- Vote and Act Pro-Life (Helpful Hints for Life)
- 'We Must Not Lose Our Sense of Humor,' Pope Tells Journalist Who Caught Him Leaving Record Shop (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Stories of God's Love (Catholic Website of the Week under laptop)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Roe vs. Wade: 50 Years of Bad News
"Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more."
While this is no one's favorite topic, it is a reality in which we live. And when we look for good news, we do not look here.
On January 22, 1973, seven Supreme Court Justices declared that it was legal to be able to kill children in the womb during all nine months of pregnancy. When no previous institution or group ever acted when the presence of a human being was in question, the Supreme Court also said, we do not know when human life begins, but whatever is in the womb, it can be killed.
Even science states that human life begins at conception as there is not other discernable moment before and after which one can point to and say there was not human life before, and now there is human life. Even pro-abortion advocates do not deny this. They focus on a woman's 'right to choose' abortion. Some people say, 'I am against abortion, but I can't keep a woman from choosing abortion.'
However, a woman does not have the right to choose to end the life a child. In this, there is a conflict of rights: a child's right to life and the woman's right to choose things for herself. Life is always the prior, or first right. All other choices are dependent upon it. A child's right to life is above a woman's right to choose for herself only after a child is present. So do not be confused by this 'right to choose.'
Over 60 million human lives slaughtered in the womb in the last 49 years LEGALLY! Where are the others of my generation? By God's Mercy this decision has been reversed and now goes to the state level. Let us pray for the healing and converting of our land. Let us work and vote for an end to our modern day slaughter of the human innocents. And let us give true help and assistance to women and children in need, giving life options instead of enshrining in law that which kills the baby and wounds the mother.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time . The readings can be found at: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/011523.cfm
b) invoking the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
c) anointing with oil
d) only (a) and (b)
257. Who can receive Baptism? (CCC 1246-1252)
a) only the perfect
b) only babies
c) every person who does something big for God
d) every person not yet baptized
258. Why does the Church baptize infants? (CCC 1250)
a) it is what they did in the Old Testament
b) because Jesus said to do so
c) because they are born with original sin
d) because parents in the early Church begged them to do so
259. What is required of one who is to be baptized? (CCC 1253-1255)
a) to make a profession of faith
b) that one be clothed in white
c) that one pass a faith test
d) to make up for past sins first
(Answers at end)
- the distinctive qualities of each human being as a unique individual
[The human individual, made in the image of God; not some thing but some one, a unity of spirit and matter, soul and body, capable of knowledge, self-possession, and freedom, who can enter into communion with other persons and with God. The human person needs to live in society, which is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them.]
–prayer of Saint Augustine of Hippo
Some will claim that a persons should not be a single issue voter as if voting for someone who protect human life in law is just one issue among many. Some things are so critical and essential simply by their nature that they set themselves apart or become the non-negotiable that must be present in a decision.
For example suppose someone running for a political office said, I believe and will promote a terrorist's right to crash planes into buildings. Not too many voters, if any, are going to say, 'well I disagree with that politician on terrorists, but I really like his economic plan and ideas on other matters and will vote for him based on that. Some truths must always be present.
The next time we are called to vote and act, let us make sure we are focused on the critical and the essential.
"Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. (Didache 2,2:SCh 248,148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19,5:PG 2 777; Ad Diognetum 5,6:PG 2,1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9:PL 1,319-320.)
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #2271
Welcome to Stories of God’s Love! This site supports our terrific new religion readiness program that helps children take their first steps on their journey of faith. Stories of God’s Love teaches Scripture stories and connects them to children’s lives through an easy to understand, real-life story. This website is designed as a dynamic resource for teachers, catechists and parents so enjoy your visit and dive right in!
Check here for the latest information and updates related to the Stories of God’s Love program. You’ll find information on the ten seasonal lessons that introduce children to holy days and the liturgical seasons, tips on building catholic identity, stories, activities, prayers, and a bunch of other ways to extend the celebrations into your home. Check back often as content is updated regularly!
Living Virtue - Introduction
Virtues are holy habits that imitate God. It is very important to learn about and cultivate virtue in our hearts, so that we can then be an example of Christ to those around us. While knowledge of the different virtues is vital, we can't stop at just knowing about them. We must incorporate this knowledge into the actions of our everyday lives. How well we live (or do not live!) virtuous lives does not affect only ourselves, but everyone with whom we have a relationship. To be a good spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, etc, requires more than just good intention - it requires action, and taking what we have learned about virtue from our mind into our actions will help us love those around us better, to love them more like Christ loves us. Be sure to check back and read this series each week as we walk through how to live virtue in our daily lives.
Katie Yoder/CNAVaticanJanuary 15, 2022VATICAN CITY — After a journalist reported on Pope Francis’ surprise visit to a record store, the Pope surprised him back — by writing him a letter.
Javier Martínez-Brocal, director of the Rome-based news agency Rome Reports, tweeted a black-and-white photo on Jan. 11 of the Pope exiting a record store near the Pantheon in Rome. The photo went viral as people wanted to know, “What did he buy?” The journalist also captured video of the encounter.
But while the Pope left the shop with a disc, he came for another purpose: to visit the owner, an old friend of his, and to bless the newly-renovated store.
Following the incident, Martínez-Brocal apologized to the Pope for intruding on the moment.
“I'm sorry that the Pope, who loves freedom, has to stay in his residence, because every move he makes is caught on camera,” Martínez-Brocal says in a Rome Reports video released on Jan. 14. “I wrote to him to apologize and to say that, on the other hand, a story like this, which can make people smile, is important in a time when we only hear about tragedies.”
To his surprise, the pontiff responded. Pope Francis confirmed that he saw the photo and even thanked Martínez-Brocal for his “noble” post, Vatican News reported.
Pope Francis revealed that he had attempted to keep his visit secret, joking that, “one cannot deny that it was a ‘terrible fate’ that, after taking all precautions, there was a journalist waiting for someone at the cab stop.”
He continued, “We must not lose our sense of humor,” and thanked the journalist “for fulfilling your vocation, even if it means giving the Pope a hard time.”
On a more serious note, he added that he missed freely roaming city streets.
“What I miss most in this Diocese is not being able to ‘wander the streets,’ as I did in Buenos Aires, walking from one parish to another,” he wrote.
Martínez-Brocal reacted to the Pope’s letter.
“I think the Pope recognizes the importance of a journalist‘s job, even if it’s sometimes uncomfortable for him or causes him problems,” he said. “But he is grateful for this service of honestly recounting events as they happen.”
The Pope did not reveal the genre of music the shopkeepers gifted him with. That part of his visit, it seems, he kept a mystery.
Pope Francis is a music-enthusiast. His music library, curated by the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, houses nearly 2,000 CDs and 19 vinyl records, Catholic News Service reported. The recordings include music from the pope’s personal collection as well as music the pope has received as gifts.
Most of the library is classical, but it also includes Édith Piaf, Argentine tango tunes, and a 25-disc collection of Elvis Presley’s Gospel songs.
ENN‘s host Tracy Sabol opened the interview, on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Jan. 15, highlighting that “honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. still give us as a nation an opportunity to pay tribute to his enduring legacy,” before asking King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, about the civil rights icon’s place in history.
“When I remember my uncle during the Martin Luther King holiday week, I think about his messages of faith, hope and love,” she said, adding that in ”all of his life, he exemplified solutions that were nonviolent and Bible-based.”
King remembered that her uncle used to say that faith is “like climbing a staircase; you take one step at a time and the faith builds. And so he was very sure that if he continued to trust in the Lord and to have faith and hope and love, then he could carry a message that God had given him to carry.”
"My uncle was a nonviolent man. He believed that we were one human race … God made all people to live together on the face of the earth. And as one human race, we really could learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not perish together as fools. All of his sermons and his messages led us to understand that our answers would come from God and that we must unite and learn to get along,” King also said.
She also recalled that Martin Luther King Jr. “decided to stick with love.”
"Hate is too difficult a burden to bear. And then we bear each other's burdens and concerns, seeing each other as human beings, regardless of skin color. We could see skin color, of course, we really are not colorblind. We could see, but we should see ethnicity as something to be celebrated, not to be fought over,” she said.
“Martin Luther King Jr. lived a life of service and love,” said his niece in closing.
“If he were here today, he would be praying for us and with us and encouraging us to set aside strife and to come together in love. And as we do that, we can surely be blessed, and 2021 will be a very different year than 2020 turned out to be.”
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year. The holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 but was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
By Hannah Brockhaus
“That’s why St. Paul speaks of Christian life as a struggle: a daily struggle. A fight!” he said Jan. 19. “That’s why Jesus came: ‘to destroy Satan's empire, the empire of evil.’”
In his homily at Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on how the day's Gospel from St. Mark talks about crowds of people following Jesus.
“Why were the crowds attracted?” the Pope asked.
In the Gospels it tells us that some are sick and want to be healed, he said. There were also some who liked to listen to Jesus’ preaching. But another answer is that they followed the Lord because the Father always leads us to his Son.
Jesus was moved by these people he saw as sheep without a shepherd, Francis said, these people who are being led to him by the Holy Spirit.
“May the Lord give us the grace to know how to discern what is going on in our hearts and to choose the right path upon which the Father draws us to Jesus.”
Commenting on the end of the Gospel, the Pope quoted the passage that says, “Whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, 'you are the Son of God.’”
Frequently, when we try to approach God, “unclean spirits” try to stop us, he said, and “wage a war against us” through the temptation to sin.
But this temptation is an ordinary part of living a Christian life, he said. “A Christian life without temptations is not Christian. It is ideological, it is Gnostic, but it is not Christian.”
How to join the US bishops in 9 Days for Life
Washington D.C., Jan 16 / 01:49 pm (EWTN News/CNA) - The U.S. bishops hope a new pro-life prayer campaign will unite Catholics against not only abortion, but other threats to human fulfilment and life as well.
“Pope Francis reminds us constantly of the loving concern Christians have for all people at any stage of life who’ve been cast aside or forgotten by society,” stated Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
“The 9 Days for Life novena offers a chance to join in prayer and solidarity with the unborn, victims of violence, those suffering from addiction, and those whose hearts ache to be part of a family.”
The novena bookends the 41st annual March for Life, and runs from Saturday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 29. Through “prayer, penance, and pilgrimage,” Catholics can join in solidarity with all victims of abortion, domestic abuse, addiction, and other evils.
The message is about being pro-life for all ages, including the unborn.
There are multiple ways Catholics can take part in the novena. Daily prayers and meditations can be sent through e-mail and text message updates, a downloadable app, or distributed print materials. In addition, parishes and local groups can meet to pray for reparation for abortion and for all those affected by it.
The novena is sorely needed with the prevalence of violence in the U.S., said Anne McGuire, the assistant director for education and outreach for the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in an interview with EWTN News.
“An increasing number of states are considering doctor-assisted suicide,” McGuire noted. “75 percent of Americans are reported to know a victim of domestic violence. There have been over 56 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, and massive numbers of mothers and fathers suffer the aftermath of those abortions, along with siblings, grandparents, those who work in the abortion industry and others.”
McGuire hopes that the novena will ignite year-round prayer and awareness for these problems.
“We do hope that this novena increases the awareness of each person to be recognized as someone made in the image and likeness of God,” she said, pointing to the theme “each person is a masterpiece of God’s creation.”
“We know that God hears our prayers and we hope that many graces are given in response to our petitions,” she continued.
The website 9daysforlife.com presents a myriad of resources to participants, as does the program’s app. Leaders of prayer groups can access pro-life prayer intentions and print promotional material for their parish. Daily meditations can be shared through social media. Pro-life articles can be printed for distribution.
The whole novena is a “digital pilgrimage,” the Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities insists. Even though “we can't trek 30 miles per day, we can still undertake a pilgrimage,” stated a message from the secretariat, “a prayerful and sacrificial journey for a special intention.”
“One important aspect of pilgrimages is that the participant grows spiritually and perhaps even develops some resolutions by the pilgrimage's completion,” the message added.
"9 Days for Life" will take place January 17-25 (the nine days surrounding the anniversary of Roe v. Wade). To participate, visit www.9daysforlife.com and sign up for daily alerts (accessible via email, text message, or an app) or download and print the novena.
"From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #2274
The night we took our three young sons to an upscale restaurant for the first time, my husband ordered a bottle of wine. The server brought it over, began the ritual uncorking, and poured a small amount for me to taste.
My six-year-old piped up, "Mom usually drinks a lot more than that."
My mother is always trying to understand what motivates people, especially those in her family. One day she and my sister were talking about one relative’s bad luck. "Why do you suppose she changed jobs?" Mother asked my sister. "Maybe she has a subconscious desire not to succeed."
"Or maybe it just happened," said my sister, exasperated. "Do you know you analyze everything to death?"
Mother was silent for a moment. "That’s true," she said. "Why do you think I do that?"
'Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world.
There are those who wake up in the morning and say, 'Good morning, Lord,' and there
are those who wake up in the morning and say,' Good Lord, it's morning.'
A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and
couldn't find a space with a meter. Then he puts a note under the windshield wiper that read:
'I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.'
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note '
I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.'
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."
–Catechism of the Catholic Church #2274
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday, January 15, 2023
The First Reading - Isaiah 49:3,5-6
The LORD said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
This passage from Isaiah is an amazing prophecy! Servant and Son, our Lord was sent to lead a new exodus—to raise up the exiled tribes of Israel, to gather and restore them to God. More than that, He was to be a light to the nations, that God’s salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (see Acts 13:46–47). The lost ten tribes of Israel had been assimilated into the nations. Now, today, we see that the Gentiles (the nations) have indeed come to worship the God of Israel. This includes the descendants of the ten lost tribes, making a way for both the Gentiles and Israel to come into Christ Jesus.
Adults - Do you understand Israels role as a light to the nations? Reflect on that this week, and also on how we are called to be a light as well.
Teens - Spend some time in the Old Testament this week - those are stories of your ancestors in the faith!
Kids - Why does God want all people to be saved? Does He force us to be saved?
Responsorial- Psalm Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10
R.Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
This Psalm teaches us that external worship must be accompanied by interior conversion and cooperation of our will. Just going through the motions is not proper worship - we must strive to actively participate, focus, and be aware of Whom it is that we are worshipping.
What helps you to focus when you are distracted?
The Second Reading- 1 Cor 1:1-3
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection - This passage is a reminder that we are all called to holiness. Our vocations, our state in life, our careers, all parts of our lives can be routes to holiness if we invite the Lord into them.
-Is there a part of your life where you are keeping the Lord at arm's length?
The Holy Gospel according to Jn 1:29-34
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'
I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."
John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."
Reflection Jesus comes to take away the sins of the world - not only the punishment for sin, but to lead us to interior conversion and to help us actually stop the sins that are enslaving us. Sin separates us from God and separation from God is what hell is. This is why we cannot be content with sinful habits but must be always striving to master them, and why God offers us the powerful and beautiful Sacrament of Confession. This doesn’t mean that if we struggle with sin we have no hope. It simply means that we, with the assistance of grace, should be striving to overcome the sinful habits in our lives.
Adults - How long has it been since you have been to Confession? If it has been awhile, consider returning this week!
Teens - What sinful inclinations in your life do you need to master? Ask the Lord for His help!
Kids - Why does God want to help us fight sin in our lives?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - What does it mean for the Church, for us, today to be disciples of Jesus the Lamb of God? It means putting innocence in the place of malice, love in the place of force, humility in the place of pride, service in the place of prestige. It is good work! We Christians must do this: put innocence in the place of malice, love in the place of force, humility in the place of pride, service in the place of prestige. Being disciples of the Lamb means that we must not live like a “city under siege,” but like a city on a hill, open, welcoming, solidary. It means not having an attitude of closedness, but proposing the Gospel to everyone, testifying with our life that following Jesus makes us more free and more joyful. — Pope Francis Angelus Address January 19, 2014
Eternal rest grant unto Pope Emeritus Benedict O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of Christ rest in peace. Amen.
256. In what does the essential rite of Baptism consist? d) only (a) and (b)
The essential rite of this sacrament consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water over his or her head while invoking the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
257. Who can receive Baptism?d) every person not yet baptized
Every person not yet baptized is able to receive Baptism.
258. Why does the Church baptize infants?c) because they are born with original sin
The Church baptizes infants because they are born with original sin. They need to be freed from the power of the Evil One and brought into that realm of freedom which belongs to the children of God.
259. What is required of one who is to be baptized?a) to make a profession of faith
Everyone who is to be baptized is required to make a profession of faith. This is done personally in the case of an adult or by the parents and by the Church in the case of infants. Also the godfather or the godmother and the whole ecclesial community share the responsibility for baptismal preparation (catechumenate) as well as for the development and safeguarding of the faith and grace given at baptism.