Recently, I spoke with Dr. Gregory Hillis, Assistant Professor of Theology at Bellarmine University, about Pope Francis. His article about our conversation, reprinted with permission below, is in the Winter 2014 edition of Bellarmine's Magazine:
When Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio emerged as Pope Francis onto the balcony at St. Peter's Basilica without the papal mozzetta - the red cape traditionally worn by popes - and greeted the crowd with a simple, "Buona sera," the tone changed in Rome and throughout the Roman Catholic Church. Over the months since his election,
Archbishop Kurtz talking to Dr. Gregory Hillis. Photo by Bill Luster, courtesy of Bellarmine University
his gentle and pastoral personality has resonated with Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and his message of generous love for each person challenges and compels us all.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville and member of Bellarmine University's Board of Trustees, met with Pope Francis in October 2013 alongside Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. I recently sat down with the archbishop to discuss the pope and his message, as well as reaction to the pope worldwide and particularly in the archdiocese. I began by asking him about his recent audience with Pope Francis.
Archbishop Kurtz describes Pope Francis as being "warm and engaging," and the archbishop came away deeply impressed by his pastoral demeanor: "If I had to choose a parish based on the pastor, I think I'd go to (Pope Francis') church." They discussed a wide range of topics of serious import, but the archbishop drew attention as well to the lighthearted good humor of the pontiff. At the conclusion of the audience, Pope Francis offered to walk his guests to the door, to which Cardinal Dolan responded that it wasn't necessary for him to do so. Francis jokingly replied, "No, I want to make sure you leave." "There's something very endearing about that, isn't there?" the archbishop said.Read More...
Choosing Life as a Sidewalk Counselor
By: Ed Harpring, Coordinator for Pro-Life Ministries for the Archdiocese of Louisville
It's 7:00 a.m. on the most frigid day on record in the last 20 years at the local abortion center. I park my car and wondering to myself, "Why am I here again?" As a sidewalk counselor for almost 30 years, my call began when my wife and I were presented with the ultrasound picture of our first child. God used that ultrasound picture to show me that life was a gift from God and that as a new father, I would be a defender and protector of this beautiful life. Over the coming months, I felt the ongoing call to do something to help protect other children in that same stage of life that are not protected because of our current unjust laws that allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. This call eventually led me to take action by trying to help mothers change their minds about abortion as they enter the local abortion center. However, there are days, especially cold days like this, when I feel uninspired and I ask myself again "Is it worth it?"
We are now in January 2014, and the struggle against legalized abortion has lasted 41 years. Over 50 million unborn children are not with us because of an egregious court decision that has not only cost these precious children their lives, but has caused countless mothers, fathers, and family members a lifetime of heartache and regret.
Reluctantly, I open the car door to a blast of icy damp air that jolts me out of my self-pity. I gather myself and greet another "prayer warrior," Dave, with a warm hug that begins to lift my spirits as we head toward the dark and deteriorating building where mothers enter the abortion facility. I see my fellow volunteers on the sidewalk. They hail from a variety of denominations but are united in Christ. Read More...
The Best Day of My Life By: Leisa Schulz, Superintendent of Catholic Schools
"Tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life!" are the words Addie, a soon-to-be preschooler, said to her grandmother on the eve of her first day of school at a Catholic school. Her grandmother, Barbara Wine, principal at Presentation Academy, shared this story at a secondary principals' meeting. Everyone immediately responded with smiles and laughter as they commented that it would be wonderful if all of us could approach every day with the same positive attitude.
The "rest of the story" is that Addie had such a wonderful first day that she would not take off the clothes she wore to school that day and planned to sleep in them.
We certainly want to create school environments where students are excited about being at school and learning. During Catholic Schools Week (January 26-February 1), we celebrate the wonderful experiences that students like Addie have every day in our Catholic schools.
The theme for this year's Catholic Schools Week is "Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service. " Visit any Catholic school and you will notice the spirit of camaraderie among students, teachers, and administrators. Catholic schools are a "community within a community" that unites people who share common values and goals as communities of faith. Ultimately a Catholic education should prepare students to be good stewards of God's gifts and active people of faith who serve others, make a difference in the world, and participate in their faith and civic communities. Read More...
The Blog Spot
This section will feature local and national blogs that will inspire, teach, and call to action. This month features "A Good Measure" by popular Catholic author, blogger and presenter Lisa Hendey, the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.
Mass in the Mall? St. Francis Chapel
Where did you go to Mass today?
Me? I went in a shopping mall!
To be precise, we attended the 11:45 am Mass at the wonderful St. Francis Chapel in Boston's Prudential Center. The Chapel, staffed by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, is a refuge in the midst of a busy place. We sought the chapel out, since our hotel/home for the next two weeks is within easy walking distance.
But while we sat waiting for Mass to begin, I wondered how many who were nestled into the warm little chapel had wandered in during the midst of a busy shopping day, or were doing business at the nearby convention center or on a lunch break from their shift in the shopping mall. While Mass in the mall may sound a bit odd, isn't this really the New Evangelization at its finest - finding people right where they are and bringing the Word to them? Read More...