Posts Tagged ‘bishops’

Is someone calling you?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

If you have been baptized, yes. As I was reminded about a week ago in a homily, the lay faithful  are called to be priests, prophets and kings (or queens). Surprised? Check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

All of us are expected to be evangelists; spreading the Gospel is the reason the Church exists. The trick is to be alert for and open to our call from the Holy Spirit, to listen to it, and to act on it.

Perhaps that call is inviting you to become a parish catechist. Oh, you might say, you don’t want to teach little kids. That’s fine. There are are adults and adolescents who want you to pass on the Faith to them in a lively and engaging way. In fact, there is a huge need for catechists of adults and adolescents.

That sounds interesting, you might also say, but you are not a teacher. You never took an education course in your life. If this is your concern, stop worrying. The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office has a variety of resources and a training program for catechists that you can take either in live classroom settings or on line.

The Catechist Formation Program is divided into two parts. The first level of formation for a catechist provides you with opportunities for growth as a person of faith; you also learn effective teaching/facilitating skills and develop a plan for your ongoing training and developing spiritual life. The second level of formation deepens your training by focusing on essential areas of theological training, such as Scripture, the Creed, and morality. Your program will focus on the audience you wish to serve: children, adolescents or adults.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, Archbishop Dolan will preside over the annual certification ceremony for catechists at Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, N.Y. He will also award the Catechetical Medal of Honor to those who have given 25 or more years to the ministry of catechesis in the archdiocese. Twenty-five years may seem a very long time but the recipients always say that the years simply flew by.

Perhaps there is a certification ceremony in your future or even a Medal of Honor. If you want to know more about being a catechist and all the wonderful resources available to you, visit our website. Most important of all,  talk to your pastor or to your parish director/coordinator of religious education. Even you are not currently a catechist, take the courses anyway so that when your call comes, you’ll be ready to answer it.

“Nasties” on line

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The other day, a local newspaper’s online edition ran a story on a speech that Archbishop Dolan delivered at the Manhattan Institute. His topic was Catholic schools but you could not have guessed that by some of the comments posted. Instead of reacting to the Archbishop said, several bloggers unloaded on the church, the bishops and the priests.  What they wrote was more than inappropriate. It was hateful, inaccurate and sick. It made me wonder why kind of weird people are out there.

While I am all for providing opportunities for comment and I am a fierce (some might say too fierce) defender of the right to free speech, I also think it is important to note that something very evil has been making its way through the Internet for a number of years: hate-blogging. Right now, the Catholic Church, the pope and bishops are the targets of choice, but they are not the only ones to be on the receiving end of this. Public servants and entertainers get it, too. Moreover, I believe that hate-blogging is not the sport of choice for the majority of those who submit comments online.

I just think there is a small group of nasty people who have found in the Web an anonymous (although it really isn’t) vent for their anger. Perhaps it’s the only way that they can make others notice them. Technology renders it easy. Before the Internet, it took a bit of enterprise and money to spread hate anonymously. The person had to write a letter and distribute it. This took a lot of stationery, a lot of photocopying, a lot of envelope addressing, and a lot of stamps. And most of the stuff, unless it looked like the work of a seriously disturbed person, wound up in the dust bin.

But not these days. Hate-blogging goes out with a mouse click and stays out there, to be picked by all the search engines.

Sadly, I also have noticed that a few, just a few, irresponsible opinion writers are inciting their corps of haters with misinformation and pseudo-emotional appeals. Forgive me if I am wrong, but I’m starting to suspect that what these few are really trying to do is increase the traffic on their sites, so that they will impress their editors.  These few may have crossed the line of free speech into another territory.  The really good, respected opinion writers don’t do this, although even they occasionally and, I am sure, inadvertently set off the hate-bloggers.

There must be some way to deal with hate-blogging without infringing on our precious, hard-won and Constitutionally-guaranteed right to express our opinions.