Inspiration on ministry to those with disabilities

These are the covers of “Salt and Light: Church, Disability and the Blessing of Welcome for All” by Maureen Pratt and “A Cry Is Heard: My Path to Peace” by Jean Vanier with Francois-Xavier Maigre. The books are reviewed by Brian T. Olszewski. (CNS)

By Brian T. Olszewski (CNS)”Salt and Light: Church, Disability and the Blessing of Welcome for All” by Maureen Pratt. Twenty Third Publications (New London, Connecticut, 2018). 114 pp, $16.95.
“A Cry Is Heard: My Path to Peace” by Jean Vanier with Francois-Xavier Maigre. Twenty Third Publications (New London, Connecticut, 2018). 144 pp, $16.95.
One might be surprised that in a book of 114 pages, 16 of them are devoted to the introduction. Yet those are critical pages for Maureen Pratt’s “Salt and Light” as they explain why parishes need to examine how they welcome members with disabilities, how they minister to and with them, and how they invite them to minister within the faith community.
Pratt, a journalist who has lupus erythematosus, which she describes as “a chronic autoimmune condition that has no cure and can sometimes be life-threatening,” praises the church in general for its willingness to address the needs, particularly catechetical needs, of people with disabilities, and to make accommodations, e.g., ramps, elevators, enhanced listening devices, etc.
But she notes it is about more than that; the necessary ingredient in welcoming those with disabilities is “the right attitude.”
Pratt helps readers form that attitude through chapters that define disability; explain welcome and how it is to be extended; address catechetical formation; and delve into outreach, vocations, social life, etc. Each chapter begins with a question, e.g., “How do you welcome others into your life?” and concludes with “food for thought” and a prayer.
Those who serve parishes as ordained ministers, catechists, liturgical ministers, members of various councils and committees, and in any manner will benefit from “Salt and Light.” However, this is not a book for a shelf in the parish office.
Anyone familiar with Catholic outreach to those with developmental disabilities is aware of Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche and co-founder of Faith and Light. In that awareness one knows of the call he accepted and the commitment he made to serve the other-abled. That commitment has inspired others throughout the world to do the same.
“A Cry Is Heard” is autobiographical, but in a manner and style one would expect from a 90-year-old faithful servant to the developmentally challenged who has something to say about people he’s met, experiences he’s had, and having a deep and loving relationship with God.
Readers will receive Vanier’s thoughts on St. Teresa of Kolkata, St. John Paul II, Dorothy Day and others whose names they might not recognize but who are important to the author. They’ll read about his experiences, e.g., L’Arche’s roots and growth, how it was received by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in the 1970s and the international impact the ministry has had.

(Olszewski is the editor of The Catholic Virginian, newspaper of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.)

Apologists outline helpful responses to criticisms of Catholic faith

By Brian Welter (CNS)
“Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic” by Peter Kreeft. Sophia Institute Press (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2018). 132 pp., $14.95.
“Forty Anti-Catholic Lies: A Myth-Busting Apologist Sets the Record Straight” by Gerard Verschuuren. Sophia Institute Press (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2018). 341 pp., $19.95.
Well-known philosopher and author Peter Kreeft and apologist Gerard Verschuuren both adopt simple yet at times challenging approaches to the truth of the faith. The short chapters and simple language make their books accessible to a variety of readers, from recent converts to those wanting to better present their beliefs to the perplexed.
As apologists, both authors directly address contemporary post-Christian culture and the frequent biases and accusations against the church. Yet they do so without maligning anti-Catholics. They thus model a powerful way to carry out St. John Paul II’s new evangelization.
Kreeft’s “Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic,” more personal than “Forty Anti-Catholic Lies,” given Kreeft’s reference to his own Catholic journey, addresses a wide range of issues, including secular society, infallibility, purgatory and Catholic community.
Though it surveys a wide range of topics, “40 Reasons I’m a Catholic” does address the essential issue of Scripture and tradition in some depth. The author argues convincingly that certain Protestant views of scriptural primacy are not only historically untrue but also illogical, concluding: “The church was both the efficient cause (the author) and the formal cause (the definer) of the New Testament.”
This historical fact leads to an even greater point: “No effect can be greater than its cause … and the infallible is greater than the fallible; therefore, the infallible cannot be caused by the fallible.” Thus, when Protestants claim that the church is fallible, they are undermining their own understanding of the Bible.
His confidence in the church never wavers. If the church’s claim about Jesus is wrong or untrue, “how to account for her wisdom, her holiness (her saints), her survival, and her fidelity to Christ’s teachings through 2,000 years of history?” This book adds a welcome dimension to Kreeft’s scholarly output.
Verschuuren’s wide-ranging “Forty Anti-Catholic Lies” presents a more scholarly and challenging argument. Despite the variety of topics covered, like Kreeft’s book, it never confuses or veers off topic. The chapters are assembled into seven broad themes including “Catholicism and the Bible” and “Catholicism and Science.”
The author addresses Protestant concerns more than those of non-Christians, such as pointing out the “biblical” nature of Catholic spirituality.
Other areas of contention addressed include historical events or realities often turned against the Catholic faith, including the Galileo affair, the Crusades, and the Inquisition. Regarding the latter, the author reminds readers of how attacks on the church often depend on erroneous argumentative techniques, such as the fallacy of judging the past by today’s standards: “What methods did the Inquisitors use? They basically used methods that civil courts would also use at the time.”
Verschuuren also addresses the exaggerated claims often made against the church: “Modern researchers have discovered that the Spanish Inquisition applied torture in 2 percent of its cases. Each instance of torture was limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. In only 1 percent of the cases was torture applied twice, and never for a third time.”
The author says the “gruesome lists of instruments of torture” that we have all heard of were post-Reformation fabrications.
Readers will come to see that many of our Christian brothers and sisters have abused the truth in a centuries-long anti-Catholic campaign. Perhaps “40 Anti-Catholic Lies” can therefore be seen as an attempt at a painfully necessary aspect of ecumenism, where Catholics need to address biased Protestant perspectives with robust correctives.
Some topics are fun to read, such as the chapter on apparitions. The prudent and even meticulous way ecclesiastical authorities deal with these reflects the church’s important protective function. The church prevents its members from getting caught up in harmful and even evil movements yet tolerates a wide range of practices, beliefs and communities. Apparitions can help Catholics “to enrich, deepen, or strengthen their faith.”
Perhaps surprising to some, the author observes that “the Catholic Church does not easily give in to what some consider a spiritual need of Catholics for ‘special’ visions, revelations, and apparitions.”
Both books would add greatly to the Catholic’s arsenal. The wide-ranging discussion of course comes at the price of in-depth discussion on any one topic, but the titles never promise anything but a survey. What they both do is whet readers’ appetites for greater in-depth discussion of widespread falsehoods regarding the church and its teachings.

(Welter has degrees in history and theology and teaches English in Taiwan.)

Knights fight cool weather with chili

PEARL – St. Jude parishioners gathered on Saturday, November 1 to pit their chili-cooking skills against one another for a family-oriented competition organized by the Knights of Columbus. The winners are: Third place Melissa O’Brien, team Women of Faith; second place Victoria and April McDonald and Matthew Meadows, 1st place. Shannon Roe Torregano team Roe-Tel it on the Mountain. Pastor Father Lincoln Dall selected Dan and Danny Nelson’s chili for the “father’s choice award.”

Pear, St. Jude parish, photos by Tereza Ma

The family of Dennise Riordan and Jamison Taylor sharing thoughts about the chili during the Knights of Columbus Chili Cook-off.

Parishioners Nina Couey and Sandra Walker examine the chili very well before they pick their winning choice.

Mr. Walker

Brodey and Farren Clark

Jose and JJ Arellano

Dori, Beth, Jo and Thomas Paczak participated in judging the chili.

Aniston Pitts

Rory Clark

All kids from St. Jude having good time to get together

Shannon Roe Torregano from team Roe-Tel it on the Mountain.

The winner Shannon Roe Torregano from team Roe-Tel it on the Mountain.

Shannon Roe Torregano

Shannon Roe Torregano

Second place Victoria McDonald, Matthew Meadows and April McDonald.

Third place Melissa Obrien team Women of faith.

The Nelson team

Father's pick winner Danny Nelson

Danny Nelson with Nora and Father Lincoln

Danny Nelson with Nora and Father Lincoln

Line to pick the samples was pretty long

Father Lincoln Dall collects his chili samples from Pat McBride.

Father Lincoln with ladies from Philippines Riza Caskey, Myra Woodward and Ellen Bruno

Tome Nota

Concientización por las Vocaciones. Diócesis, Semana del 4 al 10
Ora por nuestros sacerdotes, hermanos y hermanas religiosos y los seminaristas.

Educación de la Fe
Tupelo, St. James, sábado 17 de noviembre. Curso” Hechos y Cartas Apostólicas”.
Pearl, St. Jude, sábado 17 de noviembre. Taller El ser humano en crecimiento”

Jackson, Catedral, Gala de Otoño, sábado, 10 de noviembre a las 6.30 pm.
Jackson, Catedral, Apertura formal para la causa de la hermana Thea. El obispo Joseph R. Kopacz abre la investigación sobre la vida de la hermana Thea Bowman, FSPA, sierva de Dios, domingo, 18 de noviembre, de 10:30 a.m.

Vírgenes y Santos
Jueves 1ro noviembre: Dia de Todos los Santos
Viernes 2 de noviembre: Dia de los Fieles Difuntos
Jueves 8 de noviembre. Virgen de los Treinta y Tres. Uruguay
Domingo 18 de noviembre: Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá. Colombia
Lunes 19 de noviembre: Señora de la Divina Providencia. Puerto Rico
Miércoles 21 de noviembre: Nuestra Señora del Quinche. Ecuador
Jueves 22 de noviembre. Dia de Acción de Gracias, Santa Cecilia y Nuestra Señora de la Paz del Salvador
Viernes 30 de noviembre: San Andrés Apóstol

Comic book story of baseball

By Mark Judge (CNS)
NEW YORK – ” Baseball and comic books, two colorful American originals, come together in “The Comic Book Story of Baseball: The Heroes, Hustlers, and History-Making Swings (and Misses) of America’s National Pastime” (Ten Speed Press) by author Alex Irvine and illustrators Tomm Coker and C.P. Smith.
This factually jam-packed and beautifully designed book is suitable for most older teens and adults. Still, parents should be cautioned: Baseball is a sport that has always included rough and crude language, a couple of instances of which are reproduced here (censored with asterisks).
There also are references to the drug use that occurred during the “steroid era” of the game in the 1990s.
The art is done in a beautiful realist style featuring artistic renderings based on reproductions of historical photographs. The basics are all here: Abner Doubleday, who supposedly invented the game in 1839 (this has been debunked as mostly myth); Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, and superhuman Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson.
There’s the “Murderer’s Row” 1927 New York Yankees; and Joe DiMaggio, Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax.
More recent greats take the field as well, including (and this is a very small sampling) Lou Brock, Hank Aaron, Rickey Henderson, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, flipping shortstop Ozzie Smith, dazzling relief pitcher Mariano Rivera and Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. The great ballparks, like Wrigley and Fenway, are celebrated, and there’s a section on Japanese baseball.
Yet Irvine and his collaborators also cover the scandals and the more obscure history and factoids of the game. There’s the infamous 1919 “Black Sox” scandal of a World Series thrown for money, and the disgrace of black ballplayers being forced to play in the Negro Leagues until the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson reintegrated the game in 1947.
In 1970, pitcher Jim Bouton published a juicy memoir, “Ball Four,” that exposed the drug use and other excesses of several players. As Irvine notes, Bouton “blew the lid off baseball’s long-held tradition of clubhouse omerta.”
There was also the modern steroid period, during which home run tallies where inflated due to performance-enhancing drugs.
On the lighter side, Irvine, Coker and Smith (names that sounds like double-play combination) reveal the quirkiness that has always been part of baseball. The Yankees were the first team to put number on their uniforms in 1929, so that fans in the “cheap seats” could identify their favorite players. There’s William Arthur “Candy” Cummings, who invented the curveball in 1867 based on how tossed clamshells flew in an arc.
Also here is Charley Pride, the Negro League player who became a country music star and now owns part of the Texas Rangers. Of course, no baseball book would be complete without Berraisms, those pithy quips from famous Yankees catcher Yogi Berra.
“Ninety percent of baseball is mental,” Berra said. “The other half is physical.” Berra was on 10 World Series teams, more than any other player.
In sum, the book amounts to a well-pitched delight.
The graphic book contains two partially censored vulgar expressions. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. Not otherwise rated.

(Judge reviews video games and comic books for Catholic News Service.)

“On the Ignatian Way: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola”

By Loretta Pehanich (CNS)
“On the Ignatian Way: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola” by Jose Luis Iriberri, SJ, Chris Lowney and others. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 2018). 206 pp., $17.95.
If you’ve ever made a pilgrimage, or you wish to, then this book will interest you. It answers the question: What can a pilgrimage do for me?
“On the Ignatian Way” is a hybrid of prayers for pilgrims, testimonies and word pictures that put you on the road itself. As you progress through the chapters, you, too, will feel a sense of movement. Beautiful photographs underscore a sense of being a traveler as you read.
Several pilgrims provide perspectives about their journeys in Spain as they walked from Loyola – where St. Ignatius experienced a deep conversion while convalescing – to Manresa – where he penned the first draft of his Spiritual Exercises. And the story of Ignatian spirituality is told in steps that will leave readers inspired as well as wondering how God might similarly invite them on very personal adventures with Christ.
These are not just tales of blisters and sore feet. More than 10 different pilgrims describe how they are inwardly different after walking the 350 or so miles of the Ignatian Way. And Chris Lowney offers prayers for walking metaphorically using Ignatian spirituality. He provides a month’s worth of advice for prayer, graces to pray for, choice Scripture snippets and reflections that in and of themselves make this book a worthwhile guide.
Lowney is a clever writer and storyteller whose analogy of a small backpack provides meat for reflection. And his “10 Lessons” chapter provides practical tools to take on any journey, whether you’re planning a physical pilgrimage of your own, or just want to imagine one during your prayer. Some of the lessons Lowney identifies are to keep a diary, be courteous, go at your own pace and just get going. He provides humor, too, revealing that St. Ignatius was once nicknamed “sack man” and “Crazy for Christ.”
Before reading this book, I did not know there was a Via de San Ignacio to be walked in Spain. One of the book’s writers, Jesuit Father Jose Luis Iriberri, is credited with initiating this way of praying at the places where St. Ignatius experienced many of the same struggles that people of faith still confront today.
If you are unable to make a pilgrimage any further than your local church, this book will give you a prayerful and imaginative walk alongside St. Ignatius and introduce you to some of his friends who have learned much along the way. For those of us who’ve made pilgrimages of other sorts, this book will reverberate with the holy steps we’ve taken. And if you intend to walk the Ignatian Way, you’ll want to read this before you go.

(Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer, blogger, spiritual director and former assistant editor for the Diocese of San Jose, California.)

Bishop’s Ball honors St. Dominic leaders, offers dining, dancing, bidding

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – More than 300 Supporters of Catholic Charities of Jackson gathered at the Jackson Country Club on Saturday, June 9 for the Bishop’s Ball, a gala fund-raising event. In addition to a silent and live auction, attendees are treated to dinner, dancing and live music.
Catholic Charities uses the gathering to honor those who have made a lasting impact on the organization. This year, Claude Harbarger and Lester Diamond were recognized with the Good Samaritan Award. Harbarger is president of St. Dominic’s Health Services while Diamond is president of St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital Both men have been very supportive of the work and mission of Catholic Charities since they began working at the Catholic hospital, a ministry of the Dominican Sisters.
In another month, Catholic Charities will welcome film producer, actor and philanthropist Jim Caviezel to Thala Mara Hall in Jackson. Tickets available here.

Summer movie season starts with spring kick-off

By Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) – The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.
“Can we please stop saying sex?” a character asks in the ensemble romantic comedy “Book Club” (Paramount). The answer, in a word, is no.
In fact, there’s hardly a line of dialogue in director and co-writer Bill Holderman’s film, penned with Erin Simms, that doesn’t contain an innuendo, a smutty pun or some other tiresome joke. A listless cat’s visit to a veterinarian and the refurbishment of a motorcycle are both made the occasion for extended off-color wordplay, while the use of Viagra in ill-chosen setting results in a series of cringe-worthy visuals.
Such elements are all the more embarrassing given the movie’s stellar veteran cast. That these pros are going to find themselves flailing around in a morass of bad taste becomes apparent as soon as the premise is known: A group of friends, all ladies of a certain age, find their interest in amour renewed after their book club takes on E.L. James’ sadomasochistic “Fifty Shades” trilogy.
And so, they’re off to the races, each in her own way. Timid recent widow Diane (Diane Keaton) who suffers from fear of flying, falls, ironically enough, for wealthy pilot and aeronautics researcher Mitchell (Andy Garcia). But Diane’s path to happiness is blocked by the patronizing attitude of her duo of over-solicitous daughters, Jill (Alicia Silverstone) and Adrianne (Katie Aselton).
Promiscuous, emotionally detached hotel owner Vivian (Jane Fonda) reconnects with Arthur (Don Johnson), the ex whose proposal she long ago turned down. Though she increasingly regrets her decision, reintegrating the physical and emotional aspects of love may take some work.
Buttoned-up federal judge Sharon (Candice Bergen) has yet to get over her divorce from Tom (Ed Begley Jr.), despite the fact that it’s been 18 years since they split. But, apparently inspired by the kinky connection she and the others have been reading about, she tries an online dating service and promptly meets George (Richard Dreyfuss). He’s so obviously her soulmate that they follow up their first meal together by going for it in the back seat of her car.
Meanwhile, married couple of many years Carol (Mary Steenburgen) and Bruce (Craig T. Nelson) struggle to reignite the faltering flames of their mutual passion.
“Book Club” crusades relentlessly for an aging woman’s to satisfaction in the bedroom – or the back seat – without regard to marital status or any other circumstance. Only Vivian’s tilt away from her licentious past and Carol and Bruce’s commitment to fidelity partially retrieve the lowminded proceedings.
The film contains a misguided view of human sexuality, an offscreen premarital encounter, implied cohabitation, pervasive sexual humor, including an extended tasteless sight gag, several profanities and milder oaths and at least one rough and a couple of crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L – limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

“Black Panther” (2018)
Sprawling, energetic but ultimately overlong Marvel Comics adaptation from director and co-writer Ryan Coogler. The young sovereign (Chadwick Boseman) of an imaginary – and secret – African kingdom where the use of a super-powerful mineral has enabled the population to achieve both prosperity and a range of technological wonders unknown to the outside world must cope with two principal threats to his realm. The first involves a South African arms dealer (Andy Serkis) who has managed to infiltrate the nation and make off with a stock of the mineral which he aims to sell to the highest bidder. The second concerns the ongoing consequences of a long-ago family conflict (involving Michael B. Jordan). The king is aided by his tech-savvy sister (Letitia Wright), the woman (Lupita Nyong’o) he would like to make his queen, the leader (Danai Gurira) of his army’s band of fierce female warriors and, eventually, by a CIA agent (Martin Freeman). Real-world political preoccupations are incorporated into this sci-fi tinged action adventure while plot developments weigh vengeance against justice and violent revolution against peaceful reform. Possibly acceptable for older teens. Nonstructural religious ideas and practices, much stylized violence with minimal gore, several crude and at least one crass term, an obscene gesture. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)

“Mastermind” (1976)
Comedy misfire filmed in Japan with Zero Mostel as a Kyoto police inspector investigating a series of murders involving an android doll (Felix Silla), Nazi war criminals, Israeli agents, an American spy (Bradford Dillman) and a nightclub owner (Keiko Kishi). Directed by Alex March, the disjointed proceedings make little sense, the comedy is flat and the inspector’s recurring daydream of being a samurai superwarrior is tiresome. Stylized violence and sexual innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G — general audiences. All Ages Admitted. (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)

“Samson” (2018)
Spirited biblically based drama in which the super-strong champion (Taylor James) of the oppressed Israelites skylarks with his younger brother (Greg Kriek), romances a Philistine gal (Frances Sholto-Douglas) but also tangles with the wicked prince (Jackson Rathbone) who embodies that people’s tyrannical and exploitative rule over the occupied Promised Land. As Samson mows down his foes, with femme fatale Delilah (Caitlin Leahy) waiting in the wings, director Bruce Macdonald follows the formula of golden-age Hollywood adaptations of the Good Book with large-scale battles, a love angle and an effete villain. Though some of the necessary expansion on the Old Testament account fails to convince, this is generally an enjoyable riff on the Hebrew he-man’s story. While not suitable for the youngest viewers, it can provide a fine introduction to the subject for teens. Much combat violence with little gore, a scene of torture, references to prostitution and womanizing. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)

“First Reformed” (A24)
This drama about a Protestant minister (Ethan Hawke) in upstate New York has quite a bit to say about religious belief, environmentalism, grieving, alienation, rage, the power of love and the corruption of religion by money and power. Writer-director Paul Schrader does not condescend to belief, but is interested in launching discussions about what faith means and what actions best express it. Some gore, mature themes, fleeting scatological references. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

“Life of the Party” (Warner Bros.)
Anemic comedy in which middle-aged mom Melissa McCarthy (who also co-wrote the script) is dumped by her husband (Matt Walsh) in favor of the hard-edged real estate agent (Julie Bowen) with whom he has been having an affair and decides to get a fresh start by returning to the university she dropped out of in order to have her now-grown daughter (Molly Gordon) who is also currently a student there. Her kindly, upbeat manner makes her the toast of her daughter’s sorority and wins her the heart of a handsome fraternity brother (Luke Benward). Everything about director and co-writer Ben Falcone’s star vehicle for his wife McCarthy rings false, including its affirmations of maternal and filial affection and its rounds of mutual feminine confidence building. Frivolously treated offscreen nonmarital and marital sexual activity, some of it in semi-public places, unintentional drug use, comic brawling, sexual and anatomical humor, a couple of crude and numerous crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

St. Patrick school’s Irish Festival

MERIDIAN – A volunteer helps St. Patrick School student John Henry Wilkinson play one of the many games at Irish Fest. The annual event was held on Saturday, April 21. Students and community members could “dunk” their pastor, play games and enjoy a day together. (Photos by Helen Reynolds)

Photos by Helen Reynolds)