As we beginthe year of faith and recall the Second Vatican Council, it might be appropriate to begin meetings with this prayer.
G.K.Chesterton: stealth evangelisation
(Vatican Radio) – Vatican Radio’s Veronica Scarisbrick recently caught up with Father Ian Boyd of the Congregation of the Priests of Saint Basil, President of the G.K.Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture.
In this interview Father Boyd is asked in a special way to comment on Chesterton as a journalist, the ‘ rollicking journalist’ this prolific author thought himself to be, as well as how his know- how of journalism might come across today in our media savvy world .
According to Father Boyd, Chesterton who died in 1936 was prophetic in his writings, for example he had predicted that the next great heresy would be an attack on morality and especially sexual morality: “… he said not to be so afraid of the Russians and the Bolsheviks, because the madness of tommorrow is far more in Manhattan than in Moscow”…
In this interview Father Boyd remarks how Chesterton believed that a consumerist culture had a greater power to undermine morality than any totalitarian system: “he said that when real evil comes it always comes from within “..
Asked by Veronica Scarisbrick whether Chesterton saw Christ as the remedy to the brokenness of humanity Father Boyd replies that this author : “..salutes Christ as the everlasting man . He was a sacramental writer, that’s to say he was religious writer who hardly ever spoke about religion.
His wife Frances once said to him : “Why don’t you write about God?”. And he replied : ‘ I write about nothing else’ .
That’s stealth evangelisation. That is he spoke through symbols and through signs, he loved riddles and allegories and believed the deepest truths could only be expressed through parables …”
Reported by Chris Miller of the Western Catholic Reporter.
Edmonton’s 118th Avenue is one of the city’s oldest streets, with a reputation for being one of its toughest neighbourhoods.
So when two Basilian priests, Fathers Bob Kasun and Mark Gazin, came to Edmonton three years ago, they took on the task of sparking stewardship in the inner-city parish.
“Stewardship was already existing in St. Al’s, and we developed what was already there. We initiated stewardship at St. Clare’s,” said Kasun.
The majority of the St. Alphonsus parishioners do not live in the neighbourhood, but choose to travel there for Mass. Most of these commuter parishioners want to belong to the parish because of this revitalized focus on stewardship and helping the poor.
St. Alphonsus Parish has forged a link with the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society (ICHS) after the group opened a small apartment building nearby. Kasun was eager to work with the stewardship committee to hold welcoming activities aimed at integrating new residents into the neighbourhood.
“We recognized that some of the people moving into that apartment have been homeless or come from substandard housing conditions or struggling with a variety of personal issues,” said Kasun.
The parish hosted free shopping days, in which parishioners contributed good quality household items that were made available to new residents. Those residents came by and chose whatever they required, including dishes, glassware, small electronics, bedding, kitchen items and small appliances.
“The number one priority of the Church is evangelization. The number one priority of the archdiocese is evangelization. Now we’re using the term ‘new evangelization.’
“That’s how we see ourselves fitting into the mission of the archdiocese and of the universal Church, that this is a doable way for us to be an evangelizing presence in the inner city,” said Kasun.
The last two years they have held a street barbecue in the summer, and a hot dinner in the winter. Word is spreading about the events, as attendance increased for both in the second year.
“The street barbecue has been held for the neighbourhood, with a special invitation to residents of the ICHS housing projects. The hot dinner (recently held Feb. 11) was for the ICHS residents as well,” said Kasun.
Families are welcomed to the church for a meal, and the children receive candy and gifts. The room is made beautiful to receive them, and they are treated with utmost dignity. Kasun can already sense that there are some bonds of recognition and familiarity being built. The residents who have attended are appreciative and gracious.
“The idea is that we’re not trying to win converts, although that would be nice, but we’re trying to assist the poor,” said Kasun.
“Since we are an inner-city parish, this is one way for us to evangelize, by being a hospitable and welcoming presence.”
Gazin said the events help not only in reaching out to ICHS residents, but also to the wider neighbourhood.
“We’ve recognized in the three years we’ve been here that there’s a need to reach out to this neighbourhood. There are all kinds of social difficulties and issues here,” said Gazin.
With this revamped outreach to the poor, the parish is now in the process of rewriting its mission statement. The refocusing is aimed at giving it a more specific task in helping the low-income people of the 118th Avenue area.
“It’s interesting that some of our parishioners have grown up in this area call it the ‘hood. We’ve started calling ourselves St. Al’s in the ‘hood,” said Gazin.
St. Al’s has declined over the years in its number of parishioners, and supporting themselves through collective donations is next to impossible.
“Being an inner-city parish also means we’re poor. We’re poor because the parish is very small,” said Kasun. “It used to be a huge parish, but the demographics have changed and now it’s small. Fundraising for the parish is important for our survival.”
To offset costs, they host a concession at Commonwealth Stadium. They sell items at football games and concerts, with all profits going to the parish. Gazin said the concession has been a gentle way of attracting non-churchgoers into community life and the Church.
“The really beautiful thing is how it’s built community in the parish. It’s multigenerational, so you’ve got 70-year-olds and you’ve got 16-year-olds, the whole gamut, working together to keep St. Alphonsus viable because its parishioner count alone wouldn’t do it,” said Carla Smiley, a St. Clare parishioner who directs the archdiocesan stewardship program.
St. Clare’s Church established a stewardship committee with eight enthusiastic members, including two youth. The parish has forged a link with Boyle Street Community Services, which manages a 62-unit apartment block in Abbotsfield for low-income people, many of whom were previously homeless.
The church held a drive for household items for those tenants. Parishioners donated so much stuff that Boyle Street Community Services rented storage space to store the excess.
“They will have enough gently used household items for many years to come,” said Kasun.
The parishioners also plan to have a strong Catholic presence in the apartment building. They want to teach crafts and cooking classes, drive tenants for appointments and do pastoral visits.
Also ongoing at St. Clare’s Parish is assisting Edmonton Catholic Schools’ Our Lady of Grace Crib Program. Parishioners contribute baby items for young mothers still in high school who have chosen to keep their babies rather than abort them.
“We have been told there are over 80 single moms in the Catholic high schools of Edmonton. Those girls would receive varying degrees of support,” said Kasun.
Forging friendships with former street people has been a difficult undertaking. Kasun said making these connections has been uphill work. But all in all, he has not lost hope.
“Perhaps the struggle is more important than the achievement of results. We’re trying to think long term,” concluded Kasun.
DETROIT (WJBK) - Detroit’s Cristo Rey High School now has its first senior class. Since its first year 2008-2009, Cristo Rey has challenged students to strive for excellence beyond the classroom.
Every student works to help cover tuition costs, but they aren’t holding down regular teenage jobs. These students are working for some of the top companies Detroit has to offer. Students don’t take home cash from their jobs, instead the money is funneled straight into the school. “This year our students will earn about $1.1 million. Eventually they will fund about 60% of our expenses on an annual basis,” said Detroit Cristo Rey President Michael Khoury. Students told Fox 2 the deal works out well, “Working is fun, when you’re among adults and you get the type of work that they do. A lot of people say you don’t get paid, but it goes toward your tuition, so it is paying something for you,” said Celina Ortiz, who attends Cristo Rey.
Detroit Cristo Rey is located in the old Holy Redeemer High School on the city’s southwest side. It is one of 24 Cristo Rey schools in large, urban areas across the country. The first was founded in a Hispanic neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. “The Cristo Rey model is to provide Catholic, co-ed, college prep education to students who normally could not attend a private school,” said Khoury.
Click here to visit the school’s website.
As seen in the Windsor Star here
August 4, 2001
by Marty Gervais, Windsor Star
It would be a lie to say an angel tapped him on the shoulder, whispered in his ear and told him that he would become a priest.
That’s just not the way it happens in the real world.
Yet somehow Matthew Durham, a 27-year-old west-ender, who will be ordained as a Basilian at Assumption Church Saturday, always knew he would become a priest.
At least since he was 11 years old.
But don’t expect him to tell you a tale about some sudden revelation. There was no blinding light. No angels. Really his story is really pretty ordinary in the grand scheme of spiritual revelations.
“I do not have a moment of clarity. It was no falling off the horse moment — it was just something I’ve known my whole. It is like trying to explain why the sky is blue.” said Durham.
Yet it makes sense. Assumption was the church he grew up in. It was where he served mass as an altar boy. It’s where his mother has worked for two decades or more, and the Basilian priests who manage the church frequented his childhood home, and often stayed for dinner.
Such familiarity didn’t go unnoticed to the impressionable Durham.
By the time he was in high school, it was clear that becoming a Basilian priest dominated his thoughts. Then the pastor at Assumption one day asked if he had ever considered the priesthood.
“I guess that planted the seed,” said Durham.
But it wasn’t a push, or a shove — it was merely a gentle urging.
Later, another Basilian — the charismatic Father Daniel Zorzi — inspired him to pursue this more seriously. And Zorzi became Durham’s mentor. He was “the cool priest.” As Durham described, here was Basilian priest who played hockey, and buzzed about on rollerblades, and he was young.
And when it came time to go to university, Durham was torn because he felt compelled to take philosophy if he was ever going to enter the seminary, but he gravitated to fine art.
It was Zorzi who told him, “Do what you love? Do what brings you alive?”
That’s what prompted Durham to take fine art at the University of Windsor. It was there he painted and drew, and let his imagination run its course on canvases.
But why the Basilians? “It’s because I knew them — that simple.”
Durham wound up studying theology at St. Michael’s in Toronto, and currently works as the campus chaplain and theology lecturer at the University of Alberta. He will return to its St. Joseph’s College as director of campus ministry. His goal, however, is to return to work with palliative and hospice care, which was the subject of his graduate thesis.
But in interviewing Durham, I couldn’t let the credibility question pass about how he approached his future as a new priest when the Catholic Church has been rocked by sexual abuse scandals.
This fair-haired young man, who went to St. Francis Elementary in the west end, knows it’s a dilemma plaguing every aspiring being a priest today — and there aren’t many entering the seminaries.
He knows, too, it’s a challenge never faced by generations of clergy before him because such abuse persisted under a heavy veil of silence.
Durham fully acknowledges the mistakes of the past, but maintains, “I want to be a part of the new generation — and to serve the people of God, as simple as that might sound.”
That means building trust, something that was sadly broken in the past.
Durham is optimistic, and believes what he learned from growing up is that it is essential “to earn people’s respect.” He counts that as the challenge in becoming a priest today.
Pushing him a little harder, I asked what will make the difference in his vocation.
Durham was quick to reply: “Hope is the shortest answer.”
And he’s right.
Without hope, there is little point in talking about the future.
As Appeared in The Western Catholic Reporter HERE
So he joined the Basilian Fathers right out of high school and was ordained a priest for this teaching community of men in 1961.
He taught philosophy for almost 30 years, more than 20 of them at St. Joseph’s College at the University of Alberta. And when he reached the retirement age of 65, he decided to stay in Alberta and serve as a pastor.
Inglis, now 78, has been pastor at Our Lady of the Foothills Parish in Hinton for the last 13 years.
On June 29, he will mark 50 years of his ordination to the Basilian priesthood, a vocation he describes as a blessing. “It’s been a good life,” he says.
Born in Toronto the youngest of two, Inglis attended a Catholic high school when his parents made sacrifices to pay the $75 annual tuition.
From early on, Inglis had been drawn to the Church to serve Mass and to sing in the children’s choir. “I loved the Mass, the music, the Gothic architecture and I would gaze at the stained glass windows with scenes depicting Jesus, Mary and some saints,” he recalls.
He learned in Grade 1 why God had made him: “To know, love and serve God in this world and to be happy with him in the next.” He accepted that premise and decided to dedicate his life to it.
When he was in Grade 10 he had to write a book report on St. Thérèse of Lisieux who had the same idea about the meaning of life and who entered a religious order in her teens.
“From reading her story, I saw religious life as a life focused on God and works of service.”
St. Michael’s High, the high school that Inglis attended, was run by the Basilian Fathers who served the Church primarily as teachers and ran schools in Canada and the United States. So the summer he graduated he joined the Basilians at the age of 18.
The young man wasn’t too interested in teaching but understood that “teaching was part of the deal” if he wanted to be a member of the Basilian community.
“I was looking for a religious community to join and they happened to be the ones there,” Inglis said. “I was very happy with the simple, focused life they led.”
His parents were disappointed because by joining the Basilians, Inglis wouldn’t stay in Toronto. “They were happy I would be a priest but they were sorry I wasn’t a diocesan priest because that would have kept me in Toronto.”
After graduating from university, Inglis taught high school in Toronto for two years and then began studies for the priesthood at St. Basil’s Seminary. On June 29, 1961, the feast of St. Peter and Paul, he was ordained in Toronto.
The community moved him around in the early years and he taught in Toronto, Saskatoon and Houston, Texas, and then for 23 years, at St. Joseph’s College in Edmonton.
Inglis said he found teaching a challenge because he was not temperamentally cut out for it. But he admitted to having learned a lot in the process.
“I was blessed to teach philosophy, and for 29 years to immerse myself in the thoughts of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, the history of Christian philosophy, ethics and other subjects,” he said.
“It was my privilege to introduce (U of A students) to great thinkers as I tried to understand their thought myself. In fact, I found that in trying to share these thoughts with the students I came to understand them myself. It’s in giving that we receive.”
When Inglis turned 65 and had to retire, Archbishop Joseph MacNeil asked him to consider helping out at Our Lady of the Foothills Parish. He hesitated because he had little knowledge of parish life, but in the end he agreed.
“It has been a great blessing to me to serve the parish in Hinton,” he says. “There are so many good and deeply faithful people in the parish. I’m constantly urged, out of regard for them, to be faithful to Christ and to the teaching of the Church.”
Inglis is not thinking of retirement yet. But when it comes, he will move to the Basilian retirement home in Toronto.
As appeared in the Windsor Star HERE
by Marty Gervais, July 19, 2011
He never forgot that time, and never forgot what he learned at the grassroots.
But since then, Rev. Thomas Rosica has gone on to teach at seminaries, lecture on sacred scripture, write a column for the Toronto Sun, organize World Youth Day and manage Salt and Light Television, Canada’s first national Catholic television network.
Now he’s taking over Assumption University, having been appointed its new president. He begins that job in December.
When I spoke to him by phone, he said it wasn’t a job he went after.
“You’d have to have rocks in your head to want a job like that,” he said with amusement.
But he agreed to take the position because not only would it be a challenge, but he was certain he could “breathe new life” into an old institution.
He also acknowledged it wouldn’t be easy because like so many other Catholic colleges attached to universities in North America, Assumption has somehow lost touch.
Under the direction of the retiring president, Rev. Paul Rennick, there was a move to rectify that, said Rosica, but “the time is ripe for change,” and what’s needed is a far more aggressive approach.
“I can tell you now, we can’t live on the laurels of the past,” the 52-year-old Basilian priest said, pointing out that while Assumption may have a rich history with the likes of such intellectual giants as Marshall McLuhan, Wyndham Lewis and Rev. Stan Murphy, it must find a more inventive way to connect with the community.
“When I think of Assumption,” Rosica said, “I think of where it is, located right there under the (Ambassador) bridge. That’s an enormously important symbol.”
For him, that symbol prompts him to think of “building bridges with the community.”
This means finding a way “to reinvent itself,” Rosica said. And that’s easier said than done, remarked the former cleric of Amherstburg’s St. John the Baptist parish.
Rosica views his role as creating a greater presence for Assumption both on the campus at the University of Windsor and in the community outside the academic halls.
“We need to build those bridges,” he said.
With his extensive background and work with the media, Rosica hopes to transform the profile of Assumption into a Catholic school that adopts a leading role not only in the Windsor-area community but also on a provincial and national level.
He believes this might include engaging in discussions around dealing openly with the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.
Rosica maintains that the unwavering and persistent efforts of London diocese Bishop Ronald Fabbro to remedy these wrongdoings sets an example for the church at large. And if there is a way in which Assumption can contribute, Rosica will be sure to make that happen.
The other area that needs change is with the Christian Culture Series, something that Murphy started during the Depression years. Rosica says it was one of the most significant actions ever taken by the school when it was introduced.
Rosica says the school has to find better ways “to reach out to the community,” pointing out his plan is to use the advanced technology of Salt and Light Television to introduce the best of Assumption to a greater audience.
“I want to seize upon this and let what we’re doing here be known to the whole country,” Rosica said.
Assumption will also find a way of teaming up with other Catholic institutions to share resources.
“We have to begin working together and thinking about how we can help each other” he said, pointing out, for example, that he foresees Assumption and St. Peter’s Seminary in London sharing programs.
As Rosica speaks about this over the phone, his enthusiasm is evident. So is his respect for the history of Assumption. But he reiterates the need for a change in direction, quoting from the New Testament about the master of the house bringing out “what is new and what is old.”
To this, he adds, “We have to find a way to take what is old and what is new and give it meaning.”
As seen on YNN; story by Sheba Clarke
It’s been a year of transition for the Catholic community in Irondequoit. Two churches closed last year and five parishes have been consolidated into one.
Parishioners celebrated the first anniversary of the new parish Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Sunday with an outdoor mass, a picnic and fellowship.
“This is a really beautiful that everyone can get together and meet each other,” said parishioner Janette Masetta.
But getting people from five different parishes and five different traditions to come together as one is far from easy.
“It has been a challenge because each parish has had their own identity and their own personality,” said parishioner Marie Bianchi.
This is the first time members of the Blessed Kateri Church worshipped together under one roof since the churches consolidated five parishes into one.
“In this process you have to have faith,” said parishioner Carolanne Bianchi.
The parish, which has three worship sites, is now made up of more than 5,000 members.
“We see in this a real opportunity to show, especially Irondequoit which is divided in so many ways, how we can really become one community,” said Father Norm Tanck.
More than 1,000 people helped celebrate the parish’s anniversary. Tanck says as the parish establishes new traditions, people are still adjusting.
“There’s still a lot of pain and hurt and loss that needs to be healed,” said Tanck.
Still, it’s a new chapter for Irondequoit parishes.
“This is a year of healing and building as we move forward,” said Tanck.
Forward in a new way to worship.
“We are here to grow,” said Bianchi. “We are here to grow as a big community.”
Supplemental from the Secretary General:
Approximately 1,300 attended Mass under a huge tent on the Christ the King campus followed by a parish picnic with entertainment, fun and games for the children and the drawing on a Home Make Over Raffle.
Bl Kateri Parish, formed by merging Christ the King with four other parishes in Irondequoit, is now the largest parish in the Diocese of Rochester – approximately 5,000 households. It is presently averaging between 2,500 and 3,000 faithful at our Sunday Masses celebrated at three sites, including Christ the King.
The Basilians at St. Michael’s College are consolidating their living space in the two houses, Windel and Phelan. Marty Dimnik was the last one living in the top floor of Brennan Hall, and he has moved to Windel into Bob O’Halloran’s old rooms. We toasted the Queen — or at least said we should toast the Queen — in our new common common room in Phelan last night on Victoria Day. The houses are very comfortable and the grounds are beautiful as always at this time of year. Jim McConica spends time gardening.
I haven’t posted in awhile. I hope that will change.