Monthly Archives: March 2011


Rome: Day Five – The Lay Center

After an afternoon that allowed some time to finally kick back and rest a little at my room on Piazza Farnese I had dinner at The Lay Center on Friday evening, March 11. This invitation was arranged by Michael Severance of Acton Institute, mentioned in my blogs regarding Day One and Day Two. I was also joined by Nate Bacon, the leader of our Rome team.

61E0oWYMg2L._SL500_AA300_ The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas is directed by Dr. Donna Orsuto. Originally from Ohio, Donna is the co-founder and director of the Lay Centre. She is also a Professor at the Institute of Spirituality of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. She lectures extensively and gives retreats in various parts of the world.  Her most recent book is entitled Holiness (New Century Theology)'>Holiness (London: Continuum 2006). She is involved in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, having served as a consultant for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious

Rome: Day Five — More Conversations on Missional-Ecumenism

On Friday, March 11, I joined Deacon John Green, Deacon Nate Bacon and Jose Penata, for a conversation with Fr. Keith J. Pecklers, Keith is an American who was trained at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley (CA) has been a professor in Rome since 1992. Dr. Pecklers describes himself, on his Facebook profile, as: “A Theologian, Liturgist, Faithful son of Vatican II, and a Jesuit.” He add that he is “an apostle of [the] liturgical renewal of Vatican II.” He teaches liturgy and ecumenism at the Pontifical Gregorian University, one of the best-known Vatican universities. He has written, contributed to, or edited nine books. His courses include:

  • Introduction to Liturgy
  • Liturgy and Ecumenism
  • A Seminar on Eucharistic Theology
  • The History of Liturgy in the West

photo (8) Keith is a Jesuit of the New York Province and serves as an "on air" expert in church affairs for ABC NEWS. Keith holds an MA in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Liturgy from

The Vatican: Secret Access

Secret Access: The Vatican 3/30 at 9pm [HQ]

TOMORROW, March 30, AT 9pm, EDT- Secret Access: The Vatican. This is the first time that American audiences get an intimate and revealing look on how Pope Benedict XVI lives, works and functions in his papal role. With specially granted permission, viewers experience a world rarely seen.

By |March 29th, 2011|Categories: Roman Catholicism|

Rome: Day Four — More Discussions on Ecumenism

After our time at the PCPCU at the Vatican our small group walked to the Angelicum for the second time in two days. Here we had a small lunch in the college and then a wonderful meeting with Fr. Frederick M Bliss, S.M. IMG_3112Fr. Bliss teaches courses on ecumenism at the Angelicum. His special interest is the theology and history of ecumenism. He is veteran of these conversations and has much more than an academic interest, though he is a very capable academic.

He is also the author of several books, including:

Understanding Reception: A Backdrop to Its Ecumenical Use (1993)

Anglicans in Rome: A History (2006)

Catholic and Ecumenical: History and Hope (1999)

51K7hrTNM1L._AA160_Fr. Bliss is deeply engaged in ecumenical teaching, writing and dialog. He is a compassionate and warm Christian brother who engaged with our team in a kind spirit with a keen mind. It was a delight to spend about ninety minutes with him. He

Rome: Day Four and a Conversation at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

petepaul Thursday, March 10, was the day I most looked forward to in Rome. I was not disappointed. Our itinerary included a visit with two leaders in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) in the Vatican. Our gracious hosts were Fr. Gosbert Byamungu and Fr. Juan Usma Gomez. Today I will describe this meeting and then tomorrow tell about the second part of a very busy Day Four. The PCPCU is very closely linked with the work of Vatican Council II and Pope John XXIII’s desire that the Catholic Church become engaged in the modern ecumenical movement. Even before Vatican Council II Pope John XXIII established, on June 5, 1960, a secretariat for promoting Christian unity. This was, in actuality, a “preparatory commission” for the forthcoming global council. This was the first time the Catholic Church had ever officially engaged with the worldwide ecumenical movement. Knowing this history I entered the building with a deep sense of appreciation that a little more than fifty years

The Multidimensional Nature of a Christian Worldview

We hear so much about holding to the Christian worldview these days. Some Christians, including some rather important well-known teachers, suggest that there is a single worldview that is truly Christian thus we should teach this system of truth to everyone in order to make well-taught disciples. I have written about this issue, previously in other places (ACT 3 Weekly), but I was recently struck again by the keen insight of the late David Bosch who wrote that “the multidimensional origin and nature of a worldview should caution us not to absolutize or canonize it” (Believing in the Future, 64).

Bosch is simply being a good missiologist here when he makes this statement. There is no singular worldview revealed in Scripture even though the Scripture does give us a consistent and faithful account of who God is and how we can know him and follow his will. It also gives us a faithful narrative of how we can live well to the glory of God. But the Scripture does not speak, to give but one example, about the subject of public vs. private education. To listen to

By |March 27th, 2011|Categories: Discipleship, Missional Church|

Rome: Day Three and Our Missional-Ecumenical Team

As I mentioned a few days ago my trip to Rome came about because (Catholic) Deacon Nathaniel Bacon, an InnerCHANGE missionary in Guatemala, read my book and concluded that I should be a part of a group he invited to meet and develop friendships in an ecumenical context in Rome. I initially said “yes” to the possibility of going, several months ago, and then had second thoughts less than a month before the trip. After two days of intense prayer and seeking God for three specific answers to specific questions I felt the door opened and that I should go in faith. I have no doubt that I made the right choice in hearing the Lord’s word in this matter.

IMG_3078 On day three, Wednesday, March 9, I met the members of the InnerCHANGE group for the first time. I also reconnected with my friend Deacon John Green. Nate Bacon had spent a year-long sabbatical in Rome in 2008-9 and knew a number of the people who

Rome: Day Two

On day two of my journey to Rome I toured some of the greatest sights of the ancient city and spoke in the evening. I will describe the city first and then my evening address.

The day began with breakfast at the house of St. Bridget. The breakfast was almost the same every day. A large hollow bread roll, a little butter, some jam with cheese and coffee. Before long I realized I would need to consciously look for fruits and vegetables to keep my diet in order for my best physical well-being.

Rome 2011 052 Michael Severance picked me up at 10 a.m. Then our big sight-seeing day followed. We saw the Coliseum, as well as many of the ancient ruins of the first century before Christ and the two centuries after Christ.  This included ruins from Emperor Trajan, the Appian Way, the Circus Maximus and other sites related to early Rome in the days of the Caesars. One of the first things that you notice everywhere

Rome: Day One

P.Farnese(3) I arrived in Rome on Monday, March 7, after an overnight flight out of Atlanta. This was my first overseas flight in a long time. One of my three benefactors gave me miles to fly in business class so I could rest much better. (I am spoiled now! I hate to think of not flying this way on an international flight should I do it again.) Numbers of intercessors were praying for my health. I sat next to a woman with the worst imaginable cold. She was miserable and it showed. I prayed that I might be spared getting sick once I got to Rome. Thankfully, the Lord protected me from a new virus that would weaken me profoundly since my already weakened immune system is not ready for normal battle most of the time.

I went right to the place where I would rest for the next eight nights: The House of St. Bridget, a wonderful 15th century building on a very Italian piazza (which means

My Trip to Rome

italy.rome Some of you know that I made a trip to Rome, March 6-15. Having been home about a week now I want to share a great deal about this life-changing journey. I wrote very little about this trip during my time away because I could not respond to email and comments adequately. I also needed to take a break from writing and concentrate on the people and the purpose of my time in Italy. I also waited to tell this story so I could reflect more deeply, write personal notes to myself, and then compose blog posts when I was back in my “thinking and praying” spot at home. (I have a place in my backyard, an enclosed and heated gazebo, where I can be alone. I am surrounded by color and nature as well as wonderful icons of Jesus, Paul, John and St. Benedict, as well as other reminders of my call and vision for Christ. Here I can pray, think and be truly restful. I


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