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DISCIPLESHIP IN THE CATHOLIC TRADITION,

Length 27 min.
Age Group A - Adult
Publisher Center for Learning
Topics Catechist Resources


An Overview of This video provides an in-depth look at this new secondary religion series. It presents the concepts, philosophy, strengths, and specifics of the series. This discussion is intended for principals, theology department chairpersons, theology

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  • By Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis told Rome's priests that offering God's mercy during the jubilee year will mean lots of unpaid overtime. "I think this year there will be lots of overtime that will not be paid," he said to laughter. "But the Lord will give you joy for working overtime, being merciful like the father," he said, as he met with them at the Basilica of St. John Lateran Feb. 11. On the eve of his Feb. 12-17 visit to Mexico, which will include a brief stop in Cuba, the pope as usual traveled to Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major. He prayed to Mary for her intercession and placed flowers on the altar in a side chapel before the basilica's famous Marian icon, "Salus Populi Romani" (health of the Roman people). He then went to St. John Lateran for his annual Lenten meeting with pastors of Rome parishes and heard confession from a few priests, according to Vatican Radio. In a short, unscripted address, the pope told the priests to make sure they try to understand their people, "to put themselves in the other's shoes" and be generous with forgiveness. Just as doctors and nurses can heal injuries, priests can alleviate suffering, too, he said. A kind word from a priest "is so good -- very good. It works miracles." Being "rigid" or stingy with forgiveness is the fault of a priest suffering from "the disease of clericalism." Every priest is susceptible to this disease, he said, "everyone, me too. We all have this." But they need to remember, he said, that "we are not princes, we're not masters. We are servants of the people." Priests have to remember that God became incarnate to be able to embrace and understand people. "If you do not believe that God became flesh, you are the Antichrist," he said. "And that's not me saying that. That's the apostle John who says it." Jesus instituted the priesthood precisely so they could "go and help the people with humility and mercy." - - - Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.  - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • By WASHINGTON (CNS) -- What do a new social media campaign, a new fundraiser and new features for a popular app have in common? Launched by different Catholic organizations for Lent, the three efforts aim to help Catholics enrich their Lenten prayer experience, sacrifice to help others in need and learn more about the church's penitential season overall. Chicago-based Catholic Extension announced development of a social media campaign that will create a video chain of Lenten mercy prayers. "The three pillars of Lent are fasting, prayer and charity," it said, and the new campaign "is promoting the second pillar and asking American Catholics to focus their Lenten prayers on mercy" during the church's Jubilee Year of Mercy. Extension's "National Year of Mercy Prayer" -- launched Feb. 10, Ash Wednesday, and running all through Lent -- is asking people to share their prayer intentions through short digital videos. The website www.mercyprayer.org invites Catholics to use their smartphones to record short videos -- about 10 seconds long -- of themselves stating a simple prayer intention followed by "Lord, have mercy." A short introductory video posted on the website asks people to "help us harness the power of prayer to change the world." Examples in that video include: "For college students and young adults seeking to discern their place in the world, Lord have mercy"; "For the wisdom to see Christ in the stranger, Lord have mercy"; and "For my family and the unity of all families, Lord have mercy." "Your intention can be as general or specific as you would like," the announcement says. But it also tells people to "remember that it will be made public and posted online as a part of our prayer." Catholic Extension, which supports the work and ministries of U.S. mission dioceses, asked people to send their brief videos to socialmedia@catholicextension.org "and to spread the word to their families, friends and parishes." Participants were encouraged to post their intentions on social media; other intentions can be viewed using the hashtag #MercyPrayer. The final video prayer and full list of intentions will be posted on Catholic Extension's website, www.catholicextension.org, and its social media on the first Sunday after Easter, April 3, which is Divine Mercy Sunday. The Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, Connecticut, is asking those considering a Lenten sacrifice to give "40 Bucks for Lent" and use the hashtag #40BucksForLent to help Middle Eastern Christians and other religious minorities suffering religious persecution in that region of the world. "Since many people give up something for Lent, we wanted to provide an opportunity for their sacrifice to make a difference -- not only in their own life, but in the lives of others," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in a Feb. 9 statement. "During the Lenten season, we recall Christ's suffering and death," he said. "In turn, remembering and assisting those who are today suffering and dying for their belief in Christ is an excellent way to do good where it is most needed and to enter more deeply into the spirit of this season." The Knights of Columbus began its Christian Refugee Relief Fund in 2014. To date, nearly $10 million has been raised to provide housing, food, medical aid, education and general relief to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities especially from Iraq and Syria, and to raise awareness about their plight. In Denver, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, known as FOCUS, has added several new features to its Lentsanity app this Lenten season. The app features illustrated guides, daily Mass readings and reflective articles for Lent. The app-exclusive Meat Police Early Warning System sends reminders to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent. The Lentsanity app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app also can be accessed at focus.org/lentsanity. Launched in 2014, the FOCUS app shares several illustrated guides to the Catholic faith -- including on topics such as Lenten fasting and abstinence; "lectio divina," the prayerful reading of Scripture; solemnities, feasts and memorials; and the Triduum. Three new guides are set to be released for the app: on the Stations of the Cross (Feb. 18); confession (Feb. 21) and acts of mercy (March 7). The Confession Week features will start Feb. 21 with a #ConfessionConfession mini-campaign to inspire people to share their experiences with the sacrament. It will include a contest for creating and sharing #ConfessionConfession videos. The app and website will include a Confession FAQ and Examination of Conscience megapost with links to different types of examinations.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis marked the beginning of the church's Lenten journey by sending off several hundred religious and diocesan priests on their own special path as "missionaries of mercy" in local parishes. "Look upon your servants, Lord, that we are sending as messengers of mercy, salvation and peace. Guide their steps" and sustain them with "the power of your grace," the pope said during a special Ash Wednesday liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 10. "May Christ's voice resound in their words and Christ's heart in their gestures," he said. More than 700 of the 1,142 missionaries specially appointed by the pope attended the Mass. Dressed in white vestments and purple stoles, the men received the pope's mandate to preach about God's mercy and special authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See. Their mission was echoed in the day's second reading from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians, in which he proclaims, "We are ambassadors for Christ" with God working and speaking through them, imploring people to "be reconciled with God." In his homily before commissioning the priests at the end of Mass, the pope said their mandate is to be "signs and instruments of God's pardon." "Dear brothers, may you be able to help open the doors of people's hearts" as well as bless, heal and raise them up with a father's love, he said. God knows the sins, weakness, wounds and fatigue people experience in their lives and "he knows how much we need forgiveness, he knows that we need to feel loved in order to carry out the good," he said. People cannot keep going on their own, and that is why the apostle Paul doesn't urge people to "do something, but to let themselves be reconciled by God, to allow him to forgive us," he said. In fact, the first step on the road of a Christian life is recognizing the need for divine mercy and to pass through that "open door which is Christ," who offers everyone a new and joyful life. The problem, the pope said, is there may be many barriers that keep people from ever approaching or opening that door. People may be so hardened by sin or pride that "they bolt the lock on the soul," justifying their errors or believing they are "no worse than others," thereby remaining "prisoners of evil." Another obstacle people face is being ashamed "to open the secret door of the heart." While shame is a good sign since "it shows that we want to detach ourselves from evil," it must never turn into "dread or fear." The third danger is when people walk away from Christ, becoming distant or isolated by holing themselves up with their own suffering, wallowing endlessly in negative thoughts and sinking into the darkest recesses of the soul, he said. "Let's listen to Jesus, who says to those who are weary and burdened, 'Come to me,'" since "only the Lord's grace liberates us" and offers peace and rest, the pope said. He said the Lord asks people to close the distance that has grown and "return to me with your whole heart." The Lenten journey invites people to "be protagonists, embracing three remedies, three medicines that heal (people) from sin" -- prayer, fasting and almsgiving. "May Lent be a time of a healthy 'pruning' back of falsehood, worldliness, indifference; of no longer thinking that everything is fine as long as I am doing well; of understanding that what matters isn't acceptance, seeking success or approval, but the cleansing of one's heart and life." The pope broke with the tradition of walking from the Benedictine monastery of St. Anselm to the Dominican-run Basilica of Santa Sabina in order to commission the missionaries of mercy from St. Peter's Basilica. Before the main altar were the mortal remains of St. Padre Pio and St. Leopold Mandic, two Capuchins popular as miracle workers and known particularly for the long hours they would spend hearing confessions. Pope Francis had asked the Capuchins to bring the relics of the two saints to Rome for the Year of Mercy, particularly the celebration of Ash Wednesday and the commissioning of the official missionaries of mercy as an encouragement and inspiration to be generous with God's love. The pope received ashes on the top of his head from Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's, and distributed ashes to a number of cardinals and a small group of laypeople and religious.  - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/L'Osservatore RomanoBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Pope Francis expressed his hopes that Iraq and other war-torn countries would have leaders strong enough to bring once-divided peoples together. "I wish for Iraqis and for all of us -- for the whole world -- leaders like this," the pope said Feb. 10 as he gave the Iraqi leader a medallion featuring an olive tree -- a sign of peace -- that holds together a split rock. "Inshallah, inshallah," al-Abadi replied, using the Arabic word for "God willing." In addition to meeting Pope Francis, the prime minister held private talks with top officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State. With Islamic State militants still operating in large areas of Iraq and with the people still recovering from war, the discussions included "the life of the church in the country" and "the situation of Christians and ethnic and religious minorities with particular reference to the importance of their presence and the need to protect their rights," the Vatican said in a statement. "Emphasis was placed on the role of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities in promoting tolerance and peace," the statement said. "In this context, mention was made of the importance of the reconciliation process between the various social sectors within the country, and the national humanitarian and regional situations."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Max Rossi, ReutersBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A jubilee year that does not open people's wallets to share what they have with others is not a true jubilee, Pope Francis said. "This pope isn't inventing that," he insisted. "It's in the Bible." At his weekly general audience Feb. 10 in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis spoke about the description of a jubilee year in the Book of Leviticus. The religious feast also had serious social implications, he said, because it proclaimed a forgiveness of debts, the freedom of indentured servants and special generosity toward the poor and the stranger. "It was a kind of 'general amnesty,' which permitted everyone to return to their original situation with the cancellation of every debt, the restitution of land and the possibility of enjoying once again the freedom proper to members of the people of God," he said. For God's chosen people, who are called to holiness, the pope said, the jubilee prescriptions help "to combat poverty and inequality, guaranteeing a dignified life for all and a fair distribution of the land on which to live and draw sustenance." During the Catholic Church's jubilee year, each Christian should think about what they have, he said, and "if they have too many things," they should "give some to someone who has nothing; 10 percent or 50 percent. The Holy Spirit will inspire you." Pope Francis told the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square that "a jubilee is for conversion so that our hearts become bigger, more generous, more (like) a child of God, with more love." "I'll tell you something," he said, "if this jubilee doesn't reach our pockets, it's not a real jubilee. Do you understand? This is in the Bible, eh, this pope isn't inventing that. It's in the Bible." "The biblical message is very clear: courageously open yourselves to sharing; this is mercy," the pope said. "If we want mercy from God, let us begin by being merciful ourselves." A biblical jubilee is about sharing and solidarity, Pope Francis said. "The biblical jubilee was a 'jubilee of mercy' because it was lived with a sincere search of the good of one's needy brothers and sisters." The laws governing God's people in the Bible, he said, also had other means for encouraging people to help others experience God's mercy. One of those things was the command to tithe a tenth of one's earnings to the temple and to widows and orphans or to give a portion of the first fruits of one's harvest. In addition, he said, the Bible had harsh words for those who charged high interest rates when loaning to the poor. In many countries, he added, usury is still a huge problem and families lose everything and end up on the streets. "Please, let us pray that in this jubilee the Lord would remove from all our hearts this desire to have more," he said.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.