by Father Mark Goldasich
Last weekend, the archdiocese officially kicked off its Faith Initiative, called “Faith: Love It, Learn It, Live It.” It brought to mind a story about Dr. J. Edwin Orr, an expert on the subject of revivals and awakenings in churches.
Back in the early 1970s, Orr was giving a series of lectures on the topic at Columbia Bible College in Canada. One day a student approached him and said, “Dr. Orr, besides praying for a revival to occur, what can I do to help bring it about?”
Without a moment’s pause, Orr replied, “You can let it begin with you.” (Adapted from Robert J. Morgan’s “Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes.”)
Well, we’re taking those words to heart at The Leaven and letting renewal begin with us. You might have noticed (I hope) that this issue of the paper has a different look. That’s because our designer, Todd Habiger, gave it a little facelift. Just as that medical procedure removes wrinkles and sagging flesh to give a person a fresh and younger look, so we hope that a different typeface and page design will keep The Leaven looking spiffy.
Secondly, in keeping with the theme of the Faith Initiative, we’re adding three special features that offer quick, painless ways to brush up on your faith and put it into practice. While we’ll occasionally have articles on prayer — the “Love It” segment — our three features will primarily focus on the “Learn It” and “Live It” elements. Managing editor Anita McSorley writes the “Kernel of Truth” feature on page 6. This will highlight a wide range of items — from Scripture to liturgy to Tradition and traditions. These are things that you maybe knew at one time, but have since forgotten. (We’re giving you the benefit of the doubt and not accusing you of falling asleep in your religion classes.)
Freelancer Jill Ragar Esfeld will handle the “Home Improvement” segment on page 16. Shows on renovating your home are popular right now on TV, but the structural improvement that Jill will be covering is about something much more lasting and important: better relationships in the family.
I’ll pen “The Practical Catholic” box at the bottom of this page. You don’t hear it much outside of official “church speech,” but whenever someone is selected to be a confirmation sponsor, for example, it’s asked if that person is a “practical Catholic.” What that means is: Does this individual actively participate in the life of the church by attending Mass, being involved in the parish, etc.? But “practical” also carries another meaning for most of us, that of “workable, useful and sensible.” So, my segment will deal with small, everyday, and practical things you can easily do to make your surroundings, your neighborhood and your world a better place.
Finally, we’re very happy to be offering — online, in the comfort of your home, at a time convenient to you (uh, can we make it any easier?) — a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults class, taught by Leaven columnist and archdiocesan liturgy office consultant Michael Podrebarac. Check our Leaven website — www. theleaven.org — next week for a brief introduction to the class. Michael is both knowledgeable and entertaining; I’m sure his class will be well worth your time.
Then, later in the Year of Faith, Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher will offer a series of lessons on our website on the Second Vatican Council. This is good stuff, for free, that he usually teaches to seminarians at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.
I do hope that you’ll consent to undergo this faith-lift with us. Just think of how great we’ll look by this time next year!