Emphasis on Encounter

Faith & Thought

Since writing last week’s column about Pope Francis’ consistent ethic of life and his hope that we can transcend a “throwaway culture,” which disregards the value and dignity of each individual person, and create a culture of encounter, I have been thinking about how important the word “encounter” has become in the way that I think about God, myself and my neighbor.

Pope Francis’ Vision

Faith & ThoughAnyone who reads this column regularly knows that I am an enthusiastic supporter of Pope Francis and his vision of the church. I find Pope Francis’ insights and his hope inspiring. Throughout my life I have been inspired by some wonderful leaders of the Catholic Church, but in my heart Pope Francis holds a special place.

Cinematic Stories

It’s that time of year when parish leaders are preparing to start again. Probably evaluations of various programs have already taken place, decisions have been made about what will be changed and what will be retained from last year. Each August I evaluate the Friday Film Festival program I have been moderating for over thirty-five years at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston.

Pope Francis and Prayer

As I start to write this column, I am not quite certain that I will be able to communicate what I wish to communicate. Will I be able to find the right words? Will I be misunderstood?Probably the best way to begin is by pointing out what Pope Francis has said about prayer in his Apostolic Exhortation, “Christ Lives,” which is addressed to young people and the entire people of God. Having made several beautiful comments about the friendship we should have with Jesus, Pope Francis writes the following:

The Pope on Friendship

Who can tell why some memories that go back many years suddenly return? Seemingly buried in the past, something triggers them and catapults them into our consciousness.

Anxiety and Grace

Fourth in a seriesIn his Apostolic Exhortation, “Christ Lives,” addressed to young people and to the entire people of God, Pope Francis comments on a topic — anxiety  —  that has interested me since the time I was a high school student. Encouraging readers to follow their dreams, Pope Francis writes the following:

Pope Francis and Teenagers

About three months ago, I was invited to give a talk to a class of juniors at a Catholic high school. Though in my more than 55 years as a priest and almost as many years as a professor I have given countless talks, I was a little anxious because an audience of high school students is not my usual audience. The subject I was invited to speak about was the great Catholic short story writer Flannery O’Connor.

Receiving the Spirit

Third in a series’For me, reading Pope Francis’ Exhortation “Christ Lives: Addressed to Young People and to the Entire People of God” is like making a day of prayer. Of course, whenever I read anything that any pope has written I pay close attention to it. However, Pope Francis’ writing and speaking touches me on a special  level. This has been true from the start of his pontificate. I continue to hear rumors that some people in the church are trying to force Pope Francis to retire. This is a complete mystery to me. I have found every document that Pope Francis has written inspiring. The following statement from the Exhortation could sum up an entire spirituality, could be a succinct statement about what is happening in our lives because of God’s presence:

The Pope and Teens

About three months ago, I was invited to give a talk to a class of juniors at a Catholic high school. Though in my more than 55 years as a priest and almost as many years as a professor, I have given countless talks, I was a little anxious because an audience of high school students isn’t my usual audience. The subject I was invited to speak about was the great Catholic short story writer Flannery O’Connor.

A Christocentric Conscience

During the many years that I have been teaching philosophy, I have taught an ethics course only once. However, in some other courses that I have taught, I have tried to provoke the students to reflect on what aconscience is and what factors contribute to the forming of a conscience.