Archive for the ‘World Events’ Category

Claire Cummings is an extraordinarily impressive student at Baltimore’s Loyola University Maryland. She came to the March her school’s Loyola Alive group. She’s passionate about protecting life and treating others with dignity and respect. In this video interview I did for at the March for Life, she says college students can bring about change and here’s how:

The March for Life brought out thousands of people Jan. 23, 2012. The crowd was overflowing with teenagers passionate about protecting the unborn. Here is a short example of students from The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Md. showing they care about the issue.

Yesterday I posted a video of Bonnie Block singing “O Holy Night” at the Camp GLOW Christmas party here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The party was held for people with special needs in Maryland and was attended by more than 150 people. The people with special needs shared their love of music through Christmas songs. Here is just a taste of their joy. It puts the season in perspective.

I got a chance to speak with several students of Mercy High School as the school celebrated the Religious Sisters of Mercy’s Foundation Day Dec. 12. Enjoy the insights of Genai Brisbon, Leah Hill, Rachel Bourne, Brooke Burghardt and Emily Schreiber. They talk about their call to social justice and what they can do to help in the 21st century.

The Dominican Sisters, as I wrote in my Dec. 8 story for The Catholic Review, are one of the big reasons Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville has become one of the most successful schools in the Baltimore area.
The school, under the Dominicans, has invested in its Catholic identity and the school is now at capacity and responding to the demand by expanding on campus. With so many Catholic schools trying to succeed during this economic downturn, Mount de Sales is showing how it’s done.
One of the amazing things about the Dominicans is how they create an atmosphere that is relaxed, in a rigorous academic setting. With their habits, the sisters look “old school,” but they’re largely a young order, at least at Mount de Sales, that makes real connections with the girls who attend the school.
When I first saw some of the sisters a few years ago, I wondered how they could ever successfully connect with young people. Habits seem like something of a bygone era, but the Dominicans are so deceptively cool. I’ve been fortunate enough to see them at work through various archdiocesan events and at something like World Youth Day. The Mount de Sales contingent stayed in the same Madrid hotel as the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s this past August. Take a listen to some student reflections from that trip.
Last March I attended a vocations event in Anne Arundel County, attending by some 40 teens. Priest, seminarians and the Dominicans.
During a 40-minute question and answer session, the Dominicans blew away all preconceived notions I had of them. They were contemporary, cool and open about their life journeys. Take Sister Peter Marie Chrismer for example. She shared what she wanted to be with the young people in this brief clip from her presentation.

She’s not alone. Five other Dominican Sisters are there on campus, sharing similar journeys. They were once dreamers, like so many of the teens they teach. In fact, the sisters give off the impression they’re living a dream now.
The sisters are very approachable, authentically love their vocation and don’t apologize for it. This is their calling and the girls of Mount de Sales are better for it. So is the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

When I tackled the ramifications of the new Roman Missal translation, I pondered what it would mean for ex-Catholics or “fallaway Catholics.”
Of course, there has been a split amongst Catholics who do attend church about the translations, which were implemented last week after months of preparations. It took a gigantic amount of effort and the kinks are still being worked out. If the people who have been hearing this for a while think it’s tough, just imagine those people who are returning will think.
A co-worker of mine said they wouldn’t notice a difference because they’ve been away for so long. I beg to differ. People raised in the church don’t forget what it’s like. It’s embedded in your psyche. I don’t have anything to back this up, but I’d imagine many former Catholics who go to other church services notice what’s not like their Catholic Mass experience, no matter how many times they attend.
So, when the Catholic Mass is different, what happens next?
Let’s talk numbers — wait, wait, don’t click away yet, this will get interesting.
America ranks in the top five countries in terms of number of Catholics. One in three Americans were raised Catholic. According to the Pew Research Center, about one-third of people raised in the Catholic Church are no longer part of the faith. When people say Hispanics are the future of the Catholic Church in America, they’re not kidding.
Forty-six percent of foreign-born Americans are Catholics. According to a 2008 Pew study, “Latinos, who already account for roughly one-in-three adult Catholics overall, may account for an even larger share of U.S. Catholics in the future. For while Latinos represent roughly one-in-eight U.S. Catholics age 70 and older (12%), they account for nearly half of all Catholics ages 18-29 (45%).”
Spanish Masses in the U.S. were unaffected by the Roman Missal translation for English speakers.
I’m not breaking new ground here, but the Catholic Church has a lot of work cut out for it in America.
Think about it: The Catholic Church has to stop people from leaving the church, retain what it currently has amidst a big shift in Roman Missal translation, attempt to bring new people to the church while integrating vital Hispanics into parish life. It’ll be a challenge to integrate many Hispanics in English-speaking Masses implementing the new translation too.
So, all of this brings me to #occupychurch. The hashtag is gaining steam on Twitter among youth ministers and ministry leaders. Of course, it’s a clever play on the Occupy Wall Street crowd, a would-be revolution, and its prevalence on social networks.
Can an #occupychurch movement really start? How does a 2000-year-old institution with unchanging truths convince people its counter-cultural enough to create a faith revolution?
As an observer and reporter, I’m watching this with interest to see if something tangible manifests itself without being ironic. How do you push past the hashtag and into the real world given all the challenges facing the American Catholic Church right now?
Is it possible for American Catholics to #occupychurch once again?

In this week’s Catholic Review, you’ll see a brief item about Calvert Hall’s annual Thanksgiving food drive, which collected 13,000 pounds of food for a series of local outreaches. The classes from the all-boys Towson high school even turned it into a contest to see who could collect the most cans.

Campus minister Marc Parisi was kind enough to forward some thoughts from the students at Calvert Hall on this effort. The photo was taken by Evan Zimmer, an intern here at The Catholic Review and a member of the class of 2013 at Calvert Hall.

“I really appreciated our theme this year, ‘A place at the table’ because
it made me think not only of myself but the needs of everyone in our
community.”~ Junior John Maenner

“The best thing about our annual food drive is knowing that all our
efforts are going towards making someone else’s thanksgiving a whole lot
better.” – Senior Nate Swartz

“Boxing all the food was a job I really enjoyed! I know it’s cheesy, but
it’s a great feeling to know that we are able to do something for others
who are less fortunate.” – Junior Jimmy Grem

“This year’s food drive was about giving back to our greater community.
The desire to bring in as much as we could to help others fueled great
participation from students and faculty.” Senior Dan Binette