Below are resources and suggested activities for this week - the 6th Sunday of Easter. Please come back frequently as this issue will be updated regularly during Lent.
#1 Conversation Starters
Our Lady of Fatima (May 13)
The Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated under this title following apparitions to three shepherd children — Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco — in Portugal in 1917. The message of Fatima includes a call to conversion of heart, repentance from sin and a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially through praying the Rosary. The famous apparitions of the Virgin Mary to the children of Fatima took place during the First World War, in the summer of 1917. The inhabitants of this tiny village in the diocese of Leiria (Portugal) were mostly poor people, many of them small farmers who went out by day to tend their fields and animals. Children traditionally were assigned the task of herding the sheep. Read More>
MOVIES | Fatima
The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952) is the best known; Apparitions at Fátima (1992) is the most authentic; and The 13th Day (2009) is the most artful. Unsurprisingly, Sister Lúcia, the eldest of the three visionaries, didn’t like the Hollywood take on her story. Her favorite version, also praised by Pope John Paul II, was the Portuguese production Apparitions at Fátima, by far the most historically accurate and complete, and the one in which the message of Fátima—a call to conversion and prayer, especially the rosary, and reparation for one’s own sins and those of the whole world—is clearest.
Father Damien (May 10th)
From Brandon Vogt: When St. Damien of Molokai contracted leprosy in 1884, he wasn't angered by the disease. He appeared poised and resolute to friends. When Damien de Veuster arrived in Hawaii in 1864, he found an island-community beset by infections. Over the years, travelers and seamen had introduced diseases like influenza and syphilis. Yet none were as bad as Hansen’s Disease, more commonly known as leprosy. First reported in Hawaii in 1840, leprosy devastated people in many ways. First, because the disease was highly contagious and untreatable until the 1930s, people contracting it had no hope of recovery. This often led to deep depression among its sufferers. Second, leprosy caused a progressive degeneration of their skin, eyes, and limbs. It thus disfigured people and eventually immobilized them. Finally, few diseases isolated people from their communities as much as leprosy. Sufferers were seen as outcasts and cautioned to stay away from everyone else. Read Full Post>
MOVIE | Molokai
Watch for Free on Youtube> | To deal with the leprosy problem in the Hawaiian Islands in 1872, sufferers were relentlessly exiled to Molokai, a barren isle off the coast. There they lived in miserable surroundings, abandoned by the outside world. To alleviate their fate, Father Damien was the first priest to go to Molokai. His bishop's last words were that "he must not touch anyone." Little by little, Damien earned the trust of the lepers, and eventually, his appeals for nuns and supplies resonated throughout the world, much to the displeasure of his superiors. Even when Damien got sick himself, his energy did not abate, and he carried on working for the well-being of his "fellow lepers" to the end. When he crumbled during Mass, he was taken to his own hospital to die. All the residents gathered at the entrance to pray for their Father...
Pentecost (Whitsunday), with Christmas and Easter, ranks among the great feasts of Christianity. It commemorates not only the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Disciples, but also the fruits and effects of that event: the completion of the work of redemption, the fullness of grace for the Church and its children, and the gift of faith for all nations. Read More>
Custom - walk barefoot in the dew on Sunday - The "Veni Sancte Spiritus" Sequence at today's Mass, which comes right after the Epistle, includes the words, "Heal our wounds, our strength renew, on our dryness pour thy dew." From this comes the custom, thought to bring blessings, of walking barefoot through the dew on Whitsunday morning. (Another custom, though one rarely practiced anymore, is "cheese rolling" by which people would race to see who could roll round cheeses downhill the fastest. This is -- or at least was -- done in England and Germany).
Bishop Barron: Bill Nye is not the Philosopher Guy (and Plato's Cave)
In Bishop Barron’s video post, he wants to address an issue that is infecting the minds of many young people today, namely scientism. He says to listen to Bill Nye as he leads you through a scientific experiment, but please don’t listen to him in regard to the higher questions and the more permanent things.
Watch Bishop Barron’s Video Post — and then below is a TED Talk video on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and a song from Mumford & Sons. (including a lyrical breakdown and how it relates to Plato's Allegory).
MOVIES | 10 Classic Movies that all Catholics should see
Once in a while, a film will come along that manages to introduce us to key aspects of faith, allowing us to glimpse timeless truths through the language of cinema. These movies become windows to the essentials; they give color, sound and voice to that which is invisible to the eye, yet is fundamental to understanding the Christian life.
2 of the movies are highlighted below. See the full list here
Miracle Of Marcelino
A Grand Prize Award winner at the International Cannes Film Festival and a heartwarming film, "Miracle of Marcelino," is a beautiful Spanish film about an orphaned boy who is taken in by a monastery. He makes us laugh with his mischief, suffer and cry to find, as the monks do, the simplicity and kindness in the heart of a child, and, above all, his ability to speak with God. A film of extraordinary tenderness that, at the same time, awakens our desire for a deep, natural and daily encounter with God and the Virgin Mary.
The Tree of Life (with Brad Pitt)
This production by Terrence Malick perhaps has a great defect which is, at the same time, its greatest virtue: an attempt to show - cinematically - an all-encompassing vision of the mystery of Creation, sin and the love of God in the life of man; a mystery that is impossible to depict entirely. The film’s analogous language is perhaps hard to understand, but the beauty of its execution and its thematic depth is undeniable. It is, therefore, a beautiful attempt to show with images the mystery of life, which involves the action of God, man’s response, liberty, suffering, eternal life, among many other topics for our reflection.
MUSIC | 11 Catholic Artists that will rock your world
You don’t hear a lot of Catholic music on the radio these days, but with the rise of the great artists we are featuring today hopefully that will change in the future. Enjoy this diverse list of both established Catholic musicians and a newcomers. These men and women have the gift of being able to lead us in prayer through their music.
Music has always been an important part of our worship during the Mass, but it doesn’t have to stay there! You can listen to these songs in your home, your car, or at the gym. In Colossians 3:16, St. Paul tells us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.., singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Try adding songs to your prayer time. Singing can help us to enter into deeper times of prayer and thanksgiving. (Don’t worry, even if you don’t sound quite as good as some of these artists, God will still hear your prayer.)
Tori Harris is highlighted below. Click here to see the full list of 11 Catholic Artists that will rock your world.
Tori Harris is another one of our up and coming Catholic worship leaders. Her mission is apparent as you listen to the lyrics she has written: "Through story and song to create environments of receptivity to the Holy Spirit."
#2 - COMMIT TO 2 MEALS
Pentecost - 12 Fruit Salad (12 fruits of the Holy Spirit)
It has long been traditional to list twelve fruits or graces of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Galatians 5 having provided the essential idea. The twelve are charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity. This is a wonderful season for fresh fruit. What could be more fitting or appetizing for this feast than a mixed fruit salad?
MAY is dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Early Christians believed that fragrant herbs and flowers reflected May's spiritual sweetness, soothing and healing herbs reflected her heavenly mercy, while bitter and sour herbs mirrored her bitter sorrows. Enjoy some recipes that use two of these herbs: Rosemary and Thyme.
Rosemary - Mary’s association with rosemary comes from stories of the Holy Family’s escape into Egypt. It is said Mary rested under a rosemary bush and spread her cloak on it to dry. The flowers miraculously changed from white to the blue of Mary’s cloak. The Spanish name for rosemary is romero, or pilgrims plant, and derives from this legend. Here are recipes with Rosemary. Some featured recipes below.
Rosemary Chicken with Orange-Maple Glaze
"Chicken breasts adorned with a fresh rosemary rub, then sauteed and braised in a sauce of orange juice, white wine and maple syrup. This wonderfully rich glaze makes an elegant, quick dinner to serve to guests. To serve, place chicken on top of hot cooked rice on each plate and spoon sauce over the top. Wonderful served with steamed asparagus."
Lemon Rosemary Salmon
"This is the perfect romantic dinner for two when served with an Oregon Pinot Noir, crusty bread, wild rice, and salad."
Bella's Rosemary Red Potatoes
In this video recipe, you’ll see how to make simple roasted red potatoes with fresh rosemary. It’s so easy. Just sprinkle chopped fresh rosemary over red potato wedges. Roast in the oven with a little butter and oil—and you’re ready to serve. This is a terrific side to serve wtih roast chicken, steaks, and other meats.
Thyme - There are many plants and herbs associated with the nativity. One legend has it that thyme was included among the hay used to make a bed for the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child, so it is often considered one of “Mary’s bedstraws” of which there are several. Here are some recipes with Thyme. Below are a couple featured recipes.
Thyme-rubbed Steaks with Sautéed Mushrooms
"This is an easy recipe. My family just loves the mushroom topping. Add some boiled carrots and mashed potatoes to make a wonderful meal."
Sliced Tomatoes with Fresh Herb Dressing
"Enjoy this easy and delicious summer garden treat with no cooking involved! I serve this at church dinners and never have enough. If you can make this a few hours in advance, the flavors become even better."
3 - PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
LISTEN NOW> | There is no better time than Lent to reclaim Sundays. If you have lost your vigor for Sunday Mass or if you are trying to inspire your family or friend to go to Mass, this talk on Ave Maria Radio is a must listen.
Early Christians used to define Sunday as “the day we can not not live without”. Because it orientates everything we do. It defines everything we do. This talk is an honest reflection on how one may view Sunday and how we would like to view Sunday. And then it defines a healthy approach to Sunday.
Father Riccardo's pod cast poses several questions:
- What is my approach to Sunday?
- Is Sunday the last day of my weekend, or the first day of my week?
- Is there any difference between my Saturday and my Sunday?
- Could I live without the Eucharist?
- Is there any real rest in my life? LISTEN NOW>
LIVING THE GOSPEL (May 8th)
Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11
Jesus is taken up to heaven in the presence of the Apostles.
Sing praise to God as he mounts his throne.
Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand.
Jesus is taken to heaven and the disciples remain in Jerusalem awaiting his sending of the Spirit.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today is our liturgical celebration of the Ascension of the Lord, when Jesus was taken to heaven on the 40th day after Easter. In Cycle C, our Gospel is taken from the conclusion of the Gospel of Luke.
There are similarities in the reports of Jesus' Ascension found in the Synoptic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, and Luke. In each account, Jesus assigns his disciples the task of proclaiming the Gospel to the entire world. There are also notable distinctions. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, the disciples are sent by Jesus to baptize as well as to preach. In Luke's Gospel, however, this commission to baptize is absent. Instead, Jesus directs the disciples to return to Jerusalem to await the fulfillment of his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. Curiously, only Mark and Luke actually report Jesus' Ascension into heaven. Matthew's Gospel concludes with Jesus' promise to remain with his disciples forever. Only the Gospel of Mark notes that Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of God. In noting this, Mark teaches that Jesus' Ascension affirms the glory Jesus received from God after his death and Resurrection.
Those who believe in Jesus will be empowered to do what Jesus himself has done. Already in Mark's Gospel, during his ministry, Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, to heal, and to drive out unclean spirits. Now, they are sent again to do these things and more. From his place with God in heaven, Jesus helped his disciples, and he continues to help us as we try to live as his followers.
PAINTING - … as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, … The Ascension of Christ, panel from the Vyšši Brod Altarpiece, ca. 1350. Convent of St. Agnes, Prague
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY - PENTECOST (May 15th)
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11
The Holy Spirit descends upon the Apostles gathered in Jerusalem.
God's Spirit renews the earth.
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13 or Romans 8:8-17
We are all one in Christ Jesus.
Jesus appears to his disciples and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Background on the Gospel Reading
The season of Easter concludes with today's celebration, the feast of Pentecost. On Pentecost we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem; this event marks the beginning of the Church. The story of Pentecost is found in the Acts of the Apostles, today's first reading. The account in today's Gospel, taken from the Gospel of John, also recounts how Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. There is no need to try to reconcile these two accounts to each other. It is enough to know that, after his death, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send to his disciples a helper, an advocate, who would enable them to be his witnesses throughout the world.
We previously heard today's Gospel on the second Sunday of Easter. At that time, we also heard the passage that follows, which describes Jesus' appearance to Thomas. In that context, we were led to reflect on belief and unbelief.
In the context of the feast of Pentecost, this reading reminds us about the integral connection between the gifts of peace and forgiveness and the action of the Holy Spirit. Jesus greets his disciples with the gift of peace. Jesus then commissions his disciples to continue the work that he has begun, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” As he breathes the Holy Spirit upon them, Jesus sends his disciples to continue his work of reconciliation through the forgiveness of sins.
This Gospel reminds us that the Church is called to be a reconciling presence in the world. This reconciling presence of Christ is celebrated in the Church's sacramental life. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are washed clean from sin and become a new creation in Christ. In the Sacrament of Penance, the Church celebrates the mercy of God in forgiving sins. This reconciling presence is also to be a way of life for Christians. In situations of conflict, we are to be agents of peace and harmony among people.
PAINTING - Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (First Reading, Mass During the Day). El Greco. Pentecost, detail, c.1600.
*** END OF THIS WEEK'S TABLE TALK ***