Tag Archives: Faith

Come Journey with Saint Paul

You are invited to journey with Saint Paul accompanied by Father James Kauffmann, SSL, who will be the presenter. Pontifical Biblical Institute: Studying the Bible for 100 years

Location: Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 520 Graydon Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23507

Dates:
Monday, July 27
Tuesday, July 28
Wednesday, July 29

Schedule: 
5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Mass
6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Program

REGISTER after mass this weekend, email Amy Woods at amy@sacredheartnorfolk.org or online.

Description: This is a FREE program for all ages. Adults, youth, and children will break into their own groups for learning. The children’s program will utilize games, crafts, stories, and music to journey with Saint Paul. The nursery will be available for children ages 3 and under.

Our themes and texts for each night are as follows:

Monday: We Are Children of the Light. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-22.
Tuesday: Jesus Strengthens Us. 1 Corinthians 11:17-26.
Wednesday: God Made Us Special. We Have Many Gifts. Romans 12:1-21.

You may wish to see these videos:

A Conference with N. T. Wright: Interpreting Paul for the Future of the World, Session 1

Tom Wright: The Shape of Paul’s Theology – Paul and the faithfulness of God 2011

From Scott Hahn – Saint Paul: Persecutor to Apostle

Saint Paul of Tarsus

You Are Invited to Journey with Saint Paul

Mid-Summer’s Night 2015

You are invited to journey with Saint Paul accompanied by Father James Kauffmann, SSL, who will be the presenter. Pontifical Biblical Institute: Studying the Bible for 100 years

Location: Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 520 Graydon Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23507

Dates:
Monday, July 27
Tuesday, July 28
Wednesday, July 29

Schedule: 
5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Mass
6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Program

REGISTER after mass this weekend, email Amy Woods at amy@sacredheartnorfolk.org or online.

Description: This is a FREE program for all ages. Adults, youth, and children will break into their own groups for learning. The children’s program will utilize games, crafts, stories, and music to journey with Saint Paul. The nursery will be available for children ages 3 and under.

Our themes and texts for each night are as follows:

Monday: We Are Children of the Light. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-22.
Tuesday: Jesus Strengthens Us. 1 Corinthians 11:17-26.
Wednesday: God Made Us Special. We Have Many Gifts. Romans 12:1-21.

You may wish to see these videos:

A Conference with N. T. Wright: Interpreting Paul for the Future of the World, Session 1

Tom Wright: The Shape of Paul’s Theology – Paul and the faithfulness of God 2011

From Scott Hahn – Saint Paul: Persecutor to Apostle

Saint Paul of Tarsus

Theological Conversations

Join us at Sacred Heart Parish, Norfolk, Virginia, each Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. for our ongoing theological conversations, which begin immediately after the 5:30 p.m. Wednesday Mass each week.

The ancient legacy of the Christian faith in southern Turkey, Syria, and Iraq brings a richness to our understanding of Jesus. Although this ancient legacy may be hidden from our western eyes, it is a treasure to be discovered: a pearl of great price. This is a documentary movie, 197 minutes, “The Hidden Pearl.”

Learn about the Aramean people before and after Christianity, about their language, their culture, their religion and traditions. This documentary will also give you an insight into the culture into which Islam emerged in the 7th Century.
Click here to view: The Hidden Pearl

Our first three conversations on Christian-Islamic dialogue set forth the need to appreciate the world of the 7th Century in which Islam emerged.

Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds gives us a short introductory lecture provided here: Lecture by Prof. Gabriel Said Reynolds.

You may also enjoy exploring Professor Reynold’s webpage, which gives access to other well-informed resources: website for Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds.

When Islam emerged into what is today Iraq, Syria and Southern Turkey, the Muslims encountered a Syriac Christianity. Professor Sydney Griffith at Catholic University of America presents a very good lecture that helps us to gain access to the 7th Century world. Click here to listen (YouTube, but audio only) to the lecture: History of Muslim-Christian relations:

The purpose of our ongoing theological conversations is to gain an understanding of Islamic and Christian theological positions: where we agree and where we differ.

Dr. Nebeel Qureshi, who recently completed his doctorate at Oxford University in England, delivered a lecture on the Biblical witness of Jesus in conversation with the Quranic Jesus. 

The lecture is very spirited in that his purpose is apologetic, that is to give a reasoned defense of the Christian faith he professes. 
BBC interview with Dr. Nebeel Qureshi

Lecture by Dr. Nebeel Qureshi

And finally, here is the first three chapters from Professor Christian Troll of Munich, in which he offers a clear and simple presentation of getting a handle on the theological issues that are at stake in Islamic Christian dialogue.

Muslim Questions, Christian Responses (PDF file)

Ethiopia: the New Spirit of Africa

When I boarded the flight from Washington to Addis Abba, I was a bit apprehensive because I would not return home until November. That is a long stretch of time! However this would be a return over 40 years later to a country that captured my imagination. Would my experience the second time around be as exciting as the first? Will I be disappointed? After settling down and waiting for takeoff I picked up the Ethiopian Airlines flight magazine and across the front under their logo was emblazoned: “Ethiopia, the New Spirit of Africa.”

Almost three weeks later as I prepared to leave, that new spirit seized me; however it is a new spirit that is rooted in the spirit of a people who have inherited a rich history.

The Spirit of Welcome
Ethiopia-ToAksum-9   

The spirit of hospitality with dignity
EthiopiaDay5-9
SpiritOf-033740

The spirit of conviviality and a zest for life
EthiopiaDay4-19    Ethiopia-Gonder-3
SpiritOf-060317

The spirit of hard work
EthiopiaDay5-11  SpiritOf-030031   Ethiopia-ToAksum-22

The spirit of mutual respect
Ethiopia-ToAksum-2

The spirit of pride in ancient Christian heritage
EthiopiaDay6-11

The spirit of piety and devotion
SpiritOf-035326  Ethiopia-Axum-18
Ethiopia-Axum-29

Spirit of pride in a heritage
Ethiopia-Gonder-23   Ethiopia-Yeha-11

The spirit of paving the way to the future
Ethiopia-ToAksum-18
Ethiopia-Yeha-22

Ethiopia-Axum-27

The spirit of respect for others who are different is a hallmark of that exceptional Ethiopian spirit of hospitality. In a country where the Gospel has informed the culture since the first days when Philip preached the Gospel to the Ethiopian in a carriage (Acts 8:26ff), the Gospel has forged a people imbued with a spirit that reaches out to others in respect. The Christian majority reaches out the Muslim minority to be their neighbors. Christians do not simply tolerate the Muslim minority but invite them into their lives by sharing coffee and their feasts. They invite them to be neighbors. In the Middle East today religious minorities are not accepted, rather are persecuted and even martyred for their faith. Ethiopia embodies that spirit of mutual respect that leads to human flourishing and a more humane culture. Thus theirs is a new spirit born of the spirit of the Gospel preached from the earliest days of Christianity, that is the new spirit of Africa.

Welcome to Ethiopia: the new spirit of Africa.
SpiritOf-020231

Living Stones, Praying within Hewn Living Stone

My driver, Alex and local tour guide invited me to attend morning prayer with them at Golgotha chapel in the church complex I toured the day before. The Ethiopians do not follow the Gregorian calendar when setting the dates of feasts. Today was the Solemnity of the Annunciation in our calendar but in their calendar it was the Feast of Mary: Promise of Mercy. The Ethiopians have a deep veneration of the Virgin Mary.

 

 

As we approached the complex it was so different. This morning the dusty hillside was covered in white.

We entered through this tunnel that gives access to the church.

There was an excitement in the air however I keep saying to my guide: “Do not lose me.” There was a crush of people; however everyone was respectful.

We were working our way to the chapel to the church where there were continual prayers being offered and chanted in different locations.

The sound of these ancient chants was mesmerizing and I was caught in prayer even though I understood no word. The ancient chants of the church whether they are Greek, Ethiopic or Latin move my soul.

The priest came towards me with the cross and was not sure if he should extend it to me for veneration. My driver spoke to him and with a smile he extended the cross for me to venerate. He then returned with a book wrapped in silk on his head. I asked what is that. My local guide said: The Miracles of Mary and he is taking them to be read to the people outside. So we followed him.

The priest read followed by energetic preaching then all of a sudden we turned our attention away from the preacher. Once again I asked: What are we doing? to which he responded we are facing east because we are praying and we always pray facing the east, ad orientem. That made my spirit soar. To pray ad orientem as the early Christians prayed.

Priests are everywhere extending the cross for veneration.

Then I saw people with bowls of ash which I found out was the ash from the incense burnt at morning Mass from which people impose ashes on their foreheads.

Notice that my local guide on the right has ashes on his forehead.

We then began a 40-minute drive to Yemrehanna Kristos. This is different in that it is not hewn out of rock but rather built more than 60 years earlier than the churches of Lalibela. My guide pointed out that in many ways this church which is an excellent example of late Aksumite style, is the blueprint for Lalibela.

Some tracery of saints on the exterior.

The windows alternate between marble and wood with multiple cross designs: Greek, Latin, Maltese, Saint Andrew, which teach the people there are Christians outside Ethiopia.

The priest proudly displayed the church cross.

On our return we began the exploration of what is called the southeastern cluster.

My guide pointed out the the thin sloping path of hewn rock is the path to heaven. If you can walk without falling it means you have no sin. I asked, have you tried this, to which responded with a smiled: as a boy.

I decided not to try.

 

We entered the church of Bet Gabriel and Rafael.

The original door is of olive wood.

Going through a series of dark tunnels we emerged at Bet Merkurios. In fact it is pitch black. My guide said keep your right hand on the wall and left on the ceiling. He called it the descent into hell to which I responded: a people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. [Is. 9:2] Perhaps this was the most delightful in that every facet of architecture led to theological discussion.

This is so faded but these are beautiful 16th century paintings on canvas.

Our journey through tunnels continued until we reached Bet Emanuel which is a finely carved church.

Notice the rock on the left. This is the rock from which the church was hewn.

More steps…

And more tunnels!

To reach Bet Abba Libanos. Notice from this side view only floor and roof remain attached to the rock.

My guide pointed out the angel eyes on the corner of the capital

We climbed out of the complex to see Golgotha.

And Transfiguration. Remember the whole complex was designed to be a place to pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

We made our way to Bet Giyorgis, the masterpiece of rock hewn churches. The structure is a perfect Greek cross with no internal pillars as my guide pointed out. I was awestruck.

We began our journey this way to the church.

This is a view of saint George church from a hill. This gives a good perspective of how the church was hewn from the rock.

My guide said the church is like Noah’s ark with three stories.

Notice he said the trench symbolizes the flight of the dove and the rock in the corner of Mount Ararat where the ark came to rest. I told him when I am in Turkey I will send him a picture of Mount Ararat.

The grass is floating over holy water. On the final fast day of Lent the priest will bring you a piece of grass like this and you tie it around your head.

My guide invited me to come back because there are many more churches and monasteries to discover. Late in the evening I said goodbye to two traveling companions who have been with me a through the Middle East and the Holy Land. They have found their final resting place. And then to my multiple pairs of socks are worn out.

I must admit I am worn out a bit too. However coming home to Ethiopia 40 years later has been for me a journey that will only lead to further journeys to Ethiopia to discover our rich Christian heritage.

I am flying on to Budapest for Holy Week and then on to Vienna to spend Easter with my family. After that I will continue on to Romania to explore the painted monasteries and churches and then on to the Silk Road in Central Asia.