• Facebook Apostles

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 10,918 other followers

    • 73,856 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

Facebook Apostles – 2013: Catechesis & Apostolate in the Digital Age

_____________________________________________________________________________________

August 15, 2013

Dear Friends in Christ,

I have eagerly awaited this day, August 15th and the Feast of the Assumption of Mary to share with you our new music video, Facebook Apostles – 2013.

Work on this new video began this past Mother’s Day, the third successful Anniversary in operating and expanding all our Facebook Apostles Social Networks.  This short promotional video has been created to provide you with an update of our many works and as an informative overview about FBA for sharing with others.

Our new video focuses on how all Clergy can integrate FBA’s content into their own Parish or Diocesan Web and Facebook Pages, and through their own use of the various Social Media platforms.  Facebook Apostles asks all its members to particularly share our video widely with your Deacons, Priests, Pastors, Catechetical and RCIA Leaders, and your Bishops.

On a personal note, I would like to share with you that I am both very proud and very humbled by the final result achieved by Facebook Apostles – 2013   My time has been a real, three -month labor of love.

After many late-night hours, I feel that our new film highlights the best of what FBA has to offer to all serious inquirers of the Catholic Faith.  I am happy (finally) and proud with the technical aspects this project and how Facebook Apostles – 2013 turned out.

After watching the final edit something strange happened to me.  In stepping back from the film I suddenly and uncontrollably started to cry.  I saw God’s hand in all my work and in the new film I tried to create for Him.  I saw His many gifts and talents at work in me, his poor and unworthy instrument.  I saw God’s beneficence and wisdom in preparing me for His task evangelization–, and most of all the Spirit’s holy inspirations over the last three years.  I bow down to the Holy Spirit in all Humility to Him, who is responsible for this work.

I hope you will enjoy and learn a bit more about us by this new film, I also hope and ask Mary, Queen of Apostles that you will become more involved in the Catechesis and Personal Apostolic opportunities to learn more about the Faith and by sharing what we offer to others.

Thank you all for sticking with FBA and for helping to make our sites the successes they have become!  I offer this work in honor of my parents, Nicholas & Frances Haros in Heaven, in thanksgiving to them for their gift of life to me.

Pax,

nic

Our Departing Pope: Like a Meteor He Lit Up the Sky to Guide and Strengthen Us All by Fr. George W. Rutler

 

Our Departing Pope:  Like a Meteor He Lit Up the Sky to Guide and Strengthen Us All by Fr. George W. Rutler

 
February 24, 2013

The meteorite that exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the force of thirty atomic bombs had the biggest impact since the one that exploded over Tunguska in 1908 with a force more powerful than all the bombs, including the atomic ones dropped in the Second World War. But such a force of nature, when observed passing safely by with breathtaking speed, can also be a sign of the beauty and brevity of all things. So it was in “The Year of Three Popes” when the death of Paul VI was followed by the death of John Paul I just four weeks after his election, and then the election of John Paul II. Cardinal Confaloniere said of John Paul I, in the exquisite Latin for which he was famous: “He passed as a meteor which unexpectedly lights up the heavens and then disappears, leaving us amazed and astonished.”

The impact of that pope’s sudden death seemed at the time to be immeasurably hurtful, and yet he made the way for many providential events. Now the gracious abdication of Pope Benedict XVI also amazes and astonishes. When he assumed the papacy, he knew the work would not be easy: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” Without histrionics or self-pity, he quietly took up his burden in the succession of St. Peter to whom the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not; and that when you are converted, you will strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

In many glorious ways, Benedict XVI has done just that. With unerring fidelity he has explained the sacred deposit of the Faith to its opponents, both cultured and uncultured, with patient eloquence and stunning insight. Many reforms in the Church’s structure and the purification of abuses were his intense initiatives. Rather like St. Francis of Assisi going to meet with the caliph of Egypt clad only in simplicity, Benedict XVI refused to wear a bullet-proof vest when he went to Turkey, turning the anger of many to respect. A new reverence and beauty in worship has been his gift to the Church through his renewal of the sacred rites, and the provision of an ordinariate for whole groups seeking full communion with the Church “amazed and astonished” many. Now, his renunciation of the Keys entrusted to him, teaches the essence of the papacy as a stewardship that transcends the charisms of any individual. Officially, a pope is Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God. But to the world, this Pope has also been a very good Father.

———————–

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI FOR THE 47th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

Pope Benedict XVI

 

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE 47th WORLD COMMUNICTIONS DAY

 

 

 

“Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.”

[Sunday, 12 May 2013] 

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the 2013 World Communications Day draws near, I would like to offer you some reflections on an increasingly important reality regarding the way in which people today communicate among themselves. I wish to consider the development of digital social networks which are helping to create a new “agora”, an open public square in which people share ideas, information and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being.

These spaces, when engaged in a wise and balanced way, help to foster forms of dialogue and debate which, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility and truthfulness, can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family. The exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friendships, and connections facilitate communion. If the networks are called to realize this great potential, the people involved in them must make an effort to be authentic since, in these spaces, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves.

The development of social networks calls for commitment: people are engaged in building relationships and making friends, in looking for answers to their questions and being entertained, but also in finding intellectual stimulation and sharing knowledge and know-how. The networks are increasingly becoming part of the very fabric of society, inasmuch as they bring people together on the basis of these fundamental needs. Social networks are thus nourished by aspirations rooted in the human heart.

The culture of social networks and the changes in the means and styles of communication pose demanding challenges to those who want to speak about truth and values. Often, as is also the case with other means of social communication, the significance and effectiveness of the various forms of expression appear to be determined more by their popularity than by their intrinsic importance and value. Popularity, for its part, is often linked to celebrity or to strategies of persuasion rather than to the logic of argumentation. At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information and it fails to attract attention which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner. The social media thus need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation; of people who strive to cultivate forms of discourse and expression which appeal to the noblest aspirations of those engaged in the communication process. Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own. “Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful” (Address at the Meeting with the World of Culture, Bélem, Lisbon, 12 May 2010).

The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which his teaching promotes. Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young. Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there.

The ability to employ the new languages is required, not just to keep up with the times, but precisely in order to enable the infinite richness of the Gospel to find forms of expression capable of reaching the minds and hearts of all. In the digital environment the written word is often accompanied by images and sounds. Effective communication, as in the parables of Jesus, must involve the imagination and the affectivity of those we wish to invite to an encounter with the mystery of God’s love. Besides, we know that Christian tradition has always been rich in signs and symbols: I think for example of the Cross, icons, images of the Virgin Mary, Christmas cribs, stained-glass windows and pictures in our churches. A significant part of mankind’s artistic heritage has been created by artists and musicians who sought to express the truths of the faith. Continue reading

URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI CHRISTMAS 2012

URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI

CHRISTMAS 2012

 “Veritas de terra orta est!” – “Truth has sprung out of the earth”(Ps 85:12).

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, a happy Christmas to you and your families!

In this Year of Faith, I express my Christmas greetings and good wishes in these words taken from one of the Psalms: “Truth has sprung out of the earth”. Actually, in the text of the Psalm, these words are in the future: “Kindness and truth shall meet; / justice and peace shall kiss. / Truth shall spring out of the earth, /and justice shall look down from heaven. / The Lord himself will give his benefits; / our land shall yield its increase. / Justice shall walk before him, / and salvation, along the way of his steps” (Ps 85:11-14).

Today these prophetic words have been fulfilled! In Jesus, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, kindness and truth do indeed meet; justice and peace have kissed; truth has sprung out of the earth and justice has looked down from heaven. Saint Augustine explains with admirable brevity: “What is truth? The Son of God. What is the earth? The flesh. Ask whence Christ has been born, and you will see that truth has sprung out of the earth … truth has been born of the Virgin Mary” (En. in Ps. 84:13). And in a Christmas sermon he says that “in this yearly feast we celebrate that day when the prophecy was fulfilled: ‘truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven’. The Truth, which is in the bosom of the Father has sprung out of the earth, to be in the womb of a mother too. The Truth which rules the whole world has sprung out of the earth, to be held in the arms of a woman … The Truth which heaven cannot contain has sprung out of the earth, to be laid in a manger. For whose benefit did so lofty a God become so lowly? Certainly not for his own, but for our great benefit, if we believe” (Sermones, 185, 1).

“If we believe”. Here we see the power of faith! God has done everything; he has done the impossible: he was made flesh. His all-powerful love has accomplished something which surpasses all human understanding: the Infinite has become a child, has entered the human family. And yet, this same God cannot enter my heart unless I open the door to him. Porta fidei! The door of faith! We could be frightened by this, our inverse omnipotence. This human ability to be closed to God can make us fearful. But see the reality which chases away this gloomy thought, the hope that conquers fear: truth has sprung up! God is born! “The earth has yielded its fruits” (Ps 67:7). Yes, there is a good earth, a healthy earth, an earth freed of all selfishness and all lack of openness. In this world there is a good soil which God has prepared, that he might come to dwell among us. A dwelling place for his presence in the world. This good earth exists, and today too, in 2012, from this earth truth has sprung up! Consequently, there is hope in the world, a hope in which we can trust, even at the most difficult times and in the most difficult situations. Truth has sprung up, bringing kindness, justice and peace.

Yes, may peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenceless and reaps innocent victims. Once again I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict.

May peace spring up in the Land where the Redeemer was born, and may he grant Israelis and Palestinians courage to end to long years of conflict and division, and to embark resolutely on the path of negotiation.

In the countries of North Africa, which are experiencing a major transition in pursuit of a new future – and especially the beloved land of Egypt, blessed by the childhood of Jesus – may citizens work together to build societies founded on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every person.

May peace spring up on the vast continent of Asia. May the Child Jesus look graciously on the many peoples who dwell in those lands and, in a special way, upon all those who believe in him. May the King of Peace turn his gaze to the new leaders of the People’s Republic of China for the high task which awaits them. I express my hope that, in fulfilling this task, they will esteem the contribution of the religions, in respect for each, in such a way that they can help to build a fraternal society for the benefit of that noble People and of the whole world.

May the Birth of Christ favour the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians. May the Redeemer bring help and comfort to the refugees from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and grant peace to Kenya, where brutal attacks have struck the civilian population and places of worship.

May the Child Jesus bless the great numbers of the faithful who celebrate him in Latin America. May he increase their human and Christian virtues, sustain all those forced to leave behind their families and their land, and confirm government leaders in their commitment to development and fighting crime.

Dear brothers and sisters! Kindness and truth, justice and peace have met; they have become incarnate in the child born of Mary in Bethlehem. That child is the Son of God; he is God appearing in history. His birth is a flowering of new life for all humanity. May every land become a good earth which receives and brings forth kindness and truth, justice and peace. Happy Christmas to all of you!

The Church Will Become Small and Will Have to Start Afresh by Fr. George W. Rutler


FROM THE PASTOR
November 18, 2012
by Fr. George W. Rutler

 

 

In the wake of the recent hurricane, a sibilant television commentator said, “I’m so glad we had that storm.” Apologies aside, his words betrayed a view: people are expendable for the sake of promoting a political program. In this instance the program was a form of socialism that has brought so much sorrow to other nations.

When free people vote against their own freedoms, they knock down the columns of a free society on themselves, the way Samson brought down the temple on his own head. The first column to collapse will be the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Naïfs who thought this could not happen will be startled when the Church has to close charities, hospitals and schools, and even parish churches if they are subject to tax intimidation. This will be far more disastrous to our civilization than the looming fiscal chaos and international instability. Although certain areas on November 6 reported massive voter fraud, the election results cannot be blamed just on corruption. Voters deliberately rejected warnings clearly made by moral and political leaders.

At least we have a beacon of honesty shining on the Catholic Church in the United States. The 70 million or so Catholics were a Potemkin village, and the numbers of faithfully practicing Catholics are a small portion of that. Long before he became pope, Benedict was a prophet who said, “The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.” As the state’s lions begin to roar, the nominal Catholics will skip out of the arena.

For a long while Roman Catholicism became for many a nervously self-conscious kind of Cute Catholicism, with leprechauns, mariachi bands and Santa Claus instead of confession, prayer and fidelity to doctrine. But behind each leprechaun St. Patrick stares, and behind every mariachi band Our Lady of Guadalupe weeps, and behind every Santa Claus, Christ Himself judges.

Catholics could have saved the best in America, and they can only blame themselves for what has fallen down: marriage breakdown, contempt for chastity, a record low birth rate, and destruction of infants. Looking at his own decadent empire, Cicero wrote:

“Do not blame Caesar; blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful, good society’ which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean: more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.” 

We can feast with Caesar, but he will soon feast on us, and we can laugh with him, but he will soon laugh at us. “Risus abundat in ore stultorum.” There is much laughter in the mouth of the foolish. 

 


If you enjoy reading these newsletters, please express your support with a Donation, of any amount, to the Church of Our Saviour. 

The Church of Our Saviour uses ParishPay to process online donations. 

Our website is www.OurSaviourNYC.org.

“Pope Benedict XVI and Fifty Years Since Vatican II” by Fr. George W. Rutler

 

FROM THE PASTOR
October 21, 2012
by Fr. George W. Rutler

 

When Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council on October 11, 1962, he repudiated “prophets of gloom” who lamented the state of the modern world, and said “… it is necessary first of all that the Church should never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers. But at the same time she must ever look to the present, to the new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern world, which have opened new avenues to the Catholic apostolate.”

   The Council was almost a synonym for newness. It is less so now, after fifty years. Of the 2,860 who gathered then, only 70 survive and of those, only 12 were able to attend the golden anniversary celebrations.

   Much of the Council’s teaching was warped by a heady optimism. The Council echoed Christ’s promise, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), but some took that to mean a gullibility about all new things. Optimism as an attitude is a pale imitation of hope, which is based on fact, just as is faith, which is “the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1). This is why Pope Benedict XVI chose the anniversary of the Council to begin a Year of Faith. Just as Pope John surprised the crowds in St. Peter’s Square in the moonlit evening of his October 11 by speaking in an informal and grandfatherly way, so did Pope Benedict speak with remarkable spontaneity in the same spot on his October 11:

   “Today, too, we carry joy in our hearts, but I would say a joy that is more sober, a humble joy: in these fifty years we have learned and experienced that original sin exists, and that it translates itself into personal sins, which can become structures of sin, given that even in the Lord’s field there are also weeds, that even in Peter’s net there are bad fish, that human weakness is present even in the Church, that the ship of the Church is sailing with a contrary wind, with opposing threats, and sometimes we have thought that ‘the Lord is sleeping and has forgotten us.’”

   Pope St. Gregory the Great once spoke of the danger “in the urgency of these barbarous times” of the failure of priests to preach the truth. Our own times, with their many barbarous attacks on the Church and on life itself, disabuse any naïveté about the state of our nation and the world. This is why the Holy Father has summoned a Year of Faith, “not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:9). Then, on the evening of the first day of the Year of Faith,  Pope Benedict repeated the words of Pope John fifty years ago: “Give a caress to your children and say: this is the caress of the Pope.”

     

 

 

Cardinal Dolan on the US Election, the Radical Abortion License, Religious Liberty, Marriage, Debt and Solidarity

Cardinal Dolan on the US Election, the Radical Abortion License, Religious Liberty, Marriage, Debt and Solidarity

 

By Deacon Keith Fournier

10/7/2012

I am bothered that we are losing sight of voting as an exercise in moral judgment, in which certain priority issues-especially the life issues,

I am concerned about a culture that has become increasingly callous about the radical abortion license, and a legal system that affords more protection to endangered species of plants and animals than to unborn babies; that considers pregnancy a disease; that interprets “comprehensive health care” in such a way that it may be used to threaten the life of the baby in the womb (and, it should be noted, to exclude the undocumented immigrant as well).

 

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) – On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, one day before he headed for Rome to participate in the historic Synod on the New Evangelization, Cardinal Timothy Dolan authored another outstanding column. It was one in a series he regularly pens for the “Catholic New York”. The series is entitled “Lord, to Whom Shall We Go” and the article, entitled “Cherished Saint Brought Christ to World Around Him”, can be read in its entirety here

Our readers should be well aware of the leadership of this great Cardinal of the Church and the esteem with which he is held by this author. I write regularly about his courage and the clarity which he has brought to the leadership of the Conference of Bishops in the United States at this critical time in our history. You can click here to read the most recent of numerous articles I have written about the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. I have written many more and plan to continue the practice. He is one great gift to both Church and Nation.

However, though I share the Cardinal’s appreciation for St. Francis, the little poor man of Assisi, I was concerned that the title of the Cardinal’s recent column, dedicated to and written on the Feast of Francis, as well as its placement, might limit its readership. That would be tragic. The instruction and insights this column offers on the exercise of our faithful citizenship is simply too important! The concerns which the Cardinal shares must become the material out of which we approach this election and our own exercise of voting.

I offer below a portion of the Cardinals recent article for your serious and prayerful reflection as November 6, 2012 draws near.

*****
Timothy Cardinal Dolan

“Those Americans who have faith in God, and in His Son, Jesus, and venerate saints such as Francis, also find themselves in the middle of the world, and cherish our freedom to bring the teaching of Jesus, which we hear both in the Good News proclaimed in the Bible and in the life of Francis, to the public square and political process.”

“We’ve certainly been reminded of that these past 10 months, which have seen the religious community in the United States engaged in a major conflict with the administration over the first freedom-religious liberty, our “first and most cherished freedom.” I am deeply grateful to the Catholic people of the United States, to my brother bishops and priests, to men and women of all faiths or none at all, for accepting this challenge, and for rising to the defense of religious liberty in full.”

“In that defense, we stand for every man and woman of conscience; we seek no special favors, but we insist that the inalienable rights of religion be respected and honored in law and federal regulatory practice.”

“In the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” published by the bishops of the United States, we are reminded that, “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.” And so, as I leave for Rome, I want to share with you some of the concerns that I will bring with me to the tombs of the apostles, SS. Peter and Paul, and to Assisi, the town of St. Francis.”

“I am concerned about a culture that has become increasingly callous about the radical abortion license, and a legal system that affords more protection to endangered species of plants and animals than to unborn babies; that considers pregnancy a disease; that interprets “comprehensive health care” in such a way that it may be used to threaten the life of the baby in the womb (and, it should be noted, to exclude the undocumented immigrant as well).”

“I am concerned as well for the infirm and elderly who are nearing the end of life, that they will not be treated with the respect, dignity and compassion that is their due, but instead be encouraged to seek a hasty death before they can become, according to some, “a burden to society.”

“I am worried that we may be reducing religious freedom to a kind of privacy right to recreational activities, reducing the practice of religion to a Sabbath hobby, instead of a force that should guide our public actions, as Michelle Obama recently noted, Monday through Friday.

“I am bothered by the prospect of this generation leaving a mountain of unpayable debt to its children and grandchildren, whose economic futures will be blighted by the amounts of the federal budget absorbed by debt service.”

“I am anxious that calls for a fiscally responsible society are met with claims that those calls come from men and women who don’t care about the poor; that we may be tempted to write off the underprivileged as problems to be solved, or as budget woes, rather than treating them with respect and dignity as people with potential and creativity; that we’re at times more willing to cut programs to help the sick, our elders, the hungry and homeless, than expenditures on Drone missiles.

“I am concerned that our elections increasingly resemble reality TV shows rather than exercises in serious democratic conversation.”

“I am bothered that we are losing sight of voting as an exercise in moral judgment, in which certain priority issues-especially the life issues, with the protection of unborn life being the premier civil rights issue of the day-must weigh heavily on our consciences as we make our political decisions”.
“I am worried by attempts to redefine marriage, and to label as “bigots” those who uphold the traditional, God-given definition of marriage.”

“I am anxious that we cannot seem to have a rational debate over immigration policy, and that we cannot find a way to combine America’s splendid tradition of hospitality to the stranger with respect for the rule of law, always treating the immigrant as a child of God, and never purposefully dividing a family”.

“I am worried about the persecution of people of faith around the world, especially with the hatred of Christians on a perilous incline; and the preference for violent attacks upon innocents instead of dialogue as the path to world peace.”

“I expect that many of you share these concerns. In the words of “Faithful Citizenship,” how we should respond is clear. The document says, “Our focus is not on party affiliation, ideology, economics, or even competence and capacity to perform duties, as important as such issues are. Rather, we focus on what protects or threatens human life and dignity.”

“As you consider these concerns, I will be praying for you in Rome that the humble, joyful Poverello of Assisi intercede for us, and that Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States and Star of the New Evangelization, will inspire in us wisdom, prudence, and courage.”
– – –

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer Intentions for October 2012:

General Intention:New Evangelization. That the New Evangelization may progress in the oldest Christian countries.

Missionary Intention:World Mission Day.  That the celebration of World Mission Day may result in a renewed commitment to evangelization.

Keywords: Timothy Dolan,Cardinal Dolan,Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Faithful Citizenship, Catholic Vote, abortion, marriage, family, debt, solidarity, Romney, Ryan, Obama, Biden, Deacon Keith Fournier

%d bloggers like this: