We begin Wisdom Wednesday with a prayer for the Synod:
God the Father, your will make known,
Through your Holy Word, Jesus Christ your Son,
By the whispering, promptings, and power of your Holy Spirit,
Through the intercession of our Mother Mary, Amen.
The prayer comes from Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle, who reveals his synodal preparation in a personal essay published by the National Catholic Reporter. Pope Francis is inviting prayers this weekend at a synod vigil, and invites leaders of different Christian denominations to pray with him.
We say Good-bye to Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson who are no longer depicted in stained glass at the Washington National Cathedral. What do you say to a Jewish friend this time of the year? Rabbi Jeffery Salkin offers a seasonal greeting more appropriate than “Happy New Year.” It might be offered to synodal leaders as well: “May you be written and sealed for a good year.”
It is time to release the women’s deacon report, says the editorial board of National Catholic Reporter. Pope Francis says that migrants must not be treated as “hot potatoes” or “ping pongs.” World leaders and Sunday School students say “Happy Birthday” this weekend to Jimmy Carter. Eighteen more cardinals swell the pool of those who get to say who will be the next pope.
Synod news is first
Pope Francis invites leaders of Churches from different denominations to join him in prayer on September 30 entrusting the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod, together, to the Holy Spirit. The Vatican will provide live streaming.
Speaking after his weekly recitation of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis invites all Christians to join him and other Church leaders for the prayer vigil. Some 3,000 young people from 40 different countries are planning to be there.
“I am a US archbishop attending Pope Francis’ synod,” said Paul Etienne, Archbishop of Seattle. “Here’s how I am preparing.” He notes that “ I’m too young to remember much about the Second Vatican Council, and I am too old not to be concerned about so much of its vision yet to be addressed by our church.” The report, from NCR.
At a recent press conference confirming details about participation in the Synod and the schedule for the General Assembly, synod organizers revealed plans for a pilgrimage for participants and for a special evening of prayer for migrants and refugees.
Another Vatican News report says the synod’s Instrumentum laboris calls for a welcoming Church that embraces diversity.
Michael Sean Winters offers his analysis: we need to identify and isolate the challenges to synodality coming from both the extreme right-wing and left-wing bleachers. He says the culture warrior mode — attack your opponent, never give in, seek victory at all costs — is the antithesis of synodality.
Cardinal Mario Grech of Malta stands at the center of the pope’s plan to change the global Catholic Church. As he prepares to open the synod assembly, Grech told NCR he has “a free heart” about what is to come.
Yom Kippur and beyond
On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, Shana Silverstein and her daughter, Talia, attended services at Beth Meyer Synagogue, as they usually do on this day. Silverstein’s husband, Tom Barbieri, was there, too. But as a non-Jew, not drawn to religious services, he helped patrol the building as part of the synagogue’s security team.
Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin offers his advice in response to a question: What greetings do we offer at this season of the Jewish year? You can say shanah tovah, “a good year,” or several other phrases on Yom Kippur and beyond.
Need a quick overview of the Jewish calendar? Here’s a listing from Brandeis University’s Center for Spiritual Life.
Pilgrimage to Plains
Plains, Ga., isn’t Rome or Canterbury, but it’s been a pilgrimage site, nonetheless, attracting multitudes to Georgia peanut country over the years. Since 1981, people from across the continent and around the globe have flocked to worship with James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, the nation’s most famous Sunday School teacher now in hospice care and no longer able to teach. He will observe his 99th birthday October 1.
The Maranatha Baptist Church was founded, it is worth noting, because of Carter’s insistence on integration.
Pope: Abuse scourge calls for continued action
Addressing a delegation of the Latin American Research and Training Commission for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), Pope Francis highlights the progress made by the Church in eradicating the scourge of child sexual abuse, and calls for continued action to safeguard vulnerable people.
U.S. Orthodox Christians seek unity
Orthodox Christianity in the United States is a kaleidoscope of languages and cultures as diverse as Russia, Greece, Ethiopia, Syria, Bulgaria and, increasingly, the American South. Aiming to forge that burgeoning Southern Orthodox identity is the Philip Ludwell III Orthodox Fellowship, which kicked off its inaugural conference on Saturday (Sept. 16).
Hindu Temple to open
The largest Hindu temple on American soil will soon open its doors. On Oct. 8, the BAPS Akshardham Temple will be open in a limited capacity following 12 years of labor from over 12,000 volunteers.
A fifth of Mormon college students in the US say they’re LGBQ, a new study shows. 78% said they were heterosexual and 22% identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or something else.
Latina bishop not guilty
The United Methodist Church’s first female Latina bishop in the United States was found not guilty Friday (Sept. 22) on four charges brought against her after a jury of 13 ordained church members swiftly rendered a verdict in a church trial held in a Chicago suburb this past week.
Southern Baptists look to the Northeast
If you’re looking for a Southern Baptist church, you’re most likely to find one in the South. If you want to find a growing Southern Baptist church, however, you might want to try the Northeast.
Baptizing coach criticized
Auburn University was heavily criticized for the Unite Auburn event held on Sept. 12, which featured head football coach Hugh Freeze and other prominent Auburn figures baptizing students, by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Statistics: Europe still dominates Cardinal crowd
Pope Francis’ picks for the College of Cardinals since his election in 2013 have tilted the leadership structure of the Roman Catholic Church away from its historic European base and toward countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Still, of the 98 voting-age cardinals Francis has appointed (including 18 who will be installed Sept. 30), 38% are from Europe – the largest share of any region.
Strickland vs. Canon Law
Firebrand Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland, who has been subject to a Vatican investigation over his leadership style and right-wing comments on social media, has vowed in recent days not to resign or “voluntarily abandon” his diocese, even if Pope Francis asks him to do so. But the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law leaves Strickland little to no room to resist if the pontiff demands his resignation, several prominent canon lawyers told NCR.
Defending Church teaching
When Pope Francis said he wanted the focus of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to be “something very different” from the dicastery’s reputation as a stringent watchdog, he was not saying anything goes, Cardinal-designate Víctor Fernández, the dicastery’s new prefect, said in an interview.
Good news on Climate
The prospects of the world staying within the 1.5C limit on global heating have brightened owing to the “staggering” growth of renewable energy and green investment in the past two years, the chief of the world’s energy watchdog has said. The report comes from The Guardian. (You may be asked to register to read.)
Some Foodie News
At a Minnesota food lab, Native culture is on the menu. The Christian Science Monitor offers a feature report.
Are you ready for some Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad? The magazine, Southern Living offers the recipe leading a collection of Sunday favorites.
The website, Fine Dining Lovers, offers a primer on halal and haram foods.
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