Category: Catechesis

St. Francis and the Synod on the Family
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St. Francis and the Synod on the Family

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The date that Pope Francis chose to begin the second phase of the Synod on the Family could hardly have been a coincidence. When the Synod opened on October 4, the Church celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. And even more dramatically, the readings for the day celebrated marriage — the marriage of […]

Reflections for Sunday, October 11, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, October 11, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Wisdom 7:7-11 2nd Reading: Hebrews 4:12-13 Responsorial: Psalm 90:12-17 Gospel: Mark 10: 17-30 Being Good and Generous Stewards of Our Money How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! (Mark 10:23) Can a rich person go […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Trip to America, According to Pope Francis

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Pope Francis’s Wednesday General Audience on September 30 focused on his apostolic visit to Cuba and the United States. It was refreshing to hear the pope’s personal reflections on his visit, rather than the opinions of the media. The pope reminded the faithful he had specifically timed his visit to coincided with the 8th World Meeting of […]

Marriage and Family
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Marriage and Family

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The Beatles wrote a song that was the sensation of 1967, “All you need is love.” This the same point made a few years earlier by an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Gadium et Spes 24, Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, says this: God is Trinity, a communion of […]

Reflections for Sunday, October 4, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, October 4, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Genesis 2:18-24 2nd Reading: Hebrews 2:9-11 Responsorial: Psalm 128:1-6 Gospel: Mark 10:2-16 Experiencing the Healing, Transforming Power of God What God has joined together, no human being must separate. (Mark 10:9) Today’s readings could not be more appropriate! This morning, Pope Francis will […]

Does Quantum Mechanics Provide an Analogy for the Trinity?
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Does Quantum Mechanics Provide an Analogy for the Trinity?

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A stumbling block in my conversion process was dealing with the concept of the Holy Trinity–as a Jew, a cornerstone of my minimal religious faith was the Sh’ma Yisrael, that God was One: Sh’ma Yisra’el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH E?ad” Hear O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one. Deut. 6:4-9 The priest who was […]

Reflections for Sunday, September 27, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, September 27, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Numbers 11:25-2 2nd Reading: James 5:1-6 Responsorial: Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14 Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 Answering God’s Call to Reach Out to Those in Need Whoever is not against us is for us. (Mark 9:40) In the first reading, we see how […]

Anatomy of Envy
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Anatomy of Envy

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Recently a prominent CEO told a mixed group of business leaders that, regardless of their religion, they simply had to read the Bible. Why? Because success in business depends not so much upon understanding financial reports as it does upon understanding people. And when it comes to a book that reveals what makes people tick, […]

Reflections for Sunday, September 20, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, September 20, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 2nd Reading: James 3:16–4:3 Responsorial: Psalm 54:3-6, 8 Gospel: Mark 9:30-37 Saying Yes to Jesus and No to Sin “Where do the conflicts among you come from? (James 4:1) Our minds have the capacity to do amazing things. They can […]

<em>Laudato Si</em> with My Children
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Laudato Si with My Children

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Reading Laudato Si was like falling in love. For my husband and me, it brought back memories of the exciting early mornings of twelve years ago. Newly enraptured with Catholic teaching, we would rise early with a pot of coffee and our books – him with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and me with […]

Cl63 - hbratton notxt web
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Amen

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Pentecostal preachers shout it. Monks chant it. Most Christians end every prayer with it. But what does “Amen” really mean? Is it just a pious way to “log off” our dialogue with God? Actually, most of us have never heard the origins of this word that we use so glibly. But we need to examine it […]

Reflections for Sunday, September 13, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, September 13, 2015

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Meditations and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Isaiah 50:5-9 2nd Reading: James 2:14-18 Responsorial: Psalm 116:1-6, 8-9 Gospel: Mark 8:27-35 What it Means to Deny Ourselves, Take up Our Cross, and Follow Jesus “Peter … began to rebuke him. (Mark 8:32) Peter has a striking insight and dares to express […]

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

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Continuing his catechesis on the importance of the family, Pope Francis’ latest audience is on the role families play in evangelization. Whenever we think about evangelizing, we tend to think of it as something individuals do. We seldom pay attention to the role families have in this critical process. The first and most important role […]

Is Tradition a Four Letter Word?
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Is Tradition a Four Letter Word?

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One of the great battle cries of the Protestant Reformation was “sola scriptura!” Many thought that the Catholic Church had cluttered up the simple Christian faith by adding all sorts of practices, customs and doctrines over the centuries. They thought the Church in their day was guilty of exactly the same Pharisaical obsession with traditions […]

Reflections for Sunday, September 6, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, September 6, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Isaiah 35:4-7 2nd Reading: James 2:1-5 Responsorial: Psalm 146:7-10 Gospel: Mark 7:31-37 Overcoming Fear to Live a Life of Faith, Freedom, Courage, and Generosity Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! (Isaiah 35:4) Today’s readings sketch some scenes from […]

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

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For his 100th general audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family by considering family prayer. In his opening statements, the pope pointed out that most people find it difficult to find time to pray. Pope Francis teaches that love of God, not guilt will inspire us to pray. Pope Francis zeroed in on […]

Faithfulness
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Faithfulness

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Belief in God is rather widespread, at least in America. Various surveys show that over 90% of Americans “believe in God.” But belief and faith are not quite the same thing. When many people say “I believe in God” they mean that they believe that God exists, that “there is a God” somewhere up there. […]

Let’s Hear It for St. Augustine: A Theologian for Our Times
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Let’s Hear It for St. Augustine: A Theologian for Our Times

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”Happy those who feast on wisdom and savor her knowledge, She will nourish and refresh them.” –Happy Those Who Feast on Wisdom, Hymn for the Office of Readings, 28th August Who is your favorite saint? Mine is St. Augustine (Hippo), whose feast day is today. Rather than giving his biography and conversion story, I thought it […]

Reflections for Sunday, August 30, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, August 30, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8 2nd Reading: James 1:17-18,21-22,27 Responsorial: Psalm 15:2-5 Gospel: Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23 The Importance of Being Hearers and Doers of the Word of God Be doers of the word and not hearers only. (James 1:22) In the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of […]

Heart Speaks to Heart
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Heart Speaks to Heart

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SHE DIED ANYWAY. Decay in the marrow. Radiation robbed her radiance. Fragile peals of thunder protected summer showers that watered her flowers. If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will. Life submits to death. My parents, Moose and Sylvia, made an odd couple, like an elephant and a tickbird. He was Oscar. She […]

Reflections for Sunday, August 23, 2015
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Reflections for Sunday, August 23, 2015

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion Mass Readings: 1st Reading Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18 2nd Reading: Ephesians 5:21-32 Responsorial: Psalm 34:2-3, 16-21 Gospel: John 6:60-69 Being Faithful to the Lord in Difficult Circumstances To whom shall we go? (John 6:68) Joshua, the Old Testament leader called to bring God’s people into the Promised Land, […]

Traditionalism and Being "Pastoral"
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Traditionalism and Being “Pastoral”

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Hello William, In your previous letter, you outlined your concern about in whether traditionally minded priests can actually govern in the American Church.  I have delayed in responding (and still respond reluctantly) because I’m not really sure what exactly you are looking for. For every case of a “traditional” priest behaving autocratically, can we not […]

Are the Divorced and Remarried Excommunicated?  What Francis Meant
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Are the Divorced and Remarried Excommunicated? What Francis Meant

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Untangling one of Pope Francis’ public statements often resembles taking a final exam. “How many inaccurate implications can be drawn from Pope Francis’ statement? Explain why they are inaccurate, referencing canon law, Church history, and prevailing cultural trends.” For example, take his recent statement that divorced persons who remarry outside the Church are “by no […]

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

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If you are divorced and civilly remarried, you are not excommunicated. But if you are in such “irregular” situation, you cannot receive Communion. Last but not least: excommunication is good. Take a deep breath and repeat! At his first General Audience after his summer break this year, Pope Francis told us that “it is necessary […]

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