Weekly religion rail, with items on the pope and technology, prayers for nervous newlyweds, getting to know Saint John Bosco, and more.
Pope Benedict XVI recently urged priests to use all available resources to get their message across, including blogs, Web sites, animated features and more.
According to wire reports, the pope said cutting-edge technologies will help clergy preach the Gospel and engage in dialogue with a wide range of people.
Benedict also recommended that young priests should become familiar with new media while still in seminary, and that these new ways of communication can be a "gift to humanity" when used to foster friendship and understanding.
Some examples of technology that the Vatican has embraced include a YouTube channel, a Web site and a Facebook application.
Church to pray for nervous newlyweds
The Church of England is taking steps to ease the jitters of couples as they approach their wedding day.
According to wire reports, couples can fill out specially designed postcards with details about their worries, give the card to a priest, and the priest will pray for them a week before their ceremony.
The church has set up a Web site, www.yourchurchwedding.org, where couples can listen to popular hymns, view readings and get advice on planning church weddings.
Did You Know?
The U.S. Census Bureau has not asked questions about religion since the 1950s, but the federal government did gather some information about religion for about a century before that.
Starting in 1850, census takers began asking a few questions about religious organizations as part of the decennial census that collected demographic and social statistics from the general population as well as economic data from business establishments.
-- The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
“Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom” by Rick Hanson with Richard Mendius
Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and other great teachers were born with brains built essentially like anyone else’s. Then they used their minds to change their brains in ways that changed history.
With the new breakthroughs in neuroscience, combined with the insights from thousands of years of contemplative practice, you, too, can shape your own brain for greater happiness, love and wisdom.
“Buddha's Brain” joins the forces of modern science with ancient teachings to show readers how to have greater emotional balance in turbulent times, as well as healthier relationships, more effective actions and a deeper religious or spiritual practice.
Well-referenced and grounded in science, the book is full of practical tools and skills readers can use in daily life to tap the unused potential of the brain and rewire it over time for greater peace and well-being.
Get to Know … Saint John Bosco
Saint John Bosco (1815–1888) was an Italian Catholic priest and educator who dedicated his life to the education of poor youngsters, using methods based on love rather than punishment.
He placed his works under the protection of Francis de Sales; the chief organization he founded was known as the Society of St. Francis de Sales, or as the Salesian Society. He also helped found the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, a religious congregation of nuns dedicated to the care and education of poor girls.
Despite some opposition, he was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934. Bosco was declared Blessed in 1929 and canonized on Easter Sunday of 1934, when he was given the title of "Father and Teacher of Youth."
Bosco had been popularly known as the patron saint of illusionists and was later formally declared the Patron of Stage Magicians.
On his feast day, Catholic stage magicians often venerate Don Bosco by offering free magic shows to underprivileged children.
Idol: A drawing, statue or other representation of an item in heaven or earth that is used for worship. Alternatively, anything in life that takes a position of priority over one's relationship with God. – religioustolerance.org
Religion Around the World
Religious makeup of Slovenia
Catholic: 57.8 percent
Muslim: 2.4 percent
Orthodox: 2.3 percent
Other Christian: 0.9 percent
Unaffiliated: 3.5 percent
Other or unspecified: 23 percent
None: 10.1 percent
- CIA Factbook
GateHouse News Service