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Songs and Scriptures

 

Whether you missed our annual Advent retreat

or would like to go through it again,

you will appreciate our online version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our St. Joseph/St. Raphael Lector Retreat, held in October, gave us valuable insights on the Holy Scriptures.  Now this retreat is online and available to all.  National Bible Week is a great time to set aside some time to go through it.  The retreat takes about 90 minutes and is best with a partner, but you can do it on your own, too.

In honor of National Bible Week, the USCCB is offering 7 days of scripture meditations delivered to your inbox.  

Need some ideas for incorporating Scripture into your life or into the lives of your children?  Not sure how to choose a Bible or look up Scripture passages?  Want to find a good method of meditating on the Bible passages you read?  Here are pdf some helps (175 KB) in honor of National Bible Week, Nov. 13-19, 2016.

To celebrate National Bible Week, why not spend some time delving into the Word of God?  The Diocese of Little Rock, in conjunction with those who publish the Little Rock Scripture Study, has made a 13-part Scripture study on the Jubliee Year of Mercy Available online.  

While many religious leaders have clearly chosen sides in this year's election, the Catholic Conference of Ohio (which is the association of Ohio bishops) insists that it is up to each individual to follow her or his well-formed conscience in discerning their vote. The following is the statement issued by the Ohio bishops, including our own Archbishop Schnurr, on this year's election:
"In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue. The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her properly formed conscience.
As bishops, we do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote. Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God's truth.
Catholic voters are called to properly form their consciences in preparation for voting and for the continued advocacy for just laws and policies required after voting. This process should focus on moral principles, the defense of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good. It requires constant prayer, understanding of Church teaching, and discernment that goes beyond campaign rhetoric and partisan politics.
This discernment should focus on a candidate's consistency with moral principles, sincerity, integrity and the ability to effect the policies that he or she promotes. It should also include seeking and verifying background information regarding a candidate's stance on policy issues, and a consideration of those who would be directly impacted by such policies."
In addition, Pope Francis has issued the following statement on the election: "During an electoral campaign I never say a word. The people are sovereign, and I would say only: study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience."

In honor of St. Martin’s Day, you are invited to a special viewing and reflection of the PBS documentary:

 

 

Sunday, November 6

11:45-2:00

in Hoban Hall

(the basement of St. Raphael Church located at 225 E. High St. in Springfield)

 

Pam Long, the regional director of the Archdiocese’s Catholic Social Action office, will lead a discussion after the film.  We encourage everyone to share their insights, observations, and stories. Our annual St. Martin’s Day potluck luncheon will take place at the same time.  Contact Lisa Lenard at 323-7523.

 

Slavery By Another Name:

“Challenges one of America's most cherished assumptions --

the belief that slavery in the United States ended with

Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation --

by telling the harrowing story of how a new system of involuntary

servitude took its place in the South with shocking force…and the legacy it has left us.”

 

 

 

 

Season of Caring for Creation

1 September – 4 October

Starts: September 1 – World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Pope Francis recently proclaimed it as a day of prayer for creation, as

the Orthodox Church has done since 1989, to “draw from our rich

spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of

creation.”

Ends: October 4 – Solemnity of Saint Francis of Assisi

As our Seraphic Founder, Saint Francis gives us a model to imitate,

celebrate and reflect on as the Patron of Ecology and author of

the Canticle of the Creatures.

Pope Francis uses the phrase ‘integral ecology’ and warns against a narrow scientific

focus on the modern environmental crisis. It might best be seen as a type of package to

guide our daily living. Focused first on Christian worship of the Creator of all, Integral

Ecology has implications for choices in the human journey, our life style and values -

to confront the impact of ‘dictatorial economics’ on the world’s poor and the earth

itself. The Pope invites us to revisit the integral connection between Justice, Peace and

Integrity of Creation.

pdf Download the prayers for the Season of Caring for Creation here. (310 KB)

One of our parishioners wanted to share this story of how she was overwhelmed by the blessing of being used by God to answer someone else's prayers.

"As summer wound down, I decided to help my daughter go through her closet. Over the last several months, I accumulated a couple of bags of clothes and shoes to which we added more. As we continued to go through clothes, she decided she no longer needed her uniform items. My oldest daughter joined in and brought me her old uniform items as well. Clearly, I thought I was clothing 6 kids with uniforms from all of the items we found. Many of the uniform shirts were still in the plastic! Being the planner that I am, I clearly bought uniforms ahead and then forgot I bought ahead and bought more so I had an abundance of uniform items. Blue shirts, oxfords, skirts, jumpers, pants, etc. Catholic Central has a uniform exchange, so I intended to take the items to the school to help families there.

It was Friday morning, I carried all of the bags to the van. I intended to drop the uniform items at Catholic Central first, but as I loaded up the kids to do some school shopping I decided to go to St. Vincent DePaul first because it was closer to where I lived. As I was unloading the bags for donation, a woman who just pulled up in a car asked me if I happened to have any school clothes in there. I said, “You don’t happen to need uniform items, do you?” Her eyes got big and very enthusiastically, “YES, I DO!” I asked her what size. She was not sure, so I said, “Come with me.” She said, “OH, you are kidding me!?”

“Nope, come on.”

She followed me to my van and as I pulled things out of my uniform bag, she told me how her daughter had just called her frantic because she needed uniforms for her daughter (the woman’s grandchild) but was unable to afford them. The Grandmother continued to pull money from her pocket and say, “I was able to scrape together $26.00 to try to find something for my Granddaughter.” I asked her to give me a hug, which she did. As I continued to pull items we thought she could use out of my bag, she kept telling me how she was praying to God all the way over to the store. Once we got everything out that she felt she could use, she told me how she was good with a needle and thread and would fix anything that needed it. She now had an armload of uniform items which she began to carry to her car saying, “I am going to hide these in my car so I can surprise my daughter.” Just then, a friend came out and said, “She is in there freaking out because she can’t find any…..Oh my! Where did you get all of that!?” She explained that this “nice lady” had some uniforms she gave to me. The friend encouraged her to go in and show her daughter. Before we parted, the lady asked for another hug which I gladly gave her.

 

I walked away from that encounter on cloud 9. So happy that I could help someone with all of those uniforms I purchased. My overabundance allowed another person to save the $26.00 she had to scrape together for uniforms for her Granddaughter. I got to feel the overwhelming honor of being a vessel that allowed God to answer someone’s prayers. When I think of all the decisions made that brought the two of us together at that moment, I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in what happened. I am reminded that Father asked us to think about the Our Father when we pray….”Give us this day, Our daily bread...” I pray that others will open themselves up and allow the Spirit in to move them to be in service of others. The awesomeness of the power of God and the Holy Spirit can be found in even the smallest of gestures. In that moment, I felt chosen and unworthy and loved more than words can express."

Water in Short Supply – Well Needed at St. Lucy’s: 


Sr. Dorothy Stang is buried at the St. Raphael Center near Anapu in Para Brazil. The center is a major gathering space for the people of St. Lucy Parish. The St. Raphael Center is a large, covered space with shallow wells from the nearby river. With the climate change in the region, those wells are drying up and there is not clean water for people to drink when they gather. This has become a very important community issue that needs to be addressed so that the community can continue to meet and be of support for each other. The solution is that a semi-artesian well needs to be dug and then set up to deliver that water.

On June 23, on behalf of the people of St. Joseph/St. Raphael Parish, Pat Wickham presented Sr. Rebecca Spires, SND a check for $3,236.73 to be used for the well project. This money came from the Advent & Lenten Alms cans and the monies collected at Scripture Safari over the past year. We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to all who used alms can or made donation during the Lenten Advent Seasons as we prepared to celebrate the birth Jesus and His death and resurrection. Jesus continues His saving mission here on earth for and through all of us. Money collected at this year’s Safari will also go towards the well project.

Lost Coin Challenge:
 
In the parable of the lost coin, a woman loses one of ten coins she possesses. She then cleans her house until it is found. She rejoices in finding it because it is very important to her. Sometimes coins aren’t very important to us. We drop them into the console of our cars, leave them in our pants pockets to get washed, and let them drift under the couch cushions. Yet these small coins can do a big job when pooled together. We just sent $3236.73 to Brazil, and that money was mostly a collection of small coins.

 

We have challenged our Safari kids to seek out the lost coins at home (with their parents’ permission) and bring these lost coins to Safari tomorrow. All money collected will be sent to St. Lucy’s for the well project.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Safari!  If you missed it, you can still share in the fun with our Safari Newsletter and Safari Devotions.  Also look for more memories from past Safaris on our Facebook page.

 

 

On Wednesday, the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, along with their teen and adult helpers and Safari Gold, cooked up a meal for 200 people at the Springfield Soup Kitchen.  The 4th, 5th, and 6th graders chopped lettuce, green onions, cucumbers, green peppers, and tomatoes for a huge amount of salad.  Teen and adult helpers sliced cantaloupes and watermelon.  Safari Gold browned hamburger for sloppy joes.  Working together, we made a meal for 200 in just 2 hours time and gained a new appreciation for those who cook for 200 people twice a week!  To top off that meal, we had asked our parishioners to bring in pies and ice cream, and the desserts rolled in all morning!  Pre-K even helped by baking pans of brownies.

Many thanks to all who worked chopping and frying and to all who donated pies and ice cream.  A special thanks goes out to Catanzaro's for donating all the produce and to the family who donated all the buns.

5th Grade Makes Blessing Bags – You Can, Too!
This week, the 5th grade is making Blessing Bags constructed from children’s tank tops. They will be filled with soap, washcloths, toothbrushes, and other toiletries donated between now and Friday. 
The bags are simple to make. Begin with a small tank top (child’s 7-8, or close to that size). Sew the front to the back about 2 inches from the bottom hem. Fringe below the seam, and tie fringes together. Using a darning needle and heavy cotton thread, run needle through 1 eye of a large button. Making 1 inch stitches, go around top of shirt starting just off the middle of the front. Be sure to be just under the back top seam. When you get back to the button, cross the threads one over the other, like the first step in making a knot and then go through other button eye. Knot ends of thread to prevent button slipping off.
The bag is complete and can then be filled with a variety of items.
Donated bags will be taken to the Interfaith Hospitality Network which serves homeless children and their families. 
Adults who want to participate in this project are welcome to make their own bags and fill them or to donate additional toiletries in lots of 12. Please bring all donations to Hoban Hall by Friday morning of Safari.

Going on Safari for 30 years- This year’s adventure BEGINS IN LESS THAN 1 WEEK! Our theme, “Showing God’s Mercy in the World” builds on last year’s “Wild Mercy." Last year we focused on what exactly mercy is as we prepared to enter this Jubilee year. This year we will look at how we live a life of mercy.  A new addition this year will be an e-newsletter. This daily post will go out on our parish website and be emailed to all the participants’ families and helpers. But we don’t want to leave anyone out! You too can be part of Scripture Safari by sending Lisa an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  asking to be added to the group list. Each day there will be a Scripture reflection, announcements, other links to deepen the theme of the day and memories of past Safari years. Please pray for good weather and safety for all.  We are confident that the Holy Spirit will provide the energy throughout the week.

WE NEED MORE TEENS! We currently have 39 adults and 58 teens that have answered our call and are ready to lead the children on Safari. We moved our Safari from our usual August date to the middle of July to make our Vacation Bible School more available for our teen helpers who were experiencing fall sport conflicts. We did get a better turn out  but it will be even better if you can come.  Please contact Patty Larger (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 323-7523) if you are still able to help! 

 

AND KIDS! We still need many more children to fill our classrooms.  As of the bulletin deadline, we have 91 participants registered with most classes a little more than half full. Except our Preschool; this is bursting at the seams with 18 four-year-olds! Registration forms are online, in the back of church and at the office. It is a big help to have the majority of children preregistered so our leaders can provide enough craft supplies and snacks for all.  

 

 

This year we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Scripture Safari, and we are inviting all adults who have gone on Safari, and those who have never gone before, to go on Safari with us!  We will be offering several opportunities for YOU to connect to Safari through social media and service opportunities.

1)     A daily newsletter will be e-mailed to participants and parents.  It will contain the daily scriptures, reflections, and home connections as well as reminders.  This newsletter will be available on our parish Facebook page and website (www.josephraphael.org).

2)     We will be sharing photos and memories of past Safaris on both the Facebook page and website.  You are encouraged to share your own photos and memories.

3)     On Wednesday, July 13, the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders and Safari Gold will be preparing a meal for the Springfield Soup Kitchen, and Safari Gold and teen helpers will be serving the meal at the soup kitchen that evening. Because the time for the kids to cook is limited, YOU are needed to prepare dessert.  Bake your favorite pie or summer cobbler (in a disposable pan) and drop it off at the parish office between 8:00-4:00 on Wednesday.  Many pies are needed to serve 200 people.  Can’t bake?  Donate a tub of vanilla ice cream to go with the pie.

 

4)     Look for other opportunities to connect to Safari in the bulletin and on our Facebook page and website.

Here are more pictures from the cemetery clean-up on May 28th.

 

We want to thank all of the volunteers who worked hard to make our 2nd Annual St. Raphael Cemetery Clean-up Day a tremendous success!  The gift of your time and talents has preserved a piece of our community's history.

Last year we began the clean-up and restoration of St. Raphael Cemetery which had been overgrown for decades.  After two work days, it looked better than it had in a very long time.  Our 2016 goals were to maintain the progress made in 2015 and to remove the remainder of the brush and trash.

54 people turned out to help with the clean-up on May 28th.  We enjoyed a beautiful day outside while volunteers gathered 10 lawn bags of trash.  [Way less than last year!]  Others used weed eaters, chain saws, and pruners to remove a number of small seedlings, dead and low-lying limbs, and weeds between the headstones and along the treeline.  Brush was fed into a chipper and deposited in a 40 yd dumpster that was nearly full by the time we finished.  

Volunteers worked hard to prune a small tree near the street, but once they had it shaped, they noticed an electric line, which once had hung between the branches.  The tree had grown around the electric line, encasing it and creating a dangerous situation so Ohio Edison has been called, and the tree will have to be taken down.  In its place, one volunteer plans to plant some donated juniper bushes.

Small flags were placed along the street to honor the veterans who rest in the cemetery.  Flags were also placed on the graves of the four identifiable veterans: Corp. Jerry Kelley, U.S. Infantry; Sgt. Emmett Haley, U.S. Army, WWI; Corp. John Connell, 12th Cavalry; and Gideon Reinhardt, Ohio Cavalry.  Most veterans in the cemetery do not have markers identifying their service so we discussed the possibility of listing their names on a plague at the opening of the cemetery sometime in the future.

After a hard morning's work, we settled into the shade of the huge maple tree at the front of the cemetery.  Another volunteer, who wishes to remain anonymous, brought hots dogs and hamburgers, chips and cookies, and plenty of cold drinks for all!  We thank her, and those who helped her, very much!  It was fun picnicking and socializing with the people we had just worked beside.

While we were eating, we already began making plans for next year which include enlisting a volunteer to make a plot map of the grave locations which still have legible markers and filling in sunken graves with dirt and topping with grass seed.  Again thank you to all of our many hard-working volunteers! 

 

 

Dear Eucharistic Ministers,

           For the past 4 or 5 years – no one remembers exactly, but it was long before Fr. Caylor left, we have wanted to put together retreats for each of our liturgical ministries.  However, like many items on a to-do list, it kept getting pushed aside for more urgent matters.  As your pastoral staff, it is our job to equip you for ministry and to provide you with faith formation opportunities to strengthen you to live out your holy calling as the Body of Christ.  We have dreamed of being able to share this retreat with each of you, and we hope and pray that you will want to share this formational time with each other and with us.

While there will be a few minutes at the end of each retreat for some procedural review and training for new Eucharistic ministers, that is not primarily what this retreat is about.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith lives, and this will be a time to delve deeper into that mystery.  Each of you has received a calling from God to distribute the Eucharist to others either at mass or by taking communion to the sick.  We hope to provide you with a time to reflect on this call and to come to a greater appreciation of the gift of the Eucharist.

We value each of you, both as parishioners and Eucharistic ministers, and we consider this retreat a gift for you.  We also appreciate your time and your busy schedules so we have set aside two dates in hopes this will make the retreat accessible for everyone.  You need only attend one session.   You may attend at either church.  You do not need to attend at the church where you minister.

The retreats will be held on:

June 1st – 6:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Church

OR

June 18th – 9:00-11:00 a.m. at St. Raphael Church

 

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa or Patty at 323-7523.

 

With gratitude for your service,

 

Lisa and Patty

The statue of Mary has returned to the St. Raphael courtyard.  She will still be undergoing some repairs this spring but they will be done in place.  Visit our Facebook page to watch dramatic footage of her return.

LAY PASTORAL MINISTRY PROGRAM For over 40 years, the Archdiocesan lay formation program has prepared adult Catholics to serve families, parishes and communities as missionary disciples, pastoral ministers and everyday evangelists. Evening and Saturday classes, flexible formation components and an outstanding faculty allow your parishioners to fit theological studies and spiritual formation into a busy adult schedule. The program fulfills requirements for applying to the permanent diaconate and classes count toward archdiocesan catechetical certification. Graduates of the Non-Degreed Certificate option may receive 24 credit hours towards an Associate’s Degree at Chatfield College.

As you identify and encourage future deacons, catechists, bereavement ministers, formation directors and parish volunteers, please invite them to explore how lay Catholic studies through the LPMP can help them prepare for new opportunities as they discern and respond to God’s call. Locations for 2016-17 include the Main campus, St. Ignatius and Pilarczyk Center.

The following information meetings will be held outlining program options, components, application process and fees:

Dayton: Archbishop Pilarczyk Center located at 1436 Needmore Road on March 19 at 10:00 a.m., April 6 at 7:00 p.m., or April 9 at 10:00 a.m.

Cincinnati: Main Campus, 6616 Beechmont Avenue on February 27 at 10:00 a.m., March 15 at 7:00 p.m., or April 16 at 10:00 a.m. 

Call 513.231.1200 or email Dr. Susan McGurgan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

SAFARI PLANNING MEETING DATES HAVE CHANGED!

We apologize for the change but we needed to move the adult and teen meetings up one week. They will be on June 8th ( Adult) and June 9th ( Teen). Still at 7pm in Hoban Hall.

ARE YOU PLANNING YOUR SUMMER GET-AWAY DATES YET? Scripture Safari is making a big change that you need to have on your calendar! SCRIPTURE SAFARI WILL BE JULY 11TH THROUGH JULY 15TH. I realize that this is 3 weeks earlier than our traditional date. We are making this change for our teen helpers. All fall high school activities- sports and band- now begin on August 1st. This has kept many of our high school and some junior high helpers away. We have listened to their requests! Now our request is for you to put these dates on your calendar and plan to be with us for our 30th Anniversary of Scripture Safari is this year! The Adult Planning Meeting will be June 8TH  and the Teen Meeting the next day on June 9th . Both meetings will be at 7pm. There will be lots more information coming. Contact Patty Larger at 323-7523 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions. 

We are blessed to have two new prayer groups meeting in our parish.

DEEPENING PRAYER GROUP

Meets the 3rd Thursday every other month. (Six times a year.)

Next meeting: Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
We will be meeting in the narthex of St. Raphael Church. Because of the construction, please enter through the side door of the parish office.
Deepening group is an experience of contemplative prayer resting in repetitive sacred music and scripture reading. 
Group leader is Lou Ann Horstman.
For more information, call the parish office or just come and participate or listen quietly.

 

CHARISMATIC PRAYER GROUP

Meets the third Saturday of each month.

Next meeting: Saturday, Nov. 21 at 9:00-10:30 a.m.
We meet in St. Joseph Church.
Charismatic prayer is a communal gathering to praise God as the Holy Spirit moves us.
Group leader is Alicia DeWitt.
For more information, call the parish office or just come and participate.

The USCCB has some great ideas and information to help you celebrate National Bible Week.  Follow the links below to the USCCB's website.

 

Making the Word of God a Part of Your Home

 

Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Art and Practice of Lectio Divina

 

Sharing the Word of God at Home

 

Enthroning the Bible in the Family

 

I Hear a Symphony: The Many Meanings of “the Word of God”

 

The Word of God as the Foundation of the Church’s Mission

 

Basics of Biblical Literacy

 

What is the best translation of the Bible?
Everyone (unless you know ancient Hebrew or Greek) reads the Bible in translation. The best translation for YOU is one that YOU can read and understand. That being said, some translations are more readable than others, and some translations are closer to the original text.
The New American Bible (NAB) is the translation we use at mass & was translated under the direction of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It is a very readable translation and uses modern American English.
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) was translated around the middle of the last century by a group of ecumenical scholars. It is known for being the most accurate translation but is more difficult to read than the NAB because of word choices. Look for a Catholic Edition or your Bible will be missing books.
The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is an updated version of the RSV with inclusive language and a more readable style. Again, look for a Catholic Edition.

How do I look up passages in the Bible?

Looking up scriptures can be daunting unless you know what the numbers and letters mean.  Let’s use Luke 10:38-42 to break the code. 

In this reference, “Luke” is the name of the book within the Bible.  The Bible is actually a small library containing many different books.  The name in a scripture reference is always the name of the book for which you are looking.

The first number is the chapter number within the book.  In this reference, you are looking for chapter 10.

The numbers after the colon refer to the verse numbers.  The first number is your starting place.  The last number is your ending place.  Numbers separated by a hyphen mean start at the first verse listed and read through until you finish the last verse listed.  (In our example, read verses 38 through 42.)  If the numbers are separated by a comma, that means read just the verses listed.  (If we write our example like this: Luke 10:38, 42 then we just read verse 38 and verse 42.)

If a reference is written like this: Luke 10:38-11:4, that means you will start at Luke, chapter 10, verse 38 and read through to Luke, chapter 11, verse 4.

References for this week’s daily readings can be found on the first page of our bulletin.

How do I practice Lectio Divina?

Lectio divina is a form of meditation rooted in liturgical celebration that dates back to early monastic communities.  The practice is resurfacing today as a wonderful way to meditate on God’s Word.  The Latin phrase “lectio divina” may be translated as “divine reading.”  As one reads and invites the Word to become a transforming lens that brings the events of daily living into focus, one can come to live more deeply and find the presence of God more readily in the events of each day.  The method of lectio divina follows four steps: reading, meditation, contemplation, and prayer.

1.       Read a short Scripture passage, pausing on a single word or phrase that resonates with the mind and heart.

2.       Reflect upon what was read, especially words which seem to jump out at you.

3.       Open your heart to experience God and discover the insights God is giving you through this Scripture passage. 

4.       Pray about what was read, heard, or experienced or about the questions that have arisen in the depths of your being.

 

What is the best way to begin reading the Bible?

The worst way to begin reading the Bible is by starting with Genesis and trying to read cover to cover. Most people who begin this way get bogged down in the laws of Leviticus and the genealogies in Numbers and soon abandon reading the Bible.

A better way to introduce yourself to daily Bible reading is by beginning with the Psalms. The Psalms express every conceivable human emotion, and the book is comprised of 150 mostly short chapters; there is something to interest everyone in the Psalms. The Gospel of Mark is another great place to begin. The action in Mark moves swiftly, and because the book is short, you can get the overall story very quickly. Also consider starting by reading the daily mass readings which are printed each week on the first page of our bulletin.

 

 

How can I better understand the Bible?

Study Bibles provide notes on each passage explaining not only the text but customs, culture, history, and language of the biblical world. Joining a weekly Bible study is a great way to delve deeply into specific passages, books, or topics in the Bible. We have 2 weekly Bible studies in our parish. They meet Mondays at 7:00 p.m. in the St. Joseph Parish Center and Thursdays 10:00 a.m. - noon in the parish office.

 

 

What is the difference between BCE, CE, BC, and AD?

 

For centuries, Christians using the Gregorian calendar, invented by Pope Gregory the Great, defined time in reference to the coming of Christ. The terms BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini – year of our Lord) were used. In today’s scientific world, including the world of biblical scholars, the more inclusive terms BCE (before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) are used. Dates remain the same as BCE and BC or CE and AD are used interchangeably.

 

 

What is the difference between the Torah, Pentateuch, and the Books of Moses, and how are they related to the Bible?

These are all names given to the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Torah is the name given to these books in Jewish tradition. Pentateuch is the word used by biblical scholars, and the term “Books of Moses” is actually a misnomer given because at one point people thought all five books had been written by Moses.

 

 

What are the major and minor prophets?

The major prophets are the longer books of the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The minor prophets are all the other, shorter books of the prophets, one of which is only one chapter long.

 

 

Are there really “hidden” or “lost” books of the Bible?

The Catholic Bible contains all the books that were ever part of the official Christian canon of scripture. However, before the canon was closed by the Council of Hippo in 393 CE, there were other books used in some churches. These books were not included in the Christian canon because they had fallen into disuse, were not as popular as other books, or did not express the church’s theology as well.

 

 

Are the Dead Sea Scrolls part of the Bible?

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of scrolls found in caves located around the Dead Sea in Israel in 1962. The scrolls date no later than the first century CE. Most are copies of biblical texts currently found in the Hebrew Bible/Protestant Old Testament. The non-biblical scrolls in the collection are unique texts presumably written for the nearby community at Qumran and include inventories, rules for community life, and an apocalyptical text known as the War Scroll.

 

 

Why are there more books in the Catholic Bible than in Protestant Bibles?

The answer to this question is a bit long, but very interesting. The books which are in the Bible were not the only books of their kind written, nor were they the only books ever used as scripture by Jews or Christians. However, by the time Jesus was born at the beginning of the first century, there was a commonly used group of texts which were used in the Jewish community.

In Jerusalem and the area immediately surrounding the city, called Judea, Jews spoke and read Hebrew and used the scriptures which were written in Hebrew. However, because of the Babylonian Exile (587-539 BCE), many Jews lived in the outside the Holy Land and no longer spoke Hebrew.

The commonly used Hebrew texts had been translated into Greek around 285-246 BCE. Added to the translated Hebrew texts were the works written originally in Greek. Altogether they formed the collection of biblical books known as the Septuagint. Jews living outside Jerusalem, and then Christians, used the Septuagint as their holy scriptures until after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE.

After the Temple was destroyed, both Jews and Christians had to figure out how to continue their faiths traditions without the Temple as the focal point for their religions. The leading rabbis of the day met in a city called Jamnia in 90 CE. At this point the rabbis making the decisions for the Jewish community decided to use only the scriptures originally written in Hebrew. The list of Jewish Holy Scriptures, called the Jerusalem canon, became a closed, final list.

Christians, however, were still writing the uniquely Christian scriptures (known now as the New Testament), and were still using the Septuagint because the majority of Christians spoke and read Greek. Churches throughout the Mediterranean area collected letters written to the various churches. Soon lists of preferred epistles appeared, and those epistles on the lists were copied and more widely distributed. A number of gospels were written, including the four now in the Christian canon.

The first list of authoritative Christian scriptures did not appear until 150 CE. Other lists appeared over time, but it wasn’t until 325 that the Council of Nicaea affirmed a list of books for the New Testament. In 367, Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, suggested a list of canonical books which included the entire Septuagint as the Old Testament and the New Testament that had been confirmed at the Council of Nicea. This list, which included all the books which are now in the Catholic Bible, was affirmed at the Council of Hippo in 393 at which point the Christian canon of scripture was closed, and no books were to be added to or deleted from it.

By the time of the Council of Hippo, the Greek Septuagint had been translated into Latin by St. Jerome and his assistants, Marcella, Paula, and Eustochium. This translation was called the Vulgate, and it remained the only Christian Bible until the Protestant Reformation began in 1517. Martin Luther, after his break with the Catholic Church, decided to use the Jerusalem canon (which didn't contain the books written in Greek) for the Protestant Old Testament. Luther also wanted to delete the Epistle of James from the Protestant canon, but his advisors warned against any changes to the New Testament. Hence, the Protestant Bible has fewer books in its Old Testament than the Catholic Bible while their New Testaments remain the same.

The books in the Catholic Bible which do not appear in Protestant Bibles are: Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and certain passages in Esther and Daniel.

NATIONAL BIBLE WEEK 2015

From November 15–21, 2015, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites families, parishes, schools, and other Catholic groups to participate in National Bible Week in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. This year's theme, "The Bible: A Book for the Family," builds on this year's Synod of Bishops on the Family and Pope Francis's visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

Ideas for Celebrating National Bible Week:

1.    First, focus on yourself.  The first rule of making the Word of God a central part of the home is to first make it a priority in one’s own life. Parents cannot pass on to children what is not firmly rooted in their own lives. Take a few moments each day to read God’s Word.

 

2.    Invite your family.  Suggest reading a brief Bible verse or Bible story together each day. This can be done at the conclusion of a meal, as part of a bedtime ritual, or prior to school and work as a blessing for the day.

 

3.    Link parish and home.  Don’t let what happens in church stay in church.  Make connections between the liturgy and the home. Read the weekly Scriptures before Sunday Mass (find the daily liturgical readings, both in text and as a podcast, at www.usccb.org ). Promote active listening at weekly Mass by asking children what they heard in the homily and discussing how it applies to the family.

 

4.    Attend special programs.  Look over your parish’s offerings for a special catechetical program the family could attend.  At home, designate one night as family Bible night. Together, watch a DVD on the life of Jesus (or an animated Bible story, if children are younger), look up information on Jesus and the Bible on Catholic sites on the Internet, play a Bible game, or work on a puzzle or a craft that promotes familiarity with the Bible.

 

5.    Practice Lectio Divina.  The ancient practice of Lectio Divina, which means “holy reading” of the Scriptures, is a method of scriptural prayer. This process involves reading biblical passages slowly and reflectively, allowing them to shape and transform our lives. This method can be prayed individually or be learned by the entire family and made part of the life of the home.

 

6.    Display your Bible.  Decorate the area with candles, flowers, or whatever your family wishes.  A prayer ceremony for dedicating your display arrangement can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/bible/national-bible-week/upload/enthroning.pdf

 

 

The Power Point presentation from the Hunger in Ohio presentation made by a representative from Catholic Charities on Oct. 7 is now available.  While the narration for the presentation is not available, most of the slides speak for themselves.  Included are 11 ways you can help to end hunger in Ohio.

Hunger in Ohio Presentation

The Death Penalty and Senate Bill 162

 The Ohio Catholic Bishops urge support for Senate Bill 162:Prohibiting the Execution of Individuals with Severe Mental Illness

The Catholic Church has released many statements against the use of the death penalty.

The death penalty is not the answer to the problem of violence committed by persons with severe mental illnesses. The better policy is access to appropriate mental health care.

Stand with the Catholic Conference of Ohio &OAMIE to support S.B. 162. Contact Your Senator Today.

The Bill is pending in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee

 

Today, Saturday October 10, on the World Day Against the Death Penalty, abolitionists from Ohio and beyond will conclude a 7-day 83-mile walk from the Lucasville prison where the state executes death row inmates, to the statehouse in Columbus. Kathy Trangenstein, a strong member of Miami Valley Ohioans to Stop Executions and a member of Weavers of Justice, participated in the walk Wednesday and sent pictures back. More pictures of the walk are available at https://www.facebook.com/walktostopexecutions .

The Ohio Conference of Bishops offers the following reflection on the upcoming election. This information is not provided in order to sway anyone's opinion to one side or the other, but to help all reflect on the issues in light of our Catholic faith.

Bishops' Reflection

 

Springfield Promise Neighborhood is our tenant in the St. Raphael Parish Center. Their director, Dr. Bob Welker, recently wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Springfield News-Sun in response to the gun violence in Springfield and Oregon. (See below for the article.) Springfield Promise will be hosting a Youth Summit on Oct. 24. Those wishing to participate can contact them at the e-mail provided in the article.

"This is Sunday. Sabbath. Here at St. Rae’s Mission Center where we at Springfield Promise Neighborhood have our offices, the halls ring with the sounds of children in Sunday school. At the door a parishioner greets me and says, “It will be noisy for the next hour. I hope you don’t mind.”

This week in Oregon, and yes on the streets of Springfield too, the sounds of gun fire interrupted the lives of young people, and their teachers, and their parents and other adults who had no warning. According to newspaper accounts, 45 school shootings have occurred this year. Recent reports indicate that for the first time this year, more people will die by lethal gun violence than in traffic accidents. The numbers of shooting deaths each year dwarf the numbers killed in the 9/11 attacks or by terrorist activity in the United States.

Such statistics meant to alarm, may have the reverse effect. Numbed by the repetitive nature of these events, we follow a familiar path. First we are aghast and angered, then we are mournful and saddened, and then we are reminded how hard this all is – hard for the victims who receive our prayers, but hard too for anyone who might like to respond effectively with action and policy. We move on. Finding and exercising our collective will seems futile even if we remind ourselves that a culture of violence is the collective will gone wrong.

In Springfield a recent picture shows a child standing over a blood stain with wreaths and flowers hastily constructed as a sidewalk gravesite. The image becomes more horrific the more we realize that the child stands not only in the image, but that the child is forming an image. “This is how a fearful and vengeful world works; this is how my community works; this is how my life can end.”

I’m reminded this morning, how many people work for peace in Promise and throughout our many diverse neighborhoods. These are our teachers in Sunday schools and public and private schools. These are our coaches and youth leaders and safety responders. These are our parents and loved ones who work to make their neighborhoods a good place to raise a child and have a family. We need all of these people. We need more.

Several weeks ago not far from the where the child in the picture stood, neighbors held a community event we call PromiseFest. Over 1000 people attended. Family members who have been victimized by violence signed a Peace Proclamation with community officials. Youth signed a peace pledge as a price for the delightful right to put their handprint on a resident’s van.

On October 24th, Promise with neighborhood leaders and churches will be sponsoring a Youth Summit in which youth with adult models and mentors discuss their image of a full and productive life. They will consider too what crossroads they face in overcoming obstacles that might end their dreams.

This is one response to the violation that is violence. Most certainly voices will be raised. This is not noise. It is the sound of youth learning about how to create a peaceful community. This is the Sabbath. The word means to stop or cease or keep. We can act. Opportunities abound. We can stop the violence. We will together keep the peace.

Those wishing to be more involved can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."

From time to time, we like to share our Virtus training bulletins with you. This is a particularly good one to inform parents.

Mobile App Danger – Kik Messenger

By Robert Hugh Farley, M.S.

Recently, I presented three child abuse investigation workshops at the 27th Annual Crimes against Children Conference in Dallas where approximately 4000 child abuse professionals were in attendance. During the conference, I spoke with several law enforcement officers who were from Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Forces from around the United States. In the course of these conversations I posed the question, “What is the most dangerous cell phone or mobile device app that is used by young people today?” The overwhelming response was a mobile app that is called Kik.

Background

In the past, parents had been warned by law enforcement that in order to protect young people from Internet predators one should place the home computer in an open area such as a kitchen or family room. Today, many young people will only use a computer or PC to complete a homework assignment or perhaps to do research for school. Today, most social contact, especially among young people, is conducted almost exclusively on smart phones and tablets. As a result, a parent’s attempt to monitor his/her child’s technology-facilitated social contact, can be problematic because of the many innovative apps that exist or are on the social networking horizon.

Kik Messenger or Kik was released in 2010. Kik became very popular with young people in 2013 and is an instant messaging application or app for mobile communication devices. Kik utilizes Wi-Fi or a data plan to transmit and receive text messages. Currently this free, cross-platform messaging app, which is based in Canada, is available in operating systems for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. It is not available in a PC or computer format. In addition to texting, one can also share photos, videos, mobile webpages and other content. In 2015, Kik is reported to have recorded 200 million users.

Dangers

After downloading, Kik requires it’s users to register a username. The app itself is rated 17+ and although children under 13 are prohibited from using Kik, there is no age verification process when one is registering. Unlike regular texting, users are identified only by a user name and not a real name or phone number. If a parent were to check a young person‘s smartphone that parent would find that all of the data is deleted when a conversation ends. Therefore, a parent who is attempting to be proactive by trying to view their child’s conversations is left in the dark as previous conversations are automatically deleted. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where you have to be “friends” or “follow” someone before sending a message, Kik users can interact via texting at any time. As a result, Kik makes it much easier for technology-facilitated predators to operate.

Unfortunately, some young people are still unaware of the dangers of having texting conversations with technology-facilitated friends. For example, in 2014 a California man was charged federally with using Kik to blackmail and then extort eight minor females he had been “sexting” with into sending him nude photos of themselves.

As a result of the enormous amount of nude and pornographic images that were being exchanged by users of this app, in March 2015, Kik, announced that it would begin using Microsoft's PhotoDNA Cloud Service to automatically detect and report to authorities the distribution of known child pornography images.

Another dangerous feature for young people is that Kik offers its own browser with direct access to optimized webpages, using mobile web, all without leaving the Kik app. Because Kik has no parental controls, dangerous messaging webpages such as Role Play Chat or HeyHey easily allow a predator to change his personal information and then select the gender and age range of those young people he wants to text with.

Conclusion

Just banning a young person from using the Kik app is not the answer. A parent should instead sit down and talk about the dangers of texting or meeting face-to-face with those one does not really know and then discuss boundaries for the use of a mobile device such as parental permission to download apps.

Adults cannot be lulled into believing that they are attuned to today’s social networking landscape. Technology continues to rapidly change. Parents, teachers and all of us who are charged with protecting children must continue our efforts to stay abreast of the many new mobile device apps that may be used by young people and child molesters who are seeking to manipulate and abuse children.