Reflections

Daily Specials
Listed below are 5 random articles from the Reflections archives.

If You Have a Problem... If you have a problem That bothers you inside And time does little to assure you That it will subside, Then draw upon your inner strength And formulate a plan And every time you think you can't, Remember that you can. Listen to your deepest voice Where reason still remains, And take control of your own life To minimize the strains. Strip away the fantasies, ...


Making sense of stem cells- What does the Church say? Stem cells are a potential source of vital cures for many terrible diseases. Despite claims to the contrary, the Catholic Church supports and even encourages research on stem cells to turn this potential into a reality. The Church approves of research into three of the four forms of stem cells, including those from adults, which continue to show great promise. In fact, adult stem cells are already being used to...


A New Heaven, A New Earth Last time you thought about the after life, how did you picture it? What does heaven look like for you? Clouds and harps? Rolling hills and gentle breezes? Constant football, baseball, and basketball? Probably, most of us have a pretty vague notion about what heaven is like and maybe that’s why many of us aren’t as concerned as we should be whether or not we will be going there. But Christ...


The Rosary, a Contemplation of the Mysteries of Christ Imagine looking upon the face of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. Imagine pondering the words and deeds of Jesus with Mary's mind. Imagine feeling the joys and sufferings of Jesus with Mary's heart. This is the type of imaginative meditation to which the rosary invites us. The rosary is a reflective prayer that we offer to God in union with Mary. ...


Man, the Image of God Who is Love "As an incarnate spirit, that is a soul which expresses itself, itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit, man is called to love in his unified totality. Love includes the human body, and the body is made a sharer in spiritual love. Christian revelation recognizes two specific ways of realizing the vocation of the human person in its entirely, to love: marriage and virginity or celibacy....

All Reflections

Pope Francis Presents a Challenge

The secular media are still grappling with the challenge of fitting Pope Francis into an ideological box. Liberal, conservative, traditional, progressive, compassionate, doctrinaire? Clearly “authentic Catholic” is not a category with which they are familiar.


Room for the Christ Child

Every Christmas, people from Mexico and other parts of Central America celebrate Las Posadas, a nine day novena of prayer, song, and hospitality built around Mary and Joseph’s struggle to find lodging in Bethlehem. Families walk from home to home, singing their request for shelter. But owners reject their uninvited would-be guests, turning them away with excuses like: “we’re not running an inn” or “you could be a thief.”


Some Diocesan Stewardship FAQs

  • What does “stewardship” mean?
  • What is Diocesan Stewardship?
  • Which diocesan ministries and programs are funded by this Annual Appeal?
  • How is each year’s Diocesan Stewardship goal determined?
  • How is a parish’s goal constructed?
  • Has the Diocese taken into consideration that it’s a tough economy?
  • Are Diocesan Stewardship funds used to pay legal fees or settlements from sexual abuse cases?
  • Are two appeals going on at once?


The High Cost of Conscience

At the end of the liturgical year, the Mass readings tell dramatic stories from the Books of Maccabees of simple folks standing courageously for their faith in the face of torture and death. Their exemplary witness can strengthen us as we defend our conscience rights and religious liberty which are under attack today.


The "O" Antiphons

These are seven short verses sung before the Magnificat during Evening Prayer of the Church on the seven days before the vigil of Christmas. They each begin with the exclamation "O". Each of them ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the cry becomes more urgent. Why not join with the Prayer of the Church each evening and reflect on these words preparing for Christmas day by day.


Men and Abortion: The Forgotten Accomplices

On September 14, LifeSiteNews reported that the pro-life organizations Issues4Life Foundation and The Radiance Foundation are organizing a billboard campaign entitled “Fatherhood begins in the Womb.” They say “the campaign is aimed at exposing ‘the culture of abandonment that abortion has created’ by revealing the statistics of fatherlessness, single-parent poverty, and the deterioration of two-parent married households.”


Words in the Roman Missal - Third Edition

Some of the words used in the new translation of the Mass may be unfamiliar to some Catholics. The following list of definitions may help to increase your understanding of the rich theology that underlies these texts.


Teen Commandments (from Holy Cross Parish Mission, March 11-14, 2001) 1. Don't let your parents down; they brought you up. 2. Choose your companions with care; you become what they are. 3. Be master of your habits; or they will master you. 4. Treasure your time; don't spend it: invest it. 5. Stand for something; or you will fall for anything. 6. Select only a date who will make a good mate. 7. See what you can do for others; not what...


The Difference I got up early one morning and rush right into the day; I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray Problems just tumbled about me, and the heavier came each task. "Why doesn't God help Me?" I wondered. He answered, "You didn't ask". I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak; I wondered why God didn't show me. He said,...


If a Dog Were Your Teacher You would learn stuff like... When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. When it's in your best interest, practice obedience. Let others know when they've invaded your territory. Take naps and stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. ...


If You Have a Problem... If you have a problem That bothers you inside And time does little to assure you That it will subside, Then draw upon your inner strength And formulate a plan And every time you think you can't, Remember that you can. Listen to your deepest voice Where reason still remains, And take control of your own life To minimize the strains. Strip away the fantasies, ...


This Day LORD, thank you for another day, Within this life of mine, Give me strength to live it well, Whatever I may find. Bestow from your abundance, Whatever I may lack, To use the hours wisely, For I cannot have them back. LORD, thank you for another day, In which to make amends For little slights or petty words, Inflicted on my friends. For sometimes losing...


Bread Alone Christians in the Roman Empire made a special biscuit during Lent consisting of flour, salt, and water (since fat, eggs, and milk were forbidden during the fast). In honor of the season, they shaped it in the form of two arms crossed in prayer. They called the biscuit "little arms" (bracellae). In German, the word became "brezel" or "prezel," from which comes our word "pretzel." The oldest...


American Blessing May God's blessings be upon all of us, moving from each heart to all hearts, symbolized by handshakes and smiles, hugs and kisses, generosity and trust, stretching from east to west, north to south, touching city, town, suburb, country, laces of work and places of worship, like our rivers moving towards deeper waters, like our mountains pointing...


Church Signs Here are some signs found outside churches: "Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!" "Try our Sundays. They are better than Baskin-Robbins." "God so loved the world that He did not send a committee." "Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush!" "Fight truth decay - study the Bible daily." "How will you spend eternity - Smoking or Non-smoking?" "Dusty Bibles lead to Dirty Lives" "Come work...


Is God a Father? How come we always refer to God as Father? Why don’t we speak about him equally as mother or parent? These are questions that people ask and the answers are not as difficult as the questions seem. Our faith makes it clear - God transcends both male and female; he is neither one nor the other. Language about God can only describe, not define who God is. God is too big...


"Prodigal Two" (based on Luke 15:1-3, 11-32) A father had two sons. The younger one took his inheritance and went off and squandered it on dissolute living. As time went on, he fell on bad days, returned home and the father welcomed him back. He even had a party for him. He and his wife were happy again, but sad too because the older brother had become somber and sullen. He was that way, not...


The Purpose of Palms The following passage is taken from Pius Parsch’s The Church’s Year of Grace, vol. II. He is quoting Father Howell from his book Preparing for Easter. Even though the reference is to the pre-Vatican II liturgy, the symbolism remains and can be used to help instruct the people at Mass about the importance of palms for their own spiritual use. And at the end of the Mass, we take our palms home,...


Pray for Those... Even though I clutch my blanket and growl When the alarm rings each morning, Thank you, Lord, that I can hear. I pray for those who are deaf. Even though I keep my eyes tightly closed Against the morning light as long as possible, Thank you, Lord, that I can see. I pray for those who are blind. Even though I snuggle in my bed under the blankets And put...


No Time! I knelt to pray but not for long, I had too much to do. I had to hurry and get to work, for bills would soon be due. I knelt and said a hurried prayer, and jumped up off my knees. My Christian duty was now done; my soul could rest at ease. All day long I had no time to spread a word of cheer, No time to speak of Christ to...


A Reflection on Mary as a Model of Faith During the Liturgical Year we celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s being conceived without the stain of Original Sin and the fact she was bodily assumed into Heaven without undergoing the physical corruption of death. When we pray the Hail Mary we venerate her as the, "Mother of God." Because of Mary’s miraculous conception and death and her unique role in Salvation history I think we tend to think of her life...


Reconciliation: Confessing God's Goodness Does the Catholic Church believe that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is absolutely necessary for salvation? No, it does not. Does the Catholic Church believe that this Sacrament is necessary for forgiveness of all our venial sins? No, it does not. Does the Catholic Church strongly encourage frequent participation in this Sacrament? Yes, it most certainly does, because like all the Sacraments, it opens up our hearts to receiving God’s ...


Defend Life at all Times, From Conception to Natural Death VATICAN CITY, OCT 2, 1998 (VIS) - The Pope dedicated his entire discourse this morning to the defense of life, and to the building of "a genuine culture of life," when he spoke to the bishops of the Church in California, Nevada and Hawaii, U.S.A. Addressing them he said: "We are coming to the end of a century ... of almost unlimited progress, but which is now ending in widespread fear...


The Holy Spirit in the Incarnation VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 1998 (VIS) - In today's general audience in St. Peter's Square,  John Paul II spoke about "The Holy Spirit in the Incarnation." The Pope stated that "since the first moment of his existence in time, Jesus is linked to the Holy Spirit." He added "thanks to his intervention, the supreme grace is brought about in the 'grace of union', when human nature is united to the Person...


A Parent's Prayer O Heavenly Father, make me a better parent. Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting them or contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me. Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame or ridicule when they displease me. May...


St. Anthony - Doctor of the Church St. Anthony was born in Portugal, although most of his work was in Italy. He originally joined the Augustinian order, but he became a Franciscan when he was 26. This was because of the death of 5 Franciscan protomartyrs in Morocco, North Africa, whose headless and mutilated bodies had been brought back for burial. St. Anthony also wished to be a martyr, just like them. He is called the "Hammer of...


Blessed Juan Diego Until recently, very little was known about Blessed Juan Diego except that Our Lady appeared to him in December 1531. The apparitions occurred at Tepeyac, a small hill and a former sanctuary to the Aztec goddess Tonanzin. Mary asked Juan Diego to request that the local bishop build a church on that site. There she could be present with all her love and compassion for “all...


Do We Need the Church to be Close to Christ? You’ve heard it before; maybe you’re even the one who said it: "I don’t need the Church to be close to Jesus -- no Bishop or Pope is going to tell me what to do." Yet, we have to face one major fact: Jesus gave to the apostles and their successors his authority. That means the Church is apostolic. That’s how we know what we believe is what Jesus wants us...


A New Heaven, A New Earth Last time you thought about the after life, how did you picture it? What does heaven look like for you? Clouds and harps? Rolling hills and gentle breezes? Constant football, baseball, and basketball? Probably, most of us have a pretty vague notion about what heaven is like and maybe that’s why many of us aren’t as concerned as we should be whether or not we will be going there. But Christ...


Is It Pride? By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge I've been exchanging e-mails with one of our outstanding Parish Respect Life Coordinators (PRLC) who is searching for the best and simplest way to explain the truth to people who do not share the Church's beliefs on the life issues. To do that, it would be helpful to know why people either reject the truth or seem to be so complacent. We've gone back and forth...


Your Questions Answered Thank you for all the positive feedback about the Tabernacle.  The symmetry between the Crucifix, the Tabernacle, and the Altar of Sacrifice is inspiring.  Here are answers to some questions posed by leaders of various ministries and parishioners. Please genuflect when entering your pew before Mass. Then take a moment to kneel and pray before Mass begins. Please genuflect when leaving the pew...


Questions Regarding Artificial Nutrition and Hydration for Patients in PVS After the tragic death of Terri Schindler Schiavo on March 31, 2005-after suffering 13 days without nutrition or hydration-many in the Church remained confused by inaccurate mainstream media reports about artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) for patients in persistent "vegetative" states (PVS). In addition, a few misguided moral theologians and others issued statements that only served to further confuse the faithful as well as the general public. Brief History -...


October is the Month of the Rosary The Joyful Mysteries: Monday and Saturday 1. The Annunciation of the Angel to Mary 2. The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth 3. The Nativity of Jesus 4. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple 5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple The Sorrowful Mysteries: Tuesday and Friday 1. The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane 2. The Scourging at the Pillar 3. The Crowning with Thorns 4. The Carrying of the Cross 5. The Crucifixion...


Sacramentum Caritatis: The Sacrament of Charity Pope Benedict XVI has released an apostolic exhortation in which he reflects on the Eucharist and the spiritual riches that the Church draws from it. This guide will help you understand the essence of what Pope Benedict said in his apostolic exhortation - what he wants you to know about the Eucharist and its celebration. Sacramentum Caritatis - The exhortation is titled Sacramentum Caritatis - a Latin phrase meaning "the sacrament of charity" or "the sacrament of...


Pope Benedict XVI Grants Greater Freedom for the Celebration of the Traditional Mass Perhaps you've read or seen a news article about the document Pope Benedict XVI released on July 7, 2007 which grants greater freedom for the celebration of the 1962 Missal (sometimes referred to as the Tridentine Mass). This is absolutely true and the document can be found at www.usccb.org (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). Be careful, though, as the media has and will continue to spin the contents of this...


Sacred Heart and Fathers Last Friday was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This feast day was founded by Jesus Himself when he came to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Why? As long as Christianity had been around, people still had (and have, even today) a hard time understanding how much the Father, Son and Holy Spirit really love us. At the time of St. Margaret Mary, there was a heresy plaguing the Church...


I've said it before, but I say it again they were more than just numbers! After a lengthy delay, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has finally released the "numbers" for reported abortions -or as they call them, "induced pregnancy terminations"- for 2005. In addition, the IDPH figures for 2004 (which were reported in the February 2006 issue of Life Matters) have been amended. Apparently, a few abortionists ignored the mandatory reporting requirement until they were "reminded" by IDPH. We shouldn't be surprised. If a "physician" is...


Making sense of stem cells- What does the Church say? Stem cells are a potential source of vital cures for many terrible diseases. Despite claims to the contrary, the Catholic Church supports and even encourages research on stem cells to turn this potential into a reality. The Church approves of research into three of the four forms of stem cells, including those from adults, which continue to show great promise. In fact, adult stem cells are already being used to...


My (7) spiritual blessings found in suffering The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (and how people respond to them) defines human destiny. The illumination of the sickroom taught me that it is not suffering that destroys people, rather the bitter experience of suffering without meaning. My own experience with protracted suffering has come in the form of (7) spiritual blessings: 1. Surrender. My first spiritual blessing came in the form of surrender: I asked myself how Jesus handled...


Christ can change victims into victors! I have been approached by people who have been diagnosed (or have a loved-one diagnosed) with a serious and disabling disease or condition. They are terrified. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think I understand something of what they are experiencing. And so, for this blog entry I want to visit a column I wrote quite some time ago for Canada's Western Catholic Reporter. Descending into profound disability is a lonesome...


Life Matters: "HPV: Sorting Through the Facts" While waiting last summer for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of its new vaccine, Gardasil, pharmaceutical giant, Merck, launched a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to create awareness and acceptance of the vaccine. The campaign, "Tell Someone," encourages women to "Learn about cervical cancer and other consequences of human papillomavirus (HPV) and then tell someone." After Gardasil was granted FDA approval on June 8, 2006, the "One Less" campaign...


An Examination of Conscience

Traditional examinations of conscience concentrate on the commandments. This is very important, but I think I would like to use a contrary approach for you. I would like to first concentrate on the virtues. I will be addressing the commandments, but mostly as applications of the virtue of justice. I do this because it accentuates positive motivations and also brings all the powers in the Christian life into play. I would like to use the definition in the Catechism of each of the virtues and then place practical questions, which the penitent might ask himself or herself about his failure in living them.

...


Tips For Making a Good Confession We should… 1) Examine our consciences regularly and thoroughly; 2) Wait our turn in line patiently; 3) Come at the time confessions are scheduled, not a few minutes before they are to end; 4) Speak distinctly but never so loudly that we might be overheard; 5) State our sins clearly and briefly without rambling; 6) Confess all mortal sins in number and kind; 7) Listen carefully to the advice the priest gives; 8) Confess our own sins and not...


Why Do We Use Ashes? The use of ashes is thought to have begun with Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century. In the Old Testament, ashes were used as a sign of humility and mortality as well as sorrow and repentence for sin. Receiving ashes on the head as a reminder of mortality and a sign of sorrow for sin was a practice of the Church by the 10th century. The ashes are burnt palms. In some places...


The New Law The following is from an article entitled "The New Law" by Michael Augros from last week’s edition of the National Catholic Register. I thought it was interesting. When I was a child, I wondered why we should reject Satan "and all his empty promises." When had Satan ever promised anything to me? I got the answer watching TV. The popular culture, as laid out before us on television and the Internet,...


Fathers Be Fathers LIFE MATTERS The Newsletter of the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockford Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge, Director • Rev. David A. Peck, Spiritual Director 555 Colman Center Drive • Rockford, Illinois • 61108 • 815.877.LIFE www.rockforddiocese.org/respectlife June 2006 Volume v no.9 What's a dad to think? How does he know what his role in the family is? How does he exercise his role? Our...


The Many Hats of Motherhood LIFE MATTERS The Newsletter of the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockford Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge, Director • Rev. David A. Peck, Spiritual Director 555 Colman Center Drive • Rockford, Illinois • 61108 • 815.877.LIFE www.rockforddiocese.org/respectlife May 2006 Volume v no.8 When is a mother not just a mother? When she is a teacher, a nurse, a chauffeur, a confidant, or a disciplinarian. ...


Post-Fertilization Confusion LIFE MATTERS The Newsletter of the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockford Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge, Director • Rev. David A. Peck, Spiritual Director 555 Colman Center Drive • Rockford, Illinois • 61108 • 815.877.LIFE www.rockforddiocese.org/respectlife April 2006 Volume I attended a meeting recently where a discussion ensued about the mechanisms of the birth control pill ("The Pill") and other hormonal "contraceptives." Sitting...


Pope Benedict XVI's First Encyclical The following are summaries of Part 1 and Part 2 of the Pope's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" (God Is Love). The Encyclical is divided into two long parts. The first, entitled "The Unity of Love in Creation and in Salvation History," presents a theological-philosophical reflection on "love" in its various dimensions - "eros," "philia," and "agape" - highlighting certain vital aspects...


The Lord's Prayer Praying the Lord's Prayer we need to see a little part of the history of prayer in the life and tradition of the Jewish people. In the time when the First Temple in Jerusalem was constructed there was no regular prayer service. Prayer accompanied the sacrifices. The prayer of Hannah in the 1st Book of Samuel and the prayer of king Solomon during the ceremony...


Mary and Christmas... There is a beautiful song called Breath of Heaven, or Mary's Song. The words tell of an imagined prayer from Mary to God. In it we hear how Mary might have expressed her human fears and doubts about the task she had accepted. At one point the words of the song say, "Do you wonder, when you watch my face, if a wiser one should have had...


Advent collision... You might describe it as a long entrance procession. The cars inch slowly toward the symbols of the season, where Christmas music plays all day and colored lights, crèches, and that jolly, round bearded figure dressed in red are everywhere in this sensually charged environment. At the end of the day, the people return to their cars with their purchases. Some head off to their...


The Rosary, a Contemplation of the Mysteries of Christ Imagine looking upon the face of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. Imagine pondering the words and deeds of Jesus with Mary's mind. Imagine feeling the joys and sufferings of Jesus with Mary's heart. This is the type of imaginative meditation to which the rosary invites us. The rosary is a reflective prayer that we offer to God in union with Mary. ...


The Rosary, a Contemplation of the Mysteries of Christ Imagine looking upon the face of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. Imagine pondering the words and deeds of Jesus with Mary's mind. Imagine feeling the joys and sufferings of Jesus with Mary's heart. This is the type of imaginative meditation to which the rosary invites us. The rosary is a reflective prayer that we offer to God in union with Mary. ...


The Four Gospels... The FOUR GOSPELS are the principal source of information about the life of Christ. In order to understand both the form under which they have come and the purpose they serve, we must recall their origin and character. We must not regard the Gospels as literary works that came out of the initiative of the writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John), but rather as the...


...unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter... (Matthew 18:3) The disciples approached Jesus with the question regarding position and power in his dominion: "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Here we have a revealing question and a revealing answer. When the disciples asked Jesus about their position in the kingdom of heaven, he took a child, set it in front of them and told them that unless they turn and become...


The Institution of the Sacrament of Anointing The Council of Trent (1545-1563) teaches that the sacrament was instituted by Christ our Lord as insinuated in the Gospel of Mark: "So they went off and preached repentance. They drove out many demons, and they anointed many who were sick and cured them" (6;12-13). But their anointing and prayer was rather prefiguring of this sacrament than the sacrament itself. What the Apostles practiced during...


Christ with an Attitude There was a time when our grandparents would only have thought of Jesus sitting on a throne in great power and glory. Then a reaction set in and many of us grew up more with a vision of Christ as a Good Shepherd or friend. But in the readings today, we have a reality check -- we have Christ with an attitude. The Scriptures show us a triumphant Jesus and though...


Anointing of the Sick This sacrament was called Extreme Unction (last anointing), not because it was the last sacrament you received before departing this life but because it was it was the last anointing a person received. (Baptism and Confirmation were the first two times a person would have been anointed.) It was called the Last Rites because over the centuries many died rather than recovered from the injury...


How to Interpret the Scripture? As believers, we do not read the Bible merely to be informed about its content or to be inspired by its religious message. We read the Scripture in order to be transformed, to be shaped and reshaped by that message so that we can reveal it in new and authentic ways in the manner we live our lives. Whether we realize or not, we...


Christian Pilgrims From the early centuries of the Church Christian pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem to touch the places where Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead. They wanted to touch the places they had read about in the Scripture. St. Jerome, a fourth-century biblical scholar, wrote this: "We will have a clearer grasp of Scripture after we have gazed with our own eyes on the sites...


Christian Pilgrims From the early centuries of the Church Christian pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem to touch the places where Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead. They wanted to touch the places they had read about in the Scripture. St. Jerome, a fourth-century biblical scholar, wrote this: "We will have a clearer grasp of Scripture after we have gazed with our own eyes on the sites...


Mount Sinai When Moses ascended Mount Sinai, he let the Israelites know he would be away for forty days and nights. They kept track of the days when Moses was away looking forward to his return, but towards the end of the fortieth day they became more and more concerned. They began to worry that Moses would never return. They began to fear the worst: they worried ...


The Eucharist in Tradition #2 Evidence of early belief in the Real Presence may also be seen in outward reverence with which the sacrament was received. A detailed description of the manner in which the Eucharist was received in the 4th century is given to us by St. Cyril of Jerusalem in Catechetical Instructions: "In approaching, therefore, come not with thy wrists extended or thy fingers spread, but make thy...


The Eucharist in Tradition The teaching of the Scripture regarding the Sacrament of Eucharist is very clear: Christ, having promised his disciples to give them his own flesh as food and his own blood as drink, at the Last Supper took bread and gave it to the disciples telling them that it was his body. Then he took wine and gave it to them, telling them that it was his blood....


The Eucharist in the Scripture #2 The language of the Church's documents regarding the Eucharist is usually measured and calm. The attempts to interpret the words of the institution of the Eucharist in a figurative sense would only obscure the meaning of the words of Christ. It is difficult to see how the literal meaning of the words of Christ can be evaded. The solemnity of the occasion when Jesus spoke...


The Eucharist in the Scripture The 6th chapter of the gospel of St. John presents a discourse of our Lord which we may well call the preparation of the disciples for their first communion. The Jews were impressed by the two miracles of the feeding of the five thousand and the walking of Jesus upon the Lake of Galilee, which they witnessed. They had come in search of Jesus. However,...


The Eucharist is for Our Sanctification In the Catechism of Trent (1551) we read that the Sacrament of the Eucharist "must be said to be truly the source of all graces, because it contains in a wonderful way Christ our Lord, the source of every heavenly gift and blessing and the author of the sacraments; this sacrament is the source from which the other sacraments derive whatever goodness and perfection they...


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Corpus Christi "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him" (John 6:56) The late Pope, John Paul II, invited Catholics all over the world to celebrate the great gift and mystery of the Eucharist in a special way from October 2004 to October 2005. This extraordinary year is an opportunity for all to appreciate this special meaning of communion with our...


A Reflection on Mary May is the month of Mary, the Mother of God. Cardinal Henry Newman has reminded us in one of his sermons that "the Glories of Mary are for the sake of her Son." So it is that when we come to consider the revealed truths which our religion teaches us concerning our Lady, we realize that she is never really the center of the picture. The artist...


The Pope and Bishop Speak This is a portion of the homily of Pope Benedict XVI at his Inauguration Mass... "At this point, my mind goes back to 22 October 1978, when Pope John Paul II began his ministry here in Saint Peter's Square. His words on that occasion constantly echo in my ears: "Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!" The Pope was addressing the mighty, the ...


What is a conclave and what does it do? What is a conclave and what does it do? A conclave is the assembly of cardinals called together to elect a new pope. It also refers to the place where they met. The word conclave comes from the Latin words meaning "with key." In the 13th Century it took the cardinals several years to elect Gregory X. After he was elected, he wrote specific...


Pastor's Corner Fr. Dan's homily on January 23, 2005 32nd Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade The Marital Bed: Procreational, not Recreational At the Steubenville Youth Conference last summer in Steubenville, Ohio an interesting opportunity arose. In the midst of one of the opening talks on Friday evening, Bob, the excellent Master of Ceremonies made a comment that caught my attention. As he was getting the teens focused on the weekend he...


A Great Way to Pray For The Dead At the Last Supper Christ gave us the means of uniting ourselves with Him as He died on the Cross. He consecrated bread and wine into His Body and Blood so that we might share in His death and resurrection. The Church teaches that both the living and the dead receive forgiveness through the offering of the Mass, hence all are encouraged to join with the priest...


The Divine Mercy In 1931 Our Lord appeared to Sister M.Faustina Kowalska (1905 - 1938) in a vision. She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching His garment in the area of the heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. She gazed intently at the Lord in silence, her soul was...


History of the Easter Egg According to the ancient tradition of the East, Mary Magdalene was a wealthy woman from whom Christ expelled seven “demons.” During the three years of Jesus’ ministry she helped support Him and His other disciples with her money. When almost everyone else fled, she stayed with Him at the cross. On Easter morning, she was the first to bear witness to His resurrection. She is...


The Scrutinies Scrutinies are rites of self-searching and repentance. When people from another spiritual background seek baptism in the Catholic Church, they do so by stages. First we accept them into the order of catechumens. Then as they complete their catechetical formation we enroll them among the "elect", or those chosen for baptism. This rite of election generally coincides with the beginning of Lent. Three times during...


Why Latin? Some folks may be asking why will we be singing Latin in Lent, i.e. "Sanctus" (Holy, Holy Holy, Lord...) and "Agnus Dei" (Lamb of God...). Why not? In 1967, our U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops published a document: ‘Music In Catholic Worship’. In that document, our bishops called for musicians to search for and create music of quality for worship, especially new settings for the new liturgical texts....


Lent I thought a few questions and answers might help get us oriented toward the great season of Lent. Where does the word “Lent” come from? “Lent” comes from an old English word meaning “spring”. As the earth gradually comes to life after the cold winter, so we try with the help of God’s grace to bring some spiritual life to our souls. It lasts 40 days because it...


The Promises of the Sacred Heart Twelve promises to persons having devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which were communicated by Christ to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in a private revelation in 1675: 1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state in life. 2. I will establish peace in their homes. 3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions. 4. I will be their secure refuge during...


If Jesus Came Would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in? Or hide some magazines, and put the Bible where they'd been? Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out? Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about? And I wonder - if the Savior spent a day or two with you, would you go right on doing, the things you...


The Four Evangelists Holy Cross recently purchased a new crucifix, which was hung in the Sanctuary of the main body of the church on February 8, 2002. The new crucifix is twelve feet high. On the four points of the crucifix are icons. These icons represent "The Four Evangelists."  Below is an explanation. Their traditional symbols, the “four living creatures”, are taken from (anticipated in?) the prophecy of Ezekiel...


Lenten Regulations for Fast and Abstinence ABSTINENCE: All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence. FAST: All adults are bound by the law of fast from the beginning of their nineteenth year up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. EXPLANATION: The law of abstinence means that a person is bound to abstain beginning the day after one’s fourteenth birthday. The law...


Her Little Garden My friend Monica Ashour knew before I did that I would join the Church. It was only a matter of time. That time came on August 17, 1998. Some time later I had a dream of getting both Catholics and non-Catholics alike to work together to help overturn Roe v. Wade. (I was “Roe,” for those of you who...


Rosary Tips for Tots Here are a few tips to make the family rosary a success in your home: Time. Try to pick a consistent time of day when the whole family is most likely to be at home. Place. Have a family “shrine”for prayer time. Intentions. Announce petitions at the beginning of the rosary, we pray more fervently when praying for...


Holy Communion & Bells Which of these statements would you agree with? 1) When receiving Holy Communion, you are “really and truly receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.” 2) When receiving Holy Communion, you are “receiving bread and wine, which symbolize the spirit and teachings of Jesus, and in so doing are expressing your attachment to His ...


Scripture and Tradition Our Catholic teaching that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus, not bread and wine, is clearly taught in the Bible and throughout the 2,000-year tradition of the Church. The teaching of Jesus in the sixth chapter of John's Gospel is very clear: "Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you do not have...


Catholic Communion Visitors to Catholic parishes often complain that they may not join in communion at Mass. Many other denominations welcome all who profess faith in Christ to the communion table, but Catholics have always restricted who shares the meal. For those who practice hospitality at home by setting an extra place at the table for visitors, the Catholic custom gives offense. However, Catholic communion is just that, a sign of Catholic unity. The ...


Candles We use candles at every liturgical service as a sign of reverence and festivity. They bring honor to God and joy to our celebration. At Mass candles may attend the cross in the entrance procession. The servers who carry them place them on or near the altar or on a side table. Candles may number two, four or six. A seventh may be lit for Masses with the bishop. They rest in...


The Sacrament of Matrimony "Like each of the seven sacraments, so also marriage is a real symbol of the event of salvation, but in its own way. 'The spouses participate in it as spouses, together, as a couple, so that the first and immediate effect of marriage (res et sacramentum) is not supernatural grace itself, but the Christian conjugal bond, a typically Christian communion of two persons because it represents the mystery of Christ's ...


Man, the Image of God Who is Love "As an incarnate spirit, that is a soul which expresses itself, itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit, man is called to love in his unified totality. Love includes the human body, and the body is made a sharer in spiritual love. Christian revelation recognizes two specific ways of realizing the vocation of the human person in its entirely, to love: marriage and virginity or celibacy....


Sign of Peace At the sign of peace, worshippers are invited to show their peace and love before receiving the Eucharist, which accomplishes their unity most perfectly. The nature of the sign is to be determined by the culture of the people who express it. In the United States, the bishops let local communities determine the actions and words. We have no set formula or gesture for extending this sign. Most often worshippers...


Oil of Catechumens The oil of catechumens is the ointment of those preparing for baptism. It wards off what is evil. It brings wisdom and strength. Think of it as Catholic bug spray, religious suntan lotion, or spiritual steroids. Every year the bishop of your diocese blesses the oil of catechumens during the Mass of Chrism at the cathedral. This Mass takes place shortly before Easter because of an ancient tradition in the church. As...


The Situation of the Family in the World Today "The situation in which the family finds itself presents positive and negative aspects: the first are a sign of the salvation of Christ operating in the world; the second, a sign of the refusal that man gives to the love of God. On the one hand, in fact, there is a more lively awareness of personal freedom and greater attention to the quality of interpersonal relationships in marriage, to promoting the...


A Candymakers Witness The Candy Cane A candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the...


P-U-S-H When everything seems to go wrong. Just P-U-S-H When the job gets you down.  Just P-U-S-H When people don't react the way you think they should. Just P-U-S-H When your money looks funny & the bills are due. Just P-U-S-H When you want to curse them out for whatever the reason. Just P-U-S-H When you ask the question, when is my ship coming in? Just P-U-S-H When people just don't understand you. Just P-U-S-H P-ray ...


Go in Peace, Go Online, Go Make Peace We should take literally the command at the end of Mass: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! Having gathered together as the church, having listened together to God’s word and having shared the Eucharist, we are sent out to go and give to others what we have received here: fullness of life and love, justice and charity, mercy and peace. Remember sharing the sign of peace? To introduce the significant ritual gesture,...


When God Created Fathers When the good Lord was creating Fathers he started with a tall frame. And an angel nearby said, "What kind of Father is that? If you're going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put fathers up so high? He won't be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping." And God...


My Heart One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart, for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and ...


Cruets In the culinary world, cruets are small bottles for the vinegar and oil you pour onto a salad. In the Catholic world, cruets may hold water and wine for the Eucharist. They sat on the side table in sanctuaries for hundreds of years, but they are becoming impractical. The practice in the past is still honored in many catholic...


Forgiveness at Mass The sacrament of reconciliation is the church's special celebration of pardon, but forgiveness of sins is also one of the fruits of the Mass. There are many moments throughout the eucharistic celebration when the texts and gestures of the Mass express the community's sorrow for sins. We begin with a penitential rite, which may include striking the breast in a simple gesture of sorrow. The presider then asks that God have mercy ...


Non-Catholic Communion Ordinarily, Catholics do not share communion at other Christians churches. The legislation builds on our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that our communion at Mass symbolizes our union as a church. Even in danger of death or other serious need, a Catholic may celebrate communion, reconciliation and anointing of the sick "only from a minister in whose church these sacraments are valid or ...


Elevation While reciting the words of Jesus from the Last Supper, the presider of the Mass shows the consecrated bread and wine to the assembly His gesture is called the elevation. With each elevation he actually performs two actions. He shows the body and blood of Christ to everyone else, and then he genuflects in adoration. There is no explicit instruction for what the assembly is to do during the elevation. However,...


Respect Life Prayer Almighty God, Our Father, You have given us life and intended us to have it forever. Grant us Your blessings. Enlighten our minds to an awareness and to a renewed conviction that all human life is sacred because it is created in Your image and likeness. Help us to teach by word and the example of our lives that life occupies the first place, that human life is precious because it is...


What Would You Die For? Nero was a spoiled, immature, and vicious Roman emperor. And when his people blamed him for the burning of Rome, he put out the news that the Christians did the evil deed. And so began one of the first persecutions of the Christians. Historians tell us that Nero nailed the leaders of the Christians to crosses lining the streets in his gardens. He poured oil on them and lit them to...


Parish Membership Boundaries With a certain degree of frequency, requests come to the chancery from Catholics who would like the bishop's permission to transfer from their current parish to a different parish. The reasons for the request will vary, but I have detected a misconception about parish membership by both the Catholic making the request and the pastors of the parishes involved. We need to review what the Church has established in this regard and ...


Are You Born Again? One of the questions that just baffles Catholics is when one of their Protestant brothers or sisters comes up to them and says, "Have you accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior -- are you born again?" Usually, the Catholic person is reduced to stuttering and stumbling, not sure whether to say yes or no. Well, the answer is "Yes!", but it’s a yes with a difference. We were...


Prayer For The Day So far today, God, I've done all right, I haven't gossiped, or lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. And I'm really glad about that. But in a few moments, God, I'm going to be getting out of bed, and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot of help. Amen. - Author Unknown. ...


RCIA The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults What does RCIA mean to the candidate? This is a special time in your life, a time that you have never before had and will never again have. The word journey expresses a significant aspect of this special time. A journey involves a movement from one place to another that includes various encounters, changes, and experiences taking place along the way. The best way to enter this time is to slow down...


Holy Cross' Song Did you know that Rev. Michael Joncas (composer of "On Eagles Wings" and many other songs in our hymnal) has written and dedicated a song to Holy Cross Church? The name of the song is "Adoremus Te". It yokes a Taize-style refrain in Latin with verses from Isaac Watts hymn, "When I survey the wondrous cross"! Michael, an acquaintance of Mary Boulton (our former music director), was actually asked to write...


The Holy Spirit - Giver of Hope By now, we should all realize that God the Holy Spirit tends to work in the quiet of our hearts, in the beauty of the every day, in the slow but sure passing of the years. One thing we learn from the Advent readings is that God is in charge of history and will fulfill our dreams for peace and freedom. But seldom does God do fantastic miracles or tremendous works...


How Christ Changed the World C.S. Lewis, one of the most famous Christian writers of this century, liked to describe this world of ours as a planet under siege. He didn’t mean there were spaceships surrounding us or aliens waiting to invade. Instead, he meant that Earth was a place held hostage by the Evil One, an abode of sin, sickness and death. When Christ died and rose, a breakthrough was made and into this world...


Fragments of the Face of God Saints St. Nicholas, Bishop, Confessor St. Nicholas is invoked as patron of young people and has become widely known as "Santa Claus" the distributor of Christmas gifts. As Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, he was noted for his charitable care of children and for his generous, anonymous gifts to dowerless young women. Having taken part in the condemnation of Arianism at the Council of Nicea, he died soon afterward. His...


"I Believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life" We say those words written above every time we pray the Creed and yet, the Holy Spirit is really the forgotten person of the Trinity. We relate very easily to God as the Father and Son, but we just aren't quite sure about the Holy Spirit. In fact, not so long ago, we called him the Holy Ghost! That was a name that seemed to conjure up a rather shadowy version...


Daily Prayers MORNING PRAYER: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day. I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all the saints of God, pray ...