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

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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

Cardinal Dolan Releases Statement on HHS Mandate

Cardinal Dolan Releases Statement on HHS Mandate

February 7, 2013

The USCCB has released a statement from Cardinal Dolan about the “compromise” offered by the administration on the HHS Mandate and contraceptive coverage.

Summary – the compromise is not a compromise we could accept:

Statement of Cardinal Timothy Dolan Responding to Feb. 1 Proposal from HHS

For almost a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have worked hard to support the right of every person to affordable, accessible, comprehensive, life-affirming healthcare.As we continue to do so, our changeless values remain the same.We promote the protection of the dignity of all human life and the innate rights that flow from it, including the right to life from conception to natural death; care for the poorest among us and the undocumented; the right of the Church to define itself, its ministries, and its ministers; and freedom of conscience.

Last Friday, the Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the HHS mandate that requires coverage for sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortions.The Administration indicates that it has heard some previously expressed concerns and that it is open to dialogue.With release of the NPRM, the Administration seeks to offer a response to serious matters which have been raised throughout the past year.We look forward to engaging with the Administration, and all branches and levels of government, to continue to address serious issues that remain. Our efforts will require additional, careful study.Only in this way can we best assure that healthcare for every woman, man and child is achieved without harm to our first, most cherished freedom.

In evaluating Friday’s action regarding the HHS mandate, our reference remains the statement of our Administrative Committee made last March, United for Religious Freedom, and affirmed by the entire body of bishops in June 2012.

In that statement, we first expressed concern over the mandate’s “exceedingly narrow” four-part definition of “religious employer,” one that exempted our houses of worship, but left “our great ministries of service to our neighbors, namely, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the students in our schools and universities, and others in need” subject to the mandate.This created “a ‘second class’ of citizenship within our religious community,” “weakening [federal law’s] healthy tradition of generous respect for religious freedom and diversity.”And the exemption effectuated this distinction by requiring “among other things, [that employers] must hire and serve primarily those of their own faith.” Continue reading

On Election Eve, Catholics Unite to Protect Religious Freedom by Susan Berry

 

On Election Eve, Catholics Unite to Protect Religious Freedom

 

  

4 Nov 2012
 
This last Sunday before Election Day finds Catholics across the nation, and beyond, uniting in both prayer and advocacy to protect freedom of religion as provided in the Constitution. Interestingly, the emphasis on Catholic values and teachings, as a result of the recent defense of freedom of religion, may also end up strengthening religious faith among Catholics in general.

Since the announcement of what is now familiarly termed, “the HHS mandate,” Catholics and Christians of other denominations have denounced the ObamaCare provision that demands that most employers, including those associated with churches, grant free contraception, sterilization procedures, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees through their health insurance plans. 

This coercion to violate faith beliefs in order to satisfy government requirements has led to a veritable onslaught of litigation by Catholic dioceses and institutions, the institutions of other Christian denominations, and individual business owners. As Barack Obama attempts to be elected to a second term, he is faced with 38 lawsuits and over 110 individuals from around the country who represent those whose religious liberty is being challenged by the mandate.

In the swing state of Colorado, a group of lay Catholics has placed a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of the Denver Post to drive home the significance of religious liberty in Tuesday’s election. Regarding the ad, J.D. Flynn, chancellor of the Denver archdiocese, said, “I think the folks who organized getting the ad together want to ensure everybody understands what’s at stake not only for the Church, but for the country, when religious liberty is compromised.”

The ad features the full text of a letter written by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila about religious freedom and the election. “I just think it speaks to the quality and commitment of the lay people in the Archdiocese of Denver that they want to support the archbishop in this way,” Flynn commented. “Our country is the product of religious liberty. When we undermine that for something as short-sighted as free contraception, everybody is in serious trouble.”

“As Americans we have a civic responsibility to vote and to participate in the political process,” Archbishop Aquila said. “As Catholics, we have a moral duty to vote with an informed conscience, and to pray for wisdom and guidance as we head to the voting booth.”

As a way to call Catholics to special prayer for religious liberty, Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception will expose the Blessed Sacrament for Eucharistic Adoration on Election Day, November 6th.

“Our founding fathers understood that without these freedoms, especially religious liberty, our democratic experiment would fail,” Aquila wrote. He added that religious liberty faces “an unprecedented threat” from the HHS mandate, which “undermines the promise of the First Amendment.”

Catholic parents, too, have taken more notice of what their children are being taught in schools, and some have voiced objections to government interference in their parochial schools. In Orleans, Ottawa, Canada, Catholic parents denounced a high school trip into the U.S. to Ohio when they discovered their students would be going door-to-door in support of President Obama’s re-election.

The trip, which was organized by civics teacher Scott Searle, a volunteer for the Obama for America campaign, was cancelled when parents called the school board, furious that it would permit a trip to assist a U.S. president who has disdain for the values of Catholics.

“Parents were complaining that students would be supporting a politician holding pro-abortion views,” said Theresa Pierre, president of Parents as First Educators. “I think it’s valuable to introduce children to the political process, but the choice of that kind of involvement has to be in line with church teachings,” said Pierre.

As Catholics vote to elect the next president, and join with all Americans to decide the future direction of the country, many are now keenly aware that religious liberty cannot be taken for granted. Reflection on the right to practice one’s beliefs is likely to cause some to seek greater understanding of their faith as well as a desire to share that faith with others. It is not surprising, then, that Pope Benedict XVI, has declared this year to be the “Year of Faith,” and has invited all Catholics to share in a new evangelization of that faith.

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

We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty

We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty

 

The president of the USCCB also had strong words for Democratic minority leader, Nancy Pelosi

Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Speaking on the theme of “Let Religious Freedom Ring”, Cardinal Dolan noted that “freedom of religion has been the driving force of almost every enlightened, un-shackling, noble cause in American history. Thus, the defense of religious freedom is not some evangelical Christian polemic, or wiley strategy of discredited Catholic bishops, but the quintessential American cause, the first line in the defense of and protection of human rights,” he said.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Zenit.org) – On Monday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of NewYork and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) delivered the Fall Lecture for the The John Carroll Society, an organization within the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., that “promotes the enhancement of spiritual, intellectual and social fellowship among its members.”

Speaking on the theme of “Let Religious Freedom Ring”, Cardinal Dolan noted that “freedom of religion has been the driving force of almost every enlightened, un-shackling, noble cause in American history.”

“Thus, the defense of religious freedom is not some evangelical Christian polemic, or wiley strategy of discredited Catholic bishops, but the quintessential American cause, the first line in the defense of and protection of human rights,” he said.

The archbishop of New York went on to discuss various events of American history that underlined the value of religious freedom. He cited each event as “exhibits” in his case to prove that “religious freedom in American history has hardly been the cause of chilling, repressive, retrograde movements, but of the most liberating, ennobling ones.”

Drawing upon examples of heroism on the part of religious leaders during the American Revolution, as well as, several notable abolitionists whose stance against slavery came from a conscience formed by faith, Cardinal Dolan went onto explain how the religious convictions of notable persons within history supported, and directly caused progressive changes within the United States.

Citing historical scholar Dan McKanan, the cardinal explained that as a result of women’s role during the abolitionist movement, “the slow-but-steady advancement of women’s equality, was also a religiously animated reform movement.”

“This is good reminder, since, today, those who criticize the churches’ mobilization in defense of religious freedom often slyly muddy it with ‘war on women’ slogans,” he said.

Other historical events the cardinal said were influenced by religious freedom were the Reform Movement of the 19th century, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Peace Movement of the ’60s.

Cardinal Dolan went on to speak of the HHS mandate as a direct threat to religious freedom. The Health and Human Services (HHS) federal mandate in question would require employers of religious institutions to pay for insurance that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization procedures to employees.

“Thus, to say it again, the wide ecumenical and inter-religious outrage over the HHS mandate is not about its coverage of chemical contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs — in spite of the well-oiled mantra from our opponents — but upon the raw presumption of a bureau of the federal government to define a church’s minister, ministry, message, and meaning,” he said.

The president of the USCCB also had strong words for Democratic minority leader, Nancy Pelosi. The former speaker of the House, who is also Catholic, stated last year that the Catholic Church needed “to get over their conscience thing” regarding abortion and contraception.

“No, we don’t; no, we can’t; as believers, as Americans,” he exclaimed.

Cardinal Dolan concluded his lecture, reiterating that the only freedom that the Church desires is “the freedom to carry the convictions of a faith-formed conscience into our public lives.”

—–
FULL TEXT CAN BE READ HERE

Celebrate Independence by defending Religious Freedom

 

As an immigrant and now a naturalized citizen, I have always admired the pride Americans have for their nation and heritage, particularly as we approach our Independence Day. As the years go by I have adopted the pride and respect they feel for their flag and the freedoms we enjoy and are guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence.As a journalist, I have learned the importance of freedom of speech and I have seen how it is boldly defended in this country, because it allows journalists to expose corruption schemes and more, without fearing for their lives. The same freedom is trampled in many countries such as Mexico and Honduras, where journalists are frequently murdered for exposing corruption.Religious liberty is another fundamental value we all enjoy in this country. Many take this right for granted because we do not see the aggressive religious persecutions others experience in more than 133 countries like Iraq, where Christians are murdered because of their religious beliefs. Only about 27 percent of all the countries in the world fully respect religious freedom, according to studies quoted by Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces,NM, member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.

In a more subtle way but just as concerning, we are also experiencing attacks to our religious freedom in this country. The most widespread example is the Department of Health and Human Services mandate forcing all employers, including religious organizations such as schools, hospitals and universities, to provide and pay for coverage of employees’ contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs even when they have moral objections to them. Another concern is the HHS’s definition of which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty. This is not an issue about “women’s rights” as some have labeled it. Those who choose to use artificial means of contraception have had access to it and continue having it. 

Religious freedom cannot be limited to the sanctuary. Religious freedom is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of society. Our religious organizations must have the freedom to do the good works our faith calls them to do without having to compromise that very same faith.

As Catholics and citizens we must embrace the call to action issued by our bishops and recognize the importance of defending this essential right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, and to express the importance of protecting our religious freedom. For more information on how you can defend religious freedom, send a text message with the word “freedom” to 377377 or go to fortnight4freedom.org

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