About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“Every experienced choirmaster’s work is founded on the following three axioms: (1) Few boys have a really good natural voice; (2) No boy is able to control his voice and produce good tone without training; (3) Most boys have a good ear, and considerable imitative capacity. It is on the last of these axioms that the choirmaster must begin his work.”
— Sir Richard Runciman Terry (1912)

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Biography of Pope Francis
published 12 May 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

RARELY BUY BOOKS, because I can borrow them from the Seminary library free, but I wanted to read a biography of the new Holy Father asap. I assumed since it came out so soon it was an old biography quickly translated by our dynamite Ignatius Press, but it was written by Andrea Tornielli quickly in Italian after the election. This fine journalist knows Pope Francis personally from trips he made as a Bishop and Cardinal to Rome.

I highly recommend it to get a more personal sense of our new Pope. It will not change anything you heard from commentators like those at EWTN but it has a preface by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, so that might help the wary.

What impressed me the most is his personal response to friends and strangers. For example, he had an on-going ministry to those in the terrible slums of Buenos Aires (note, these are not like our slums in the US – some of the people live in cardboard boxes or crates!) The biographer describes the Cardinal seeing a beautiful prostitute selling her body for her drug habit. Whenever he would see her he would say “God loves you.” Eventually she left her addiction and her trade, came back to the Church and is now learning how to minister to drug addicts at her previous place of “business.”

Of much lesser importance, my granddaughter told me that when she misses me (she lives in a different State) she watches me on You-tube. I didn’t even know I was on You-tube! Most of them are bits coming from a debate I did with an activist atheist (he stands on street corners telling people why religion is terrible and atheism better.) I debated with him on a TV set up on his web. His name is Justin Vacula – a former Catholic. You might enjoy it, unless he has cut up my stuff in such a way as to trivialize my golden truths!

A new venture. Ever hear of MOOC – this is a set up for massive on-line courses. The way it works is that, for free, people associated with some organization can take courses for a certificate. The professor does it for free, but gets all this exposure to his/her ideas. The students rap with each other on the site and the teacher can come in at will to clarify but need not. In this case the National Catholic Education people, and I am doing Way of Love: 100 Steps Spiritual Marathon that initially was on this blog.

An 85 year old priest substitute at my parish in California told this fascinating story. He was at the seminary and he couldn’t make it with the Latin component of philosophy courses. He had to memorize Thomistic definitions in Latin for exams. He left the seminary and was drafted into the Korean War. When the captain in his boot camp held up a bayonet and said “what is a bayonet for?” and the men had to respond with a yell “Kill! Kill! Kill!” he had a conversion moment wondering why he had left the seminary for this! When he returned to the seminary, post-Vatican II, his studies were easier and he has served 50 years in the priesthood.