"Making a connection. Telling a story. Being a witness. That’s what catechists do. As translators of the truth they seek to give away what they possess because it was so freely passed onto them."

Pat Gohn - writer, speaker, catechist

The F.U.N. Quotient… pee wee football edition

This isn’t just something fun. This is something that will warm your heart. Way to go, boys! Proud that your from MA.

Read more here. 

Facing the sword of martyrdom, St Cyprian responds: “Thanks be to God!”

From today’s Office of Readings:

On the morning of the fourteenth of September a great crowd gathered at the Villa Sexti, in accordance with the order of the governor Galerius Maximus. That same day the governor commanded Bishop Cyprian to be brought before him for trial in the court of Sauciolum.

After Cyprian was brought in, the governor asked him: “Are you Thascius Cyprian?”

And the bishop replied: “Yes, I am.”

The governor Galerius Maximus said: “Have you posed as the pontiff of a sacrilegious group?”

The bishop answered: “I have,”

Then the governor said: “Our most venerable emperors have commanded you to perform the religious rites.”

Bishop Cyprian replied: “I will not do so.”

Galerius Maximus said: “Consider your position.”

Cyprian replied: “Follow your orders. In such a just cause there is no need for deliberation.”

Then Galerius Maximus, after consulting with his council, reluctantly issued the following judgment: “You have long lived with your sacrilegious convictions, and you have gathered about yourself many others in a vicious conspiracy. You have set yourself up as an enemy of the gods of Rome and our religious practices. The pious and venerable emperors, the Augusti, Valerian and Gallienus, and Valerian the most noble of Caesars, have been unable to draw you back to the observance of their holy ceremonies. You have been discovered as the author and leader of these heinous crimes, and will consequently be held forth as an example for all those who have follow you in your crime. By your blood the law shall be confirmed.”

Next he read the sentence from a tablet: “It is decided that Thascius Cyprian should die by the sword.”

Cyprian responded: “Thanks be to God!”

After the sentence was passed, a crowd of his fellow Christians said: “We should also be killed with him!”

There arose an uproar among the Christians, and a great mob followed after him. Cyprian was then brought out to the grounds of the Villa Sexti, where, taking off his outer cloak and kneeling on the ground, he fell before the Lord in prayer. He removed his dalmatic and gave it to the deacons, and then stood erect while waiting for the executioner. When the executioner arrived, Cyprian told his friends to give the man twenty-five gold pieces. Cloths and napkins were being spread out in front of him by the brethren. Then the blessed Cyprian covered his eyes with his own hands, but when he was unable to tie the ends of the linen himself, the priest Julian and the sub-deacon Julian fastened them for him.

In this way the blessed Cyprian suffered, and his body was laid out at a nearby place to satisfy the curiosity of the pagans. During the night Cyprian’s body was triumphantly borne away in a procession of Christians who, praying and bearing tapers and torches, carried the body to the cemetery of the governor Macrobius Candidianus which lies on the Mappalian Way near the fish ponds. Not many days later the governor Galerius Maximus died.

The most blessed martyr Cyprian suffered on the fourteenth of September under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, in the reign of our true Lord Jesus Christ, to whom belong honor and glory for ever. Amen.

From the proconsular Acts of the martyrdom of Saint Cyprian, bishop
(Acta, 3-6: CSEL 3, 112-114)

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St Cyprian, and St Cornelius, pray for us!! 

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The number of persons dying for the Christian faith in the last hundred years is staggering, so said this report from 2002.

In two millennia of Christian history, about 70 million faithful have given their lives for the faith, and of these, 45.5 million — fully 65% — were in the last century, according to “The New Persecuted” (“I Nuovi Perseguitati”).

12 years later, we are seeing an increase in persecutions. Just last year, John L. Allen, Jr. wrote a book, A Global War on Christians, in which he said, this “global war on Christians is in many ways the greatest story never told about the 21st century.” His report, it seems to me now, to be prophetic.

Two months ago, Pope Francis talked about the recent persecutions, especially in the Middle East.

“Today – [Pope Francis said] – we look upon the Church of Rome that grows, fed by the blood of martyrs. So it is right – he continued – that our thoughts turn to the many martyrs of today, the many martyrs who give their lives for faith. It is true that during the times of Nero many Christians were persecuted, and today – he said – there are just as many.”

“There are many martyrs today, in the Church, many persecuted Christians. Think of the Middle East where Christians must flee persecution, where Christians are killed. Even those Christians who are forced away in an ‘elegant’ way, with ‘white gloves’: that too is persecution. There are more witnesses, more martyrs in the Church today than there were in the first centuries. So during this Mass, remembering our glorious ancestors, let us think also to our brothers who are persecuted, who suffer and who, with their blood are nurturing the seed of so many little Churches that are born. Let us pray for them and for us”.

In the days since then, we’ve seen an escalation of epic proportions. There are calls for prayers, and for help for the victims and refugees who have had to flee persecution.

“It has shocked the conscience of the world that people are systematically being purged from the region where their families have lived for millennia simply for their faith. It is imperative that we stand in solidarity with them in defense of the freedom of religion and conscience, and provide them with whatever relief we can.”

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus

The Order of the Knight of Columbus has a long history of providing humanitarian relief and has long supported persecuted Christians. You can donate here.

Catholic Relief Services continues to provide help too, donate here.

 

 

This makes me think… just praise Him! Always!

Nothing, then, must keep us back, nothing separate us from him, nothing come between us and him. 

At all times and seasons, in every country and place, every day and all day, we must have a true and humble faith, and keep him in our hearts, where we must love, honor, adore, serve, praise and bless, glorify and acclaim, magnify and thank, the most supreme and eternal God, Three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Creator of all, and Saviour of those who believe in him, hope in him, and who love him; without beginning and without end, he is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable and ineffable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed and worthy of all praise.

-St Francis of Assisi-
Rule of 1221, Ch. XXIII*

 

 

 

*Source

 

The F.U.N. Quotient… Catholic geek edition

The F.U.N. Quotient… Catholic geek edition

I’ve had a few days to relax and retreat (and yes, work) while at Chiara Center in Springfield, IL. It’s a lovely place, and the Sisters are very hospitable and this is a very modern facility. I love the Franciscan heritage and the profoundly beautiful St Francis of Assisi church on the property. (Read all about it, with photos. in this PDF.)

My prayer times have been very special. And, well, my Catholic geeky side has been enthralled, much like when I’ve been at other cathedrals, basilicas, or shrines. Thought you’d like to share in the fun.

Of course the oldest things in here, beside the dirt the church is built on, are the relics. Let’s start with the church’s patron, St Francis.

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St Francis of Assisi’s reliquary

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First class relic, bone of the saint.

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Ornate reliquary containing a fragment of the True Cross, with authentication alongside.

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Close up of a splinter from the Cross

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A view from across the grounds.

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Facade of St Francis Assisi Church

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A mosaic of Francis is over the front door “greeting” you as you arrive… it’s Francis depicted as receiving the stigmata. (Don’t know what that is? Go look it up.)

There’s wonderful marbles and stained glass and art all through the church.

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A view from the rear balcony

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Inside the dome.

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The tabernacle, complete with cherubim, reminiscent of the Ark of the Covenant.

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help. (Yes that is all marble from several different European countries.) (This is kind of rare to see in the States.)

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St Teresa of Avila

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St Rita of Cascia

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St Rose of Lima

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St Joseph with the child Jesus

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St John the Evangelist, and beloved disciple

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I love this depiction of Martha and Mary of Bethany with Jesus.

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This one stirred me… Jesus in Gethsemane — the agony in the Garden.

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“Ecce Homo” = “Behold the man.” (What Pilate said about Jesus.) (And yes, those eyes are amazing. I never before felt like stained glass was staring at me till I saw this one)

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Entrance to Chiara Center – where tomorrow 100+ women from the Diocese of Springfield will come for our women’s conference together.

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One more of St Francis, from the grounds.

All photos taken by me, Pat Gohn, with my trusty iPhone 4s.

Never forget. This is a day for prayer and memories, and renewed resolve.

Never forget. This is a day for prayer and memories, and renewed resolve.

I’m praying today. I’m remembering. I’m committing this nation in prayer to our Blessed Mother, the Patroness of the Americas. Let us pray for America’s leaders that they might have renewed resolve to fight terror threats and fight for the dignity of human persons everywhere.

“Terror attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot shake the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

- President George W. Bush-

“The moment to spend with a husband who loves me, or a sick friend, or a delicious new grandchild is here and now. Not some time later …. The nation learned this lesson all at once that horrible day in September 2001. The pictures stay with us — the fires and falling debris, and, most hauntingly, the faces. Look how young so many of them were, people who thought there would be much more time, a lot of ‘later’ when they could do all the things they really wanted to do. I grieve for their families — especially for those, like me, who haven’t found any trace of the people they loved. But I grieve even more for the people who died that day. They couldn’t know what we know now about the precious gift of time.”

- Cokie Roberts- contributing senior news analyst for NPR News-

Sept. 11, 2001, stands as the defining event of the 21st century. For me, 9/11 remains puzzling. It was the worst day of my life and the best day. It was the worst day because of the incomprehensible death, destruction and evil. Very soon after the attacks, we began to understand the threat posed by Islamic extremist terrorism.

Sept. 11 was also the best day because it put on display the very finest human instincts — compassion, courage, kindness, selflessness. First responders rushed into what they knew was a life-threatening emergency. Neighbors helped neighbors, and aid poured from good people all over the country and the world.

When people endure a traumatic event, they are either defeated or made stronger. On Sept. 11, I told New Yorkers, “I want you to emerge stronger from this.” My words were partially a hope and partially an observation that people in New York City handle big things better than little things. I could not be more proud of the way my city responded.

- Rudi Giuliani, former NYC mayor-



Among Women 183: Falling in love with the Trinity — and the feminine genius

Among Women 183: Falling in love with the Trinity — and the feminine genius

This latest episode of Among Women features the faith story of Nan Balfour, whose love and faith in God led her to knowing her feminine genius .

Speaker_BalfourTogether we explore the gift of faith and what it means to fall in love with God, and how it changes the way we love and live. Nan Balfour shares pivotal conversion moments in her life — a life of on-going conversion — and how they led her to what she does now. Nan is a leader with the Pilgrim Center of Hope, and the conference coordinator for the Catholic Women’s Conference in San Antonio coming up Sept 19-20.

In our “Blessed are They” segment, we pray along with Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity — whose faith was wrapped up in love of the Holy Trinity.

Don’t miss this episode, and share it with your friends on social media, and put an announcement in your church bulletin for Among Women.

Don’t forget to like Among Women Podcast on Facebook, and leave a positive rating and a review on our iTunes page. Thanks!

For details on upcoming conferences and retreats with me, Pat Gohn, go here. 

 

What is the missionary impulse? Find out!  Details about Proclaim 2014!

What is the missionary impulse? Find out! Details about Proclaim 2014!

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What is the missionary impulse?

This missionary impulse is implicit in our baptism. We Catholics are baptized into the Church. The blessing of our baptism is not only that it brings us into relationship with God, and into relationship with every member of the Church, but we are baptized into the mission of the Church.

What is that mission? Jesus made it plain.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

-Matthew 28: 19-20-

Our mission is to not only BE disciples ourselves, but to help MAKE disciples. The Gospel is not only an invitation, but also our marching orders: To be like Jesus by following him and imitating him. That’s the missionary impulse.

The emphasis is on “GO”.  We’re talking verb, not noun. We must go out and do this. We build the church by discipleship.

The missionary impulse is the church on the move to reach others, even the ones we may not like. It is a measure of our success or failure.

This is a most challenging and provocative call. And Pope Francis’ vision, above, above requires a kind of courage and boldness to not only be about our faith life, our own spiritual needs, but about the needs and hopes others. It is a call way outside of a private way… As if it is just me and God. It is a call to be with, to do for, and to grow alongside in relationship with others.

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Proclaim 2014 is a Catholic Missions Conference. Here’s the scoop from their press release.

Excitement is building for Family Missions Company’s 2nd annual Proclaim – Catholic Missions Conference. Join us for a powerful weekend, November 1-2, at the Ramada Conference Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. Come and be a part of the missionary impulse that will transform the world. This year Proclaim has something for everyone; individuals, families, youth leaders, and even whole parishes will be infused with new life and passion for the Gospel. Dynamic conference speakers include Bishop Sam Jacobs, Fr. Louis Merosne, Dr. Carole Brown, Michael Gormley, Frank and Genie Summers.

This conference will challenge you to deepen your faith, and leave you with a heart and conviction for evangelization. At Proclaim, hunger for Jesus becomes zeal for the Gospel. Inspired by Pope Francis’s exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, Proclaim is uniquely committed to being a catalyst in the missionary transformation of the Church. Fuel your missionary zeal and be inspired to passionately live Gospel joy!

Eager to learn how to share the Gospel? This breakout session: Gospel Catholicism is for you! Learn the basics for sharing God’s word, and be transformed into a modern-day evangelizer.

Pope Francis calls us to “transform everything”. Is your church parish, ministry, or family, ready to embrace the missionary impulse? Learn how in this breakout session: The Church’s Missionary Transformation.

Feeling Called to greater commitment to Christ? Be inspired by full-time Catholic lay missionaries in the session The Challenge of Missionary Spirituality. Discover why the Gospel is the Good News that is worth giving everything for!

This year, Proclaim includes a Youth Leaders’ Track and Children’s Ministry and promises to be unlike any other conference you have ever attended! Beyond inspiring you to embrace God’s mission in your life, Proclaim will reach hearts and lives around the world! Every penny of profit from this conference will be used to advance the Gospel in Asia.

To learn more about Proclaim – Catholic Missions Conference, visit www.Proclaim2014.com or call 337-893-6111.

Family Missions Company is a Catholic ministry founded in 1996. This ministry is dedicated to spreading the gospel and serving the poor both here and globally. FMC trains and sends out families, as well as single men and women who have heard the call of Jesus to leave everything behind and follow Him. FMC relies totally on God’s providence through the generosity of others who support our ministry and works of charity. FMC’s home base is in Abbeville, LA. For more information, go to www.fmcmissions.com or www.facebook.com/fmcmissions.

You might also appreciate this video:

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To be honest, I’ve never traveled to a foreign country to evangelize or be part of a mission trip. When I was growing up I was never encouraged to do that, but I do have a Catholic school memory of collecting funds and praying lots of prayers for the missions. When I was older, I didn’t travel much because of its expense. I took my first plane ride when I was 22.

In the years of working and raising a family, my husband and I tithed to support the mission of the church. Part of that support has always gone to those in need, and some of that support has gone to mission work in foreign countries. These days, many Catholic school encourage mission-mindedness among their students. I’ve been inspired by my children’s participation in mission endeavors and by the works of others.

We have financially supported the missionaries we know, whether they traveled for a short-term trip or for a long-term placement. That brings me back to Family Mission Company. Among Women listeners and readers of this blog may recall my conversations last year with Jonathan and Kristen Weiss, my friends who live the missionary lifestyle with their two boys.

Thanks to the internet, I have had the experience of having my written words and my recorded spoken words reach to foreign nations. About 20%  or 10,000 of the last 50,000 downloaded Among Women podcasts have reached listeners in countries outside the USA. 3% of that number have reached into Canada, and the 17% remainder have reached listeners on other continents. So as one little catechist and a microphone, I’m learning the ways of online evangelization, one download at a time. Yet online evangelization never can replace face to face conversations. That is why we must meet people in person. That is how the church first came into existence and it is the way of evangelization still today. Someone shared the good news with me. I must, in turn to do the same.

Share this with your parishioners and friends. Share the video on Facebook and Twitter or whatever social media network you enjoy. Help us spread the word about Proclaim 2014.

The world is waiting.

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Photos and video courtesy of Family Missions Company.

This makes me think… about what it takes to know and embrace God…

Grant me, O Lord,
an ever-watchful heart that no alien thought can lure away from you;
a noble heart that no base love can sully;
an upright heart that no perverse intention
can lead astray;
an invincible heart that no distress can overcome;
an unfettered heart that no impetuous desires can enchain.

Grant me, O Lord my God,
a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.

Amen.

-St Thomas Aquinas-

The F.U.N. Quotient… all God’s creatures small and… small…

And of course, I found a Boston Terrier duo…