Welcome to my blog! While I have enjoyed for many years writing articles and even doing a weekly television program, this is my first venture into the world of blogs. What I would like to do in this blog is to talk about our Catholic faith, what it teaches, why it is so important, certainly to me, and why, I hope, it would be important to you. My plan is to take some aspect of the teaching of the Catholic Church and comment briefly on it in the hope that there might be readers who would find this helpful or at least engaging. For example, as we enter the Lenten season, I would like to share with you in the future some thoughts on what this time of penance and spiritual renewal means. The title for the blog, “Seek First the Kingdom,” comes from the challenge of Jesus to his disciples that in the midst of all the things that make up our daily life we would keep our hearts clearly focused on something that is not as visible as the creation around us, but is every bit as real – the presence of God in our lives…. Read more
This past week we talked with several parishes who are using Online Giving. One in particular just started in January 2012 and has 84 parishioners using Online Giving as of the third week of February. I heard a great idea from the business manager at this parish.
This parish had people participating in a jog-a-thon for the parish and added a donation category to support the jog-a-thon. They had sponsorship from both parishioners and other community members. The result was a tremendous success for the event and also greater awareness about the parish for the community as people visited the web site to donate. People can participate using the “QuickGive” feature in Online Giving.
At another parish nearby, the staff have included Online Giving information in their communications, in their bulletin and in their increased offertory and stewardship renewal materials. As a result of making giving online a standard option they have over 10% of their parishioners using the system.
We noticed at another parish that Online Giving was prominently displayed in one of the parish bulletins. The space allocated was as large as most of the significant advertisements so it was easy to spot. They made the invitation to Online Giving a bold announcement.
These techniques served these parishes well. They are excited about the acceptance of Online Giving and they are experiencing the improvements to cash flow as a result.
What is your parish doing to make it easy to give online?
Cardinal Timothy Dolan hit the ground running when he returned from Rome this week. On his first full day as cardinal in New York City, he put aside the Vatican-issue red cassock in favor of something more simple: a white apron.
The new cardinal was up early on Ash Wednesday, serving out breakfast to the poor on the St. Francis of Assisi Breadline in midtown Manhattan.
Newly elevated Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and former archbishop of Baltimore, joins Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, outside St. Peter’s after this morning’s Consistory. Congratulations and prayerful best wishes to both of them and to all of the 22 cardinals elevated by Pope Benedict XVI Saturday.
As the controversy over the Obama administration’s January directive to religious institutions to pay for employees’ contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs was heating up, Michael Gerson — a conservative columnist frequently friendly to the Church’s views — speculated on the reasoning behind this provocative move. more
By OSV Editorial Board - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
The Catholic Church in the United States, after a brief show of unity in the face of astoundingly aggressive new federal regulations that in effect punish adherence to Church teaching, has splintered back into a factionalism that is all too familiar. President Barack Obama’s sudden “accommodation” in response to weeks of pressure from a broad spectrum of conservative and progressive co-religionists effectively has split Catholics back into opposing, recriminatory camps. more
Pride, distraction and lack of knowledge must be overcome to reach people, experts say
By Emily Stimpson - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
Although it’s been nearly 30 years since the Catholic Church began calling for a New Evangelization, many Catholics are only now coming to understand that call is for them, not just priests and religious. Many more have yet to even hear the call.
Any efforts to weaken force of collective bargaining fly in the face of the Church’s moral teachings
By Msgr. Owen F. Campion - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
People are nervous about the economy — and every indicator suggests that they have reason to be. No end seems to be in sight.
We are uneasily moving through a period in which economic decision-making is definitely needed, but finding answers is complicated by the fact that we are all, to some degree, afraid, and the complexity of issues further obstructs the path to any sure opinion of how best to recover economic robustness for this country.more
Refresher on religious speech rights needed after teen succeeds in protesting prayer at her school
By Robert P. Lockwood - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
I was 16 years old and in the front-row desk of my senior physics class at Manhattan Prep in the Bronx, NY. I was in my usual morning reverie — that high school world of the mind where reality and fantasy, the present and the future, gloom and exhilaration all share a room together — when Brother Kevin interrupted. more
Ever-growing movement likely to play a major role at next year’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro
By Alejandro Bermudez - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
As Brazil prepares to host World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, noted Vatican analyst Sandro Magister has drawn attention to the rare phenomenon of a “Charismatic” Catholic priest: Father Marcelo Rossi, the chart-topping musician whose concerts fill more stadiums than any rock star.more
Many little girls grow up dreaming of becoming models. Kylie Bisutti, 21, achieved that dream, becoming one of lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret’s “angels,” posing in lacy bras and panties alongside the likes of Miranda Kerr and Adriana Lima. read more
Many of those who work at farms face low wages, deplorable working conditions
By Laura Dodson - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
There is an invisible cost of the food that graces Americans’ tables. Much of it has been picked by farm workers who are at risk of being victims of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is the exploitation of a person through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation,” said Hilary Chester, associate director of anti-trafficking services for the Office of Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The largest group is agricultural workers.” more
‘Hell’ has two meanings in Catholic theology — the place of the damned and where dead await salvation
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
Question: In the Apostles’ Creed, Jesus is said to have “descended into hell” after he died and before he rose again. I don’t really understand this. Why would Jesus descend into hell? Isn’t hell the place of the damned? answer and more questions here
New titles to help Catholic individuals and families deepen their spirituality over the next 40 days
By OSV staff - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
Lent, of course, is a period of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, but for many Catholics, there’s a fourth mark — spiritual reading to deepen their experience of 40 days in the desert.
There are many classics from which the faithful can choose, from St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “Spiritual Exercises” to Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s “The Way of the Cross.” In addition, there are many new titles that should appeal to individuals and families alike. Here is a look at nine of them.more
Irrelevant, but untrue that 98 percent use contraception
By John Norton - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
If you’ve absorbed just one thing from news reports over the past couple of weeks about the threat to religious liberty contained in new U.S. health care regulations, it is probably one statistic that has been repeated over and over in the media and by political advocacy groups.
Here’s how the White House blog put it, but it was formulated very similarly in very many other places: “According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception” (italics added) .more
Vatican officials, bishops, religious superiors, psychologists, lawyers and abuse victims gather to take stock, chart new global course
By Andrea Kirk Assaf - OSV Newsweekly, 2/26/2012
A decade after sex abuse allegations against Catholic clergy dominated U.S. news headlines, an international symposium in Rome gathered to review the best and worst practices in responding to the scandal, which has since spread to other parts of the world. more