What stops us from sharing our Catholic Faith (more often)? There are four likely suspects: lack of knowledge, lack of integrity, lack of belief, or lack of courage.
Many of us feel as though we don’t know enough. If we begin a conversation, we might get tied up in knots by someone who has studied their faith more than we have studied Catholicism.
The remedy is to attend our Faith Formation programming. Catholicism 101 is almost every Sunday at 9:00am (tucked conveniently between the 7:30am and 11:00am Masses so you could go to either) in the Teen Center (for the duration of church construction). You can also access our parish Formed.org account. Go to www.formed.org , click on register, enter parish code 7Y2GH8 and set up a free personal account.READ MORE
A letter from Andy Miller, former administrative assistant for Fr. Jess. Andy left Our Lady of Joy in August 2016 to enter the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska.
Dear Parishioners at Our Lady of Joy,
The first year of seminary formation (called “year of spirituality” or “candidacy”) is considered a “year of probation.” During this year we are watched very closely by our superiors. This includes peer evaluation, work reports, and monthly meetings with our novice master. We focus on learning Scripture, spirituality, liturgy, Latin, Gregorian Chant, and catechism, as well the constitutions and history of our order, The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. They also give us plenty of work to do (callouses before chalices!) At the end of the year, the priests at the seminary meet and vote on all of the first year seminarians to determine if we should continue on with formation. I am pleased to announce that the priest council voted and favorably and I will be allowed to continue.READ MORE
Our world has gotten to a place where I cannot say, “I am happy I am an American!” It is as if I am putting down people from Canada. They are the most polite people on earth (except at hockey games), but I want no part of those winters.
Or how about this one? “I’m happy I’m a man.” This doesn’t put down women. I just like having no idea if my clothes match, but being able to remember Cecil Cooper batted .352 for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1980.
Here is the best: “I’m so glad I’m a Catholic!” I am not putting anyone down with this statement. I just love being Catholic.READ MORE
This Sunday’s Gospel may sound a bit familiar as it begins with perhaps the most quoted verse in all of Scripture: John 3:16. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” As long as I can remember, the verse has appeared at various sporting events. Baseball games behind home plate. Football games behind the uprights. But why?
This short verse contains the truth of salvation. God loves us. He gave His only Son. His Son is Jesus Christ. If we believe this, Jesus is our salvation. How wonderful is it that we, as Catholics, are able to consume Jesus in the Eucharist at every Mass? But there is a catch. Catholic Christians understand there must be a response to the redeeming love of Jesus (James 2:14-26).
If Christ is alive in us, holding a sign is great, but we must be living signs that point this world toward the truth of John 3:16. This is sainthood. This is our purpose.
The 2nd Fatima Apparition occurred on June 13, 1917, the Feast Day of St. Anthony who is the Patron Saint of Portugal. This day was a test for the children, especially for Lucia, because many festivities were planned for the day. In the end, the children went to the Cova de Iria but they were accompanied by a group of people who had traveled far to see the site of the previous month’s apparition.
Our Lady’s arrival was announced by lightning. She told the children to continue to pray the Rosary daily and she asked Lucia to learn to read and write. She revealed that Jacinta and Francisco would die soon but that Lucia would live longer. Toward the end of this Apparition, Our Lady said to Lucia, “Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” As Our Lady spoke these words, she opened her hands and for a second time, she communicated to the children the rays of that immense light emanating from her hands. According to Lucia, “We saw ourselves in this light, as it were, immersed in God; Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose to Heaven and I, in that which poured out on the earth.” In front of the right palm of Our Lady’s hand was a heart surrounded by thorns seeming to pierce Her heart.” The children understood it to be the Immaculate Heart of Mary, offended for the sins of humanity and desirous of reparation.READ MORE
Why are we so afraid of what people on the fringes of our lives might think of us?
That professor you didn’t want to contradict in college? You never saw him after that class. That lady you didn’t pray in front of at Pei Wei? You’ll never even know her name. That Facebook friend you didn’t want to offend? You’ve not spoken to him in person in over seven years.
This Pentecost, we need to reflect on opportunities the Holy Spirit prepares us for and presents to us.
What if that professor was the one who needed to be taught a lesson with tactful objection? What if that lady in Pei Wei was wondering if everyone had lost their faith? What if your Facebook friend was supposed to be influenced by Catholic teaching shared with a loving heart?
On the other side of the coin, why are we so careless with the thoughts and feelings toward those closest to us?
Our parents, children, siblings, and spouses often catch the worst from us. We sometimes say things we can’t take back and put forth the least effort to show them honor.
These are the relationships that hold up a mirror to our soul. Put another way, the makeup wears off eventually and the truth of our character is revealed. The care with which we approach these relationships are often our most accurate examination of conscience.
This Pentecost, we must call on the Holy Spirit to aid us by giving us both courage and integrity. Courage to be a humble witness to the world and the integrity to be that witness at all times.