The New Roman Missal: Two Months Later…



English-speaking Roman Catholics around the world have been getting acclimated to the New Translation of the Roman Missal with phrases such as:

And with your spirit.

…through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault…

…for our good and the good of all his holy Church…

…Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

What do you think? Are you getting the hang of it? I’m personally really enjoying the New Translation. And I’m very excited to be getting it without always depending on the pew cards.

Reading Dr. Edward Sri’s pamphlet on the New Translation helped me to understand and appreciate it more. I especially love the meaning behind, “And with your spirit,” as the congregation’s response to the priest’s “The Lord be with you”:

When a man is ordained a priest, the Holy Spirit comes upon him in a unique way, enabling him to perform the sacred rites of the Mass and consecrate the Eucharist. By responding, “And with your spirit,” we acknowledge the Spirit’s activity through the priest during the sacred liturgy.

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Liberation Day



Today marks the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

Just a little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit and learn about the horrors in person.

In preparation for my trip, I watched a few documentaries on the Nazis and what occurred during that era.

But what wasn’t even mentioned in the films is what hit me the hardest on the tour. In various rooms of at least one of the buildings we walked through there were only large  sheets of glass separating us from items of the prisoners. Large rooms contained countless dishes, children’s toys, crutches and braces, and even one full area contained nothing but piles upon piles of human hair.

And to look inside the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe was starved and finally martyred by the injection of carbolic acid, was truly memorable. To be where a saint of the Catholic Church died for his faith… died for another… no words can express the impact.

Touring Auschwitz is a difficult experience that can give us a stronger appreciation for freedom and faith. It is one experience that as many as possible should have.

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Books, Books and More Books



If you love reading and continually run across books you add to your “mental list,” there’s now a more effective way of keeping track.

Goodreads.com is a free Web site that lets you rate books and “shelve” them. The default categories are Read, Currently Reading, and To-Read.

You can even update what page you’re on, on the “currently reading” shelf and a percentage will be shown beside the book.

There are many Catholic and Christian books listed, and you can even add new shelves to help Good Reads find the best book recommendations for you. The more books you can rate, the more recommendations Good Reads can have for you.

I want to read a lot by G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis so when I see several books in a row by them, I can quickly add these books to my “To-Read” shelf and not worry about forgetting which ones they were.

If I need a new book to read, I can go down the To-Read list and see what strikes me the most. Good Reads is also a social network site for fellow book lovers. You can see what books you and your friends have in common and what they’re reading now.

It’s also possible to “follow” authors on there to see what they’re reading and which books they reviewed. The site combines familiar features you find on Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter – all to serve the reader.

What are some of your favorite Catholic books?

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Music for Prayer



If you’re tired of scanning the radio or jumping back to your YouTube screen every few minutes when your selected song ends, consider signing up for a free account at Pandora.com. Pandora Radio allows you to choose an artist or song that you’d like to hear. The created station will also play artists and songs similar to the one you typed in. And you can make multiple stations, which is good for any mood.

At Christmas time I added a “Nat King Cole” station, so when my family and I were cooking or wanting a little background Christmas music, it was much more convenient to play Pandora than search for decent Christmas songs on the radio. By picking Nat King Cole as the basis for the rest of the songs on the station we didn’t get a lot of the secular odd Christmas songs played on the radio.

And by using Pandora we avoid the minutes upon minutes of commercials that are broadcast terrestrially. Pandora offers both a free version, interspersed with quick commercials (maybe a :30 ad every third song or so), and one for purchase, avoiding all commercials for $36 a year.

I’ve also found Pandora Radio to be an excellent resource for Christian music and other uplifting tunes.

Choose a Catholic or Christian artist and you will be able to listen to songs from similar artists.

There are also opportunities for instrumental/orchestral stations. I have a station called “Howard Shore,” based off the composer of the epic Lord of the Rings films.

Music can help us quiet our hearts when we’re sitting down to pray. If you think it might help to listen to instrumentals or even chant, try starting a station along those lines.

Does background music help you in your prayer?

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A Saint For All Athletes



Today in the Church we celebrate the feast of St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes. This beautiful prayer summarizes his story very well:

Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor’s court, you chose to be a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings—for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their patron saint so clearly has been. Amen.

Whether you’re a runner, hockey player, swimmer, ballet dancer or golfer, St. Sebastian is the saint for you. Since sports span all faiths, relating the story and patronage of St. Sebastian could be a way to evangelize others. Sports becomes religion for many. Strangely enough, superstition then often creeps in.

If the sports faithful are open to “help” from other sources, then we have the opportunity to at least share this part of our faith with them. It may open doors in their lives to the Truth we know in the Catholic Church.

And let’s also remember to pray today and every day to St. Sebastian for athletes to be good role models for the youth.

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Welcome Home



Misconceptions, falsehoods and ignorance are some of the primary reasons Catholics fall away from the Church and join other religions or no religion at all. It’s for these reasons that some non-Catholics are so passionately anti-Catholic.

Tom Peterson, founder and president of Catholics Come Home, seeks to use the tremendous power of the media to illustrate the beauty of Catholicism and reach out to non-Catholics and former Catholics. CatholicsComeHome.org also provides ways of getting the Faithful involved in this mission of evangelization and celebration of the Catholic Church.

The Catholics Come Home Campaign is reaching those who need to hear this message of love. And they’re doing it through their YouTube channel, blog, Web site and now even television commercials on network channels such as CBS, Fox News and CNN.

When Catholics utilize technology to uplift the Church and evangelize others, it is important to go about it in a way that is captivating, professional and well-executed. Catholics Come Home is Exhibit A on just how to do it.

Have you seen the Catholics Come Home video spots? What do you think?

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The Dream And the Media



“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today in the United States we honor the life and legacy of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.

But what we may take for granted is the technology available at the time to help spread his message.

Through newspaper, television and radio King’s preaching reached our entire nation. We will never know this side of eternity just how much of his influence and success came through the use of mass communication.

In God’s amazing Divine Providence, we honor King and the equality he stood for less than a week before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. King’s assassination, in fact, came just five years before the decision.

After repenting for her own abortions, Dr. Alveda King began to follow in her uncle’s footsteps by preaching equality for all.

Whether you’re off from work for the national holiday or busy about your usual Monday tasks, take a moment to pray for the soul of King, his assassin and for the equality of all, born and unborn.

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There’s a Catholic App for That



With Christmas recently passing, many of you are busy playing with your new toy – iPad, iPhone, Android phone, Kindle Fire, etc.

And with the new technological opportunities at your fingertips, there are more ways to help you learn about and grow in your faith.

Check out the apps below to see which may help you improve your spiritual life in 2012:

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The More I Will Bless You



Stairwell in Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Prague, Czech Republic

There are four possible days I’ve found when the Infant of Prague is honored: January 3rd (in conjunction with the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus), the second Sunday after the Epiphany (this year on January 22nd), and the first Sunday in May (when the coronation of the statue takes place in Prague; this year on May 6th). For some mysterious reason, I’m also finding sources that say the feast is celebrated the third Sunday in May (this year on May 20th). So take your pick!

But if you’re looking for the perfect day to start a novena to the Infant of Prague, tomorrow is it. This year the second Sunday after the Epiphany is the same day as the Supreme Court ruling (Roe v. Wade) that nationally legalized abortion in the United States 39 years ago.

What a beautiful opportunity for us to pray to the Divine Infant for unborn infants and for the respect of all human life.

When I saw the statue in person, it was arrayed in a brilliantly green garb for the Liturgical Season of Ordinary Time. But even the stunning clothes did not hide the fact that the statue itself is quite simple and coarse.

Whether from its Spanish design, neglect after Swedish invasion or from the mere antiquity of the statue (1500s), the Infant’s face is dark and faded. It wasn’t very similar to the one I was used to seeing in pictures – white in color and delicate in appearance. The authentic statue looks rough and intense.

The architecture of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church is stunning, and in a side stairwell there are large images of the Infant statue wearing a variety of clothing used throughout the years.

Tradition tells us that a Spanish mother gave the original Infant of Prague statue to her princess daughter as a wedding gift. It was later brought to the Czech Republic by the bride, who married a Czech nobleman. After her husband died, she donated the statue to the Discalced Carmelites of Prague. A novice at the time of the statue’s arrival, Fr. Cyril of the Mother of God, later began a great devotion to the Infant Jesus.

It was to Fr. Cyril that the Infant spoke in the presence of the statue: … The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.

The Infant of Prague is invoked for help in health and finances. There is a tradition of placing a coin under the statue in one’s home, praying for success in financial matters.

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Love Languages



If you’ve never heard of “love languages,” it might seem like a romantic phrase. And it can be, but not necessarily. Speaker, author and Baptist pastor Dr. Gary Chapman coined the phrase, referring to the five kinds of ways a person can feel respected and loved.

Chapman’s several books on the love languages include The Five Love Languages for Singles, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers and the original book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

I’ve read the one for singles, but it could be helpful to someone in any vocation. I even used the love language profile in the appendix to discover the love languages of family members and friends. According to Chapman, the five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service and Gifts.

Below are a few of the statements from The Five Love Languages for Singles Profile to help you identify your primary and secondary love languages. If you were to pit statements about love languages against each other, the ones that would win most frequently are your top love languages.

Words of Affirmation: I like to receive notes of affirmation. / I like for people to compliment my appearance. / I feel loved when a person celebrates my birthday with meaningful words.

Physical Touch: I love to high-five or hold hands with people who are special to me. / I feel loved when someone I love or admire puts his or her arm around me. / I feel secure when a special person is touching me.

Quality Time: I enjoy extended trips with someone who is special to me. / I really enjoy the feeling I get when someone gives me undivided attention. / I appreciate it when someone listens patiently and doesn’t interrupt me.

Acts of Service: I know someone loves me when he or she helps me. / I feel loved when a person helps with my chores. / I feel loved when friends and loved ones help me with jobs or projects.

Gifts: Visible symbols of love (gifts) are very important to me. / I know a person is thinking of me when he or she gives me a gift. / Several small gifts mean more to me than one large gift.

Chances are you’ll be showing your love for others in the ways that you feel loved yourself. But frequently relationship tension comes through not knowing, understanding or accepting the other’s love language.

A husband spends all Saturday raking up the yard, fixing the car and cleaning the gutter, thinking he is generously showing love for his wife (acts of service). But the minute he walks in the door she blasts him for not spending the day with her (quality time).

This is where it gets kind of tricky. If the one you are trying to love values a love language you aren’t as inclined to, you need to try to love him or her the way that person feels love. You can’t expect the individual to just accept the way you feel like loving. Ironically, insisting on showing love only the way you feel love yourself is selfish and frustrating.

It can be helpful to talk about the love languages with others in order to love more effectively. But for those in your life you can’t discuss the love languages with, try to accept their signs of love and appreciation, even if they don’t express themselves using your most valued love languages. It’s important to remember to be gracious and accepting, recognizing that they are loving in the way they see best.

“Even if someone doesn’t love you the way you need or want them to, they might love you with all they have.” – Anonymous

What are your two main love languages?

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