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Keeping Our Eyes On Christ

Recently a story was shared with me about St. Mother Teresa.

She held the hand of a young child who was hungry and approached a man who was well off asking him for assistance. The man’s reply:  he spit in Mother’s face. St. Mother Teresa’s response: “That was your gift to me, now do you have anything for the child?” Read more

Our Young Adults: Single By Default

Two weeks ago, my colleague, Craig, wrote an excellent piece on bridging the gaps the Church is facing with the young adult population. It reminded me of an article on being single by default from America Magazine.  I found the author’s experience and reflections very helpful for ministering to young adults (YAs) discerning marriage and the consecrated life.

What is your opinion?

All Are Welcome

We are familiar with the hymn All Are Welcome which many of us sing regularly in our parishes. As followers of Christ, our mission is to proclaim the Gospel to ALL people and truly ensure that All Are Welcome. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly one in five Americans – over fifty-five million – has a disability. Thus, disability is in fact the norm for many Americans. Read more

Gap Years: Missing Young Adults Between Graduation and Marriage

A “gap year” between high school and college is supposed to be a time to “find oneself” and mark the important transition from young person to young adult. Unfortunately, as a Church, we have created our own “divide.” There is little to nothing present for young adults once they get past high school. This is the post-high school (even post Confirmation) gap that exists until marriage. It’s killing the Church. So, how did we get here? Read more

They Are Coming Home

In February 2011, after many years of working in the criminal justice system and still many more at an outreach center in Baltimore, I accepted the position of Director of Prison Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. It was a position that I knew would eventually consume much of my time in the area of people returning home from prison: the returning citizens. Read more

Summer’s Gift: Why Appreciating God’s Creation is Time Well Spent

God beckons us out of doors in the summer. Without using words He speaks to us of the goodness and wonder of His of creation, teaming with life. At our house, lilies are in bloom, expectant hummingbirds hover patiently nearby for the daily refill of the feeder, and a fox cools himself deep in the shade of thick bamboo. Then the best part – family members drop by for an impromptu dip in the pool. Good for them to enjoy the water! I’ll sip a cold drink and watch serenely from a chair in the shade. I have a slight aversion to putting on a bathing suit. Then I recall an article on that topic which encourages me to come out of my shell and into a suit to join in the fun. Summer’s gift is time for reflection, recharging and renewal of spirits. And appreciating the goodness of all of God’s creation, including our bodies.

How can we educate parishioners, young and old alike, on the goodness of all of God’s creation, especially the human body?

Holy Leisure & Delighting in People

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton reflected on a moment of leisure:

I set off into the woods and soon found an outlet in a meadow; and a chestnut tree with rich moss underneath and a warm sun overhead. Here, then, was a sweet bed. The air still, a clear blue vault above – the numberless sounds of spring melody and joy filled the air – and my heart was made to be as innocent as a human heart could be, filled with an enthusiastic love to God and admiration of His works . . . God was my father, my all. I prayed, sang hymns, cried, laughed, and talked to myself about how far He could place me above my sorrow. Then I laid still to enjoy the heavenly peace that came over my soul; and I am sure, in the two hours so enjoyed, grew ten years in the spiritual life. . .”

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I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me

How do we become an inviting church? It begins with hospitality. That is what the six hundred guests who visited St. Benedict parish in Halifax for the Divine Renovation conference witnessed.

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Let’s Make Marriage Preparation Relevant

Too often, as lay ecclesial ministers, priests, and deacons, we complain that engaged couples require a great deal of time and energy from the parish but, in the end, many couples simply use the Church for their wedding after which they are never to be seen at the parish again.  Conversely, engaged couples complain about all the “hoops” that they are required to jump through in order to get married in the Church.

Both perspectives hold some truth. Read more

Coming to Church But Not Spiritually Fed? – Survey Series #6

Corresponds to Questions 19, 27, 28, 31, 32, and 33 of the survey.

I really enjoy sushi.  It is beautiful food art that is at once pleasing to the eye and the palette and never fails to improve my mood.  I wasn’t always a sushi convert as the idea of eating raw fish and seaweed wasn’t really appealing at first.  But wise sushi connoisseurs introduced me slowly to the wonders of the sushi experience, beginning with simple, familiar flavors like cucumber and avocado, advancing slowly to the fully cooked California roll, adding in miso soup and wasabi when appropriate, waiting to introduce the raw fishes (salmon, tuna, yellowtail, …) and exotic sea creatures (octopus, sea urchin, abalone, …) until much later.   Read more

Faith is Not a Smoothie – Survey Series #5

Corresponds to Questions 14-17 and 20 of the survey.

When we experience something wonderful, something life-changing, when we have met someone who has changed our whole world, it is natural that we want to share it. And so it is with our Catholic faith.

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Why – and How – We All Need to Read ‘Amoris Laetitia’

There has been a lot of buzz about Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love” which came out last Friday. There’s a good reason for that. And it’s not the one you’ve seen in the headlines.

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