2013 Fortnight for Freedom: June 21 to July 4

The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.

“In today’s world, religious freedom is more often affirmed than put into practice,” Pope Francis.

Click here to read an interview with Archbishop (of Baltimore) Lori regarding this year’s Fortnight for Freedom LINK

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Room at the Inn at Belmont Abbey

RoomattheInnlogofinal50I’ve been following the construction and progress of the Room at the Inn at Belmont Abbey College with great interest. Ever since I became minimally involved with Feminists for Life (FFL) years ago, I’ve been interested in the work that pro-life groups do on college campuses.

One of the objections from the pro-choice groups is if she doesn’t have an abortion then she’ll have to quit school. And FFL always said, “What kind of ‘choice’ is that?” So they worked to establish programs to make it easier for pregnant college women to stay in school and not have to abort. I’m not sure if FFL is involved with Room at the Inn and Belmont Abbey’s efforts, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Anyways, the news today is that the licensure process is complete for the new facility at Belmont Abbey and they are approved by the state of North Carolina to accept maternity clients. Six young pregnant women, representing multiple colleges throughout the region have already begun the interview process for residency. Their first residents for the new college-based maternity program will be moving in soon!

Room At The Inn has a very special silent auction prize that will be awarded at this year’s simultaneous Golf Tournament and Brunch events on May 20th.

Their special prize is called FEASTING WITH FATHERS. Three of their priest friends; Father Kauth, Father Reid, and Father Roux, all excellent cooks, will come to your home and prepare a sumptuous meal for 8. This special evening with the fathers includes a three course meal for up to 8 people, with wine and cleanup!

You can bid via email at iroomattheinn@rati.org or call 704-525-4673 x 10. Just give them your name, contact information and the amount of your bid. The current high bid is $800 and subsequent bids must increase by increments of $100. Their web site and the phone line will be updated regularly so that you can check on the latest high bid and enter a higher one if you like.

What an entirely worthy cause!!! So excited for them and hope they raise a ton of funds to support their efforts.

Motel 6 and the US Catholic Church: “We’ll Leave the Light on For Ya”

Do y’all (“y’all” is in the dictionary, I promise) remember the television advertisement for Motel 6?

Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett  is an American author, voice actor and radio host. He was the spokesman for the hotel chain Motel 6, whose commercials end with the phrase,

“I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for ya.”

light-is-on-for-you-color-large-webWell, somebody in marketing for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops came up with a similarly memorable slogan for a campaign to get us back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which immediately made me think of Motel 6:

“The Light is on for You.”

For many of us Catholics, both those brought up in the Church since childhood and those formerly of Protestant or non-Christian faiths, the Sacrament of Reconciliation can seem a bit frightening. Perhaps it has been a long time since we’ve made a confession. Perhaps we struggle with disbelief, with despair, with human weakness, with addictions, or with lingering resentment or grief. And yet, how wonderful it would be to be freed from these chains!

Here in Atlanta, the Archdiocese is participating in this USCCB nationwide “campaign.” In addition to the regular parish penance services, the Archdiocese of Atlanta is promoting a Lenten Day of Reconciliation: Friday, March 22nd from 3pm-7pm. All Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Atlanta will provide an opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of penance. Catholics, especially those who have been away from the Church or the sacrament, are invited to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington has put together wonderful resources for their parishes they’ve made available to all parishes across the country, which includes homily assists, graphics, flyers, downloadable marketing pieces.  “The Light is on for You” is not actually a “campaign.”  It’s an invitation.  It’s an invitation mainly sent to those who have been away from the Sacrament for years and want to come back.

Here is a 3 minute video the Archdiocese of Washington  put together to explain what this effort it’s all about.  Here is a link to an Examination of Conscience we can use to prepare for the Sacrament.

I know I will be sure to get to the Sacrament before Good Friday but today, during this Light is on for You campaign isn’t going to work with my schedule.  If this nationwide effort brings even one fallen away Catholic back it will be so worth it!

Here are “general intercessions” from the Archdiocese of Washington concerning this effort:

  • The Lord desires that all be saved through his life, Passion, and Death. May we all take advantage of his forgiveness and mercy by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance this Lenten season . . .
  • Lord, you did not condemn the woman caught in adultery but sent her away forgiven and in peace. Help us not to fear your justice but instead to come to you in humility to seek your mercy and healing love
  • Lord, your Cross has redeemed us, your Death has given us new life, and your Resurrection raises us to glory with you. Help us to seek your healing love this Lenten season by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance . . .
  • That we all may be attentive to God’s Word, confess our sins, and receive his forgiveness this Lenten season . . .
  • Lord, we often feel heavily burdened with the difficulties of life and our sins. Help us to find the grace to return to you and to receive your peace in the Sacrament of Penance this Lenten season . . .
  • That we might have the grace and power to turn to Christ, Our Savior, and to confess our sins with humble hearts, that we might be cleansed from all that separates us from him . . .
  • Father, you know our sinfulness and many weaknesses. May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand and walk more readily in your ways this Lenten season and always . . .

The New Evangelization: Facebook and Love Being Catholic

imageAbout a year ago, one of my sisters had become so frustrated with the anti-Catholic bias in the media that she felt convicted to counter this by being publicly, enthusiastically Catholic in all areas of her life.

The two year campaign of the election competition, the atrocity of the HHS mandate which diminishes religious freedom for Christians in this country, and the so-called “war on women” nonsense of the Planned Parenthood and NARAL money machines really took its toll on us regular, practicing Catholics.

Our faith was mocked not only at the highest levels of our government but throughout the news media, the entertainment industry and of course the social networks. Putting a bumper sticker on her car just wasn’t enough for my sister.

It’s funny how when we let the bad guys bully us into silence, the bad guys win. And when we, in my own case, let the shame of being an alcoholic silence me into anonymity—shame wins.  I believe strongly this is the devil at work. And we can’t let him win.

She started a Facebook page called, “Love Being Catholic.”  And quickly collecting 100 “fans,” she was very pleased and it sort of became for her a way to confirm our Faith.

With the blessed Mother by her side, my sister crushed the serpent and went overtly public with her love of faith. This, in our social circles wasn’t easy. And she lost a few “friends” over this, including a couple of relatives who didn’t like how faithfully she professed her love of Church teachings particularly on abortion, gay marriage and the HHS mandate.

So–flash forward to today.

She and I had lunch yesterday and were talking about how her Facebook page had almost reached 10,000 fans–with a “reach” of over 700,000! We were laughing and were amazed, but also so in awe of the holy spirit. We talked about how each of us can participate in this New Evangelization in our own ways.

This morning I woke to an email with the screen shot of her page showing 10,000 fans.  I couldn’t wait to share. I was so proud of my sister and so happy that I too “Love Being Catholic!”

There’s is a great article in the Catholic Sun today about Pope Francis by one of my most favorite Catholic theologians and authors George Weigel. His new book called Evangelical Catholicism hit the newsstands last month. I have all of his other books and will buy this one for myself for Easter.  In his article today, Weigel says, “The new pope played a significant role in shaping the Latin American bishops’ 2007 “Aparecida Document,” which embraced the New Evangelization and put it at the center of the Church’s life.”

Like Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI before him, Pope Francis absolutely understands how important it is to counter, as Weigel calls it, “the acids of secularism.”

So, rise up Catholics and be not afraid. Wear your faith on your sleeve. Preach the Gospel to all and if necessary, use (social media) words.

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