Last month the members of our national Lutheran/Catholic Dia-logue spent two days in intense conversation regarding the teaching of our [...]
On three occasions last month I was confronted by some very moving accounts of the needs of our elder relatives, friends and neighbors.
First, there was a special blessing for a new garden designed for elderly immigrants, many of them Asian, who still struggle with English after their children have grown and moved out on their own.
The recurring grief over the loss of their native land at a time of national turmoil and war, and the distance from their original Vietnamese culture and language has often increased a sense of isolation. They no longer have the respect and reverence given to elders in the country of their birth, and so they live in sadness. A garden was planned and planted especially for them by our Catholic Charities at the Elder Respite Care site at 60th and Lloyd streets in Milwaukee, and several of us were invited to be part of its blessing.
A recurring theme in the Gospel passages read during Easter Season, and especially at celebrations of the sacrament of confirmation, is Christ’s promise of the Paraclete. On four different occasions (John 14:16.26; 15:26; 16:7) within the Last Supper discourse of Jesus as reported in the Gospel of John, we find a reference to this unique gift. The word is unusual enough to evoke some playful references to a “parakeet” on one’s shoulder, as if that were the point of reference when speaking of the Holy Spirit!
Earlier this month I had the good fortune to attend the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America. The chosen location this year was Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a tip of the hat to the Canadian members of the group, and the chief planner for this year’s meeting was our own Fr. Bryan Massingale, priest of the archdiocese and a professor at Marquette University.
The theme chosen for the gathering was “Impasse … and Beyond,” a recognition of the many theological conundrums over the centuries and again today … which seem to go so far and then be stymied. As a matter of fact, the actual wording of the conference’s theme was originally provided by Sr. Constance Fitzgerald, a remarkable contemplative Carmelite nun from Baltimore whose poetry and prayer offered possibilities for opening new paths to solve ancient theological dilemmas. Her mature voice, quiet and confident, was electrifying. Like many others in attendance, I almost felt the need for silence rather than a theological response from a different voice!