Author Archives: Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
Traveling with Saints
By Edward M. Dougherty, M.M.
Maryknoll Superior General reflects on how two popes to be canonized this spring have influenced his life.
Few people ever get the chance to travel with a saint. I did! In September 1988 I was in the contingent of international church people and journalists that accompanied Pope John Paul II on his fourth pastoral visit to Africa.
When Pope Francis recently announced that he would canonize Pope John Paul along with Pope John XXIII on April 27, I was elated and relived my up close and personal encounter with Pope John Paul.
I can still recall the plane ride to southern Africa when we members of the pope’s entourage were given the opportunity to ask him questions. The questions came rapid-fire in many languages — French, Italian, Polish, English — and he replied in the language of each speaker. I was really impressed.
When my turn came, as a missioner I naturally asked, “Do you have a word for missionaries in Africa?” I waited anxiously for the answer. I will always remember his deep, strong voice bestowing a blessing on the missionaries in Africa and saying how he and the entire Church are grateful for the missioners’ tremendous efforts to share the Gospel. Then he paused and added how encouraged he was to see the African church becoming missionary itself.
Having served in Africa as a Maryknoll priest, I felt proud. Here was the pope affirming not only missioners’ work of evangelization but also the faith of the people in receiving it and handing it on.
Throughout our visit — to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique — I could tell this pope felt the love of the people and loved them in return. Reserved but warm, he seemed to enjoy the lively African singing and dancing that marked every liturgy he celebrated wherever we went.
In Mozambique, then embroiled in a violent civil war, the warring parties issued a ceasefire for the duration of the pope’s visit. That was miraculous. But he reminded the priests and religious in this country of their role in promoting a lasting peace. He asked them rhetorically, “How can one give witness and preach to the people the new commandment (of love) without promoting, through paths of peace and justice, their authentic progress?” Peace did not come immediately but the pope’s presence certainly planted seeds of hope for a future free from fear and conflict.
John Paul II was pope for over 25 years and, in my opinion, succeeded in presenting the global face of the Church and, by his numerous trips to countries throughout the world, strengthening the ties of Rome with the local churches he visited.
I never, of course, had the privilege of meeting Pope John XXIII personally. I was only in the fourth grade when he became pope in 1958. I thought he was a courageous man, inspired by the Holy Spirit to bring the Church into the modern world. His convening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 had far-reaching effects on countless lives, including mine.
Like other Catholics who remember a time when the Mass was totally in Latin, I was happy to participate in the liturgy in my own language following Vatican II. As a diocesan seminarian in my native Philadelphia before transferring to Maryknoll in 1974, I experienced the influence of this future saint in “opening the windows” of the Church and urging priests and religious to leave the confines of their rectories and convents and take the Gospel into the streets. Because of this unprecedented papal exhortation, every Thursday we seminarians were required to leave our desks and go out to do field work in parishes to get hands-on preparation for our future work as priests.
A few years ago a former Maryknoll priest associate, Father Don Larmore, with whom I served in Tanzania, gave a retreat on the life and times of John XXIII. It prompted me to recall the powerful hope that John inspired as well as the welcoming and compassionate style that marked his papal leadership. Father Larmore reminded us of how as papal nuncio in Bulgaria, the future pontiff promoted interreligious dialogue and even as pope remained a simple pastor, concerned with ordinary people’s needs and the run of the mill things of life.
John XXIII died in 1963, mourned throughout the world and remembered as “good Pope John.” He was buried in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Following his beatification by Pope John Paul II, in 2001 John’s body was moved from its original place to the altar of Saint Jerome, where it could be seen by all the faithful. At that time I was serving as Procurator General for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Rome, and I can attest that the grave of Pope John XXIII is one of the most visited sites there.
So, I am excited about the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. They inspire me in my own role as Superior General of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. They are great role models for the Church today, John XXIII for his openness and desire to make the message of Christ relevant to the modern world and John Paul II for being an ambassador of Christ to that world.
Last year at a meeting of religious superiors in Rome, I had the privilege of meeting the man who now walks in the footsteps of John XXIII and John Paul II, Pope Francis. I came home encouraged by this spiritual father, who reaches out to all. He truly continues the legacy of the two he will canonize as saints, that is, people who had a call to holiness and acted on it. May we all follow their example.
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 15, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Kingdom Racing, along with Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports, finished fifth place in the VERIZON INDYCAR Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with Simon Pagenaud behind the wheel of the No. 77 car. Pagenaud started in sixth place and after an on-track incident landed him in 21st place, he fought his way back to the top. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. This was the scripture verse (Jeremiah 29:11) given to Simon before the race. It was prophetic for KR both on and off the track in Long Beach this weekend,” said George Del Canto, Kingdom Racing’s Founder and Co-owner.
Kingdom Racing also ministered and hosted two Miles of Smiles guests at the race track giving them a VIP race experience, and most importantly, sharing God’s Word with them. “The smiles on the faces of our Miles of Smiles guests was a good indicator they truly enjoyed fellowship with other followers of Christ at the race track. Lord willing they were encouraged to continue to courageously live their lives for Christ and share with others the joy that can only be found by a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Tim Carrie, Director of Miles of Smiles.
About Kingdom Racing: Kingdom Racing’s mission is to Deliver God’s Word Through Motorsports. This year marks Kingdom Racing’s third full season of INDYCAR competition partnering with Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports and seventh appearance at the Indianapolis 500. This season, Kingdom Racing will continue to reach thousands of people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Trackside Fan Festivals, Infield Ambassadors, Miles of Smiles ministries, and other events in partnership with churches and ministries. For more information, visit www.KingdomRacing.net.
Maps Battle Plan for Conservative Victory in GOP Civil War It’s the Primaries, Stupid! Argues Viguerie.
MANASSAS, Va., April 9, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ – TAKEOVER, the latest book by conservative direct marketing pioneer and author Richard A. Viguerie was released April 8 and within hours hit #1 on Amazon’s Political Parties list.
In TAKEOVER Viguerie makes the case that the most important battle in politics today isn’t between Democrats and Republicans – it is the civil war within the Republican Party between limited government constitutional conservatives and the establishment proponents of Big Government Republicanism.
“If you read today’s political news and opinion pages you would think the ‘civil war’ in the Republican Party between limited government constitutional conservatives and big government progressive Republicans started in 2009 with the rise of the TEA Party movement, or maybe after Mitt Romney gave away the 2012 presidential election,” said Viguerie. “The fact of the matter is this civil war for the soul of the Republican Party has been going on for over 100 years.”
Viguerie argues in TAKEOVER that the civil war in the GOP started in 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt split the Republican Party in the pursuit of his personal political agenda and made progressivism the governing philosophy of the Republican establishment.
Even though conservative ideas about how to govern tend to be the majority opinion in America, the Democratic Party is now the political home of secular liberals says Viguerie. In TAKEOVER Viguerie argues that the present leadership of the GOP is a progressive elite that sees big government as often inefficient, but not wrong.
Conservatives must take control of the Republican Party if it is to be a real alternative to the big government secularism of the Democratic Party.
“One can’t really understand today’s battles in the Republican civil war, and the rise of the TEA Party movement,” claims Viguerie, “unless one understands that the TEA Party is as much or more a rebellion against the entrenched leadership of the Republican Party who have accepted big government, as it is a reaction to specific policies of President Obama, such as Obamacare or the growth of spending, the deficit, and the $17 trillion federal debt.”
The lesson for conservatives? For over a century we conservatives have been pointing our political guns at the wrong target Mr. Viguerie argues.
“It’s the Primaries, stupid,” says Viguerie. “The greatest impediment to conservative governance is not the Democrats, it is big government progressive Republicans.”
“Like the Biblical Jews wandering in the wilderness, conservatives are not going to get to the political Promised Land and be able to govern America according to conservative principles until the flawed, big government Republican leaders, such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Reince Priebus pass from the scene and are replaced with limited government constitutional conservatives.”
“The fierce reaction of the Republican establishment to the rise of the TEA Party movement and the millions of new troops the TEA Party brings to the field on the conservative side is a sure sign that the GOP elite fears the civil war they started is beginning to turn,” concluded Viguerie. “I wrote TAKEOVER to give grassroots limited government constitutional conservatives the history, the tools and a plan to make sure that when the battle does turn, it turns in favor of conservatives.”
RICHARD A. VIGUERIE, called the “Funding Father of the conservative movement,” transformed American politics in the 1960s and ’70s by pioneering the use of direct mail as the first means for conservatives to bypass the main stream media. The author of a number of books on politics and the conservative movement Viguerie’s latest book TAKEOVER was released to booksellers April 8.
The brothers have caught the eye of several TV producers who tried to turn them into reality TV stars. The Chrisagis Brothers have pursued their dream and calling from the Lord since they were young and now at 46 years old they are still going strong. Brian & Shawn have both dated and talked about each of them getting married in the future but many wives wouldn’t understand their commitment to their call. Now folks may get to see the true hearts of two men who are passionate about their Lord, Jesus Christ and about the goals they have for their lives.
The brothers have a toy line for children and have written many children’s books and one of their major goals is to bring back the variety shows like Carol Burnett, Donny & Marie and the Barbara Mandrell & Mandrell Sisters type format. The brothers hope this reality show will branch them off to do just that.
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
There ‘s an old saying in computers, “Garbage in, Garbage out!” What that means is your result depends on what you put in and the quality of what you put in. In truth computers only mimic what we as people do. This is a prime example.
Many parents wonder what difference does it make if my child plays this video game ? What difference does it make if he watches a certain T.V. Show ? After all, all his friends do. In moderation I’m not sure it does make that much difference. The question to ask is are you getting the right output. In computers if you are not getting the right output or result the first thing you do is check the input.
In terms of our children, are they growing into the kind of people who want them to ? If not then we need to check their input or in other words the influences around them that are affecting who they are growing into.
Moderation is a key factor. Are they passing up quality time with the rest of the family to play those video games ? If so how are they going to learn to be husbands, fathers, wives and mothers ? Call of Duty 1-5 ? Are they falling asleep in church because they stayed up watching some show Saturday night ? How are they going to feed a faith that will see them through the many challenges of life ? How much of their day/week is spent on each activity ? Does this show the right mix of priorities ? Childhood is in many ways an apprenticeship. Living a successful, fulfilling life is a craft that must be learned. Parents are the masters, who must teach and mentor children to become what they should.
Even the best parents must be wary lest their children fall victim to the ever present influence of friends, pop culture etc. This is an ongoing challenge, not one that is met and then you move on.
If your children are not turning into the kind of people you expect examine closely what they are being influenced by on a daily basis. What are they studying in school ? What kind of friends do they have ? What video games do they play ? What TV shows do they watch ? What are THEIR goals ?
In spite of today’s busy, busy world, you also have to look at how much time you are spending with them. Even if its just minutes a day it can make a big difference. You also have to be careful not to be too heavy handed. Moderation is a key here too. In our thinking we have to take into consideration that our children are experimenting at who they are as individuals. Our goal is to guide this exploration not stifle it.
Each of us is a combination of everything we have seen, felt and experienced. It is up to us as parents to make sure our children end up with the right mix.
Free Live Webcast to Offer Thousands of Church Leaders Access to Evangelism Conversation at Exponential East 2014
We all become aware of how fast time flies as we get older. At the same time we often wonder why children seem so impatient. The fact is the two things are related. It all boils down to the concepts of perception and perspective. Perception is the way we see something. Perspective has to do with using our knowledge and life experience to make sense of what our senses are telling us. Perception is of course reality at least to the one holding the perception. This holds true for that person even if the perception later turns out to be false.
Now lets look at how this applies to children, time, and patience. First of all we need to remember that time is only a figment of our mutual imaginations. Time was created thousands of years ago as part of man’s effort to understand the world around him. You cannot see time. You cannot taste time. You cannot even feel time. It has no existence in the natural world. Time exists only because it is a mutually accepted way of perceiving the motions of the Earth and other planets.
In fact to the smallest children time doesn’t exist ! They know nothing of lunch being at 12, only that they are hungry. They know nothing about bedtime being at 7 or 8 o’clock only that they are sleepy. Once children become old enough to grasp time as a way to understand their daily routine perception begins to come into play.
For instance a 24 year old parent is about 210,240 hours old. A two year old on the other hand is 17,520 hours old. The effect of this is that the two year old perceives an hour to be 12 times longer than the parent ! Know wonder kids raise such a fuss about waiting an hour for something ! Lets look at another example . You are a 35 year old parent, you tell your 13 year old you will do something next week. You are about 1820 weeks old. Your teen on the other hand is about 676 weeks old. So from your teen’s perspective the wait seems almost 3 times longer than it does for you. One more example, as adults we have to do many things every 30 days. A 22 year old parent is 8,030 days old, a 9 year old is 3,285 days old. So to the 9 year old each day is over twice as long as it is for the parent.
This also shows the value of perspective when dealing with such a situation. The key is to look at it from the child’s perspective. It also helps to bear in mind that the additional maturity you have gained over the years makes it easier for you to be patient. Your life experience has given you a perspective on the priorities of daily life that your teen simply cannot have yet. They have not yet been an adult fortunately you were once a teen !
This is were the leadership part of being a parent comes in. Any leader benefits by looking at things from the perspective of those they are trying to lead. Working with children cam be very much the same. It is not always easy. As adults in this modern world we often feel rushed. Our kids get impatient, we get frustrated, and everything gets harder for everybody than it needs to be. So when you feel yourself getting frustrated because your child is getting impatient, take a breath. Reconsider how the length of time involved looks to the child instead of how it looks to you. Remember what it was like when you were young.