The necessity and importance of apostolic action on the part of the lay faithful in present and future evangelization must be borne in mind. The Church cannot put aside this task because it is part of her very nature, as the 'People of God', and also because she has need of it in order to realize her own mission of evangelization.
This call for the active participation of all the faithful in the mission of the Church has not been unheard. The 1987 Synod of Bishops observed "The Holy Spirit continues to renew the youthfulness of the Church and has inspired new aspirations towards holiness and the participation of so many lay faithful. This is witnessed, among other ways, in the new manner of active collaboration among priests, religious and the lay faithful; by active participation in the Liturgy; in the proclamation of the Word of God and catechesis; in the multiplicity of services and tasks entrusted to the lay faithful and fulfilled by them; by the flourishing of groups, associations and spiritual movements as well as by lay commitment to the life of the Church and in the fuller and meaningful participation of women in the development of society".
In effect, a collaboration of all the faithful exists in both orders of the Church's mission; whether it is in the spiritual order, bringing the message of Christ and his grace to men, or, in the temporal one, permeating and perfecting secular reality with the evangelical spirit.
This is especially true in the primary areas of evangelization and sanctification ..."It is in this sphere most of all that the lay apostolate and the pastoral ministry complete each other".
NEXT ISSUE: Premiss -part two
The Home page, reached by clicking on www.catholicity.com, changes frequently, but the feature we like best is the virtual city. By scrolling down towards the bottom on the left, you can click on the city. This brings up a clever panorama of a colorful, virtual village for Catholics with the Lourdes Grotto in the background. The Grotto contains links for devotions and prayer movements along with prayer information. Move to the center where St. Peter's Cathedral rises and here you'll find the Daily Canon, Mass Times for certain parishes in northern Ohio, and links to Religious Orders, Pro Life Organization, and Marian information. Below the Cathedral is City Hall which contains everything you want to know about the behind-the-scenes activity at this site including interesting, humorous bios on all the major staff. They also have a special 52-day novena of Rosaries they promote and we highly recommend. Elsewhere in the city you can go to Aquinas School which conveys links to solid Catholic institutions and the best Roman Catholic home schooling programs. Probably, the best grade for this school goes to its links to entire documents of such stalwart works as St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica as well as lins to the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church, and many complete versions of the Bible on the web, including the respected Douay-Rheims and Latin Vulgate versions. On the right side is the Market which offers information and links on books, videos, audios and gifts. There is no competition at this site and they willingly link all sorts of items available elsewhere. It is as a good Catholic site should be, working in unison with other Catholic sites to promote the one, true faith to all. This is probably CatholiCity's greatest attribute.
In the upper left hand corner is Saint Paul International Airport, a clever way to display links to other sites. They feature the A, B, and C concourse with CCity Airlines and links are very informative with descriptions of each site as well as key words which can be used in CatholiCity's Keyword Search Engine. Their listings, alphabetically arranged, are the benchmark for link listing and something we are working on improving to that calibre here at the CATHOLIC-INTERNET NETWORK.
CatholiCity offers something few Catholic sites offer and that is chat rooms and discussion groups in various categories. They call the discussion groups Crosstalk and that could backfire on them, because often these discussion groups have descended into opinion-oriented, small-minded cliques that subtly discourage others from taking part. Because of the nature of the beast, it can often be infiltrated by those who seek to disrupt more than contribute. They feature a special discussion group just for Catholic webmasters which is a first and a plus.
Though CatholiCity was the brainchild of Bud Jr., the brains behind the excellence it has evolved into came from the expertise of former webmaster Thomas Deliduka who brought it to its present stature. Recently Thomas has left CatholiCity as a full-time employee to work as a consultant and develop other sites in the northern Ohio area. The legacy he has left enables CatholiCity to go to the next plateau where they hope to offer audio/video and broadcasts. In a word CatholiCity is exCitying. On a scale of one to ten Hail Mary's in ranking this site, we follow up EWTN's perfect ten with another full decade - this for CatholiCity: TEN HAIL MARY's
In everyone's life there is the constant, at times, agonizing battle between the head and the heart. Following a path of ease, we find it easier to live in the head. Aided by grace, allowing ourselves to be lead through life by the Holy Spirit living within us since Baptism, we are now in the position, if we so choose, to live by grace, to live a life of obedience to God rather than remain in rebellion against Him by living for ourselves, choosing to govern our lives by what makes sense to us rather than by living within the Divine Will. This is the on-going battle within each one of us. It comes down to a choice that each one of us must continously make, either I live for God or I live for myself; either I put God first in my life or I put myself first.
Is it possible then for anyone of us to make this journey from leading a life governed by the mind to a life governed by the heart? Yes, it is. This is the hopeful condition in which we, the once fallen creatures, can regain what was lost in the Garden of Eden. It is as if each one of us now is in that Garden and we are given our own individual and personal opportunity to make a choice either to live as God in His creation of us intended and thus be happy with Him for all eternity, or go the way of satan's original promptings and suffer loss of that eternal happiness with God.
Jesus made and makes it possible for each one of not only to make the journey from the head to the heart, but to choose to remain in the heart and posit every action with the heart.
Next week, I will continue this trend of thought, delving deeper into how we can balance the scales in favor of heart over mind.
No. 1275, 1276 and 1277, page 324 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery; Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:
Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ's Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism.
Q. When was Baptism instituted?
A. Baptism was instituted, very probably, about the time Our Lord was baptized by St. John, and its reception was commanded when, after His resurrection, Our Lord said to the Apostles: "All power is given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Going, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Q. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of Heaven.