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Dear Friends,

 

This weekend we celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with our young people and their families.

 

It is a privilege to be the pastor of this wonderful parish community and a distinct honor to be trusted to guide the faith formation of the young people.

 

All of our religious education and faith formation programs evolve though the minds and hearts and lives of many people, we try very hard to make our programs humanly attractive, in the first instance, so that they invite willing participation appreciating the depth and breadth of Roman Catholic Tradition.

 

Most, if not all, of our kids come with smiles and leave with smiles, we want them to feel goodness, truth, and beauty in the process of forming their faith and not just give them information.

 

Our programs are not based on apologetics, we don’t give our young people answers to questions that they do not ask, however, we do try and make them curious and inquisitive.

 

We do not try to “arm” our children with “correct ideas” and expect them to fight a world of falsehood and hostile values, rather, we try to expose them to the mysterious ways that God is revealed, especially, though sharing food and drink, imaginative play, music, art, and a hands-on familiarity with the earth and what can grow from the earth.

 

We try to break open God’s word with vitality and not confine the Biblical text to the past but a living present.

 

I hope that what we do give them is a healthy skepticism about what people tell them is God’s will or God’s plan and a deep appreciation for sensing the sacred in their own lives and the workings of the world, a trust in their own intuition.

 

The terribly short sighted decision years ago in Chicago and other large Catholic cities in our country to move Confirmation to the eighth grade of elementary school in an attempt to save Catholic schools was as much a disaster to the Catholic Church’s credibility in a rapidly evolving Western culture as was the encyclical Humanae Vitae.

 

We don’t teach that morality or dogma or interpretation of the Bible is subject to popular vote, but we do teach that morality and dogma and interpretation of the Bible has to be based on sound scholarship and informed judgment that is reasonable and based in reality.

 

We adhere to the historical principle of Roman Catholicism that grace builds on nature and faith has to be reasonable.

 

If a fraction of the energy and money poured into trying to save Catholic schools had been invested in Biblical, catechetical, and theological reflection and investigation, I suspect the Church would be more engaging in accompanying all people, but especially the young, as the world evolves, and the Spirit continues creation.

 

The Catholic Church deeply rooted in Catholic Tradition, historically, has been a source of inspiration in driving the human imagination to ever more creative and important efforts to establish communities that fostered human flourishing with joy, justice, peace, and mercy in spite of the fallible nature of the Church.

 

Since that Great Sadness came upon the Church with John Paul II and Benedict XVI much of the official Catholic imagination has been pre-occupied with preserving a Medieval world view and obsessed with maintaining clericalism and the gatekeeper role of the clergy in Catholic Church faith and life.

 

The tension generated by this kind of thinking leaves little space for the creative imaginations and desire to serve that young people bring to their adolescent and emerging adult lives.

 

There is ample serious data available to indicate that young Catholics, with few fanatical exceptions, have no interest in condemning their peers as they assume personal authority for their own lives in “spiritual” and sexual matters.

 

I am very confident that the Catholic Church is still guided by the Holy Spirit and I am hopeful that, in time, there will be a reconciliation of minds and hearts and that the Catholic Tradition will not be confined to select sectors characterized by economic, racial, and ideological sameness. 

 

Congratulations!!!!

Father Niblick

 

SUMMER SCHOOL OF ADULT FAITH FORMATION

 

On Tuesday afternoons and evening in the month of June, I will offer opportunities for anyone who would like to join me, to discuss Catholic Tradition in the light of the present day.

 

I think it would be interesting and helpful for us to consider traditional themes of Catholic moral and doctrinal teaching with recognized sources that are thinking and writing today.

 

Conventionally thinking, Catholics look at children as the ones who need to be taught Roman Catholicism but we are living in times of unprecedented change and access to information and means of communication, how can what you learned 30 or 40 years ago be workable in these times?

 

So, I invite you to just come and listen and talk as you see appropriate. I will provide handouts and reference sources that you can use should you choose to.

 

June 5, 12, 18, and 26 from 1:30-3:00 in the afternoon and 6:30-8:00 in the evening.

All are welcome!!

Father Niblick