Father Pat's "Ask a Franciscan" answers questions from an 18-year-old college freshman about a starting point for his faith and why those places on campus are called Newman and not Neumann Clubs. Find out more at

As always, please continue to submit your questions about the Catholic faith to "Ask a Franciscan."


Can we really "pray" about current events in the news? The Carmelite Sister of Indianapolis offer us the opportunity on their new Web site, Individual sisters share perspectives and prayer about current news events. They also discuss the latest books they are reading, along with music or movie reviews. The interactive sisters even allow you to light a candle and share a prayer request. A welcoming and beautiful site worthy of your time today:


As many of you know, this newsletter--and the other communications efforts of out of Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), a city that recently and unhappily made international news because of racial tensions and unrest. St. Anthony Messenger Press and the headquarters of the Franciscan friars who sponsor these efforts are located in the heart of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, the center of the troubles, and have been here for over 150 years.

The events were a wake-up call, reminding us that we must all try harder to bring about justice and to live in peace and harmony and mutual respect as the one human family God wants us to be. A few days ago, I saw a hopeful and healing symbol in the aftermath of the tension and street rioting that was sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black youth by a white policeman. The symbol I refer to is a painting on a boarded-up window of a small business store that had been vandalized and badly seared by fire just a few blocks from here. The mural painting by young artists from the inner city showed a circle of young children of different races holding hands--with the words: "Unity in the community: We are the people; together we grow." You can see a picture of the mural by following this link:

I know that this dream of a more reconciled community is held by many people--black and white--in our neighborhood. Last Sunday, for example, I witnessed a similar display of good faith while participating in the Eucharist at the Franciscan Church (St. Francis Seraph) that stands next to the St. Anthony Messenger Press building. While reciting the "Our Father" together, members of Christ's body--both black and white--held hands as we prayed "hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come....Give us...our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Our sentiments and dream resonated with those expressed in the painting and words above.

Dare we now take this dream to the global level? I invite all of you in our great Internet family--made up of different nationalities and races and histories--in spirit to join hands and hearts. Together let us praise "our one loving

Creator" and ask for the peace and unity and forgiveness we all need from each other and from God.

"Be praised, O God, in all your creatures, and bring us into that one reconciled family that is your dream for us. Send your Spirit and help us build a world where we can live together in peace and unity in your loving embrace. Amen."

For a practical step towards this dream, I encourage you to make a pledge for peace at our Web site


As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions via e-mail:

--Jack Wintz, O.F.M.


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