13 April 2008
The Great Adventure - A Journey Through The Bible
Genesis (Early World & Patriarchs)
Exodus (Egypt and Exodus)
Numbers (Desert Wanderings)
Joshua (Conquest & Judges)
Judges (Conquest & Judges)
1 Samuel (Royal Kingdom)
2 Samuel (Royal Kingdom)
1 Kings (Royal Kingdom & Divided Kingdom)
2 Kings (Divided Kingdom & Exile)
1 Maccabees (Maccabean Revolt)
Luke (Messianic Fulfillment)
Acts (The Church)
Please pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life!
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.
23: 1-3a, 3b4, 5, 6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
1 Pt 2:20b-25
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.
When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
"When tempted to despair, I have only one resource: to throw myself at the foot of the tabernacle like a little dog at the foot of his master."
St. John Vianney
How does St. John Vianney recommend we find the grace we need to make it through a trial with right intention, fervency, courage, and trust in God? How much time a week do you spend before the Blessed Sacrament?
St. John Vianney
09 April 2008
Vatican City, Apr 8, 2008 / 10:16 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI is just days away from arriving in the U.S. for his first visit. In anticipation of his arrival he released a video message today saying he is coming to share the message of hope in Christ with all those living in the U.S.
As the Pope began his message, he offered his “heartfelt greeting and an invitation to prayer. “As you know", he continues, "I shall only be able to visit two cities: Washington and New York. The intention behind my visit, though, is to reach out spiritually to all Catholics in the United States".
After thanking the people working to organize his trip and those who are praying for its success, Benedict XVI also mentioned his conviction that prayer is the most powerful way to prepare for his visit. “Dear friends, I say this because I am convinced that without the power of prayer, without that intimate union with the Lord, our human endeavors would achieve very little. Indeed this is what our faith teaches us. It is God who saves us, he saves the world, and all of history. He is the Shepherd of his people. I am coming, sent by Jesus Christ, to bring you his word of life.”
“Christ our hope”, the theme for the Pope’s visit was also central to the Pope’s address. "Together with your bishops, I have chosen as the theme of my journey three simple but essential words: 'Christ our hope'. ... Jesus Christ is hope for men and women of every language, race, culture and social condition. ... Through him, our lives reach fullness, and together, both as individuals and peoples, we can become a family united by fraternal love, according to the eternal plan of God the Father. I know how deeply rooted this Gospel message is in your country. I am coming to share it with you, in a series of celebrations and gatherings.”
"I shall also bring the message of Christian hope to the great Assembly of the United Nations", the Pope continued, "to the representatives of all the peoples of the world. Indeed, the world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom, but this hope can never be fulfilled without obedience to the law of God, which Christ brought to fulfillment in the commandment to love one another. Do to others as you would have them do to you, and avoid doing what you would not want them to do. This 'golden rule' is given in the Bible, but it is valid for all people, including non-believers. It is the law written on the human heart; on this we can all agree, so that when we come to address other matters we can do so in a positive and constructive manner for the entire human community".
Pope Benedict also took care to address Spanish-speaking U.S. Catholics in their own language, invoking the Blessed Mother’s protection and the blessing of God upon them.
Benedict XVI concludes his message by saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends in the United States, I am very much looking forward to being with you. I want you to know that, even if my itinerary is short, with just a few engagements, my heart is close to all of you, especially to the sick, the weak, and the lonely. I thank you once again for your prayerful support of my mission. I reach out to every one of you with affection, and I invoke upon you the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
To watch the video message go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me8whJa4p9g
08 April 2008
Phoenix, Apr 7, 2008 / 10:28 am (CNA).- In less than three weeks, 3,000 Catholics returned to the Church in the Diocese of Phoenix due to the effort of a new lay apostolate, CatholicsComeHome.org. The program consists of a website and commercials aired on local television that effectively portray the truth and goodness of the Catholic Church.
In an interview with CNA, Catholics Come Home, Inc. founder and president, Tom Peterson explained that the ads are designed to take people to the website, CatholicsComeHome.org, where they can find answers to questions about Church teachings, and also to put them into contact with their local parish to be led home, back to the Catholic Church.
Prior to founding Catholics Come Home, Peterson worked in advertising until he attended a retreat that completely changed his life. It was then that he knew God was calling him to use his advertising talents for evangelization.
Years later, he was contacted by the Diocese of Phoenix to help start a three-week campaign which was launched last month. In Phoenix, the commercials were aired on all major television networks and also ESPN, Lifetime, FOX News and others.
After the first commercial campaign, not only did the diocese report a marked increase in Mass attendance, but over “31,000 unique visitors came to the website from Phoenix and other US cities plus 60 foreign countries, with questions, to look up Mass times, to read information on marriage issues, to watch testimonies or to order Matthew Kelly’s book, ‘Rediscovering Catholicism.’”
The commercials aired on television are produced by CatholicsComeHome.org. Before airing the ads, two of the clips, “Epic”, and “Movie,” were shown to a focus group that consisted of former and practicing Catholics, non Catholic Christians, as well as those without any faith.
The feedback received from the group was outstanding. Seventy-eight of the 100 participants had positive responses to the ads. In another assessment, the organization found that before watching the videos, 90% of the participants had negative impressions of the Catholic Church. After viewing ads one time, 54% had a much more favorable impression. Hearts and minds were changed after viewing these creative and inspired ads.
The first commercial, “Epic” portrays the history, beauty, and spirituality of the Church that Jesus started 2,000 years ago. Peterson mentioned that “many people don’t realize the history of the Church. They don’t realize that Peter – the Apostle from the Bible – was the first Pope. They don’t realize the vast accomplishments that the Church has made over the centuries.”
“Epic” also effectively represents the universality of the Church. The clip shows a Mexican fiesta, an African Mass, a Tongan baptism, aid workers serving in a Vietnamese jungle, among other scenes.
The reaction to the video has been overwhelmingly positive. Viewers commented, “After seeing ‘Epic’, it made me proud to be Catholic.” Priests have noted that the video made them feel “re-invigorated about their vocation.” The video also has touched former Catholics who have said that the video showed the truth about the Church – “truth that they haven’t seen in decades.”
The second commercial, “Movie” has a different effect. Peterson described the ad as mirroring the Book of Revelation which states that we will give an account of our lives at the end of time.
“Most people are brought to tears when they watch “Movie,” said Peterson. It shows that though Jesus’ divine mercy, “no matter what we’ve done, we can accept the mercy of Jesus who will help us create the perfect ending to each of our lives.”
Not only have people enjoyed the video clips, but they have also succeeded in bringing people back to the Church. One woman, Angela, said that she became an agnostic 20 years ago. After watching the video she commented, “How is it that after seeing the commercial one time, I go to the CatholicsComeHome.org website, look up my local church and go home?”
The commercials encourage people to visit the site which contains information for three groups of people: Those who “used to be Catholic”, those who “are not Catholic” and those who “are practicing Catholics.”
Peterson described the site saying, “The web site provides answers to questions about Church teachings, and why strong faith is important in today’s busy and confusing world. The site also offers an overview of the faith, with additional resources and a local parish finder.”
The website also includes 26 short testimonial videos – stories of why people left the Church and how they began their journey back home. The stories are representative of common reasons that people leave the Church and the unique circumstances and call from God that led them back to the Catholic faith.
CatholicsComeHome.org also has a Spanish site: CatolicosRegresen.org. It is a goal of the organization to launch its ministry worldwide once the commercials are perfected and aired heavily on national TV networks here in the United States first.
While CatholicsComeHome.org is still searching for further funding and quality advisors, the organization is hoping to take the information learned in the focus groups and initial airings, and bring the commercials to other dioceses next year.
When asked where these commercials will be broadcast, Peterson stated, “On main network programs like during American Idol, the evening news, and even the Super Bowl. Imagine if we can do it, how our culture would change for the better and God would be glorified.”
For more information, and to support this non-profit charity, please visit CatholicsComeHome.org.
04 April 2008
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
This email came today from my friend Gina...an answer to prayer and something I really needed to read and be reminded of. I wanted to share with you all.
from Dorothy Boyd & Kimberly Prillhart!!!
I will trust and obey because my future is worth more than my fear and whatever God has determined for me.
I don’t want to miss it!
Dorothy Boyd - Career Conference 2008
Let that thought really sink into you this morning. We are told many times over not to fear in the Bible. Fear is paralyzing. Fear keeps us stuck where we are with no hope of moving forward. Fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real!!!
Don't let FEAR distract your schedule today!! Trust God and His plan for you - then move that trust into OBEDIENCE because what we stand to gain is worth far more than being waited down with fear. Why would we want to miss God's BEST for us??
What could you do today if you were guaranteed not fail?? Why not shake off the fears and get busy!!! You just MIGHT do it!! But you'll never know until you try!! Don't let fear stand in the way of what God has planned for you.
One of my favorite authors and speakers Matthew Kelly will be here in Georgia at St. Brigid's Catholic Church April 20, 21 and 22. Matthew is a fabulous young speaker and author from Sydney, Australia. He is the author of many books, most notably "The Dream Manager", "The Seven Levels of Intimacy", "The Rhythm of Life", "Rediscovering Catholicism", and his newest book "Building Better Families". Be sure to check out his website www.matthewkelly.org
He will also be a keynote speaker at this year's Eucharistic Congress this summer. 6-20 & 6/21. Too excited!
02 April 2008
I was privileged to have been a sponsor for an amazing young woman who came into the church at Easter Vigil. My journey with her was such a gift, it's so hard to put into words! I watched as she grew more and more in love with the Catholic Church. I watched as our prayers were being answered right before our eyes. Her heart was being opened and softened as the months and days went by. Her questions answered, her fears eased, her doubts dashed. It's a miracle to watch the Holy Spirit in action. Have you ever been a witness to prayers being answered as you sit back and watch? It's powerful. It's faith-building. It's miraculous. It blows you away.
The Vigil was so beautiful, so was she! Her husband so proud, her family beaming...and me, just so humbled and blessed to have been a part of it all! I highly recommend you being a sponsor thru your OCIA/RCIA program at your parish. It's priceless! You won't regret a moment of it!
Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for a memorial Mass in honor of the beloved pope, whose abiding memory continues to draw thousands of visitors every day to his tomb inside St. Peter's Basilica.
Pope Benedict said that the life and pontificate, was as a whole and in many specific moments, "a sign and witness of the Resurrection of Christ."
John Paul II died on the eve of the second Sunday of Easter, the fulfillment of the "day that the Lord has made."
The Holy Father said, "Like three years ago, today we are not far from Easter. The heart of the Church is still deeply immersed in the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord. Indeed, we can read the entire life of my beloved predecessor, in particular his Petrine ministry, as a sign of the Risen Christ."
Recalling how today is the day John Paul II died, Benedict XVI said, "His agony was beheld by all this "day," in this space-time that is the new ' "eighth day," desired by the Holy Trinity through the work of the Incarnate Word, dead and risen.
"In this spiritual dimension," the Holy Father said that "Pope John Paul II repeatedly demonstrated that he was some way immersed in this mystery during his life, especially in carrying out the mission of the Supreme Pontiff."
Since childhood, Karol Wojtyla experienced the truth of St. Paul's words, 'if we die with him, we shall also live with him. If we persevere with him, we also reign with him" (2 Tim 2,11-12), the Pope said.
The Holy Father then walked through the life of Karol Wojtyla, narrating his way of the cross.
He encountered these words in facing his way of the cross, that of his family and his people. He soon decided carry his cross together with Jesus, following in his footsteps. He wanted to be his faithful servant, to accept the call to the priesthood, and to commit his entire life as a gift. He did all of this through the unique mediation of Mary, Mother of the Church, Mother of the Redeemer and effectively intimately associated with the saving mystery of his death and resurrection, Pope Benedict reflected.
Speaking of the evening of Saturday, April 2, 2005 when news of John Paul II's death reached the crowds in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict said, "For several days the Vatican Basilica and the square were really the heart of the world. A river of pilgrims made uninterrupted tribute to the venerable body of the Pope and his funeral marked a further testimony of the affection and esteem, which he had won in the souls of many believers and people from every part of the world."
Speaking of John Paul II's legacy and final witness, the Pontiff said, "He had an extraordinary faith in Christ, and with Him entertained an intimate conversation, unique and unbroken. Among his many human qualities and supernatural gifts, [John Paul II] also had an exceptional spiritual and mystical sensitivity. It was enough observe when he prayed: he was literally immersed in God, and it seemed that everything else in those moments was extraneous.
In addition, daily mass was for John Paul II a "living and holy" reality that was the center of each day, and that gave him the spiritual energy necessary to guide the People of God in the unfolding of history, Pope Benedict noted.
To observe him during liturgical celebrations was to be present to the mystery in act; he had an ability to capture the eloquence of the Word of God in the future of history, at the depths of God's plan," the Pope said.
Pope Benedict also turned to John Paul II's constant encouragement "'Do not be afraid!' and tied it to the suffering he endured. "He always delivered with uncompromising firmness, first brandishing the pastoral staff culminating in the cross and then, when his physical energies were waning, almost clinging to it, until the last Good Friday when he participated in the Way of the Cross in his private Chapel, clinging to the cross."
"We can not forget that in his last silent witness of love for Jesus. Even the eloquent scene of human suffering and faith on that last Good Friday, showed believers and the world the secret of the whole Christian life. His "Do not be afraid" was not based on human strength, or about successes, but only on the Word of God on the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ."
Pope John Paul II's conformity to Christ lasted until the end of his life, Benedict explained.
"Gradually, he was stripped of everything, down to those last words, his trust in Christ appeared with growing evidence. As it happened to Jesus, it happened with John Paul II to the very end when the words took place of the final sacrifice, the gift of self. And death was the seal of the whole existence given to Christ. [John Paul II] conformed himself to Christ even physically in the case of suffering and the complete confident abandonment in the arms of the Heavenly Father. According to a witness who was nearby, "Let's go to the Father", were his last words to fulfill a life of total striving to know and contemplate the face of the Lord."