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.
ONCE CATHOLIC.ORG GRABS MEDIA ATTENTION:
Last month when OnceCatholic.org, a sister site to AmericanCatholic.org,
was launched, a number of media outlets covered the event. Here's
a front page article from the Cincinnati Post: http://www.cincypost.com/2001/mar/21/cath032101.html
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 Catholic.org , 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: http://www.OnceCatholic.org
PRAYER INTENTIONS GROW AT AMERICANCATHOLIC.ORG
Do you have a prayer intention? Do you have some time to pray
for others intentions? AmericanCatholic.org 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! http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/PrayerIntentions/default.asp
GET YOUR DAILY DOSE AT AMERICANCATHOLIC.ORG
Now there are four good reasons to stop by AmericanCatholic.org
every single day:
1)Catholic News from Catholic News Service of the U.S. Catholic
Conference - NEW! http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Features/DailyNews/todays.asp
2)"Daily Catholic Question" offerings from our famous
"Wiseman" and "Ask a Franciscan" collection
- NEW! http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Features/DailyQuestion/
3)"Minute Meditations," daily insights which do only
take a minute to read: http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Features/Minute/
4)"Saint of the Day," our first and most popular
daily feature: http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Features/SaintofDay/
so you can stop by every single day!
THESE 50 DAYS OF EASTER, O LORD
You've completed the 40 days of Lent, now celebrate the 50 days
of Easter: http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Features/Easter/default.asp
GUESS WHO'S NOW SUBSCRIBING TO ST. ANTHONY MESSENGER?
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. http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/May2001/Feature1.asp
RELIGIOUS ORDERS ON THE WEB
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: http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/May2001/Web_Catholic.asp
KEEP SENDING IN THOSE NEW WEB-SITE SUGGESTIONS
Found something new this month?
Send your NEW Web-site recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org
and check back see if they are included in an upcoming "Web
Catholic"! And thanks for all the others you have sent.
TAKE AN ONLINE POLL!
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: http://www.EveryDayCatholic.org/
KNOW A NEW MAMA?
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:
CatholicGreetings.org 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.
QUESTIONS FOR THE UNIVERSITY CROWD:
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 http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/May2001/Wiseman.asp.
As always, please continue to submit your questions about the Catholic faith to "Ask a Franciscan."
FRIAR JACK'S CHOSEN SITE:
Can we really "pray" about current events in the news?
The Carmelite Sister of Indianapolis offer us the opportunity
on their new Web site, http://www.praythenews.com.
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: http://www.praythenews.com
CONCLUSION OF FRIAR JACK'S MUSINGS
As many of you know, this newsletter--and the other communications
efforts of AmericanCatholic.org--come 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: http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/e-News/FriarJack/Painting.asp
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 http://www.PledgePeace.org
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions via e-mail:
--Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
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