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Planning and Research
America losing its religious sense PDF Print E-mail

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Los Angeles, Calif., Oct 26, 2011 / 06:00 am (CNA).- In an article for First Things, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles pointed to several recent examples of religious freedom being suppressed in the U.S. and warned that the basis of the country's democracy is at stake.

“There is much evidence to suggest that our society no longer values the public role of religion or recognizes the importance of religious freedom as a basic right,” Archbishop Gomez said in an Oct. 25 article.

“America’s founders understood that our democracy depends on Americans' being moral and virtuous,” he wrote. “They knew the best guarantee for this is a civil society in which individuals and religious institutions were free to live, act, and vote according to their values and principles.”

Archbishop Gomez, who leads the largest diocese in the U.S., said that Catholics have always believed that they are equipped to be the best citizens when they follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church.

Since before the founding of our country, he noted, members of the faith have worked to provide “vital” social services, education, and health care for surrounding society.

“But lately, this is becoming harder and harder for us to do,” he said.

Archbishop Gomez cited the example of the government denying funding to the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services agency, which since 2006 has helped thousands of women and children who are victims of human trafficking.

 
Pope believes secularized nations can become Christian again PDF Print E-mail

 

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Vatican City, Oct 15, 2011 / 03:24 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Today Pope Benedict XVI told over 8,000 Catholics involved in the “new evangelization” that he has every confidence they can return their respective nations to Jesus Christ.

“Seeing all of you and knowing the hard work that everyone of you places at the service of the mission, I am convinced that the new evangelists will multiply more and more to create the true transformation which the world of today needs,” the Pope said Oct. 15. in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall.

The Pope was addressing a conference entitled “New Evangelizers for the New Evangelization - The Word of God grows and spreads,” organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

Noting that the title of the conference was drawn from a phrase often used in the Acts of the Apostles, the biblical account of the early Catholic Church, the Pope suggested that modern society still yearns for God, just as it did 2,000 years ago.

“Modern man is often confused and cannot find answers to the many questions which trouble his mind in reference to the meaning of life,” said the Pope.

And yet, he observed, man “cannot avoid these questions which touch on the very meaning of self and of reality.” Consequently, modern man often despairs and simply withdraws from “the search for the essential meaning of life,” settling instead for “things which give him fleeting happiness, a moment’s satisfaction, but which soon leave him unhappy and unsatisfied.”

 
Reconciliation in the Church Today PDF Print E-mail


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In common with others, the pastor too can discern among the various unfortunate characteristics of the world and of humanity in our time the existence of many deep and painful divisions.

A Shattered World

2. These divisions are seen in the relationships between individuals and groups, and also at the level of larger groups: nations against nations and blocs of opposing countries in a headlong quest for domination. At the root of this alienation it is not hard to discern conflicts which, instead of being resolved through dialogue, grow more acute in confrontation and opposition.

Careful observers, studying the elements that cause division, discover reasons of the most widely differing kinds: from the growing disproportion between groups, social classes and-countries, to ideological rivalries that are far from dead; from the opposition between economic interests to political polarization; from tribal differences to discrimination for social and religious reasons. Moreover, certain facts that are obvious to all constitute as it were the pitiful face of the division of which they are the fruit and demonstrate its seriousness in an inescapably concrete way. Among the many other painful social phenomena of our times one can noted.

  • The trampling upon the basic rights of the human person, the first of these being the right to life and to a worthy quality of life, which is all the more scandalous in that it coexists with a rhetoric never before known on these same rights.
  • Hidden attacks and pressures against the freedom of individuals and groups, not excluding the freedom which is most offended against and threatened: the freedom to have, profess and practice one's own faith.
  • The various forms of discrimination: racial, cultural, religious, etc.
  • Violence and terrorism.
  • The use of torture and unjust and unlawful methods of repression.
  • The stockpiling of conventional or atomic weapons, the arms race with the spending on military purposes of sums which could be used to alleviate the undeserved misery of peoples that are socially and economically depressed.
  • An unfair distribution of the world's resources and of the assets of civilization, which reaches its highest point in a type of social organization whereby the distance between the human conditions of the rich and the poor becomes ever greater.(2) The overwhelming power of this division makes the world in which we live a world shattered(3) to its very foundations.

Moreover, the church-without identifying herself with the world or being of the world-is in the world and is engaged in dialogue with the world.(4) It is therefore not surprising if one notices in the structure of the church herself repercussions and signs of the division affecting human society. Over and above the divisions between the Christian communions that have afflicted her for centuries, the church today is experiencing within herself sporadic divisions among her own members, divisions caused by differing views or options in the doctrinal and pastoral field.(5) These divisions too can at times seem incurable.

Blessed John Paul II
On Reconciliation and Penance in the Mission of the Church Today

 
The Nature of Pastoral Planning PDF Print E-mail

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To understand the nature of pastoral, we refer to Canons 528 and 529 of The Revised Code of Canon Law (1983). Here we see presented the "pastoral responsibilities" of the parish priest. Pastoral Planning is one way in which all the baptized share in this responsibility. For convenience, the responsibilities are listed here in categories:

WORD

— ensuring that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety
— seeing that the faithful are instructed in the truths of the faith by means of the homily on Sundays and Holy Days and by catechetical formation
— having special care for the catholic education of children and young people
— making every effort to bring the gospel message to those who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith

SACRAMENTS AND PRAYER

— taking care that the Eucharist is the center of the parish assembly of the faithful
— striving to ensure that the faithful are nourished by the devout- celebration of the sacraments, in particular the frequent celebration of the blessed Eucharist and Penance
— leading the faithful to prayer including prayer in their families and taking an active part in the sacred liturgy
— directing the liturgy and guarding against abuses

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

— striving to know the faithful of the parish
— visiting families, sharing in their cares and anxieties and in a special way, their sorrows, comforting them in the Lord
— helping the sick and dying in great charity, especially in administering the sacraments
— diligently seeking out the poor, the suffering, the lonely, those exiled from their homelands, and those burdened with special difficulties
— striving to ensure that spouses and parents are sustained in the fulfillment of their proper duties
— fostering the growth of Christian life in the family

OUTWARD MISSION

— recognizing and promoting the specific role which the lay members of Christ's faithful have in the mission of the Church
— fostering works which promote the spirit of the Gospel including its relevance to social justice
— endeavoring to ensure that the faithful are concerned for the community of the parish and that they feel themselves to be members both of the diocese and of the universal Church, and that they take part in and sustain works which promote this community.

Source: Pastoral Planning Manual, Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis, 1988.

 
Pope calls on all to participate in New Evangelization PDF Print E-mail

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Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Sep 18, 2011 / 10:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI called upon all Catholics Sept. 18 to participate in a new evangelization of the world.

“Today’s liturgy reminds us that we are all called to work in the vineyard of the Lord,” he told pilgrims gathered to pray the midday Angelus at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

“He has given us diverse gifts, has assigned diverse tasks and determined diverse times for their performance. However, if we assume the work of our life with full dedication, we can expect the same pay: the joy of eternal participation the goodness of the Lord,” he said.

The Pope based his comments on today’s gospel reading in which Jesus recounts the parable of the vineyard owner who paid each of his workers the same wage regardless of how long they worked.

He also drew upon St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, written while the apostle was imprisoned and awaiting his death, in which he states that “for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

This “new sense of life” comes from communion with Jesus Christ who, said the Pope, is “not just a historical figure, a master of wisdom, a religious leader,” but is “a man in whom God dwells personally.”

“His death and resurrection is the good news that, starting from Jerusalem, is intended to reach all individuals and peoples,” said Pope Benedict. Thus all cultures are changed by being open to the truth that “God is love, he became man in Jesus and his sacrifice has redeemed humanity from the slavery of evil, making it a trustworthy hope.”

“Today we live in an era of new evangelization,” Pope Benedict said, drawing a parallel between the era of St. Paul and today. New evangelization is also a favored theme of his pontificate – the call to re-evangelize traditionally Christian parts of the world or, as the Pope put it today, the need for “regions of ancient Christian tradition” to “rediscover the beauty of faith.”

“The protagonists of this mission are men and women who, like St. Paul can say: 'For me to live is Christ.' People, families and communities that agree to work in the vineyard of the Lord.”

These are people who are “humble and generous” and who do not “ask for any reward other than to participate in the mission of Jesus and the Church.”

“Dear friends,” concluded the Pope, “the Gospel has transformed the world, and still is turning, like a river that irrigates a huge field.”

After the Angelus, Pope Benedict addressed various language groups, including German pilgrims. He said he looked forward to his four-day visit to Germany later this week and hoped the people of his native land will “respond generously to the offer of the boundless love of God and work for the good that is in the world.”

 
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