MUST READ CATHOLIC NEWS ARTICLE/VIDEO (Diocesan News and More)
Pope Francis' 10 Secrets to Happiness (Helpful Hints for Life)
Piece on angels at end of e-mail
-***NEW FEATURE*** CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS is a new section of the e-weekly (see below) ***NEW FEATURE***
BEST PARISH PRACTICE is also BACK! (see below)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Offering Mental Prayer
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." -Psalm 19:14
Mental Prayer is a treasure of the Church that has sadly laid in the storehouse, away from most Christians today. Members of the Church in every age have offered mental prayer to be happy, to strength them for this world, and to bring them to heaven. I offer it now to you for the same reasons. Please find the 'how to offer mental prayer,' below. It is simple, but it takes time and practice.
Finally, this week's e-weekly is a little different. I have taken out some of the parts and give focus to Mental Prayer and at the end of the e-weekly, there is a re-posting of an e-weekly on Angels.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. >>> Readings
P.S.S. Readings with questions for self or family reflection found at the end of e-weekly.
Homily from Feast of St. Michael-Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People-Mental Prayer :
Feast of St. Michael
Three Simple Steps
a) Find a quiet place (in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament if possible)
b) Prepare body and soul for Meditation (take deep breathes, close your eyes, try to quiet your heart)
c) Offer vocal prayers of faith, humility, and help
"O my God, I love you, and I believe all You have said because You are the infallible truth."
"Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. I am sorry for having offended You."
"Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, COME HOLY SPIRIT"
During this time, you prepare for meditation. You try to come to a place where you body and soul can be quiet or at least at rest. Then you try to unwind. Take several deep breaths. Perhaps stretch your neck or move around slightly. You as a person, body and soul, have to be aware of a distinct transition from daily events of life to a moment of union with God. Finally, begin to enter mental prayer by praying vocally. You may use the above prayers, an Our Father, or in your own words, pray simply and humbly.
2) MEDITATION (8-? Minutes)
a) Close your eyes and open your heart (Fill mind and heart with thoughts of God and His goodness)
Here is where you enter mental prayer. To assist you, you may need the Holy Bible, some religious book, a vivid memory of some event, or something that will engage your imagination, heart, and soul turning it toward God (i.e. a religious picture). You enter into this by reading the passage, or closing your eyes and thinking of the details of the image or memory. Do not force it. You might ask yourself questions to assist you, but ultimately it is a time of walking with the Lord. If your mind wanders off or worries, say a short inward prayer, and come back to the passage or image. You may receive some insights, or God may give you some feelings or inspirations. You may speak to Him inwardly. This is not about action; it is about You and Him.
Possible passages of the Holy Bible. Read slowly only until your mind latches onto something, then close your eyes and go with it.
- Matthew chapters 5-7 (The Sermon on the Mount)
- Matthew 13:1-24 (The parable of the sower)
- Matthew 13:44-50 (Parables: hidden treasure, pearl of great price)
- Matthew 18:1-6 (Becoming like children)
- Matthew 18:21-35 (The unforgiving servant)
- Matthew 19:16-30 (The rich young man)
- Mark 1:14-15 (The proclamation of the Kingdom)
- Mark 1:40-45 (The healing of the leper)
- Mark 5:24-34 (The healing of the woman with the hemorrhage)
- Luke 1:46-55 (The Magnificat)
- Luke 15:1-10 (Parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin)
- Luke 15:11-32 (The prodigal son)
- Luke 17:5-10 (Faith; attitude of service)
- John 1:1-18
- John 2:1-11 (Wedding at Cana)
- John 3:14-21
- John 8:23-32 ("The truth will make you free")
- John 15:1-11 (The vine & branches)
- John 15:12-17 ("Love one another")
-being at the birth of Jesus in the manager (i.e. shepherds, Mary and Joseph, wise men, camels, sheep)
-standing at Calvary (i.e. seeing all pass by, Mary beholding her son, Jesus breathing His last)
-image yourself as a very small child in the arms of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (i.e. asleep, hugging her)
-image Jesus looking face to face at you (i.e. study His face, look into His eyes, is He happy, sad, etc.?)
-a moment in church, when someone blessed you, when God felt near
3) CONCLUSION (1-2 mintues)
a) Thank God (for the time spent and for any thoughts or inspirations)
"Thank you Jesus for.!" Offer a Hail Mary or Glory Be
b) Make a resolution (cling to what you have been given or resolve to avoid some sin or bad habit)
This is when the time of mental prayer is brought to an end. Examine the time. Thank God for the good. Ask pardon and help for the bad. Perhaps write down some insights or cling to them. Resolve to do better or to avoid some sin or bad habit for the rest of the day.
THIS is what will bring you more fully to Jesus and change you, your life, and your world for the better!
10 Minutes a Day! Either you will give up a bad habit, or you will give up Mental Prayer.
a. all his life was a prayer
b. Being God, He did not need to pray
c. Since He taught others to pray, they prayed to Him
d. none of the above
543. How did Jesus pray during his passion?(CCC 2605-2606, 2620)
a. in His great agony, He was not able to pray
b. He united all of creation and all prayers and intercession to the Father
c. He thought only of His resurrection
d. all of the above
544. How does Jesus teach us to pray? (CCC 2608-2614, 2621)
a. by the Our Father
b. by His disposition and content
c. with purity of heart and boldness of faith
d. all of the above
545. What is the primary reason our prayer is effective? (CCC 2615-2616)
a. it is offered in faith
b. it reaches the Father
c. it is united to the prayer of Jesus
d. we are a good person
prayer (from Latin precārius "obtained by entreaty") [entreaty = earnest request, appeal, beg]
-the raising of one's mind and heart to God
Mental Prayer (from Greek menos "spirit" = "obtain by entreaty with spirit")
(also from Late Latin mentalis, from Latin ment-, mens "mind,")
-one's own prayer offered interiorly with mind, heart, soul, and strength
[In mental prayer the three powers of the soul are engaged: the memory, which offers the mind material for meditation; the intellect, which ponders or directly perceives the meaning of some religious truth and its implications for practice; and the will, which freely expresses its sentiments of faith, trust, and love, and (as needed) makes good resolutions based on what the memory and intellect have made known to the will. Mental Prayer is a form of meditation consisting in the application of the various faculties of the soul, memory, imagination, intellect, and will, to the consideration of some mystery, principle, truth, or fact, with a view to exciting proper spiritual emotions and resolving on some act or course of action regarded as God's will and as a means of union with Him.]
By Carol Glatz - Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis' secret recipe for happiness.
In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:
1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead a general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican last month. (CNS/Paul Haring)
2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."
3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist -- gaucho Don Segundo Sombra -- looks back on how he lived his life.
"He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool" of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water -- to have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."
4. "A healthy sense of leisure." The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said.
"Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.
Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it "complicated, but you must do it," he said.
Families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime "doesn't let you communicate" with each other, the pope said.
5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because "Sunday is for family," he said.
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. "We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs" and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.
"It's not enough to give them food," he said. "Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home" from one's own labor.
7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said. "I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'"
8. Stop being negative. "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'" the pope said. "Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy."
9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing," the pope said.
10. Work for peace. "We are living in a time of many wars," he said, and "the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive" and dynamic.
Pope Francis also talked about the importance of helping immigrants, praising Sweden's generosity in opening its doors to so many people, while noting anti-immigration policies show the rest of Europe "is afraid."
He also fondly recalled the woman who helped his mother with the housework when he was growing up in Buenos Aires.
Concepcion Maria Minuto was a Sicilian immigrant, a widow and mother of two boys, who went three times a week to help the pope's mother do laundry, since in those days it was all done by hand.
He said this hard-working, dignified woman made a big impression on the 10-year-old future pope, as she would talk to him about World War II in Italy and how they farmed in Sicily.
"She was as clever as a fox, she had every penny accounted for, she wouldn't be cheated. She had many great qualities," he said.
Even though his family lost touch with her when they moved, the then-Jesuit Father Jorge Bergoglio later sought her out and visited her for the last 10 years of her life.
"A few days before she died, she took this small medal out of her pocket, gave it to me and said: 'I want you to have it!' So every night, when I take it off and kiss it, and every morning when I put it back on, this woman comes to my mind."
"She died happy, with a smile on her face and with the dignity of someone who worked. For that reason I am very sympathetic toward housecleaners and domestic workers, whose rights, all of them, should be recognized" and protected, he said. "They must never be exploited or mistreated."
Pope Francis' concern was underlined in his @Pontifex Twitter feed just a few days later, July 29, with the message: "May we be always more grateful for the help of domestic workers and caregivers; theirs is a precious service."
The Practice of Mental Prayer
This is a detailed guide to explain and assist you through the steps to this powerful means of union with God.
[For those traveling this summer and needing to get to the Holy Mass.]
MASS TIMES AND CATHOLIC CHURCHES throughout the US
When traveling this Summer maybe add some religion to your trip. Perhaps stop at a monastery or Cathedral you come across. There are many Catholic historical sites. Or visithttp://www.catholicshrines.net/ for a shrine near your vacation destination.
HAVING GREETERS WELCOME AND HELP BEFORE MASS
Have individuals or couples or families greet people as they come to Mass, welcoming them and helping them as necessary.
People can feel welcome from the first moment of arriving at Mass, creating an environment of welcome and hospitality. Can help new comers find restrooms or what they need. Persons who come by themselves can have a sense that people are glad to see them. Fellowship, which is becoming very important to some in our culture and parishes can be facilitated in this way.
Consult and ask if it is okay with your Parish Priest and possibly Liturgy Committee if your parish has one. There would probably need to have a training for them as is done for lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion once it is determined exactly what the greeters will do. Greeters can hold the doors of church, possibly shake hands. Try to help those who may be looking for things or something in the church. Greeters can wear name tags possibly making it is easier to be approached. Greeters should not be overwhelming to those they greet, but can even greet them by names and ask about family if appropriate. While ushers may do some of these jobs, the exact task of greeters usually is to create an climate/environment of welcome and hospitality, as our Lord often said, "Come away with me for awhile." (Mark 6:31)
- Elizabeth MerrillESPN Senior Writer
All six of her brothers and sisters were there -- Little Therese, in braided pigtails; older brother Dick, tall and athletic with Kennedyesque looks. When Shelly came to her decision, she insisted on telling each of them separately.
Dick had the loosest lips in the family, so she'd told him last. Therese, 12 years old and the baby of the family, took the news particularly hard. She put on a brave face in front of Shelly, then cried all night.
They crammed a lot of memories into those last days of spring, dancing and laughing, knowing they would never do it together again. Shelly went horseback riding with Therese and took the family to fancy restaurants with cloth napkins, picking up all the tabs.
Twenty-five years old and not far removed from her All-America days at Villanova, Pennefather was in her prime. She had legions of friends and a contract offer for $200,000 to play basketball in Japan that would have made her one of the richest players in women's basketball.
And children -- she was so good with children. She had talked about having lots of them with John Heisler, a friend she'd known most of her life. Heisler nearly proposed to her twice, but something inside stopped him, and he never bought a ring.
"When she walked into the room," Heisler said, "the whole room came alive.
"She had a cheerfulness and a confidence that everything was going to be OK. That there was nothing to fear."
That Saturday morning in 1991, Pennefather drove her Mazda 323 to the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Alexandria, Virginia. She loved to drive. Fifteen cloistered nuns waited for her in two lines, their smiles radiant.
She turned to her family.
"I love you all," she said.
The door closed, and Shelly Pennefather was gone.
"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings." -- J.M. Barrie, "The Little White Bird."
IT'S BEEN 28 YEARS since Pennefather left home to become Sister Rose Marie of the Queen of Angels, and I'm standing outside the family's house in Manassas, Virginia, on a warm June day, searching for answers.
I spent eight years in Catholic schools, with lessons in history from Sister Agnes Marie and kindness from Sister Rosetta. We knew that on Sundays, if you're breathing, you'd better be at Mass.
They are cut off from society. Sister Rose Marie will never leave the monastery, unless there's a medical emergency. She'll never call or email or text anyone, either. The rules seem so arbitrarily harsh. She gets two family visits per year, but converses through a see-through screen. She can write letters to her friends, but only if they write to her first. And once every 25 years, she can hug her family.But I cannot grasp what Pennefather -- now Sister Rose Marie -- has chosen to do. The Poor Clares are one of the strictest religious orders in the world. They sleep on straw mattresses, in full habit, and wake up every night at 12:30 a.m. to pray, never resting more than four hours at a time. They are barefoot 23 hours of the day, except for the one hour in which they walk around the courtyard in sandals.
That's why we are here in early June 2019, to witness the 25-year anniversary of her solemn profession and the renewal of her vows.
The Poor Clare nuns enter this radical way of life because they believe that their prayers for humanity will help the suffering, and that their sacrifice will lead to the salvation of the world.
But why would someone with so much to offer the world lock herself away and hide her talents? Who, staring at a professional contract that would be worth the equivalent of about $400,000 today, would subject herself to such strict isolation and sacrifice? Imagine Kansas legend Danny Manning quitting basketball to become a monk.
Perhaps the best person to answer this is the woman who stood next to Shelly in that goodbye photo in front of the house, who wrapped her arm around her daughter and smiled while her heart must have wanted to stop.
Mary Jane Pennefather is the matriarch of the family, a 78-year-old who mows her own lawn and rises every morning to walk to church. When Shelly entered the monastery all those years ago, she left behind a note. Mary Jane is the strongest person Therese knows, but when she read the letter, she broke down and cried.
Mary Jane was a cheerleader once, but is steeped in a generation of Catholics who did not believe in drawing attention to themselves. She opens the door to her home and leads me to a room full of religious statues and images, which the family calls the Blessed Mother room. Her husband, Mike, died in this room. He had skin cancer, which had spread too far when doctors found it, but he went quickly, which Mary Jane considers a blessing. Sister Rose Marie couldn't go to her father's funeral back in 1998. She was in the monastery. But she wrote a letter that they read out loud, and her brother Dick says it was probably the most touching part of the service.
Surely, Mike Pennefather had hoped to hold his daughter again on her silver jubilee. But Mary Jane would be there. The week leading up to the Mass was stressful. How do you prepare to hug your daughter for the last time?
NUNS ARE BY no means an anomaly in today's society. The 2018 Official Catholic Directory lists 45,100 sisters in the United States. But cloistered nuns, with all of their combined orders, account for only a fraction of that number. The Poor Clare Colettines, according to the directory, have about 160 sisters in this country.
There were hints, all along, that Pennefather was different.
In sixth grade, a teacher asked the class an ordinary question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
The teacher wasn't prepared for Shelly's answer.
"I'm going to be a saint," she said.
The whole class laughed, assuming she was joking. Pennefather liked to regale her friends with jokes and magic tricks.
Her childhood might have inadvertently prepared her for life as a cloistered nun. Mike Pennefather was an Air Force colonel, taking the family to Germany and Hawaii and New York, so she'd already seen a lot of the world by her 20s.
Her mom was -- and is -- about as anti-technology as a person can be in 2019. Mary Jane doesn't own a cell phone, she could go on for hours about how cell phones are destroying the human experience, and a few decades ago, she was saying pretty much the same thing about television.
Children of the '70s often have stories of their forays into alcohol or drugs; the Pennefathers' illicit pursuits centered mostly on the forbidden television. They'd wait until Mary Jane was gone, pull it out of the closet, rig up a coat hanger for an antenna, and stand in just the right spot to get reception.
"I think my sister watched 'Fantasy Island' and got caught and got in trouble," Therese said. "You had to invent your own entertainment, and we did all kinds of stupid stuff.
"I absolutely wouldn't trade any of it."
The Air Force gave the Pennefathers new playgrounds every few years, and assured that they would almost always be safe. Want to play kick the can at 11 o'clock at night? No problem. Leave the base lights on and go ahead and invite 20 other Air Force brats.
Mary Jane might have seemed strict, but Mike was actually more intimidating. He was a bear of a man with a loud voice and a physics degree. Mike Pennefather did not tolerate foolishness. He taught all seven of his children how to shoot a basketball, and when he had finished with that, he taught other people's children how to do it, too.
The Pennefathers had six children in eight years, and Shelly was born between two brothers, two basketball playmates. The elbows and charges she took made her unstoppable when she finally played against girls.
At nighttime, Mary Jane would gather the whole family together to pray the rosary. It didn't matter if it was midnight; she waited until everyone was home.
The rosary is considered one of the most powerful symbols in Catholicism. Each of the 59 beads represents a prayer. The Hail Mary is said 53 times during the rosary. The repetition is intended to bring spiritual contemplation and peace.
At the Pennefather house, after the last prayer was said, each child gave Mary Jane and Mike a kiss goodnight.
COACH HARRY PERRETTA also prayed the rosary every day, a practice that came in handy in his pursuit to lure Pennefather to Villanova. If Pennefather played today, her recruitment might have been as big as that of Breanna Stewart or Elena Delle Donne.
Pennefather went 70-0 in her first three years of high school at Bishop Machebeuf in Denver and won three state championships. When her dad was transferred to upstate New York her senior season, nothing changed. Utica's Notre Dame High went undefeated, too.
Pennefather had no interest in the recruiting process. She hated the attention that it brought, and didn't like talking on the phone. So it was hard for any coach to get a read on her. Perretta talked to her about his devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary, and they connected. She committed to Villanova, the oldest Catholic university in Pennsylvania.
Their bond was tested early. Her freshman year, they clashed constantly. "She was a very lazy basketball player at first," Perretta said. "She didn't work hard on the court when she came here."
He said it wasn't necessarily her fault; she was so good in high school that she probably didn't know what playing hard meant. But he had to get through to her. He yelled at her and kicked her out of the gym, and nothing seemed to work. In her sophomore season, Pennefather considered transferring.
She'd leave campus on weekends, seeking solace at teammate Lisa Gedaka's house in New Jersey. Gedaka, a freshman, would go back a lot because she was homesick.
"I always remember hearing about how she was searching," Gedaka said. "Was this the right place to go? What is the meaning? Why is she here? And I remember saying to her once, 'Shelly, did you ever think that maybe this is God's will that you should be with us here at Villanova? This is where you're meant to be.'"
Somehow, some way, Pennefather and Perretta finally clicked. "God gave you this gift," Perretta told her. "You're not really using it to the fullest extent."
From there, she didn't hold anything back. There was one game, junior year, when she was so overcome with menstrual cramps that they were almost debilitating. As the team left for the gym, Perretta told her to just stay at the hotel.
A couple of minutes before tipoff, Pennefather emerged from the locker room, in agony, with her sneakers still untied. "I'm going to try to play," she told him. She mustered enough strength to tie her shoes when the horn sounded. There was no time for any warm-up. She made all nine of her shots in the first half.
The Wildcats' teams in the mid-to-late 1980s were lucky. They were a collection of people who knew, when they were freshmen, that they'd stay friends forever. They demanded the best of each other.
It was a different time, before NCAA-regulated practice schedules and transfer portals. "We could say stuff to each other," said former Wildcats point guard Lynn Tighe. "If somebody was being a pain in the butt, I had no trouble telling them, and if I was a pain in the butt, I was told about it. We were open to each other, and nonsense didn't fester."
Pennefather was roommates with Tighe, and you can imagine her glee when she found out her point guard had a small television. Pennefather had one movie she would watch constantly on the VCR. "The Sound of Music." She subjected everyone to it, belting out Julie Andrews songs on the team bus.
"I wouldn't say she had a good voice," Tighe said. "But it wasn't bad. She knew every word to every one of them."
But Pennefather did have the most beautiful shooting touch in all of women's basketball. She scored 2,408 points, breaking Villanova's all-time record for women and men. She did it without the benefit of the 3-point shot, and the record still stands today.
In 1987, she won the Wade Trophy, given to the best women's college basketball player. She eventually threw away all of her trophies -- "I don't think she cared about them at all," said her sister, Therese -- but spared one, the Wade Trophy. She gave it to Perretta.
The WNBA did not exist when Pennefather graduated from Villanova, but women's professional basketball overseas offered good money. She signed with the Nippon Express in Japan, the place where her whole life would change.
The pace in Japan was much slower -- the Express played just 14 games in the span of four months -- and it jolted Pennefather. Away from her college teammates and the daily chaos of her large family, she felt homesick and alone in a faraway city. Her team started 0-5. If they finished at the bottom of the division, she would need to stay in Japan for another two months to play a series of round-robin games.
She desperately wanted to go home, and vowed that if her team could finish in the top six, allowing her to go home rather than stay those two months, she would spend that time doing volunteer work.
The Express turned their season around and finished third. Pennefather returned to the U.S. and fulfilled her promise by working in a soup kitchen at the Missionary Sisters of Charity in Norristown, Pennsylvania. In a convent full of tiny nuns, the 6-foot-1 basketball player stood out.
She felt even more out of place that next season in Japan. She did everything she could to keep busy, reading books, learning Japanese, teaching English. But Pennefather still felt a deep emptiness.
"She was forced to go into solitude," said John Heisler, her childhood friend. "There was nobody else, just her and God."
REST CAN BE FOUND AT: https://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/27297631?fbclid=IwAR1u3kCsLymPBXDJOjiLs6Bo0cEsFj9_cfQSVMuD_BX6b70U7jMqGuXb6t4
What's Driving the Growth of Catholic Churches in the Bible Belt?
Credit: Calamity Jane / Shutterstock.
In the thick of the Bible Belt, the famously evangelical Protestant region in the southeastern United States, some Catholic Masses are filling to standing-room only.
Meanwhile, many Baptist, Methodist and Lutheran churches are struggling to keep enough people in the pews to justify opening their doors.
It has widely been reported that the U.S. as a whole is losing its religion, with Protestant mainline churches seeing the most decline over the past 15 years. But two key factors are contributing to Catholic growth throughout the south: a boom in the Hispanic population, and the southern migration of Catholic retirees and families from the Northeast.
St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Bluffton, along the southern coast of South Carolina, particularly illustrates this shift along the Bible Belt - the congregation grew by a massive 70 percent in just 10 years, and now claims 10,000 registered members. Even though South Carolina is gaining in population, the growth of this parish outpaces even that of the state, according to local newspapers.
“Sunday Masses are crowded as latecomers squeeze into pews or stand in the back of the church. Twelve Masses are held Friday evening through Sunday — two of which are in Spanish. And work is underway on a new parish life center for community events,” Kasia Kovacs reports in The Island Packet.
Hispanics made up about 40 percent of the Church in the United States in 2016, with especially large representation among youth and young adults: 50 percent of Catholics ages 14 to 29 are Hispanic; and 55 percent of Catholics under 14 are Hispanic. Though immigration rates from Hispanic countries have begun to slow in recent years, the percentage of Hispanic Catholics in the U.S. is expected to continue growing during the next decade.
At St. Gregory’s, Masses for major holidays like Christmas and Easter are said in both English and Spanish, and seminarians in the state are required to be fluent in Spanish before their ordination. The parish celebrates Las Posadas and other traditional Hispanic celebrations, and food trucks at parish events now feature empanadas and gorditas.
“Having this summer experience, and seeing how it comes together — seeing how the Hispanic community and English community collaborate — it really is a single entity,” seminarian Tom Drury told The Island Packet.
Parishioner Jenny Bermejo, who moved to the area as a child with her family in 2004, said that St. Gregory’s has provided them with community and the familiarity of home.
“We were still pretty new to South Carolina, so hearing Mass in Spanish really brought us a sense of home,” Bermejo said.
St. Gregory’s pastor Monsignor Ronald Cellini told The Island Packet that his Hispanic parishioners are often more active in church life in the United States than they were back in Mexico, Guatemala or Colombia. The rural area of Bluffton reminds them of home, and they are putting down roots - they are not transient migrants who will leave in a few years.
“The Bluffton Hispanic community is here — it’s not a migrant community,” he said. “Kids grow up here. They’ve been here, they’re staying here.”
In response to these shifting demographics and the influx of Hispanic Catholics throughout the United States, the U.S. bishops have called for a meeting called the V Encuentro- Fifth Encounter- a national gathering of U.S. Hispanic leaders and ministers to consult with Hispanic Catholics and respond to their pastoral needs.
The first Encuentro was held in 1972, and the most recent was held in 2000, with a related youth meeting held in 2006.
This year, the V Encuentro will be held in Grapevine, Texas Sept. 20-23
A bit of humor.
- A man is reading his newspaper and says to his wife: “Michelle, look. Here is an article about how women use about twice as many words per day as men do.” The wife responds: “That’s because we have to tell you everything twice”
- My son Luke loves that we chose Star Wars characters as an inspiration when naming our kids. His sister Chewbacca und his brother Boba Fett are less amused.
Some Alternate USA State Slogans
Michigan: First Line Of Defense From The Canadians
Minnesota: 10,000 Lakes ... And 10,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes
North Dakota: We Really Are One Of The 50 States!
Oklahoma: Like The Play, Only No Singing
Rhode Island: We're Not REALLY An Island
South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota
– Little Johnny, why does your little sister cry?
– Because I helped her.
– But that is a good thing! What did you help her with?
– I helped her eat the last of her gummy bears.
Little Johnny asks the teacher, “Mrs Roberts, can I be punished for something I haven’t done?” Mrs Roberts is shocked, “Of course not, Johnny, that would be very unfair!” Little Johnny is relieved, “OK Mrs Roberts, sorry, I haven’t done my homework.”
-The first time I got a universal remote control I thought to myself, “This changes everything”.
-I recently decided to sell my vacuum cleaner as all it was doing was gathering dust.
-You can never lose a homing pigeon – if your homing pigeon doesn’t come back what you’ve lost is a pigeon.
-Don’t you hate it when someone answers their own questions? I do.
-As I watched the dog chasing his tail I thought “Dogs are easily amused”, then I realized I was watching the dog chasing his tail.
-Where there’s a will, there’s a relative.
-I woke up this morning and forgot which side the sun rises from, then it dawned on me.
Christian One Liners (Part I)
Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses
started out as a basket case.
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.
Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.
Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
If the church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.
Plaster From Above
The crumbling, old church building needed remodeling, so the preacher made an impassioned appeal, looking directly at the richest man in town. At the end of the message, the rich man stood up and announced, "Pastor, I will contribute $1,000." Just then, plaster fell from the ceiling and struck the rich man on the shoulder. He promptly stood again and shouted, "Pastor, I will increase my donation to $5,000." Before he could sit back down, plaster fell on him again, and again he virtually screamed, "Pastor, I will double my last pledge." He sat down, and a larger chunk of plaster fell hitting him on the head. He stood once more and hollered, "Pastor, I will give $20,000!" This prompted a deacon to shout, "Hit him again, Lord! Hit him again!"
All About Angels
On September 29, the Church honors and calls upon the archangels Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. On October 2, the Church will honor and call upon Guardian Angels. Let's here it for angels! Yeah!!!
There are almost 300 references to angels in the Sacred Scriptures, but what are they, what do they do, and what does the Church through which Christ speaks say about them?
An angel is a pure spirit being with no body. They were created 'before' humanity. They were given a choice at the moment of their creation to serve God or not serve God. Fallen angels, devils, chose not to serve God and were separated forever with no possibility of change because their choice is forever.
They are depicted with wings because all they do is 'instantaneous.' Every human person at the moment of their conception is assigned a guardian angel. "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels always see the face of my Father in heaven." -Matthew 18:10-11
When we die, we do NOT become angels. Our soul goes either to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell and waits to be reunited with our bodies at the Last Judgment when our bodies will be resurrected.
[Below is straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding angels:]
Who are they?
329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'"188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word".189
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.190
Christ "with all his angels"
331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . "191 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him."192 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"193
332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples.194 Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.195
333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'"196 Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!"197 They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.198 Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.199 They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.200
The angels in the life of the Church
334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.201
335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .["May the angels lead you into Paradise. . ."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).
336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.202 "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life."203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.
188 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 103,1,15: PL 37,1348.
189 Mt 18:10; Ps 103:20.
190 Cf. Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3891; Lk 20:36; Dan 10:9-12.
191 Mt 25:31.
192 Col 1:16.
193 Heb 1:14.
194 Cf. Job 38:7 (where angels are called "sons of God"); Gen 3:24; 19; 21:17; 22:11; Acts 7:53; Ex 23:20-23; Judg 13; 6:11-24; Isa 6:6; 1 Kings 19:5.
195 Cf. Lk 1:11,26.
196 Heb 1:6.
197 Lk 2:14.
198 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13,19; 4:11; 26:53; Mk 1:13; Lk 22:43; 2 Macc 10:29-30; 11:8.
199 Cf. Lk 2:8-14; Mk 16:5-7.
200 Cf. Acts 1:10-11; Mt 13:41; 24:31; Lk 12:8-9.
201 Cf. Acts 5:18-20; 8:26-29; 10:3-8; 12:6-11; 27:23-25.
202 Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Ps 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12; Tob 12:12.
203 St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29,656B.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - August 11th, 2019
The First Reading- Wisdom 18:6-9
The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage. Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes. For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us whom you had summoned. For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.
The Liturgy this week sings the praises of our fathers, recalling the defining moments in our “family history. in the First Reading we relive the night of the Exodus and the summons of the holy children of Israel.
Adults - Do you think of the people in the Old Testament as your ancestors? They are, and knowing their history is as important as knowing our own immediate family history.
Teens - Choose your favorite Old Testament figure and do some further research on their life.
Kids - Why is knowing history important?
Responsorial- Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22
R.Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
-We are born of the faith of our fathers, descending from a great cloud of witnesses whose faith is attested to on every page of Scripture (see Hebrews 12:1). We have been made His people, chosen for His own inheritance, as we sing in this Sunday’s Psalm. Ask your confirmation/patron Saint to pray for you throughout this week.
The Second Reading- Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God. By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age —and Sarah herself was sterile— for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy. So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore. All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.” He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.
Reflection - In the Epistle, we remember the calling of Abraham; in the First Reading we relive the night of the Exodus and the summons of the holy children of Israel. Our fathers, we are told, trusted in the Word of God, put their faith in His oaths. They were convinced that what He promised, He would do. None of them lived to see His promises made good. For it was not until Christ and His Church that Abraham’s descendants were made as countless as the stars and sands (see Galatians 3:16–17, 29). It was not until His Last Supper and the Eucharist that “the sacrifice . . . the divine institution” of that first Passover was truly fulfilled. What does it mean to “store up treasures in Heaven?” How do you do this?
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 12:32-48
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
And now we too await the final fulfillment of what God has promised us in Christ. As Jesus tells us in this week’s Gospel, we should live with our loins girded—as the Israelites tightened their belts, cinched up their long robes and ate their Passover standing, vigilant and ready to do His will (see Exodus 12:11; 2 Kings 4:29).
The Lord will come at an hour we do not expect. He will knock on our door (see Revelation 3:20), inviting us to the wedding feast in the better homeland, the heavenly one that our fathers saw from afar, and which we begin to taste in each Eucharist. As they did, we can wait with “sure knowledge,” His Word like a lamp lighting our path (see Psalm 119:105). Our God is faithful, and if we wait in faith, hope in His kindness, and love as we have been loved, we will receive His promised blessing and be delivered from death.
Adults - Do you think about the Second Coming of the Lord? In what ways do you live in anticipation of Jesus’ return?
Teens - Do you ask God to show you His will before you make decisions?
Kids - How can you put God first in your life?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK!
Take a serious look at your way of living today. Is your behavior in the home, in your place of work, in your recreation, in your relations with God—prayers and church attendance—and with your neighbor, it is such that you would change nothing in it, if you were told by God that you were to die tonight? If it is, thank God for it and keep on going; you are on the right road. If it is not, don't wait for God to tell you when or where you will die; he will not tell you. Put things right today, and then you need not worry when your call to judgment comes. Death will be graduation day for the good Christian—not examination day. — Excerpted from The Sunday Readings Cycle C, Fr. Kevin O' Sullivan, O.F.M.
CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS
542. When did Jesus pray? a. all his life was a prayer
The Gospel often shows Jesus at prayer. We see him draw apart to pray in solitude, even at night. He prays before the decisive moments of his mission or that of his apostles. In fact, all his life is a prayer because he is in a constant communion of love with the Father.
543. How did Jesus pray during his passion? b. He united all of creation and all prayers and intercession to the Father
The prayer of Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemani and his last words on the cross reveal the depth of his filial prayer. Jesus brings to completion the loving plan of the Father and takes upon himself all the anguish of humanity and all the petitions and intercessions of the history of salvation. He presents them to the Father who accepts them and answers them beyond all hope by raising his Son from the dead.
544. How does Jesus teach us to pray? d. all of the above
Jesus teaches us to pray not only with the Our Father but also when he prays. In this way he teaches us, in addition to the content, the dispositions necessary for every true prayer: purity of heart that seeks the Kingdom and forgives one’s enemies, bold and filial faith that goes beyond what we feel and understand, and watchfulness that protects the disciple from temptation.
545. Why is our prayer efficacious? c. it is united to the prayer of Jesus
Our prayer is efficacious because it is united in faith with the prayer of Jesus. In him Christian prayer becomes a communion of love with the Father. In this way we can present our petitions to God and be heard: “Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).