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Can something as simple as a garden make a difference in your life? -- Father Gene explains how it's done -- August 12, 2014

Father Gene Hemrick shares his thoughts about the virtue of understanding (May 13, 2014)

Fr. Gene interviewed on Relevant Radio about Multi-Culturism

This is the time of year when hope is in abundance -- Father Gene thinks so too, and shares some ideas about hope on Relevant Radio

November 12 interview with Father Gene about the lessons to be learned from "Homespun Wisdom"

Interesting interview with Fr. Gene about the changes we see all around us dealing with security -- our own and that of others

Follow this link to our digital Archive
and explore some more of our audio files

August 20, 2014

In this edition:
1. Jobs plight of young adults: Labor Day.
2. Dialogue in detail: The pope in Korea.
3. What "empathy" means for dialogue.
4. Current quotes to ponder:
a) Pope Francis on church and China.
b) Who Jesus is for "me," for world.
c) Community, broadening the challenge.
5. Finding God in darkness.
6. On not avoiding the dark.

August 7, 2014

In this edition:
1. What about war? World War I centenary.
2. Pope Francis on the road to happiness.
3. Current quotes to ponder:
a) Why children flee Central America.
b) The children at the U.S. border.
4. Responding to the children at the border.
5. Pope profiles 21st century priest.
6. An economy serving the common good.

(Click on the title for the rest of each newsletter)

Here's What We're Reading!

Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry, Bishop Matthew H. Clark

Guardian of the Redeemer, Author: John Paul II

Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation, Richard Rohr

The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer, Father Jonathan Morris

Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Father Paul Farren

Saint Paul: Master of the Spiritual Life in Christ, Author: Elliott C. Maloney, O.S.B.

Be Not Afraid: Wisdom from John Paul II, Compiled by Marianne Lorraine Trouve, PSP

Secret to Happiness: Wisdom from John XXIII, Pauline Books & Media

Pope Francis and Our Call To Joy, Diane M. Houdek

It's in the News!

First black priests in US 'opened door for rest of us,' pastor says

Catholic News Service

Mobile, Ala.

Black Catholic bishops, priests, deacons and religious brothers who gathered in Mobile for an annual joint conference celebrated the 80th anniversary of the first class of black priests who were educated and ordained in the United States.

"As we begin our preparations for the 50th anniversary of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, it is important for us to remember those pioneers who came before us," said Fr. Kenneth Taylor, president of the caucus.

"These men who were educated and ordained here in the United States opened the door for the rest of us. Because of what they did, we can do what we do," added Taylor, who is pastor of the Church of the Holy Angels in Indianapolis.

The clergy caucus holds an annual joint conference with the National Black Sisters' Conference, the National Black Catholic Seminarians'

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Walking on Water and Sinking Like a Stone

Ron Rolheiser

Faith isn't something you ever simply achieve. It's not something that you ever nail down as a fait accompli. Faith works this way: Some days you walk on water and other days you sink like a stone. Faith invariably gives way to doubt before it again recovers its confidence, then it loses it again.

We see this graphically illustrated in the famous story in the gospels of Peter walking on water. The story goes this way: The disciples had just witnessed a major miracle, Jesus feeding more than 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. Having just witnessed a miracle, their faith was strong. Soon afterwards they get into a boat to cross a lake. Jesus is not with them. A few miles out they run into a fierce storm and begin to panic. Jesus comes walking towards them on the water. Initially they're frightened and take him for a ghost. But he calms their fear by telling them, right from the center of the storm, that he is not just Jesus but that he is God's very presence.

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Survey: Most Americans say U.S. should shelter, not rush to deport, child migrants

Cathy Lynn Grossman Religion News Service
July 29, 2014 Immigration and the Church

Most Americans say the waves of children crossing into the United States from Central America are refugees fleeing danger at home. And they say the United States should support these children while reviewing their cases, not deport them immediately.

These largely sympathetic views come from all points along the political and religious spectrum, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute on Tuesday.

Democrats (80 percent), independents (69 percent) and Republicans (57 percent) favor offering support to unaccompanied children while a process to review their cases gets underway.

Most major religious groups say the same, including white evangelical Protestants (56 percent), white mainline Protestants (67 percent),

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Do new ordinations signal rising popularity of Latin Mass?

Lilly Fowler St. Louis Post-Dispatch Religion News Service

St. Louis

When Pope Francis first appeared to the crowd in St. Peter's Square without the short red cape known as a mozzetta, some Roman Catholics cried foul, worried the pope's decision to forgo the more formal wear signaled a threat to traditional worship.

Specifically, they fretted over the fate of the old Latin Mass, now in the hands of a papacy that seemed to shrug off pomp and circumstance.

But more than a year into Francis' reign, the Tridentine Mass, as it is sometimes called, appears to be alive and well. Decades after the Catholic church moved away from celebrating Mass in Latin, a throwback movement is growing, in many cases with young people leading the charge.

On Tuesday, four men were ordained to the priesthood at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, the St. Louis church known for practicing the Latin liturgy.

The Mass marked only the second time members of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest have been ordained in the United States. The religious community, founded in Africa in 1990, regularly celebrates the old-style Mass. v The last set of U.S. ordinations to the institute was in 2007 and involved two deacons. This year's group was larger, with four men welcomed into the priesthood. Four other men were ordained earlier this year in Italy, where the institute

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The Spirituality of the Second Vatican Council

Author: Gerald O'Collins, SJ
Paulist Press. Mahwah NJ. 2014. Pp. 80

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Regrettably, the spirituality of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) is rarely considered in the volumes of material written about it in the last fifty years. Vatican II famously emphasized the baptismal call to holiness, and its sixteen documents contain a wealth of guidance on how that is to be lived. Here Fr. O'Collins describes and develops what the Council knew this call to involve: cultivating a sense of the manifold presence of Christ; living with others in a priestly, prophetic, and pastoral way; being constantly fed and led by the Scriptures; and pursuing a Christ-centered existence that hears the cry of those who suffer and desperately need our help. From its opening document on the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II is a rich and essential resource for Catholic spirituality.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Be In Dialogue

The last chapter reported the attractive plea for dialogue with which the Council ended. "Be in dialogue within the Church and with all other human beings" comes across as a proper and even essential Christian characteristic. But putting this invitation into practice runs up against deeply self-referential

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The 'Francis effect': three voices

Fr. Eddie Siebert, S.J. The IN Network -- NCR Today

It was a frigid, gray February morning, and we huddled alongside thousands of pilgrims packed outside St. Peter's Square waiting for the pope. Heeding smart advice, my colleague Kathleen Kelly and I arrived just before 8 a.m. to an already massive crowd for the 11 a.m. General Audience. We were in Rome for the SIGNIS [1] World Congress for Catholic Communicators, and it seemed that the main topic of conversation that morning among our fellow conference attendees was just how crowded the Vatican felt since Francis' election. We were told that audiences are usually held inside St. Peter's in winter, but the event had been moved outside to accommodate the record-breaking throngs hoping to see the pope.

At 10 a.m., the roar of the flock erupted to the level you might expect at a One Direction concert [2]. He had arrived early -- a move characteristic of a pope who has a habit of choosing to spend more time with the people than allotted on the papal schedule. Instead of making a beeline for the front VIP section, where the politically and ecclesially connected waited, the pope entered from the back of the crowd, greeting those with the worst views and least connections. He hopped off the popemobile and lingered there, looking very much at home embracing a mother and her baby, blessing a young disabled woman, and laughing with an older man who may have been homeless. There was this palpable joy in the air as we all watched Francis model something so simple and yet so profound.

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Across US, groups focus on legal needs of unaccompanied minor migrants

Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service

On both coasts of the United States and in between, efforts are being ramped up to try to provide legal assistance for the flood of minor immigrants who have arrived in the country without a parent.

Because immigration violations are not considered crimes, people charged with being in the country without permission are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney if they cannot afford a lawyer on their own. Nor are government-funded attorneys provided for people seeking asylum.

On July 31 in Olympia, Wash., the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Immigration Council filed a request for preliminary injunction blocking upcoming deportation proceedings against several children ages 10-17, and asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle to hear a motion to certify a class action that would expand the effort to minors around the country who are imminently facing deportation. The filing follows the organizations' suit filed a few weeks earlier asking the court to require the government to provide legal representation to minors facing deportation.

A spokesman for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project told Catholic News Service on Tuesday that there's a preliminary court date of Aug. 22 on its motions, but that a status conference scheduled for

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The Law of Karma

Ron Rolheiser

In 1991 Hollywood produced a comedy entitled, City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal. In a quirky way it was a wonderfully moral film, focusing on three, middle-aged men from New York City who were dealing with midlife crisis.

As a present from their wives, who are frustrated enough with them to attempt anything, the three are given the gift of participating in a cattle drive through New Mexico and Colorado. And so these three urbanites set off to ride horses through the wilderness. The comedy part of the film focuses on their inept horsemanship and their naivete about cattle and the wilderness. The more serious part of the movie tracks their conversations as they try to sort through both their own struggles with aging and the larger mysteries of life.

And one day as they are discussing sex, one of the three, Ed, the character with the least amount of moral scruples, asks the other two whether they would be unfaithful to their wives and have an affair if they were sure that they would never be caught. Billy Cyrstal's character, Mitch, initially engages the question jokingly, protesting its impossibility: You always get caught! All affairs get exposed in the end. But Ed persists with his question: "But suppose you wouldn't get caught. Suppose you could get away with it. Would you cheat on your wife and have an affair, if no one would ever know?" Mitch's answer: "No, I still wouldn't do it!" "Why not?" asks Ed, "nobody would know." "But I'd know," Mitch replied, "and I'd hate myself for it!"

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Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness

Carol Glatz Catholic News Service
July 29, 2014 The Francis Chronicles

Vatican City

Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis' secret recipe for happiness.

In an interview published Sunday in part in the Argentine weekly Viva, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:

1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."

2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."

3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist -- gaucho Don Segundo Sombra -- looks back on how he lived his life.

"He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool" of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water -- to have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."

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Our inspiration for the National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood stems from a longstanding friendship with Father John Klein, a priest of the

Fr. Klein's picture

Archdiocese of Chicago. On the day of his passing in 1999 at the age of 49, Cardinal Francis George said "Father John Klein was a model for seminarians and priests. His joy in his priestly ministry encouraged all of us and was a sign of the Lord's constant presence in his life." May we learn from his example and strive to be the presence of Christ in the lives of all those we touch every day as priests and fellow citizens of the world.

Our work is made possible in part by grants from the Catholic Church Extension Society, the Paluch Family Foundation and Our Sunday Visitor. We are also grateful for the prayers of the Madonna House. In addition, The Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation has generously provided us with a grant in honor of Monsignor Ken Velo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago who has been an inspiration to so many for so many years.

If there is any way that I can be of service to you, I hope you will take advantage of the link below to send me an email. I would enjoy hearing from you with any comments or questions you may have.

Father Gene Hemrick
The National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood
Washington Theological Union
6896 Laurel Street, Northwest
Washington, D.C.

Dedicated to energizing the spiritual and intellectual life of the priesthood
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Last updated August 20, 2014