Category: Learn & Live the Faith

Pastores Dabo Vobis (“I Will Give You Shepherds”)
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Pastores Dabo Vobis (“I Will Give You Shepherds”)

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Occasionally I am asked why I became a priest. My response is always the same: “Because God asked me to.” Is it really that simple? Basically, yes. Priests aren’t delivered by the stork, and we don’t fall from the sky. Well, in a way we do, because our vocation comes from on high. Ultimately a […]

Jesus Only?
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Jesus Only?

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It’s not politically incorrect to believe in God. Just so long as you acknowledge that all are God’s children, and that there are many, equally honorable paths to the Most High. After all, that’s only fair. How conceited it would be to claim that your way is the only way. There is nothing really new about […]

Reflections for Sunday, April 26, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, April 26, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading: Acts 4:8-12 2nd Reading: 1 John 3:1-2 Responsorial: Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 29 Gospel: John 10:11-18 Following Jesus, the Good Shepherd Who Gives His Life for Us This is the fourth of seven “I am” declarations that Jesus makes about himself in […]

Enjoying My Peaceful Place
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Enjoying My Peaceful Place

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I have many ways to begin prayer, with numerous different motivations. Lately, God has been providing a certain motivation without my consciously asking for it. Ultimately, it’s almost always about finding peace. Before I get to that, let me share some of the ways I like to pray. There are times when I wish to […]

Boko Haram Suffers Setback, Refugees Return Home
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Boko Haram Suffers Setback, Refugees Return Home

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“It is all up to God—it’s not up to us to avenge and take retribution.” That’s the message proclaimed by Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri, Nigeria, one of the dioceses heaviest hit by the deadly raids of Boko Haram. Over the past few weeks, a strike force of the Nigerian army joined by troops […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Alliance of Man and Woman

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Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family on Wednesday in his general audience by explaining the central aspect of the family:” that of the great gift that God made to humanity with the creation of man and woman and with the Sacrament of Marriage. This catechesis and the next are concerned with the difference […]

Not a spook
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Not a spook

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In the heyday of the Roman Empire, the corruption of the times caused a wave of dissatisfaction to ripple across the civilized world.  Many were disgusted with the gross sensuality of society and yearned for a higher, spiritual kind of existence.  They sought a redeemer who would come down from heaven and enlighten those who […]

Take Me to Church -- The Mega-Church, That Is
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Take Me to Church — The Mega-Church, That Is

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My best female friend is a non-practicing Catholic. Like many lapsed Catholics, she attends Mass twice a year (Christmas and Easter). Though she has no genuine faith, she at least still appreciates Catholicism culturally, which is why she had a Catholic wedding, is supportive of our celibate priests, and ferries her kids to CCD at her local […]

The Law of Human Nature Still Exists
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The Law of Human Nature Still Exists

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Is there anything so wicked as a man trying to silence his conscience?  It is a willful act that happens in stages: Bit by bit, incident by incident, rationalization by rationalization, the voice of a man’s conscience can be stifled—that still small voice within him eventually becomes fainter, until his heart turns to stone and […]

Reflections for Sunday, April 19, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, April 19, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19 2nd Reading: 1 John 2:1-5 Responsorial: Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-9 Gospel: Luke 24:35-48 Opening Our Minds and Hearts to God’s Glorious Plan He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45) We all know what it feels like when […]

Would You Lay Down Your Life for Them?
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Would You Lay Down Your Life for Them?

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I have more than 1,100 friends on Facebook. Are they all really my friends? Fair question. My wife and children frequently voice their doubts that I even know that many people, much less can call that many people friends. My family has challenged me with this: “How many of those people, if they died, would […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Passion of Children

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Divorce, malnutrition, poverty. Children “are the first victims.” For all the talk about being pro-life and pro-family, and for all that our post-Protestant nation worships children, are we really aware of the damage done to children by sin and injustice? Just as Christ suffered as the son of the Father, and just as Christians give […]

How a Parish Can Attract Traditionalists
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How a Parish Can Attract Traditionalists

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Dear William, When I shared your previous letter on Facebook, I referred to the contents as “interesting.”  In it, you expressed a desire that over time, the need for the Extraordinary Form would lessen, and that you hope traditionalists would begin to frequent a better done Ordinary Form liturgy.  This is a difficult discussion, but I’d like […]

Divine Mercy: Drink it Up
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Divine Mercy: Drink it Up

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At the Abbey of Gethsemane in New Haven, Kentucky, the bell tower of the monastery chimed at three a.m. like Big Ben, shaking me from my bed. A seismic shift. What’s up with these monks? Why do they pray so early? Because it’s their charism, the horarium of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict […]

Who is Jesus?
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Who is Jesus?

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At the beginning of Lent our pastor gave everyone in our parish some homework to do. He asked us to read the Gospel of Mark. He wanted us to first just read through the entire gospel once and then to go back and read it a second time with a particular purpose in mind. He […]

Why Me, Lord? A Meditation
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Why Me, Lord? A Meditation

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Why, Lord, did you give me this father, this mother, this brother, this sister, this son, this daughter, this relative, this in-law, this person, this acquaintance, this alleged friend? Why did you do this to me? Why did you put them in my life? Why did you put me in their lives? I do not […]

The "Orthodox Practice" on Divorce and Communion, Part II
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The “Orthodox Practice” on Divorce and Communion, Part II

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At the close of the Extraordinary Synod of Catholic Bishops last October, the Synod’s Final Report ( the “Lineamenta”) included a questionnaire on pastoral practices on family issues.   Among the questions was number 38.  It opened with the following premise: “With regard to the divorced and remarried, pastoral practice concerning the sacraments needs to be […]

Reflections for Sunday, April 12, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, April 12, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading: Acts 4:32-35 2nd Reading: 1 John 5:1-6 Responsorial: Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24 Gospel: John 20:19-31 Allowing the Word of God to Deepen Our Faith These are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ. (John 20:31) The Gospel writers […]

The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
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The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

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As one might expect, the first greatest story ever told is that of God creating the world and then sending His son to save us from our sins. Throughout human history, God has wanted His people to know Him, to love Him, and to Trust Him, but due to sin, this has not been an […]

Our God is a Mighty God
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Our God is a Mighty God

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I love silence. I crave it sometimes, especially in a world that seems filled with noise 24/7. Radios and TVs, alarm clocks and iPods, CD players and Youtube, telephones and cell phones and people talking-talking-talking wherever we go. It can be a challenge to hear God’s voice over all of that noise. We might try […]

“Save Yourselves from this Corrupt Generation” (Acts 2:40)
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“Save Yourselves from this Corrupt Generation” (Acts 2:40)

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This verse in the Book of Acts brings an image to my mind of a street activist holding a sign with these words scrawled across it — a scenario many would turn away from. But those who heard St. Peter’s speech at Pentecost were “cut to the heart by it,” and that day three thousand were baptized […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: An Easter People on Easter Monday

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The overriding sentiment which prevails at my house and in my heart each Easter Monday is the same.  It is finished.  The long 40 days of Lenten fasting, prayer and penance are completed.  The late nights of the Triduum liturgies are over.  Crumbs of the traditional Italian Easter bread and a handful of neon colored […]

Dawn of the Living Dead
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Dawn of the Living Dead

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Mary Magdalene wept. Inconsolable. Bereft. Her mind raced. What’s going on here? she thought. I think I need to go lie down, put a warm towel across my forehead and drink a cup of herbal tea. Too much, too soon, too fast, and I can’t wrap my mind around it. They say it is darkest […]

Easter Sunday
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Easter Sunday

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The serpent’s bite was a deadly one.  The venom had worked its way deep into the heart of the entire human race, doing its gruesome work.  The anti-venom was unavailable until He appeared.  One drop was all that was needed, so potent was this antidote.  Yet it was not like Him to be stingy.  He […]

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