Why the name?

"Holy Conversation" does sound like an exceptionally pious name, even for a parish blog. And we can't guarantee that everything here will meet the high standard the name implies. But the phrase comes from the story of our patron saint, and we think it fits. Here's why.

St. Scholastica was a sixth-century abbess who, according to the Dialogues of Pope Gregory I, used to meet once a year with her brother, St. Benedict. On the last occasion they were together, they spent their time "satisfying each other's hunger for holy conversation about the spiritual life."

We hope that this blog can become a place where the members of our parish can find a taste of the companionship and conversation that Scholastica and Benedict enjoyed so much. Welcome!

Monday, October 31, 2016

On Care for Our Common Home, Part 1


Our parish study of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s letter on care for the Earth, has reached its halfway point.  We have two groups meeting, on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.  If you would like to read or download the pope’s letter, you can do so on the Vatican website here (+).

In our first session, we began with prayer: St. Francis’s “Canticle of the Creatures.”  Then, as an introduction, we watched a brief video from Sr. Sallie Latkovich, CSJ, of the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  The video places Laudato Si’ in the context of the tradition of Catholic social teaching.


We then began reading Bill Huebsch’s summary reading guide to the letter, stopping from time to time to consult the pope’s original text, and to discuss the Pope Francis’s ideas and our own experiences and reflections.

Pope Francis addresses the letter to “every living person on the planet.”  He summarizes the strong words of his predecessors, Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, on the need to change our behavior and social structures to respond to threats to our environment.  And he cites the words of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (of the Orthodox churches) who has written: “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins.” (8) [Note: numbers cited in parentheses are the paragraph numbers of Laudato Si’.]

The pope recalls the life of St. Francis who, during the Middle Ages, identified with the poor and praised God for the elements of nature, which he spoke of as our sisters and brothers.  Pope Francis writes: “If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs.” (11)

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home,” Pope Francis writes, “includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.” (13)

We watched another CTU video, this one from Fr. Stephan Bevans, SVD, on how the pope’s call to care for the earth fits with his previous challenge for Catholics to pursue the mission of the Church.


Check this blog in the future for more information on Laudato Si' and on our study!

A Brush with Kindness

Our young people and other parish members and staff worked for Habitat for Humanity last Saturday.



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cate-Carnival 2016!

Our first Cate-Carnival to kick of the fall education season was a great success!  There were hotdogs, popcorn, and sno-cones; face-painting, games and crafts; and information and sign-ups for our elementary religious education program as well as adult faith enrichment resources.

Thanks to all who participated and to the religious education catechists who led the activities!

One of the most popular features was photos with Pope Francis and the newly canonized St. Teresa of Kolkata.  See some samples below.



 
Watch out for the hotdog man!

Finding Our Place in Creation

On September 15, about 15 parish members and guests welcomed Prof. Daniel P. Scheid of Duquesne University to St. Scholastica.  Dan spoke to us about Pope Francis's encyclical letter Care for Our Common Home (Laudato Si')  as well as on his own recently published book, The Cosmic Common Good.  St. Scholastica staff member Andrew Bechman took part in the conversation, as did several of the parish members present.
Dan Scheid

If you would like to listen to the evening's conversation, you can find Part 1 here (+) and Part 2 here (+) on SoundCloud.

You can also join us during October in reading Pope Francis's letter.  Copies will be available at church during the month, and groups of parish members will be reading and discussing a condensed plain-language version of the document.  More information is available here.

We encourage you to read and reflect upon this challenging and trenchant letter!
Dan's book

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Camp Helping Hand 2016

Our service camp for middle school students met this week.  The participants undertook a variety of projects, including building a fence and a retaining wall!






Appalachia Mission Trip 2016

During the last week of June,  our parish team of teens and adults ventured into West Virginia to work in an area that was recently flooded.  Their work there earned them a visit and commendation from the WV secretary of state, Natalie Tennant.













Secretary Tennant on the scene with our parish crew.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Appalachia Warm-up!

New members of the Appalachia Mission group warmed up last weekend by helping in our own community.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Spaghetti Dinner!

The Appalachia Mission trip crew hosted a spaghetti dinner in the CDTCA cafeteria on Sunday, April 3.  Thanks to Jamie Dillon for sending the pictures below!





Living Stations

Members of our youth ministry enacted Living Stations at noon on Good Friday.  Their presentation was as prayerful and moving as those we remember from past years.  Thanks to all the young parish members who participated, and to the adults who aided them!




Sunday, December 20, 2015

Third Grade Christmas Play





Children in our third grade religious education class performed a Christmas play on Sunday!

There they went a-caroling . . .


Members of our youth ministry sang carols at the VA after the youth liturgy on December 12.


Parish Members Visit Haiti!

During the first week of December two members of our Hope for Haiti Committee--Maureen O'Brien and John Cravotta--were able to visit Haiti and the schools that we support there.  They traveled with Dr. Rodrigue Mortel, the founder of the Good Samaritans School and James Stine College in St. Marc, Haiti.



Maureen and John were able to meet the students we sponsor and to participate in the Good Samaritans School fifteenth anniversary celebration!  They hope to present more of their experience to the parish, perhaps during Lent.  Thanks to all who have supported our outreach to the people of Haiti!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fr. James Martin on the Synod of Bishops

You may have heard of the Synod of Bishops on Family Life that just concluded.  I'm still learning about what happened there.  There is a short video by James Martin, SJ, on what he sees as the synod's top five accomplishments on YouTube here (+).  It's worth looking at to begin to appreciate the meaning of the synod.

First Grade Religious Education

First-graders make "lost sheep" in their religious education class.


Youth Ministry Halloween Party



Creatures dressed in black gathered at the Ministry Center on October 23 to 
celebrate Halloween!

Thanks, as usual, to Mrs. Dillon for the pictures!