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Just reminding erryone of my current location #rio #papafrancis #skyline #beautiful

Posted by on 7-22-13

El Jueves salgo para Puerto Rico y estare participando del JMJ en PR. Un Evento unido al JMJ de Brasil. Seran dias de mucha gracia, poder y misericordia. Contamos con sus oraciones! Para mas info porfavor visiten www.jmj2013pr.com #jmj #jmj2013pr #brasil #puertorico #unasolaiglesia #jovenes #catholic #catolico #papafrancis

Posted by on 7-22-13

“Não tenho ouro nem prata.. Vim aqui transmitir o maior presente que recebi nessa vida: Jesus Cristo” – Papa Francisco, no Palácio Guanabara, na sua chegada no Rio de Janeiro

Posted by on 7-22-13

Nada mejor que coger cosas de los hoteles y encontrartelas un tiempo mas tarde #recuerdoson #abril2013 #antequera #campeonatoespañaporescuelas #catalunya #buenequipo #genialrelevo #granada #bocadecaballo #dientesdeleon #mojopicon #bananas #pasajeros #titofrancis #papafrancis #yayofrancis #quierovolver

Posted by on 7-22-13

El papa Francisco acaba de recitar: “Necesitamos santos sin velo, sin sotana. Necesitamos santos de jeans y zapatillas. Necesitamos santos que vayan al cine, escuchen musica y paseen con sus amigos. Necesitamos santos que coloquen a Dios en primer lugar y que sobresalgan en la Universidad. Necesitamos santos que busquen tiempo cada dia para rezar y que sepan enamorar en la pureza y castidad, o que consagren su castidad. Necesitamos santos modernos, santos del siglo XXI con una espiritualidad insertada en nuestro tiempo. Necesitamos santos comprometidos con los pobres y los necesarios cambios sociales. Necesitamos santos que vivan en el mundo, se santifiquen en el mundo y que no tengan miedo de vivir en el mundo. Necesitamos santos que tomen Coca Cola y coman hot-dogs, que sean internautas, que escuchen iPod. Necesitamos santos que amen la Eucaristia y que no tengan vergüenza de tomar una cerveza o comer pizza el fin de semana con los amigos. Necesitamos santos a los que les guste el cine, el teatro, la musica, la danza, el deporte. Necesitamos santos sociables, abiertos, normales, amigos, alegres, compañeros. Necesitamos santos que esten en el mundo y que sepan saborear las cosas puras y buenas del mundo, pero sin ser mundanos”. Amen!!!!!!! (Esta parte la dije yo) :) #santidadenjeans #santidad #PapaFrancis #Iglesia #yes #holiness

Posted by on 7-21-13

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Jean Vanier on St. Francis and the Leper...

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The following is a excerpt from Jean Vanier’s book, The Gospel of John, The Gospel of Relationship, published by Franciscan Media.

Francis of Assisi said that he felt repulsed by those who were suffering from leprosy. In the Middle Ages, there were some twenty thousand leprosariums in Europe. He was disgusted; he did not want to be close to them. We can understand that because of the deformed faces of such people and the smell characteristic of the disease. Francis was therefore shocked and afraid and turned away from them. Then one day Francis said, “The Lord led me toward them, and I served them, and when I left I felt a new gentleness in my body and in my spirit.” When the walls of fear fall down, we can begin to meet each other and discover the vulnerable and wounded heart of the other.

We see such healing meetings in our L’Arche communities with regard to people with disabilities. Young people (age 15 or so) from local schools come to spend a day with us that, of course, includes meeting people with disabilities. After their visit, they complete an evaluation of their short stay. Many say, “Before coming to L’Arche I was very frightened.”

They were frightened of people with disabilities because they are different. In our world, so many people are frightened of others who are of a different culture, religion, or social class. Several years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Chile. On the road from the airport, my driver told me, “On the left are the slums, and on the right are the houses of the rich. Nobody crosses this road. Nobody.” The poor are frightened of the rich, and the rich are frightened of the poor. There is no meeting between the two. The road is like a wall.

We live in a world where we create walls because of our fears. Walls can surround our hearts when we are frightened of others.

To learn more about Jean Vanier’s book, click here.

*****
Painting by Larry Zink

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Jean Vanier on St. Francis and the Leper...

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The following is a excerpt from Jean Vanier’s book, The Gospel of John, The Gospel of Relationship, published by Franciscan Media.

Francis of Assisi said that he felt repulsed by those who were suffering from leprosy. In the Middle Ages, there were some twenty thousand leprosariums in Europe. He was disgusted; he did not want to be close to them. We can understand that because of the deformed faces of such people and the smell characteristic of the disease. Francis was therefore shocked and afraid and turned away from them. Then one day Francis said, “The Lord led me toward them, and I served them, and when I left I felt a new gentleness in my body and in my spirit.” When the walls of fear fall down, we can begin to meet each other and discover the vulnerable and wounded heart of the other.

We see such healing meetings in our L’Arche communities with regard to people with disabilities. Young people (age 15 or so) from local schools come to spend a day with us that, of course, includes meeting people with disabilities. After their visit, they complete an evaluation of their short stay. Many say, “Before coming to L’Arche I was very frightened.”

They were frightened of people with disabilities because they are different. In our world, so many people are frightened of others who are of a different culture, religion, or social class. Several years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Chile. On the road from the airport, my driver told me, “On the left are the slums, and on the right are the houses of the rich. Nobody crosses this road. Nobody.” The poor are frightened of the rich, and the rich are frightened of the poor. There is no meeting between the two. The road is like a wall.

We live in a world where we create walls because of our fears. Walls can surround our hearts when we are frightened of others.

To learn more about Jean Vanier’s book, click here.

*****
Painting by Larry Zink

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KNIGHTS OF THE EUCHARISTIC HEART OF JESUS...

Posted on Jul 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

On the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, the third Sunday in July, 19th July 2015, at the Oratory of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour, Emeritus Bishop Basil Meeking, DD, inaugurated the Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of JesusThe Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is an organization which has been formed by the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer. Its object is to provide a solid formation for boys and men who wish to serve Our Blessed Lord at His altar. It has been created in response to the need to train boys and men worthy of the duty of serving at the Traditional Rite of Holy Mass. A society called Knights of the Altar was begun under St John Bosco in 1858, and this name was used in the United States of America by a Fr Benz in 1939, who formed an Altar serving society. Our Society is largely based on the Knights of the Altar.

Why Knights?

Medieval Knighthood, in the service of manor lords, calls forth such ideals as honour, loyalty, justice, chivalry, and respect for all. In the use of the term knight, the Altar Server is reminded of his duty to serve the Lord of lords with fidelity and honour, to treat others with respect and justice, and to live an upright personal life, defending always the rights of God and His Holy Church. In the names page and squire, the server is reminded again of the years of practice and study that went into the training of a knight and should consider with what devotion and perseverance he should attend to his own training in the service of the Altar. The chevalier was a travelling knight, which should remind the server that he should be ever travelling toward his heavenly goal.

Purpose of the Society

(1) To form a worthy guard of honour to our Divine Eucharistic King in whose service we willingly assume the dignity and honour of becoming Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus;
(2) To render faithful, reverent and edifying service to God by assisting His visible representatives, the Bishops and Priests, in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in all other liturgical and devotional functions;
(3) To enkindle in the hearts of the faithful whom we represent at the altar, greater piety and devotion by reverently performing the duties of our holy office and by giving good example in our daily lives;
(4) Finally, to ensure the continued and efficient function of the Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus as a society by attending meetings and giving of our service to the Church.

Below are photos taken at this memorable ceremony.

Some of the younger altar servers processing to Holy Mass.

Emeritus Bishop Basil Meeking, DD.

Prayers at the foot of the Altar.

Incensation at the beginning of Mass.

The Sanctissimum is removed for a Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool.

Seated for the singing of the Gloria.

Future Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.

Bishop Meeking sings the collects; of the Mass
and of his anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood, 62 years today.

The Servers stand attentively at the Service of Jesus Christ the King.

Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. is dubbed the Knight Director.

Seven boys became Apprentices. This is the first step
to becoming a Knight. The apprentice needs to learn all the
Latin responses by heart for Low Mass.

Two of the five Pages who have learnt their Latin response by heart
 and know how to serve Acolyte 2

The Pages receive from the Bishop
the Cassock, Surplice, Medal of the Eucharistic Heart, as well as the Handbook.
The Bishops addresses the pages: “Wear this cassock, in which you are vested, with the greatest respect, for it is part of the armour you shall wear as a Knight of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus in the service of your Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
May Our Lord clothe you with the grace you need for your new dignity as his servant, just as you will now be clothed in this surplice. May you show yourselves worthy by the proof of your life, and may its whiteness be ever a true symbol of the gleaming purity of your soul.”

Jose and Jerome O’Sullivan became Squires.
They receive the single red tassel for this rank.

Justin Evans and Josef Fairbrother having been received as Pages.

Mervin de Lancea is dubbed a Knight by the Bishop.

A Scottish Broad Sword used for the dubbing.

The elevation of the Precious Blood.

The excellent choir that sang various parts of the Mass in polyphony. 

The new Apprentices, Pages, Squires and Knights.
“We, the Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, pledge allegiance to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, to His representatives on earth, and to Mary, our Queen Immaculate, whom we will serve faithfully until we attain eternal triumph in heaven. We pledge ourselves to form a worthy guard of honour to our Divine Eucharistic King in whose service we willingly assume the dignity and honour of becoming Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus; to render faithful, reverent and edifying service to God by assisting His visible representatives, the Bishops and Priests, in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in all other liturgical and devotional functions; to enkindle in the hearts of the faithful, whom we represent at the altar, greater piety and devotion by reverently performing the duties of our holy office and by giving good example in our daily lives.”
“Tu es sacerdos in aeternum!”
After the Mass congratulating the Bishop
 for his fidelity and service of 62 years a priest.

Seven new Apprentices
Arlen Dempsey, John Fairborther, Joseph le Grelle, Malachi Tamepo
Aiden Evans, Joseph Donaghue, Thomas Fairbrother.

Five new Pages,
Josef Fairbrother, Justine Evans, James Green, Isaac Skilling and Julian Conlon.

Jose and Jerome O’Sullivan, Squires.

Dr Mervin de Lancea and Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R.
Knight and Knight Director.

Deo gratias et Mariae!! 

After a moving ceremony we thank God for all His blessings and ask you to keep these young men in your prayers for their perseverance in striving to serve Our Lord and King with fidelity and joy.
Read More

KNIGHTS OF THE EUCHARISTIC HEART OF JESUS...

Posted on Jul 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

On the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, the third Sunday in July, 19th July 2015, at the Oratory of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour, Emeritus Bishop Basil Meeking, DD, inaugurated the Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of JesusThe Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is an organization which has been formed by the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer. Its object is to provide a solid formation for boys and men who wish to serve Our Blessed Lord at His altar. It has been created in response to the need to train boys and men worthy of the duty of serving at the Traditional Rite of Holy Mass. A society called Knights of the Altar was begun under St John Bosco in 1858, and this name was used in the United States of America by a Fr Benz in 1939, who formed an Altar serving society. Our Society is largely based on the Knights of the Altar.

Why Knights?

Medieval Knighthood, in the service of manor lords, calls forth such ideals as honour, loyalty, justice, chivalry, and respect for all. In the use of the term knight, the Altar Server is reminded of his duty to serve the Lord of lords with fidelity and honour, to treat others with respect and justice, and to live an upright personal life, defending always the rights of God and His Holy Church. In the names page and squire, the server is reminded again of the years of practice and study that went into the training of a knight and should consider with what devotion and perseverance he should attend to his own training in the service of the Altar. The chevalier was a travelling knight, which should remind the server that he should be ever travelling toward his heavenly goal.

Purpose of the Society

(1) To form a worthy guard of honour to our Divine Eucharistic King in whose service we willingly assume the dignity and honour of becoming Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus;
(2) To render faithful, reverent and edifying service to God by assisting His visible representatives, the Bishops and Priests, in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in all other liturgical and devotional functions;
(3) To enkindle in the hearts of the faithful whom we represent at the altar, greater piety and devotion by reverently performing the duties of our holy office and by giving good example in our daily lives;
(4) Finally, to ensure the continued and efficient function of the Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus as a society by attending meetings and giving of our service to the Church.

Below are photos taken at this memorable ceremony.

Some of the younger altar servers processing to Holy Mass.

Emeritus Bishop Basil Meeking, DD.

Prayers at the foot of the Altar.

Incensation at the beginning of Mass.

The Sanctissimum is removed for a Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool.

Seated for the singing of the Gloria.

Future Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.

Bishop Meeking sings the collects; of the Mass
and of his anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood, 62 years today.

The Servers stand attentively at the Service of Jesus Christ the King.

Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. is dubbed the Knight Director.

Seven boys became Apprentices. This is the first step
to becoming a Knight. The apprentice needs to learn all the
Latin responses by heart for Low Mass.

Two of the five Pages who have learnt their Latin response by heart
 and know how to serve Acolyte 2

The Pages receive from the Bishop
the Cassock, Surplice, Medal of the Eucharistic Heart, as well as the Handbook.
The Bishops addresses the pages: “Wear this cassock, in which you are vested, with the greatest respect, for it is part of the armour you shall wear as a Knight of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus in the service of your Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
May Our Lord clothe you with the grace you need for your new dignity as his servant, just as you will now be clothed in this surplice. May you show yourselves worthy by the proof of your life, and may its whiteness be ever a true symbol of the gleaming purity of your soul.”

Jose and Jerome O’Sullivan became Squires.
They receive the single red tassel for this rank.

Justin Evans and Josef Fairbrother having been received as Pages.

Mervin de Lancea is dubbed a Knight by the Bishop.

A Scottish Broad Sword used for the dubbing.

The elevation of the Precious Blood.

The excellent choir that sang various parts of the Mass in polyphony. 

The new Apprentices, Pages, Squires and Knights.
“We, the Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, pledge allegiance to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, to His representatives on earth, and to Mary, our Queen Immaculate, whom we will serve faithfully until we attain eternal triumph in heaven. We pledge ourselves to form a worthy guard of honour to our Divine Eucharistic King in whose service we willingly assume the dignity and honour of becoming Knights of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus; to render faithful, reverent and edifying service to God by assisting His visible representatives, the Bishops and Priests, in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in all other liturgical and devotional functions; to enkindle in the hearts of the faithful, whom we represent at the altar, greater piety and devotion by reverently performing the duties of our holy office and by giving good example in our daily lives.”
“Tu es sacerdos in aeternum!”
After the Mass congratulating the Bishop
 for his fidelity and service of 62 years a priest.

Seven new Apprentices
Arlen Dempsey, John Fairborther, Joseph le Grelle, Malachi Tamepo
Aiden Evans, Joseph Donaghue, Thomas Fairbrother.

Five new Pages,
Josef Fairbrother, Justine Evans, James Green, Isaac Skilling and Julian Conlon.

Jose and Jerome O’Sullivan, Squires.

Dr Mervin de Lancea and Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R.
Knight and Knight Director.

Deo gratias et Mariae!! 

After a moving ceremony we thank God for all His blessings and ask you to keep these young men in your prayers for their perseverance in striving to serve Our Lord and King with fidelity and joy.
Read More

Making Good Choices...

Posted on Jul 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Fearing that he might not resist the temptations commonly experienced by lawyers, Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1578–1622) became a Capuchin priest, a noted preacher, and a martyr.

Each of us will die eventually. “What kind of conscience will I bring to that moment?” should be our main concern.

“By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel that had transformed them and made them capable of attaining to the greatest gift of love: the forgiveness of their persecutors,” writes Pope Benedict XVI in Door of Faith, his apostolic letter about the current Year of Faith.

Fidelis preached in Feldkirch, Germany, nursed soldiers felled by an epidemic, and in 1622 was named by the Holy See’s new Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith to lead a group of preachers in Switzerland. Because he had some success there, Calvinists in Seewis killed Fidelis while he was preaching. He is a patron of lawyers and that congregation’s first missionary martyr. As he was about to die, Fidelis did not regret his choice to join the Franciscan family as a Capuchin.

Our daily choices matter because they reaffirm what St. Paul described as our “old self” or a “new self” (Col 3:9–11). May our choices reflect our Baptism into Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection!

This post is from the “Dear Reader” column of St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, go here.

*****
Photo: Krivosheev Vitaly/Shutterstock

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ASK FATHER: Father says Mass in alb and stole...

Posted on Jul 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

From a reader:

A new pastor to our church celebrated the Sacrifice of the Mass dressed only in a white alb with a green stole this Sunday. It is my understanding a priest is always to wear proper liturgical vestments when carrying out his priestly function. The heat and humidity may have prevented him and I would like to give him the benefit of a doubt but he seems to be a maverick, if you get my drift, refusing even to purify the sacred vessels after communion or after Mass. Can the bishop give special dispensations for priests who may have health problems and simply can not bear the heat of wearing a chasuble?

No.

Put more money in the collection so that the parish can get – pace Francis – an air conditioner.

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Our Belief in God...

Posted on Jul 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Today we welcome guest blogger Jim Van Vurst, OFM, who writes A Friar’s E-spirations.

In his lifetime, Jesus’ mission was not about building himself up. He came to love and to save every human being. And he would do that no matter what the cost—even death on the cross. He worked all of his public life to show how much God loved everyone—including those rejected by the religious leaders who were convinced God couldn’t love people who broke the law.

Now we have to translate those truths into our own lives. Many are confused by fears and doubts about God’s love. “If I’ve sinned, then God does not love me.” False! God is love, and he never stops loving his children. God can’t do anything else but love—that’s how he is defined in Scripture.

At the same time, we have an obligation to seek, love, and serve God, as well as our neighbor. Even with all that, God gives his love and care. There is no human who responds perfectly. There is no person who has not needed to be redeemed—no person for whom Jesus did not die.

Why Do We Sin?

If God loves us, why do we sin? It’s because we are weak and wounded. What mother stops loving her child just because he or she is disobedient? Moms don’t love in order to be loved. Moms just love! It is the best—though imperfect—human image we have of God’s love for his children.

Love is the reason God is always with us on our earthly journey. Love is the reason God provides us with the guidance of grace to help us live the way the Gospel calls us to live. In other words, God is always on our side.

On Our Side

The poorest image we can have of God is that of a stern, angry judge sitting on a bench high above us with a gavel in hand, reading over our good and bad deeds. That’s called “bench-judgment.” It’s human judgment—which is unreliable.

Make no mistake about it: God is not weak or wishy-washy. God knows what sin is. But God is with us, and he will do whatever he can to help us. The one thing God cannot and will not do is force anyone to love him.

Love cannot be forced. But God cannot be fooled. God is the truth.

For more FREE E-spirations from Friar Jim, go here.

*****
Photo: Mykola Velychko/PhotoXpress

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Our Belief in God...

Posted on Jul 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Today we welcome guest blogger Jim Van Vurst, OFM, who writes A Friar’s E-spirations.

In his lifetime, Jesus’ mission was not about building himself up. He came to love and to save every human being. And he would do that no matter what the cost—even death on the cross. He worked all of his public life to show how much God loved everyone—including those rejected by the religious leaders who were convinced God couldn’t love people who broke the law.

Now we have to translate those truths into our own lives. Many are confused by fears and doubts about God’s love. “If I’ve sinned, then God does not love me.” False! God is love, and he never stops loving his children. God can’t do anything else but love—that’s how he is defined in Scripture.

At the same time, we have an obligation to seek, love, and serve God, as well as our neighbor. Even with all that, God gives his love and care. There is no human who responds perfectly. There is no person who has not needed to be redeemed—no person for whom Jesus did not die.

Why Do We Sin?

If God loves us, why do we sin? It’s because we are weak and wounded. What mother stops loving her child just because he or she is disobedient? Moms don’t love in order to be loved. Moms just love! It is the best—though imperfect—human image we have of God’s love for his children.

Love is the reason God is always with us on our earthly journey. Love is the reason God provides us with the guidance of grace to help us live the way the Gospel calls us to live. In other words, God is always on our side.

On Our Side

The poorest image we can have of God is that of a stern, angry judge sitting on a bench high above us with a gavel in hand, reading over our good and bad deeds. That’s called “bench-judgment.” It’s human judgment—which is unreliable.

Make no mistake about it: God is not weak or wishy-washy. God knows what sin is. But God is with us, and he will do whatever he can to help us. The one thing God cannot and will not do is force anyone to love him.

Love cannot be forced. But God cannot be fooled. God is the truth.

For more FREE E-spirations from Friar Jim, go here.

*****
Photo: Mykola Velychko/PhotoXpress

Read More

Guiding Teens Into Christian Maturity...

Posted on Jul 16, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The following is an excerpt from the book What Teens Want You to Know But Won’t Tell You by Roy Petitfils.

Teens want and need adults to be grounded in being adults. When your goal is to be liked by young people you risk losing sight of the bigger goal, which is to journey with them into Christian maturity. Secondly, you’ll lose the respect of teens, which is worth a lot more than being liked. The key to effectively reaching them and deepening our relationships with them is not by trying to be their friend, but by being friendly, authentic, and respectful to them while maintaining healthy boundaries as an adult.

Deep down, we all want to be liked; there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is perfectly normal. I’ve never met a person who will not eventually admit they want other people to like them.

When people like us we tend to feel more secure and safe, both with ourselves and in the relationship. We must be mindful, however, that our natural desire to be liked by others may not be beneficial to our relationships with teenagers—whether we are a parent, minister, or teacher. The energy you invest in being a parent, mentor, and leader will pay off when your teens are adults, and you can begin to establish a mature, adult friendship.

Points to Remember

  • Despite the generational distance between teens and adults—as well as what their behavior might indicate—teenagers do want meaningful relationships with adults.
  • Be appropriately transparent, authentic, and respectful when working with teenagers.
  • Whether you’re parenting, teaching, or ministering to teens, it is normal to want to be liked by them, but it is more important to remain grounded in your role as an adult.

Questions for Reflection

  1. What is one positive attribute you see in teens today? Is there an attribute that you don’t understand or don’t like? Why?
  2. What makes it difficult for you to relate to young people today?
  3. If you could share one thing with teens today that you know would reach them, what would it be? Why?
  4. Knowing that teens want a meaningful relationship with adults, what’s one thing you can do, change, or stop doing to make your relationship with a teen in your life more meaningful?
  5. What is the best way to earn someone’s respect? Reflect on a time in your life when you sought someone’s respect and did or did not get it.

Lord Jesus, you humbled yourself and took on our human nature. With you as our model, may we humble ourselves and reach out to our young people. Give us courage as we face the sharp edges of their personalities and multiple defenses so that we might bridge the gap between us, and in so doing share the Good News with them. Amen.

Read More

Guiding Teens Into Christian Maturity...

Posted on Jul 16, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The following is an excerpt from the book What Teens Want You to Know But Won’t Tell You by Roy Petitfils.

Teens want and need adults to be grounded in being adults. When your goal is to be liked by young people you risk losing sight of the bigger goal, which is to journey with them into Christian maturity. Secondly, you’ll lose the respect of teens, which is worth a lot more than being liked. The key to effectively reaching them and deepening our relationships with them is not by trying to be their friend, but by being friendly, authentic, and respectful to them while maintaining healthy boundaries as an adult.

Deep down, we all want to be liked; there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is perfectly normal. I’ve never met a person who will not eventually admit they want other people to like them.

When people like us we tend to feel more secure and safe, both with ourselves and in the relationship. We must be mindful, however, that our natural desire to be liked by others may not be beneficial to our relationships with teenagers—whether we are a parent, minister, or teacher. The energy you invest in being a parent, mentor, and leader will pay off when your teens are adults, and you can begin to establish a mature, adult friendship.

Points to Remember

  • Despite the generational distance between teens and adults—as well as what their behavior might indicate—teenagers do want meaningful relationships with adults.
  • Be appropriately transparent, authentic, and respectful when working with teenagers.
  • Whether you’re parenting, teaching, or ministering to teens, it is normal to want to be liked by them, but it is more important to remain grounded in your role as an adult.

Questions for Reflection

  1. What is one positive attribute you see in teens today? Is there an attribute that you don’t understand or don’t like? Why?
  2. What makes it difficult for you to relate to young people today?
  3. If you could share one thing with teens today that you know would reach them, what would it be? Why?
  4. Knowing that teens want a meaningful relationship with adults, what’s one thing you can do, change, or stop doing to make your relationship with a teen in your life more meaningful?
  5. What is the best way to earn someone’s respect? Reflect on a time in your life when you sought someone’s respect and did or did not get it.

Lord Jesus, you humbled yourself and took on our human nature. With you as our model, may we humble ourselves and reach out to our young people. Give us courage as we face the sharp edges of their personalities and multiple defenses so that we might bridge the gap between us, and in so doing share the Good News with them. Amen.

Read More

The Face of Innocence...

Posted on Jul 15, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

“What’s Wrong?” I asked my best friend as she called me crying one day. “Jade is being abused by her boyfriend,” she cried.

My best friend Sandie and I have been friends practically all of our lives. We are godmothers to each other’s children, even witnessing their births. We babysat for each other. We attend each other’s family functions, and even run marathons together. We are the next best thing to family. Sandie’s 17-year-old daughter, Jade, is her oldest child.

I could hear the agony over the phone as Sandie recounted the discovery of her daughter’s bruised eye. Knowing it was the result of an argument Jade had gotten into with her boyfriend, I can only imagine the piercing blow to the heart of Sandie when she discovered her daughter had been assaulted. Over the course of the next few days, Sandie struggled to maintain composure as she laid out the details of each day’s most recent events.

A couple of weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised to run into Sandie in a school gym where her younger daughter and my daughter were playing volleyball. As we watched our daughters play from the stands, Sandie filled me in on the details from the court hearing held earlier that day for the restraining order filed against the boyfriend.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Sandie pulled out her camera to show me the picture of Gabrielle’s face that she had shown the judge. While I expected to see a black & blue eye, I was not prepared to see how swollen and distended the lower socket of her eye was. My heart broke right then and there and I immediately broke into tears. Since I used to baby-sit Gabrielle when she was a little girl, all I could think of was her innocence—her big contagious smile and pigtails in her hair. Now all grown up, but broken down.

I wondered if the boyfriend was proud of himself. I wondered if he knew that he hurt so many more people than just one teenage girl. I wondered if he realized that Jade is not just his girlfriend but that she is someone’s daughter, somebody’s niece, one’s granddaughter, another’s older sister and mentor. She is somebody’s coworker, somebody’s friend. …that she is everybody’s pride and joy? Most importantly, does he know that she is a child of God?

Please keep all victims of abuse in your prayers, especially for our teenagers transitioning from childhood to adulthood. May God watch over them, protect them, and guide them to make wise choices.

For more information about domestic violence and where you can go for help, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website or the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline .

*****

Photo by: Liudmila P. Sundikova/Shutterstock

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The Face of Innocence...

Posted on Jul 15, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

“What’s Wrong?” I asked my best friend as she called me crying one day. “Jade is being abused by her boyfriend,” she cried.

My best friend Sandie and I have been friends practically all of our lives. We are godmothers to each other’s children, even witnessing their births. We babysat for each other. We attend each other’s family functions, and even run marathons together. We are the next best thing to family. Sandie’s 17-year-old daughter, Jade, is her oldest child.

I could hear the agony over the phone as Sandie recounted the discovery of her daughter’s bruised eye. Knowing it was the result of an argument Jade had gotten into with her boyfriend, I can only imagine the piercing blow to the heart of Sandie when she discovered her daughter had been assaulted. Over the course of the next few days, Sandie struggled to maintain composure as she laid out the details of each day’s most recent events.

A couple of weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised to run into Sandie in a school gym where her younger daughter and my daughter were playing volleyball. As we watched our daughters play from the stands, Sandie filled me in on the details from the court hearing held earlier that day for the restraining order filed against the boyfriend.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Sandie pulled out her camera to show me the picture of Gabrielle’s face that she had shown the judge. While I expected to see a black & blue eye, I was not prepared to see how swollen and distended the lower socket of her eye was. My heart broke right then and there and I immediately broke into tears. Since I used to baby-sit Gabrielle when she was a little girl, all I could think of was her innocence—her big contagious smile and pigtails in her hair. Now all grown up, but broken down.

I wondered if the boyfriend was proud of himself. I wondered if he knew that he hurt so many more people than just one teenage girl. I wondered if he realized that Jade is not just his girlfriend but that she is someone’s daughter, somebody’s niece, one’s granddaughter, another’s older sister and mentor. She is somebody’s coworker, somebody’s friend. …that she is everybody’s pride and joy? Most importantly, does he know that she is a child of God?

Please keep all victims of abuse in your prayers, especially for our teenagers transitioning from childhood to adulthood. May God watch over them, protect them, and guide them to make wise choices.

For more information about domestic violence and where you can go for help, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website or the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline .

*****

Photo by: Liudmila P. Sundikova/Shutterstock

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Love Your Enemies...

Posted on Jul 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

This blog is taken from the book The Gospels According to Saint Francis, by Hilarion Kistner, OFM.

“Love your enemies (Mt 5:44).” That always reminds me of a priest friend of mine, who used to say, “I don’t think we should preach that to our people. Let’s just get people to love their friends; that’s hard enough.”

That saying reminds me that we should start where we have our first problem; maybe it’s even loving ourselves. If we really could come in touch with ourselves—not independent of God but because of the good that God is doing in us—and see that God even overcomes the evil that’s in us, maybe we can begin to love ourselves. Maybe we can even believe that evil does tend to hang around us all, that the darkness within us will, we presume, be with us all the time, that even with this knowledge we still can love ourselves.

Sometimes when we truly face the darkness in ourselves and become aware of the things we have done wrong, feelings may rise up that could tend to scare us or lead us in the wrong direction. If we can face them squarely and say, “God is with me; God knows that these things are there,” then we begin to know we are not alone in dealing with the darkness in our lives. Perhaps we can even embrace this darkness as part of what makes us grow as human beings.

As we really face our selfishness, as we really face our unjust angers, as we really face the grudges that we hold, as we really face the bitterness that is there, we don’t have to sweep it under the carpet. We can look at it and know that God loves us as we are and is willing to help us grow beyond these faults and failings.

If we really believe that God loves us exactly as we are now, we can love ourselves. And if we can love ourselves with all that we see within us, shouldn’t we also be able to love our friends, our neighbors, the people we live with, our families, even those who have grudges against us, because we can see them as people like ourselves: struggling, making mistakes, but still loved by God?

And then, if we can do that, love those people who are not really enemies, we can even be led to love those who really hate us, who persecute us, who blame us.

In our world today, there are a lot of people like that; maybe some of them even hate us because they have good reason to. Many of us have a way of life that a lot of people can’t—people who hardly have enough to eat, who don’t have the material things that we do, who don’t have the freedom we have in our lives. They have reason to hate us. Maybe instead of getting all upset when some people in those circumstances rebel and get mean, we might try to understand that they’re simply rebelling from a situation that is oppressing and demeaning and dehumanizing them.

As we look at the world today, for example, we see people who own companies in other countries. The owners are wealthy, yet they give the workers less than a living wage, sometimes making their employees work in oppressive conditions, simply to be profitable at the expense of the workers. Here we can’t only love the people being oppressed, but we must love even their oppressors. These are the people Jesus tells us to love. Can I love them into a new vision of the world in which they see the most important thing is not profit, but human beings?

*****

Photo by: Stoklaima/Shutterstock

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Love Your Enemies...

Posted on Jul 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

This blog is taken from the book The Gospels According to Saint Francis, by Hilarion Kistner, OFM.

“Love your enemies (Mt 5:44).” That always reminds me of a priest friend of mine, who used to say, “I don’t think we should preach that to our people. Let’s just get people to love their friends; that’s hard enough.”

That saying reminds me that we should start where we have our first problem; maybe it’s even loving ourselves. If we really could come in touch with ourselves—not independent of God but because of the good that God is doing in us—and see that God even overcomes the evil that’s in us, maybe we can begin to love ourselves. Maybe we can even believe that evil does tend to hang around us all, that the darkness within us will, we presume, be with us all the time, that even with this knowledge we still can love ourselves.

Sometimes when we truly face the darkness in ourselves and become aware of the things we have done wrong, feelings may rise up that could tend to scare us or lead us in the wrong direction. If we can face them squarely and say, “God is with me; God knows that these things are there,” then we begin to know we are not alone in dealing with the darkness in our lives. Perhaps we can even embrace this darkness as part of what makes us grow as human beings.

As we really face our selfishness, as we really face our unjust angers, as we really face the grudges that we hold, as we really face the bitterness that is there, we don’t have to sweep it under the carpet. We can look at it and know that God loves us as we are and is willing to help us grow beyond these faults and failings.

If we really believe that God loves us exactly as we are now, we can love ourselves. And if we can love ourselves with all that we see within us, shouldn’t we also be able to love our friends, our neighbors, the people we live with, our families, even those who have grudges against us, because we can see them as people like ourselves: struggling, making mistakes, but still loved by God?

And then, if we can do that, love those people who are not really enemies, we can even be led to love those who really hate us, who persecute us, who blame us.

In our world today, there are a lot of people like that; maybe some of them even hate us because they have good reason to. Many of us have a way of life that a lot of people can’t—people who hardly have enough to eat, who don’t have the material things that we do, who don’t have the freedom we have in our lives. They have reason to hate us. Maybe instead of getting all upset when some people in those circumstances rebel and get mean, we might try to understand that they’re simply rebelling from a situation that is oppressing and demeaning and dehumanizing them.

As we look at the world today, for example, we see people who own companies in other countries. The owners are wealthy, yet they give the workers less than a living wage, sometimes making their employees work in oppressive conditions, simply to be profitable at the expense of the workers. Here we can’t only love the people being oppressed, but we must love even their oppressors. These are the people Jesus tells us to love. Can I love them into a new vision of the world in which they see the most important thing is not profit, but human beings?

*****

Photo by: Stoklaima/Shutterstock

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3 views of Pope Francis after the South America tr...

Posted on Jul 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

I bring to your attention three interesting analysis pieces about Pope Francis following his trip to South America.

First, check out George Weigel at National Review. My impression is that Mr. Weigel has drawn a line through the pontificate (at least one aspect of the pontificate), but probably only in pencil rather than in ink. Excerpt:

Has the Vatican Already Forgotten the Lessons of John Paul II?

[…]

John Paul was wily enough to let Casaroli continue his diplomacy behind the Iron Curtain, so that the Communist powers couldn’t publicly accuse this Pole of reneging on previous deals and acting as a front for NATO. Yet while he never would have put it as Ronald Reagan did when the future president said that his idea of ending the Cold War was that “we win and they lose,” the Polish pope knew that this was indeed a zero-sum game: Someone was going to win and someone was going to lose, not so much for reasons of power but because Communism was based on a false understanding of the human person, human community, human origins, and human destiny. And by restoring to his own Polish people the truth about themselves, John Paul II helped them forge tools of liberation that Communism could not match, while reinforcing the similar strategy of resistance by “living in the truth” that was being deployed by secular, anti-Communist human-rights activists such as Václav Havel, using what Havel famously called “the power of the powerless.”

The people in charge of Vatican diplomacy today seem to have missed all this or forgotten all this — or are, perhaps, deliberately ignoring it (not least because of the overwhelming archival evidence that the most important concrete effect of the Ostpolitik was to open the Vatican to serious penetration by Warsaw Pact intelligence services, an unhappy fact I thoroughly documented in the second volume of my John Paul II biography, The End and the Beginning). Those guiding the Holy See’s interface with politics today were born and bred in the Casaroli School. And they are busily replicating Casaroli’s accommodationist (or, if you prefer, less confrontational) formula. This seems clear, if unfortunately clear, in the Vatican’s diplomacy with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and in the Holy See’s refusal to describe what is afoot in Ukraine as a gross violation of international law: an armed aggression by one state against another. It seems evident in the welcome that was afforded Raúl Castro in the Vatican several months ago. Now, to judge from the just-concluded papal visit to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, Casaroli 2.0 seems to be informing the Vatican’s approach to the new authoritarians of continental Latin America.

[…]

Read the rest there. He also comments on the Commie-crux or the Sickle-fix.

Next, look at Sam Gregg’s hard-hitting piece at The Stream. Excerpt:

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina: Pope Francis and Economic Populism
The notion of a Latin American “Third Way” between capitalism and socialism is utopian sentimental nonsense.

[…]

In the first place, Francis discussed the injustice inflicted by “a system,” by which he seems to mean economic globalization. This “system,” he argued, has resulted in “an economy of exclusion” that denies millions the blessings of prosperity. Francis then specifically attacked “corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties” as part of an “anonymous influence of mammon” and “new colonialism.”

Some of this rhetoric is hard to distinguish from that used by Latin American populists, ranging from Argentina’s long-deceased Juan Perón to Bolivia’s Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. Leaving that aside, one wonders whether Pope Francis and his advisors have ever studied the respective merits of free trade versus protectionism. My suspicion is they haven’t, since tariffs and subsidies are precisely what allow already-wealthy countries to limit developing countries’ access to global markets. By definition, it’s protectionism that is an economy of exclusion — not free trade.

Likewise while the historical record of multinational corporations in developing nations isn’t lily-white, they have bought desperately-needed investment and jobs to Latin America. Francis lamented that new forms of colonialism often reduce developing nations to being “mere providers of raw material and cheap labor.” Yet if developing countries stopped capitalizing on what’s often their comparative advantage in the global economy — i.e., their lower labor costs and vast natural resources — it’s hard to see how they could generate enough wealth to lift millions out of poverty.

Moreover, whoever might be the “loan agencies” the pope has in mind, developing nations need infusions of foreign capital if they want to diminish poverty.

[…]

Finally, check out the formerly nearly ubiquitous John L Allen at Crux. Excerpt:

Under Francis, there’s a new dogma: Papal fallibility

[…]

In that context, it’s especially striking that Pope Francis appears determined to set the record straight by embracing what one might dub his own “dogma of fallibility.” The pontiff seems utterly unabashed about admitting mistakes, confessing ignorance, and acknowledging that he may have left himself open to misinterpretation.

Whether such candor is charming or simply confusing, leaving one to wonder if the pope actually means what he says, perhaps is in the eye of the beholder. In any case, it’s become a defining feature of Francis’ style.

A classic, almost emblematic case in point came during the pontiff’s airborne news conference on the way back to Rome on Sunday after a week-long trip to Latin America.

During a 65-minute session with reporters, Francis embraced his own fallibility at least seven times:

[…]

To be clear, it’s hardly as if Francis was backing away from his stinging critique of what he termed in Bolivia a global economic system that “imposes the mentality of profit at any price” at the expense of the poor.

On the contrary, he took another swipe during the news conference at what he termed a “new colonization … the colonization of consumerism,” which the pontiff said causes “disequilibrium in the personality … in the internal economy, in social justice, even in physical and mental health.”

What he added, however, was a dose of personal humility in acknowledging a lack of technical expertise and a capacity for error when he speaks on such matters, both in the substance of his positions and in the way he formulates them.

[…]

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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."