Lay Witness Magazine

Ask CUF: Can Catholics be Dispensed from Attending Sunday Mass? Holy Days?

“Seek closeness with God also in the vacation period!”—John Paul II Angelus, Castel Gandolfo, Sunday, 3 August 2003 Can a parish priest give a Catholic a dispensation from going to Sunday Mass if the Catholic chooses to go on an ocean cruise that does not offer a Sunday Mass on the ship, or if he visits a country that does not offer a Sunday Mass? Regarding holy days of obligation, is an American obligated to celebrate the holy days of America or the holy days of the country he’s visiting? If at all possible, Catholics should strive to arrange their … Continue reading

Be Not Afraid: The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart

Mary Kelemen From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine We’re in troubled times. Unless you’re a cave dweller, you can’t deny the global atmosphere of fear and apprehension that seems to be intensifying. It’s not just the economy, rising gas and food prices, unemployment, politics, and wars that worry us. Natural disasters— earthquakes, volcanoes, severe storms, floods and fires—seem to be multiplying, making us ask, “What is going on?” Modern communication allows us to watch everything happen in real time, from the comfort of our own homes, or even in the palm of our hand! We can “network” … Continue reading

Catholic Beach Reading: Books to Refresh Your Mind and Your Soul

David Mills From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine Some people like reading books with words like “deontological,” “kerygmatic,” and “synecdoche” in them the same way other people like watching baseball. That’s their summer reading. You can see them sitting in their beach chair oblivious to the waves lapping at their feet, their white legs covered with sunscreen, a thick hardback book sitting in their laps, an old hat covering their heads (because baldspots sunburn easily). For the rest of us, beach reading means something a little easier, usually something with a plot. Here are some suggestions for … Continue reading

Domestic Church: The Secret of a Happy Family

Mary Ann Budnik From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine C.S. Lewis jerks us back to reality with this reminder: “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” An anonymous writer further explains, “No one is born happy. Happiness is something that comes to you. It is brought about by inner productiveness and meaning found in a great life-task.” The “great life-task” of parents is to raise our children to be saints. It is in the pursuit of this goal that we discover happiness. Happy Families … Continue reading

First and Lasting Catechists: The Importance of Sharing Your Faith with Your Children

Kevin Bezner From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine My son was in the eighth grade at a Catholic school, and I was a fallen away Catholic. Actually, I was more than a fallen away Catholic. At that point in my life, I considered myself a Catholic, atheist, Buddhist. I had grown up Catholic. I had turned to atheism. I dabbled in Zen Buddhism and read Zen poets and sat in meditation as a way of living in the moment and calming my ever-active mind. Even so, I believed my son should be exposed to what I considered … Continue reading

Islands, Oases, and Great Stretches of Land: Christian Friendship and the Formations of Culture

Mike Sullivan From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine “We must have the courage to create islands, oases, and then great stretches of land of Catholic culture where the Creator’s design is lived out.” Although the above statement by Pope Benedict XVI from a 2006 address to young people came in the context of the defense of traditional marriage as a covenant of love, his words were aimed more generally at the need for Catholics everywhere to help bring about a transformation of contemporary culture into a culture that respects and celebrates the fundamental moral and ethical virtues … Continue reading

Looking at a Masterpiece: St. Francis in the Desert

This masterpiece by the Venetian Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516), painted in 1480, hangs in the Frick Museum in New York. Philippe de Montebello, director of the New York Metropolitan Museum, recently said he was drawn to the Frick every other week simply to look again at this magical Bellini. One cannot imagine contemplating it and remaining an atheist. The whole has a mystical aura that speaks of a sublime and transcendent realm. It just has to be true that God exists. Great beauty has that power to be a medium to the supernatural, like an apparition immediately influencing our souls. In … Continue reading

Master Catechist: Priestly Worship of God

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Michael Mohr From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine In this reflection Fr. Hardon reminds us of our baptismal duty to be priestly in offering to Him one’s dedicated heart. He reminds us to be open to the will of God, no matter what He asks and to develop a certain structured prayer life which will enable us to discern what He wants of us in the living out of this covenant with Him and in whatever activities He calls us to in this world. Fr. Hardon often stated that “there is … Continue reading

Open Mike: Holy Hot Spots

Mike Sullivan From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine My wife and I often take the children on pilgrimages to various shrines, either locally or while we are traveling in other parts of the country. We’ve found that pilgrimages are an especially effective way to educate and catechize our children. They’re also a fun way to reinforce our admiration for and devotion to Our Lady and the saints. Pilgrimages give us an opportunity to take time out of the daily grind and focus on what is really important—our spiritual formation. The peaceful setting of shrines and holy places … Continue reading

Rethinking Joy: The Sacred and the Profane

Emily Stimpson From the Jul/Aug 2011 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine I’ve been thinking a lot about liturgy as of late. Mostly, I blame the Church for that. As of this Advent, she’s giving us a delicious, delightful, de-lovely new translation of the Roman Missal. Accordingly, every Catholic news outlet and its brother is keeping writers busy penning stories about why such a translation is needed and how we can prepare for its arrival. The answer to “Why?” is simple. In short, the current translation isn’t much good. It’s pedantic, prosaic, and often just plain wrong. Which is a problem. … Continue reading

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