Category: Catechesis

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 […]

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 […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Introduction to the Year of Mercy

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In his first General Audience during the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis explained why he has called for this extraordinary jubilee year.  “Yesterday, I opened here, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Door of the Jubilee of Mercy, after having opened it already in the Cathedral of Bangui in the Central African Republic,” during his […]

Reflections for Sunday, December 13, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, December 13, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Zephaniah 3:14-18 2nd Reading: Philippians 4:4-7 Responsorial: (Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6 Gospel: Luke 3: 10-18 Advent, A Time to Trust in Jesus and His Power and Strength I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. (Luke 3:16) If you’ve […]

Did Neanderthals Have a Soul?
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Did Neanderthals Have a Soul?

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“The magisterium of the Church takes a direct interest in the question of evolution, because it touches on the conception of man, whom Revelation tells us is created in the image and likeness of God…. “Pius XII underlined the essential point: if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Journey to Africa

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Pope Francis reflected on his first Apostolic Visit to Africa during his Wednesday Address on Dec.2.  He travelled to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic with a message of hope in the Risen Jesus, calling Catholics to the mission field, “Please don’t exclude this possibility of becoming a missionary, to bring love, humanity and […]

Reflections for Sunday, December 6, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, December 6, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Baruch 5:1-9 2nd Reading: Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11 Responsorial: Psalm 126:1-6 Gospel: Luke 3:1-6 Advent, A Time to Respond to God’s Good Work in Us The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) Every winter, the […]

Advent: The Reason for the Season
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Advent: The Reason for the Season

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1st Sunday of Advent “Advent” is simply the Latin word for “coming.”  If we can manage to meditate on any “coming” in December besides the comings and goings of Christmas shopping, it would be Christ’s coming to Mary in a stable But the liturgy of the first three weeks of Advent speaks of another coming, […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Doors of Mercy

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Paris dominated the news cycle last week, thanks to the coordinated terrorist attacks by ISIS. But, if it weren’t for its utility as a political bargaining chip, who a month from now would remember Paris? Soon enough something new would have displaced Paris in our minds. In our active memory, we hold fast to only […]

Christ the King: From a Crown of Thorns to a Crown of Life
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Christ the King: From a Crown of Thorns to a Crown of Life

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As we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King this weekend, it’s worth asking ourselves what kind of kingdom Christ promised us. We know his kingdom is not of this world, and his crown is made of thorns. Will our sacrifices and suffering be worth it? What awaits us after death? The Book of Revelations […]

Reflections for Sunday, November 22, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, November 22, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Daniel 7:13-14 2nd Reading: Revelation 1:5-8 Responsorial: Psalm 93:1-2, 5 Gospel: John 18:33-37 Allowing Jesus Christ, Our King, To Feed Us with His Grace and Power Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of […]

Bl. John Henry Newman, 1880
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Blessed John Henry Newman and the Conscience

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Moral relativism bothers me for numerous reasons, but the greatest annoyance I have is relativism’s consistent use of illogical reasoning and justification. Besides selfishness, relativism’s only consistent attribute is being illogical. I find this frustrating because several friends buy into relativism lock, stock, and barrel without a second thought. By illogical I should say I […]

Hasten the End
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Hasten the End

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B Whenever I lead a trip to the Holy Land, the question inevitably comes, “Will we visit Armageddon?’  This refers, of course, to the battlefield surrounding the ancient city of Megiddo where some think the final confrontation will take place before the end of the world (Rev 16:16).  Catholics […]

Reflections for Sunday, November 15, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, November 15, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Daniel 12:1-3 2nd Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14, 18 Responsorial: Psalm 16:5, 8-11 Gospel: Mark 13:24-32 Reflecting on Jesus’ Second Coming and Our Life in Heaven They will see “the Son of Man coming in the clouds” with great power and glory. (Mark 13:26) Most […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Forgiveness in the Family

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Pope Francis opened his Nov. 4th Wednesday General Address by spotlighting real families who witness daily to the great gift of marriage and family. Essential Christian families revitalize modern life by living out the humanizing values of the Gospel. When Christian families practice forgiveness in their homes, their actions have a ripple effect, reconstituting the […]

The Widow’s Mite
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The Widow’s Mite

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The time lag between the two widows in this Sunday’s readings was considerable.  Lots of things change in 800 years. But one thing their two societies had in common–they didn’t offer social security, welfare, 401K’s, or pension plans.  With no husband to provide for them, both widows were literally at the mercy of those around […]

Reflections for Sunday, November 7, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, November 7, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading 1 Kings 17:10-16 2nd Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28 Responsorial: Psalm 146:7-10 Gospel: Mark 12:38-44 Eagerly Awaiting the Second Coming of Christ Christ … will appear a second time … to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him. (Hebrews 9:28) November marks the final […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Jewish Roots of Christianity

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Reflecting on the 50 anniversary of the historic Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate, Pope Francis lauded the document for proposing to every Christian “the rediscovery of the Jewish roots of Christianity.” Speaking in cinematic terms to give ourselves a frame of reference, is Christianity a remake (or re-boot), a sequel, or a spin-off of Judaism?  […]

Just Say These Words and Walk on into Heaven
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Just Say These Words and Walk on into Heaven

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Why aren’t there some words – profound, insightful, loving, deep, meaningful, powerful words– which, when read, heard, or said will immediately and instantaneously make a person perfectly good in this life and remain so until they die, thus enjoying eternal glory in Heaven? Why cannot words such as these be written which, once read, change […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Family and Fidelity

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Pope Francis’s Wednesday General Audience, on October 21, focused on the promise of love and fidelity made between husbands and wives.  The resulting fidelity in turn sets the couple and their family free. A couple’s fidelity to their promise to love is a blessing for the whole world because “no other school can teach the […]

The Blind Man Speaks Up
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The Blind Man Speaks Up

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time The Blind Man Speaks Up There were hundreds in the crowd that day at Jericho.  No doubt all of them had needs, many of them urgent.  But this Sunday’s gospel tells us that apparently only one of them had the audacity to speak up and ask for help from the […]

Reflections for Sunday, October 25, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, October 25, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Jeremiah 31:7-9 2nd Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6 Responsorial: Psalm 126:1-6 Gospel: Mark 10:46-52 Saying Yes to Jesus’ Call Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you. (Mark 10:49) Today’s readings all involve a call from God. In the first reading, the Lord makes a […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: On Scandal

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Key to seeing the Holy Father’s message this week is reading again the opening passage of Matthew 18, read in St. Peter’s Square before the general audience. Distracted by the question of “greatness before God,” the apostles ask Jesus who would be the greatest. Jesus answers the question in a kind of rebuke, saying that […]

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