What the Convocation of Catholic Leaders Was All About . . .

by Ed Harpring

A team from the Archdiocese of Louisville had the rare privilege of attending the Convocation of Catholic Leaders – “The Joy of the Gospel In America” – for four days in Orlando over this most recent Fourth of July weekend. I am delighted to have been a part of our local team attending this ground-breaking gathering along with over 3,000 attendees from dioceses, apostolates and Catholic organizations from all over the country.

I have attended many conferences in the past, but this one definitely did NOT follow the typical conference format of listening to speakers, taking notes and then sharing what you have learned when you return. This convocation was totally different.

According to one of the key organizers, Jonathan Reyes, Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, the convocation “aims to create a national conversation that will energize Catholic leaders to help the local Church go forth boldly and respond confidently to the concerns, challenges and opportunities of modernity with the perennial joy of the Gospel.

We have just been stunned by the number of apostolates, missions, ministries and services there are in this country that are all over the place — at the diocesan level, at the parish level, at the national level — and they are all doing good things. They are all asking the right questions in their own different way, but they’ve never been together in the same room. And we thought the bishops can call them all together for a moment of national unity — we need unity in a deep way, in both the Church and the wider culture — for a moment of confidence in the Gospel, to set out in the deep, and to just be called to be missionary disciples.

The Convocation will respond to four key questions:

  • What is the nature of this current historical moment in the Church and in our nation?
  • How do we respond to this moment as missionary disciples?
  • Where are we called to go and to whom are we being sent?
  • How will we engage this mission?

These are challenging questions, no doubt, but the Church is facing a more and more secular culture evidenced by the following alarming trends:

  • The total number of Catholics in the United States dropped by 3 million since 2007.
  • More than a third of all millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – claim no affiliation, and just 16 percent identify as Catholic.
  • For every one Catholic convert, more than six Catholics leave the church.
  • The number of unaffiliated, or the so-called “nones,” is shooting up to about 23 percent of the total population from just 16 percent seven years ago.

The bishops have identified two essential outcomes of the Convocation

  • The participants, with new insights, will be better prepared and energized to share the Gospel as missionary disciples.
  • They will equipped with new communications strategies and models of evangelization to meet the challenges of an ever increasing secular culture.

By all measures, the Convocation was an outstanding success, with many conversations still continuing via the many catholic news channels and social media sites.

Use the hashtag #CatholicConvo to join in the discussion and check out the Convocation’s webpage on the USCCB’s website at http://bit.ly/2tzXcjx with videos from the event as well as many other documents and bits of information.

 

 

Summers are Therapeutic!

by Martine Bacci-Siegel

Summer is here and the importance of some time to step away can’t be understated.   Stress, over time, has several negative effects on our well being. Some examples are our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even the ability to avoid injury.   When we are stressed we become tired and start making poor decisions, lose our short term memory and be less fun to be with, ultimately becoming more isolated, lonely and in some cases depressed.

When it comes to the family and relationships vacations are a huge plus. Researchers at Purdue University concluded that family vacations greatly enhance family bonding, communication and solidarity. Shared family memories beyond everyday life experiences (work, school, etc…) promote positive long lasting ties. Here are some helpful tips for planning that family get-a-away.

PLAN AHEAD: Make sure you know what’s available at your destination ensuring all agree on an itinerary. While it may sometimes be stressful all deciding on a destination, ensuring everyone is on the same page well ahead of time, not only gives everyone something to look forward to early on, but also prevents headaches later on.

DON’T FEEL GUILTY: For checking your email while on vacation.   Nothing adds more stress to the last days of a vacation than thinking about the endless emails that may await your return. A good idea is to allot a small portion of your day to sneak a peek at your phone or laptop.

MAKE VACATION A TRUE ADVENTURE: Make no mistake; lying on the beach for a few hours is certainly in order if that is what will relax you the most, but new research shows that an active vacation involving new experiences can be very beneficial to your mental health. If possible, stray outside of that resort, hotel or cruise ship a bit. It will build new bonding experiences.

TAKE PLENTY OF PICUTRES: Long gone are the days of packing several rolls of film in our suitcases. Our smart phones can hold hundreds (if not thousands of pictures). Looking back on your memories will provide many moments of reflection with friends and family when life’s daily stressors take hold.

But most importantly have fun!

 

A Time To Notice . . .

by Michelle Herberger

There seems to be a growing sense of fatigue among many people, and it’s more than physical. Many lament the loss of times when things at least appeared to be simple and people were less divided. It’s especially important when one is feeling this way, to take time to recreate, renew, and refresh.

Summer has a way of beckoning us to slow down. There are those “lazy summer days” when temperatures necessitate a slower pace. Nature seems to be exploding with growth and the invitation to be still and notice. There is an abundance of things to savor, be it the fruits of the gardens, or the beauty of the firefly. All of creation calls us to “be still and know that I am God” and in that place to allow ourselves to experience a deep gratitude that gives comfort to the weary.

Let us take time to notice.

 

Family Adventures!

by Deacon Stephen Bowling

Okay, I must confess my age . . . I am a child of the late Sixties/ early Seventies, born in 1965 and a TV addict pretty much from the very beginning. (I can remember watching on our old black and white TV some of Star Trek’s Third Season when it first aired in 1969; I was just shy of age four.)

One of those formative, “masterpiece” shows for me (as I think it was for so many around my age thanks to the miracle of syndication) was “Lost In Space”; that gem of a goofy, fun, family-friendly show about a cool family exploring Outer Space together, created by the late Irwin Allen.

Yes, I wanted to be like Will Robinson and have a cool Robot as a best friend, but that’s a story for another day . . .

I recently acquired the Complete Series on Blu-Ray and am actually surprised at how well the show has aged. Recognizing the thrill of nostalgia it holds for me and how that might taint my viewpoint, I nevertheless find that the writing was actually fairly excellent, the concept, while goofy sometimes, was almost always simply FUN . . . and more importantly the family structure on which the show firmly sat was always presented as front and center in every episode.

Talk about a family friendly show! A family which actually enjoyed being together, who would always keep each other first in their hearts and in their actions, and who could explore the wonders of creation together was the very central premise of the show every week! How cool was that?

I find that family adventure time together is something we often tend to think of at this time of the year, as vacations are scheduled and road-trips become our well-deserved “break” from everyday life. But one of the things that the “Space Family Robinson” reminded me of when I was watching some of the episodes recently is that “Family Adventure” is not something just for special events or for when the schedule permits . . . it’s for always.

The Robinson Family lived their adventures together constantly . . . for them, everything was an adventure! Now I know that’s how the show was intended to be structured of course, but is there not a lesson there for all of us?

Should our families not have a constant diet of “adventure” rather than just as an occasional treat?

It’s worth some scrutiny as to how we live our lives and of the activities we frequently partake in to see, just how how much family “adventure” we have. With the “summer frame of mind” which we are all now enjoying, perhaps we might consider some dose of regular family adventure making a frequent appearance on our calendar. Something as simple as going to a new restaurant together or finding a new walking location . . . as long as whatever it is can be taken together as a family, that all-important “togetherness” experience is something pretty much guaranteed to always rejuvenate the spirit.

And I’m sure that even a marathon of “Lost In Space” episodes watched together would count.

Upcoming Marriage Encounter Information Weekends – July 8/9 @ St Patrick and July 15/16 at St. Gabriel

Join us at all masses at St. Patrick the weekend of July 8 and 9 or at St. Gabriel the weekend of July 15 and 16 for more information or to sign up for the upcoming Marriage Encounter Weekend on August 19th and 20th, 2017!

 

Journey Of Hope Divorce Care Program – New Sessions Begin August 2017!

“Divorce is a detour, not a dead-end.” b07d40d2b19e99fd1f7a110ca9a5bcb4

Do you know someone who is struggling with the pain of divorce? The “Journey of Hope” program is a proven means of providing hope and healing through the teachings and the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

A new 15 week session of the program is beginning on August 3, 2017 at St. Joseph Parish in Bardstown, KY. Meetings will be held in the Maloney Room on Thursdays from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM weekly.

To register, see the weekly topic schedule or for further information, please check out https://www.archlou.org/journeyofhope , email us at family@archlou.org or call Henry at (502) 349-2922.

Even if you might not be able to attend every week for the complete series, please consider coming as your schedule permits – the program is of amazing help either way!