Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eucaharistic Devotions

The next Seminar I am interested in taking is this one:

Eucharistic Devotions

March 12 - April 2 with Stephen Kass, MA

This three-week online seminar will examine the history of Eucharistic devotions outside of Mass and specific devotions that the Church encourages.

Learn more about this seminar  

Register for this seminar

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Inquisition -- Catholic Seminar Offered

Currently offered at Catholic Distance University:  The Inquisition

"Study one of the most controversial and misunderstood topics in Catholic history. It will focus on the development of both the so-called Roman and Spanish Inquisitions."

This sure to be interesting seminar begins Tuesday, January 17th, so enroll now!  Go to CDU's website to learn more and to enroll in this seminar.  It last three weeks and requires approximately 10 hours of time for the non-credit option.

Other upcoming seminars that may be of interest:

Forming Disciples for Community and Mission: Basic Tasks of Catechesis
February 6 - 27 with Brian Pizzalato, Ph.D. Candidate
"Examine the six fundamental tasks of catechesis, with a particular emphasis on the need to foster in others a sense of responsibility towards the community of the Church, and to equip them with ways to use their gifts and talents to witness Christ in their everyday lives."

Bioethics: The Catholic Approach
February 13 - March 5 with William Saunders, J.D.
"This three week online seminar will examine current issues such as stem cell research, end of life issues, and population control through attacks on life in all its stages. More information will be given about this seminar in the near future."

Classics in Spirituality
February 20 - March 12 with Fr. Bevil Bramwell, OMI, Ph.D
"Can you meditate? Do you have a vision of what your spirit ‘looks like’? This three week online seminar course will develop what is meant by the life of prayer with special emphasis on meditation."
You can check out all these great seminars and register by going to the CDU website.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blessed Nicholas Steno Honored by Google

Blessed Nicholas Steno
One of the ironies intrinsic to the world's view of the Catholic Church is that the Church has always been at odds with science.  However, over and over again I've come across so many instances of how, in actual history, Catholics have been at the forefront of science. 

Today, Google's "google" honors such a Catholic scientist.  It is Nicholas Steno's, the "father of geology", 374th birthday.  The irony is that they don't call him Blessed Nicholas Steno.  He was a Catholic Bishop who was a convert from the Lutheran church.  His inquiring mind led him to the conclusion that the Lutheran church was wrong because only the Catholic Church could answer his deep religious questions, and he had a sudden and powerful belief in the Real Presence during a Eucharistic rite.  If you click on the Google image it points one to a Christian Science Monitor article, which does not once mention the fact that he was a Catholic Bishop or that he was beatified by Pope Blessed John Paul II in 1988.  His feast day is December 5th, the day before St. Nicholas (the man who "became Santa") Day, December 6th.

Illustration from Steno's
work on fossils and strata
comparing shark teeth and
"tongue stones." 

Steno studied geological strata and built on the work of other scientists of his time.  His comparison of living shark teeth to "tongue stones," which people actually thought fell from the sky, built on the "glossary" of such "stones" by Fabio Colonna published in 1616.  His work called Preliminary discourse to a dissertation on a solid body naturally contained within a solid, published in 1669, contained his observations on fossils, crystals, strata, etc.  Thus giving him the name of "father of geology" or "father of stratagraphy" (depending on the article you read).  According to an article written for a Berkley website, he supposedly "abandoned" his scientific study when he converted.  Considering his inquisitive mind, which is why he became a scientist and a Catholic, I doubt that statement.  He may have changed the emphasis of his life (which was his more important call to holiness) but I am sure his inquisitive mind continued to follow the scientific studies of the 17th century.  Despite the propaganda, the Catholic Church neither discourages (then or now) scientific inquiry nor stops anyone from pursuing it, let alone stop them from being both a scientist and a priest (look at Gregor Mendel, a monk and the discoverer of inherited traits, and, ironically, largely ignored by the scientific community during his lifetime).  The Church is not in conflict with science.  In fact the Church, historically, has been the single largest supporter of scientific study.

There is much more to his story.  You can read the not so objective Christian Science Monitor article (which does not mention his Catholic Faith, let alone his beatification), the Wikipedia Article, Berkley's anti-Catholic article (at least they mention his conversion to the Catholic Church, but obligingly denigrate her) or the rather short Catholic Encyclopedia article.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Solemnity of Mary, January 1, 2012

Today's Gospel reading from Luke chapter 2:

16 So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, 18 and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them.  19 As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.  20 And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.   21 When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.

The Solemnity of Mary is a very important feast in the calendar of the Church.  It is part of the Octave of Christmas.  It is the day Jesus was taken to the Temple, named, and circumsized (as St. Paul said in Gal. 4:4
"subject to the Law".) 

"In the encyclical Marialis Cultus (1974) Pope Paul VI states: "This celebration, assigned to January 1 in conformity with the ancient liturgy of the city of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the 'holy Mother . . . through whom we were found worthy . . . to receive the Author of life.' It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewed adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. For this reason . . . we have instituted the World Day of Peace, an observance that is gaining increasing support and is already bringing forth fruits of peace in the hearts of many" (no. 5)." 

"The mystery of Mary's maternity is expressed in the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass: "Hail, holy Mother! The child to whom you gave birth is the King of heaven and earth for ever." This implies God's choice of her who is "full of grace" (Lk 1:28) as well as her voluntary consent: "Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk 1:38). The word "conceive" applies not only to the body but also to the spirit, as was stated by the Second Vatican Council: "The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the word of God in her heart and in her body . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer.... Rightly, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience" (Lumen Gentium, nos. 53 and 56)."
[passages from "Mary, Mother of God" on the EWTN website]

"Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity."   -- St Therese of Lisieux