World Meeting Of Families: Pope Francis’ Itinerary, Philadelphia, PA

Just a few moments ago the Vatican released the comprehensive itinerary for Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States including his visit to Philadelphia September 26-27. I’m overjoyed to share in the excitement of this news with you. We here in and around the “City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection” are waiting with open hearts to welcome the world to this wonderful city. I ask you as I have many times before to join me in praying for all those that are fervently working on the preparations for the World Meeting of Families 2015 and the Holy Father’s visit to the United States. I’m sharing a link to the schedule via the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with you here.…/papal-…/2015-papal-visit-schedule.cfm

May the Lord give you every grace and blessing.


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A Message to Christians and the LGBT Community

A Message to Christians and the LGBT Community

Yesterday’s 5–4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage will undoubtedly go down as one of the most momentous moments in U.S. history — on par with women’s right to vote, abolishing Jim Crow laws, and Roe vs. Wade. Not since the civil rights movement has there been a topic so divisive in our country.

But with this change comes an opportunity, on both sides, to be arbiters of the one thing both sides claim is important to them — LOVE.

Image (c) Benson Kua — CC BY-SA 2.0

To Christians

There’s no time better than now to exercise wisdom and love when dealing with this issue. If you claim that you truly care for the “salvation” of the LGBT people in your sphere of influence, evaluate the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of your words and actions. Why would anyone be open to the words of the gospel if they’re coming out of the mouth of a person saying stupid sh** like “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

Remember that the U.S. is not beholden to the laws of the Bible the way the nation of Israel was to “the Law” in the Old Testament. I think many Christians act like it is. I often hear things like “This country was founded on Christian beliefs and as such should adhere to Christian doctrine.” The truth is, the supposed religious beliefs of our founding fathers and the level to which Christianity was infused in this country’s founding is far from reality. Regardless, this nation and its laws are not subject to Biblical teachings in the way that ancient Israel was. We as believers need to approach the subject as such, and deal with people on an individual basis…with love.

Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? To truly understand how provocative that story was in the context of Jesus’s day, replace the man attacked with a Christian and make the Good Samaritan gay. Your feelings about gay people pale in comparison to how the Jews of Jesus’ day felt about Samaritans. Are you willing to take up Jesus’s challenge to “love your neighbor”?

To the LGBT Community

Just because someone disagrees with you on something, that does not mean they hate or even are prejudiced against you. It is absolutely possible to love someone, show them love, even celebrate their love, while at the same time holding to a belief that doesn’t necessarily agree with yours.

Also remember, there is a HUGE difference between refusing to serve you a hamburger because you’re gay, and forcing an artist to make a work of art that edifies something they do not agree with or support. Would you want to be forced to make a song, photo, or video for a hardcore, right-wing political lobby? It’s sad to hear about small businesses run by Christian owners who were forced to go out of business when refusing to create art that supported something they felt went against their religious convictions. Especially when in many circumstances, they went about declining the business in completely reasonable and loving ways. Art is something that comes from the deepest part of a person’s soul and being. No one should ever be forced to create art they don’t want to create. Andy why on earth would you want to hire a Christian photographer to shoot your same-sex wedding anyway? That would be like me asking a white supremacist to shoot my wedding to my white wife.

Lastly, just like Christians shouldn’t make arguments about what this country should or shouldn’t do based on an incorrect understanding of this country’s actual history, you shouldn’t make arguments against what the Bible says without a full understanding of its actual history and context. (If I hear one more time “Well, the Bible says you can’t wear mixed clothing or that you have to stone people who work on Sunday, so should we still do that?” I’ll go crazy.)

To Both of Y’all…

Christians — Jesus said the two most important commandments were to love God and love people. So do that. Are your words and actions towards those who disagree with you loving?

LGBT — today you’re celebrating love and holding up banners declaring “love wins.” Are your words and actions to those who disagree with youloving? If the families of the victims of the South Carolina shooting can find forgiveness for the man who killed their loved ones, can you not find forgiveness for the man or woman in front of you holding a sign that you dislike?

Love is supposed to be at the heart of both sides. Let’s start seeing it.

Love, Ron –

The Words of The Lord

From Psalm 12 in matins today:
“The words of the Lord are words without alloy, silver from the furnace, seven times refined.”
Nothing is comparable to Scripture–the words of God. This is why we must study them, meditate on them, and treasure them. 
noun: matin; plural noun: matins; noun: mattin; plural noun: mattins
  1. a service of morning prayer in various churches, especially the Anglican Church.
    • a service forming part of the traditional Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, originally said (or chanted) at or after midnight, but historically often held with lauds on the previous evening.
    • literary
      the morning song of birds.

“The Crucifix”

I kneel before the Crucifix, and sometimes I will cry

For it is I who put Him there, and also helped Him die

He gave His life for everyone, He showed us all the Way!

To everlasting happiness if only we obey.

Each time I sin the wounds seem deep, the blood is glowing red

The nails must tear His flesh apart, the thorns must rip His head

And yet with gentle kindness, He always seems to say

My son I will forgive your sins, return to me and stay.

And He will take me back with Him, and never will I part

For from the Cross I now have learned, I must not pierce His heart

The Crucifix shows sorrow, but in Heaven I will see

The happy face of Jesus, for all eternity!

By: Alexander J. DeFeo, December 13, 1956

What this poem means to me: This poem exemplifies Jesus’ saving power, His unlimited forgiveness and His love for His people.

Charles DeFeo, loving nephew on 2/25/1998

My Uncle Alex was also my god father, a father figure to me and one of the most influential men in my life in every way. He passed from this life to the next on January 26, 1997.

I am thankful for and grateful to him. He wrote many poems, at least one of which was published, as well as other faith-based and inspirational writings. He inspired me to write, and I have kept a journal since 1986.

I encourage you to keep a journal and start writing. I also encourage you to write down a list of those people who you are grateful to and who have shaped you to become the person you are today.

How Can We Respond To The Nationalization of Same-Sex Marriage?

Responding to the Supreme Court’s Decision
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Confraternity,

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision, which nationalized same-sex marriage in the United States, has initiated many new challenges for the Church in our country, and among those challenges is a new obstacle to purity. The sad thing is that those who are rejoicing most in the decision are the same ones who will be hurt the most by it.

I am going to leave the discussion about the issues regarding religious freedom to others. Instead I want to address the way in which this decision hampers our mission as a confraternity and to suggest some ways we can react positively to this new challenge.

The great struggle with sins against purity is that they wound us deeply. They cut close to our most fundamental desires and their healing requires the strength of God Himself. As a result of our weakness before sinful desire we often find it easier to pretend that they are not problems or to pretend that the way to heal them is to give in to them. When a society legitimizes these behaviors, it gives those who struggle with them a greater temptation to continue being enslaved by them. And sadly this is what has been done in our country time and time again under the influence of the sexual revolution, and yesterday’s decision provides yet another way to hide a wounded desire. In effect, we have become socially blind to the trials of those who struggle with same-sex attraction and who want to live lives of purity.

What shall we do in response to this blindness? How can we aid those who struggle with same-sex attraction to live lives of purity?

The first thing we can do is to resist the temptation to despair. The Psalmist says, “Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help.” (Ps. 146) Human power is not enough to overcome sins against purity, either individually or socially. “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 124) He is the one who holds all things in His hands, and we know that in the end He will make all things right despite our human failings..

The second thing we can do is pray for the strength to be ready to talk about the need for purity with others. It is a scary thing to talk about Catholic sexual morality in public, for we are often laughed at or ridiculed for our understanding of purity. But if we do not talk about it who will?

The third thing to do is to be ready to respond to hatred with Christian love. This love can take many forms. It can take the form of prayer, where we pray by name for those who are in bad situations and who may not want conversion. It can take the form of a friendly invitation, always keeping the door open for those who may not be ready to turn away from sin. It may take the form of forgiveness, when we forgive those who hurt us or others by their sins. No matter what form it takes, let us ask God for the grace always to respond to hatred with Christian love.

The last thing I have to suggest is to pray for inspirations about how to spread our message of purity better. What kind of initiatives can we undertake to help others come closer to God and to purity? We are in great need of new initiatives, and so I encourage all of you to think and pray about ways we can do this more effectively, for the souls of many hang in the balance.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, let us pray more fervently and ask the Lord for guidance and for strength. For He alone is the source our hope, and without Him we can do nothing. Let us trust even more that He will lead us out of these dark times into the light of eternal glory.

Yours in Christ and St. Thomas,
Fr. Ambrose, OP

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Marriage Teaching from The Catechism of The Catholic Church

Catechism in a Year Catechism in a Year

Why did God dispose man and woman for each other?

God disposed man and woman for each other so that they might be “no longer two but one” (Mt 19:6). In this way they are to live in love, be fruitful, and thus become a sign of God himself, who is nothing but overflowing love.

How does the sacrament of Matrimony come about?

The sacrament of Matrimony comes about through a promise made by a man and a woman before God and the Church, which is accepted and confirmed by God and consummated by the bodily union of the couple. Because God himself forms the bond of sacramental marriage, it is binding until the death of one of the partners.

The man and the woman mutually administer the sacrament of Matrimony. The priest or the deacon calls down God’s blessing on the couple and, furthermore, witnesses that the marriage comes about under the right circumstances and that the promise is comprehensive and is made publicly. A marriage can come about only if there is marital consent, that is, if the man and the woman enter marriage of their own free will, without fear or coercion, and if they are not prevented from marrying by other natural or ecclesiastical ties (for example, an existing marriage, a vow of celibacy). (YOUCAT questions 260 & 261)

Dig Deeper: CCC section (1601-1605) and other references here.

It’s hard to talk about marriage these days without the issue of gay marriage arising. Hear cogent reasons why the Church upholds the sanctity of marriage between man and woman and discover the pastoral approach she takes towards those who have same-sex attraction. Get Confronting the Gay Agenda on CD now or grab the MP3.

My Disclaimer

The author of this blog is not a member of the clergy, nor a professional counsellor, psychiatrist, psychologist or trained in any way at all in pastoral care. This blog is not political nor racist in any way shape or form.

The author does adhere as a religious lay person in the pillars of Prayer, Study, Community, Apostolate, Evangelization and Generosity as a practicing Catholic and a believer in The True Presence of His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and with full knowledge and consent and obedience to the teachings of the magisterium of The Catholic Church.

This author does not care what political party any reader of this blog is affiliated with, nor the color of your skin nor the religion you practice nor your sexual persuasion or what you believe or don’t believe in.

In the author’s opinion every human being has dignity and deserves respect and is not to be objectified, because you and I are uniquely created and loved in the image of God with flesh, bone, blood and Spirit and indelibly marked with a soul that will live forever.

No person, organization or government has the right to create life or take it away from the moment of conception until natural death. God is the author of Life and Death.

The author prays for The Pope and The President of The United States every day regardless of who they are, and for all politicians and all people worldwide.

The author’s sole mission as stated by his mission statement is – “To Glorify God in business and life while helping other along the way”.

This blog is for anyone and everyone who is interested in following Jesus, going deeper in faith and learning more about The teachings of The Catholic Church based on what the author has learned and studied over the years from a formed conscience based on Church teaching.

The author highly recommends you meet with a member of the clergy , the pastor or leader of your church, parish, synagogue, temple or leader of any other organization you practice with to go deeper in your faith.

The reason for this blog is to carry out Jesus commission – “to go into the world and make disciples baptizing in the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit”.

Finally, the author believes in the 4 final truths: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell and wishes all to be saved.

The Nativity of Saint John The Baptist is Today. Who Was He? And Why Was He So Important?

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
The voice of one crying in the wilderness

The Church observes the birth of John as a hallowed event. We have no such commemoration for any other fathers; but it is significant that we celebrate the birthdays of John and Jesus. This day cannot be passed by. And even if my explanation does not match the dignity of the feast, you may still meditate on it with great depth and profit.

John was born of a woman too old for childbirth; Christ was born of a youthful virgin. The news of John’s birth was met with incredulity, and his father was struck dumb. Christ’s birth was believed, and he was conceived through faith.

Such is the topic, as I have presented it, for our inquiry and discussion. But as I said before, if I lack either the time or the ability to study the implications of so profound a mystery, he who speaks within you even when I am not here will teach you better; it is he whom you contemplate with devotion, whom you have welcomed into your hearts, whose temples you have become.

John, then, appears as the boundary between the two testaments, the old and the new. That he is a sort of boundary, the Lord himself bears witness, when he speaks of the law and the prophets up until John the Baptist. Thus he represents times past and is the herald of the new era to come. As a representative of the past, he is born of aged parents; as a herald of the new era, he is declared to be a prophet while still in his mother’s womb. For when yet unborn, he leapt in his mother’s womb at the arrival of blessed Mary. In that womb he had already been designated a prophet, even before he was born; it was revealed that he was to be Christ’s precursor, before they saw one another. These are divine happenings, going beyond the limits of our human frailty. Eventually he is born, he receives his name, his father’s tongue is loosened. See how these events reflect reality.

Zechariah is silent and loses his voice until John, the precursor of the Lord, is born and restores his voice. The silence of Zechariah is nothing but the age of prophecy lying hidden, obscured, as it were, and concealed before the preaching of Christ. At John’s arrival Zechariah’s voice is released, and it becomes clear at the coming of the one who was foretold. The release of Zechariah’s voice at the birth of John is a parallel to the rending of the veil at Christ’s crucifixion. If John were announcing his own coming, Zechariah’s lips would not have been opened. The tongue is loosened because a voice is born. For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked: Who are you? And he replied: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The voice is John, but the Lord in the beginning was the Word. John was a voice that lasted only for a time; Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.

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