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"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

Among Women 204: Lenten Almsgiving and CRS Rice Bowl #4Lent4Life

Among Women 204: Lenten Almsgiving and CRS Rice Bowl #4Lent4Life

Welcome to Lent 2016! This episode of Among Women introduces a simplified and practical way to accomplish Lenten almsgiving — with CRS Rice Bowl.

In this program we look at the art of giving — specifically, alms-giving this Lent. Together with my guests, Sherry Brownrigg and Lisa Hendey, we talk about the work of almsgiving this Lent through the mission of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its Lenten apostolate called “Rice Bowl”. Both Brownrigg and Hendey recently toured CRS’s mission in Colombia’s coffee country and share their pilgrimage stories and their passion for Rice Bowl as a powerful means of almsgiving and personal transformation.

Don’t miss how you can enhance your personal or family almsgiving through the Rice Bowl.

Listen to this latest episode of Among Women!

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Can’t Make the #MarchForLife? Three Powerful Things To Do Instead

Can’t Make the #MarchForLife? Three Powerful Things To Do Instead

There are many of us, for very good reasons, who cannot attend the March for Life in Washington DC on January 22, or the ones scheduled in other cities. Yet we yearn to attend. Let us channel that yearning beyond wishful thinking and DO SOMETHING.

Discern on what front God wants you. Catholics have a consistent life ethic. Preventing abortion is a very important aspect of that ethic, but so is caring for those women. men, and families needing support in their daily needs, and those facing the end-of-life. The USCCB’s Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities has four emphases that you should consider. I’m here just to say we all can DO SOMETHING.

Here are three suggestions:

1. Pray and fast. Offer your intentions for the March and the marchers’ witness to life, for families in need, and for women contemplating abortion. Also discern where God is nudging you to act.

Pray as you are able. Pick one or more:

  • Go to Mass
  • Pray a Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  • Spend an hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Fast as you are able. Pick one or more:

  • Fast from lunch, or choose a bread and water fast for the day.
  • Fast from coffee, or whatever your go-to beverage is.
  • Fast from television, or better yet, your internet connection, for a period of several hours or days.

2. Support and celebrate motherhood. 

  • Do you know a single mother? Call her today and tell her you are ready to give her one day a month to serve her. She has the hardest job in the world. Make a plan and let this be your private march for life during the Year of Mercy. March on over to her house and get involved. Perform a chore, babysit, pay a bill if you are able, tutor a child, paint a room. You get the picture. And remember to invite her to church with you, and tell her you’ll help with the children.
  • This is a very unique idea: Offer to host the 2016 Catholic Conference 4 Moms, themed “Faces of Mercy”, at your church or in your living room during Lent. This is an online conference with videos and support materials — a complete “conference in a box”. Listen to this Among Women podcast for a conversation with the conference organizer, Tami Kiser.

3. Donate your time or your money to those who are assisting women with crisis pregnancies, or trying to find healing from “the after affects” of abortion.

These groups support women and babies:

These groups support women in recovery from abortion, with confidential retreats, counseling, etc.

May the “people of life” constantly grow in number and may a new culture of love

and solidarity develop for the true good of the whole of human society.

– Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, no. 101_

 

Among Women Podcast 203: An online Catholic Conference 4 Moms #FacesOfMercy

Among Women Podcast 203: An online Catholic Conference 4 Moms #FacesOfMercy

Calling all Moms! Sometimes mothers have trouble taking time out for themselves — so how about participating in an online conference this Lent?

This episode of Among Women is a timely message with a call for all “the Marthas” in our midst — women who know how to get things done! Or, women who know how to give the gift of hospitality and encouragement — Mom-to-Mom! This podcast is about getting on board this Lent with the Catholic Conference 4 Moms. This online conference launches Feb 20, 2016, and its super easy to plan it for your parish or home-based gathering.

Join me, and conference founder and organizer Tami Kiser, AKA Smart Martha as we discuss the good stuff that Moms will experience in this unique online conference — The Catholic Conference 4 Moms! You can offer day of encouragement for you and the Moms in your parish or neighborhood… for a very low price of $59 for “conference-in-a-box”.

This is also a chance to watch this conference in your home with friends! This is available for $14.99 — In fact, you can get a discount off the price if you use my affiliate promo code: AMONG WOMEN! Use my coupon code AMONG WOMEN and get that for $10.99.

Also, in our “Blessed are They” segment, we learn about St Waltrude from Mons, Belgium. She is a saint who was inspired by the saints in her family and lived in such a way as to inspire saints in her children.

Listen to the podcast here!

Register for the conference here.

Watch the trailer for the online Catholic Conference 4 Moms…

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My Favorite Advice from Mary #ShareJesus

Ever feel like you’re doing things half-way with the Lord? Ask Mary, our model for perfect discipleship, to help you break out of that and be quick to offer God everything without holding back. This is the life work of a Christian.

The most simple and direct advice is often the best… at the Wedding at Cana, Mary instructs the servants to listen to Jesus and to “do whatever He tells you.” In this video John Beaulieu shares that the reward for your trust and obedience in God is… Jesus himself. This is what Mary learned at the Incarnation.

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 10.13.08 AMIn this latest episode of Among Women the subject is the virtue of chastity and my guest, Arleen Spenceley, is a writer for the Tampa Bay Times. A few years back, an essay she wrote on being a chaste single adult garnered much discussion in print and went viral online. All this led to her book release Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin. Join us for a discussion of the influence of St John Paul’s thoughts on love between the sexes, and how chastity is a virtue every person must cultivate.

Also in this episode, a look at a Welch saint who rivals St Valentine as a saint for lover, St Dwynden.

Listen and share this episode!

 

For the Men… a 10-min video on the genius of masculinity and the call to holiness in a man’s life

I do a lot of talking and writing about the feminine genius. Here’s some strong talk and holy vision from the Diocese of Phoenix regarding the gift of men, or the masculine genius, in God’s plan.

There’s a relatively new website devoted to calling men forward and deeper with the Lord. It’s called Into The Breach. In it Bishop Olmsted offers an apostolic exhortation to the men of his diocese and beyond. If you like this, please share it with others.

Atop a white page in the new year… “Lord do with me what You will…”

Atop a white page in the new year… “Lord do with me what You will…”

“I think of this new year as a white page given to me by your Father, on which he will write, day by day, whatever His divine good pleasure has planned. I shall now write at the top of the page, with complete confidence: Domine, fac de me sicut vis, “Lord, do with me what You will”, and at the bottom I already write my Amen to all the proposals of Your divine will. Yes Lord, yes to all the joys, the sorrows, the graces, the hardships prepared for me, which You will reveal to me day by day. Grant that my Amen may be the Pascal Amen, always followed by the Alleluia, uttered wholeheartedly in the joy of a complete gift. Give me Your love and Your grace and I shall be rich enough.”

-Sr Carmela of the Holy Spirit, OCD*

IMG_1087This seems a perfect quote on this Solemnity that honors the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. Here in the heart of the Christmas season we venerate Jesus’ first disciple, the one who modeled for us what it means to give one’s full “yes” to our Father God, one who lived wholehearted within His Will.

*as found in Divine Intimacy

It’s a new year — a Year of Mercy! Time for #5FirstSat4Mary! Try the First Saturdays devotion!

It’s a new year — a Year of Mercy! Time for #5FirstSat4Mary! Try the First Saturdays devotion!

This Saturday I’m planning to complete my five month-long devotion to Mary by making the First Saturdays.  Honestly, the biggest problem for me was clearing my calendar to do this faithfully. I had made the 5 First Saturdays many years ago, and was invited to do it again by Fr Andrew Apostoli, after he heard my confession at a conference I attended. I want to thank him for his encouragement to do it, even though it took me a while to follow through. But taming my calendar for the Lord’s business, not my own agenda, has deep benefits.

It’s a great way to start the new year — a way to enter more deeply into the Year of Mercy that began recently on December 8th and will continue through November 2016. If you’ve never made the five first Saturdays, you can begin this week! Here’s a previous post from me that offers the background on the devotion, given to us from Our Lady of Fatima. I write about my previous months here: first, second, third, and fourth.

The benefits are spiritual in nature. This devotion is a call to prayer (via Mass and the Rosary), and a call to conversion and a deeper turning away from sin (via monthly confessions), and a chance to offer reparation for the sins committed against Our Lady’s honor and goodness. The benefits of this devotion is that it calls many Catholics to develop the habit of monthly confession — an important emphasis of Pope Francis in the Year of Mercy —  and adds more Masses and Rosaries to their year. That means more graces to live by!

#5FirstSat4Mary

I’ve been garnering support on Facebook and Twitter from friends and peeps who are joining in this devotion with me. You can use the hashtag #5FirstSat4Mary to share the love. Feel free to use my banner photo or the one in this post as well. I created them for this effort. Remember, you can start on any first Saturday. Why not this Saturday, January 2?

Do it for Mary.

Among Women Podcast 201: Witnessing to Your Faith in the Year of Mercy

Among Women Podcast 201: Witnessing to Your Faith in the Year of Mercy

In the new year, make a resolution to share your faith more! Listen here.

AW-1400x1400-logo-300x300Pope Francis has proclaimed “an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.”

This podcast is devoted to offering tips for sharing your faith story and being a better witness for Christ in the Year of Mercy. Joining me is Catholic blogger Nancy Ward who has designed a new DVD-based seminar “Sharing Your Faith Story.” Together we look at ways to proactively share our personal witness in formal and informal settings. Be listening for tips on finding witnessing opportunities in the coming year.

Also profiled is Blessed Victoria Rasoamanorivo, a 19th century church leader from Madagascar who survived persecution and suppression of the church in her time.

Listen to this episode of Among Women.