The National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day. -- Eleanor Farjeon

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Sunday Sermon

Click here to visit our new page of Sunday Sermons and hear the latest from Saint Vincent's

(Please give them a moment or two to download to your PC)

June 8 -- Fr Gene reflects on his days in the Seminary

Father Gene reflects on the missionaries who came to this country, their courage and their commitment to the faith

Father Gene shares his thoughts about an amazing exhibit called "Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea" and highly recommends it

New Year's Resolutions from a different perspective

Father Gene's thoughts on the Immaculate Conception and the Holy Family

Father Gene reflects on Chaplains and our nation's veterans on Veterans Day

Father Gene shares his thoughts about procrastination

Father Gene visits Relevant Radio to discuss the lessons learned from the events of September 11

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)

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

June 28, 2015

1. Encyclical on our planet's future.
2. Essentials of ecological spirituality.
3. Quotes from the encyclical:
a) Climate change.
b) Rediscovering beauty.
c) Does power equal progress?
d) Ecology of daily life
e) Making a new start.
4. Ecology's social perspective.
5. Market forces and ecology.
6. Faith convictions and ecology.
7. Toward open, respectful dialogue.

June 12, 2015

In this edition:
1. Action for interracial justice.
2. Sorrowful history of racial injustice.
3. Christians as communicators.
4. Current quotes to ponder:
a) Blessed Oscar Romero.
b) Dorothy Day's legacy.
c) Jesus as a healer.
5. Lay ecclesial ministry, 2005-2015.
6. Build bridges, Sarajevo youths urged.
7. How a culture is built.
8. Encyclical's release anticipated.

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

Here's What We're Reading!

Change and Conflict in your Congregation: How to implement conscious choices, mange emotions & build a thriving Christian community, Rev. Anita L. Bradshaw

The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic: How Engaging 1% of Catholics Could Change the World, Matthew Kelly

The Catholic Church and the Bible, Peter M.J. Stravinskas

Fly While You Still Have Wings: and other lessons my resilient mother taught me, Joyce Rupp

Catholic and Married: Leaning into Love, Art and Laraine Bennett

Created to Relate: God's Design for Peace and Joy, Kelly M. Wahlquist

It's in the News!

A readers' guide to 'Laudato Si''

Thomas Reese

Francis: The Environment Encyclical
National Catholic Reporter

One of the many marvelous things about Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home [1]," is that it is written in a very accessible style. It does not read like an academic tome as did many encyclicals of the past. Anyone who can read a newspaper can read this encyclical and get something out of it.

True, it is 190 pages and about 40,000 words, but the six chapters flow nicely. It is not a hard read.

The encyclical is great for individual reading but even better for a book club, class, or discussion group. Reading and discussing the encyclical in a group is exactly what is called for because throughout the letter, there are calls to dialogue.

There is no need for people

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The Hero-Complex

Ron Rolheiser

Several years ago, the movie Argo won the Academy award as the best movie of the year. I enjoyed the movie in that it was a good drama, one that held its audience in proper suspense even as it provided some good humor and banter on the side. But I struggled with several aspects of the film. First, as a Canadian, I was somewhat offended by the way that the vital role that Canadians played in the escape of the USA hostages from Iran in 1979 was downplayed to the point of simply being written out of the story. The movie would have been more honest had it advertised itself as "based on a true story" rather than presenting itself as a true story.

But that was more of an irritation than anything serious. Art has the right to exaggerate forms to highlight an essence. I don't begrudge a filmmaker his film. What bothered me was how, again, as is so frequently the case in Hollywood movies and popular literature, we were shown a hero under the canopy

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Laudato Si and Romano Guardini

by Fr. Robert Barron

In 1986, after serving in a variety of capacities in the Jesuit province of Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio commenced doctoral studies in Germany. The focus of his research was the great twentieth century theologian and cultural critic Romano Guardini, who had been a key influence on, among many others, Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac, and Joseph Ratzinger. As things turned out, Bergoglio never finished his doctoral degree (he probably started too late in life), but his immersion in the writings of Guardini decisively shaped his thinking. Most of the commentary on Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si' has focused on the issue of global warming and the Pope's alignment with this or that political perspective, but this is to miss the forest for one very particular tree. As I read through the document, I saw, on practically every page, the influence of Romano Guardini and his distinctive take on modernity.

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'Laudato Si'' is inspiration for those who want to be part of the solution

Tony Magliano Making a Difference

Francis: The Environment Encyclical
The National Catholic Reporter

It's courageous, it's prophetic, it's challenging, it's holistic, it's wonderful: That's what I think of Pope Francis' environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home [1]."

Quoting his patron saint, Francis of Assisi, who is also the patron saint of ecology, Pope Francis begins his papal letter with a beautiful verse from the saint's "Canticle of the Creatures": "Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs."

"Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us," writes the pope, "that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. ...

"This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have

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Author envisions a city of transcendence

Dana Greene
National Catholic Reporter

The Spiritual City: Theology, Spirituality, and the Urban
By Philip Sheldrake
Published by Wiley-Blackwell, $36.95

In 1950, 29 percent of the world's population was urban. In 2050, 70 percent are predicted to be city dwellers. The issue of urbanization is global and complex, involving a welter of concerns all played out against a background of population diversity that works against the development of a shared vision for human flourishing.

Readers be forewarned: The Spiritual City is not a book about urban theory or planning. Rather, author Philip Sheldrake offers a revisionist history of Christian theology and spirituality as it applies to the city, and simultaneously mines that tradition in order to uncover resources for dealing with the global phenomenon of urbanization.

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What You Might Overlook in the Papal Encyclical

by Ken Homan, SJ
From The Jesuit Post

Just before the release of Laudato Si, American Magazine writer Kerry Weber tweeted, Is it normal for the night before a new encyclical to feel like Christmas Eve? I completely understood, I was excitedly anticipating the release of the new encyclical as well. Like a kid tearing into a fresh Christmas gift, sentences started to pop out at me with the same excitement I remember from seeing those first telltale signs that Santa's elves had actually listened and delivered that new LEGO set. But like all good presents, the meaning deepens when we actually play with the encyclical and spend some serious time with our new toy. While I still remember first opening that box of LEGOs, the best memories are tied to the hours of building and learning new things.

So it is with Laudato Si. In the hours immediately following its release, buzzwords and excerpts exploded across social media and the news. You should definitely read Henry Longbottom's helpful overview to get a good lay of the land. But first glances

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Colonial wrongs cloud sainthood cause of Junipero Serra

Tom Roberts

Taken from The National Catholic Reporter

Sainthood has never implied perfection. Some of the most celebrated were transformed world-class sinners. The question of the moment, though, is whether the 18th-century Fr. Junípero Serra, heroic on some counts, can survive in the public eye the misfortune of being morally and politically dissonant in the 21st century.

Even some of those who support the upcoming canonization of the Franciscan friar who brought Christianity to what is now Southern California are unlikely to celebrate Serra with the same enthusiasm as they might embrace the beatification of El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Romero, who died as an advocate of the poor and critic of an oppressive government.

That ambivalence -- support for his canonization tempered by

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What to do? The pope's practical tips for helping the environment

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" is a call for global action as well as an appeal for deep inner conversion.

He points to numerous ways world organizations, nations and communities must move forward and the way individuals -- believers and people of good will -- should see, think, feel and act.

Here are some of the pope's suggestions, with references in parentheses to their paragraphs in the encyclical:

-- Do not give in to denial, indifference, resignation, blind confidence in technical solutions. (14, 59)

-- Have forthright and honest debates and policies; issues cannot be dealt with once and for all, but will need to be "reframed and enriched again

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The encyclical is first and foremost about human relationships

Allison Walter

Francis: The Environment Encyclical

The anticipation for Pope Francis's newest encyclical on care for creation is something I haven't seen since the midnight release of Harry Potter books. And rightfully so: Francis's encyclical addresses one of the most crucial issues of our time: caring for God's creation. But Pope Francis goes beyond stereotypical "save the whales" rhetoric of reminding people to turn off the lights and to recycle coke bottles. Instead, Francis focuses on why protecting the environment must be human-centered.

While the encyclical is popularly referred to as a climate change encyclical, it first and foremost is about human relationships. Francis makes four claims that set him apart from the debate about climate change:

1. Human interaction is at the

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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
through an ongoing dialogue via the Internet.

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Last updated June 26, 2015