JUNE 19, 2011, Vol 61, No 12

In the third chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, St Peter encounters a crippled man begging for alms near the temple.

Peter has no funds to give him but heals the man in the name of Jesus. Peter is the rock appointed by Jesus as leader of the Twelve to serve and to build up the church as a communio a community of faith and love.

Peter presides in love; he witnesses to that love. Here is the nascent Church at work.

In the Gospel of John, using the image of the vine and the branches, Jesus speaks of the Church in terms of fruitfulness: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
How can you recognise the Holy Spirit acting in your life? It’s amazingly simple to discern His mysterious presence.

Consider the times when you went against your own personal preferences and did something difficult in order to help others. You probably do that many times a day.

St. Paul said, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

The inner promptings of conscience are very often the voice of the Holy Spirit within you.

The Holy Spirit is always there helping you to go beyond yourself in order to fulfil the law of love. You probably can remember many times when the Spirit emboldened you to act out of faith rather than self-interest, times when you went against your natural inclinations in order to accomplish some greater good.
Fr Dale Launderville recounts the dramatic birth of the Church some 2,000 years ago.

ON THE first Christian Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit in the year of Jesus’ crucifixion transformed this traditional Jewish feast of the wheat harvest for people gathered in Jerusalem from the various parts of the known world.

These peoples were both awed and confused when they heard the Twelve Apostles proclaiming the Gospel as if they were simultaneously speaking in multiple languages (Acts 2:1-13).

This miraculous occurrence caught the attention even of the scoffers; however, they claimed that the apostles were drunk.

At this point, Peter stood up to deliver the first sermon of the newly born Church (Acts 2:14-36). Peter began his defence of the ecstatic behaviour of the apostles by claiming it as the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy that sons and daughters and male and female servants would prophesy by the power of the Spirit (Jl 3:1-5).

When the storm wind shook the house of the apostles and took the form of tongues of fire above them, God was fulfilling the words spoken by Joel that there would be signs in the heavens and on the earth announcing the coming of the Lord.

Thus Peter appealed to this prophet from the fifth century BC to build bridges to the Jewish community of which he was a part. He explained how the Lord is intervening “in the last days” to save His people (Acts 2:17).
New Vatican official says important to ‘know how to listen’

VATICAN CITY – He has only been at the Vatican for four months, but Brazilian Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz is already getting good reviews.

As head of the Vatican office that oversees the world’s Religious orders, the 64-year-old archbishop inherited an assignment that in some ways resembles a battleground.

In addition to wrapping up a contentious apostolic visitation of women’s Religious orders in the US, he faces the challenge of rebuilding trust with the heads of Religious orders worldwide.

Archbishop Aviz replaced Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rode, who believed that modern Religious orders were in a crisis caused in part by the adoption of a secularist mentality and the abandonment of traditional practices. Cardinal Rode said many Religious had misunderstood the Second Vatican Council, and he faulted women’s orders for adopting a “feminist” spirit.

When Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Aviz as the new prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the choice surprised many Religious superiors. Surprise has now turned to optimism about the future.
Rev Mark Lewis stands outside St Luke Church. His community is preparing to enter the Catholic Church.

BLADENSBURG, MARYLAND, USA – An Anglican community in the US has announced that it would seek entry into the Catholic Church.

The St Luke Episcopal Parish in Bladensburg, Maryland, made the announcement on June 6.

“I’m thrilled and tremendously humbled to take this journey with my people at St Luke, and humbled that I could become a priest of the Roman Catholic Church,” said the rector, Rev Mark Lewis, in an interview with the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington archdiocese.

He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2001 and has been rector of St Luke since 2006. The community will begin formal preparation to be received into the Catholic Church, likely later this year.

Prayer and study, not any controversies, led the congregation towards unity with the Catholic Church, Rev Lewis said, when asked whether Episcopal doctrine on the priesthood or sexual issues had precipitated the move.

Over the past several years, the Episcopal Church, the US member of the Anglican Communion, has approved ordaining women priests and bishops, ordaining homosexual people and blessing same-sex unions.

“Those issues on the priesthood and sexuality have been around. The real issue that drove us was our study of the Catholic faith,” he said.

“The more we looked at it and compared it to Anglicanism, we were drawn to the Church of Rome. It was a natural progression,” said Rev Lewis, who is married. He and his wife, Vickey, have two grown children.