Jason Craig at catholicexchange.com paid tribute to a figure on the front line of evangelisation: the parish secretary.
Craig, who used to be an Evangelical, said that Protestants have to go out knocking on doors because people rarely come to them. “But for [us] Catholics this is not the case. Because of a deep history, culture, and the sheer draw of the sacraments (a thing Evangelicals don’t have) people come to our doors for mercy. What an opportunity!”
Craig observed: “Pregnant teenagers with a Catholic uncle come looking for baptism, fallen away couples think maybe they’ll want to be married by a priest, troubled college students want to ask about exorcisms, and I have listened to a wife speak of her apostate husband’s signal he might, in his old age, be ready to have his confession heard before he dies.”
When people make inquiries, they try the local parish – and that’s where the parish secretary really comes into their own. Secretaries have a stressful job, so it can be hard for them to sound merciful at a first meeting. But “hopefully when a sinner comes knocking, the door can opened up by a holy, smiling and apostolic secretary.”
Hit song was a miracle
On the 50th anniversary of The Left Banke’s classic hit Walk Away Renée, its Catholic writer gave an interview to ncregister.com. “It’s by the mercy of God that I stand here having accomplished the little that I could in my songwriting,” said Tony Sansone.
“I’ve never been one of those very ambitious people,” Sansone went on, “so even I wonder how it is that I could have such a magnificent miracle as this song happen to me in my life. Very few songs in the 300 million songs written and published in the past 40 years ever get to be a Top 10 hit … That’s one of many miracles in my life for which I’m grateful. I know it’s God working in my life. No one needs to convince me of that.”
Right kind of ministry
The Anglican Wesley Hill gave some tips for ministering to gay students at spiritualfriendship.org.
Hill once listened to a sermon by John Piper in which he said some Christians feel they are excluded: “Wrong family, wrong background, wrong education, wrong language, wrong race, wrong culture, wrong sexual preference, wrong moral track record …”
That small allusion to “sexual preference”, said Hill, “was such a tiny, fleeting reference, but what it said to me was that this pastor was aware of gay folks in his congregation. They were on his mind and heart. They were visible to him, and he wanted them to hear the Gospel as a word specifically for them.”
The colouring-book genre has been given a Catholic flavour by the artist Daniel Mitsui. Mitsui, who specialises in ink drawing, told the Catholic News Agency: “I would save all of the ones that didn’t pass my quality control, and I would give them to my kids to colour at Mass.” When friends started asking for some for their children, Matsui decided to go public. His first book, featuring images of the mysteries of the rosary, is out now.
✣ If colouring books aren’t hi-tech enough, two new computer games have an ecclesiastical twist. EWTN has launched an interactive game in which players can “look around” houses – throughout which devotional objects are scattered – and the local church, where players can learn about the sacraments. For older users, Pokémon Go, a virtual reality game (not yet available in Europe), requires players to visit real-world sites, including many places of worship. “This game is trying to make me go to church,” one user tweeted.
✣ The world’s oldest priest has celebrated his 107th birthday. Belgian priest Fr Jacques Clemens was regularly celebrating Mass in his parish until last year. The secret of his longevity, he says, is a disciplined daily routine, beginning at 5.30am each day and ending at 9pm.
It is very important we return as soon as possible to a common orientation
Cardinal Robert Sarah
Address at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London
Some of the phrasing has been badly interpreted
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi
Press statement on Cardinal Sarah’s ad orientem appeal
[Can] you begin it, even an hour a week?
Bishop John Arnold
Consultation document for restructuring of parishes
Are you opposition or Chavistas?
The question teenage seminarians in Venezuela were asked before they were beaten up
Catholic News Service
How much the UK gives Pakistan’s government each year
Source: British Pakistani Christian Association
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