Short film portrays life of Venerable Augustus Tolton, former slave

Birmingham, Ala., Dec 16, 2019 / 08:01 pm (CNA).- EWTN will release Wednesday a short film on the early life of Venerable John Augustus Tolton – the first African American priest – whose cause for canonization progressed in June.

“ACROSS: The Father Tolton Movie” will debut 10 p.m. ET Dec. 18 on EWTN. It will showcase the boyhood story of Tolton and his journey from a Missouri slave to a freeman in Illinois.

Prior to the film, a discussion will be held by Nashville filmmaker Christopher Foley, the movie’s writer and director, and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago, the diocesan postulator for Tolton’s sainthood cause. This will take place at 8 p.m. with host Father Mitch Pacwa.

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Dios viene a reinar

Estoy seguro de que cada persona religiosa, cada creyente en Dios, en algún momento se pregunta: “¿Por qué Dios no arregla todo?”. ¿Por qué el Creador del universo, todopoderoso y amoroso, no se encarga de la injusticia, el sufrimiento, la violencia y el pecado que tanto afligen a su mundo? Podemos escuchar precisamente este grito en los profetas del antiguo Israel. Todos ellos, Isaías, Jeremías, Ezequiel, Oseas, Zacarías, etc., dicen de una manera u otra: “¿Hasta cuándo, Señor?”. Una forma que toma esta expectativa es el anhelo de que el Dios de Israel venga a reinar como rey, es decir, como alguien que tiene el poder y la autoridad para corregir todo mal. La primera lectura que la Iglesia Católica propone para la misa de la mañana de Navidad es un pasaje del capítulo 52 del profeta Isaías, y habla exactamente en estos términos: “¡Qué hermosos son sobre los montes los pies del mensajero que anuncia la paz, que trae la buena nueva, que pregona la victoria, que dice a Sión: Ya reina tu Dios!” (Isaías 52, 7). El profeta está visualizando el gran día en que Yahvé se hará cargo y pondrá las cosas en orden, cuando “desnud[e] su santo brazo a la vista de todas las naciones” (Isaías 52, 10), es decir, se arremangue para afirmar su dominio sobre sus enemigos.

El mensaje fundamental de la Navidad es que esta profecía se ha hecho realidad, pero de la manera más inesperada. Para entenderlo, veamos primero el magnífico poema con el que San Juan abre su Evangelio: “Al principio existía la Palabra y la Palabra estaba junto a Dios, y la Palabra era Dios . . . La Palabra se hizo carne y habitó entre nosotros” (Juan 1, 1.14) Lo que es de suprema importancia aquí es que Jesús de Nazaret no es simplemente uno más en una larga línea de profetas, ni un sabio más, ni un héroe religioso más; más bien, es lo que Isaías y sus colegas profetas anhelaban: el mismo Dios en la carne, que viene a gobernar. Sabemos que en esta encarnación de Dios está involucrada la autoridad real, porque San Juan nos recuerda: “En ella estaba la vida, y la vida era la luz de los hombres; la luz brilló en las tinieblas, y las tinieblas no la comprendieron” (Juan 1, 3-4). El evangelista nos está diciendo que la Palabra ha venido a luchar contra un enemigo, y el enemigo no prevalecerá.

Si pasamos de Juan a la conocida historia de la Navidad, tal como la relata San Lucas, apreciaremos la parte inesperada de este mensaje. ¿Quién es este guerrero, este campeón divino que viene a corregir los males del mundo? Es un bebé, nacido en una cueva porque no había espacio para él ni siquiera en los hostales de viajeros más baratos de Belén; colocado en un pesebre, el lugar donde los animales comen; envueltos en pañales, sin poder moverse. ¿Cuál es el brazo poderoso de Yavé, desnudo para que todas las naciones lo vean? Es el brazo desnudo de un niño pequeño que sale del pesebre. Ellos esperaban un guerrero davídico, empuñando las armas del mundo, estableciendo la supremacía de Israel a través de una conquista sangrienta. Tienen un guerrero, pero uno que lucharía con las armas del cielo, no de la tierra. ¿Cómo sabemos, por lo que dice Lucas, que se trata de un rey guerrero? Su nacimiento es anunciado por todo un stratias (ejército) de ángeles, seres de inmenso poder, que subsisten en un nivel de existencia más elevado (Lucas 2,13). César pudo dominar el mundo precisamente gracias a su ejército. Lucas nos dice que el rey bebé tiene un ejército mucho más impresionante.

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When asked to become bishop, 3 out of 10 priests refuse — a number that has tripled in 10 years…

Wearing the mitre is not what all priests want. On the contrary, more and more of them refuse the episcopal ordination when offered to them. According to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops responsible for appointment and management of bishops, about three out of 10 priests refuse when asked to be a bishop…

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U.S. has world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households, study finds…

For decades, the share of U.S. children living with a single parent has been rising, accompanied by a decline in marriage rates and a rise in births outside of marriage. A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households…

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Keeping Advent

There is a remnant of the former ways in the Church, in this church where there is no sign of Christmas, where the vestments are a sober purple and the music and prayers still honour the traditional character of Advent. This special liturgical tone is especially evident in the readings from the Bible, with their spirit of expectation which is the defining note of the season. The figures who address us there are the epitome of longing desire: Isaiah the prophet, who speaks of future appearance of the suffering servant who was to save Israel; John the Baptist who, in today’s Gospel, is identified as the precursor of that Saviour; and Our Lady, pregnant with the Incarnate Word, waiting in silence and hope for the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. Each, in his own way, reminds us that we too are waiting for the twofold coming of Christ: to each one by grace here and now, and one day in glory at the end of time. On Christmas day, consequently, in our public worship, we shall celebrate the birth of Jesus in history and also the promise implicit in his first coming that he will come again. It is only with the feast-day itself that we begin our celebrations, which traditionally continued until twelfth night, the feast of the Epiphany, on 6 January. That, incidentally was the day we took down Christmas decorations—the tree, mistletoe, wreaths and other such items—and put them away for another year.s there anything more tedious than an old man reminiscing? If that is so, prepare to be bored, for this Sunday and the entire Advent season send my mind back to the distant past, the way things were seventy-five or eighty years ago. . . . and how different they were from what we know today.

The sombre spirit of the Church’s liturgy determined the tone of the pre-Christmas season in the home. No Christmas decorations were taken out until Christmas eve when the tree—an actual fir—was set up and decorated. Only then were presents brought out from hiding and placed under it. Christmas eve was a day of fast and abstinence, i.e., a meatless day of frugal meals. Turkey and plum pudding were reserved for the day itself. Mass was at midnight, not at five, seven and nine the day before. At that splendid Mass we heard for the first time the Christmas hymns that nowadays bombard us from all sides, with the result that by Christmas day one can hardly bear to hear even one more. Today, the commercial aspects of Christmas dominate, not only shops but even our homes, with trees set up and lights ablaze starting from Halloween. It’s no wonder that on the twenty-sixth trees and wrapping are discarded with a weary disgust; we are glad finally to be free from the artificial frenzy and the forced gaiety of the commercial celebration.

It must be admitted that Advent has largely disappeared. There are Christmas parties everywhere in December. Simply go down any street after dark; you will see houses aglow with shimmering lights and Santa Claus, Rudolf and Frosty presiding over the front yards. Even in the Church where, aside from Sunday Mass, we find Christmas concerts and pageants that ignore and so destroy the authentic meaning of Advent. What should be our response to this cultural shift? Should the Church respond to the changing times and alter the liturgical calendar so as to transform Advent into Christmas and then revert to ordinary time with a thud the next day?

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