Category: Learn & Live the Faith

Hello, Church? Anybody Home?
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Hello, Church? Anybody Home?

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In the midst of decades of proclamations for a New Evangelization, I have a very easy, free suggestion that will yield a huge return. Ready for it, Church? Answer your phones, return calls, and return emails. Yep, it’s that simple. Whatever nonsense am I writing about, you might inquire. I’ve worked for the Catholic Church […]

Seeking a Relationship with God
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Seeking a Relationship with God

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When I meet with the Confirmation students in my parish one on one, I always ask them to describe their relationship with God. Some answer the question rather quickly without any assistance, while for others I sometimes guide their answer by qualifying, “Does your relationship seem really close or distant?” Some do answer distant, and […]

Three New Lenten Resources
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Three New Lenten Resources

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Bringing Lent Home with Pope Francis: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle Ave Maria Press, 2015 Bringing Lent Home with Pope Francis is designed to “provide and encourage a daily occurrence of family prayer and communication as you move through this holy season together. By following the suggestions regarding how your […]

ISIS Erases 'Symbol of Christian Presence in Iraq'
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ISIS Erases ‘Symbol of Christian Presence in Iraq’

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By Oliver Maksan Confirmation that Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery has been completely destroyed by ISIS has caused widespread distress in Iraq. “St. Elijah’s monastery in Mosul was a symbol of the Christian presence in Iraq. The fact that it has been destroyed is terrible,” Father Dankha Issa told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church. […]

A Case for Catholic Education
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A Case for Catholic Education

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The National Catholic Educational Association paints a bleak picture for Catholic education in America. There are currently only 6,568 Catholic schools remaining in the USA. During 2014 an additional 88 schools closed or consolidated, while only 27 new schools opened. About 2 million students attend Catholic schools, of which 328,000 plus are non-Catholic. This is […]

Book Review: Rediscover Jesus
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Book Review: Rediscover Jesus

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As Catholics, we often think that we know Jesus. After all, most of us have been hearing the stories of his life since we were small children. They are part of who we are, and that is good. But sometimes, we can feel too familiar with the stories and we start to tune them out […]

Rejecting Abortion, Affirming Life
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Rejecting Abortion, Affirming Life

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Thousands braved severe weather last week to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., giving a vital public witness to the sanctity of life. In this column, however, I will reflect on a very personal situation with my wife’s first pregnancy six years ago, when abortion was presented to us as an option. Our […]

Eliminating Poverty or Eliminating Children?
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Eliminating Poverty or Eliminating Children?

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We are not alone in being suspicious of the United Nations when it comes to the life issues. Beginning with the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, abortion advocates have been attempting to use the language of U.N. documents, as well as the statements of certain U.N. committees themselves–think the Convention […]

A Matter Of Penance or Radical Permission
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A Matter Of Penance or Radical Permission

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This past Advent as I attended Sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest mercifully imposed a seemingly unchallenging penance: say one “Our Father.” The 10-year-old Mike would have loved that penance a whole lot more than what the priest typically prescribed at the time. I’ll never forget the day he prescribed young Mike an entire Rosary as […]

Your 2016 Handy-Dandy List of Lenten Resources
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Your 2016 Handy-Dandy List of Lenten Resources

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Lent comes early this year. February 10th is Ash Wednesday! That’s just three weeks away, folks. So instead of waiting until the last minute and grasping at your old standbys (giving up chocolate or God forbid, coffee), why not plan ahead using our convenient list of resources below? Make this your most spiritually fruitful Lent ever! Reprinted with […]

Broken (Liturgical) Windows
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Broken (Liturgical) Windows

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In a large urban parish which I attended some years ago I have noticed that the liturgical life seems to be shrinking in both action and attitude. The priests no longer hear confessions before Sunday Mass. On minor federal holidays the two regular daily Masses are reduced to only one mid-morning when most working people […]

Mercy Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry?
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Mercy Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry?

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“Why do they only have 45 minutes for confession?” asked my Protestant dad when I was home over the holidays. “Well,” I tried to explain, “Most church-goers don’t go to confession that often. They don’t really think they’re doing anything wrong.” A senior deacon from one of the first classes of people trained in the […]

Little Lies, Big Lies, and Narratives
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Little Lies, Big Lies, and Narratives

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Recently I read a collection of essays by various Catholic historians published in a book entitled Catholicism and Historical Narrative, edited by Kevin Schmiesing. As Schmiesing says in his introduction to the book, the fundamental job of historians is to “uncover the truth about the past.” “Yet,” he reminds us, “most historical debate occurs not […]

Seize Eternal Life in the Here and Now
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Seize Eternal Life in the Here and Now

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Jesus’ prayer in the 17th Chapter of John is often referred to as the High Priestly Prayer. In verse three we read “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” In the past, I have plowed through this verse without giving […]

Family Ties that Lift Us Up
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Family Ties that Lift Us Up

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Jesus’ invitation to discipleship comes with a warning: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mk 8:34). He made this statement shortly after Peter confessed him to be the Messiah, and he told his disciples what that role entails. The suffering involved in denying oneself and […]

In Syria, Food is 'The Most Deadly Weapon of War'
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In Syria, Food is ‘The Most Deadly Weapon of War’

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By John Pontifex NEW YORK—Food has become “the most deadly weapon of war” in Syria, according to a leading Catholic charity’s Middle East expert, who charged that both government and rebel forces are blocking humanitarian aid to force entire communities—already on the brink of starvation—to submit to their rule. He added that rebels have confiscated […]

Good Shelter Work
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Good Shelter Work

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I acted the devil’s advocate. “So here we are, driving to the animal shelter to volunteer when people are hungry. Shouldn’t we be helping at the Food Bank?” I grinned so she knew I was playing a bit. Reprinted with permission from CatholicSistas.com. She pursed her sassy, fourteen-year-old lips and dodged. “Well, you can go […]

The Epiphany Star
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The Epiphany Star

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My five year old daughter told me: “Dad, I know what you call stars that draw a picture: consternations.” I chuckled, but thought: No dear, a consternation is when you refuse to eat your dinner for no good reason. I also overheard her explaining to her four year old sister: “The word asteroid has two […]

Christmas in a Stricken Community: Where was God?
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Christmas in a Stricken Community: Where was God?

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Living in a community stricken by scores of deaths each year from pills and cheap heroin of unprecedented potency, the question of where God was is raised in thousands of hearts in unfathomable grief. Our young people are getting addicted and dying in epidemic proportions. These are good kids, from good homes, good schools, good […]

A Figure Of Deep, Genuine Mercy
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A Figure Of Deep, Genuine Mercy

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The figure of the Pieta resides on the top shelf along the southwest wall of my living room, just a little higher and to the left of our 40-inch TV screen. Next to it stands a clear glass angel. Another foot-and-a-half to the left is a tall grey cross, the base of which proclaims “All […]

New Years Resolution
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Seven Spiritual New Year’s Resolutions

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I think most Catholics in the world would love to grow in their relationship with Jesus. People have a genuine desire to grow in holiness, even if they are not able to articulate their desires for it. On New Year ’s Day many people re-evaluate their lives. They examine how their lives were in 2015 […]

In Bethlehem Then and Now, 'Jesus is the Door to Peace'
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In Bethlehem Then and Now, ‘Jesus is the Door to Peace’

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By Oliver Maksan JOSEPH AND MARY quietly rocked the child. Shepherds gathered around them. Children in costumes were enacting the Nativity of Jesus the subterranean chapels tucked away into nooks and crannies under the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. A silver star marks the birthplace in a grotto right nearby. The young actors that […]

Christmas Fulfills Promise to Adam and Eve
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Christmas Fulfills Promise to Adam and Eve

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St. Ignatius was bishop of Antioch overseeing first century Syrian Christians and was a disciple of the Apostle John. He wrote a letter to the Christians at Ephesus as he was being transported to Rome to face wild beasts in the arena. Ignatius wrote, “For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord […]

Reflections for Sunday, December 27, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, December 27, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 2nd Reading: Colossians 3:12-21 Responsorial: Psalm 128:1-5 Gospel: Luke 2:41-52 The Holy Family, Our Model of Faith and Trust and Love and Unity He went down with them … and was obedient to them. (Luke 2:51) Today is not a […]

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