Friday, May 29, 2020

Expanding Horizons of Concern

Assistant Director of the Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Kathleen Bonnette recalled in America Magazine that St. Augustine of Hippo experienced a military siege (today read pandemic siege). During it he had written letters containing spiritual advice. “Augustine declined to send [those] letters...because he was concerned about the physical risk to the letter bearer.” Ms. Bonnette noted more features of Augustine’s spirituality that help us negotiate our pandemic siege.
Wiki-image  St. Augustine of Hippo by “Nheyob | CC BY-SA 4.0"

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Global Prayer on Vigil of Pentecost

The global Ignatian family—millions of people “in more than 100 countries”—will pray on the vigil of Pentecost, 31 May. People may choose to participate at 8 p.m. in one of three time zones named at the web site.

Healthy Look of Public Places

The pictures taken during the 1918-20 pandemic indicate how people adapted to protect others and themselves. Places of worship are public places. Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about Christian communion and safety.

Wiki-image 1918 Precautions taken in Seattle, WA by “Unknown author | PD-US" 

Sensitive to Holy Spirit

The first reading at mass today can speak to contemporary experience. The passage is a window on St. Paul’s continual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Even in a legal setting—which lost its decorum to mob-action—Paul remained attentive. Holy Spirit abides daily, even in the stresses of pandemic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Learning from St. Ignatius of Loyola

When people freely isolate themselves, they fare better than when circumstances limit their freedom. Retreat—which one may not immediately classify as isolation—is freely chosen. Dealing with shifting moods on retreat happens. Knowing the end-date of retreat is one help.

Pandemic isolation is less easy to choose, yet people choose it to respect the lives of others and self.  Jesuit David Lonsdale recalled that St. Ignatius of Loyola experienced both “necessary” and “voluntary self-isolation”. His “reflections on his experience of isolation…can offer us valuable help in our present circumstances.”

Francis on Prayer

Flowers of rebirth" are the fruit of praying. Flowers grow slowly. Slow growth demands patience. Recovery from the pandemic does, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

To Close May

Monday, May 25, 2020

Ecumenism: Renewed Call

Twenty-five years ago Pope St. John Paul II noted in an encyclical letter that “the Catholic Church committed herself irrevocably to following the path of the ecumenical venture.” Pope Francis remembered that in a letter written Sunday. “Unity comes about in journeying; the Holy Spirit does this on the journey,” Francis wrote. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Communications Is Sharing

Pope Francis focused on story telling in his 2020 World Communications Day Message. “A good story can transcend the confines of space and time. Centuries later, it remains timely, for it nourishes life.”

Telling a good story builds on one of the pope’s favoured, frequent words: encounter. Dr. Paolo Ruffini reflected on the pope's in a video.

Anniversary Looks to Future

Today’s Vatican News editorial notes that celebrations of the pope’s integral ecology encyclical “help bring out what the document has set in motion in communities throughout the world. They also help us reflect on its relevance in the here-and-now, as the world fights against the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Ending but Not Too Late

Saturday, May 23, 2020

“Ascension Withdrawal” & Maturity

For the Solemnity of the Ascension Jesuit Peter Gallagher reflected that both aspects in the title are interrelated. Joy is also present.

Peter Gallagher’s homily for the Ascension this year included Mary. One conviction: “Supported by the grace of God, inspired by the example of Mary, we allow ourselves to be carried up into the divine presence.”
Wiki-image Ascension of Jesus Christ 04 ies.jpg by “Frank Vincentz | CC BY-SA 3.0"

Bring Them Along

One help to praying that St. Ignatius of Loyola counselled was: engage with anyone present in a scripture that focuses one’s prayer. The Ascension of Jesus involves his disciples. It helps prayer to bring them along, particularly if we are grieving.

Mindfulness: New and Old

Y ale Medicine posted some physicians recommend the practice of mindfulness to help “patients cope with illness and the anxiety related to it.” A program developed in 1970 undergirds this contribution to health care.

People of faith recognize familiar elements in the practice that are older than 50 years. Jesuit Chris Krall noted 16th-Century Christian foundations.

Care, Worship, Name

The Global Catholic Climate Movement sponsored a webinar during Laudato Si! Week. Cardinal Peter Turkson participated. Daughters of St. Paul Sister Bernadette Mary Reis summarized his contribution. The post includes an audio-link to the cardinal’s 9-minute presentation.

Through Lens of “Rapidification”

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi looked ahead in his latest post in the “Living Beyond the Crisis” series. Has quarantine given us new appreciation of time?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Largest Lockdown

India began the largest lockdown in March in order to mitigate the novel coronovirus. In his third report, America Magazine’s Kevin Clarke looked at how the lockdown and the public health system complicated the struggle with the virus for Catholics hospitals.


Microcredit extends very small loans to impoverished borrowers who do not qualify for conventional loans. Microcredit does help the lives of poor people. Vatican News highlighted the “largest interest-free microfinance organization in the world.”

Definition and Reminder

A social encyclical is a pastoral instrument of modern popes. One defintion: "A large-scale, detailed letter sent out by the pope to everyone in the world, treating social issues (usually economic ones) with a combination of critique and counsel, defining paramount principles, pointing out urgent problems suggesting a direction for solutions" [Source]. Laudato Si! is rarely heralded as social. Yet, “Pope Francis himself says that Laudato si is also a social encyclical.”

“Fundamental anti-values”

The world after the pandemic needs other values, said Jesuit Cardinal Michael Czerny in an interview. Laudato Si! articulates that faith can do justice to “three fundamental and intertwined relationships.” The encyclical had already inspired initiatives before its 5th birthday.