Tag: catholic

Dec 28 2011

Christmas reflection: We are God’s partners in serving others

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through this time.

ìAnd Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.î (Luke 2:19)

Raising children is always an adventure, but perhaps even more so for adoptive parents.

Often I am completely clueless about the whys and wherefores of my sonís personality because, unlike some, I canít look at him and see myself at his age.

And I learned pretty early on in my parenthood that it is a mistake to try.

Sure, this can be frustrating at times, but it can also be a delight. I canít count the number of times I have been bowled over by the creative insights Ben has or by his left-field sense of humor.

He sees things just a little differently from me, and I have come to cherish that difference as a surprise bonus of him being my son.

My experience with Ben gives me, I think, a little insight into what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph as they raised Jesus.

Even before his birth they knew that this child would be different and that they would have to get used to sharing him with the world. Read more

Dec 21 2011

Christmas reflection: Glorifying God with fully human lives

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through this time.

[This reflection is based on the Scripture readings for Christmas Mass during the day.]

Communication is a tricky business. First you have to come up with the right words to say, then you hope the listener hears what you intend. Between your original thought and the listenerís final interpretation there is plenty of room for misunderstanding.

So you can imagine Godís frustration in wanting to communicate to a wounded humanity just how sacred and deeply loved we are, only to have some hear only judgment and condemnation, while others hear nothing at all. Read more

Dec 14 2011

Advent reflection: God dares us to dream big

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent-Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through Advent.

ì…for nothing will be impossible for God.î (Luke 1:37)

An unopened Christmas present is a wondrous thing. When I was a child, many times I would park myself under the Christmas tree and gaze at a brightly wrapped package with my name on it, trying to guess what was inside.

My imagination would always kick into high gear on such occasions. This was possible because of the simplicity of a childís mind, which knows nothing of recessions, budgets or the laws of physics.

As far as I was concerned those presents could be anything, and believing that gave me the freedom to dream big.

Sadly, that sense of infinite possibility tends to fade away as we grow older, especially where God is concerned.

Instead of embracing the glory and wonder of our Creator, in our limited imaginations we try to rein God in.

The Scripture readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent include two stories of people struggling to understand the limitlessness of God. In each situation, God lovingly reminds the person in the story of who he or she is dealing with. Read more

Dec 10 2011

CFCA director of global strategy explains new position

Paul Pearce, CFCA director of global strategyFor 10 years, Paul Pearce served as CFCA’s director of international programs, overseeing the development of the Hope for a Family program in the field. Pearce was recently named CFCA’s director of global strategy. He talks about his new role and vision for the future.

What is your role as director of global strategy and how is this different from your previous role?

Half of my role is connected to international programs and the other half concerns our outreach to sponsors.

I will help the new international programs director (Dan Pearson) with major directional changes in the program, such as the structure of our legal entities overseas.

I’m more of a guide instead of directly managing the program. The other half of my time will be spent focusing on our mission with sponsors. Read more

Dec 7 2011

Advent reflection: Choosing to be ‘eager,’ not ‘anxious’

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent-Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through Advent.

“Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

I confess that I get a little irritated by some common ways that people misuse words.

For example, it bugs me when I hear notoriety used as a synonym for fame, or when people say less when fewer would be more appropriate. (And don’t even get me started on very unique!)

I recognize this as my own little persnickety hang-up, and my purpose here is not to lecture about the decline of the English language.

I really just want to set the table for a reflection on one common misusage that seems especially pertinent during Advent.

People often say they are anxious when they are looking forward to something. For example: “It has been two weeks since Joe left on his trip and I am anxious for him to come home.”

But anxious is a form of anxiety, which means a state of worry or apprehension ñ hardly the sentiment Joe would want to be greeted with upon his return! Read more

Nov 30 2011

Advent reflection: God shares in our humanity

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent-Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through Advent.

“…Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.”
(Mark 1:2)

There is an urgency in the Gospel of Mark that contrasts with the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Where those writers start with events surrounding Jesusí birth, Mark begins his account with John the Baptist setting the stage for Jesusí public ministry. John is one of the most vivid characters in Scripture.

As if his garb of camel skin and his penchant for eating locusts werenít memorable enough, his single-minded devotion to calling people to repentance in preparation for the coming of the Messiah sears him into our collective imagination.

This rough intensity makes John an interesting symbol for Advent.

While society likes to pretty-up this time of year with bright colors, warm thoughts and overindulgence on sentimentality, John reminds us that preparation for Christmas isnít just a feel-good exercise. Read more

Nov 11 2011

Excited for NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference)!

National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2011It’s been our honor to be involved with the National Catholic Youth Conference, or NCYC, for several years now.

Young people are a crucial part of our community, both as sponsors and as sponsored friends.

In developing countries, we help youth continue their education through sponsorship and the scholarship program.

In the U.S., we encourage and support youth ministers in their work to raise awareness about global poverty and how everyone ñ no matter their age ñ can help make a difference.

This year the conference is Nov. 17-19 in Indianapolis.

CFCA representatives will be at booth No. 143 with free resources and information on Raise Funds Raise Hope, a program for church youth groups to raise money while helping find sponsors for people in poverty.

Oh, and did we also mention a giveaway for a Kindle Fire?

If you’re headed to NCYC, feel free to stop by our booth and see how you can enter!

Jul 22 2011

‘Amazing grace’ of a mission awareness trip

Ron Bliss sent us this testimony of his mission awareness trip to Guatemala. He decided to take the trip after receiving a cancer diagnosis and eventually going into remission. His story is amazing, and we’re honored to share excerpts of it with you.

Ron Bliss, CFCA sponsor, and Elida in Guatemala

Ron Bliss visits his sponsored friend, 8-year-old Elida, in Guatemala.

For the past five years or so I have sponsored two needy children through the Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging (CFCA) ñ a young man in Nicaragua and 8-year-old girl in Guatemala.

I thought of a mission awareness trip (MAT) to see one of my sponsored children, but have always found some reason to say, “Not this year … maybe next.”

Well, I think the good Lord gave me a wake-up call with the cancer diagnosis!

One year ago I was in Arizona, facing the fifth of six chemotherapy treatments to combat a rare type of lymphoma cancer in the lungs.

A PET scan showed the tumors had shrunk and the cancerous activity appeared low, but still there. We returned to our home in Washington to wait until my next PET scan.

Days later I experienced the same symptoms as when I received the cancer diagnosis. I was running a temperature every day and experiencing night sweats.

My wife, Vonnie, and I rescheduled my PET scan for an earlier date.

During my illness I was blessed with prayers from around the country and as far away as Europe and Japan. Before my scan, I received special blessings from Holy Spirit Parish. Father Auve visited me twice, brought communion and prayed for my complete healing.

The day before we left, my daughter, Nicole, said her friend Megan wanted to give me something.

Over a year ago Megan had received two crucifixes that had been blessed in Medjugorje during one of the Holy Mother’s appearances there.

The man who gave them told her to give one to her mother, who was suffering with cancer.

He told her she would know when to give the second one to someone else in need.

Read more…

Jul 8 2011

A slideshow of CFCA sponsors and their friends

We were recently at Los Angeles for the 2011 Religious Education Congress, sponsored by the Office of Religious Education, a department of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

This conference is the largest annual gathering of its kind worldwide. About 40,000 attend annually, and we were privileged to attend and explain how CFCA can help make a difference regarding global poverty.

CFCA set up a booth at the conference, and many sponsors stopped by to say hello. We compiled this quick slideshow of their pictures, as well as pictures of the friends they sponsor. Enjoy!

Apr 20 2011

Lenten reflection: Making sense of the empty tomb

Larry LivingstonHere is the last of the Lenten reflections from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope you have learned from and enjoyed these as much as we did!

The tomb was empty. That was the one thing everybody agreed on.

But why it was empty was an unanswered question, and plenty of rumors were going around.

Some claimed the body had been stolen, though by whom and for what purpose was unclear.

Then there were odd stories of people alleged to have seen him in various places, fully alive. Some claimed to have actually spoken with him, and two even swore they had spent the day traveling with him and that they had shared a meal!

But, at the end of the day, all that most of the people of Jesus’ time knew for sure was that the tomb was empty. And what were they to make of that?

It is the same question every Christian has had to wrestle with since that first Easter morning more than 2,000 years ago. Each day we stand at the entrance to that empty tomb. And each day we must decide what to make of it.

Walk2gether in Peru

Two children join Walk2gether in Peru. Walk2gether is part of CFCA’s mission to share grace and compassion with those living in poverty.

Like the adage about whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, how we choose to interpret the empty tomb comes down to perspective.

Do we see a symbol of suffering, failure and death? Or do we see a sign of promise, hope and renewed life?

How we answer those questions makes all the difference.

The world continually presents us with circumstances that we can choose to see through either the lens of hope or that of hopelessness.

War, suffering, poverty ñ these abound and there is no denying it. But for those with Easter vision, there are countless stories of love and compassion to be witnessed in the midst of those brutal realities.

The deepest joy of CFCA is that we are blessed to be agents of that Easter vision.

The members of our community ñ sponsors, sponsored persons, staff and friends around the world ñ have chosen to pitch our tent in the camp of life and hope. For nearly 30 years that tent has stood as a sign of God’s grace and human compassion.

Like Mary Magdalene, we have heard Jesus tenderly speak in the friendships between sponsors and sponsored persons. Like Thomas, we have touched the wounds of poverty and witnessed the courage of those who have risen above them.

And like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we have walked and broken bread with Jesus in the person of the poor, and yearned to tell the world about the wonders we have seen.

So, do we dare believe in the fantastic tale of a God who would die for us ñ and with us ñ and then lead us to new life beyond our dreaming?

Do we have the courage to walk with those who choose the path of hope? Do we have the fortitude to be witnesses for life in a world so obsessed with death?

Welcome to the empty tomb. Now, what do you make of it?