with Teresa Tomeo
EWTN Radio 9-10am ET
Sirius 130 9-10am ET
For more information:
Wednesday Evenings, 11pm ET
Catholic View for Women
Replays Fridays at 10:30am
Teresa Tomeo, co-host
For information: www.ewtn.com
April 23-May 3
Live from Rome
Reporting and Anchoring
Live from the Holy Land
Reporting and Anchoring
for Couples Pilgrimage
Teresa Tomeo & Deacon Dominick
Blessing of the Vineyards Tour
in Northern Michigan
For more information:
313-565-8888 x122 or 185
Teresa Tomeo is considered one of today's leading contemporary Catholic thinkers and teachers. Here you will find her popular Eye on Culture column published through Our Sunday Visitor newspaper as well as her thoughts and reflections on issues of the day.
As a Catholic talk show host and pilgrimage leader I have had the blessing of taking groups to some of the most sacred and beautiful places on God’s green earth. At the top of the list, of course, would be the Holy Land and Rome. Interestingly enough, I will be headed to both of these amazing places in just a few days. First, I will spend time in Rome co-hosting a pilgrimage with my friends Steve and Janet Ray, and then it is off to join the Rays in Jerusalem after the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul the Second.
Because I travel to these sights so frequently I am often asked about my favorite churches or holy sights to pray and worship. Take the city of Jerusalem, for example. Given its Biblical significance most think that number one on any Holy Land visitor’s list would be the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And why not? This is after all the place that marks the spot not only of our Lord’s crucifixion, but also His resurrection. It is unbelievably moving to spend time in this church tucked deep within the historic walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. However, my favorite church in Jerusalem happens to be right outside the Jewish quarter of the old walled city; the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. It is perched on the eastern slope of Mt. Zion overlooking the Kidron Valley and the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. St. Peter in Gallicantu marks the scene of Peter’s denial of Christ on Holy Thursday. “Gallicantu” is a Latin word for “cock crows”.
Do you remember Hans Christian Anderson children’s story The Emperor’s New Clothes? It’s the tale of two weavers who promise an emperor a brand new supposedly stunning get-up visible only to those who are sophisticated enough and smart enough to see them. In other words they were pulling one over on the big guy. He was too prideful and embarrassed to admit that they eventually took his money and headed for the hills leaving him with literally nothing to show for their time and his gold; not even a half way decent pair of Fruit of the Looms. As the emperor is parading his new clothes before the townspeople, everyone is gushing and telling the emperor how dashing he looks. Suddenly a child snaps the foolish folks back to reality when he points out rather loudly that the emperor is quite frankly stark naked!
Given what happened with Mozilla/Firefox recently I think someone should send those folks a few copies of this story to pass around. Did you happen to catch the statement from the company following the resignation or should we say forced exit of Brendan Eich? Eich, the former CEO stepped down after a firestorm of controversy for his private donation to California’s Proposition 8 a few years ago; a measure banning same sex marriage in the state that was approved several times by voters before being tossed out by a judge. Based on the ludicrous wording, Mozilla/Firefox actually believes they are among the most tolerant and welcoming firms on planet earth. They saw themselves as intolerant by hiring and promoting Eich in the first place. But now they have seen the light and have become a bastion of fairness and decency.
One of the points I try to stress with those joining me on the many trips I host to Rome and other Christian holy places is the difference between a tour and a pilgrimage. A tour is more of a fun seeking trek to an exotic location; one filled with great photo opportunities that contain dramatic backdrops of famous landscapes or monuments. There are also long days and longer nights filled with fun activities and great food with most of the emphasis on immediate gratification. A pilgrimage on the other hand is not a tour but a journey; one that hopefully results in a deeper faith and a closer relationship with God.
Now since some of the world’s most well-known Christian pilgrimage sights, such as Italy and Israel for example, also happen to be beautiful and awe inspiring, a little bit of the tourist may also kick in from time to time. No doubt the excited traveler will want to take lots of photographs, and pick up trinkets and gifts for everyone on their shopping list. Lots of mementos will end up in the suitcase in addition to the Rosaries and the olive wood products, and in moderation this is fine. But too much shopping and sight-seeing can lead to aimless wandering or even worse; getting hopelessly lost. So I always encourage our pilgrims not to get stuck in the tourist trap. They need to back away from the postcard rack and go deeper to make their journey last long after they return home and empty the suitcases. Otherwise the experience will end up buried away somewhere in the basement of their memory, just like that old backpack and pair of walking shoes pushed to the back of the closet, unlikely to be seen or used again at least not for a while.
You’ve probably heard the news by now that yet another state has lost the latest round in the battle over marriage. On Friday, March 21st, a district judge in Michigan decided that the state’s ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional, despite a measure that was approved by a majority of voters several years ago; a vote that confirmed marriage between one man and one woman and made it part of the state constitution. The Michigan Attorney General was able to get a stay from the federal court in Cincinnati, which puts the matter on hold, but who knows how long that will last depending on what even higher courts decide.
It certainly was a blow to pro-family groups who joined together to stand up for the truth of marriage as God ordained it. The judge’s decision struck literally very close to home for me as Michigan is where my husband and I live and the trial over the same sex marriage ban took place in the Detroit area, practically right in our own backyard. Many of my listeners and guests on my daily Catholic radio program were involved in fighting for traditional marriage, and so naturally I received quite a few e-mails and was privy to many of the on-line discussions going on after the decision was announced.
It is Lent and God is continuing to call us closer to Him. But are we listening? That’s what the Pope wants to know. He raised the question more than once over the weekend. First at his weekly Angelus message to thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square this past Sunday. Later that day when he celebrated Mass at a parish outside of Rome, he again raised the issue of listening when he asked parishioners of Santa Maria dell’ Orazione about the duties of a Christian.
“Perhaps you will tell me; to go to Mass on Sundays; to fast and abstain during Holy Week - do these things, but the first duty of a Christian is to listen to the Word of God, to listen to Jesus, because He speaks to us and He saves us with His word and with His word He also makes our faith stronger, more robust; Listen to Jesus.”
Where had I been all those years? That was one of the nagging questions I asked myself as I found my way back to the Catholic Church. How come I never heard growing up how Jesus was a true women’s libber; breaking the norms regarding the way men in His day related to and communicated with women? Why, when gatherings focusing on the progress of women were making headlines at major events such as the 1995 Beijing Conference, weren’t women told that the then head of the Roman Catholic Church was also among the voices calling for “equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, and fairness in career” among other things as John Paul the Second stressed in his Papal Letter to Women. This document, which included great insights and teachings on Jesus, the Church, and the role of women, was released at the same time of the Beijing event. But I didn’t hear about it until years later.
Maybe this is why Pope Francis in his first year as the head of the Roman Catholic Church around the world has been calling for a deeper theology of women. He made the comments in his now-famous impromptu interview returning to the Vatican following World Youth Day events in Rio de Janeiro.
“We can no longer hear God. There are too many frequencies filling our ears.” Benedict XVI
So what will you be doing for Lent this year? If you’re like most Americans you might be giving up some time in front of the television, maybe chocolate or other sweets, or maybe that glass of vino you like to have every once in a while as a special treat. I did a bit of research and discovered that sweets, media usage, and alcohol are indeed among the top ten items or activities we try to let go of during this 40 day period. It’s not that giving up any of those items is a bad thing. But are you sure that is what God is calling you to do this Lent?
As I continue to defrost and thaw out from the 40th Annual March for Life in Washington, I have had a chance to reflect on being once again among hundreds of thousands of pro -life activists. I have served as a field correspondent for several years now. Each year I am encouraged, inspired, and motivated by those in attendance who brave the frigid January weather to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I am grateful for the opportunity and proud of EWTN for the time, effort, and money they put into covering this massive pro- life rally and March.
This year, however, something was different. First of all, it wasn’t just braving the cold this time around; it was braving a major blizzard; a blizzard that blanketed the northeast with several inches of snow and temperatures below zero, that were by far the most brutal in the last few years.
Have you given up on your New Year's resolutions already? The New Year represents a time of new beginnings for many, but do you make your resolutions based on emotions and feelings tied to temporal things like saving money, losing weight, or reducing the clutter in your life? Is that where God wants you to focus your effort and energy right now? What resolution can you make to deepen your relationship with Christ during this coming year?...for a lifetime?...for eternity? Sometimes a simple resolution is better.