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9 days, 4 high tech ways to pray to end abortion

January 17, 2014

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9days-day1-color-ENGThis year, to mark the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the USCCB has made available four different ways to engage in a novena for life:

  • 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.

The USCCB also has a People of Life Facebook page which includes a 9 Days for Life event page.

 

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

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‘The Catechism of Hockey': not just for sports fans

December 10, 2013

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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.

Cat of Hockey CoverSkeptics, 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.”

web.Alyssa BormesBormes 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.

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Boy joins Pope Francis on stage, steals the show

November 1, 2013

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This story was all over the internet. Here are a couple of videos:

A child walks near Pope Francis as he addresses pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Oct. 26. The pope addressed an estimated 100,000 people taking part in a Year of Faith celebration of family life. CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters

A child walks near Pope Francis as he addresses pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 26. The pope addressed an estimated 100,000 people taking part in a Year of Faith celebration of family life. CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters

 

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What I took away from the Rediscover: event

October 17, 2013

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Father Robert Barron at the Rediscover: Catholic Celebration. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

Father Robert Barron at the Rediscover: Catholic Celebration. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

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

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Canonize Lino Rulli? His new book shows how we’re all saints in the making

September 28, 2013

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photoThe Catholic Church calls each and every one of us to answer the call to holiness and strive toward sainthood — even in light of our obvious weaknesses and everyday struggles with sin.

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.”

Read more about Lino and his new book on his website. You can also order the book from Servant Books.

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Pope Francis, line one

August 27, 2013

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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.

‘Hello, it’s Pope Francis': Italian teenager gets surprise phone call  (Telegraph)

So what do you say if you get the call?
Telephone etiquette for ‘the cold-call pope’ (NCR)

 

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Rediscover: the song

August 12, 2013

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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.

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Don’t miss 2013 Rediscover: big event

July 19, 2013

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2013 Rediscover: Catholic Celebration with Archbishop Nienstedt, Matthew Kelly, Father Robert Barron, and George Weigel — Saturday, Oct. 12 at St. Paul River Centre

 

TextJoin with fellow Catholics from across the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as we celebrate the depth and beauty of our Catholic faith. We’ll come together as a local Church for Mass. We’ll be inspired by internationally-known speakers and great music.  We’ll get a chance to learn about exciting faith formation, worship and service opportunities throughout the Archdiocese and beyond in the Rediscover exhibit hall. The 2013 Rediscover: Catholic Celebration is for all Catholics who want to find new ways to live out their faith more fully. Programming is planned for Spanish speakers and children & youth. Don’t miss this engaging, faith-filled day for the whole family!

Event programming: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Building opens at 7:00 a.m. and remains open after the event program to allow for extra time to visit exhibitors.

Ticket prices:

  • Adult: $15.00
  • Youth, grades 7-10: $7.00
  • Children, grades K-6: $5.00

Emceed by Jeff Cavins

Overview of the day: 

Mass begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by morning and afternoon speaker sessions. The day ends with a closing session led by Bishop Lee Piché. Children grades K-6 and youth in grades 7-10 will remain with their parents for the opening Mass, before going to their own morning and afternoon sessions with age specific programming. Children and youth will return to their parents at lunch and again at the closing session. After morning Mass, Spanish speakers are invited to attend morning and afternoon breakout sessions in Spanish, and return to the closing session.

Parking and transportation:

  • Parking is limited and event parking rates may apply. There is parking connected via skyway in the RiverCentre ramp, as well as parking options in other downtown lots near the RiverCentre.
  • Busing organized by parishes or other groups is highly recommended.
  • Groups/parishes are responsible for arranging their own buses. Contact your parish to ask if busing is being planned.
  • Parishes:
    • For a list of recommended bus companies, please contact Barb Spurlin in the Office of Parish Services at 651-290-1616.
    • There is a bus drop-off lane on Kellogg Boulevard in front of the main street-level entrance to Saint Paul RiverCentre.
    • The RiverCenter offers a suggested location for bus parking.

Do you have questions? Please contact Rediscover@archspm.org or call the Rediscover: Program Support Helpline at 651-291-4411.

Register online today!

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The animated Pope Francis

July 1, 2013

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Something cool from the folks over at Catholic Link.

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A few good apps

June 27, 2013

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I’ve recently pruned my apps on my phone and after some thought this is what I consider essential in my Catholic folder:

Laudate
This has way too much to cover. I use it primarily to preview the readings before Mass.
iTunes
Play

Missio
The Pope actually launched this himself. That alone is reason to have this app.

Confession
This app provides a customized examination of conscience and step by step guide through the sacrament along with a place for reflections, etc. It does come at a cost of $1.99.

Rediscover: App
Rediscover your Catholic faith. “There is a path to meaning and purpose, a sense of belonging, inner strength, true freedom and deep peace. It’s a path you know.”

Geo-locate a parish for Mass times or adoration hours or times of confession in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

400+ short articles and videos on everything from God to culture

The Pope App
Homilies, general audiences. Follow the pope as closely as you would like.
iTunes
Play

Divine Mercy
Lots of info on the devotion and an easy-to-use set of virtual beads to pray with

iBreviary TS
The Liturgy of the Hours and more

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