Category: Catechesis

To Be Led Out of Egypt
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To Be Led Out of Egypt

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This past year, I was privileged to celebrate a Passover seder with some close friends during Holy Week. It was both a reminder of the persistence of the faith of Judaism in its own right and of the roots for the new Passover that Jesus established, through his institution of the Eucharist, and through his […]

Reflections for Sunday, August 3, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, August 3, 2014

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm 145:8-9,15-18; Romans 8:35,37-39; Matthew 14:13-21) Using the Gifts God has Given You Give them some food yourselves. (Matthew 14:16) Tony Melendez was born without any arms. But he was also born with a gift for music, so he developed a unique way to share […]

Thinking Liturgically:  The Saints and God's Mercy
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Thinking Liturgically: The Saints and God’s Mercy

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When calling for the reform of the Sacred Liturgy, the Second Vatican Council said the following: The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation. (Sacrosanctum Concillium 34) When […]

Solomon’s Wisdom: On the Necessity of Reading the Old Testament
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Solomon’s Wisdom: On the Necessity of Reading the Old Testament

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Once I had dinner with another priest.  As we were eating we talked about the Bible.  “I preach the same homily every weekend,” he said. “Really?” I asked.  “And how are your collections?” While we were at it, he justified himself by declaring that it was no longer necessary to preach on the Old Testament. […]

Old vs. New in the Kingdom of God
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Old vs. New in the Kingdom of God

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“Liberal” and “conservative.” The definitions of these terms are seldom stated. Usually they are just presumed. Often people call “conservative” those who like old-fashioned things and “liberal” those who favor the latest ideas, trends, and values. But for the Christian, the ultimate question is not personal preferences of style, or whether something is old or […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Eucharist and Renewing Our Hearts

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I do believe, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24) Trembling and filled with anticipation I repeated this to myself as I walked down the aisle to receive, for the first time, the Eucharist. Pope Francis speaks to those gathered to receive his catechesis about the Eucharist (February 5, 2014) that “From this Sacrament of love, in […]

Reflections for Sunday, July 27, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, July 27, 2014

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (1 Kings 3:5,7-12; Psalm 119:57,72,76-77,127-130; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52) Knowing We are Treasured by God Out of joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44) Have you ever noticed how much effort some people put into identifying themselves with certain […]

The Parable of the Wheat and Tares
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The Parable of the Wheat and Tares

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At one time or another, we’ve all dreamed of a perfect world.  Imagine a company where everyone is productive, a government full of honest politicians, a church where all are saints. Dreaming about such things is natural; expecting such things is dangerous.  Unrealistic expectations lead to discouragement, despair, even cynicism. That would be bad enough.  […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Sacrament of Confirmation

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When I got assigned to write about Pope Francis’ general audience on Confirmation, I was filled with joy. I smiled thinking how beautiful God works in our lives. I go to different churches and talk about the importance of Confirmation to our young people and tell them my story, and how the Holy Spirit worked […]

Reflections for Sunday, July 20, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, July 20, 2014

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Yielding to the Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness. (Romans 8:26) If you remember nothing else about St. Paul, remember this: he loved to talk about the Holy Spirit! For just one example, take a look at chapter eight of his Letter to the […]

The Sower and the Seed
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The Sower and the Seed

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I’ve always loved gardening.  Seeds I’ve planted include carrot, cucumber, and of course, zucchini.  In each case, I’ve planted seeds in neat rows, expecting nearly all of them to sprout and yield fruit. But the farmer in Jesus’ parable (Mat 13:1-23) uses the broadcast method.  Lots of seed cast everywhere.  And predictably, many of these […]

Reflections for Sunday, July 13, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, July 13, 2014

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65:10-14; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23) Allowing the Scriptures to Transform Us and Bear Fruit in Our Lives My word … shall not return to me void. (Isaiah 55:11) A farmer is very careful during planting season. He selects the best seeds, chooses the most […]

Are We Really Teaching the Catholic Faith?
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Are We Really Teaching the Catholic Faith?

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“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me. For whatever was […]

Synod on the Family: A Preview of Coming Attractions
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Synod on the Family: A Preview of Coming Attractions

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The recently released working document for this October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family presents a remarkably candid view of the troubles besetting Catholic marriages and families today. Young people are frequently afraid to commit. Marriage preparation is often seen as a useless obligation. Ignorance of Church teaching is widespread. Few understand that using contraception is sinful. Many […]

Thinking Liturgically:  Who is Our Helper?
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Thinking Liturgically: Who is Our Helper?

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Why do we go to Mass?  While this might seem like an easy question, try and figure out a way to describe why we go to Mass in a quick and easy fashion.  Traditionally, it is said the point of Mass is fourfold:  that of adoration, reparation, intercession and thanksgiving.  To anyone well versed in […]

Does Life Feel Like a Chore?
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Does Life Feel Like a Chore?

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I once knew a woman who called herself “a recovering Catholic.” It seems that as a child, she was taught a religion that was all about guilt. Impossible demands were placed on her requiring strenuous efforts that were doomed to frustration. Turn the other cheek. Don’t even THINK about romantic flings. Love your enemies. Attempting […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: On Baptism

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The routine and ritual of the Sunday mornings of my childhood are forever etched into my memory. My siblings and I looked forward to Saturday night sleepovers at my Italian-immigrant Grandmother’s house and on Sunday morning we awoken to the smell of frying meatballs and simmering sauce. Hand in hand, we walked with my Grandmother […]

Faith, Hope, and Love in the Annunciation
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Faith, Hope, and Love in the Annunciation

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One of my most fond memories of my semester in Rome was from our trip to Northern Italy. We visited quite a few museums and beautiful churches, yet one moment that stuck with me was our visit in Florence. After a long and beautiful Tuscan day, several of us went to a bar. Nights like […]

Reflections for Sunday, July 6, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, July 6, 2014

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion(Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145:1-2,8-11,13-14; Romans 8:9,11-13; Matthew 11:25-30) Following Jesus with Greater Zeal and Excitement You have revealed them to the childlike. (Matthew 11:25) Life is an adventure for little children. If you give them a present, they might play with the wrapping paper or the box it […]

The Acts of the Holy Spirit Through Peter and Paul, Apostles
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The Acts of the Holy Spirit Through Peter and Paul, Apostles

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On this the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul I will speak on the varieties of Revelation that each Apostle received from Jesus Christ, and what said Revelation means to us and to our Church today. There really is only one great Revelation—the Word made Flesh—but each of us receives it differently, in the amount […]

The Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul
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The Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul

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“Self” Magazine is certainly a sign of the times. This is an age when it is socially acceptable to admit that life is all about me. But selfishness is nothing new. Ever since Eve bit into the apple, human beings have made the choice to dethrone God and put in His place the unholy trinity […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Belonging to the Church

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Remember that scene from the movie QUO VADIS (okay, you don’t; the movie was released, after all, in 1951!) where two early Christians meet on the road? They don’t know each other and, in a time of persecution, they have to be circumspect around strangers. So, the first one draws an arc in the sand […]

Bearing Good Fruit
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Bearing Good Fruit

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A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit” (Matthew 7:18). Weeks ago we noticed one of the large apple trees in our neighborhood hadn’t yet come into bud. Its bare form stood alone among all the other trees that had long since flowered and were well into full leaf. I remarked that it must […]

Reflections for Sunday, June 29, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, June 29, 2014

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Acts 12:1-11; Psalm 34:2-9; Timothy 4:6-8,17-18; Matthew 16:13-19) Proclaiming the Word of God The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:18) Wait a minute! This passage sounds a lot like today’s psalm: “The angel […]

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