Have we hardened our hearts? Catholic priests, deacons, religious and some lay people, pray today's Psalm every morning in the Liturgy of the Hours. To be honest, sometimes I wish we could skip the bit that says, "if today you hear his voice harden not your hearts as your fathers did in the wilderness . . ." Why drag up the disobedience of our spiritual ancestors every single day? We like to imagine we would have trusted if we'd seen the kind of miracles they saw; the parting of the Red Sea, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night.READ MORE
This week we begin Catholic Schools Week throughout our diocese. It is a time to focus on the importance of Catholic education for our children...and also for all of us. While we focus on our schools specifically, remember that our religious education program for public school children is also a “school” and they just as important.
Our school at OLPH has a rich history, and it has been growing steadily since I arrived as your pastor. You can be very proud of the education that is taught here, and that includes our catechetical school.READ MORE
“We do not fight flesh and blood, we fight principalities” (Eph. 6:12). All arguments, disagreements, conflicts and wars are from the destructive enemy. Conflict has a basis in one of the seven deadly sins with pride as the root: “My way; I deserve that; my idea; my money; I will get even; I’m right; I’m angry with you; I don’t love you anymore; I fear you don’t like me; I won’t say I am sorry; it’s not my fault.” Sixty-six percent of first marriages fail because the evil one is allowed to manipulate the feelings of the couple into angry arguments, fights and hurt feelings. If you argue and can’t get along with your spouse, you are in a very dangerous place as the evil one wants to destroy your sacramental marriage. No one wants to be duped and yet we are used when we let the evil one provoke us into fights and arguments with our beloved. It always goes back to pride, self- love, fear, getting even and hurt feelings.READ MORE
In 1990 our family heard Jesus' call to become full time missionaries in Guatemala. We sold most of our possessions and left behind our friends and family to begin an unimaginable adventure not knowing that it would lead us to the Catholic Church. What grace we found there! And Jesus keeps calling. Daily he asks us to leave behind whatever we have become attached to, so we can freely answer his call and be fully his.
Jesus is calling you to follow him. His call is not just for a few. What will you leave behind to follow Jesus? Are you attached to a house? A job? A relationship? Your own dream of "the good life"? Your idea of the "perfect family"? A certain neighborhood or lifestyle?READ MORE
During Advent last year, we introduced a new program for our parish: Formed. We enrolled as a parish with the Augustine Institute so that you can receive and use this valuable resource to your Catholic faith.
Formed is a program that allows you to watch or listen to some of the great current speakers in our church today. Also, there are movies available at various age levels that promote our values rather than secular values. These programs are available in English and Spanish.READ MORE
"Encourage and help one another" (1Thes. 5:11). Catholic marriage is unique and should be lived differently than a secular marriage. You and your spouse are the sacrament bound together by the divine love of Christ so your relationship needs to reflect Christ's divine love. Sacramental marriage is not a game or a competition where there are winners and losers. Sarcasm, yelling, criticism, complaining and disparaging talk are not part of a holy sacrament. The world and our toxic culture reject Christ, His Church and the supernatural character of the sacraments. Therefore, Catholic marriage needs to look, sound and feel kinder and more loving than marriages that are not sacramental.READ MORE
Today we begin our Sundays of what the church calls "ordinary time". Maybe a better translation would be "ordinal time", or "counted time". These are the numbered Sundays that do not fall in one of the four great seasons of the liturgical year: Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.
Of course, there is nothing ordinary about ordinary time. This is the time when we walk with Jesus through his adult ministry and listen closely to his teaching. It is a time just as important as the other great seasons.READ MORE
Jesus said, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5: 48). Many married couples embark on marriage with the hope of having a perfect wedding, marriage and family. Perfectionism is a priority in their lives as they try to control the world, spouse and family. Jesus' call to perfection has to do with holiness, a desire for personal holiness based on a disciplined obedience to the will of God rather than control of spouse. Jesus wants to help us with our quest for perfect holiness so He gave His Church the needed tools to help us. He awaits us in reconciliation to provide the graces needed for holiness to help let go of anger, pride, fear, bitterness, disappointments, past hurts and all issues that lack love and exert control.READ MORE
Sacramental Catholic wedding vows are a very serious covenant between God and couple. Unlike civil contracts that can be broken when one or both of the parties decide it's over, in a Catholic wedding, the couple pledges their faithful love for life, "In good times and bad, sickness and health." This vow is made in the holy space of a Catholic Church in the presence of God, family and friends. As a covenant, it is binding, exclusive, indissoluble, faithful and mutually self-giving. Contrast this with the civil marriage where couples marry in a variety of outdoor venues or hotels, writing cute vows such as, "I will love you until butterflies don't fly" or "I will always love your cutesmile."READ MORE
Blessed John Henry Newman wrote: "The year is worn out: spring, summer, autumn, each in turn have brought their utmost, but they are over and the end is come. All is past and gone, all has failed…and the austere weather which succeeds, though ungrateful to the body, is in tone with our feelings, and acceptable. Thus the soul is cast forward upon the future…and does it rejoice that there are new heavens and a new earth to come. These are the feelings of holy men (and women) waiting earnestly for the Advent of Christ."READ MORE
Today, on the Feast of the Epiphany we might wonder about the unusual gifts the Magi brought for a newborn baby? When we hear about these gifts, we're meant to ask, "Who could this child be?" Gold is for royalty – will he be a king? Frankincense is used in worship. Is he a priest? And myrrh is used in burial rites. How and when will he die?
What can we learn from the Magi who were not from Israel? They followed the light of the star on a very long journey to worship the child Jesus. They studied the ancient prophecies, they were overjoyed at seeing the star, and they brought their best gifts for Jesus.READ MORE