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January 28, 2014
A little over a year after Matt Birk and the Baltimore Ravens emerged victorious in the Super Bowl, Matt will be back home in the Twin Cities signing copies of his new book All-Pro Wisdom.
Birk, a former player for the Minnesota Vikings and graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul is a committed Catholic and active in the pro-life, pro-marriage and religious freedom movements.
When: 10:30 – Noon, February 8
Where: St. Patrick’s Guild
154 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
January 17, 2014
- App for iPhone or Android
- Daily text messages
- Daily emails
- Online novena page
To sign up for any or all of these, visit the 9daysforlife website.
More about 9 Days for Life
9 Days for Life: Get your information here! Kathy Schneeman on what’s going on locally
A day to march for the unborn and a culture of life Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville, Ky on the pro-life efforts of the Church nationally
Nine days of prayer part of Roe v. Wade anniversary General information from Catholic News Service
December 10, 2013
It doesn’t matter whether you have season tickets to the Minnesota Wild or don’t know what to call that black disc thingy on the ice rink. In her book “The Catechism of Hockey,” Alyssa Bormes will help you understand the complexities of the Catholic Church using hockey analogies.
Skeptics, take heed. Bormes is the first to admit she knew very little about hockey before writing the book. (Her “technical adviser” is a friend’s son and bonafide hockey player.) But for me, who has only a fascination with hockey because of the fights, the parallels Bormes makes between the sport and my faith make complete sense. (Sports enthusiasts, please don’t dismiss my opinion just because I proclaim my sports apathy. Surely, between my Gopher hockey fan of a brother and my husband, who takes an interest in everything from football to curling, I know how important sports are.)
Bormes compares going to “the box” in hockey to going to the confessional. She suggests that we’re at our best in the confessional; our worst was when we were sinning. The redemption found in the confessional brings us back to playing at “full strength.”
She pushes us past the analogies and makes us question why we don’t put as much fervor into our faith as we do our beloved sports:
“In hockey, families will sacrifice physically, spiritually, and financially. . . . We rarely ask our children to physically and spiritually sacrifice when it comes to the Faith. This is exactly why offering it up has been relegated to a type of Catholic humor. Yet, suffering for the Faith doesn’t break the souls of our youth, it elevates them. There is a great satisfaction in having given everything — putting the heart into it. When our youth learn to serve, to really offer up, to be Christ to others, they experience a new sort of victory.”
Bormes merges two worlds that are often separate, but shouldn’t be. People talk about the game after Mass, but do they ever talk about God during the game? The book has been lauded as an unconventional evangelizing tool. And rightly so. Her approach makes people ask themselves: What am I doing to live my faith, to share my faith?
What gives merit to the book is Bormes’ personal story of how she took a 17-year hiatus from the Church only to return with gusto — speaking about her faith publicly, studying in Rome, receiving a master’s degree in Catholic studies, leading retreats and teaching Catechism.
- Read about Bormes and her book: thecatholicspirit.com
- Purchase the book: alyssabormes.com
- Hear Bormes share about “the book of four shoulder surgeries” in the video below:
November 1, 2013
October 17, 2013
I left the Rediscover: event at the Saint Paul RiverCentre on Saturday with fresh encouragement to take my faith to the next level. Matthew Kelly challenged all 5,000 of us by asking whether the would be a life-changing day or just another day? “It’s up to you,” he said. “You decide.”
George Weigel urged us to take our baptism much more seriously. The world needs us, he said. “We are on a battlefield and the walking wounded are all around us.” He called this “mission territory,” and said it has never been more important that we fulfill the great commission to spread the Good News.
Father Robert Barron capped the day with practical suggestions for all us modern-day evangelists. Bringing a little notebook with me to the event, I wrote the suggestions down, and am delighted to share them here, in case you weren’t there on Oct. 12:
Lead with beauty to get to goodness and truth. Father said it is rare to win someone over with arguments about goodness or truth. Secular culture has relativized goodness and truth to the point where people have trouble agreeing on what is good and what is true. But most of us can recognize beauty. And the Church has so much beautiful music, architecture, art, etc., to share. A person might become more disposed to accepting goodness and truth if they have been prepared by common admiration of true beauty.
Don’t dumb down the faith. Father Barron said we have hurt ourselves by reducing the message of Vatican II to “banners and balloons.” Noting the rich intellectual tradition of the Church, Fr. Barron said we need smart explanations of the faith to counter the arguments against God and Church coming from the secular world, which is largely well-educated.
Preach with ‘ardor.’ That’s an easy one to understand. Who would you rather listen to: a dull speaker or an exciting speaker? Of course, we all prefer the exciting speaker. People can hear the passion in your voice; let it come through when you are talking about your faith.
Tell the great story. Explain that Jesus Christ was crucified and rose from the dead in the climactic story of the Bible. This is THE good news. All the stories in the Bible – creation, the fall, the formation of the people of Israel, the life of Christ, the early Church – are part of the Great Story. And the story doesn’t end with the Bible. We are part of the story, too! “Teach the Bible,” Father Barron said.
Emphasize the Augustinian anthropology. Father unpacked that one for us. What he means is that St. Augustine said, “Lord, you have made us for yourself, therefore our hearts are restless until it rests in Thee.” Because of the way God made us, we all have a void in our lives that only can be filled by God. We mistakenly try to fill the void with things like wealth, pleasure, power and honor, but everything leaves us wanting. This is a belief shared by some of our most famous modern-day philosophers – Mick Jagger said, “I can’t get no satisfaction;” U2 sings, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” and Bruce Springsteen has a song called “Everyone Has a Hungry Heart.”
Stress the Irenaeus doctrine of God. St. Irenaeus taught that God does not need us. This is great news because it means that God does not give us things and do things for us to get anything back from us. The only reason He does anything for us is because He loves us.
Any one of these tips can make us better evangelists. There’s a lot of work to do, so let’s get to work!
Blog author Tom Bengtson is a local small business owner and writer. You can contact Bengtson by visiting his website.
September 28, 2013
It’s a daunting task for most, but Lino Rulli is up to the challenge. In fact, the St. Paul native and host of Sirius/XM Radio’s “The Catholic Guy” show would like to get there a little faster than the rest of us. In his new book “Saint,” he makes the tongue-in-cheek case for why the Church should canonize him today. (After all, why trust your friends to push your sainthood cause after you die when you can do it yourself?)
In all seriousness, however, the book has a deeper purpose: to encourage you to focus on your spiritual growth and help you “to realize that you might not be as big a sinner as you think, and that, with God’s help, you might just become a saint.”
“Saint” is a follow-up to “Sinner,” Lino’s first book of short, humorous and inspiring stories aimed at encouraging us to live out our faith despite our imperfections. In “Saint,” Lino turns once again to short stories about his life — some funny, some painfully honest, and many with a short nugget of reflection about lessons he learned along the way.
At the end of one story, for example, about an instance when he successfully resisted what can be described as a “temptation of the flesh,” Lino writes: “A saint isn’t someone who has never been tested; a saint is a person who has been tested and, with God’s help, has passed — or, with God’s help, has gotten up the next morning and tried again.”
Saints you can relate to
While Lino was in town yesterday to talk about his book, I asked why he would invest the time and energy to remind people about the call to sainthood. Here’s what he said:
“I guess the reason people like [‘Sinner’] is because a lot of them could relate to it. But, the other side of that coin is the fact that we do need to be reminded that we’re not just a bunch of miserable losers because we fail. For whatever reason, God loves us and we’re still called to holiness. It’s sort of a contradiction in our lives, but it’s the reality of our lives.”
And where can average Joes like myself draw that affirmation and inspiration, other than from Lino and the stories of people who already have a place in the Church’s catalog of saints?
“I get inspired by the average person in church. When I see the mom and dad in church Sunday morning with kids running around like maniacs and you’re going to lose your mind, it inspires me. They don’t have it all together, but they know it would be ten times worse if they didn’t try to go to church. . . . Those are the saints who inspire me: the guy who says I went out Saturday night but I’m still waking up and going to church Sunday morning. Or the single mom. Or even the older people who have their own problems and struggles. I really do look around and I go: We’re all called to be saints, but we’re all saints in the making.”
Chances are future generations won’t be reading about St. Lino in the Church’s official catalog of saints. But he — and the rest of us — should always be striving to be counted eventually among those in heaven.
“Saints” concludes with these wise words:
“Sometimes you chase me, Lord. Sometimes I chase you. But the only time I’ll quit running, the only time I will finally feel at peace, will be when I’m at home with you: there in heaven. That’s when I’ll truly be called a saint.”
August 27, 2013
Apparently Pope Francis is calling people in Italy. He’s not having his people make the call mind you. He’s just picking up the phone and making a personal call.
So what do you say if you get the call?
Telephone etiquette for ‘the cold-call pope’ (NCR)
August 12, 2013
If you haven’t had an opportunity to hear this yet you really should.
From the Rediscover website:
Singer-songwriter Eliot Morris has been recording since 2002 and toured nationally with acts including James Taylor, Nickel Creek, John Mayer and Counting Crows. After years of witnessing the ups and downs of the music industry, as well as a brief but frightening health crisis, Eliot reassessed both his music and his life with a deeper sense of urgency.
The song may be heard here.
An interview with Eliot on The Rediscover: Hour radio show may be heard here at about 27 minutes into the show.
If you would like to learn more about Eliot, his story and the story behind his song please watch for an interview in the upcoming August 15 issue of The Catholic Spirit and TheCatholicSpirit.com.
July 26, 2013
St. Joachim and St. Anne
For all those who bear the cross of infertility
Lord, God, thank you for the gift of life and for the gift of children. This very day we ask you for a special blessing and healing upon all those couples who so desire the gift of a child and wait patiently for Your timing. Grant them the supernatural gifts of hope, trust and patience in Your Divine Providence. Guide all who labor and research to help infertile couples to your Divine Wisdom and to follow the natural law and moral order that you have established. Give all who struggle with this pain complete resignation to Your Divine Will. Bless and strengthen those families who have adopted a child or who serve as foster parents. Help all couples who struggle with infertility to remain chaste and pure. And grant them the grace to drink joyfully from this bitter cup, offering up their pain and agony for the salvation of souls. Dear St. Joachim and St. Anne, you, too, knew the sorrow of being childless. Intercede for these couples that God, too, in His perfect time and way may grant to them the precious and eternal gift of a child. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all couples who yearn for a child that they may be forever blessed with such a precious gift, done all in accord with Your Most Holy Will. Amen.
One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.
Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us.
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis