A Message to Catechists
Here is an excerpt from an article in The Tidings written by His Excellency the Most Reverend José Gomez, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Jesus commissioned his Church to make disciples in all nations and to teach all men and women to live by what he commanded. So from the start, religious education has included everything that we do in the Church to make disciples, to strengthen the living bonds of communion and community that we have in the Church, and to help us to live our faith in the world…
Near the end of his Gospel, St. John tells us it was “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
Again, at the start of his first letter, he writes: “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us … with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete.”
At the heart of religious education is always this encounter with Jesus Christ.
That’s what makes our Christian faith unique. Christianity is not a philosophy of life or a collection of ethical principles. Christianity is a relationship of love with a divine Person, Jesus.
That means that religious education can never only be about learning “facts.” It is about growing in our love for Jesus and our belief that he shows us God’s loving design — for our lives and for our world.
Catechesis is “mystagogical.” That means it tries to take us to a deeper knowledge of the mysteries we celebrate in the sacraments. It tries to help us truly live the divine life of grace that we receive in the sacraments.
To do this kind of work, takes a special person. It takes a “servant’s heart.” It requires a spirituality that is rooted in a simple, unselfish desire to do God’s will and to serve his purposes.
Catechists need to be engaging and imaginative in proclaiming the faith in this culture. But they don’t bring any teaching of their own. They are here to teach Jesus Christ.
When we are teaching in the Church, we can never substitute our own “version” of Jesus or offer watered-down or partial versions of his teachings. Because only the truth — and the whole truth — about Jesus can save us and set us free.
Jesus himself said that he only taught what he had learned from his Father. He said: “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.” And his words should be impressed on the hearts of every true catechist.
In our day, there are many competing “gospels” and contrary messages. And our secular culture seems more set against religious viewpoints than ever before.
In this culture, our religious education more and more must include a new “apologetics.” We need to make a new “case” for Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church. We need to communicate the joy of knowing Jesus and the power and beauty of our Catholic way of life. We need to be able to show our neighbors how the Gospel provides real answers to the problems we face in our lives and in our society.
Bring Back the Galero
In my previous post about the consistory this past Saturday at which Pope Benedict XVI elevated 22 men to the College of Cardinals, I talked about the significance of the biretta, and in particular, why it is red.
I would like to propose that the galero make a comeback among Catholic clergy.
First, let me say, I’m not a rad trad or anything of the sort (I’m cool with the Novus Ordo, Vatican II, the Luminous Mysteries, and Bl. John Paul’s Theology of the Body). However, I wouldn’t mind a greater use of this little known (and rarely seen) piece of Catholic headgear.
What is a galero?
A galero is a hat with a wide and circular brim. Its color and number of tassels indicate what role the wearer plays in the leadership of the Body of Christ.
Generally, a priest’s galero is black with one set of tassels hanging on each side.
A bishop’s galero is green with 3 rows of tassels (an archbishop’s galero has 4 rows of tassels).
A cardinal’s galero is red with 5 rows of tassels.
(Photo from The Far Sight.)
I also believe abbots, rectors, and superiors of religious orders have galero’s with special colors and/or number of tassels. Additionally, I learned that Chinese bishops have permission to use a different color of galero other than green because in Chinese culture, a man who “wears a green hat” means that he is a cuckold.
So, Bishop Joseph Zen of Hong Kong (before he became a cardinal) used a purple galero:
His successor, Archbishop John Tong Hon, who was made a cardinal along with Archbishop Timothy Dolan this past Saturday, chose a teal galero:
Archbishop Wang, Auxiliary Archbishop of San Francisco uses a red and black galero with green tassels:
Upon the death of a Cardinal (Arch)Bishop, his galero would be raised above his tomb or suspended form the ceiling of his cathedral. Here is the galero of Edward Cardinal Mooney in Detroit’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (photo from the Spirit of St. John).
As indicated above, the galero is still common in ecclesiastical heraldry, however, modernly, the most common headgear actually worn by Catholic clergy (besides the zucchetto or mitre) is the biretta, a hat which indicated that the wearer was a learned person with a certain academic degree and status. It’s interesting to note that St. Teresa de Jesus (of Avila) is sometimes depicted wearing a black biretta to indicate her great intelligence as seen in her writings and status as a Doctor of the Church although she probably never attended university.
So, why bring back the galero?
1st: It’s functional. It will not only keep our clergy’s head warm in winter, but also serve as a shield from the sun during summer.
2nd: It’s cool.
3rd: The galero is sometimes referred to as a “pilgrim’s hat”. Thus, it is an outward sign that we are all pilgrims on earth, and our clergy help to lead us on this journey home, to guide us when we don’t know our way, to bring us back when we have strayed from the true path, and to heal us when we are wounded.
4th: I’m a person who likes consistency, so since the galero is featured on the coat of arms of practically all (arch)bishops and cardinals, then I think it should also be featured on their head…at least from time to time.
5th: When a cardinal (arch)bishop dies and his galero is raised above his tomb or suspended from the ceiling of his cathedral, it is a sign that this life is passing and the life to come should be our goal. The old and dusty galera also serves to remind the people of the (arch)diocese of their history and of the contributions of each of their pastors: it’s like displaying mementos of departed loved ones.
6th: Did I mention that it’s cool?
Now, the galero isn’t quite extinct. Here is Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura wearing his galero with a cappa magna (which is a whole other post all together).
And here is Albert Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka, on his tricked out ride, being welcomed home after being made a cardinal.
Our Nancy chooses sides…and causes scandal
From the ever witty Marc Barnes at Bad Catholic:
At last Wednesday’s White House press briefing, a CNS reporter asked Nancy Pelosi — a self-claimed devout Catholic – if she would stand with the Church and oppose the HHS contraceptive mandate as an assault on religious freedom. In summary:
Now, this is from me:
As a native San Franciscan, I can imagine St. Francis with the same expressions as His
Eminence Excellency Cardinal-designate Archbishop Dolan—the difference would be that in order to relieve that Pelosi-inducing stress, Archbishop Dolan would probably have to go jogging, offer a rosary, and make a Holy Hour, whereas the moment St. Francis’ blood pressure began to rise, a fluffy bunny would hop into his arms and a cute fawn would emerge from the forest to caress his leg while birds chirped soothing melodies. Ahhhhh…I suppose we all have to take a breather from the distress, confusion, and frustration caused by our Nancy.
Although Archbishop Dolan may not have expressed his thoughts in precisely those exact words, here are the words did he choose in informing the Catholic faithful about the recent edict from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Finally, I have fond memories of our Holy Father’s visit to the United States in 2008. However, I recall a rather odd, awkward, and confusing moment when Pope Benedict arrived at the White House and greeted President Bush, the First Lady…and the Speaker of the House.
Here is our Nancy kissing the Fisherman’s Ring which usually is a sign of deep respect for the Holy Father (his person and his Petrine Office) as well as a pledge of obedience. For any Catholic, this is the meaning attached to this traditional greeting of the Supreme Pontiff…for the former Speaker, I’m not quite sure what it means (hence my confusion…and the SCANDAL!).
Alright, Catholics and all people of good will, let’s do this!
God our Father, Giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to Your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your people. Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing Your will. Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death”. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.