THE MONTH OF MAY
LEARN ABOUT THE MARY AND WHAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES ABOUT HER
Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. (Lumen Gentium, no. 53)
(Picture courtesy Pixabay)
FEATURED CATHOLIC WEBSITE
CREDIBLE CATHOLIC PROVIDES ANSWERS TO CHALLENGES TO BELIEF
Successive PEW surveys have shown that religion is on a steep decline. Our youth is particularly hard hit. In 2016, those aged 18 – 29 selected “none” as their religious affiliation 39% of the time (hence the nickname “nones”). This is up from 23% in 2006. This will grow to 50% in 5 years if left unabated. This mass exodus is being driven by secular myths that misstate the facts. Briefly stated, the four primary myths that need to be addressed are:
1) Science has proven God does not exist
2) Suffering proves God does not exist. If God was all loving and all powerful he would and could stop suffering.
3) Humans are just like other animals – a bunch of conglomerated atoms and molecules – there is no proof of any transcendent “soul” within us.
4) There is no proof at all that Jesus was anything special and certainly not divine. There is no real proof of his existence or resurrection – just myths.
These lies have been ignored for far too long. We cannot continue to teach the fundamental tenets of our faith and deny the devastation within our Church. We must do something and quickly.
(Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash)
BISHOP BARRON'S HOMILY
Too often we read the Ascension as the moment when Jesus “went away,” when he left us on our own and went off to heaven, where we hope some day to join him. But the Ascension is not Jesus going away; it is Jesus assuming his position as leader of the Church’s life.
(Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash)
A PILLAR OF THE CHURCH IN SUDAN
.- Dust and mud brick houses everywhere – as far as the eye can see. The houses are indistinguishable in color from the ground on which they stand. Trees are few and far between.
(Photo courtesy Pixabay)
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH ANNOUNCES PLAN TO REDUCE NUMBER OF PARISHES
After three years of prayer, study and consultation, Bishop David Zubik has announced his decisions related to the On Mission for The Church Alive! strategic planning initiative.
(Photo courtesy Pixabay)
FAITH PLAYS A ROLE AS THE SPOTLIGHT SHINES ON EFFORTS TO CLEAN UP MANHATTAN PROJECT-ERA RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN ST. LOUIS
The first nuclear chain reaction was developed in the mid-20th century, but residents of north St. Louis County are still coping with the lingering remnants of Manhattan Project-era radioactive waste.
(Photo courtesy Pixabay)
BOSTON PILOT COLUMNIST ON THE HOUSE CHAPLAIN
Barring further developments (and let's hope that there aren't any), the kerfuffle over the Catholic chaplain of the House of Representatives seems to be over. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan asked for the resignation of Father Patrick Conroy, S.J., Father Conroy resigned, then withdrew his resignation, and Ryan withdrew his request. May everyone involved in this flap now live happily ever after. Personally, I'm glad to leave it at that.
(Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash)
CULT OF PEDAGOGY
12 WAYS TO UPGRADE YOUR CLASSROOM DESIGN
A couple of years ago, I saw a picture on Facebook that stopped me in my tracks: It was the classroom of Michigan high school English teacher Rebecca Malmquist. It looked like a living room. Like a place you’d go to curl up and read a book, take a nap, or have a really good conversation. And yet it was a classroom.
A LINK-A-DAY (OR MORE) EACH DAY
This is a clickable calendar to help with (at least) a link to a resource, prayer, exercise or more, for each day. You can also subscribe to the calendar so that you do not miss a day. As we start Ordinary Time, here is a way to find a good reminder, hope, challenge or prayer to help you on the road to discipleship in Jesus.
WHY STUDENTS CHEAT AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT“Why did you cheat in high school?” I posed the question to a dozen former students. “I wanted good grades and I didn’t want to work,” said Sonya, who graduates from college in June. [The students’ names in this article have been changed to protect their privacy.] My current students were less candid than Sonya. To excuse her plagiarized Cannery Row essay, Erin, a ninth-grader with straight As, complained vaguely and unconvincingly of overwhelming stress. When he was caught copying a review of the documentary Hypernormalism, Jeremy, a senior, stood by his “hard work” and said my accusation hurt his feelings.
CATHOLIC EDUCATION RESOURCES
HELPING TEACHERS FIND MATERIALS
Whether you teach in a Catholic school, work in a parish, or are simply interested in finding material on Catholic topics, this page provides a collection of resources that are put together in a way they can be used "right out of the box." And they are free to use. While the DePorres Pages would appreciate credit for the resources, even that is not necessary.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IN SCHOOLS
A student threw a chair at a teacher. That’s the story I heard. It was a story meant to illustrate how bad a particular group of kids was, and now I can’t even remember who the teacher was or where the school was located, or even the gender of the teacher or the student. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard two or three different stories about students throwing things at teachers, each one told with the intent of showing just how bad those kids were.
A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO EUCHARISTIC ADORATION
My first experience with Eucharistic Adoration occurred in sixth grade at my Catholic elementary school when my homeroom teacher took my entire class to the church to pray in silence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. If you’re thinking it was difficult for 35 12-year-olds to sit still and pray in silence for an hour, then you’d be right. We squirmed and fidgeted and poked our neighbors to avoid giving our undivided attention to the Lord. Our behavior earned a mild scolding from our soft-spoken teacher, who reminded us of Jesus’ own words in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified: “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?”
Every day you can listen to homilies from the daily readings. Homilies are recorded each day. The readings are for daily Mass, Sundays and Holy Days. With links to the text of the day's readings, it is easy to keep in spiritual touch.
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Life can be hard. Illness, disease, hardship, violence, difficult circumstances and more. Yet God never abandons us. God hears our prayers and is attentive to our needs. The website has a place where you are able to ask the DePorres Pages Community to pray for you. Twice a day your intentions are remembered in prayer. You can also offer praise for what God has done for you.
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Below are the latest homilies, commentaries, and posts.
Today we are reminded of the importance of following Jesus. As we encounter the example of the Magi who followed the star, without knowing exactly where it led, we are reminded that our lives of faith are about following someone. The challenge is that we can choose to follow stars that do not lead to Jesus. We can be tempted by the allure of the popularity of social media, or the tug of consumerism, or the need to be constantly distracted so that we do not ever confront ourselves about areas where we need to convert.
Water and Blood. Baptism and Eucharist. Words in the bible often refer to something other than the obvious. Today is such an example. Water is part of both readings. Whenever we see or read about water, the first thought should be baptism. This is true whether we read about New Testament letters, like today, or stories from the Old Testament. The flood in the book of Genesis points to baptism. The faithful, those who trust in God, are saved.
Love. This word is at the center of the gospel. Without love, little in the gospel makes sense. However, today it is difficult to understand exactly what love is. It has been weakened so much. Love, in popular language, can apply to just about anything. In fact, the way it is used, love can be applied to people or things. But someone once said, we love people, and use things, not the other way around.
I have to confess that I am not a big fan of shrines for saints. The reason is that when I am at a shrine, it always seems like the saint is someone so "plastic" they could not possibly have been a real person. The shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is not like that. Rather, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is presented as an ordinary person, who quest for God was a response to extraordinary grace.
Do you know you are made in God's image? Most of us would answer yes. But do we really believe it? How often do we excuse doing something wrong by saying, "I'm only human?" When we know we are in God's image, we know we are at our best when we are human. It is when we sin that we are less than human.
There are some people who really, really hate religion. It is not just that they disagree with this or that thing, but the very existence of religion makes their blood boil. And it is not just that they do not want any religion mentioned, they do not want anyone else to mention it either. It is about destroying any public reference to religion. Religion is simply something that is meant to be private. Period.
This might not be the time of year you feel like slowing down. It may not be the time of year you can slow down. But today's gospel is an invitation to contemplation. As we consider the role and person of Mary, Mother of God, we are given the model of someone with a contemplative heart. And this contemplative heart allows Mary to overcome some very difficult things.
There is such a contrast to the first reading and the gospel. Ahaz seems to be taking the high road by not wanting to tempt God, but he is not. He does not want a sign from God, because he wants to do something different. Mary does not seek a sign from God, but when God asks, she says yes. Ahaz does not cultivate a relationship with God. Mary orders her entire life around her faith in God. Do you want a sign from God, or not?
Finding the presence of God in your life is important. What helps is to think of past, present, and future. Today's readings provide some help in that regard. As we look back to the Old Testament, we can see how the plan of salvation was revealed by God. Today, we can seek to find how God is active today. And it is also the case that we can find the promises from God of how God is active tomorrow. This is really the season of Advent in a nutshell.
With all of the revelations of sexual misconduct and harassment, today's gospel presents us with the courageous man. The real man. Saint Joseph, who confronted with unbelievable news that Mary was pregnant -- and knowing he was not the father. And despite this, not wanting to shame Mary. Not wanting to take out any sort of revenge on Mary. Because he was righteous, Joseph had a heart open to the presence of God. He was ready, so when God did speak to him in a dream, he knew who God was.
Do you really know who you are? Or do you try to pretend you are someone other than you are? Do you try to convince others, and worse yet, yourself, that you are someone you are not? Probably all of us fall prey to this at some time in our life. Maybe too many times. Worse yet is when we try to convince God we are someone other than the person God has created us to be. At these times, we are really lost.
Our eyesight is really important. Imagine how life would be changed if we could not see. As important as our physical sight is, however, how much more important is our spiritual sight. How much more do we need to open the eyes of our soul to see just how active God is in our lives. The beauty of the bible is that the presence and purpose of God is made clear to us. The Lord's plan is like that of a master builder making a masterpiece.
There are times when I cannot believe I do not trust in God more. I cannot point to a single instance where God was not there for me. When I hear today's readings, it makes me wonder what might happen if I fully trusted God. Think about it. What would happen if all your trust was placed in God. Imagine how much the world could change if we actually saw Christ fully and totally in every person we met.
The words in the readings today are not pretty. O worm Jacob. O maggot Israel. We are reminded in very stark terms that sin is pretty ugly. There can be a tendency today to minimize sin. We can think that we are really not all that bad. We can dismiss how even a little sin in our life can lead to more. But today's readings are not about the ugliness of sin alone. They are also about the beauty of God's forgiveness.