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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Reality shows and real reality

Yesterday was spent doing research for a couple of projects I have coming up. The first is a bit more academic and focusses on the subject of evolution and Catholicism. There are quite a bit of different opinions running the gamut from strict Creationism to strict Evolutionism. I am looking less at attempting to identify the correct opinion but to identify a means of presenting the relationship between the theory of evolution and Catholic theology in a way that doesn't cause my future students intellectual and religious distress.

My other project is a bit more pastoral and focusses on the problem of faith development for families. My own life enables me to go down to a chapel to pray whenever I want, to attend daily Mass, to go on periodic retreats, and to talk about God with others a whole lot. However, I also know that it can be difficult, if not impossible, for families to spend time praying and discussing their faith in a life with many other demands upon time or a life which leaves them too tired at the end of a long work day or week. I realize that the disconnect between valuing faith, yet being unable to spend time developing that faith is very frustrating. I sometimes think that perhaps instead of doing reality shows like "wifeswapping", they should allow religious and married to exchange lives for a couple of weeks - perhaps they can call it "vocationswapping". The religious can get up at six to get the kids ready for school. The married can get up at six to pray the Divine Office. The religious can deal with difficult co-workers. The married can deal with difficult parishioners. I'm not sure if this idea would be very popular, but maybe they could join it with my other reality suggestions - "Extreme Friary Makeover", which involves someone paying to send all of us to Assisi for a week while they remodel our Friary with jacuzzis and "Franciscan Eye for the Lay Guy" which involves dressing everyone in black or brown habits.

Seriously, as I research this paper, I'll leave some notes on what I find that may be useful to you or others seeking more prayer time in your busy schedules. While the question I am looking at involves the ability of married families to have prayer time in their own homes, there already exist "couple retreats" which do not involve children and "family retreats" which do. For information about these type of retreats in general, there is an article by Ed Blaine for the National Catholic Reporter at http://

Some other links are
Ed Blaine's retreat site at
Family Retreats at the Hoste Center in Georgia at
Marianist Family Retreats in New Jersey at

For those who are unable to travel, Creighton University has a thirty four week Online Retreat focussing on the Spiritual Exercises which can be done alone or in groups at
This retreat might be more manageable as it looks for a time commitment of only about an hour every two weeks for group time.

Peace and Good


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