April 13, 2017
Signs of Easter
Friars share what it means to them in 3 little words
BY Fr. HENRY BECK, OFM
Cardinal Joseph Tobin with Henry (left) and fellow attendeesCardinal Joseph Tobin
The first-time event, April 6-7 at Catholic Theological Union, was sponsored by The Center for the Study of Consecrated Life. It drew 225 attendees for the keynote and between 180 and 200 for the full day of presentations and workshops by a number of respected speakers.
In his speech Thursday Cardinal Tobin, newly appointed Archbishop of Newark and a Redemptorist, explained “creative tension”, saying we experience it between our profession and our ordination.
Religious priests also experience tension between our religious charisms and the local, particular Church in which we work, he said. We religious, though, always “witness to the universal Church.” Cardinal Tobin called for us religious to share our charisms in creative ways with local bishops and local clergy. He spoke to the importance of dialogue between religious and local bishops and communion between religious priests and local clergy. And he emphasized the significance of a “Vicar for Religious” in a diocese.
Friday afternoon I went to an excellent workshop by Fr. Dan Horan (a Franciscan from Holy Name Province and a member of our Blessed Giles community). Dan’s topic was “The Spirituality of Priesthood in Religious Life.” Dan contrasted diocesan priests and religious priests in light of the gifts of teaching/preaching, sanctifying/sacraments, and leadership/pastoral leadership.
In light of these gifts, Dan offered that the essence of secular clergy and religious clergy is the same, but their lived realities are notably different. While secular clergy have a more cultic emphasis, religious priests emphasize teaching and preaching. And we religious do this with a prophetic emphasis and a charismatic, fraternal existence. Quoting Fr. Tom Rausch, SJ, Dan offered that “the prophetic office is central to understanding ministerial priesthood in religious life.” Dan went on to speak about the “prophetic imagination” and ways to foster it.
The response to this conference was gratitude, creative conversation among us, and the hope that more events like this will be encouraged at CTU. There is also the hope that the presentations at this conference will be collected in a book to come. CTU’s Center for the Study of Consecrated Life is taking the lead on this.
PHOTO by www.motherearthnews.comWhere yoga was 30 years ago, Forest Bathing is the latest fitness trend to hit the United States.
Americans spend 87 percent of their time indoors and 6 percent in an enclosed vehicle. However, scientific studies emphasize that reveling in the great outdoors promotes human health. Being outdoors in natural environments has been linked to lower stress levels, improved working memory, and feeling more alive, among other positive outcomes, including boosting your immune system.
The increasing popularity of shinrin-yoku, “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing”, refers to the process of soaking in the sights, smells and sounds of a natural setting to promote physiological and psychological health. The increasing popularity echoes the adoption of other East-to-West health trends, such as yoga and meditation. And like these activities, forest therapy can be a guided, paid experience or freely performed solo.
Forest therapy is making the same journey toward cultural definition in a way that will mainstream the practice. There is a waiting list for certification to become a forest therapy guide. It differs from hiking because it centers on the therapeutic aspects of forest bathing. A nature’s hike is to reach a destination, whereas forest bathing or therapy is to give participants an opportunity to slow down and appreciate things that can only be seen or heard when one is moving slowly, and take a break from the stress of their daily lives.
So listen and feel the wind blowing on you and the sound it makes in the trees, or hear the sounds of the animals all around you. Experience and smell the aroma of the forest. Another possible explanation for Forest Bathing’s soothing effects involves our sense of awe when viewing natural beauty. Taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of a forest could potentially arouse feelings of awe that have been linked to improvements in certain markers of good health.
Being Franciscans you realize how St. Francis loved the outdoors and animals, spending hours in the beauty of nature, finding God and prayer. So, I thought you would enjoy what it is now a new health trend! Enjoy the forest.
– Michelle Viacava, RN
(Learn more at: motherearthnews.com)
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Cardinal Joseph Tobin with Henry (left) and fellow attendeesIn today’s world there are “creative tensions” at work in being professed religious priests. But according to Cardinal Joseph Tobin, this is OK. These tensions can be life-giving for us and for those with whom we interact, the Cardinal said in a keynote speech for a two-day conference called “Priesthood in Religious Life: Searching for New Ways Forward.”