In this e-weekly:
- Brief homily from former Green Beret, Football All-Star, and Millionarie turned Priest ("Helpful Hints of Life")
- Veteran Educator Outlines Her Vision for Reinvigorating Catholic Schools (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- THIRD COMMANDMENT: QandA on Third Commandment at end of e-mail
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Family Traditions and Church Liturgy
"You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children." Exodus 12:24
Almost all of us have set patterns or rituals we go through each day or each year. We may not realize it, but this is very similar to Liturgy, what we do every Sunday as Roman Catholics.
Many families have taken their summer vacations as they do every year. I met a priest friend of mine, and he said he was getting a late start, but said that he wanted to do his spring cleaning like he does every year. Whether we admit or not, like or not, we are creatures of habit and ritual, it is our nature, the way God designed us. So Holy Mass every Sunday, further than being obligatory, is natural for us. However, unlike family tradition or daily ritual which only accomplishes something for the day or time. Holy Mass gives us what we need for a day and life, and further Holy Mass takes us to Calvary and the Last Supper, gives us Jesus fully since It is Him, and unites us to Heaven and all who love God.
Keep your good family traditions and rituals, and strive to understand more the critical and natural liturgy of your life in THEE Liturgy of the Heaven and Earth which we call the Holy Mass!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time. The readings can be found at: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/091723.cfm
c) floating off the ground
d) putting oneself in a trance
569. How can vocal prayer be described? (CCC 2700-2704, 2722)
a) it associates the body with the prayer of the heart
b) it springs from personal faith
c) the Our Father is a perfect form of it
d) all of the above
570. What is meditation? (CCC 2705-2708, 2723)
a) repeating, “ohm,…ohm,…ohm,” over and over
b) it involves clearing one’s minds of all thoughts
c) that which engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire
d) none of the above
571. What is contemplative prayer? (CCC 2709-2719, 2724, 2739-2741)
a) simple gaze upon God in silence and love
b) the ability to move things with your mind
c) matching the thoughts of the person you are praying with
d) all of the above
(Answers on back)
(Latin liturgia "public work", Greek leitourgía "public service, public duty")
- official public worship of the Church
[In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God." –CCC 1069 In Scripture it refers to the religious duties to be performed by priests and levites in the Temple, especially those related to the Sacrifice; in Christian use among the Eastern Churches it means the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
In present day usage liturgy is the official public worship of the Church and is thus distinguished from private devotion. It is the special title of the Eucharist, and the administration of the sacraments with the annexed use of the sacramentals. Its function, therefore, is twofold: to give honor and praise to God, which is worship and our salvation, and to obtain blessings for the human race, which is sanctification.]
Brief Homily from a former All Star American Football Player, ex-Green Bare, and Millionarie turned Priest:
I have been celebrating Mass at a local parish while the pastor is away the past few weeks. Many of the readings during that time concerned the prophets and their message and trials. I was moved to reflect once again on the prophetic dimension of our Baptism in Christ-Priest, Prophet and King. Several decades ago, the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The prophetic voice of Christ has all but been stilled in the Church today." To the degree we fail in this prophetic mission, the world will sink into oblivion under the increasing weight of its sins.
In my lifetime, the United States has gone from quite a wholesome, rational, and moral country, to one that is largely decadent, irrational, and immoral. Most people seem to be hardened to it, unconcerned that we have a death wish in process.
First it was artificial contraception, then abortion, then partial-birth abortion, then infanticide (all of which have been supported by many liberal politicians at one time or another, even some running for president) not to mention euthanasia, and outright killing of the disabled and sick. Actually, it's even worse. Terri Schiavo wasn't sick. She didn't die from an illness. They killed her by starvation, a very cruel way to die.
Now it's same sex marriage (no transmission of life, no fruit of natural love) and we call it inclusive and just. It is yet another nail in the coffin of a society that is clearly dying. Every stage of life is under assault by the forces of death. From prevention of life through artificial contraception, to abortion-which is homicide by definition in each case (the taking of the life of an innocent human being), and genocide taken as a whole. Preventing life, ending life from the youngest to the oldest. We call it progress. It is a death wish, and we had better watch what we wish for. (for the end of a culture of death is death for all!)
"All that evil requires to prosper is that good men remain silent."
The hour is late. We have had years to change course. Instead, we have obstinately refused and gone from bad to worse. May God have mercy on us, and grant us the courage and strength to act in accordance with that truth.
God bless you,
Father John Corapi
"The liturgy is the work of the whole Christ, head and body. Our high priest celebrates it unceasingly in the heavenly liturgy, with the holy Mother of God, the apostles, all the saints, and the multitude of those who have already entered the kingdom."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #1187
Saint Michael's Media is a lay Catholic apostolate located in the Detroit area. They are dedicated to the New Evangelization and spreading the truth of the Catholic faith via the medium of television, radio, the internet and other forms of modern mass media.
ASK AND HAVE ACTIVE PARISHIONERS ASK OTHERS TO JOIN MINISTRIES OR ACTIVITIES (when appropriate during pandemic)
There is a lot of talent in parish, but some people do not know what they can offer, or may have never thought about doing certain ministries or activities. But simply asking or showing faith in certain persons can move them to become active.
When people are asked and someone feels they can contribute it can engage them and make them feel engaged at the parish making them more connected. It can also increase the amount of people involved in certain things in the parish which help in countless ways.
Look around at Mass for those who attend regularly or ask persons who currently assist in ministries if they know other persons they think might be blessed and bless the ministry. Then prayerfully discern and loving ask and invite.
Veteran Educator Outlines Her Vision for Reinvigorating US Catholic Schools
An interview with Mary Pat Donoghue, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Catholic Education
August 22, 2023 - Five years ago, with 33 years of experience in the field of education, Mary Pat Donoghue accepted the position of executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). She arrived with a distinct accomplishment under her belt: As principal of St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, Maryland, she led the effort of transforming the flailing parish school into a thriving institution.
Before that, Donoghue served as a vice principal and classroom teacher, as well as a consultant for the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education. A native of Washington, D.C., she holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in education administration from Trinity University, Washington, D.C.
Donoghue sat down with CNA to discuss her vision of Catholic education, trends affecting education across the nation, and the current priorities of the bishops.
First, tell me more about your tenure at St. Jerome’s and what you brought from that experience into your current position at the USCCB.
I started as a teacher at St. Jerome’s, and when I became principal, the school — like many, many Catholic schools — was confronting declining enrollment and rising debt. The question of whether the school had a future was very much an open question. While we had a vibrant, growing parish community, most families were in home-schooling co-ops. When the Archdiocese of Washington called St. Jerome’s into a process called “consultation” — which is just what it sounds like: bringing the community together and consulting them on whether the school should remain — those folks came in large numbers, and they said, unequivocally, we would love to see a Catholic school here. We would support this. But we don’t like it in its current iteration, and we would invite the pastor and principal to reimagine it.
So we spoke with folks, including Dr. Michael Hanby from the John Paul II Institute … and he wrote something of a manifesto on what Catholic education should look like, and I loved it. My pastor, Father James Stack, loved it. And so we said, “Let’s go for it.”
It was a moment of conversion for me; not so much a religious faith conversion — I’m a cradle Catholic and had an adult reconversion in my 20s, so I felt very firm in the faith — but I had no idea that Catholic education is, in its essence, a really distinct and different animal. Up to that point, my image of it was to take all the best practices of current education and add a robust faith-formation program and voilà, you have a good Catholic school.
What I discovered, though, is that the philosophy that undergirds American education writ large is utterly antithetical to what the Church teaches.
You think about your Deweys and other philosophers, 120 years ago now, who were atheists, who denied the presence of a Logos, let alone the recognition that that is Jesus Christ, and who thought that education should not be about asking the bigger questions, but should be a very transactional process of equipping students with the skills for the work force — period, end of story.
So that was an eye-opener, and I began to see that the Church has a unique vision for Catholic schools. I’m happy to say that not only did St. Jerome’s not close, but today it’s thriving. We added a Montessori preschool, the student body this coming year will be over 500, and it’s just really doing super well.
But when I left St. Jerome’s, I felt very much called by the Holy Spirit to bring this experience to others, this vision and this new way of seeing that I had been given. So I worked for the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education for two years and traveled all over the country. I talked to everyone, from bishops to superintendents to principals, teachers, parents, you name it, sharing this idea.
And then five years ago, I came to work at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and my main work here is to provide staff support to the chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education and the bishops that comprise that committee. My current boss is Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington, a wonderful man with a tremendous vision, a love of truth, a lot of courage, and willing to stand up for Catholic schools, but especially for the truth.
You speak of being transformed in your understanding of what Catholic education is. Can you articulate that in greater detail?
Catholic education starts with the recognition that Jesus Christ is Logos and that the entire creation is an ordered whole in him and through him. So all knowledge coheres in him. In other words, there isn’t a separation or division between my study of science or math and my pursuit of Jesus Christ himself.
Although we understand theology to enjoy that status as “queen of the sciences,” what we have come to realize is that when you recognize Christ as Logos, then other things flow from that, too, like the proper understanding of the human person. You will not arrive at a proper Christian anthropology following what secular curricula or textbooks present because they’re not based properly in that.
Catholic education is a formative process that seeks to do a couple of things: One is to nurture in young children the habits of the mind, already given by their Creator, that lead to lifelong learning and that also help children to grow to be the person God made them to be. So to wonder, and to love, and to choose, and to think, and to sort and classify — all of these things that are human faculties that need to be developed.
The other piece is that Catholic education also needs to be concerned with the transmission of an entire culture and an entire way of seeing. And I do think that this kind of formation has to happen in order for the large, beautiful truths of the faith to really become embedded and then connected.
We have a huge problem, obviously, with disaffiliation, and we know the Pew survey and the lack of belief in the Real Presence, and my sense about that is we have to care for the minds and the hearts and souls of children in such a way that they see a sacramental world, that they understand the world to be imbued with both natural and supernatural elements. And the problem, if we don’t do that, if we follow the more secular model — and remember, it’s authored by people who deny a Creator and transcendence — is that things are only true if they can be observed or measured.
This creates a problem for kids because we’re always seeking harmony in our own minds. And if you think about what that must be like for a child, easily the thing to let go of is the one that doesn’t fit, which is the sacramental reality. So this is a focus for the Committee on Catholic Education and myself for the next couple of years.
Some would say there’s a big gap between that vision and the reality of what we find at many Catholic schools. How do we close that gap?
I think we, first of all, have to approach everything as the Lord reminds us to: Speak the truth, but do it in charity. And first, to love all that is already good in Catholic schools and Catholic education. There are wonderful, faithful, holy people [out there] working.
I’m a perfect example of how this can kind of go wrong. … I went to the University of Maryland and got my bachelor’s in elementary education; and, unbeknownst to me, I was steeped and formed in a secular progressive ideology, which is very oriented to “doing” instead of “being” and this idea of education being broken down into a measurable checklist. You know, the idea that kids should be active all the time. … I remember that very well from my college years … no talking or drawing kids out; they have to have projects; the world will end if we don’t have dioramas and glue everywhere.
So I didn’t know any better, and I think most people don’t. We have all been cut off to some degree from our own patrimony.
There are a lot of superintendents and many bishops who are beginning to see this and are coming together — but this is an apostolic process more than it is an institutional one. And that means it’s relational and person-to-person.
Would you say this is among the highest priorities of the bishops right now, when it comes to education? And what are their current priorities?
I’ll distinguish this in a couple of ways. The bishops are almost all united in saying we want our schools to be faithful and robust and to produce young people who are alive in their faith. So I think they share that priority. This idea of examining for the first time — what is education? What is Catholic education? What does that mean for our curriculum and pedagogy? That’s a new thing. So, for me, it’s sort of taking an existing priority and finding a new way to think about it.
Secondly, the bishops recently voted on reissuing a pastoral letter on serving people with disabilities and mental health issues. Catholic education will have an important role to play in that. We have to expand our capacity to receive and to form children who have diverse learning needs or intellectual disabilities. I see this very much as a post-Dobbs, pro-life impetus for us, and it’s of high importance. So in the coming year we’ll see a lot of working with some of the best experts on inclusion.
This seems like a no-brainer for Catholic schools, given their mission. And yet we seem to have lagged way behind in that.
It’s a cultural mindset that has to change for Catholic educators. I can remember very clearly, as a young teacher, we all had this idea that public schools handle those things because they have the resources and they are better equipped. Where I would now see that as flawed thinking is, first of all, it’s a flawed ideology of the human person — we have the true picture, so that positions us better; but also the reality and the growth in understanding of how to serve those kids has changed so much. You don’t need huge amounts of money to do this; you need people who have the will to do it. You certainly need some resources; I’m not going to say it’s without any cost, but there are lots of different innovative ways I’ve seen Catholic educators do it. It can be done. But it’s a mindset shift. There are growing numbers of organizations out there to support Catholic schools that want to do this. I’ll be looking forward to working on that project.
You’re always looking at the whole landscape, at trends, and trying to adjust to them. What are the successes you’re seeing right now?
I think a lot of it has to do with being willing to think and imagine Catholic education a little bit differently. One of my favorite books this year has been the University of Mary’s From Christendom to Apostolic Engagement, a fabulous book, and it really describes what the Church is living through. A hundred years ago, a bishop said, “We want to build a Catholic school in every parish”; and while they didn’t quite succeed in that, we certainly saw a huge system of schools. And now we’re seeing the decline. Every year. we lose schools; and we have lost something like 65% of enrollment from 1965 to now.
What I think is successful are the people willing to reimagine this, such as micro-schools or smaller co-op schools; or in places like the Southwest, where there isn’t infrastructure, pastors who are willing to offer hybrids where kids can come to the parish and do some of their work online and then have a catechist present and an art and music teacher present, so there’s an attempt to give a robust experience.
I think that’s going to be the way it goes in an apostolic age. It’s just too costly to do brick-and-mortar schools if you don’t have the infrastructure. And even if you do, trying to run them and keep them up can be challenging, so looking for those new innovative ways is key.
I will also say that schools that have recognized, as St. Jerome’s did, that the Church has a beautiful vision and adopted it, those schools are thriving, and they’re growing. I think that’s a great success story. And I would also applaud the schools that are open and welcoming to kids with diverse learning needs and diverse intellectual abilities.
We’ve seen the studies and reports of how the pandemic has affected children. Where would you say we are right now post-pandemic in terms of Catholic students’ academic success and development?
I wholeheartedly concur that many of the measures in response to the pandemic have resulted in, really, almost trauma for children. There are emotional issues; there’s isolation, which has led to an increase in psychological disturbance. Suicide rates have gone through the roof. I think that’s a call for us, and particularly our government officials and health officials, to remember that the human person is more than just subject to disease. We have emotional, psychological and relational needs as well, and those cannot be ignored.
In recent months, we have had the news about the National Assessment of Education Progress, the NAPE scores, which are often referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card”; and Catholic schools have consistently done better than their public-school counterparts on those NAPE scores, which indicates to us a couple of things. First, generally speaking, Catholic schools came back first, and earlier, in the pandemic; they simply had to, as we cannot function without having kids in person, and I like to say that's because we recognize education is incarnational and has to happen in the flesh. It’s relational. It’s the relationship between parent, teacher and student. And if we’re going to talk about essential functions, that is essential.
So I think Catholic schools not having lost so much time; the fact that they have a sense for the essence and the importance of the mission produced a result where our schools have done better largely on the NAPE. But I still think we need to contend with what is really the essence of what we’re set out to do.
Let’s talk about tech in the classroom. Clearly during the pandemic, it allowed for some level of connection and academic progress. But there’s a big question about how good it is for the long run. Also, the latest neuroscience shows that screen time and tech are bad for young minds. What is your understanding of the place of technology in the Catholic educational setting right now?
I think we’ve reached a point where we have to be willing to actually step back and evaluate its appropriate use, given that we need to be about the business of formation, forming the mind to think properly, to think well, and speak well, and all of those things.
In the beginning, there was a sense of what a marvel it all was, all we could do. But what we have come to see — and I think we have to be honest about this — is that technology actually undermines the entire process of formation because we learn and we engage the world through our senses; to experience it ourselves is what gives it meaning. The screen adds a layer, and it’s often passive.
There is a place, I think, for technology in the hands of teachers; say if a teacher wants to project for her class the disputation of the Holy Sacrament as a piece of art, they can do that; they can quickly bring that up. Or if they want to look at birds and to contrast a cardinal and an oriole, they can do that. So there’s some use to it in the hands of a teacher. But in the hands of students, I think it has mostly been a disaster for American education.
There has been a movement in recent years towards classical education and an interest in alternative ways of educating kids. How are you responding to this at the level of the bishops’ conference? Are there studies that help us understand these needs better, and how do you see this influencing Catholic education?
The ICLE [Institute for Classical Liberal Education] has done some studies and data collection on their member schools. Classical education has become a kind of shorthand for what is the larger understanding of what Catholic education is. There has always been a preference for “classical approaches” within that because they are time-tested and consistent with the way the human person learns. “Classical” has become kind of a buzzword. My sense is that we are often calling something classical when really what we’re talking about is the original formula of education, which is consistent with how humans have always learned and has formed the greatest saints and the greatest thinkers over time. … My concern is for us to rediscover the Church’s own vision; that’s what we want to encourage people to do.
Where do parents fit into how you envision Catholic education? And what are some of the ways parents and teachers can be allies in this model?
First and foremost, the idea of the primacy of the parent as teacher, which comes to us from Church teaching, is a guiding principle. And one of the things that has happened in education in general — not just Catholic but public school — has been this big separation, where the school is its own entity and the school and the parents are two different things.
Part of rediscovering our own vision and philosophy of what it means to educate is recognizing the importance of the life of the family in the school and the school in the life of the family.
In a very policy-oriented way, one way we express this is in support for parental-choice laws that are growing across the states, which comes to us from Gravissimum Educationis [the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Christian Education], is that the state must provide the liberty of choice to parents. We support this fully, that families — not systems — should be funded.
Within the setting of education itself, it really is about reimagining that partnership, really thinking about how to bring the two together. At St. Jerome’s, we wanted to bring parents in so we started doing family field trips where a parent might organize a trip to the U.S. Botanical Garden on a Saturday and invite everyone in the class to come. The idea was to develop fellowship together and take something from the curriculum and experience it together as families. That’s one concrete example, but we definitely need to rethink the partnership.
What do you do in your role at the bishops’ conference to make all this happen?
A lot of it is relational. I’ll take calls from bishops, superintendents, etc. There’s a monthly superintendents’ gathering; I’ll be speaking to them in just a couple of weeks. I’ll be attending the Catholic Leaders Summit sponsored by the NCEA [National Catholic Educational Association] at the end of October. I am also looking at ways to offer support more concisely. I am involved with mission implementation and advocating for parental choice. My office also handles higher education, so facilitating relationships between bishops and university and college presidents is something we work on, along with campus ministry. We are also providing resources to schools for the Eucharistic Revival, and we will be working on the pastoral plan for serving students with disabilities. So this is a little bit of what’s in my orbit.
What makes a Catholic school successful?
John Paul II talked about Catholic education’s mission to transmit a convincing and coherent vision of life contained in this understanding of truth, the kind of truth that liberates and the true meaning of human freedom. That concept of transmitting a vision is really important. Really, we want to draw [students] into a way of living, a vision of life, a Christian Catholic understanding of how to live your life that is convincing, that they will choose, that they have the opportunity to probe and question and kick the tires a little bit in school and find it to be a better way to live. That, to me, is ultimately what we would define as success in a Catholic school.
Danielle Nicholson found herself in a crisis pregnancy when she was 20 years old and turned to the Paul Stefan Foundation in Locust Grove, Virginia, for aid. Welcomed with open arms by the founders of the center, Randy and Evelyn James, she is now the mother of a 9-year-old daughter and has made a career as a foster care social worker. She credits her success to the fresh start and help she received during her stay at the maternity home.
In an interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly on Sept. 15, she reflected: “At the time my situation was pretty dire in that I wasn’t working towards any future goals for myself. I wasn’t living a very good life. I was just trying to get by, but the moment I found out that I was pregnant completely changed the trajectory for my life.”
“I realized I now had a little baby that I needed to live for and so I immediately changed my mindset,” she said.
Nicholson began living a sober life, went back to school, and started to organize her life so she could take care of her baby. During this time, she came across the Paul Stefan Home. During her five-year stay, the home provided her with “the most perfect opportunity to accomplish all the goals that I had for myself.”
Not only was she given resources to pursue a professional life but she was also shown love, which Nicholson says she was still very much in need of during that time.
“I still needed a lot of love and support from adults and parents myself,” she said. “Randy and Evelyn just immediately started to shower me with so much love and support, kindness, patience.”
“They taught me some really significant life lessons — what it meant to be a professional, what it meant to be respectful, what it meant to have integrity, what it meant to be ambitious,” Nicholson added. “And Evelyn taught me the best way to be the best mother. She walked me through every step of motherhood.”
In her work today as a foster care social worker, Nicholson strives to use her story to encourage others to overcome their struggles.
“I try my very very best to make an impact on anyone’s life that I have to work with,” she said, “[some who have] experienced abuse, experienced trauma, experienced neglect, because my background has all of that and I made a way to get through it.”
Nicholson continued: “I just present it as it’s a process that requires a lot of dedication and work, but it is possible and if those people are willing to walk through that, I offer for myself to walk that through with them to support them.”
In light of recent attacks on pregnancy centers and maternity homes, Nicholson shared her heartfelt message about her experience with these resources for pregnant women.
“They’re completely voluntary. There is absolutely nothing about these places that mandate a woman to choose either way, regarding life for their baby, regarding adoption, regarding parenthood,” she explained. “It’s just a resource to give a woman the ability and the opportunity to just take a breath, to learn what her options are, what her resources are.”
“It’s completely conditional on what that woman wants for her life and for her baby and all women are met right where they’re at when they walk in the door regarding what they want for themselves, what they want for their babies.”
“Ultimately, these clinics and these resources are just an added layer of support to help a woman follow through with the choice that she’s made,” Nicholson concluded.
By Hannah Brockhaus
Rome Newsroom, Sep 19 / 05:59 am MT (CNA).- The blood of early Church martyr St. Januarius liquified in Naples Saturday, repeating a miracle dating at least to the 14th century.The blood was declared to have turned from solid to liquid at 10:02 am in the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary Sept. 19, the feast of St. Januarius.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, announced the news to a mostly empty cathedral, due to coronavirus restrictions.
“Dear friends, dear all the faithful, once again with joy and emotion I inform you that the blood of our holy martyr and patron St. Januarius has liquefied,” Sepe said.
His words were received by an applause from those present inside and outside the cathedral.
Sepe added that the blood had “completely liquefied, without any clots, which has happened in past years.”
The miracle is “a sign of God’s love, goodness, and mercy, and of the closeness, the friendship, the fraternity of our St. Januarius,” the cardinal stated, adding “Glory be to God and veneration to our saint. Amen.”
St. Januarius, or San Gennaro in Italian, is the patron saint of Naples. He was bishop of the city in the third century, and his bones and blood are preserved in the cathedral as relics. He is believed to have been martyred during the Christian persecution of Emperor Diocletian.
The liquefaction of St. Januarius’ blood happens at least three times per year: the saint’s feast day of Sept. 19, the Saturday before the first Sunday of May, and Dec. 16, which is the anniversary of the 1631 eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The reputed miracle has not been officially recognized by the Church, but is known and accepted locally and is considered to be a good sign for the city of Naples and its region of Campania.
In contrast, he failure of the blood to liquefy is believed to signal war, famine, disease, or other disaster.
When the miracle occurs, the dried, red-colored mass of blood one one side of the reliquary becomes a liquid covering nearly the entire glass.
The last time the blood did not liquefy was in December 2016.
The miracle did occur while Naples was under lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic on May 2. Cardinal Sepe offered Mass via livestream and blessed the city with the relic of the liquefied blood.
“Even in this time of coronavirus, the Lord through the intercession of St. Januarius has liquified the blood!” Sepe declared.
This could be the last time Sepe offers the feast day Mass and confirms the miracle of St. Januarius. Pope Francis is expected to soon name a successor to Sepe, who is 77 years old, in what is considered a very important archdiocese for Italy.
Cardinal Sepe has been archbishop of Naples since July 2006.
In his homily at Mass Sept. 19, the archbishop condemned the “virus” of violence and those who take advantage of others through money lending or stealing funds intended for economic recovery in the pandemic’s wake.
“I think of violence, a virus that continues to be practiced with lightness and cruelty, whose roots go beyond the accumulation of social evils that favor its explosion,” he said.
“I think of the danger of interference and pollution of the common and organized underworld, which tries to grab resources for economic recovery, but also tries to hire proselytes through criminal assignments or money lending,” he continued.
The cardinal said he thinks also “of the evil sown by those who continue to chase wealth through illegal actions, profiteering, corruption, scams” and he worries about the tragic consequences for those who are unemployed or underemployed and now are in an even more precarious situation.
“After the lockdown we are realizing that nothing is the same as before,” he stated, and encouraged the community to be sober minded in considering the threats, not only of disease, to daily life in Naples.
Sepe also spoke about young people and the hope they can give, lamenting the discouragement young people face when they cannot find work.
“We all know well that [young people] are the real, great resource of Naples and the South, of our communities and our territories that need, like bread, the freshness of their ideas, their enthusiasm, their cleverness, their optimism, their smile,” he encouraged.
"Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy. A better knowledge of the Jewish people's faith and religious life as professed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy. For both Jews and Christians Sacred Scripture is an essential part of their respective liturgies: in the proclamation of the Word of God, the response to this word, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, invocation of God's mercy. In its characteristic structure the Liturgy of the Word originates in Jewish prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical texts and formularies, as well as those of our most venerable prayers, including the Lord's Prayer, have parallels in Jewish prayer. The Eucharistic Prayers also draw their inspiration from the Jewish tradition. The relationship between Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy, but also their differences in content, are particularly evident in the great feasts of the liturgical year, such as Passover. Christians and Jews both celebrate the Passover. For Jews, it is the Passover of history, tending toward the future; for Christians, it is the Passover fulfilled in the death and Resurrection of Christ, though always in expectation of its definitive consummation." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #1096
---I did a self-defense course. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to attack me in slow motion now.
---They say you can’t get a decent job without education. But look at Albert Einstein – he was a drop-out and still ended up being the first man on the moon!
-Want to hear a pizza joke…. nah, it’s too cheesy. What about a construction joke? Oh never mind, I’m still working on that one. Did you hear the one about the rope? Skip it.
-I childproofed the house… but they still get in!
-Whenever I find the key to success, someone changes the lock.
-I just let my mind wander, and it didn’t come back.
-A day without smiling is a day wasted.
Q. What’s the worst thing about being lonely?
A. Playing Frisbee.
-After many years of studying at a university, I’ve finally become a PhD… or Pizza Hut Deliveryman as people call it.
From the Mouths of Infants and Babes:
It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' he asked.
'It sure is,' I replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, 'What'd he do?'
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, 'The tooth fairy will never believe this!'
I Got a Big One
When the Pope visited Colorado he was anxious to get to an important meeting. The limousine assigned to pick him up did so and off they went. The Catholic chauffeur knew it was the "Holy Father" riding in the car and wouldn't consider going faster than 55 mph. However, the Pope, anxious to get to the meeting on time, told the driver to pull over, get in the back seat, and let him drive. The impatient pontiff put the pedal to the metal and quickly reached 85 mph on the Colorado interstate. Almost immediately a state trooper hiding off the side of the road turned on his siren and lights, and gave chase. Catching the speeding car, he ordered the driver to pull over. When he saw the driver, he couldn't believe it and immediately called his captain. He said, "I really got a big one today."
The captain said, "You mean the District Attorney?"
"No, sir, much bigger than that."
"You have a Senator?" came the puzzled reply.
"No, sir, you don't understand. This is the top of the line."
"Who do you have? The President?"
"No, sir, please understand me, this is really big."
"Well, for heaven's sake, who have you pulled over?"
"Well, Captain, I'm not sure, but the Pope is his chauffeur."
forgive me the sins of my youth and the sins of mine age,
the sins of my soul and the sins of my body,
my secret and my whispering sins,
my presumptuous and my crying sins,
the sins that I have done to please myself
and the sins that I have done to please others.
Forgive me those sins that I know
and those sins which I know not;
forgive them, O Lord,
forgive them all of thy great goodness and mercy. Amen.
From Private Devotions (1560)
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. -Ex 20:8-11
1. Why are we commanded to keep Sunday as the Lord's Day?
The Church commands us to keep Sunday as the Lord's day, because on Sunday, the first day of the week, Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. (Saturday night is considered part of the Lord’s Day.)
Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday. (CCC 2174)
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. (Genesis 2:2)
2. Are the Sabbath day and the Sunday the same?
The Sabbath day and the Sunday are not the same. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week (Saturday), and is the day which was kept holy in the old law; the Sunday is the first day of the week, and is the day which is kept holy in the new law (because on it, Jesus rose from the dead).
Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:
Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death. –St. Ignatius of Antioch (CCC 2175)
3. What is meant by the Old and New Law?
A. The Old Law means the law or religion given to the Jews; the New Law means the law or religion given to Christians.
4. Why does the Church command us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath?
The Church commands us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday He sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
5. Do we keep Sunday instead of Saturday holy for any other reason?
We keep Sunday instead of Saturday holy also to teach that the Old Law is not now binding upon us, but that we must keep the New Law, which takes its place and fulfills the Old Law.
6. What are we commanded by the third commandment?
By the third commandment we are commanded to worship God in a special manner on Sunday (by the Jewish reckoning, which Catholics follow, Saturday night is considered part of Sunday), the Lord's Day. We are commanded to keep holy the Lord's Day and the holydays of obligation, on which we are to give our time to the service and worship of God.
‘The Sunday Eucharist (Holy Mass) is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin (mortal sin).’ (CCC 2181)
Keep you my sabbath; for it is holy unto you. (Exodus 31:14)
7. What are holy days of obligation?
Holydays of obligation are special feasts of the Church on which we are bound, under pain of mortal sin, to assist at the Mass and to keep from servile or bodily labors when it can be done without great loss or inconvenience. Whoever, on account of their circumstances, cannot give up work on holydays of obligation should make every effort to assist at Mass and if appropriate should also explain in confession the necessity of working on holydays.
8. How are we to worship God on Sunday (or Saturday night) and holy days of obligation?
We are to worship God on Sundays and holydays of obligation by assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by prayer, and by other good works. (Holy Mass on a Saturday night is considered a Sunday.)
Tradition preserves the memory of an ever-timely exhortation: Come to Church early, approach the Lord, and confess your sins, repent in prayer. . . . Be present at the sacred and divine liturgy, conclude its prayer and do not leave before the dismissal. . . . We have often said: "This day is given to you for prayer and rest. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." –Sermon on the Lord’s Day from the Early Church
9. How serious is it to deliberately miss the Holy Mass on a Sunday (Saturday night) or holy day of obligation through our own fault?
If committed freely with full consent of the will and with full knowledge of God’s command, to deliberately miss the Holy Mass on a Sunday (Saturday night) or holy day of obligation is a mortal sin, which means through this sin, one’s relationship with God is severed. Sacramental Confession (Reconciliation) would then be the step to confess this sin and restore our relationship with God.
Any deliberately less contact with God than once a week in the Holy Mass causes our relationship with God to die on its own accord from lack of union with God in the intimacy of the Holy Mass. Thus, sickness, care for children or the infirm, work scheduled for us by employers during Sunday Mass, distance from the offering of a Holy Mass, or the equivalent are factors beyond our control and thus are mitigating circumstances which keep this from being a mortal sin in one’s life.
10. What is forbidden by the third commandment of God?
The third Commandment forbids all unnecessary servile work and whatever else may hinder the due observance of the Lord's Day.
On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. (CCC 2185; CIC, can. 1247)
Six days shall you do work; in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. (Exodus 31:15)
Six days you may labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the seasons of plowing and harvesting you must rest. Exodus 34:21
11. What is servile work? Servile work is that which requires labor of body rather than of mind.
12. From what do servile works derive their name?
Servile works derive their name from the fact that such works were formerly done by slaves. Therefore, reading, writing, studying and, in general, all works that slaves did not perform are not considered servile works. God set Israel free from slavery in Egypt, and God has set us free from slavery to sin.
13. When is servile work allowed on Sunday?
Servile work is allowed on Sunday when the honor of God, our own need, or the good of our neighbor requires it.
14. Give some examples of when the honor of God, our own need, or the good of our neighbor may require servile works on Sunday.
The honor of God, our own need, or the good of our neighbor may require servile works on Sunday, in such cases as the preparation of a place for Holy Mass, the saving of property in storms or accidents, the cooking of meals and similar works.
15. Name some of the good works recommended for Sunday.
Some of the good works recommended for Sunday are: The reading of religious books or papers, teaching Catechism, bringing relief to the poor or sick, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, attending Vespers (Evening Prayers offered by Priests or Nuns), Rosary or other devotions in the Church; also attending the meetings of religious sodalities or societies. It is not necessary to spend the whole Sunday in such good works, but we should give some time to them, that for the love of God we may do a little more than what is strictly commanded.
16. Is it forbidden, then, to seek any pleasure or enjoyment on Sunday?
It is not forbidden to seek lawful pleasure or enjoyment on Sunday, especially to those who are occupied during the week, for God did not intend the keeping of the Sunday to be a punishment, but a benefit to us. Therefore, after assisting at Holy Mass we may take such recreation as is necessary or useful for us; but we should avoid any vulgar, noisy or disgraceful amusements that turn the day of rest and prayer into a day of scandal and sin.
Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord's Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees. (CCC 2187)
SUNDAY BIBLICAL MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
24th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Sunday, September 17, 2023
The First Reading - Sirach 27:30-28:7
Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD? Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself, can he seek pardon for his own sins? If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins? Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.
Today’s First Reading is itself a meditation on earlier Scriptures like Lev 19:17-18: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” Oftentimes we contrast the teaching of Jesus Christ with the instruction of Old Testament, especially on certain issues like marriage and divorce (cf. Deut 24:1-4; Matt 19:3-9). Today’s Readings, however, stress the continuity of Jesus’ teaching with the early Scriptures. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt 5:17). The “covenant” that Jesus ben Sira refers to here seems to be the Mosaic or Sinai covenant, which in its law included such commands as Lev 19:17-18 above. Forgiveness and love toward the neighbor are not simply ethical counsels or a part of the natural law: they are a covenant obligation, part of one’s duty toward the God who has entered into a faithful, familial relationship with you.
Adults - Is forgiveness easy for you? How can prayer help you?
Teens - Do you pray for those who persecute you? Why is this something we are instructed to do?
Kids - Pray and ask Jesus to help you share His mercy with others.
Responsorial- Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12
R.The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
The Psalm calls to our mind the memory of God’s greatest revelation of himself in the Old Testament, his self-revelation to Moses, where God proclaimed his “Name” (Exod 33:19), that is, his true nature. To our surprise, God chooses not to reveal his nature as power and majesty, but as “mercy and faithfulness.” The common statement, “God’s greatest attribute is his mercy,” is a truth deeply rooted already in the Old Testament. What do you think of when you think of God’s mercy?
The Second Reading- Romans 14:7-9
Brothers and sisters: None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Reflection - In the Second Reading St. Paul reminds us that we are completely given over to the Lord. In light of the surrounding readings, we realize: if we have been totally assimilated to Jesus, such that our life is his life and our death is his death, what sense does it make to continue to hold onto unnecessary grudges about what others have done to us? Aren’t we living on a whole new plane, where the cycle of offense and revenge of our old life don’t make sense any more? -Is there something in your life you are struggling to give to the Lord?
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
Reflection Looking at the context of Matthew 18, we see that a few verses earlier, Jesus had conferred on his disciples a certain religious authority, the authority to “bind and loose,” to make solemn judgments on the application of divine law (halakhah). The authority of the disciples to “bind and loose” also reminds us of the authority conferred after the resurrection, when Jesus breathes on his disciples and says, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:22-23). The two passages seem to have an analogy to one another and may be mutually illuminating. Now Peter, the head of the apostles who will have the authority to forgive sin, approaches Jesus to question him about the freedom with which he should dispense forgiveness. He thinks he is being generous: “Shall I forgive up to seven times?” Jesus responds, “Not seven times, but seventy times seven.” “Seventy times seven” is ten jubilees. It is a Great Jubilee. It is a number which symbolizes an abundance of all that the Jubilee stands for: release, forgiveness, restoration of relationships. For many Jews, the Messiah was expected at the end of “seventy times seven” years, and then he would announce the Great Jubilee. Jesus is this Messiah.
Adults - How has God’s forgiveness changed your life?
Teens - How can you show God’s mercy that has been given to you, to others?
Kids - What helps you forgive someone?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - We had better stop and think for a moment today and reflect that we ourselves may be that merciless servant described in the parable. Every time we have sinned mortally we have incurred an unpayable debt to God. Each time we have received absolution we have come out of God's courtroom as free men. A weight greater than a million dollar debt has been lifted from our shoulders. A fate worse than generations of earthly imprisonment — that is, eternal slavery — has been spared us because of God's loving, infinite mercy. How then can it happen that we could be so heartless, mean, and foolish as to refuse to forgive a neighbor for some offense he has committed against us? We still have time to put our affairs in order. We still can forgive all our enemies from our heart. Let us not miss the gift of this opportunity!
568. What is one example as an expression of the life of prayer? b) meditation
Christian tradition has preserved three forms for expressing and living prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. The feature common to all of them is the recollection of the heart.
EXPRESSIONS OF PRAYER
569. How can vocal prayer be described? d) all of the above
Vocal prayer associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart. Even the most interior prayer, however, cannot dispense with vocal prayer. In any case it must always spring from a personal faith. With the Our Father Jesus has taught us a perfect form of vocal prayer.
570. What is meditation? c) that which engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire
Meditation is a prayerful reflection that begins above all in the Word of God in the Bible. Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion and desire in order to deepen our faith, convert our heart and fortify our will to follow Christ. It is a first step toward the union of love with our Lord.
571. What is contemplative prayer? a) simple gaze upon God in silence and love
Contemplative prayer is a simple gaze upon God in silence and love. It is a gift of God, a moment of pure faith during which the one praying seeks Christ, surrenders himself to the loving will of the Father, and places his being under the action of the Holy Spirit. Saint Teresa of Avila defines contemplative prayer as the intimate sharing of friendship, “in which time is frequently taken to be alone with God who we know loves us.”