One of the really interesting conversations I had during the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis was with Father Michael DeAscanis, pastor of St. Agnes parish in Catsonsville and St. William of York in West Baltimore.
We talked for a story I did on the transition to the new translation of the Roman Missal, but got to delve into some big issues of Mass and Catholicism. Ordained in 2004, Father DeAscanis received his Civil Engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University before pursuing the life of the clergy.
He had some interesting thoughts about the changes, which were just implemented this week, and how ready young people were for it.
"I think young people are just always experiencing Mass in new ways and new forms, so this will be one more fresh experience for them," Father DeAscanis said. "The challenge for priests is to have humility to what the church has given and pray it just as the apostles accepted what Jesus gave them. I think it's a challenge for priests and adults in humility to accept it and pray it."
At St. William of York, the daily Thursday Mass is celebrated in traditional Latin in an effort to educate young Catholics about the church's roots.
"We double our morning Mass attendance," Father DeAscanis said. "People come from a distance. The more we understand the Traditional Mass, the more we understand the Mass we pray today. We need to understand the roots, the origin of the prayers we pray today."
If you're studying the Traditional Mass or just delving into the new order of Mass because of these news translations, it deepens your appreciation of the prayer."
St. William of York admits he was largely unfamiliar with the Traditional Mass, saying, "you can't take anything for granted. The prayers are very intentional. You focus on what you're saying in the readings, whereas in our common daily prayers you might get sloppy and go through the motions. There's no going through the motions with the Traditional Mass when you're not familiar with it."
November 28, 2011 01:02
By Matt Palmer
I'm working on a story for the March 17 edition of The Catholic Review on Adore-a-thon, an event held at Church of the Crucifixion in Glen Burnie this past weekend. I also will have a video in the coming days on the event here at Matt Palmer's blog.
But, I wanted to share some of Father Bolger's thoughts here. He's associate pastor for that parish and two others in Glen Burnie. These were kids who willingly chose to participate in an all-night vocations activity on a Friday.
He looked around the room at the March 11 Adore-a-thon and said, "They don't carry the same sadness that you see in a lot of the faces of young people. They're not lost. They know who they are."
He said the young people in the room can be inspiration for others.
"I encourage them to, in their school or on their sports teams, to be that leaven, that salt, that light of the world. Witness by the way you live your life. I see these young people as courageous. They don't just keep it here because it's a message of hope, while at the same time a message of contradiction. They like being part of that. It's exciting."
Father Bolger added: "Our young people love the Mass. They're not trying to re-invent it. They're seeing we can have different types of music. Our life as Catholics is rooted in the Mass. I hope they find joy and a true peace in doing God's will. For some, that's priestly or religious life, for others it's marriage. I hope they remember our witness and we plant a seed that Christ causes to grow one day and to flourish into priestly and religious vocations."
March 14, 2011 11:29
By Matt Palmer
Is Aslan really meant to be Christ?
Actor Liam Neeson
, voice of "Aslan
in the Chronicles of Narnia
" film series, believes the magical lion represents more than Christ.
Neeson, who was raised Catholic in Ireland, believes Aslan is all great spiritual leaders rolled into one figure. He said this at a press conference to promote latest Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader
“Yes, Aslan symbolizes a Christ-like figure, but he also symbolizes for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries,” he said.
A key figure in C.S. Lewis' camp was quick to debate the point in the Catholic News Service story linked above.
Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis’s former secretary and a trustee of his estate, disagreed with Neeson’s assessment.
“Lewis would have simply denied that,” said Hooper, an American Catholic who lives in Oxford, England.
“He (Lewis) wrote that the ‘whole Narnian story is about Christ,’” he told Catholic News Service in a Dec. 2 telephone interview. “It is nothing whatever to do with Islam. Lewis could not have been clearer.
What say you literary and movie fans? Comment on Neeson's reservations when it comes to Jesus. Is he just trying to be politically correct? Does he have a point?
December 06, 2010 03:28
By Matt Palmer
Sean Comber has become a vital part of shining the light on teens
Sean Comber is the man behind the lens. The 19-year-old St Pius X (Rodgers Forge) parishioner was everywhere at the Baltimore Youth Catholic Conference, taking photos and producing videos for celebrated films and galleries. Comber produced several promo films for BYCC to get teens excited about the conference in Ocean City.
The Loyola Blakefield graduate did all of this while attending Drexel University, where he is a sophomore.
Scott Miller, director of Youth and Young Adults Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, called the aspiring music producer and engineer a "photographer and videographer extraordinaire," this week in one of his blogs.
Comber answered some questions about his efforts.
Matt Palmer: The BYCC Man video was a bit hit, as were the others from BYCC. What went in to putting that together?
Sean Comber: We began talking and thinking about exactly what we needed and wanted out of the video around the time of late summer.
After that it was a matter of figuring out what to talk about and locations to work at. We ended up talking with the staff of the BYCC location hotel and worked out a day that we could go down and get access to a room to film. Through out the day we shot footage for three videos: the rules video and two promotional videos. Other footage and voiceover audio was shot and recorded at my studio in Towson.
Matt Palmer: How early did you and Nate (BYCC Man) Nockett go down to Ocean City to film? What were the biggest obstacles and what was the most fun?
Sean Comber: I along with Scott Miller, head of DYYAM, and Nate Nockett, BYCC Man took a day trip to Ocean City on 7th of September. We arrived somewhere around 9 a.m. and left around 2 p.m. Probably the most challenging aspect of the day was working around the fact that we were shooting in a foreign environment. We were not able to script out exactly what we wanted in the video. It was more a process of making a list of possible scenes that we wanted to incorporate into the videos and then figuring out how we would accomplish the shot once we were on location. That being said, probably one of the most fun parts of the day was interacting with people.
Although we were not down there at peak season, there were still a lot of people. It's not easy to walk across ocean highway and the boardwalk dressed as a superhero with a camera following you without going noticed.
Matt Palmer: Is filmmaking something you’re interested in?
Sean Comber: For me filmmaking is a hobby that I also do freelance. I enjoy making films and videos, however I do not see it as a career.
Matt Palmer: How did you start doing pictures and videos for the youth and young adult office?
Sean Comber: I received my first gig with the Archdiocese from Kristin Witte (now assistant director of campus ministry for Loyola University). We had talked at retreats such as Justice Action Week. After talking about many things we eventually landed on the subject of film and video. From there it was just a matter of time.
Matt Palmer: What other projects have you worked on for the archdiocese?
Sean Comber: I have produced Pilgrimage promos for 2010 and 2011, a Pilgrimage look back with photos that I took from the event in 2010, as well as a promotional piece for Justice Action Week in addition to my BYCC 2010 work.
Matt Palmer: What has been your favorite and why?
Sean Comber: Although BYCC was fun to film, I must say that the Justice Action Week Promo is my favorite. I got to have fun with this. We set up a sound stage at St William of York and spent a few solid days filming interviews in front of a green screen. It gave me a lot of footage in front of a changeable background that I was able to sift through to find exactly what I wanted.
Matt Palmer: Were you involved in youth ministry in high school and how did that affect you?
Sean Comber: I was very involved in youth ministry in high school. I went to all the conferences, retreats and events. Having been previously involved as a participant in the events that I have worked allows me to approach the project at an angle that appeals to the participant as well as some of the major factors of the event or retreat that I know from experience will be a major selling point.
Matt Palmer: Why do you continue to be involved in projects like this for the archdiocese?
Sean Comber: Aside from being able to work with a great group of people, it gives me a chance to revisit all the great events that I loved when I was in high school from a completely different point of view.
Matt Palmer: What would you like to try with these projects that you haven’t done yet?
Sean Comber: I am always thinking of how I can make the videos look more professional and be more appealing and engaging to the audience that it is intended for. I would very much like to incorporate more material that is from the point of view of actual participants.
Matt Palmer: What have you learned about teenagers through these projects?
Sean Comber: I have learned that the young church (middle and high school age) is as strong as ever. Every year we are getting more participants that are even more energetic than the previous year. It is inspiring and comforting.
November 25, 2010 06:42
By Matt Palmer
Father John Hurley and the staff of Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Father John Hurley, a Paulist, has been a busy man since starting the Department of Evangelization five months ago.
Through it all, though, the executive director of the department has made it his mission to be out with the people, particularly the teens so vital to the Catholic Church.
He celebrated the closing BYCC's Mass and shared some parting thoughts with the teens before they returned to their parishes and high schools.
"I am ever more convinced that the future of the church is in good hands in the archdiocese," Father Hurley said. "My staff has heard me say this over and over again and I will continue to say it over and over again, the youths are not the future of the church, but the future of the church depends on our youths."
He continued, "But, with that brothers and sisters comes a heavy responsibiity that we have shared and rejoiced in this week: the call to discipleship. So, next time you look in the mirror in the morning when you get up, rather than saying "Oh my God" say that "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ," and maybe something profound will happen throughout that day. God has great things in store for us. Amen?"
The 500-plus people in the ballroom responded "Amen," resoundingly.
Father Hurley extended an invitation to vocational discernment for the young people in attendance, pointing to two archdiocan priests, Father Austin Murphy and Father Michael Triplett as inspiration.
"God does have amazing surprises for us," Father Hurley said.
He reminded the youths to follow history's biggest hero.
"I'm often reminded that Jesus invited 12," he said. "One doubted, one betrayed and one committed suicide. Even because of all of that, you and I are here today. If it can happen to that lot of that pack of 12, and to Dismas, just imagine what can happen with 500 of us here this day. "
"Brother and Sisters," he continued, "let us pray that God's spirit be upon us because the kingdom of God is in our midst."
November 23, 2010 10:56
By Matt Palmer