Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some exciting stuff

As stated in my blog header, my purpose for blogging at all "is to foster Christian discipleship in the late modern milieu in the diakonia of koinonia." I really do think that as a deacon, as a parish director of religious education, and as a Christian that being present and active on-line in this day is not optional, it is necessary. The Holy Father apparently agrees, as he encouraged priests during this year of the priest to be present on-line and, yes, to blog! Maybe he assumed that, like St. Stephen, who was supposed to be serving at table while the apostles preached, that deacons were already up and engaged on-line! I don't know!

In addition to revamping the look of Καθολικός διάκονος, I have also been at work revivifying our parish RCIA blog, which went on-line a few years ago, Vivre l'Evangile, which means "to live the Gospel" in French. Why, French, you ask? Because my parish, The Cathedral of the Madeleine, is a fracophone way of being The Cathedral of the Magdalene. It also has a connection to he work of the great French philosopher, Jacques Maritain.

This revamping is timely as we have been transitioning to the full implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in our parish, moving to a year 'round process that includes a pre-catechumenate, year-long catechumenate, and period of mystagogia after initiation. Our next group of catechumens, for whom we will celebrate the Rite of Acceptance on a Sunday of Easter, will be members of our first year-long catechumenate. This requires a revamping of our catechumenate program. I cannot tell you how excited I am that we will be using Ascend: The Catholic Faith for a New Generation as our text, our point of reference. Needless to say, I was excited this morning to find this video on the Ascend blog, The Catholic Story:

I find this video very inspiring, but not as inspiring as I am finding reading the book, which I am working through a chapter a day during Lent. As I told one of the authors, Deacon Eric Stoltz, who I am privileged to call a friend: "God always surprises me during Lent. Yesterday, I just picked up your book and started to read. It is what I needed. I don't know why, other than it just reassured me of a lot of things, mostly of God's love and the way God works in the world and in my life." Another dear friend, Fran, informs me, via a comment, that she reviewed Ascend for her diocesan newspaper (i.e., the Diocese of Albany, New York), The Evangelist.

I am also excited about using the St. John's University (Collegeville, MN) Seeing the Word lectio divina for our Sunday dismissals, beginning in the fall. Dismissals constitute our catechumens' direct engagement with sacred Scripture during their catechumenate and their period of enlightenment and purification. Through the good efforts of the Director of our diocesan Office of Liturgy, Timothy Johnston, the Cathedral is one 30 parishes nationwide piloting this program during Lent.

Those preparing to be fully incorporated into Christ's Body, the Church, at the Great Easter Vigil this year, participated in the Rite of Election/Call to Continuing Conversion this past weekend. This is always a joyus event for our local church. So, by the grace of God, Lent is proving to be a fruitful time, a springtime, a time when life bursts forth, not despite our Lenten discipline and austerity, but precisely because of it!

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis


  1. I love the book Ascend. When it came out I reviewed it for our local diocesan paper. If you do not mind, I will link to that review here.

    What a fantastic text for your journey - all of which sounds well thought out and should be great. Prayers always for you and for those on the journey. Or should I just say, voyage?!