Marking the end of Communism with the Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
Meeting “blog personalities” is always fun, especially meeting a popular blogging priest. Father John Zuhlsdorf writes the blog, What Does The Really Say? He’s an affable priest with a good sense of humor and a good thinker. He celebrated a Solemn Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form for First Friday at the beautiful Church of the Guardian Angels (NYC). The particular intention for the Mass was for deceased priests.
In a piano concert in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, the Pope and a full house friends listened to the music of great composers in a concert sponsored by the International Piano Academy of Imola. The experience of the music was joined by some reflections of Benedict XVI’s which said in part, music is the union of persons and peoples in that it accompanies every human experience. He also observed that music gives shape to what you cannot do with words because it arouses the emotions that are difficult to communicate. Likewise, he pointed out what we all know, that is, great music relaxes the mind, stirs deep emotions, and elevates the mind to God. Hear the report of the evening.
2009 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of Jesuit
Brother Andrea Pozzo, the 17th century painter whose works adorn many churches
in Europe, including the beautiful Saint Ignatius Church, Rome, Italy. (I love his work and have enthralled by it for years!) He was
born November 30, 1642 and died August 31, 1709.
The Catholic school system in the US has been in a very desperate shape for years: acute and chronic money problems, lack of good, solidly trained Catholic teachers and administrators, a coherent vision of Catholic education as it interfaces with the charism of the religious order/diocese operating the school, building & grounds in near of repair, low endowments, etc. Then there is the assessment of what is purported to constitute a Catholic school: poor formation in the faith, the arts & humanites and science suffer, good use of current technologies, and engagement with people who do things differently, engagement with the vulnerable and culture of life, etc. Many, many Catholic schools don’t offer the Sacrifice of the Mass on a weekly basis for the students; and very few of them that I am familiar with offer reliable guidance and formation of the faculty and parents. In my book, if the bishop rarely shows up and the pastor visits the school only when there is crisis. then the problem is more acute.
Don’t get me wrong: I am a product of a lot years Catholic education and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love my time in the Catholic schools I attended but I can see the gaping holes in education and experience. I also believe that the Church needs excellent schools and formation programs.
Five exceptions to this critical view may be the five schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport recently named “Blue Ribbon” by the US Dept of Ed. But for these success stories in Catholic Education there are thousands of others pointing to major problems.
Today, there is an article in Time that speaks to a corrective of what is noted above. The dynamic Mr. Ekicsen is asking the right questions and seeking reasonable solutions. The bishop of Patterson made an excellent choice in hiring Eriksen and I pray his project thrives. It will –the saints are behind him. Read about the Eriksen initiative…
I think of a few things that are contributing to a renewal of Catholic eduation in the US: 1) Luigi Giussani’s The Risk of Education; 2) the Ed Conference; 3) UND’s ACE program; and 4) Dwight Longenecker’s booklet The Risk of Faith; 5) Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of reality because I know there are plenty of more good programs/schools out there so please forward the names to me.