Archive for the ‘Church Year’ Category

Anno Domini

December 13, 2020

3rd Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday

Nearly two thousand years ago, in the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus Christ proclaimed the words of the Prophet Isaiah as being fulfilled in himself, “fulfilled in your hearing”:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me… to announce a year of favor from the Lord
and a day of vindication by our God.

The Earth orbits the Sun year after year. Our planet’s spinning makes days and nights, and its tilted-axis causes the seasons. When Earth’s northern hemisphere is most towards the Sun, our sunrises come earlier, our sunsets come later, and we experience summer warmth. Six months later, when the top of the Earth is tilted away from the Sun our daytimes are shorter, bringing the winter’s cold. Because of this yearly cycling of the seasons—summer, fall, winter, spring—even simple, ancient peasants possessed the concept of “years.” Their civilizations would mark time by counting years from some event of shared cultural significance (such as the Founding of Rome), or by referring to their leader’s reign (like saying, “in the fifth year of Ramses II”).

What year is it now for us? It’s 2020 A.D. — but why? “A.D.” stands for “Anno Domini,” a Latin phrase which means, “In the Year of the Lord.” Some 2,020 years ago, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, was born to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. Now we live in his Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, during this the 2,020th year of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Since Jesus is God, the Lord is present to all things at all times, but he foresaw how his visible departure through his Ascension could affect us thereafter. Year after year, his saving acts, his words and deeds, would fade and fall further and further into the past. Who he is and what he has done for us would seem ever more distant. So Jesus established his Church to preach his word and do his works, to perform his sacraments and do good deeds together with him all around the world until he comes again. Jesus says, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” and “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

One of the great things his Church gives us is her liturgical year. Our feasts and seasons throughout each year celebrate what Christ has done, show us who he is, and remind us of who we are to him. It’s very important to remember who we are – the truth about who we are in the eyes of Truth himself – but it’s something easy to forget.

St. John the Baptist on today’s Gospel knows both who he is and who he is not. They ask him in today’s Gospel, “Who are you,” and John answers the question on their minds, “I am not the Christ.” So they ask him, “Are you Elijah?” “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet (the Prophet of whom Moses foretold)?” “No.” “So who are you?” “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’ [for] the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” Untying a sandal strap is something a slave might do for his master, but John the Baptist saw that the gap between his Lord and himself was far more vast than that. God the Father and Christ his Son are all-holy, all-good, and justly entitled to our everything; our time, our bodies, our wealth, our love. His servant must remember that “God is God, and I am not.

True humility is living in the truth about who God is and who you are. The word humility comes from the Latin word for ground. Humility doesn’t mean thinking you are dirt; it’s being well-grounded in the truth, the reality of things. With perfect humility the Blessed Virgin Mary can make this extraordinary proclamation, “From this day all generations will call me blessed. (And she was right!) The Almighty has done great things for me [his lowly servant].” Likewise, acknowledge the great things that God has done in you and praise him for them all, for this is humility.

Though each of us is in need of ongoing conversion in Christ, if you did not take God very seriously I doubt that you would be reading this. A common misperception among sincere Christians is that they do not see themselves as they really are. You are not yet perfect, but that doesn’t mean you’re trash. Let me show you this in some ways that others have found helpful.

Think of your greatest desire. What is it? Perhaps it’s for you and others to be blessed and someday reach Heaven? Now think of the greatest desire of a saint. In as much these two answers align, you have the desires of a saint and so you’re on the right track. Now imagine meeting someone, another person who is just like you in every way, having all of your strengths and weaknesses. What would you think of this person? Would you like them? Could you be their friend? If you would have more kindness or compassion toward him or her than you do on yourself, then try loving yourself like your neighbor for a change. If you, who are imperfect, can like and love that other person, then surely God can like and love you too. If I were a demon, an enemy of your soul, I would try to keep you stuck in lies about yourself to make you despair or limit the good you would do. However, I suspect the truth is that you are doing far better than you fear and are far more loved by God than you can imagine.

The holy seasons and feasts of Christ’s Church present to us year after year anew what God has done, and who he is for us, and who we are to him. Let us live this Advent in the truth about who we are, realizing and rejoicing that this is a year of favor from the Lord and today is a day of salvation.

Preaching Aid for Advent, Year A

November 7, 2019

This is a homily creation aid for preaching on themes of marriage and family during the seasons of Advent and Christmas during Year A of the lectionary cycle. I wrote this guide back in seminary and I welcome its being put to good use.

Christ Calls in Ordinary Time

January 16, 2019

As [Jesus] passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him.

— Mark 1:16-18

A remarkable thing about this calling of Simon Peter and Andrew is its ordinariness. The pair are not called through a vision or by angels. Mark mentions no miracles performed there on the shore. We know from John’s Gospel that they have met this rabbi before. Jesus simply tells them to follow him.

This call does not happen on a Jewish holy day, in the Temple, or in a palace, nor at Jerusalem or Rome. (The region of Galilee was an unesteemed place for the Jews and doubly so for the Romans.) Simon and Andrew are not clergy nor scholars, neither governors nor generals. They’re fishermen who work nights doing manual labor. They’re not on spiritual retreat or pilgrimage, they haven’t journeyed for days to a holy mountain of God. Yet Christ walks up to them and calls these two brothers during an ordinary day at their place of work.

Jesus Christ the God-Man does extraordinary things through the ordinary. He makes use of water for his baptism, bread for his Eucharist, and human pairing to reveal his loving union with the Church. He uses our human words to communicate God’s Word in the most published book on earth. He dwells (and waits) for us in every Catholic tabernacle. He makes himself so accessible that, if we are unattentive to him, we can disregard his presence and graces amidst familiar things.

Ordinary Time has returned in the Church. Though not a “special” season like Advent, Lent, Christmas, or Easter, its name does not derive from a lack of value but from the ordinal numbers which count its weeks (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) The color of this time is green because it is a season for our ongoing growth. So let us follow the Christ who greets and calls us like Simon Peter and Andrew even in Ordinary Time.

You May Be Wondering…

November 29, 2017

Q: This year the 4th Sunday of Advent (December 23rd/24th) comes right before Christmas. Do we have to come to Mass twice?
A: Yes. This is on Jesus’ gift list this year.

Q: How can we fulfill our Holy Day obligations?
A: We have six options. Come to Mass:

(1) Saturday PM & Sunday PM (Christmas Eve)
(2) Saturday PM & Monday (Christmas Day)
(3) Sunday PM & Monday
(4) Sunday AM & Sunday PM
(5) Sunday AM & Monday
(6) Sunday PM Twice (see comments below)

Q: Will the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God also be a Holy Day of Obligation?
A: No. New Year’s Day is not a Holy Day of Obligation in 2018.

Prayers of the Faithful / Petitions / Intercessions (Year A)

June 27, 2017

1st Sunday of Advent (November 27, 2016)
2nd Sunday of Advent (December 4, 2016)
Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Advent (December 11, 2016)
4th Sunday of Advent (December 18, 2016)
Christmas (December 25, 2016)
Mary, Mother of God (January 1, 2017)
Epiphany (January 8, 2017)
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 15, 2017)
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 22, 2017)
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29, 2017)
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 5, 2017)
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 12, 2017)
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 19, 2017)
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 26, 2017)
Ash Wednesday (March 1, 2017)
1st Sunday of Lent (March 5, 2017)
2nd Sunday of Lent (March 12, 2017)
3rd Sunday of Lent (March 19, 2017)
4th Sunday of Lent (March 26, 2017)
5th Sunday of Lent (April 2, 2017)
Palm / Passion Sunday (April 9, 2017)
Holy Thursday (April 13, 2017)
Easter Vigil (April 15, 2017)
Easter Sunday (April 16, 2017)
Divine Mercy Sunday (April 23, 2017)
3rd Sunday of Easter (April 30, 2017)
4th Sunday of Easter (May 7, 2017)
5th Sunday of Easter (May 14, 2017)
6th Sunday of Easter (May 21, 2017)
Ascension (May 28, 2017)
Pentecost (June 4, 2017)
Holy Trinity (June 11, 2017)
Corpus Christi (June 18, 2017)
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 25, 2017)
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 2, 2017)
Assumption (August 15, 2017)

Click to view additional Year A petitions (from 2014)

Prayers of the Faithful / Petitions / Intercessions (Year C)

October 29, 2016

1st Sunday of Advent, Year C (November 29, 2015)
2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 6, 2015)
Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2015)
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 13, 2015)
4th Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 20, 2015)
Christmas (December 25, 2015)
Holy Family (December 27, 2015)
Mary, Mother of God (January 1, 2016)
Epiphany (January 3, 2016)
Baptism of the Lord (January 10, 2016)
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 17, 2016)
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 24, 2016)
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 31, 2016)
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (February 7, 2016)
Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016)
1st Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 14, 2016)
2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 21, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 28, 2016)
4th Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 6, 2016)
5th Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 13, 2016)
Palm Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 20, 2016)
Holy Thursday (March 24, 2016)
Easter (March 26-27, 2016)
Divine Mercy Sunday (April 3, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Easter (April 10, 2016)
4th Sunday of Easter (April 17, 2016)
5th Sunday of Easter (April 24, 2016)
6th Sunday of Easter (May 1, 2016)
Ascension / 7th Sunday of Easter (May 8, 2016)
Pentecost Sunday (May 15, 2016)
Holy Trinity Sunday (May 22, 2016)
Corpus Christi Sunday (May 29, 2016)
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 5, 2016)
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 12, 2016)
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 19, 2016)
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 26, 2016)
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 3, 2016)
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 10, 2016)
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 17, 2016)
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 24, 2016)
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 31, 2016)
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 7, 2016)
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 14, 2016)
Assumption of Mary (August 15, 2016)
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 21, 2016)
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 28, 2016)
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 4, 2016)
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 11, 2016)
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 18, 2016)
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 25, 2016)
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 2, 2016)
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 9, 2016)
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 16, 2016)
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 23, 2016)
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 30, 2016)
All Saints (November 1, 2016)

Click to view additional Year C petitions (from 2013)

Questions & Answers About Lent

February 5, 2016

What is Lent?

The Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer, 1854.Lent is the liturgical season in which we prepare for Easter through prayer, penance, and fasting.

How long is Lent?

Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter Vigil. It is actually 46 days long: 40 days of penance, plus six Sundays not considered days of penance.

Why is it called “Lent”?
The word “Lent” comes to us from old German and English words for “springtime.”

Why do we get marked with ashes?

The ancient Jews would put ashes atop their heads in repentance, mourning, and/or self-debasement. The ash crosses on our foreheads signify our desire to return or draw nearer to the Lord Jesus.

Who abstains and fasts in Lent?
Catholics who are at least 14-years-old are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Fridays in Lent, and Good Friday. Until at least their 59th birthday, Catholics who are at least 18-years-old are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

What is “fasting”?

Lenten fasting is eating just one full meal.  Two additional smaller meals (less than one full meal put together) are allowed if necessary, but not eating solid foods between meals. (The physically, mentally, or chronically ill, as well as pregnant or nursing women, are excused from fasting and abstinence.)

Why the ages 18 to 59?

These ages consider the nutritional needs of the young & elderly, and the symbolic forty (years) between them reflects other periods of penance & preparation in the Bible (the Flood, the Exodus, Moses on Mt. Sinai, Jesus in the Desert, etc.)

Why isn’t fish considered “meat?”

In times past, fish was considered a food of the poor. It took multiple pounds of grain to raise one pound of livestock, but fish were simply caught. Eating fish instead of land-based meats conserved grain and was a penance in solidarity with the poor.

What can I do for Lent?

Add to your spiritual exercises, such as time for prayer, daily Mass, and the Stations of the Cross. Attend a penance service and go to confession. Go on pilgrimage to Sacred Heart Church, or to the cathedral or the shrine in La Crosse. Deny yourself occasions of sins and offer up sacrifices of self-denial; such as fasting, almsgiving, and good works.

2016: Save the Dates

January 30, 2016

Feb 10  – Ash Wednesday

Mar 13 – Time Change (ahead 1 hour)

Mar 27 – Easter Sunday

Apr 3    – First Communion at SH

Apr 5    – Wisconsin Primary Election Day

Apr 9    – Marriage Prep Day at St. W

Apr 13  – Confirmation, 6:30pm at Seneca

May 1   – First Communion at St. W

Jun 30 – End of the 2015-16 Annual Appeal

Sep 4    – Picnic & Homecoming at St. W

Oct 23  – Smorgasbord at SH

Nov 1    – All Saints Day (Holy Day of Obligation)

Nov 6    – Time Change (back 1 hour)

Nov 8    – Election Day

Dec 8    – Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of Obligation)

10 Ideas for Advent

November 29, 2015
  • Read & pray with the Book of Lamentations.
  • Meditate on the Gospel passages preceding the Nativity.
  • Learn about St. Nicholas and celebrate his day, December 6th.
  • Keep Jesus from your manger scene until Christmas comes.
  • Box Baby Jesus under the tree as the first gift you will open.
  • Have Joseph & Mary journey across your home to the manger.
  • Abstain from Christmas songs until Advent season ends.
  • Wait to light your tree and house until the light of Christ arrives.
  • Meditate upon what your life would be like without Jesus Christ.
  • Go to confession so that Christ may reign in your heart.

Our Holy Conspiracy & the End of the World — 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time—Year B

November 16, 2015

C.S. Lewis, 1898-1963A new liturgical Church year will begin in a couple of weeks with the first Sunday of Advent. As this Church year ends, our Mass readings (like today’s Sunday readings) focus on the Last Things and the end of the world as we know it. This weekend’s news reports, especially the terrible events in France, remind us that though the Kingdom of God is among us, we pray “thy Kingdom come” because it is not yet fully here in total, unveiled power. This weekend’s readings and news events remind me of passages from C.S. Lewis in excellent book Mere Christianity:

“Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless [radio] from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going.”

Why does Lewis say that our king has landed “in disguise?” Well, where would you expect a king to be born? The Magi sought the newborn king of the Jews in the palace at Jerusalem, but Jesus was born in a barn—a cave in Bethlehem—to a pair of poor parents. How would one expect the Jewish Messiah to enter into Jerusalem to claim his throne? Probably riding on a warhorse, but Jesus came meekly riding on a donkey, just as had been prophesied about him. Who would have thought that God would become a man, and then suffer and die as he did? After the vindication of the resurrection, one would have thought he would appear to the high priest and Governor Pilate, or to the Emperor Tiberius in Rome, to declare that he was indeed who he claimed to be. Instead, Jesus appeared discretely, to his disciples.

Lewis writes that God has landed in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and has started “a sort of secret society” to undermine the devil. This secret society he speaks of is the Church. But what is so secret about the Church? We have a sign in front with our Mass times. We don’t check ID’s at the door. And if anyone wants to know about what we do or what we believe, we will gladly inform them. But, in a sense, the Church is a secret society—for the world and even many Catholics do not recognize who and what we really are. We are a holy conspiracy. We are fighting the propaganda of the world and the devil with the truth of God. We are recruiting others to the side of the Lord. We are his special forces sabotaging evil with the weapons of love in preparation for the king’s arrival.

From where do we receive our power for this mission? The source of our power is the Holy Mass. Today’s second reading says that the Old Testament’s priests offered many sacrifices because those  could not truly achieve their purpose, but Jesus our High Priest offers his sacrifice once for all. At Mass we transcend space and time to personally encounter that sacrifice, and it’s power is applied to us here and now, providing all the graces we need to fulfill his will.

Lewis asks, “Why is [God] not [yet] landing in [total unveiled] force, invading [our world]? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; [but] we do not know when.”

Indeed, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “of that day or hour, no one knows… but only the Father.”

We do not know when the Lord is going to land in force. “But,” Lewis continues, “we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman [during World War II] who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade.”

Why has God not yet invaded our world with his full, unveiled force? Why does he allow the wicked to use their freedom for evil, like the terrorism we saw in Paris?

Lewis writes, “I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else—something it never entered your head to conceive—comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?”

I think “the whole natural universe melting away” is an excellent reflection on today’s gospel. Jesus tells us that at the end:

“the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken…”

In the ancient world, the sun and moon, stars and planets, were considered the most stable and eternal things in the cosmos (and you can understand why.) But when even these things are passing, you know the universe as we know it is melting away. After this, the Lord Jesus comes with judgment. “And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory… (and his angels, like St. Michael from our first reading, along with him…)”

Sprouting Fig Tree in SpringtimePerhaps we may find it surprising that Jesus describes these events as a good thing to his disciples. He says:

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that [the Son of Man] is near, at the gates.”

We usually associate the end of things with the fall. Youth is called the springtime of life, while old age is the fall. In the Northern Hemisphere, every Church year ends in the fall. Yet Jesus presents an analogy for the end of the world as one of spring becoming summer: ‘When the tender branch sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.’ A small thing, the branch, points to the arrival of a much greater reality, the summer. Why would we cling to the branch when the whole world is being renewed in glory? For friends of God, what is to come is better than what we see. The life we live now in this world is the winter. What is still to come for us is the spring and summer. Let us not hesitate to hope for it, envision it, and rejoice in it.

When the last day comes, “it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. … That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give [people] that chance. [But it] will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”

How long will it be until the Lord comes again? Jesus says in today’s gospel that, “This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.” But he said this a long time ago. Was Jesus wrong? No, for when you read these passages from Mark in full context, Jesus is responding to his disciples questions about two things side-by-side: the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world. The Romans destroyed the great city and its temple in 70 A.D., during the lifespan of some of Jesus’ hearers, and to many Jews it felt like the end of the world. This event prefigured the passing away of all things. Like other prophesies in the Bible, Jesus’ prophesy has a near and distant fulfillment, one after a forty-year opportunity for conversion, and another at the end of time.

So when will the Lord come again? The answer for every generation before us has been “not yet.” If this world endures to the year 10,000 A.D., the Christians of that time will probably regard us as the early Christians. I personally think it will still be awhile before he comes, for it is still legal to be a Christian in too many places on earth. Yet, in a sense, it doesn’t matter when Jesus is coming, for the end of our individual lives is equivalent to the end of the world for us. If you’re ready for one, you’re ready for the other. But if you, or people that you know, are not ready for either, then now is the time for conversion.

The Lord our King has recruited us into his holy conspiracy, arming us with the weapons of truth and love. You and I are his advanced forces and, among other tasks, he is sending us on rescue missions to bring others to himself. Who do you know that is far from Christ? We are to draw on the power of this Mass for them. We are called to pray, fast, and sacrifice for them, and even to be so bold as to talk with them—inviting them to come to Jesus Christ and his Church. Seize this opportunity and do not let it pass away, for whether the Lord first comes to us or we go forth to him, each and all will encounter him soon, face-to-face, in his full, unveiled glory.

Prayers of the Faithful / Petitions / Intercessions (Year B)

November 11, 2015

1st Sunday Advent, Year B (Nov 30, 2014)

2nd Sunday Advent, Year B (Dec 7, 2014)

Immaculate Conception, Year B (Dec 8, 2014)

3rd Sunday Advent, Year B (Dec 14, 2014)

4th Sunday Advent, Year B (Dec 21, 2014)

Christmas, Year B (Dec 25, 2014)

Holy Family, Year B (Dec 28, 2014)

Mary, Mother of God, Year B (Jan 1, 2015)

Epiphany, Year B (Jan 4, 2015)

Baptism of the Lord, Year B (Jan 11, 2015)

2nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Jan 18, 2015)

3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Jan 25, 2015)

4th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Feb 1, 2015)

5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Feb 8, 2015)

6th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Feb 15, 2015)

Ash Wednesday (Feb 18, 2015)

1st Sunday Lent, Year B (Feb 22, 2015)

2nd Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 1, 2015)

3rd Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 8, 2015)

4th Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 15, 2015)

5th Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 22, 2015)

Palm Sunday, Year B (Mar 29, 2015)

Holy Thursday, Year B (Apr 2, 2015)

Easter Vigil, Year B (Apr 4, 2015)

Easter Sunday, Year B (Apr 5, 2015)

Divine Mercy Sunday, Year B (Apr 12, 2015)

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B (April 19, 2015)

4th Sunday of Easter, Year B (Apr 26, 2015)

5th Sunday of Easter, Year B (May 3, 2015)

6th Sunday of Easter, Year B (May 10, 2015)

7th Sunday of Easter, Year B (May 17, 2015)

Pentecost (May 24, 2015)

Most Holy Trinity, Year B (May 31, 2015)

Corpus Christi, Year B  (June 7, 2015)

11th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (June 14, 2015)

12th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (June 21, 2015)

13th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (June 28, 2015)

14th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 5, 2015)

15th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 12, 2015)

16th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 19, 2015)

17th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 26, 2015)

18th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 2, 2015)

19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 9, 2015)

19th Sunday Ordinary Time TV Mass, Year B (Aug 9, 2015)

Solemnity of the Assumption, Year B (Aug 15, 2015)

20th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 16, 2015)

21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 23, 2015)

22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 30, 2015)

23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Sept 6, 2015)

Feast of the Holy Cross, Year B (Sept 13, 2015)

25th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Sept 20, 2015)

26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Sept 27, 2015)

27th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 4, 2015)

28th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 11, 2015)

29th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 18, 2015)

30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 25, 2015)

Solemnity of All Saints, Year B (Nov 1, 2015)

32th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Nov 8, 2015)

33rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Nov 15, 2015)

Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov 22, 2015)

21 Ideas for Lent

February 18, 2015


  • Practice intentional, daily prayer.
  • Pray with passages from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
  • Pray the Stations of the Cross communally or on your own.
  • Read spiritual books and talk about them with Jesus.
  • Learn more about a saint and grow closer to him or her.
  • Pray the Rosary, imagining yourself present at each of the mysteries.
  • Attend daily Mass.


  • Buy nothing that you do not need.
  • Drink water in place of other beverages.
  • Refrain from complaining.
  • Say only good things about others unless your duty requires otherwise.
  • Keep from the TV, internet, smart phone, iPad, and/or radio.
  • Sleep without a pillow.
  • Choose a distant parking space.


  • Save the money you would normally spend on something else to donate to a cause.
  • Fill a give-away box with things you don’t really need.
  • Clear your closet of clothes the clothes you don’t wear and give them away.
  • When you go shopping, pick up non-perishable food items for the food bank.
  • Contribute to our diocesan annual appeal to support Christ’s work.
  • Give those living in nursing homes or the homebound the gift of a visit.
  • Say three loving things to your spouse and kids each day.

The Biggest Catholic News Stories of 2014

December 17, 2014

Tens of thousands of pro-lifers, mostly young people, ‘March for Life’ in Washington, D.C.

A report by a U.N. committee on children criticizes the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.

Nearly 200 associated Catholic groups file a class-action lawsuit against the HHS contraceptive-abortifacient-sterilization insurance coverage mandate.

Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul the Great are canonized by Pope Francis, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in attendance.

A planned satanic ‘Black Mass’ at Harvard University is canceled following a strong public outcry.

Vatican theologians approve a miracle for the beatification of Bishop Fulton Sheen (however, the process is indefinitely suspended in September due to an inter-diocesan impasse.)

The U.S. Supreme Court rules 6 to 3 in favor of Hobby Lobby’s religious liberty (boding well for Catholic religious conscience cases.)

After atrocities against Christians and Muslims, the U.S. begins airstrikes on ISIS.

Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, WA is named the new archbishop of Chicago, replacing the ailing Cardinal Francis George.
Extraordinary Synod on the Family at the Vatican, October, 2014
The Extraordinary Synod on the Family meets at the Vatican and reaffirms Catholic teachings.

Cardinal Raymond Burke is appointed the new patron of the Knights of Malta.

Pope Francis announces a consistory to name new cardinals in February of 2015.

Questions & Answers About Advent

November 26, 2014

What is an “advent?”

An “advent” is a coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important. It comes from the Latin word for “arrival.”

What does Advent season prepare for?

The coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of the world.

How many years ago was Jesus born?

About 2,014 years ago. That event is fittingly the basis our calendar, for Jesus’ Incarnation is the center of history.

When will Jesus come again in glory?

We do not know precisely, so we must always be ready and prepared for Him.

Why do Isaiah & St. John the Baptist feature in our Sunday readings?

These two prophets preached the coming of the Jewish Messiah and the Kingdom of God He would establish.

What does purple symbolize?

Purple is an ancient symbol for royalty. Jesus will come to us as the King of kings.

Gaudete Sunday Advent CandlesWhy an Advent wreath?

The evergreen branches woven into a circle symbolize eternity and everlasting life.

Why four Advent candles?

They count the four Sundays that precede Christmas.

Why is one candle different?

One candle is rose-colored to mark the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

What is special about the 3rd Sunday?

It marks (more or less) the halfway point on our journey to Christmas. It is called Gaudete Sunday.

What does “Gaudete” mean?

Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin.

Prayers of the Faithful / Petitions / Intercessions (Year A)

November 22, 2014

1st Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 1, 2013)

3rd Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 15, 2013)

4th Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 22, 2013)

Christmas, Year A (Dec 25, 2013)

Feast of the Holy Family, Year A (Dec 29, 2013)

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Year A (Jan 1, 2014)

Solemnity of the Epiphany, Year A (Jan 5, 2014)

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Year A (Jan 12, 2014)

3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Jan 26, 2014)

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Year A (Feb 2, 2014)

5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 9, 2014)

6th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 16, 2014)

7th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 23, 2014)

8th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Mar 2, 2014)

1st Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 9, 2014)

2nd Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 16, 2014)

3rd Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 23, 2014)

4th Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 30, 2014)

5th Sunday Lent, Year A (Apr 6, 2014)

Palm Sunday, Year A (Apr 13, 2014)

Holy Thursday, Year A (April 17, 2014)

Easter Sunday, Year A (Apr 20, 2014)

Divine Mercy Sunday, Year A (Apr 27, 2014)

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 4, 2014)

4th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 11, 2014)

5th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 18, 2014)

6th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 25, 2014)

7th Sunday of Easter, Year A (June 1, 2014)

Pentecost Sunday, Year A (June 8, 2014)

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (June 15, 2014)

Solemnity of Corpus Christi (June 22, 2014)

Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul (June 29, 2014)

14th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 6, 2014)

15th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 13, 2014)

16th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 20, 2014)

17th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 27, 2014)

18th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 3, 2014)

19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 10, 2014)

Solemnity of the Assumption, Year A (Aug 15, 2014)

20th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 17, 2014)

21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 24, 2014)

22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 31, 2014)

23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 7, 2014)

Feast of the Holy Cross, Year A (Sept 14, 2014)

25th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 21, 2014)

26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 28, 2014)

27th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 5, 2014)

28th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 12, 2014)

29th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 19, 2014)

30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 26, 2014)

Solemnity of All Saints, Year A (Nov 1, 2014)

Feast of All Souls, Year A (Nov 2, 2014)

Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran (Nov 9, 2014)

33rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Nov 16, 2014)

Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov 23, 2014)