Interview with Fr. Paul Burke of Holy Spirit College on Mission and Blessed John Paul II
serves as the Chair of the faculty of theology at Holy Spirit College and Parochial Vicar at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Fr. Burke has a deep devotion to Blessed Pope John Paul II. He shared a story of an encounter with Blessed John Paul II and the Catholic identity which is the beating heart of Holy Spirit College:
"In 1997, I had the great honor and privilege of concelebrating Holy Mass with the late Pontiff in his private chapel. It was a tremendous experience. All I could say were the words of St. Peter at the Transfiguration: "it is good for me to be here." I knew that I was in the presence of a spiritual and intellectual giant.
"It will take centuries to fully grasp the spiritual and intellectual legacy of Pope John Paul the Great. It is said that since St. Augustine, there has never been someone as prolific in writing about the faith. In his encyclical letter, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), the Holy Father wrote:
"Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart the desire to know the truth - in a word, to know himself - so that by knowing and loving God, men and women can come to the fullness of the truth about themselves."
"Later, in an address to American Bishops, he said that "he wished to defend the capacity of human reason to know the truth. This confidence in reason is an integral part of the Catholic intellectual tradition, but it needs reaffirming today in the face of widespread and doctrinaire doubt about our ability to answer these questions: Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?"
"In response to the Holy Father's call to reaffirm the importance of faith and reason, Holy Spirit College was founded to teach the fullness of the Catholic Faith in its splendor of Truth. This past year, Holy Spirit College recommitted itself to the vision of Pope John Paul the Great as every professor took the Mandatum, a solemn promise to teach in complete fidelity to the Magisterium. We take pride in being authentically Catholic in every aspect of our being.
"Undergraduate degrees are offered, specializing in theology, philosophy, Catholic education and psychology. Students spend two summers abroad, one in Oxford and the other in Rome. Graduate studies are also taught leading to a Masters of Theological Studies degree and a Masters in Theology. Courses are available for credit and audit.
"While some of our students wish to carry on the intellectual legacy of Pope John Paul be becoming teachers and catechists; others are auditing courses in order to delve deeper into the riches of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
"Each of us has the capacity to know the Truth, because truth is not an abstract concept. Rather, it is a person, Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the Beatification of Pope John Paul the Great, may we rediscover the treasure of our Catholic Faith by prayer and study, so that we can bear witness to the great things that God has done and continues to do."
In addition to its degree programs, Holy Spirit College is offering its resources to help meet the vital need for continuing formation in the Catholic faith for adults. In just their first year of this effort, one hundred catechists' went through their program. I will write more about this in the future. They are also assisting their Diocese with the training of deacons, offering a Masters Degree in Sacred Theology.
Holy Spirit College is a non-profit institution exclusively funded by tuition revenue and gifts received from donors who recognize the importance of its mission. The College is an independent Catholic college and is not funded by the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Holy Spirit Parish or Holy Spirit Preparatory School. I invite you to visit their website and consider becoming a part of their vital mission of preparing the future leaders of the Church and the world into which she is sent to continue the redemptive mission of Her Lord.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Holy Spirit College, Ex Corde Ecclesia, Catholic College, Fr. Paul Burke, Holy Spirit Parish, Gareth Genner, Deacon Keith Fournier
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