Friday, July 25, 2008

Emergency call for housing of refugees

I received this message in my email today. Can you help?

The staff of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program sends their warm hellos and thanks for your past support of newly arrived refugees.

Many of you have been wonderful advocates for refugees for years, and it will come as no surprise to you that we are in the midst of our annual "refugee bulge." We resettle close to 70% of our annual caseload from July to September each year. (The federal calendar closes on Sept. 30, and no one flies after that until the President signs the new year's Presidential Determination - hence the overseas push out of the camps.)

Can you help us this summer?

Our two Refugee Transitional Homes are full to capacity, and Santa Clara County's housing situation is very, very difficult this year. We're finding it next to impossible to rent affordable apartments or homes on short notice. For example, we have a family of six (parents and 4 kids, ages 10 months to 13 years) from Bhutan arriving tomorrow, Friday. Their housing fell through today, and now we are scrambling to find a place for them in the next 24 hours.

Would you consider helping this family - or an individual refugee, or couple, or mother and child - during this time? Do you have extra room where you could house someone for a month or two and help us to welcome them into the country? We are expecting refugees from all over the world this month, including Burma, Bhutan, Sudan, Iraq - and we desperately need a hand.

You won't be alone - our case managers will help them with English classes, jobs, school enrollment for kids, housing - and lives will be transformed. Theirs, and yours - I know.

Thanks for considering this request, and for your past support.

Warm regards,

Coleen Higa, Community Relations Manager
Refugee Foster Care Program
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
2625 Zanker Rd., Ste. 201
San Jose, CA 95134
coleen@ccsj. org

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Managing Low Gluten Hosts at Mass

Todd Flowerday, who writes at Catholic Sensibility, has a regular feature called The Armchair Liturgist. Think of it as Monday-morning quarterbacking for Catholic geeks like you and me.

In this installment, he asks the question of how you handle giving Communion to those with wheat allergies who need low- or no-gluten hosts.

Here's a past article on the US Bishop's FAQ on Celiac Sprue Disease.

Click here to participate in the conversation at Todd's blog and to read the wisdom of his readers who have figured out how to make the Eucharistic table more hospitable to our brothers and sisters with this special need.

E-Waste Collection

Saint Lawrence the Martyr Youth Ministry is hosting a free e-waste collection on Saturday, July 26th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This will serve to keep all your old electronic waste out of landfills as well as benefit the Youth of Saint Lawrence.

Contact Bruno Martinez for more information: (408) 869-8254 or

Video Clips from World Youth Day 2008

Here's a collection of videos compiled by Judy Swazey, liturgy director at Saint Martin of Tours Parish in San José. Congratulations to all the pilgrims! Prayers for safe travel back home.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Song of Peace for the 4th of July

This has always been my favorite song for this day. You might even find it in your hymnal next to all the other patriotic songs. Peace to you and to all our lands.

(performed by the San Francisco School of the Arts)

Some background info on the lyrics here.

And a beautiful arrangement here...

(performed by The Southwest American Choral Director's Association Collegiate Choir)

Tune: FINLANDIA, Jean Sibelius (1899)
Vv. 1-2: Lloyd Stone (1912-1992)
Vv. 3-5: George Harkness

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a prayer that peace transcends in every place;
and yet I pray for my beloved country --
the reassurance of continued grace:
Lord, help us find our one-ness in the Savior,
in spite of differences of age and race.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.

This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth's kingdoms,
thy kingdom come, on earth, thy will be done;
let Christ be lifted up 'til all shall serve him,
and hearts united, learn to live as one:
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations,
myself I give thee -- let thy will be done.

Ideas for observing the Year of St. Paul

Pope Benedict XVI has declared June 29, 2008 (Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul) through June 29, 2009 the Year of Saint Paul. During this Pauline Year, how will your parish highlight the Pauline elements of our Church? Sure, you can bring in speakers and biblical scholars, or have a special Bible study course on Paul's letters, or go to a diocesan workshop on Paul.

But what are the things we already have at hand, without paying anything extra or adding another event to our calendar, that can help us celebrate Saint Paul?

Here are some no- or low-cost, simple ideas for you to do right now to honor this Pauline Year.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Blessings for World Youth Day delegates

Got a group of people traveling to Australia for this year's WYD? Send them off with a blessing. The Book of Blessings, chapter 8, has two orders for blessing pilgrims. And here's a blessing for travelers adapted from the blessing of pilgrims that you can also use.

Classifieds (outside diocese): Director of the Office of Worship

Position available: Diocese of Raleigh, Director of the Office of Worship

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, NC is seeking a Director of the Office of Worship to assist the Bishop in the role as principle liturgist of the Diocese. The position will report to the Vicar General.

The Diocese of Raleigh was established in 1924 and encompasses the eastern half of the state of North Carolina. It includes 54 counties, is divided into eight deaneries with a total of 96 parishes, missions and stations and seven centers for campus ministry. The registered Catholics in the Diocese have doubled in number since 1990, now standing at 188,000. In the past 15 years, more Spanish-speaking people have settled in North Carolina than in any other state in the Union.

The Director of the Office of Worship serves as a resource on liturgical matters to the Diocesan Bishop and to the parishes of the Diocese. The Director will also provide leadership and support in coordinating all Episcopal and Diocesan liturgies, recommending particular norms and praxis in keeping with the universal liturgical norms of the Church, and conduct liturgical formation on the Diocesan and parish levels in appropriate collaboration with Diocesan offices.

The successful candidate is a practicing Roman Catholic in good standing with a true love for God, His Church, and the Sacred Liturgy; will have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, preferably a Master's or Licentiate degree in Liturgy or Liturgical Theology. In addition, the successful candidate will have three to five years of significant experience in planning and coordinating Diocesan and/or parish liturgies; has an understanding of the Spanish language and Hispanic liturgical customs, with fluency of the language preferred; and have strong leadership and communication skills.

The Director should be an example of leadership and professionalism in the execution of all his/ her duties and work effectively with staff members, parish representatives and volunteers. Attractive characteristics of such an individual include having an understanding and appreciative attitude with an openness to learn.

Salary range is $40,000 to $50,000, commensurate with education and experience.

A letter of interest and resume should be sent in confidence to: Frank Shannon, Principal, EduSearch, Email: