Faith and Family is a weekly column by Lani Bogart, in which she provides practical ways to connect the Sunday readings, especially the Gospel, to the lives of families. Lani oversees all things catechetical at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and co-leads the Committee to Serve Wives and Widows of Deacons for the Diocese of Phoenix.

54-day Rosary Novena

09-24-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

A few weeks ago, our Bishop asked all families to pray a 54-day rosary to our Lady of Fatima. For families with small children, he said they should pray just one decade every day. In our family, we are three adults, and since we began praying together, we've received many graces and a renewed hope and peace.

It's not too late for you to join in! Whether you're the mom, the dad, the grandma, or a child, you can decide to pray the rosary and invite other members of your family to pray with you. Who knows how your prayers will be rewarded? We know for God is generous and we can trust him with everything.

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Forgiveness is Not Optional

09-17-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In this week’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that forgiveness is not optional. He has forgiven our sins and we owe that same unconditional mercy to others. But forgiveness is difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to pretend like “it’s really no big deal.” The truth is, if we recognize our need to forgive, we may have to acknowledge that we are wounded. Sometimes it makes us feel weak or ashamed to admit that another has the power to hurt us. Yet, forgiveness must start with the truth about having been wronged. Perhaps we loved someone wholeheartedly and they owed us love in return, but instead they neglected us, or failed to care. Only God loves perfectly. Only with his help can we discover the truth about who we must forgive and find the strength to offer forgiveness to those who have caused us the most pain. Only he can help us to forgive again and again, without counting or keeping track. Ask our Lord for his help to forgive everyone who has ever offended you, especially those who don’t deserve it.

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Asking Forgiveness

09-10-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

When our children were still small, we insisted that when they hurt or offended each other they ask forgiveness. Just saying "Sorry," in that droopy-headed way children (and some grown -ups) do wasn't good enough. They had to name what it was they were sorry for and tell how they planned to do better. "I'm sorry I kicked you. I will go for a run next time I feel that angry." Or, another time, "I'm sorry I accidentally hurt you and I'll try not to do it again". The child who was offended had to shake hands or hug and say, "I forgive you." Sometimes they both needed time before they were ready to ask for and give forgiveness. Our children learned how to handle conflict. It wouldn't have worked if we, as parents, had not done it too.

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Religious Education for Adults

09-03-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

On Sun, Sep 17 we begin Sunday Religious Education for children of all ages and this year we are offering classes for adults too! Parents of children in the Sunday program are required to attend, and all adults are welcome!

English adult sessions begin with the Catholicism video series with Bishop Robert Barron. It is a beautiful award winning series, chockful of information about Christ and the Church he founded. Each Sunday we will watch part of the series, taking time for reflection and discussion.

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Upon this Rock I will build my church...

08-27-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

The Catholic Church is full of flesh and blood—the pope, bishops, priests, deacons, the saints, Mary. They are people like us. But we need not worry. Jesus shows us flesh and blood can be graced with divinity. That is why he came! God has never given up on flesh and blood, which He created in His own image and likeness. Amazingly, He is not afraid to make Peter the rock of His Church. Jesus guarantees that the dark forces of death and deception will never prevail against His flesh and blood Church. Lord Jesus, help us remember that to build a human Church was Your idea; help us do our part to live your kingdom way and to believe that You will see us through.

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Humble Yourselves

08-20-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is silent toward the woman who is begging for a miracle, so she turns to his disciples. When that fails, she humbly kneels before Jesus saying, “Lord, help me.” Jesus answers, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." Doesn’t this sound awfully mean to us? But, Jesus isn’t calling the woman a “dog.” He is using a saying of the day to explain why he must give priority to the Jewish people. It’s like saying that the children must be fed before the pet dog. In humility, the Canaanite woman is willing to think of herself as undeserving as a dog would be compared to the children of a family. However, she points out to Jesus that “crumbs” fall from the children’s table, and the “dogs” are happy to lap them up. This pagan woman teaches us that true believers both humble themselves and hang on for dear life, knowing the goodness of God. “In you, Lord, we have put our hope, and we shall not hope in vain!”

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Do Not Be Afraid

08-13-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

So many questions arise from today’s Gospel. Why did Jesus send his disciples out on the stormy sea? Why did he leave them there all night? They were physically and emotionally exhausted and they feared for their lives. Didn’t Jesus know that his ghostly appearance would make them even more terrified? Is it their fear that keeps them from recognizing him? The very moment they cry out in fear, he speaks, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." What more do we need when facing our most dreaded fears? Jesus’ own presence with us is more than enough to calm the scariest storms in our lives. In the storms of your life, look for him. Listen to his voice. Trust him when he says he is with you. Do not be afraid.

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Week of August 6

08-06-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration when we contemplate the great mystery of Christ’s power and glory. He could have used his power to escape suffering. He could have used his glory to command our allegiance. Instead he shows us the path of love. He shows us how to suffer in a way that brings redemption.

How can we imitate our Lord this week? As parents, how can we choose the path of humility and love for those God has put in our family? As a son or daughter, or brother or sister, how can we walk the path of love, even if it means suffering? When we choose to follow him in humility and love, we will know his light and his glory!

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God is not in a hurry!

07-23-2017Faith and Family

Today’s readings show us that God is not in a hurry! It is dangerous to make judgments based on first impressions, before the proper amount of time has passed. No, God is not in a hurry. In our world today—fast is good, instant is better. Slow down and talk about one or more of today’s parables with your family. Let Jesus’ words sink in and renew your mind. What do these parables teach about time? About judging too soon? About letting God do his hidden work in us in His own time?

¡Las lecturas de hoy nos  muestranque Dios no tiene prisa! Es peligroso hacer juicios basados en las primeras impresiones, antes de que haya pasado un tiempo apropiado. No, Dios no tiene prisa. En nuestro mundo de hoy, rápido es bueno, instantáneo es mejor. Reduzca la velocidad y hable de una o más de las parábolas de hoy con su familia. Deje que las palabras de Jesús inunden y renueven su mente. ¿Qué enseñan estas parábolas sobre el tiempo? ¿Sobre juzgar demasiado pronto? ¿Sobre dejar que Dios haga su obra oculta en nosotros en Su tiempo?

Childlike Qualities

07-09-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus praises God, the Father for hiding things from the wise and learned and revealing them to the childlike. What childlike qualities open us to receive from God? Maybe humility, which allows us the freedom to be who we are and not pretend to be better or worse than we are. Or perhaps joy and gratitude for simple gifts. Take some time to see and name the childlike qualities in each member of your family and praise God together for his goodness!

En el Evangelio de este domingo, Jesús alaba a Dios Padre por es- conder cosas a los sabios y revelarselas a los niños. ¿Qué cualidades infantiles abrimos para recibir de Dios? Tal vez la humildad, que nos permite la libertad de ser quien somos y no pretender ser mejor o peor de lo que somos. O tal vez alegría y gratitud por regalos simples. Tómese un tiempo para ver y nombrar las cualidades infantiles en cada miembro de su familia y alaben juntos a Dios por su bondad!

Do Not Fear

07-02-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Can you find four reasons in today's first reading that we do not need to be afraid? In the Psalm find three more reasons not to fear. Then in the Gospel Jesus warns us against fear three times. "Fear no one." "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." "So, do not be afraid."

The one thing we should be afraid of is "the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." The Church teaches that the stubborn refusal to repent from sin and trust in God is the one thing that can destroy both soul and body.

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Do Not Be Afraid

06-25-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Can you find four reasons in to day's first reading that we do not need to be afraid? In the Psalm find three more reasons not to fear. Then in the Gospel Jesus warns us against fear three times. "Fear no one." "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." "So, do not be afraid." The one thing we should be afraid of is "the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." The Church teaches that the stubborn refusal to repent from sin and trust in God is the one thing that can destroy both soul and body. How can you help your family turn away from sin this week? Trust in God. He knows every detail of your family life and will give you all you need to live his words – Do not fear!

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Eat His Body, Drink His Blood

06-18-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

How strange the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ can be for non-Catholics! As a 10-year-old public school, my seatmate was a second grader in a Catholic school uniform. One day I heard her quietly singing, over and over, in the mindless way young children do,

Eat his body, drink his blood. Eat his body, drink his blood...

Disturbed, I listened more closely to be sure I'd heard correctly. At home, I told my mom, "Isn't that awful? She kept singing about eating someone's body and drinking their blood!"

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The Most Holy Trinity

06-11-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Today we remember the central mystery of our faith – the Most Holy Trinity. Talk to your children about the great mystery of One God in Three Divine Persons. Look once more at all the readings we heard at Mass. Why does the Church give us these readings on Trinity Sunday? Today's Gospel contains
the most famous verse in the entire Bible. Help yourchild memorize John 3:16.

Hoy recordamos el misterio central de nuestra fe-La Santísima Trinidad. Hable con sus hijos sobre el gran misterio de Un Dios en Tres Personas Divinas. Vea una vez más todas las lecturas que escuchamos en Misa. ¿Por quéla Iglesia nos da estas lecturas en el DomingoTrinitario? El Evangelio de hoy contiene el versomás famoso de toda la Biblia. Ayude a su hijo a memorizarJuan3:16.