- Love Poured Out in Marriage and in Priesthood: True Story of Two Brothers (Helpful Hints for Life)
- Why These High School Students Built a Chapel and Marian Shrine at Local School (Diocesan News and Beyond)
- The Domestic Church: Families Become What You Are (Catholic Website of the Week under laptop)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
While there are several theories as to the origin of Valentine's Day, there were at least three saints in Church history that had this name. Though very little is known about them, what follows is the most known story of one of them.
Saint Valentine was a Bishop who lived during the time of the Emperor Claudius II (268A.D. - 270A.D.). When he would not submit to pagan worship of false gods and tried to help Christians in jail, he himself was thrown in prison. It was also reported that Claudius II had outlawed Marriage seeking to get more men drafted for the military. St. Valentine secretly Married young Christian couples and was ultimately arrested.
When brought to prison he prayed that the God of Light would make the prison a place of illumination. The jailer moved by his prayer asked Valentine to pray for his daughter who was blind. The daughter's sight was restored and the jailer's household was converted to the Faith. Nevertheless, the emperor had him put to death on February 14, 280 A.D. Valentine, who had become a friend of the family and the daughter who had been blind, left a note for them signed at the end, From your Valentine.
On the day when love and gifts are given and received, let us not forget that its goodness has its origin is the good God. Let us thank God for Saint Valentine and St. Valentine's Day!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. For more on Saint Valentine visit here
P.S.S.S. Go to end of E-weekly for Sunday and Readings and reflections.
- name of a Roman Christian who according to tradition was martyred during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Claudius II
"The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do."
-Pope St. John Paul II
Love Poured Out in Marriage and in Priesthood
By Titus and Colleen Nixon
Colleen and Titus were married June 26, 2010
as witnessed by Fr. Michael Nixon
At around this very same time, a young musician in Nashville was also discovering TOB for the first time. For the next five years, Colleen McCarron and I would independently develop a love for this dynamic teaching from our late Holy Father, as we would continue to mature into the man and woman God had created us to be. It was not until the summer of 2008, when Colleen came home to Tallahassee for the summer, that we would really get to know each other and develop what we now know is a lifelong friendship. Colleen had decided to give the Lord a year of her life as a “dating-fast,” meaning she would not date for an entire 12 month period in order to discern God's direction in her life more clearly. The “dating-fast” started only two months prior to her coming home that summer and what would seem like terrible timing for any guy meeting an incredible woman, instead provided an incredible opportunity for us to grow in a purely brother and sister type of friendship. Through bike rides, basketball, and many casual conversations, we realized what a profound unity we had in our love of Theology of the Body, and the truth it revealed about our bodies! Once the summer ended, and Colleen and I went our separate ways, we decided God was calling us to write letters as our only source of communication, at least until the dating-fast had consummated. This time provided an incredible period of purification and sacrifice. By the time the dating-fast had ended, it was clear not only that God was calling us to date, but also that we were called to lay down our lives for one another in marriage.
I always knew that the woman God would call me to marry would also find an incredible brother in Michael. The neat thing about Colleen and my relationship was that we also continued to develop a deep love for Michael and his vocation to the priesthood, as he continued his journey towards ordination. Michael continued to encourage us in our pursuit of the truth contained within the TOB. He attended both TOB I and II with the Theology of the Body Institute, and often prayed that we, too, would have an opportunity to attend. God opened the doors for us in March of 2010, and Colleen and I attended the TOB I course, with Colleen also serving as the music minister for the week.
The Lord knew that this would be perfect timing for us, as our wedding date was just a few short months away. It was during this week that the Lord showed us the depth of the reality that we were first brother and sister, before husband and wife. This reality had begun when we first met, through our initial friendship, and continued to mature into our spousal union. What a beautiful reality this is! Through this truth, God unveiled the reason why we were so closely united to my brother Michael, who was about to be ordained a Priest, hence being also a Father to us! We shared, through our marriage, in the reality of his priestly Fatherhood. Woah!
It was also at the TOB I course that we were led to choose the readings for our wedding Mass. We clearly felt God calling us to have the Passion narrative, as told in the Gospel of John, proclaimed as our Gospel. Father Michael, ordained just 21 days before the wedding, was the celebrant of our wedding Mass. What a glorious day this was!
An excerpt from Father Michael's Homily:
Our gospel today is what this is all about. This is the first wedding I've been to that the Passion narrative of Jesus' death was the gospel reading. But it is so incredibly fitting that we hear about the love poured out for us, what it actually cost Jesus. And we recognize that it cost Him everything. He did it not out of constraint, not out of obligation, but because He loves us. And Tai and Colleen, you are showing us that love. We weren't at the crucifixion; we weren't at that moment, but as we celebrate this marriage we have a glimpse, we have a taste. We have a taste of that moment when Jesus Christ poured Himself out completely for the one He loved, for the moment on the cross was the consummation of our marriage with God.
On June 26th of 2010, our wedding mass was a beautiful witness to the transforming power of the Theology of the Body. As Colleen and I gazed into the eternity of one another's eyes, we vowed to enter into the mystery of Matrimony. Just above us stood our priest and brother, a man also transformed by the good news of the Gospel proclaimed through the TOB. Through our different vocations, we can see in each other the truth of this teaching lived out every day.
Titus and Colleen Nixon live in Jacksonville, Florida and are expecting their first child this Spring. Titus works for Fraternus, a Catholic organization mentoring boys into virtuous Catholic men (http://www.fraternus.net/). Colleen is a professional musician. You can preview some of Colleen's music at http://www.colleennixon.com/ and http://www.mysteriumonline.com/.
The Domestic Church
Families become what you are!
Finally, a website for you and your family!
Why These High School Students Built a Chapel and Marian Shrine at a Local School
Battle Creek, Mich., Feb 7, 2019 / 01:47 pm (CNA).- When two Michigan high school students were planning for a community service project, they decided they wanted to help younger children learn to pray. So, they fundraised, designed, and managed the construction of a chapel and Marian shrine for the local Catholic middle school.
Adam Sprague is a junior and Jacob Thome is a freshman at St. Philip Catholic Central High School in Battle Creek, Michigan. As part of earning their Eagle Scout badges, Sprague oversaw construction of a Blessed Sacrament chapel and Thome worked to build a Marian grotto.
Father Christopher Ankley, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, was involved with both projects. He told CNA that St. Joseph Catholic Middle School was in need of more prayer spaces, especially for students at the school.
“Just to have the Blessed Sacrament in the school is a good way to have that presence of Jesus with them all the time and to help them grow closer to our Lord and holiness,” he said. “It’s just one way to increase our Catholic identity and stress the importance of our faith.”
Both Sprague and Thome initiated their projects last year and completed them in December. As part of the Eagle Scout initiative, the students had to manage volunteers and work with interior or landscape designers on the projects’ layouts.
Sprague fundraised over $4,000 for the project by promoting it after weekend Masses. The money was used to purchase altars and pews. A local construction company donated free labor and tile, and a parishioner, who is an interior designer, also consulted on the chapel’s layout.
“I’m just glad how everything came together especially so that we can have kids start praying more and getting closer to God. I think it’s really special that there is adoration in there every Friday to increase that faith formation,” Sprague told CNA.
The chapel is named after St. Jose del Rio, a 14 year-old martyr who was executed for his faith during the Cristero War in Mexico. Sprague said the name was voted on by the middle school students, noting that the saint best represented the community.
“We have a very diverse community,” he said. “We wanted to go with the saint that they could connect with. We wanted them to be represented in terms of the name.”
Father Fred Adamson, Sprague’s uncle and the vicar general for the Diocese of Phoenix, procured a first class relic of the saint for the chapel. Sprague said the relic’s presence in the chapel will benefit the students’ faith journey.
“Sometimes if the kids don’t necessarily have a good connection with God, a good foundation, it’s hard” for them to establish a strong Catholic faith, he said. “Just having a physical piece of the saint, I think will help a lot of the kids along with their faith journey,” he later added.
With adoration each Friday, the chapel is already being used by students and teachers. A special adoration service will be held Feb. 7 to pray for a girl at the Catholic elementary school who will be having a kidney replacement.
Thome began fundraising for the Marian Grotto in September by announcing his project after several Masses. He told CNA that he received nearly $5,000, which he used to purchase the Marian statue, trellis, and landscaping materials, including plants and benches.
He said St. Joseph Church, located across the parking lot from the school, was not a convenient location for prayer, especially during the winter time. He said the Marian Grotto, which is located close to a hill at the entrance of the school, has already been used for prayer, especially the rosary.
“I think prayer is important. It can bring you closer to God and Jesus. Especially in middle school, it’s important to start your prayer life early, to become closer to God, which will benefit you later in life,” he said.
Father Ankley emphasized the importance of prayer. He said areas reserved for prayer are vital for students, noting that young people need an opportunity to be removed from the distracting noises of the world.
“We all need that time and place for just a little bit of quiet to hear our Lord because he is always reaching out to us, always wants to be with us.…he is always pursuing us.”
The priest expressed gratitude for the students, highlighting the strong faith of these young men who have taken up a role in the Church now instead of waiting for the future.
“Sometimes we talk about how students are the future of the Church, but they are the Church right now. They have their place in their Church,” he said.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #220
The wise old Mother Superior was dying. The nuns gathered around her bed, trying to make her comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink, but she refused it. Then one nun took the glass back to the kitchen. Remembering a bottle of whiskey received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.
Back at Mother Superior's bed, she held the glass to her lips. Mother drank a little, then a little more, and then before they knew it, she had drunk the whole glass down to the last drop. "Mother, Mother" the nuns cried, "Give us some wisdom before you die!" She raised herself up in bed with a pious look on her face and pointing out the window, she said, "Don't sell that cow!"
DID NOAH FISH?
A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did
A lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?'
'No,' replied Johnny. 'How could he, with just two worms.'
LOT 'S WIFE
The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted,
'My Mommy looked back once while she was driving,' he announced
Triumphantly, 'and she turned into a telephone pole!'
Enable all true lovers to bring out the best in each other in God and in God, in each other. Amen.
- indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity;
it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
- ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return him love for love.
- lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love;
it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
- acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
- hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies,
and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #2094
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
5th Sunday of Ordinary Time - February 10th, 2019
The First Reading- Isaiah 6:1-2A, 3-8
In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above. They cried one to the other, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!" At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, "Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it, and said, "See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!"
Although we are still about a month away from Ash Wednesday, the Scriptures for this week put us in the Lenten mindset, preparing us for what we are about to do. In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah receives his call to be a prophet. His response, in my opinion, is very natural. He doesn’t feel worthy to speak God’s word—he is aware of his sinfulness. But God reaches out and touches his mouth with a coal to purify it. Then he’s ready.
Adults -What do you feel like God is calling you to in your life?
Teens - Where can you bring more of your faith into other areas of your life?
Kids - What special gifts has God given you?
Responsorial- Psalm 138: 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8
R.In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD:
"Great is the glory of the LORD."
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
-How can you praise the Lord this week?
The Second Reading- 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, Christ appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me. Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
In the second reading, Paul recounts his call to be an apostle; how Jesus appeared to him and his unworthiness of the mission offered to him. He feels the conviction of having persecuted the Church. But, God works through him and makes him effective.
If you are struggling with a sin in your life, take it to the Lord in confession and let Him work through the grace of the Sacrament.
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 5:1-11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
The Gospel tells us of the call of St. Peter. God reached out to Peter through the work that he had been doing—fishing. When Jesus tells him to put his net into the lake after he had a totally unsuccessful night of work, his nets are so full of fish they can’t even handle the load. Peter feels the call to discipleship through this, asking Jesus to “depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus responds as God always does, “Do not be afraid.” Each story is the story of a call to follow God and bring him to others. Each story expresses how many of us feel when faced with our call to do as Isaiah, Paul and Peter did. Each story shares the same response of God—to make us able when we think we aren’t.
Adults -Are there one or two qualities about you that make you feel inadequate for fulfilling the call that you have received? Remember, God doesn’t ever call the qualified; he qualifies the called.
Teens - Read over the spiritual works of mercy. See if there’s a way that you can incorporate one of them into your life, and consider how it will make you more like you want to be.
Kids - Have you ever felt afraid and asked God for help? What happened that made you know he was there to keep you safe and give you courage?