Friday, December 15, 2017

The Problem with Criticism - Fr. Mike Schmitz

In this video, Fr. Mike delivers a crackdown on habitual criticism. He discusses how easy it is to criticize something, and how hard it is to create something and open yourself to be critiqued. While pointing out how excessive criticism is a form of cowardice, he invites us to have courage and stand for the Creed while accepting the risk of criticism that comes with doing so.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Battle of Prayer - Fr. Mike Schmitz

Drawing from the wisdom of the saints, Fr. Mike explains why prayer should be in the center of our lives, while offering some helpful pointers on how to make that so, especially during distractions.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Will God Heal My Wounds?

In this video, Fr. Mike encourages us to go to God in our weakest moments. As God answered St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Using the life of St. Catherine of Siena as an example, Fr. Mike shows how—when we let God into our brokenness—he can do wonders.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Whats your burden - Fr. Mike Schmitz






As responsibilities pile up, it’s common for us to worry about getting everything done well and on time. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz suggests an approach to burdens that can help us carry them. Whatever is weighing us down in life—whether it’s a relationship, a list of tasks, or any other hardship—this simple change in perspective that Fr. Mike suggests can lighten the load.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Save Yourself from Helplessness





When life throws challenge after challenge at us, it is easy to just give in and think we are helpless. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz offers an uplifting message for those tough times. No matter how dire the circumstances, with God’s grace, there is always something we can do.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Will God Heal My Wounds?





In this video, Fr. Mike encourages us to go to God in our weakest moments. As God answered St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Using the life of St. Catherine of Siena as an example, Fr. Mike shows how—when we let God into our brokenness—he can do wonders

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Love is an Ability






It’s more universal than anything, yet not everyone has the same idea of what love is exactly. In this video, Father Mike Schmitz makes a good case for why love is not a feeling but an ability. Just like any other skill, we need to learn how to do it. Simply being passionate and having strong feelings for a person is part of it, but will these emotions alone pass the test when love calls us to be selfless or to sacrifice for the one we love? Father Mike challenges us to “will the best for our beloved.” Doing this will lead us deeper into the beautiful mystery that love is.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Padre Pio's secret to Holiness

What is the true sign of sainthood? Fr. Mike Schmitz explains why it’s not the stigmata or the ability to miraculously heal people. Saints like Padre Pio, whose feast day we celebrated last week, actually walked a path that is very much within reach for us all. Find out how that is so in this video.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Surprised by Truth - Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike Schmitz shares the story of his surprising call and unusual road to becoming a priest - even while he "hated the Church"!

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Confession



This film is dedicated to "The Year of Mercy" directed by John La Raw from Myanmar performed by Korean actors. The film got five International film festival awards so far and nominated in various International film festivals.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Life is a game of inches

There are certain truly incredible scenes from movies that not only capture the essence of the movie and create a memorable movie moment for the actors, but also capture the essence of the human experience and human spirit.
This motivational speech from the end of “Any Given Sunday” reminds us of how to live our lives — not just in football, but in every moment of every day.
If you’ve never heard this speech from Al Pacino, you’re in for a treat. And if you have, it’s one of those that a person can never watch too many times — it’s inspiring every time

Monday, June 26, 2017

Outdoor Wedding - Fr. Mike Schmitz



Fr. Mike Schmitz explains why a Christian marriage has to be in a church. With the marriage vows we aren’t just committing ourselves to our spouse. We are also saying in a very specific way that we will follow Christ. Marriage is inherently connected to Christianity, and it’s not just about us. It’s also about the church community to which we belong.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Power of Prayer - Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike lays down the reasons we should pray and gives a few spot-on examples of how real life reflects the nature of prayer. Through prayer, God invites us into his will and gives us the dignity to participate in it, which strengthens our relationship with him. Fr. Mike covers these truths and more in this week’s video.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Cure for Entitlement - Fr. Mike Schmitz

G.K. Chesterton said “thanks are the highest form of thought, and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz maintains that a sense of gratitude is much more powerful than a sense of entitlement. We all have certain rights we should stand up for, but to recognize and appreciate a gift when it’s given to us is even more beautiful.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Personal, Not Private - Fr. Mike Schmitz

If the Church is truly the body of Christ, then everything we do must have some effect on the body, even those acts we think nobody sees. Fr. Mike shares how this may be tough to acknowledge when it comes to sin we wish only affected us privately, but he also points out how all the good we do that nobody sees is empowering the Church in some way as well.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pope Francis - FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time 19 November 2017
Let us love, not with words but with deeds

  1. “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18). These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard. The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves. Love has no alibi. Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor. The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and John spells it out clearly. It stands on two pillars: God loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19), and he loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).
Such love cannot go unanswered. Even though offered unconditionally, asking nothing in return, it so sets hearts on fire that all who experience it are led to love back, despite their limitations and sins. Yet this can only happen if we welcome God’s grace, his merciful charity, as fully as possible into our hearts, so that our will and even our emotions are drawn to love both God and neighbor. In this way, the mercy that wells up – as it were – from the heart of the Trinity can shape our lives and bring forth compassion and works of mercy for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in need.

  1. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6). The Church has always understood the importance of this cry. We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be chosen for the ministry of caring for the poor. This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage: the service of the poor. The earliest community realized that being a disciple of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in obedience to the Master’s proclamation that the poor are blessed and heirs to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3).
“They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45). In these words, we see clearly expressed the lively concern of the first Christians. The evangelist Luke, who more than any other speaks of mercy, does not exaggerate when he describes the practice of sharing in the early community. On the contrary, his words are addressed to believers in every generation, and thus also to us, in order to sustain our own witness and to encourage our care for those most in need. The same message is conveyed with similar conviction by the Apostle James. In his Letter, he spares no words: “Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, and drag you into court? ... What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled”, 2 without giving them the things needed for the body; what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead’ (2:5-6.14-17).

  1. Yet there have been times when Christians have not fully heeded this appeal, and have assumed a worldly way of thinking. Yet the Holy Spirit has not failed to call them to keep their gaze fixed on what is essential. He has raised up men and women who, in a variety of ways, have devoted their lives to the service of the poor. Over these two thousand years, how many pages of history have been written by Christians who, in utter simplicity and humility, and with generous and creative charity, have served their poorest brothers and sisters!
The most outstanding example is that of Francis of Assisi, followed by many other holy men and women over the centuries. He was not satisfied to embrace lepers and give them alms, but chose to go to Gubbio to stay with them. He saw this meeting as the turning point of his conversion: “When I was in my sins, it seemed a thing too bitter to look on lepers, and the Lord himself led me among them and I showed them mercy. And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of mind and body” (Text 1-3: FF 110). This testimony shows the transformative power of charity and the Christian way of life.

We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience. However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life. Our prayer and our journey of discipleship and conversion find the confirmation of their evangelic authenticity in precisely such charity and sharing. This way of life gives rise to joy and peace of soul, because we touch with our own hands the flesh of Christ. If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist. The Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: “If you want to honor the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked; do not honor the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness” (Hom. in Matthaeum, 50.3: PG 58).
We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude. Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.

4. Let us never forget that, for Christ’s disciples, poverty is above all a call to follow Jesus in his own poverty. It means walking behind him and beside him, a journey that leads to the beatitude of the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3; Lk 6:20). Poverty means having a humble heart that accepts our creaturely limitations and sinfulness and thus enables us to overcome the temptation to feel omnipotent and immortal. Poverty is an interior attitude that avoids looking upon money, career and luxury as our goal in life and the condition for our happiness. Poverty instead creates the conditions for freely shouldering our personal and social responsibilities, despite our limitations, with trust in God’s closeness and the support of his grace. Poverty, understood in this way, is the yardstick that allows us to judge how best to use material goods and to build relationships that are neither selfish nor possessive (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 25-45).

Let us, then, take as our example Saint Francis and his witness of authentic poverty. Precisely because he kept his gaze fixed on Christ, Francis was able to see and serve him in the poor. If we want to help change history and promote real development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and commit ourselves to ending their marginalization. At the same time, I ask the poor in our cities and our communities not to lose the sense of evangelical poverty that is part of their daily life.

  1. We know how hard it is for our contemporary world to see poverty clearly for what it is. Yet in myriad ways poverty challenges us daily, in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration. Poverty has the face of women, men and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money. What a bitter and endless list we would have to compile were we to add the poverty born of social injustice, moral degeneration, the greed of a chosen few, and generalized indifference!
Tragically, in our own time, even as ostentatious wealth accumulates in the hands of the privileged few, often in connection with illegal activities and the appalling exploitation of human dignity, there is a scandalous growth of poverty in broad sectors of society throughout our world. Faced with this scenario, we cannot remain passive, much less resigned. There is a poverty that stifles the spirit of initiative of so many young people by keeping them from finding work. There is a poverty that dulls the sense of personal responsibility and leaves others to do the work while we go looking for favours. There is a poverty that poisons the wells of participation and allows little room for professionalism; in this way it demeans the merit of those who do work and are productive. To all these forms of poverty we must respond with a new vision of life and society.

All the poor – as Blessed Paul VI loved to say – belong to the Church by “evangelical right” (Address at the Opening of the Second Session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 29 September 1963), and require of us a fundamental option on their behalf. Blessed, therefore, are the open hands that embrace the poor and help them: they are hands that bring hope. Blessed are the hands that reach beyond every barrier of culture, religion and nationality, and pour the balm of consolation over the wounds of humanity. Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing in exchange, with no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes”: they are hands that call down God’s blessing upon their brothers and sisters.

6. At the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, I wanted to offer the Church a World Day of the Poor, so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need. To the World Days instituted by my Predecessors, which are already a tradition in the life of our communities, I wish to add this one, which adds to them an exquisitely evangelical fullness, that is, Jesus’ preferential love for the poor.

I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity. They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father. This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter. At the same time, everyone, independent of religious affiliation, is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity. God created the heavens and 4 the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded.

7. It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, which falls this year on 19 November, the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance. They can invite the poor and volunteers to take part together in the Eucharist on this Sunday, in such a way that there be an even more authentic celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on the following Sunday. The kingship of Christ is most evident on Golgotha, when the Innocent One, nailed to the cross, poor, naked and stripped of everything, incarnates and reveals the fullness of God’s love. Jesus’ complete abandonment to the Father expresses his utter poverty and reveals the power of the Love that awakens him to new life on the day of the Resurrection.

This Sunday, if there are poor people where we live who seek protection and assistance, let us draw close to them: it will be a favourable moment to encounter the God we seek. Following the teaching of Scripture (cf. Gen 18:3-5; Heb 13:2), let us welcome them as honoured guests at our table; they can be teachers who help us live the faith more consistently. With their trust and readiness to receive help, they show us in a quiet and often joyful way, how essential it is to live simply and to abandon ourselves to God’s providence.

8. At the heart of all the many concrete initiatives carried out on this day should always be prayer. Let us not forget that the Our Father is the prayer of the poor. Our asking for bread expresses our entrustment to God for our basic needs in life. Everything that Jesus taught us in this prayer expresses and brings together the cry of all who suffer from life’s uncertainties and the lack of what they need. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he answered in the words with which the poor speak to our one Father, in whom all acknowledge themselves as brothers and sisters. The Our Father is a prayer said in the plural: the bread for which we ask is “ours”, and that entails sharing, participation and joint responsibility. In this prayer, all of us recognize our need to overcome every form of selfishness, in order to enter into the joy of mutual acceptance.

9. I ask my brother Bishops, and all priests and deacons who by their vocation have the mission of supporting the poor, together with all consecrated persons and all associations, movements and volunteers everywhere, to help make this World Day of the Poor a tradition that concretely contributes to evangelization in today’s world.

This new World Day, therefore, should become a powerful appeal to our consciences as believers, allowing us to grow in the conviction that sharing with the poor enables us to understand the deepest truth of the Gospel. The poor are not a problem: they are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practise in our lives the essence of the Gospel.

From the Vatican, 13 June 2017
Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua
FRANCIS

Saturday, June 10, 2017

MEMORIAL OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Hail Mary in many ways
Devotion to Mary has a long tradition in the church. Inscriptions and prayers to Mary began appearing early in Christian history, and popular devotion to Our Lady has been a part of Catholic life ever since. A lovely Irish litany from the eighth century captures the flavor of that devotion, as fresh today as it was centuries ago. Perhaps you can recite it a few times today. Mary is honored as: “Mistress of the Heavens, Mother of the Heavenly and Earthly Church, Recreation of Life, Mistress of the Tribes, Mother of the Orphans, Breast of the Infants, Queen of Life, Ladder of Heaven.”

Thursday, June 8, 2017

How to face temptation

Fr. Mike uses the classic myths involving the Sirens to explain some ways to avoid temptation. He points out the differences between the ways Ulysses, his crew, and Jason of the Argonauts dealt with the monsters and suggests we use some advice St. Paul gave to the Philippians when dealing with temptations.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

3 Reasons Catholics Genuflect

By genuflecting before the tabernacle at church, we’re saying at least one of three things with our bodies. Those three things have to do with humility, service, and love. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how a simple kneel before we enter the pew can express so much.


Monday, June 5, 2017

The brain of St. John Bosco is stolen and Catholics pray for its return

Taken from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/05/saint-brain-stolen-italy/102523854/
Article by Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

ROME — Police set up roadblocks in northern Italy after a thief posing as a pilgrim stole tiny fragments of the brain of John Bosco, one of the country’s most revered saints.
The thief entered the church, named after the 19th-century saint in Castelnuovo, near Turin, last Friday and left with a glass case containing the relic of the saint, who is also known as Don Bosco.
Devotees often visit the church to pray before the relic kept behind the altar. On Sunday, pilgrims gathered at the Don Bosco Basilica to pray for its return.
“I invite whoever took it to give it back immediately, without any conditions so we can close this painful page and continue to honor the memory of Don Bosco worthily in his birthplace,” said Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin.
St. John Bosco is venerated for having dedicated his life to helping poor, deprived children. Born in Castelnuovo in 1815, he founded the Salesian religious order. He died in 1888 and was canonized in 1934.
Nosiglia said in a statement the news was something “you never wanted to hear.”
“It makes you think of the profound moral misery of someone who would steal a ‘sign’ that’s been left and conserved for the devotion and the faith of all,” he said.
Police worry the thief may seek a ransom for the return of the saint’s brain and there has also been speculation in the Italian media that it may be used for a satanic rite in which Christian symbols are defiled.
Body parts belonging to saints are often displayed and revered in Catholic churches in Europe. They have also been targeted by thieves. In 2014, a vial of blood from Pope John Paul II was stolen.
The Rev. Moreno Filipetto, a spokesman for the Salesian order in northern Italy, told Vatican Radio: “You can take away a relic of Don Bosco, but you can’t take away Don Bosco from the church or the world.”
Police are continuing their investigation, and the public can no longer access the area inside the church where the relic was previously displayed.

Friday, April 28, 2017

What really matters at the end of life | BJ Miller



At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? For many, it’s simply comfort, respect, love. BJ Miller is a palliative care physician who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients. Take the time to savor this moving talk, which asks big questions about how we think on death and honor life.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Why the only future worth building includes everyone | Pope Francis



A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don't, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. "Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the 'other' is not a statistic, or a number," he says. "We all need each other."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pope speaks of Humanity's shame in Good Friday Service

Thousands of people, including nuns, families with toddlers, and young tourists, endured exceptionally tight anti-terrorism checks to pray at the Good Friday procession at the Colosseum, where Pope Francis expressed shame over humanity's failings.
Francis, wearing a plain white coat, presided over the traditional, evening Way of the Cross procession from a rise overlooking the popular tourist monument as faithful took turns carrying a tall cross and meditations were recited to encourage reflection on Jesus' suffering and crucifixion.
After the 90-minute-long procession ended, Francis, in a quiet voice, read a prayer he composed that alternated expressing shame for humanity's failings and hope that "hardened hearts" will become capable of forgiving and loving.
With Easter two days away, Francis said faithful look to Christ "with eyes lowered in shame and with hearts full of hope."
Such shame, he said, derives from "all those images of devastation, destruction, shipwrecks, that have become routine in our lives." Hundreds of thousands of migrants have endured hardships at the hands of human traffickers to try to reach Europe, which has increasingly been rejecting them, and thousands of them have perished at sea during the last few years.
Evoking wars and conflicts, as well as attacks on Christian minorities, Francis also voiced shame for "the innocent blood spilled daily by women, children, immigrants, and persons persecuted because of the color of their skin, or for the ethnic or social group they belong to, and for their faith" in Jesus.
The pontiff also made a reference to clergy's handling of sex abuse of minors, saying: "shame for all those times that we bishops, priests and other clergy scandalized" the church.
Hours before the evocative, candlelit ceremony, pilgrims underwent the first of two rounds of security checks that started while they still were blocks away from the ancient arena. There was a heavier-than-usual police presence keeping watch on every aspect of the event.
Anti-terrorism measures have been heightened for large public crowds after several vehicle attacks in Nice, Berlin and other European cities.
Police opened handbags and backpacks. They checked computers, and, in at least one case, asked an Italian woman to open a package. It turned out to be a tray of pastries, and the woman good-naturedly offered one of the sweets to the officer.
Streets surrounding the Colosseum were closed to traffic, armored vehicles blocked intersections, bomb-sniffing dogs were used and police checked chemical toilets with scanners for explosives near the Colosseum.
"I believe that we have a situation in which we Europeans have to unite and take the issue of security very seriously," Jose de Laoz, a businessman from Spain, said while the security sweeps were conducted near the Colosseum.
Terrorism's repercussions were being felt in Christian communities across the Mediterranean. In Egypt, Coptic churches announced that Easter services would be limited to prayers, without festivities. The measure was taken after twin bombings killed 45 people at churches on Palm Sunday.
In Rome, the Good Friday gathering was calm as participants, estimated by Vatican security to number 20,000, clutched candles in the silence of a warm night. Some parents hoisted children on their shoulders so they could watch. Many people kept their eyes fixed on a towering cross, studded with lit candles glowing against the Colosseum's ancient stone.
Hours earlier at the Vatican, Francis prostrated himself in prayer during a Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica. The 80-year-old pope lay for several minutes before the central altar.
——
Patricia Thomas contributed to this report.

The Meaning of Suffering - Holy Week with Fr. Mike Schmitz

Saturday, April 8, 2017

What does God want me to do - Lent with Fr. Mike Schmitz



Father Mike Schmitz offers some clarity regarding God’s will in our lives. He directs us to the story of Israel’s desert wanderings in the Old Testament and the Annunciation to Mary in the Gospels, describing how even the tribes of Israel and Mary had to be content with the uncertainty of God’s will at times. Father Mike also teaches how we can discern God’s will even in the silence.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

3 Steps to unceasing prayer - Lent with Fr. Mike Schmitz




First Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray constantly,” but how do we do that? In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz suggests a three-step approach used by St. Francis de Sales. These steps can be difficult or easy, but the important thing to remember is that simply inviting God into every moment is as good a way to pray as any.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

4 Resons for Fasting



Why do we fast? Fr. Mike explains that it’s not about getting more love and attention from God. Fasting is about self-mastery, discernment, sacrifice, and being a co-redeemer with Jesus. In this video, Fr. Mike dives deeper into these four reasons, helping you make the most of your fasting this Lent.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Lent - A season of Repentance





Lent is a season of repentance, prayer and fasting. The season lasts for 40 days, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter. The season reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in prayer and fasting in the desert before starting his public ministry. Lent is also observed by many other Christian denominations.

Lent begins the morning after Madi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras was traditionally a day of reasonable indulgence prior to the beginning of the 40 day period of prayer and fasting.

The morning after is Ash Wednesday, a day when Catholics engage in prayer and fasting and attend Mass to receive ashes on their heads as a sign of penance. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent.

Resistance to temptation is an important spiritual exercise, practiced during Lent. Many faithful will make a Lenten sacrifice, giving up something dear for the 40 day period, so they will be capable of filling themselves with Christ instead.

In addition to giving something up, others may take on additional responsibilities, chores, or penances.

Fasting is standard practice. In simplest form, Catholics will fast by abstaining from meat on Fridays. Fish is permitted as a substitute. Few people actually skip meals, instead they substitute fish or vegetarian dishes on Fridays for meat dishes. It is common for some to dine in restaurants on Fridays, instead of preparing the meal at home. Restaurants often serve clam chowder and fish on Fridays to cater to Catholics. However, the piety of these events is dubious, since people are making only a marginal sacrifice, and they are not genuinely fasting at all.

Regardless of how a person chooses to keep their Lenten fast, the practice is regarded as highly personal. It is generally inappropriate for others to judge the piety of another’s practice. It is also inappropriate to make a contest of one’s piety.



Sundays are not part of the Lenten fasting period. Instead, Sundays are excepted because they are celebrations of the resurrection of Christ. Each Sunday is a mini Easter. Therefore, it is appropriate for people to partake of whatever they may have given up for the 40 days of Lent. For example, a child that gives up sweets for Lent, may freely partake of them on Sundays during Lent.

Special prayers are offered during Lent. The Stations of the Cross, which follow Christ from his condemnation to his entombment, are practiced as a form of devotion. Some Catholics pray the Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary instead of the traditional joyful mysteries on Sundays during Lent, but there is no official rule, and Catholics are free to pray whichever mysteries they choose.

The colors of Lent are purple, which is the traditional color of penance and mourning, as well as the color of royalty, which symbolizes Christ’s status as our king.

The last week of Lent is known as “Holy Week” and it begins with Palm Sunday, one week before Easter. On Palm Sunday, the faithful recreate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, by welcoming him with blessed palms. Often the priest, or a volunteer from the congregation, will play the part of Jesus in a ceremonial procession.

On Holy Thursday, the Last Supper is celebrated.

On Good Friday, the trial, suffering, and crucifixion of Christ is commemorated.

Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Easte

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February 1 - Commemoration of Deceased Salesians

In the celebration of the Eucharist the memory of our deceased confreres is not only an act of suffrage, but also an act of thanksgiving to God for having given to his Church so many generous men who have responded to the voice of the Lord by committing themselves to work with Saint John Bosco, in the practice of the evangelical counsels, for the benefit of the young.
As our fathers and brothers, they have passed on to us a precious heritage. Some of them are still fresh in our memory; others are held in benediction; and there are those whose humble and hidden lives are recorded only as names in the Necrology.
Rather than recount the praises of their virtues, this holy assembly wishes to recognize the good they were able to carry out in the Church through God's grace. This is an attitude which stems spontaneously from faithful and grateful hearts also, when we remember those with whom we have worked, believed, hoped, suffered and loved; they are an incentive to us to continue with fresh enthusiasm in our own vocation.
The redeeming death of Christ has enlightened for us the mystery of death, and so the prayer texts invite the faithful to make a profession of faith in the Father whose mercy knows no limits, and who has promised unending happiness to those who seek first the kingdom of heaven.
In entrusting our deceased confreres to the Father, the giver of life, who sustains all things by his providence, the assembly recalls that they have spent their lives in the service of the Gospel, following the way marked out by Saint John Bosco; and that they worked in the vineyard of the Lord carrying out their pastoral ministry in the service of the young.
For them, as they await the coming of the Lord, the assembly asks the reward promised to faithful servants: pardon, joy, eternal light and peace and a reawakening to the glory of the resurrection,' so as to enjoy for ever the vision of God's countenance.
But their memory, in the sacrifice commemorating the death and resurrection of
Christ, is also a motive for supplication that every confrere may continue faithfully on
his own pilgrimage in the Church at the service of the Gospel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton



Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the upper class of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible to contemporary novels.

In spite of her high society background, Elizabeth's early life was quiet, simple, and often lonely. As she grew a little older, the Bible was to become her continual instruction, support and comfort -and she would continue to love the Scriptures for the rest of her life.

In 1794, Elizabeth married the wealthy young William Seton, with whom she was deeply in love. The first years of their marriage were happy and prosperous. Elizabeth wrote in her diary at first autumn, "My own home at twenty-the world-that and heaven too-quite impossible."

This time of Elizabeth's life was to be a brief moment of earthly happiness before the many deaths and partings she was to suffer. Within four years, William's father died, leaving the young couple in charge of William's seven half brothers and sisters, as well as the family's importing business.

Events moved quickly from there with devastating effect. Both William's business and health failed. He was finally forced to file a petition of bankruptcy and, in a final attempt to save William's health, the Setons sailed for Italy, where William had business friends.

Unfortunately, William died of tuberculosis while in Italy. Elizabeth's one consolation was that he had recently awakened to the things of God.

The many enforced separations from dear ones by death and distance served to draw Elizabeth's heart to God and eternity. The accepting and embracing of God's will - "The Will," as she called it - would be a keynote in her spiritual life.

Elizabeth's deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her into the Catholic Church.

In Italy, Elizabeth captivated everyone by her kindness, patience, good sense, wit, and courtesy. During this time Elizabeth became interested in the Catholic Faith and, over a period of months, her Italian friends guided her in Catholic instruction.

Elizabeth's desire for the Bread of Life was to be a strong force leading her to the Catholic Church.

Having lost her mother at an early age, Elizabeth felt great comfort in the idea that the Blessed Virgin was truly her mother. She asked the Blessed Virgin to guide her to the True Faith and officially joined the Catholic Church in 1805.

At the suggestion of the president of St. Mary's College in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth started a school in that city. The school had originally been secular but once news of her entrance to Catholocism spread, several girls were removed from her school. It was then Seton, and two other young women who helped her in her work, began plans for a Sisterhood. They established the first free Catholic school in America. When the young community adopted their rule, they made provisions for Elizabeth to continue raising her children.

On March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Seton pronounced her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, binding for one year. From that time she was called Mother Seton.

Although Mother Seton became afflicted with tuberculosis, she continued to guide her children. The Rule of the Sisterhood was formally ratified in 1812. It was based upon the Rule St. Vincent de Paul had written for his Daughters of Charity in France. By 1818, in addition to their first school, the sisters had established two orphanages and another school. Today, six groups of sisters can trace their origins to Mother Seton's initial foundation.

Seton's favorite prayer was the 23rd Psalm and she developed a deep devotion to the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture, and the Virgin Mary.

For the last three years of her life, Elizabeth felt that God was getting ready to call her, and this gave her great joy. Mother Seton died in 1821 at the age of 46, only sixteen years after becoming a Catholic. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963 and was canonized canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.