Welcome to the April Ezine from Redemptorist Communications
Something to Reflect On!
“If you do not ﬁnd peace in yourself, you will never ﬁnd it anywhere else.”
PAULA A. BENDRY
Glimpses of “Reality”
In his April editorial, Fr Gerard Moloney discusses “HANDING ON THE FAITH”.
“Next October, to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II, the church will begin a “Year of Faith.” Its purpose, according to Pope Benedict, will be to help Catholics appreciate the gift of faith, deepen their relationship with God and strengthen their commitment to sharing faith with others.
This is a welcome initiative. While every year is a year of faith, it is abundantly clear that we need an urgent, forensic focus on the challenge of handing on the faith in the 21st century.
Go into any church on a weekend, especially in urban areas, and the magnitude of the challenge becomes clear. There are few older teenagers to be seen, and young couples are conspicuous by their absence; in fact, the numbers under 50 who attend church regularly are falling all the time.
It’s understandable that the children of non-churchgoers don’t go to church. If their parents don’t practise, they are unlikely to practise either.
What is disconcerting is when the children of regular churchgoers stop attending church. These are young people whose parents have done their best to bring them up in the faith. They have been brought to Mass as children and (young) teenagers; they have received the sacraments and have been encouraged to participate in the life of the parish. Their parents have done their best to hand on the faith to them, and yet, as soon as they get the chance, they stop attending church regularly or altogether. (How many of our new young emigrants even know the location of the church nearest to them?)
Why do so many children of good Catholics cease the regular practise of the faith?
No doubt the endless stream of church-related scandals has something to do with it, as has the fact that we are living in an increasingly secular culture. Most opinion shapers today are non-religious or anti-religious. Many secular icons are atheist;. religion and the Catholic Church in particular are portrayed as enemies of progress.
Peer pressure is a factor, too. If your friends don’t go to church, it makes it harder for you to do so. Mass-going is not regarded as cool or trendy.
Some people simply lose the faith; they decide they no longer believe.
There is also the ‘couldn’t be bothered’ attitude. A person might have nothing against the church, but getting up on a Sunday morning or going to Mass on a Saturday evening is simply too much of an eﬀort.
Those in authority in the church cannot do much about many of these factors, but some things they can do something about.
One is the poor quality of religious education. A casual vox pop of young people will show that many leave school with little religious knowledge, and a minimal grasp of even the rudiments of the faith. This is not the fault of RE teachers but of the catechetical programme that is available today. The church in Ireland needs to look at how religion is taught, what programmes are used, and whether it is now time to take religious instruction out of the school altogether.
There is also the poor quality of liturgies. Good liturgies make a difference. Good preaching, good music and good singing matter. The problem is that all too often liturgies are not good. The homily is weak, the singing is poor or non-existent; there is no real sense of celebration or inclusion. The new translation of the Mass isn’t helping. Priests struggle to make sense of convoluted sentences while people in the pews fumble with the responses, some of which they ﬁnd ridiculous.
The poorer the liturgy the less likely it is to attract or engage people. This is especially true of younger people, who don’t necessarily want to be entertained or distracted but who certainly need to be enthused and stimulated by what they hear, see and experience.
Greater eﬀort must be made to produce liturgies that are rich and prayerful; that draw people in rather than tune them out.
A special Year of Faith isn’t going to solve the challenge of handing on the faith but if it gets us thinking and encourages us to explore solutions, then it will do some good.”
Also in April’s Reality:
What do priests and people think of the new missal?
By Triona Doherty
YOU SHALL BE MY WITNESSES
The cells system aims at re-evangelizing Catholic parishes
By Susan Gately
WILL YOU ALSO BETRAY HIM?
Jesus never gives up on us, even when we betray him and let him down
By Paddy O’Meara
LIKE THE TITANIC
The similarities and differences between two shipwrecks almost a century apart
By Fr E.E. O’Donnell, SJ
THERE IS A CASE FOR DEACON PAM
There is no categorical ruling against women deacons
By Phyllis Zagano
CONVERSATION ABOUT A RESURRECTION
Three women discuss the extraordinary events of the ﬁrst Easter
By Desmond O’Donnell, OMI
THE CROSS & THE RECLINER
Just as Mary cradled the dead Jesus in her arms, so I held the body of my dead daughter
By Anne Kerrigan
MISSION TO SERVE
Susan Cahill’s documentaries provide an insight into the work of Irish missionaries
Interview: John Scally
Click here to order your copy of Reality or to subscribe for the year. You can also subscribe to a download version of Reality – only €15 for the year.
What’s Up in ‘Face Up’?
There are plenty of features in April’s Face Up to inspire and inform teenagers. Here is just a flavour:
COVER STORY: HOW GREEN ARE YOU?
Why envy can spell the end of relationships. Plus, top tips on banishing jealousy from your life.
IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?
Feeling lonely is a hugely over-looked condition. Here’s how to stay connected.
HOW HONEST ARE YOU?
We’re in the midst of an ‘integrity crisis’. Find out if your ethics have dive-bombed faster than a ten tonne seagull.
I HEART ME!
Boost your self-esteem in 8 simple steps.
IF I RULED THE SCHOOL
Meet the three students who think they’d make a much better job of running our education system.
“DANCING HAS CHANGED OUR LIVES”
How a project in earthquake-rocked Haiti is bringing hope to young people.
FRIEND OR FOE?
Two 19-year-olds report back on a trip to America which aims to unite teens from different
SPIRIT & SOUL
SHAPE UP YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
Learn to speak out and stick up for your mates.
Click here to order your copy or to subscribe for the year.
Redemptorist Missions and Novenas This Month
Please pray for the Redemptorist teams who will preach the Word and for God’s People who will hear the Word proclaimed this month in:
KANTURK, CO. CORK
30th April – 8th May 2012
Solemn Novena preached by John Hanna CSsR and Derek Ryan CSsR
PORTUMNA, CO. GALWAY
21st – 28th April 2012
Parish Mission preached by Derek Meskell CSsR, Séamus Enright CSsR and Ms. Niamh O’Neill
The details above are accurate at time of printing. If you have any views, comments or even criticisms about Redemptorist preaching, I would love to hear from you. If you are interested in a mission or novena in your parish, please contact me for further information. And please keep all Redemptorist preachers in your prayers!
Ciarán O’Callaghan CSsR, Provincial Delegate for the Proclamation of the Word Email: email@example.com Tel: +353-1-4067253
New from Redemptorist Communications
VISITS TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT FOR THE 21st CENTURY
By Richard Tobin, C.Ss.R.
Nearly three hundred years ago St Alphonsus published his book of Visits to the Blessed Sacrament - a classic of devotional writing. This new book continues with the spirit of that great work. Containing 28 visits – reﬂections and prayers – that draw us ever deeper into the mystery of God and God’s love for humanity.
A wonderful companion for Eucharistic Devotion, for those who like to make the occasional visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and as a preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June 2012.
€5 (plus postage)
Generous discounts for multiple copies
T: 00353 (1) 4922488
A devotional gem you will treasure for years!
To End With!
“Faith is the subtle chain that binds us to the inﬁnite.”
ELIZABETH O. SMITH