Catholic school students menschs, not ‘slacktivists’

My dear co-worker Mark Pattison and I had a chuckle one day over a blog about the word slacktivism. Slacktivists are a cross between slackers and activists. You know them: They’re the people who forward the e-mails not to buy gas for one day to stick it to the gas companies, but won’t give up their SUVs. Or people who’ll wear red one day to show support for some awful medical condition or black as a political statement, but won’t do anything to really help the cause. I’m totally guilty of this myself, so I’m not judging.

This came to mind when I saw Marty Denzer’s Catholic Key story about a fundraiser students at St. Therese School did in conjunction with students at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy. As part of Bridges to Understanding, a program which unites Catholic and Jewish students, the children wrote, illustrated and marketed a book, “Anyone Can Be a Mensch.” (Mensch is a Yiddish word for a kind person of good character.) Through their efforts the kids raised $3,500, which they donated to the Save Darfur organization.

Children never cease to amaze me. They have no problem working with people different from them. They earnestly want to help those in need. And they’re not afraid of a little hard work. We can all take a lesson from them.

You can read more about it at Students’ book helps children in Darfur

Catholics gathering in stadiums

Pope Benedict XVI isn’t the only one drawing large crowds in professional baseball stadiums these days.

In Kansas City, Mo., area Catholics gathered in Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, to participate in the first family rosary gathering since the 1950s. The Catholic Key wrote this piece with a detailed description and reaction on the day’s events.

Among the numerous dioceses celebrating their bicentennial this year is the Archdiocese of Louisville. The archdiocese commemorated the anniversary with a Mass at Slugger Field in Lousiville. The Record had extensive coverage the day long celebration including three articles here, here, and here.

Of course there were two visits to ballparks during Pope Benedict’s historic U.S. visit in April. He first celebrated Mass at the brand new Nationals Park during his time in Washington. Then later he celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium in New York.

CNS coverage of the stadium Masses was extensive on this blog as well. A look back reveals the following posts to the CNS blog:

Parish closings: “We’re resurrection people, we recognize that out of death comes life.”

Our parishes are so much more than buildings. They’re the foundation around which our lives are built — where we marry, christen our children, say final goodbyes to departed loved ones. It’s where we find strength in unbearable times and share the joy of tremendous blessings. So when a parish closes, we grieve.

Holy Family Church in the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y., celebrated its final Mass June 29. This leaves only three out of formerly 11 churches in Rochester’s west side. Mike Latona at the Catholic Courier in the Diocese of Rochester details this in his article, “Changes envelop city churches.”  In the article, parishioner Carol Dady shares her thoughts on the closing:

“It was a hard pill to swallow. I always thought that my daughters would be married in the same church I was married in, that my mother was married in.”

This trend extends outside the Rochester. Recent diocese closings in New Orleans and Allentown, Pa., are just a few of many. Demographic changes, the cost of paying sex abuse case settlements, and a clergy shortage are to blame for closings in many parishes.

Not everyone accepts the closings easily. Members of one Boston archdiocesan parish have been fighting for more than four years to save their church.

But with change comes the beginning of new possibilities, new opportunites: Latona’s story from Rochester captures this with an insight from Debbie DiFilippo, Holy Family’s catechetical leader:

“For a lot of people it’s hard to imagine what things are going to be like somewhere else,” but “we’re a resurrection people … we recognize that out of death comes life.”