Giving Grace a Try In the New Year

Have you ever thought of giving grace a try in the New Year?

What beginning a new year offers us.

I stumbled across a very different yet ancient way to thinking about the New Year. As I read a piece in US Catholic I quickly saw the feast of the Epiphany as a parable about the ruts in our approaches to following Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor. I can no longer read the contrasting stories of King Herod and the three kings or wise men they same way. First, let me set the context.

The article in US Catholic, “Start the New Year With a Beginner’s Mind”, begins with the question. What is so magical about a date on a calendar? We could say nothing. January 1 is just a date on a calendar whether paper or digital. But beginnings count for something. Actually, they matter a lot. In the course of our routines and relationships, we get into a groove. That groove can quickly become a rut.

What beginnings offer us is a chance to reflect on what was and consider what could be, if we let it. What might the coming year become if I opened it up to the possibility of being a genuinely new episode of my life instead of a tiresome rerun or lame sequel? What beginnings offer us is a chance to reflect on what was and consider what could be, if we let it.

Zen master Suzuki notes, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” If you want a Catholic name for beginner’s mind, try grace.

Herod and the three kings or wise men

The story we retell at Epiphany each year manifests two approaches to the gift of a new episode in time.

First we have King Herod, as entrenched in old-think as you can possibly get. Old-think clings to what it has and fears dispossession above all.

Herod has the throne, and he doesn’t want to lose it. He also believes he has the situation of being the top Judean in Roman-occupied Jerusalem under control, and he won’t allow anyone to rock this precarious boat. A newborn king of the Jews somewhere in King-David-mythologized Bethlehem doesn’t figure on the landscape of Herod’s ambitions. Bottom line in the king’s mind: Find the baby, eliminate the threat. Then back to business as usual.

On the other side of the equation we have the magi, sometimes styled as wise and sometimes kings themselves.

Whatever their authority, the magi wander into the story with all the wide-eyed wonder of children. Curiosity had them looking up at the stars to begin with. Open-heartedness enabled them to imagine that the heavens might choose to speak to mortals, and that they might actually translate the message. In their eagerness to reply, they leave their homelands following a star, seeking a foreign king, bringing treasure with which to honor him. Could there be an assortment of innocents more vulnerable to possibility than these fellows? Their trusting adventure into the unknown is touching and absurd, a deeply spiritual quest or a bizarre astronomical crusade. The bottom line for their beginner’s minds: Seek the king inscribed in the heavens, bow down before him. Let the creative and responsive world of dreams determine what happens next.

We may balk at the idea of following in such naive footsteps. These so-called wise ones wander right into Herod’s camp! They trust a paranoid tyrant, agree to act as his search party, very nearly betraying the little king they seek. These magi star-children might have come back to Herod, fallen into his clutches themselves and been eliminated in the slaughter to come. Should we then give ourselves over to stargazing and dream-interpreting and put the future, not to mention ourselves, at risk?

If we can smell the fear in that last paragraph—as well as trace amounts of arrogance, pre-judgment, self-protection, and defensiveness—we might be prepared to consider why all of it feels so necessary. As the story unfolds, the magi remain on their beginner’s wide-mind track and escape all peril, as does the newborn king. It’s Herod who will lose, foiled in his attempt to eliminate the threat no matter how many babies he kills. Eventually, even the throne he guards so ferociously will slip through his cold, dead hands. Old-think cannot win. The sands of time insist on a new moment, and they will win.

So what do you think?

  • Should we give grace a try?
  • Who will we be in the New Year – Herod or the Wisemen?
  • Might we contemplate the adoption of an open mind as we hang the next calendar, turn to the fresh page in our service of the marginalized?

Thank you, Alice Camille, for such a stimulating reflection! Thank you US Catholic for bringing us such stimulating reflections.

The Holy Family and My Family

My family holy?

Is your family perfect? I suspect you have your favorites and less than favorite people. Your saints and your sinners. Someone recently said, “Is there any part of modern life messier, more packed with troubles and embarrassments, and real suffering than the family. Yet are not many of our fondest memories wrapped-up in our family?”

This thought caught me as I celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. It reminded me of the heritage of St. Louise and St. Vincent. Vincent grew up in an ordinary family. Louise grew up in an abandoned family. She was the illegitimate daughter of Louis an influential nobleman. He knew she was his daughter yet by the social customs of his class, he could neither marry her mother nor recognize his daughter legally. Vincent, on the other hand, came from ordinary peasant parents. But at least at one point, he refused to see his father because he was embarrassed by him.

It is interesting how this echoes St. Paul writing to the Corinthians

“Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong.”

Today we come from a variety of parental homes… “traditional”, single parent, childless, etc. There seems to no right or wrong answer when it comes to what is the best type of family structure. However, as long as a family is filled with love and support for one another, it tends to be successful and thrive. Should we worry if our family is from the one that we call “holy.” Maybe we should focus on what so many of us share with the “holy family”: poverty, lack of opportunity, a need to relocate just to survive. So many of our families have no voice.

Keep in mind that Mary and Joseph were largely enveloped in silence. They did not matter to the world at large. They mainly mattered to their son. Yet, in the plan of God, that is all that mattered.

Why did the Word become flesh in a particular family and time?

This brings me to ask a question about why Jesus would want to be born in a family… any family… even the Holy family. Why not just take flesh fully formed? After all,  he was God and could appear in whatever way he chose. He could have avoided the total dependency of the womb, the frightful journey through the birth canal, struggling to catch his breath,  the limitations of waiting for Mary and Joseph to take care of his every need in his early month and years.

We easily say he was like us in all things but sin. But the scriptures remind us that he had to grow in wisdom, age, and grace. Something we take for granted. How could God choose to go through the normal growth process of a human being?

To answer that question I think we have to ask… Why did the Word become flesh at all?  Why would he become like us in all things but sin?

Some would claim Jesus came to change God’s mind about us. But God’s mind did not need changing! Jesus did not tell us about a distant and demanding ruler,  an angry old man. He told us of a father who loves from beginning to end… no matter what. “God has first loved us!” “God loves us even on the cross. He reminds us we didn’t earn God’s love any more than a baby earned the gift of life or loving parents.

I am of the school that Jesus came to change our minds…

  • About God – He proved that God really does identify with us and knows intimately our day to day problems… and their worst manifestations, even the horrible reality of betrayal and death on a cross.
  • About ourselves – He reminds us that we beloved sons and daughters of God made in God’s image and likeness.
  • About one another – He showed us what it is like to be sons and daughters of God who cares for everyone, especially the lowest and the neglected.
  • About what the kingdom of God looks like – He taught us that the kingdom of God excludes no one and is not a kingdom ruled by a few select individuals.
  • About all creation – He demonstrated what it means to be sons and daughters of God who cares for everyone and everything in an unfolding universe.

If this is not a call to change our way thinking I don’t know what is! We are still struggling to understand how the birth of Jesus changed everything – for everyone – literally.  Jesus came to wake us up to another world, to wake us up to our dignity in the “real world” of being sons and daughters of God’s world rather than our selfishly constructed world.

Waking up to being a holy family

Jesus is the model of living in the kingdom of God. We need only look at the lessons of his life and death. “Do this in memory of me!” “Wash one another’s feet as I have washed yours.” “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me.”

This is putting on the “mind of Christ”. How different this mind is from the mind of the world that implicitly lives by a “me first mentality”, grasping power, comfort, and security.

“Keep Christ in Christmas” is more than a slogan of the culture wars. In its fullest sense, it is a challenge to live with the mind of Christ. “Put on the mind of Christ.” It is the challenge to wake up to the fact that we are all called to be a holy family the stretches back in time and includes all of our brothers and sisters across the globe.

Now more than ever, I am attempting to change my mind to the way of thinking Jesus came to show us. More than ever I am trying to think with Jesus mindset. Repent, which literally means change our way of thinking, and see one another as he sees us.

My exciting realization after 80 times celebrating the feast of the Holy Family, is the exciting realizations of keeping Christ not only during Christmas but in my remaining days. I now realize the birth of Jesus is an invitation to a radical change in my thinking to grow into the mind of Christ’s way of thinking.

Is your family perfect? No? Isn’t the birth of Jesus an invitation to a radical change in our thinking to grow into the mind of Christ’s way of thinking? It is okay to develop and grow within our family… as Jesus did!

PS Apologies to regular readers for another variation on a theme. As you can see I am still mining some insights of the past year.

 

A Vincentian View: Maranatha

Fr. Pat Griffin of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission reminds us that Maranatha speaks of the hope that the Lord will come again soon.  But we also hear the reminder of our need to come to the Lord who has taken flesh among us.

An Aramaic word associated with the Christmas as well as the Advent Season is “maranatha.”  When one divides this word in one way, “marana tha,” it means “O Lord, come” and proclaims the wish for arrival or early return of the Lord.  When one divides the word another way, “maran atha,” it means “The Lord has come” and is a creedal affirmation.  (You have probably heard the word pronounced both ways.) Both senses of the word have importance and emphasize the Seasons. At Christmas, we celebrate, in particular, his presence.  Perhaps, we also hear the reminder of our need to come to the Lord who has taken flesh among us.

In these Christmas days, the Scripture and our liturgy present us with a variety of people who come to see the Christ child. Various factors draw them to him. The magi will come due to the movement of a star; they follow it to where the Holy Family gathers. The shepherds will come because of a vision of angels who tell them where to find “a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”  In days to come, we can hear of the aged Anna, a representative of Israel’s prophetic tradition, who makes her way to Jesus because she never left the Temple but could always be found there worshipping with fasting and prayer. Simeon, another representative of faithful Israel, will make an appearance in the Temple because of an assurance that he will behold the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to his people.  When he sees Jesus, he proclaims what we have come to call the “Nunc dimittis,” a prayer that indicates his readiness to die because he has witnessed that the light of salvation has come to Israel.

Different reasons draw each of these people to the newborn Jesus.  All of them find in him something for which they had waited and searched.  In these Christmas days, the bidding to come to the Lord extends to us.  We can find in him the focus of our hope and possibilities, but we must take the call seriously.  We must find our way to the one who has come by opening our eyes and ears, but especially our hearts.  We may not be guided by the direction of angels or the movement of a star—though who knows what form these guides may take in the lives of each of us.  Perhaps our path will be more like that of Anna and Simeon who encounter the Lord through their fidelity to their place of worship and trust in promises heard there.

Or, perhaps, we can draw closer to the Lord through the recognition of the blessing of a family and the life which comes to birth in that holy place.  Or, perhaps, we can recognize him in the hovels of the poor who can find no shelter in a better place, or in the sufferings of the innocents whose lives are taken without concern, or in the immigrants and refugees who must flee their homelands.  All of these form part of our Scripture and liturgical stories as well.  One can also discern the presence of the Lord in these places, but we must be ready to seek and find.  It is a natural invitation for a Vincentian.  Maranatha.

Pope Francis’ Christmas Wish For the World

Pope Francis’ Christmas message is all about a child who came to tell us that “God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters”, Without Jesus’ gift of fraternity, what we do to build a more just world would be “soulless and empty”, he said. “For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity”.

Photo courtesy of Vatican website.

Pope Francis said he wishes for fraternity among individuals, regardless of nation, culture, ideology, or religion. Jesus revealed “God’s face” through a “human face”. The variety and differences we experience “are a source of richness”, the Pope said, like the variety of coloured tiles in the hands of a mosaic artist. God, who is our “parent”, binds us together and is the “foundation and strength of our fraternity”.

The Vatican website summarised his specific wishes for various trouble spots in the world…

For the Israelies and Palestinians, the Pope wishes resumption of the dialogue and path to peace to end the 70-year conflict rending “the land chosen by the Lord to show his face of love”.

For Syrians he wishes that they can “find fraternity after long years of war” and that through international cooperation those who have fled may return home.

For Yemen, the hope that the truce will hold and bring relief to her people and children “exhausted by war and famine”.

For Africa, that the “Holy Child, the King of Peace” might “silence the clash of arms” allowing a “new dawn of fraternity to rise over the entire continent”.

For the Korean peninsula he prayed for the consolidation of the “bonds of fraternity” set in motion this year.

For Venezuelans the Pope hopes they might “recover social harmony” so as to “work fraternally” toward the country’s development.

For Ukrainians, he hopes “the Newborn Lord” might “bring relief” and “a lasting peace” which is possible only through respect for the “rights of every nation”.

For Nicaraguans he prayed that they might “see themselves once more as brothers and sisters” through reconciliation and building Nicaragua’s future together.

Pope Francis also mentioned those whose “freedom and identity” are compromised through modern forms of colonialization, those suffering from hunger, lack of education and health care.

For those celebrating Christmas in hostile situations, Pope Francis prayed that all minorities might live peacefully through respect for the right of religious freedom.

In conclusion, Pope Francis prayed that the Child in the manger might “watch over all the children of the world, and every frail, vulnerable and discarded person”. He hopes that all might receive “peace and consolation” as through “the birth of the Saviour” we know that “we are loved by the one heavenly Father”, that we might realize “that we are brothers and sisters and come to live as such”.

Full text

 

Pope Francis’ Homily at Midnight Mass

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
THE MASS IN THE HOLY NIGHT
SAINT PETER’S BASILICA
24 DECEMBER 2018

Joseph with Mary his spouse, went up “to the city of David called Bethlehem” (Lk 2:4). Tonight, we too, go to Bethlehem, there to discover the mystery of Christmas.

Bethlehem: the name means house of bread. In this “house”, the Lord today wants to encounter all mankind. He knows that we need food to live. Yet he also knows that the nourishments of this world do not satisfy the heart. In Scripture, the original sin of humanity is associated precisely with taking food: our first parents “took of the fruit and ate”, says the Book of Genesis (cf. 3:6). They took and ate. Mankind became greedy and voracious. In our day, for many people, life’s meaning is found in possessing, in having an excess of material objects. An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when, paradoxically, a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive.

Bethlehem is the turning point that alters the course of history. There God, in the house of bread, is born in a manger. It is as if he wanted to say: “Here I am, as your food”. He does not take, but gives us to eat; he does not give us a mere thing, but his very self. In Bethlehem, we discover that God does not take life, but gives it. To us, who from birth are used to taking and eating, Jesus begins to say: “Take and eat. This is my body” (Mt 26:26). The tiny body of the Child of Bethlehem speaks to us of a new way to live our lives: not by devouring and hoarding, but by sharing and giving. God makes himself small so that he can be our food. By feeding on him, the bread of life, we can be reborn in love, and break the spiral of grasping and greed. From the “house of bread”, Jesus brings us back home, so that we can become God’s family, brothers and sisters to our neighbours. Standing before the manger, we understand that the food of life is not material riches but love, not gluttony but charity, not ostentation but simplicity.

The Lord knows that we need to be fed daily. That is why he offered himself to us every day of his life: from the manger in Bethlehem to the Upper Room in Jerusalem. Today too, on the altar, he becomes bread broken for us; he knocks at our door, to enter and eat with us (cf. Rev 3:20). At Christmas, we on earth receive Jesus, the bread from heaven. It is a bread that never grows stale, but enables us even now to have a foretaste of eternal life.

In Bethlehem, we discover that the life of God can enter into our hearts and dwell there. If we welcome that gift, history changes, starting with each of us. For once Jesus dwells in our heart, the centre of life is no longer my ravenous and selfish ego, but the One who is born and lives for love. Tonight, as we hear the summons to go up to Bethlehem, the house of bread, let us ask ourselves: What is the bread of my life, what is it that I cannot do without? Is it the Lord, or something else? Then, as we enter the stable, sensing in the tender poverty of the newborn Child a new fragrance of life, the odour of simplicity, let us ask ourselves: Do I really need all these material objects and complicated recipes for living? Can I manage without all these unnecessary extras and live a life of greater simplicity? In Bethlehem, beside where Jesus lay, we see people who themselves had made a journey: Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. Jesus is bread for the journey. He does not like long, drawn-out meals, but bids us rise quickly from table in order to serve, like bread broken for others. Let us ask ourselves: At Christmas do I break my bread with those who have none?

After Bethlehem as the house of bread, let us reflect on Bethlehem as the city of David. There the young David was a shepherd, and as such was chosen by God to be the shepherd and leader of his people. At Christmas, in the city of David, it was the shepherds who welcomed Jesus into the world. On that night, the Gospel tells us, “they were filled with fear” (Lk 2:9), but the angel said to them “Be not be afraid” (v. 10). How many times do we hear this phrase in the Gospels: “Be not afraid”? It seems that God is constantly repeating it as he seeks us out. Because we, from the beginning, because of our sin, have been afraid of God; after sinning, Adam says: “I was afraid and so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Bethlehem is the remedy for this fear, because despite man’s repeated “no”, God constantly says “yes”. He will always be God-with-us. And lest his presence inspire fear, he makes himself a tender Child. Be not afraid: these words were not spoken to saints but to shepherds, simple people who in those days were certainly not known for their refined manners and piety. The Son of David was born among shepherds in order to tell us that never again will anyone be alone and abandoned; we have a Shepherd who conquers our every fear and loves us all, without exception.

The shepherds of Bethlehem also tell us how to go forth to meet the Lord. They were keeping watch by night: they were not sleeping, but doing what Jesus often asks all of us to do, namely, be watchful (cf. Mt 25:13; Mk 13:35; Lk 21:36). They remain alert and attentive in the darkness; and God’s light then “shone around them” (Lk 2:9). This is also the case for us. Our life can be marked by waiting, which amid the gloom of our problems hopes in the Lord and yearns for his coming; then we will receive his life. Or our life can be marked by wanting, where all that matters are our own strengths and abilities; our heart then remains barred to God’s light. The Lord loves to be awaited, and we cannot await him lying on a couch, sleeping. So the shepherds immediately set out: we are told that they “went with haste” (v. 16). They do not just stand there like those who think they have already arrived and need do nothing more. Instead they set out; they leave their flocks unguarded; they take a risk for God. And after seeing Jesus, although they were not men of fine words, they go off to proclaim his birth, so that “all who heard were amazed at what the shepherds told them” (v. 18).

To keep watch, to set out, to risk, to recount the beauty: all these are acts of love. The Good Shepherd, who at Christmas comes to give his life to the sheep, will later, at Easter, ask Peter and, through him all of us, the ultimate question: “Do you love me?” (Jn 21:15). The future of the flock will depend on how that question is answered. Tonight we too are asked to respond to Jesus with the words: “I love you”. The answer given by each is essential for the whole flock.

“Let us go now to Bethlehem” (Lk 2:15). With these words, the shepherds set out. We too, Lord, want to go up to Bethlehem. Today too, the road is uphill: the heights of our selfishness need to be surmounted, and we must not lose our footing or slide into worldliness and consumerism.

I want to come to Bethlehem, Lord, because there you await me. I want to realize that you, lying in a manger, are the bread of my life. I need the tender fragrance of your love so that I, in turn, can be bread broken for the world. Take me upon your shoulders, Good Shepherd; loved by you, I will be able to love my brothers and sisters and to take them by the hand. Then it will be Christmas, when I can say to you: “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you” (cf. Jn 21:17).

 

 

Celebrating the Birth of Christ for the 80th time

Celebrating the Birth of Christ for the 80th time

Dear family and friends,

I certainly don’t remember anything from my first celebration of the birth of Christ. I do know that my understanding of the significance of Christ’s birth has changed over the years. In fact, it has changed so much that I can only think of it in terms something Bede Griffith said. In a TV interview when he was 80, he said, “I have learned more in the past year than I did in all the years that went before”.

I have always been struck by his words but never more so than now that I have reached his age. So, my Christmas letter this year is different than any I have ever written before. Rather than a recounting of events of the past year, I would like to share with you what I now understand about the significance of celebrating Jesus’ birth and the excitement of what it reveals to me about myself and each of us.

A baby changes everything 

During the past year, my sister’s family has been blessed with quite a few babies – much to Great-Grandma’s delight! Each announcement (or “reveal”) was very creatively unique. What great joy and anticipation that a baby was coming!

Having a baby is a life-changer. It bears repeating.  A baby changes everything! They make their parent’s lives more hectic, busy and complicated. But more importantly, they make them better in more ways than we can count. It gives a whole other perspective to waking up every day and all that parents do.

I have often heard parents say, “No one can really tell you beforehand.”  “You really can’t understand it until it happens to you.”

One baby changed everything – for everyone – literally!

Never was that truer than of the birth of the one we call Jesus of Nazareth.

But let me ask a question about that change. What did God really change by being born among us? Did Jesus come to change God’s mind? Or did Jesus come to change our minds?

Some would claim Jesus came to change God’s mind about us. But God’s mind did not need changing! Jesus did not tell us about an angry old man. He told us of a father who loves from beginning to end… no matter what. “God has first loved us!” “God loves us even on the cross. We didn’t earn God’s love any more than a baby earned the gift of life or loving parents.

I am of the school that Jesus came to change our minds

  • About God – He proved that God really does identify with us and knows intimately our day to day problems… and their worst manifestations, even the horrible reality of betrayal and death on a cross.
  • About ourselves – He reminds us that we beloved sons and daughters of God made in God’s image and likeness.
  • About one another – He showed us what it is like to be sons and daughters of God who cares for everyone, especially the lowest and the neglected.
  • About what the kingdom of God looks like – He taught us that the kingdom of God excludes no one and is not a kingdom ruled by a few select individuals.
  • About all creation – He demonstrated what it means to be sons and daughters of God who cares for everyone and everything in an unfolding universe.

If this is not a call to change our way thinking I don’t know what is. We are still struggling to understand how the birth of Jesus changed everything – for everyone – literally

Jesus came to wake us up to our dignity in the “real world” of being sons and daughters of God.

Waking up to the Jesus change

We are waking up to a continually unfolding change of how we view ourselves.

By becoming one of us God calls us to overcome the root cause of our selfishness, thinking we are the center of our world and the universe. At our birth we unconsciusly think that.

Jesus is the model of living in the kingdom of God. We need only look at the lessons of his life and death. “Do this in memory of me!” “Wash one another’s feet as I have washed yours.” “Whaatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me.”

This is putting on the “mind of Christ”. How different this mind is from the mind of the world that implicitly lives by a “me first mentality”, grasping power, comfort, and security.

“Keep Christ in Christmas” is more than a slogan of the culture wars. In its fullest sense it is a challenge to live with the mind of Christ. “Put on the mind of Christ.”

Vincent had his own practical way of expressing this systemic change of our way of thinking. “Let us love God, brothers, let us love God, but let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brows” We have many contemporary ways of saying it. Among them, “Put your money where your mouth is!”

Now more than ever, I am attempting to change my mind to the way of thinking Jesus came to show us. More than ever I am trying to think with Jesus mindset. Repent, which literally means change our way of thinking, and see one another as he sees us.

As I said, I don’t remember anything from my first celebration of the birth of Jesus. Nor do I remember anything from my Baptism into Christ. But I now understand my Baptism as the beginning of my journey of waking up to who I really am as a human being fully alive in God with all my brothers and sisters today and reaching back (even beyond the 14 generations a cousin in Germany traced on my father’s side!) to Adam and Eve.

,, I am proud of being John Freund, son of Alice and Richard Freund. I am proud to be a Vincentian priest. But, ultimately, I am still waking up to the implications of Baptism, the vocation of being a person who is trying to put on the mind of Jesus.

I now understand why Pope Francis says it is more important to remember and celebrate our Baptism than our birthday. It marks the beginning of the journey into this radical new way of understanding what it means to be fully human.

The exciting realizations of keeping Christ not only in Christmas but in my remaining days.

  • I now realize the birth of Jesus is an invitation to a radical change in my thinking.
  • I now realize that my Baptism is the specific call to recognize and put on the mind of Christ.
  • I now realize that if I understand what a dignity it is for us to be the mystical body of Christ, I must mature into this new way of seeing, thinking, and acting out of my Christ-consciousness. 

This vision of life is far more exciting than the toys I got from Santa Claus as a child! It is a gift that truly keeps giving life! I hope that each year your excitement also grows.

Young Adults Learning to Serve in Philadelphia

” It is not until you have had your own experience of helping someone in poverty that’s going to make a difference helping you to understand what its like to live in poverty.”

A new video shines a spotlight on young adults with a calling to serve people in need, and the educators and facilitators who help them reflect on their experiences. Produced by Joyful Films. Narrated by the leadership and staff at the St. Vincent de Paul Young Adult Center: Sr. Sharon Horace, D.C., Darcy O’Hara, and Teena Weisler.

For information on the Center, how to register a group, and more, visit their website.

Recognizing the face of the Christ in those born 2000 years after Christ

Join with Society of St. Vincent de Paul in recognizing the face of the Christ in those born 2000 years after the birth of Christ.

For members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul members, it is a spiritual journey of growth through service to people and families in need. From the Society’s traditional home visits, food pantries and assistance with rent and utilities, to innovative health care, financial and mentoring programs, the Society’s Vincentians see and serve the person of Christ in the people they encounter every day.  In this 10-week series, Vincentians volunteer across the country to bring effective, personalized help to those in poverty and share with you their stories of Christ’s love along the way.

The documentary produced by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, “Our Faith in Action” will be featured on Eternal Word Television Network on Sunday, January 6 at 3:30 pm Eastern Standard Time.

David Barringer, National President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul stated: The documentary makes it clear that the charism and spirit of St. Vincent is still very much alive … even 400 years after his death. It gives people the opportunity to learn more about us and our work. The film illustrates a wide range of Society’s activities and initiatives that have been developed throughout the United States. The documentary is a positive statement about the power of faith and the ways in which that faith is acted upon for the benefit of countless men and women.

The “Our Faith in Action” film will air on EWTN cable channels on Sunday, January 6 at 3:30 pm Eastern, 2:30 pm Central, 1:30 pm Mountain, 12:30 pm Pacific. Click here to find the EWTN channel in your zip code. Click here to view the program schedule.

One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 153 countries on five continents. With its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals nearly 100,000 in 4,400 communities.

About EWTN: EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 38th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 298 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; the largest Catholic website in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.

For more information about this release, please contact:  Gary Stevens at (314) 576-3993 ext. 209 or (314) 378-5583 or e-mail gstevens@svdpusa.org

For more information about the SVdP movie “Our Faith in Action” or TV series “Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul” – please visit: https://www.svdpusa.org/members/ourfaithinaction

Photos: Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (Vincentians) hand out backpacks with personal care items and information about social services to the homeless in Chicago. (Photo: Society of St. Vincent de Paul)