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Christmas Countdown...

Posted on Sep 2, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

113 days. That’s how long we have until Christmas. And while it may seem far off, as we all know, it will creep up on us faster than we expected. Every year I tell myself that I’m going to be more proactive and start my shopping earlier than I did last year in hopes of avoiding the stress of years past. But I usually fail, and find myself grabbing whatever I think will fit the bill. My hopes of thoughtful gifts with a little more substance and thought to it go out the door.

So this year I’m going to do it. I want my gifts to help reflect the true meaning of the season. If you want to join me, check out these books for possible gift ideas, or at least to get you in tune with the season’s true purpose. If you’ve got some younger kids on your list, how about sending kids on an adventure with St. Francis, or with other saints in the new Chime Travelers series? Or why not give a gift that keeps on giving with a subscription to St. Anthony Messenger magazine.

Whatever you decide to give, though, remember to do so in the true spirit of the season.

 

 

The post Christmas Countdown appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Chime Travelers: A Fun Adventure...

Posted on Sep 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Maybe it’s that it reminds them of school, or maybe it’s lack of material that interests them, but my kids aren’t real big fans of reading. As an avid reader myself, that makes me sad. So, I’m always on the lookout for books that may grab their attention, and draw them into the world of the written word.

Enter Lisa Hendey’s new Chime Traveler series. Hendey is an award-winning blogger and founder/editor of Catholic Mom.

The first chance I got, I picked up a copy of both books–The Secret of the Shamrock and The Sign of the Carved Cross–for my 9-year-old daughter, Riley, I hoped that maybe these books could be the ones to grab her attention. At first she was hesitant, but once she got into the books she was hooked. As an added bonus, even my younger daughter was drawn in and had me and her dad reading the book to her.

The books feature prayers and a short bio to a major saint’s life and legend. They also include discussion questions about saints, sacraments, and Catholic life that will help children understand what they’ve learned through the stories. This mom appreciated those discussion starters.

Riley said she loved learning about the saints in a new and different way. As of this writing she has already read both books, and said she hopes more will be on the way. I agree.

Read more about this series here.

*****
Photo: Susan Hines-Brigger

The post Chime Travelers: A Fun Adventure appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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POPE FRANCIS FOR YEAR OF MERCY GRANTS THAT SSPX PR...

Posted on Sep 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Huge news. This was under embargo till noon, Rome time, which must be honored.

It is about to be announced that the Holy Father has sent a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization about the upcoming Extraordinary Year of Mercy.

In this letter the Pope says that he is granting to all priests the faculty to absolve from the sin of abortion.  He writes: “I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”  Interesting way to word it.

He also says that the faithful may go to … well… read it yourself.  Here is a screenshot from the doc:

15_09_01_Francis_SSPX

This is HUGE news.

Let’s examine this.

First, note the language.  This letter says that he hopes that the SSPX will be reconciled.  He says that he hears good things about the priests of the SSPX.  But he says that the faithful may approach the priests of the SSPX for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) and that they shall validly and licitly receive absolution.  He doesn’t say that he is granting the priests the faculty to receive sacramental confessions.  He places the emphasis on the faithful.  In effect, the priests are being given the faculty to hear confessions, but there is a different emphasis.  I have the sense that it is the need of the faithful who otherwise might not go to a non-SSPX priest that the Holy Father is stressing.  Think about the case of a person who is dying and there is, say, an ex-priest -a guy who was “laicized” because he committed certain crimes, present, the Church’s laws says that in the circumstances of the person’s danger of death any validly ordained priest automatically has the faculty validly to absolve.  The need of the dying person is of such overwhelming importance that the law itself grants the ex-priest (or suspended priest, etc.) the faculty.  The stress is on the need of the dying person, not on the priest.  I think this is an analogous situation.

Along with this, the fact of Pope Francis’ move, together with the wording, confirms what I have been saying all along about the priests of the SSPX: they do not and have not had the faculty validly to absolve sins!  The fact that this is being granted for the Year of Mercy bears out what I have been saying.

That said, if the Holy Father is willing to go this far with the priests of the SSPX, is it hard to imagine that this merciful concession might not be extended beyond the Year of Mercy?  I would like to think so!

Next, this concession also underscores a point I have been making all along.  If only Nixon could go to China, perhaps Pope Francis is the Pope who will reconcile the SSPX!

Additionally, this could irritate some bishops in, say, France… Germany….  And even though this may not be well received in certain circles, the Pope is doing it anyway.

Moreover, earlier in his pontificate, this Pope was pretty hard on priests.  He seemed to be bashing them on a daily basis.   This move to grant all priests in the world the faculty to lift the censure which results from procuring an abortion is a sign of his confidence in priests… for a change.

I take heart from this bold move – which makes so much sense (to me at least) – in favor of the access the faithful will have to sacrament of penance.  I hope that it will also spark a wider discussion on the positive things that will come from the reconciliation of the SSPX.  I hope that discussion takes place even among the SSPXers themselves.

May all the followers of the SSPX , please God, look at this move with joy and with gratitude for the concern the Pope is showing to them.

And… to everyone… GO TO CONFESSION!

But… remember, the Year of Mercy hasn’t started yet and the SSPX does not yet have their faculty.  GO TO CONFESSION with priest with faculties!

 

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Carry God with You, Always...

Posted on Aug 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Teresa Tomeo, syndicated talk show host, motivational speaker, and author of Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions from Servant Books

It’s definitely not a coincidence, but what I like to call a “God-cidence.” The whole idea behind my new book Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag; On-the-Go Devotions is to help women get in the habit of carrying the Lord with them every day and everywhere; to find Him in the big and small events of our lives. The book includes a daily reflection on the many areas in the lives of today’s busy women, along with a Scripture verse and a prayer. It’s my hope that women will literally keep this devotional—and Jesus—with them at work, in the car, or in the grocery store line, and peek at it when they need a spiritual pick-me-up. It’s a book designed for those who are just getting to know Jesus and those who also want to get to know Him on a deeper level.

So imagine my delight when I went to read the Holy Father’s Angelus message yesterday morning—as I try to do every Monday morning—and saw that Pope Francis is once again encouraging all believers to do just what Walk Softly intends: to help Christians carry our faith and our Lord with them and take Him into all areas of not only our lives, but the lives of others.

Two days ago, reflecting the Mass readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent, the Holy Father told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s square that if we’re like the Jews and Greeks in John’s Gospel who “want to see Jesus,” then we need to do a better job of keeping Him close. A great way to do that,  according to the pope, is to carry the Word of God with us. Then, from the window of the papal apartment in the Apostolic palace, the pope held up a booklet of the Gospels letting the faithful know that the booklet, some 50 thousand copies of it, were being distributed in the square by members of Rome’s homeless community.

“This is a beautiful gesture that Jesus approves. Those who are most needy are the ones who are giving us the Word of God. Take it. Keep it in your pocket or in your handbag and read a passage a day. God’s word lights up our path. It will do you good,” he said.

Keeping God and His Word close by and carrying Him with us in our bag and in our pocket:  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

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Carry God with You, Always...

Posted on Aug 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Teresa Tomeo, syndicated talk show host, motivational speaker, and author of Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions from Servant Books

It’s definitely not a coincidence, but what I like to call a “God-cidence.” The whole idea behind my new book Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag; On-the-Go Devotions is to help women get in the habit of carrying the Lord with them every day and everywhere; to find Him in the big and small events of our lives. The book includes a daily reflection on the many areas in the lives of today’s busy women, along with a Scripture verse and a prayer. It’s my hope that women will literally keep this devotional—and Jesus—with them at work, in the car, or in the grocery store line, and peek at it when they need a spiritual pick-me-up. It’s a book designed for those who are just getting to know Jesus and those who also want to get to know Him on a deeper level.

So imagine my delight when I went to read the Holy Father’s Angelus message yesterday morning—as I try to do every Monday morning—and saw that Pope Francis is once again encouraging all believers to do just what Walk Softly intends: to help Christians carry our faith and our Lord with them and take Him into all areas of not only our lives, but the lives of others.

Two days ago, reflecting the Mass readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent, the Holy Father told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s square that if we’re like the Jews and Greeks in John’s Gospel who “want to see Jesus,” then we need to do a better job of keeping Him close. A great way to do that,  according to the pope, is to carry the Word of God with us. Then, from the window of the papal apartment in the Apostolic palace, the pope held up a booklet of the Gospels letting the faithful know that the booklet, some 50 thousand copies of it, were being distributed in the square by members of Rome’s homeless community.

“This is a beautiful gesture that Jesus approves. Those who are most needy are the ones who are giving us the Word of God. Take it. Keep it in your pocket or in your handbag and read a passage a day. God’s word lights up our path. It will do you good,” he said.

Keeping God and His Word close by and carrying Him with us in our bag and in our pocket:  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."