Mary’s Meals

It’s hard to not want to promote this group. They are doing some incredible work. Yes, to give one decent meal to over 700,000 children a day–children that would otherwise struggle to get that meal, that often suffer from hunger–is quite an accomplishment. It’s a very simple program, yet it makes a huge impact. A number of videos explaining it are online. Here’s a 6 minute introductory video:

Mary’s Meals USA – The Difference A Meal Makes from Mary's Meals on Vimeo.

Here’s an interview on “The Choices We Face” with the founder. This gives lots of information.

Mary’s Meals – Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow from Renewal Ministries on Vimeo.

Here’s the complete movie done by Grassroots Films called “Child 31.” It’s quite powerful, although not as informative as the interview, so I recommend watching the interview first.

Finally, here’s the US website for Mary’s Meals: Mary’s Meals USA.

P.S. If you need some encouragement to learn more about this, perhaps a message from Celine Dion will help:

“Sisters” and “Light of Love”

I’m writing this mainly because I think there is a need to say something about the state of women’s religious life today, and I though it would be good to comment on two documentaries that came out at almost the same time concerning this.

Each documentary comes out of its corresponding “group.” One called “Sisters” is clearly LCWR oriented. One called “Light of Love” is obviously from a CMSWR perspective. Apparently, the two productions were not aware of each other, but there are some unusually striking similarities. Each interviews five sisters, and each is about an hour long. “Sisters” focuses on each of the sisters in ministry while “Light of Love” tends to show each sister in the context of ministry and community.

If you take away the habits/no habits difference–the most obvious visual one, the biggest difference I saw was the way the sisters talk about God, and in particular about Jesus. Here we have to allow for editing to play its role, but irregardless, the difference is quite noticeable.

I think each film tries to move “toward the center” in perceptions of the LCWR/CMSWR divide, which is quite a deep divide. The LCWR sisters are not portrayed as radical feminists (although they never refer to God as Father, but that would be practically an LCWR heresy) and the CMSWR sisters shown tend to be active rather than contemplative, although a strong spiritual element is clearly present. I was surprised that no contemplative sisters were highlighted in “Light of Love,” but that could be a separate film in the future.

There are a lot of things I could talk about concerning the two films, but I think my main point would be “Where are the youth?” Overwhelmingly, the youth that are interested in religious life are with “Light of Love.” You simply can’t deny the obvious reality. “Sisters” tended to avoid scenes of communal life, perhaps unconsciously. The next generation is clearly CMSWR driven. This is still an unpopular and “inconvenient truth” in certain sectors, but, hey, demographics don’t lie.

By the way, both movies are out on Vimeo. Sisters and Light of Love

LCWR Buzzwords

What are some examples?

“Prayer experiences”
“evolving consciousness”
“global unity”
“generate a force that has transformative power”
“positive energy”
“energizing actions”
“deep integrity”
“expansive sense of self”
“facilitate the connectivity”

In other words, New Age.

Note to sisters: young Catholics don’t talk this way. Note to young Catholics: in case you didn’t notice, this isn’t Catholic stuff.

Certainly not all LCWR sisters are in this scene, but there are some major leaders that are indeed!

Mother Elvira

The thoughts of Mother Elvira (foundress of Comunità Cenacolo) have not been available in English for the most part, but now, a book of some of her catechisis has been printed in an English translation called Sparks of Light: From the heart of Mother Elivra. Here’s a sample:

Since we are so different, every so often I ask myself how God can love every single one of us with a unique, specific, and personal tenderness. He can, because He even knows every cell in our body. He created us and wanted us. He calls us by name, and we must discover who we are in His eyes: risen, new creatures, who have welcomed the love of God in that grandiose space that is our life. He comes, because He is a God who loves to be welcomed. He stands outside the door of our freedom and knocks. Let us not leave Him outside like a beggar; let’s open that door so He can enter!

from “Meeting Jesus is Our Feast Day” in Sparks of Light, pg. 42.

WYD 2013 Archived Video

Ok, now that it’s over, where are all the hours and hours of videos?

Youtube has Hi-Def videos but without any added translations at the Vatican Channel.

For videos with some English translations, but other times no translations, go to the archive at WYDCentral. The last half of the Canadian Gathering is actually an international gathering of Catholic musicians from around the world, and it continues into the Papal Welcoming Celebration. Some things overlap from one video to the next.


The Visitation Sisters at Tyringham

As a Marian, I sometimes am able to celebrate Mass for the Visitation Sisters at Tyringham, MA. It’s an experience every time; they take liturgy very seriously! The Marians celebrate Mass for the sisters a number of times a week.

I saw a good article about them at Vocation Blog. The vestments made at the monastery are excellent! We have some here at our house. My parents and I visited the monastery when I was ordained a deacon and they bought me a beautiful deacon stole there.


God to Death:
Go thou to Everyman,
And show him in my name
A pilgrimage he must on him take,
Which he in no wise may escape,
And that he bring with him a sure reckoning
Without delay or any tarrying.

I have heard of this play here and there over the years, but never saw a performance of it. There was one recently at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and it was quite well done. The performance was quite medieval, with lots of music and dress from the era, but also there were touches of the 21st century (e.g. death speaks through a synthesizer and sounds like something out of a horror movie).

The pilgrimage of Everyman is one focused first on how most folks are just not into the whole preparing for death thing. Yet, when a tragedy happens, we are reminded, if only briefly. I sometimes think of the place where Jesus says, “Unless you repent, the same thing will happen to you.” He is not speaking exactly literaly, but in the sense that you will be caught unaware.

Everyman is caught unaware, but also has some short time to prepare for death, and the allegory still has much to teach us today.

Death says, for instance:
For before God thou shalt answer, and show true
Thy many bad deeds and good but a few,
How thou hast spent thy life and in what wise
Before the Chief Lord of Paradise.
Get thee prepared that we may be upon that journey,
For well thou knowest thou shalt make none for thee attorney.

It’s rare to see something rhyme with journey, but there it is. No attorney comes with us at that judgement.

You can hear a radio adaptation of the play here (broadcast October 23, 1938), with some commentary at the beginning that is not completely pro-Church. Still, it is best to experience the play live.

Bl. Miguel Pro — The Movie

When I saw For Greater Glory, I noticed that Bl. Miguel Pro was noticeably absent, but I also thought, “But there is a movie about him already.” A portrayal of his execution is present at the end of the movie, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of him otherwise.

Yes, there was a movie made about Bl. Miguel Pro. It’s not the greatest, but it does exist. The original title is Rain for a Dusty Summer, but it is currently marketed on DVD as Guns of the Revolution.

It’s a low budget movie made in 1971 using “Spaghetti Western” techniques–filmed in Spain mainly.

Overall, it’s fair, but there are some hilarious scenes of Bl. Miguel Pro hiding in plain sight and evading the authorities. It shows that an excellent movie could be made about him. It would put the audience in stitches.

The performance of Fr. Humberto Almazán as Padre Miguel Pro is excellent. He actually is a priest, and was when he acted the role! He brings out the clowning, playful character of the blessed who, by keeping things light, was able to help people during a very difficult time in Mexican history.

Us vs. Them

The National Catholic Reporter released an article about a women’s religious community with a fairly young “epochal footprint” (the word epochal is real, but I made up the phrase). They’ve taken down the page, but the unedited original article can still be read here.

There are (or rather were) many comments under the article that bemoan the “us vs. them” attitude of a young (age 26) religious sister.

But, wait a minute here, when I think of the National Catholic Reporter, I think of a paper that strongly (and I mean strongly) encourages an “us vs. them” attitude. Most articles down through the years seem to have this sort of attitude. Read any given article about Mother Angelica in the paper from years past and I think you will see an “us vs. them (or her)” sort of attitude.

So, now it is forbidden for young religious to have such an attitude? Isn’t that what the 60’s were all about? It was a time to rally against the ‘stablishment, man. Change, change, change.

Well, change is coming, but it’s not the sort the ‘stablished communities were hoping for. It is indeed a case of “us vs. them,” by virtue of “young vs. old.” I thought that was encouraged in the 1960s. The CMSWR came into existence because of some women’s religious communities complaining about the direction the LCWR was taking. The CMSWR, therefore, is the newer group. This seems to get lost in the rhetoric.

True, the ’60s were also about everybody getting along. The Beatles sang that all you need is love. They promptly broke up and held grudges for many years.

Somehow, I remember the Beatles breaking up and not being able to reunite better than what they sang about. Actions speak louder than words. Music can give one a false feeling that everything is fine, but, I hate to tell you, it isn’t. The young are seeking a better way, and they are finding it. They don’t have grudges about “them” but they also know they are quite different from “them.” The times they are a’changin’… (and this is a bad thing?)

Back in 1993, when Mother Angelica gave her famous “I’m so tired of you…” speech, which came about because of a young woman playing the part of Christ during the Stations of the Cross (the reason was obvious), she said something to the effect of, Go ahead and keep doing what you are doing. See how many vocations you get. See how many people follow you… (Not an exact quote.) She gave a challenge, and the young religious are going ahead… and siding with Mother Angelica.

Olympic Swimmers and Mary’s Intercession

Mireia Belmonte, a 21 year-old Olympic swimmer from Spain, recently went to the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat to dedicate the silver medals she won to the Virgin Mary.

It should also be noted that 15 year old Katie Ledecky (US), who won gold in one of the races that Mireia won silver in, said that she prays a Hail Mary before each race.
Mireia Belmonte at Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat
Mireia Belmonte dedicates her Olympic medals to the Virgin Mary

War of the Vendee

This is a rather unusual movie, telling of the complete loss of religious freedom during the French Revolution (i.e. the State suppresses the Church), and some Frenchmen who would not stand for it.

The movie is unusual in that all the parts are played by young people under the age of 21.

This doesn’t necessarily take away from the intensity of the movie, however. Take a look at the trailer: The War of the Vendee.

There are many more movies from various parts of history (especially the 20th century) that could be made on this topic. Will we start to see more now?

Fr. Z’s review explains more about the unusual casting.