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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
April 25, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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April 25, 1998

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Bishop McDonald requests on-line report on his By Carole Masters FORT SMITH CORRESPONDENT FORT SMITH -- Church history for Patti Logan's Trinity Junior High School eighth graders has never been so modem. This Fort Smith school is using a new tool, the Intemet, to learn and, accord- ing to Bishop AndrewJ. McDonald, "bring people to Jesus." Reports on saints, an annual project for eighth graders, have taken on a new twist, thanks to classmate Jarred Chronister. His knowledge of Web site design helped create "FJH, Saints for the Teenage Soul," ( tjhsaints), a home page on the Intemet. Instead of learning and sharing their re- ports with their classmates, they are able to share with the world, becoming young evangelists. What was once an individual report favorite saint-- St. Andrew give you of your awful sin which yoU. have committed.' After that Alessandro changed his ways and converted. WhO Maria was canonized Alessandro and her mother were present on June 24, 1950. "St. Maria Teresa Goretd helped us because she was so young, yet she gave her life to God. It makes us feel like v~ can do anything," Oliver Richard said, Another favorite saint is St.John Maff Vianney, the Confessor. After he was or" dained a priest he was sent to Ars, France, where he prayed and fasted for conversions. According to the biogra" phy, "He listened to people's proble.,~ in confession and could actually re j their souls! He loved teen agers tried to protect them from evil. Pie tened to 20,000 people a year from . over France who came to him tl#t problems." _.,at This confessor, St.John Mary, impa ' the importance of listening to studeO project has become a group project to select and research saints to be posted on The on-line saints reports by the eighth-grade religion class at Trinity Junior Erin Lewis. d their Web site. Selection was based on High focus on saints for teens. "I'11 try to listen more to people those saints that inspired them or related their problems and help them," she s in some way to teen-agers. , Father Luyet believes this is a g00a Reports were turned into Logan and comments or messages in the guesthook, impact on the students in several ways. project for teens for several reasons. the school s English teachers for editing. Currently, there are seven saint biog- Andrew HoUand said he prays to St. An- "It's good for our youth to delve After e ting, the reports were sent to the raphies and a future possible saint, Mother thony now if he loses something. Chelsea these spiritual guides," he said. "In tl# project s spiritual adviser, Father Greg Teresa. Also, very useful is a report tided Long said that as a non-Catholic in her world we are always looking for her Luyet, pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope "Things Every Catholic Should Know. class, it has given her a better understand- These saints are perfect examples of Church in Hope. This includes the Ten Commandments, ing of the role that saints play in Catholi- who found God in their early years. . As the former associate pastor of Im- prayers and the Corporal and Spiritual cism. Father Luyet was also keen on the maculate Conception Church in Fort Smith, Father Luyet has close ties with youth ministers and teens in Fort Smith. He looked over the reports to add any suggestions or correct any flaws. Then the reports were forwarded to the bishop's office for final approval. The class thought that the project was a way to share extraordinary stories of their favorite saints who can inspire teens and help them with their problems. To publicize the site, Chronister said he did a search of sites on the Intemet that were Christian or Catholic. All those listed were sent a message about Trinity's new saint's Web page. The Web page invites viewers to leave Works of Mercy. They update the site periodically and will add new saint biog- raphies. Guestbook comments have been full of praise from young and old, as well as creating some interest in the school. A woman from Villa Hills, Ky., said "1 think this is a wonderful way for teens to gain a sense from others about how important your faith is throughout your life." The class has written to the pope in hopes he will be the next on-line visitor. Sharing what they learn about saints, Chronister said, "gets more people to see who God is and see who His followers are." The saints' biographies have had an "For non Catholics," she said, "it straightens out the aspect of what saints are and why Catholics have saints. Catho- lics don't worship saints like some non- Catholics think." Of the saints reported on so far, St. Maria Teresa Goretti seems to be a favor- ite. She is the patron of young women. Born in Netuno, Italy, in 1890, she died when she was only 11 years old. One day she was alone when a friend of the fam- ily, 19-year-old Alessandro, tried to rape Maria. The students tell her story this way: "One day while Alessandro was asleep, Maria came to him in a dream and sweet aroma fdled the room. Maria said, 'I for- of modem technology. "rhis helps make faith real for the f | he said. It puts God in the midst ,. [ something of their own time. In fail. | time, the apostle Paul used the ~0~ | Roman road system and in the Bishop Sheen used the new technolV of television." In a letter to the class, Bislal McDonald expressed his gratitude for information about the Web site and wish that they "research the great apOS " St. Andrew." In the same way that drew brought Peter to Jesus, Bisla0.V McDonald told the class, "they carl liCe the spirit of St. Andrew, bringing peOP to Jesus. ............................ ~~j Diocesan hermit initiates groundbreaking of House of By Judith Weaver PARIS CORRESPONDENT LONSDALE -- Twenty-two people joined diocesan hermit Janice Sehgal on April 11 in Lonsdale in Garland County for ground-breaking ceremonies for Annunziata House of Prayer. Parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima in Benton and friends joined in singing "Holy Ground" as the location for the hermitage and house of prayer was sprinkled with blessed salt and holy water. Father John Marconi, pastor of nearby Our Lady of Fatima Par- ish, read Isaiah 56: 7-8: "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples," indicating the inclusive nature of the CtLristian prayer room to be built here. Overhead, a hawk was heard call- ing in the trees, a reminder of the purpose of the house of prayer--- to provide a quiet place in a peaceful setting especially conducive to the people coming to pray and reflect on God's pres- ence in their lives. Father James Mancini, pastor of St. Michael parish in Chero- kee Village, and Father Raphael Kitz, OCD, participated in the ritual of blessing. Guests in- cluded four novices from Marylake Monastery in Little Rock. Sehgal made final profession as a hermit in 1994 and works part-time as a nurse anesthetist at St. V'mcent Infirmary Medical Center in Little Rock. There are five hermits in Ar- kansas. Hermits are people dedi- cated to serving GOd and the Church in the solitary life of prayer and penance. They pro- fess the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience and at times work outside their hermitage to support themselves. In earlier Church history, some women known as anchoresses, lived the solitary life in a room attached to a local church, view- ing the sanctuary through a win- dow in their cell. The hermit life has evolved in keeping with today's times and culture. Her- mits may live in cities or rurally, in communities with other her- mits, known as lauras or sketes, or alone. Among Arkansas hermits there are two men and three women. The three women are diocesan hermits. While the first hermits lived in remote caves, modem- day hermits in Arkansas live in dwellings ranging from an A- frame prayer cottage to mobile home, apartment, or the hermit- age like the one Sehgal is build- ing. Board members Stephanie and Mike Duke (from left), John Marconi and Father James Mancini join diocesan Janice Sehgal in breaking ground for the house of prayer.