Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pretty Good Mission Statement

The great thing about the Web is how way leads on to way. You can forget where the trail started. That's how I stumbled on this essay at a publication called Ekklesia: A New Way of Thinking.
As someone who has hung out with the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) types for a half century, I’d argue that the problem results not from villainy or bias so much as from the nature of things, and have come up with a formula: if religion is covered as news, the bad stuff will predominate; if it appears as features, the good side gets a chance to show.

News waits for someone to embezzle or kill or seduce another in the name of God. Features allow for creative reporters to get up close to believing and behaving people who use their imagination, faith, energy, and communal spirit to serve others.

(To read the full note at "Bad news and good news in religion reporting.")

The author uses a story in the New York Times to point out how these feature stories tell another side to religious infighting. Here it is: Kim Severson, 'For Some, Helping With Disaster Relief Is Not Just Aid, It’s a Calling,'

That's the goal at the Georgia Bulletin's story telling

What do you think? How do you think we are doing?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Wall of Scholars

Newman Scholar portraits hang on the wall at Lyke House.

Before the seniors at the Atlanta University Center marched to the sound of “Pomp and Circumstance” and the underclassmen returned home, Lyke House – the Catholic Center at Atlanta University announced its 2011 Newman Scholar. Since 1992 a Newman Scholar has been named at the end of each school year. The student members of Lyke House recommend three people to the chaplain, Father Edward Branch. Then Father Branch chooses the candidate who best exemplifies the qualities of service, scholarship and spirituality.

This year Christopher Lamb was the center’s twenty-first Newman Scholar. The 21-year-old native of Portsmouth, Va., is a Clark Atlanta University student majoring in film. The honor was bestowed upon him on May 1 following the 10:15 a.m. Mass. “It was humbling to get the honor,” said Lamb. “It shows the love and respect I earned from my peers and Father Branch,”

“He’s constant in his service at the Catholic Center. In terms of leadership and growth development, he’s outstanding,” said Father Branch speaking about his selection of Lamb. “He has developed a confidence when it comes to talking about his faith and defending it around campus, especially in the face of ignorant and false accusations made about Catholics.”

For his or her recognition the Newman Scholar receives a small stipend and a sitting for a hand-drawn charcoal portrait by artist James Adair. Adair has drawn all 21 Newman Scholars. The first seven were done from a photograph, but since then the rest have been live sittings. Adair is an Atlanta native and retired public school art teacher who has also been a professional artist for 50 years. “It’s always a pleasure and a personal test as an artist,” said Adair. “It’s a successful endeavor when I have the opportunity to engage in conversation and talk to the student.” Through conversation with the students he is able to acquire various personality traits, strengths and interests, which he uses beyond their physical appearance, to compose the drawing. Each sitting takes an average of 45 minutes to an hour.

Artist James Adair draws 2011 Newman Scholar Christopher Lamb.

Nineteen framed drawings (two are still in the process of being framed) of Newman Scholars hang on the wall of Lyke House’s Sister Thea Bowman Library. Many of the past Newman Scholars have gone on to earn Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees like Francis Insaidoo, who earned a doctorate in biochemistry last year at the University of Notre Dame. Alessandra Ennett-Shepard, the very first Newman Scholar, received her Ph.D. in physics and currently works for Eli Lilly and Company.

Others like Desmond Drummer and John Phillips have gone on to pursue religious vocations. Drummer is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Atlanta and studies at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago. Phillips is known today as Brother John Paul Phillips, an Order of Preachers, Dominican friar who is pursuing a Masters of Divinity and Theology degree at the Aquinas Institute of Theology.

Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chapel Blessing

SMYRNA - The Atlanta Archdiocese celebrated the blessing of its new chapel Thursday, May 26, at the Chancery.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was the main celebrant, along with Aux. Bishop Luis R. Zarama and several priests and deacons.

These photos were taken with my iPhone and then filtered through a couple photo apps.


From upper left, the Blessed Sacrament ciborium
before being taken to the tabernacl; prayer card cover;
and Easter Candle and reader

Gathering prayer with altar
before blessing with holy water


These windows adorn the chapel, dedicated to St. Dominic.
Clockwise from left, Mother and Child Jesus, with on the right St. Joseph, and St. Dominic. He is the patron of astronomers, astronomy and falsely accused people.

You can read and hear about the installation of the stained glass here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ordination at Holy Spirit Monastery

I had the good fortune to spend some time at the Holy Spirit Monastery recently. The assignment was to write about the ordination of a monk.

CONYERS - With prayers and ancient rituals, the monks at Holy Spirit Monastery and friends celebrated the ordination of Brother Augustine Myslinski to the priesthood.
Friends and colleagues crowded the abbey church Saturday, April 30, as streaming light from the stained glass windows made the stone glow blue.
A long faith journey for now Father Augustine Myslinksi came to an end when he kneeled in front of Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama and the bishop in silent prayer laid his hands on the monk’s head. During that moment, the church teaches that a man receives the Holy Spirit to serve as a priest.
“May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment,” said the bishop.

Read the rest of the story and in next week's edition of the Georgia Bulletin. Below is the video of the procession at the end of Mass: