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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Simple House

It appears to me that God is sending us people and partners to help claim our neighborhood as Holy Ground.  A Simple House has chosen to partner with St. Therese, making this their parish home.  They are a community of young adult volunteers dedicated to evangelization through friendship with the poor.  They were looking for a parish that would welcome their friends.  Jude Huntz, the director of the diocesan Human Rights Office brought them to St. Therese.  Once they experienced for themselves the kind of warm welcome St. Therese offers all visitors, they knew this is the place.  Read more about them in this article from The Catholic Key

And this article from The Washington Post.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stations of the Cross

You are welcome to join us for Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent, at 12:00 noon and at 6:00 p.m.

Friday, February 13, 2009

More on "Holy Ground"

Protestant pastors from across the 64130 Zip Code met at St. Therese yesterday to talk about how we can work together to claim our neighborhoods as Holy Ground.  Several others telephoned to express their support.  Pastors expressed a desire to work together with CCO to learn how to reach out and listen to our neighbors and speak with a united voice.  Several also supported the idea of joining together for a service of praise and intercession for our neighbors.

Presentation on Anglican Use Liturgy Available

The Junior and Senior students at Conception College Seminary were very encouraging at the first presentation of my program, “The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite: Is there anything here to interest Catholics?”  Based on their positive responses, I am willing to visit parishes and groups in the Kansas City area.  The program gives a taste of the Sarum Use – the pre-Reformation Catholic liturgy used in most of England - and the Protestant Anglican Book of Common Prayer liturgy that replaced it.  I show how the Anglican liturgy very quickly embraced a very Protestant theology, and then gradually restored some Catholic structures and practices.  The embrace of Catholic styles surged beginning with the 19th century Oxford Movement as Anglicans re-adopted aspects of historical English and Catholic liturgy.  I argue that Anglicanism’s fairly recent embrace of Catholic liturgy means that Anglican converts to Catholicism have a different experience of Catholic liturgy worthy of consideration by Catholics who rushed to embrace modern cultural forms from the 1970s.    

Friday, February 6, 2009

Reopening our Parish School

St. Therese Parish School was merged into a multi-parish school decades ago. Sadly, it closed at the end of the 2007-2008 school year, a result of years of decline, loss of focus on its mission, and poor management. The Pastoral Council has endorsed an effort by parishioners to re-open the Early Childhood Education Center focused on serving children of working poor families in our parish, zip code and deanery. Our dream is that this would be the first step in reopening the possibility of Catholic education for poor and minority residents of the inner city. Catholic schools used to open doors of evangelization for African-Americans and prepare the way for success in school and in life. Catholic Nativity-Miguel and Cristo Rey Schools are making Catholic education accessible for many. We are currently applying for a grant that would help us develop a business and educational plan to reopen our Early Childhood Education Center as a first step.

Holy Ground

The Kansas City Star insulted residents of our neighborhood by calling us a “Murder Factory.” It was poor sociology and gave little recognition to the work of St. Therese, the Blue Hills Neighborhood and CCO have been doing for years. It is true that neighborhood needs are great and perhaps the additional attention will help.

St. Therese has invited the ministers from all the churches in the zip code for lunch on Thursday February 12. Along with CCO we will introduce the idea of declaring the neighborhoods around our churches to be Holy Ground. We will propose the idea of a joint Prayer and Praise service with massed choirs to launch our individual and common efforts to claim our neighborhood as Holy Ground.

As I reflected in my column in this Sunday’s bulletin, Catholic and Anglican churches used to make themselves highly visible to their neighbors. We used to “beat the bounds” of our parishes on Rogation Days, carry our worship into the streets in processions on Corpus Christi and patronal festivals, invite our neighbors to parish celebrations, and conduct a regular census. Can some of these venerable practices be dusted off? Can we make an effort to listen to our neighbors and assure them of our prayers? Invite them to Mass and to our “Financial Peace” classes? We are already doing so much in our neighborhood, but do they help make our neighborhood Holy Ground?