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The rallying cry

February 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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I confess that after more than four decades as a parish priest, I am still moved by the Scripture readings of Ash Wednesday. That is true even if there may seem to be contrasting expectations.

For example, in the first reading from Joel (2:12-18), the prophet uses words like “Blow a trumpet … call an assembly.” At the same time, in the Gospel passage from Matthew (6:1-6, 16-18) used at the same Mass we hear Jesus say, “When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you.” Read more »

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Lent as a pilgrimage

February 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

When the comedian Stephen Colbert appeared, one Ash Wednesday, on his late-night television show with ashes marking his forehead, I felt a sense of communion.

He’s one of my tribe, I thought. Colbert is a well-known Catholic. He even invited Jesuit Father James Martin to serve as the unofficial “chaplain” to his Comedy Central program.  Read more »

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Ash Wednesday: Rituals and symbols

February 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

Our society is not one that readily embraces the idea of sacrifice. There is little recognition of the profound benefits of self-denial and of giving completely of oneself to others — and to God.

All the more reason, then, for us as Catholics to actively live out the ideals of the penitential season of Lent. One way to prepare ourselves is to better understand the roots and symbolism of the season and the day that starts it all: Ash Wednesday. Read more »

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Living Our Faith: Ash Wednesday

February 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Ashes are distributed at St. Helen Church in Glendale, Ariz., in this 2016 file photo. On Ash Wednesday, we sign ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ, and we strive to live the following 40 days so that the world knows we are Christians. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Ashes are distributed at St. Helen Church in Glendale, Ariz., in this 2016 file photo. On Ash Wednesday, we sign ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ, and we strive to live the following 40 days so that the world knows we are Christians. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

One way to prepare ourselves for Lent is to better understand the day that starts it all: Ash Wednesday.

The words spoken while ashes are pressed on our foreheads ignite us like the opening gun at a race. We’re off. A pilgrimage has begun.

Ash Wednesday is a rally of sorts, to give people encouragement and motivation.

 

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Sunday Scripture readings, Feb. 26, 2017

February 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Isaiah 49:14-15
Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
2) 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34
I will be showing my age and possibly run the risk of losing many Generation X and millennial readers when I use this example, but sometimes when I feel at the end of my rope, or look around at the state of the world or even look at how my day-to-day life can seem out of control, I often think of a 1970s television show called “Hee Haw.” Read more »

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Will you ‘ashtag’ on March 1? On posting Ash Wednesday selfies

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Catholic News Service

Ash Wednesday seems to offer contradictory messages. The Gospel reading for the day is about not doing public acts of piety but the very act of getting ashes and walking around with them is pretty public.

This becomes even less of a private moment when people post pictures of themselves online with their ashes following the #ashtag trend of recent years. Read more »

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Help a neighbor, visit grandparents as part of Lent, Iowa pastor suggests

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Holy Cross-Blessed Sacrament sixth-graders started Lent on Valentine’s Day— sort of.

Father Daniel Rupp, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Sioux City, took time Feb. 14 to talk to the students about the importance of Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season. This year it is March 1.

“How many days is Lent?” the priest asked.

“Forty!” was the nearly unanimous response. Read more »

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Saint of the week — Anne Line

February 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Feast day: Feb. 27

Anne is one of three laywomen among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

St. Anne Line statue at Church of St Etheldreda in London. (2012) (Photo by Marcin Mazur)

St. Anne Line statue at Church of St Etheldreda in London.  (Photo by Marcin Mazur)

Anne Heigham and her brother were disowned by their Protestant father for converting to Catholicism. She married another disinherited convert, Roger Line, who died in exile in Flanders in 1594. Left penniless and always in poor health, Anne began working with Jesuits in London, where she organized and operated safe houses for priests and embroidered vestments. She took voluntary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Within one month, February 1601, she was arrested, tried at the Old Bailey, convicted of hiding a priest, and hanged at Tyburn. Anne is a patron of the childless, widows and converts.

 

 

 

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Greed corrupts beauty of God’s creation, pope says at audience

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Humanity’s greed and selfishness can turn creation into a sad and desolate world instead of the sign of God’s love that it was meant to be, Pope Francis said.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democratic nominee for U.S. vice president in the 2016 election, talks with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York during Pope Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 22. (CNS/Paul Haring)

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democratic nominee for U.S. vice president in the 2016 election, talks with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York during Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 22. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Human beings are often tempted to view creation as “a possession we can exploit as we please and for which we do not have to answer to anyone,” the pope said Feb. 22 at his weekly general audience.

“When carried away by selfishness, human beings end up ruining even the most beautiful things that have been entrusted to them,” the pope said.

As an early sign of spring, the audience was held in St. Peter’s Square for the first time since November. Despite the chilly morning temperatures, the pope made the rounds in his popemobile, greeting pilgrims and kissing bundled-up infants.

Continuing his series of talks on Christian hope, the pope reflected on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, which expresses the hope “that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption.”

St. Paul, the pope said, reminds Christians that creation is a “marvelous gift that God has placed in our hands.”

Through this gift, he said, “we can enter into a relationship with him and recognize the imprint of his loving plan, which we are all called to achieve together.”

Sin, however, breaks communion not only with God but with his creation, “thus making it a slave, submissive to our frailty,” the pope said.  

“Think about water. Water is a beautiful thing; it is so important. Water gives us life and it helps us in everything. But when minerals are exploited, water is contaminated and creation is destroyed and dirtied. This is just one example; there are many,” he said, departing from his prepared remarks.

When people break their relationship with creation, they not only lose their original beauty, he said, but they also “disfigure everything surrounding them,” causing a reminder of God’s love to become a bleak sign of pride and greed.

St. Paul tells believers that hope comes from knowing that God in his mercy wants to heal the “wounded and humbled hearts” of all men and women and, through them, “regenerate a new world and a new humanity, reconciled in his love,” Pope Francis said.

“The Holy Spirit sees beyond the negative appearances for us and reveals to us the new heavens and the new earth that the Lord is preparing for humanity,” the pope said.

“This is the content of our hope. A Christian does not live outside of the world; he knows how to recognize the signs of evil, selfishness and sin in his own life and in what surrounds him,” he said. “But at the same time, a Christian has learned to read all of this with the eyes of Easter, with the eyes of the risen Christ.”

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Natural family planning and sacred responsibility

February 17th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Catholic News Service

When a Catholic man and woman enter into marriage, they enter into another sacred institution at the same time — “responsible parenthood.” The term refers not only to the raising of children, but also to the decision of when to have them.

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ website calls it “the call to discern God’s will for your marriage while respecting his design for life and love.” Read more »

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