Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weekly Update from CCM

Brrrrr!  That's all I can say sitting in my cold office in Cullowhee this afternoon, watching the snow flurries dance outside my window.  I hope you all are enjoying advising day and taking advantage of the day without classes to stay warm, get caught up on work, and maybe enjoy a hot cocoa.

This is an exciting week, so let's get right to it!

Oct. 31 is Halloween!  We are celebrating in style at the Catholic Center.  Plan on enjoying a home cooked lasagna feast with us at 6:30pm, and then after we'll scare away any ghoulies and ghosties with some holy Halloween fun.  Wear a costume, because we'll have a costume contest.  We'll also be carving our jack-o-lantern, enjoying some S'mores by the fire, playing fun Halloween games, and more!  So come, let your hair down and relax with your friends from CCM.

This Thursday is All Saints Day, which is a holy day of obligation.  The great solemnity of All Saints is, of course, where we get Halloween.  An archaic name for All Saints Day is All Hallows Day (a "hallowed" person being someone holy and revered; we still use this word in the Lord's Prayer, "Hallowed be thy name").  So the night before All Hallows Day is All Hallows Eve, which was contracted to Hallowe'en.  Now, we would think it pretty silly for someone to celebrate Christmas Eve while ignoring Christmas itself.  So let's not get so caught up in celebrating All Hallows Eve that we forget about All Hallows Day.

It has been a custom in the Church from the beginning to honor saints and martyrs with a special feast, usually on the anniversary of their death.  However, it did not take long for there to be more Christian martyrs than there are days in the year.  Especially under some of the early Roman persecutions, many Christians would die together on the same day.  And so joint celebrations for many saints together were quite common.  By the end of the fourth century, many bishops in the Church would mark a day to celebrate all the saints, so that there would not be any deficiency in our remembrances.  This might be celebrated on different days depending on the local church.  In the early eighth century, Pope Gregory III dedicated a chapel in St. Peter's Basilica to All The Saints on November 1.  The anniversary of that date was remembered in Rome, and then about 100 years later Pope Gregory IV extended that celebration to the entire Church.  

It is a wonderful day for us not only to remember and celebrate the faithful departed, but also to rejoice in their victory, and pray for their intercession and support for us as we make our own Christian journey in this life.  Our goal is to be with them, after all, so let's ask their help in getting there!  As I said, it is a holy day of obligation which means, like Sunday, Catholics are obliged to attend Mass if at all possible.  There is no Mass on campus that day; Masses at St. Mary's will be offered at 9:00am and 6:00pm.  Anyone needing a ride from campus (or who can offer a ride) is asked to post a message to our Facebook group.

November 2 is All Soul's Day.  Similar to All Saints Day, All Soul's Day is a day set aside where we remember all of our departed friends and family, those sainted or not.  We remember their lives, and we also pray for the souls in purgatory.  Prayer for the souls in purgatory is one of the spiritual works of mercy and is something we are all encouraged to do.  The Bible says it is a "holy and pious thought" to pray for the dead (2 Macc 12:44-45).  St. Paul gives us an example to follow when he prays for his dead friend, Onesiphorus (2 Tim. 1:16-18).  So let us offer a special prayer on this day for any in our lives who have died. 

Many parishes, St. Mary's included, keep a "Book of the Dead" by the entrance to the church throughout the month of November.  Those entering the church are invited to inscribe the name of any loved ones who have died during the past year.  The book is kept open, and those people whose names are contained in the book are prayed for throughout the month.

A reminder that every Friday at 3:00pm we have an hour of Scripture Study at the Catholic Center, followed by an hour of Eucharistic Adoration at 4:00pm.  Please join us!

This weekend is our Seeker's Retreat in Black Mountain.  Those of you signed up to attend should have received an email from me last Friday with information.  Please meet at the Catholic Center parking lot at 5:30pm on Friday to carpool.  We will be returning to campus around noon on Sunday.

Rosary at 7:00pm.
Mass at 7:30pm.
Confessions before or after Mass.

I'm hearing that a lot of students are taking advantage of early voting.  That's great!  Election Day is almost upon us, so if you haven't made plans to vote, time is running out!  Last week at our Wednesday dinner, we talked about the "Faithful Citizenship" document issued by the US Catholic Bishops.  Some of you were looking for more information to help you decide how to apply these moral norms in the voting booth.  The following information was printed in last week's issue of the Catholic News Herald, our Diocesan weekly newspaper.  I wanted to pass it on, and hope you find it helpful.  One of the resources they mention, the voter guide produced by Catholic Answers, is available here at the Catholic Center for free.  We have a small basket with copies outside the chapel entrance, so please help yourself.

God bless!

Voter guides and scorecards

102512-voting-stickerAt www.catholicclergy.net/app: The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a national association of about 600 priests, religious and deacons, has created the first free "Catholic Voting Guide" mobile app for iOS (iPhone, iPod and iPad), Android and Windows mobile devices. This non-partisan guide focuses on six areas of vital concern for Catholics – the right to life, religious liberty, the sanctity of marriage, private property, access to necessary goods, and war – and is designed to help voters form their consciences and quickly learn more about Church teaching, the values of the Gospel, and natural law before evaluating candidates and heading out to the polls. It draws from the U.S. bishops' "Faithful Citizenship" as well as then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's 2004 letter "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion" (Links are available to each).

At www.catholic.com/voteyourfaith: Produced by Catholic Answers, this site gives tips on how to evaluate candidates, and explains why the five "non-negotiables" (abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and same-sex "marriage") must be weighted higher than "prudential" policy disagreements on such topics as the death penalty, anti-poverty programs, immigration reform, and international policy. Read the PDF online for free, or order print copies for 40 cents each.

At www.frcaction.org/votertools: Produced by FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the Family Resource Council, find national and state candidate "scorecards," endorsements, and more

At www.citizenlinkvoter.com: An affiliate of Focus on the Family, this site details national, state and local races on the November ballot for every state, including easy-to-read questionnaires of each candidate for offive

At www.nrlc.org: Produced by the National Right to Life Committee, check out "scorecards" on the presidential candidates, as well as House and Senate candidates' voting records on life issues.

At www.politicalresponsibility.com: Priests for Life offers guides on the presidential candidates and comparisons of the two parties' platforms

WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

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