DAY OF PRAYER
RESOURCES ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Too many people in the United States believe that slavery ended with the Civil War. Sadly, that is not the case. Both religious groups, like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and mainstream media sites like CNN have created mechanisms to help people become more aware of the tragic problem. For CNN, it is the Freedom Project, which was created "to amplify the voices of the victims of modern-day slavery, highlight success stories and help unravel the tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life."
For the United States Catholic Bishops, it is their anti-trafficking program. Their Mission and Vision statement captures their intent. "Creating a world where immigrants, refugees, migrants, and people on the move are treated with dignity, respect, welcome and belonging." What follows below is an attempt to help provide information and ways to help.
A LINK-A-DAY (OR MORE) FOR LENT
This is a clickable calendar to help with (at least) a link to a resource, prayer, exercise or more, for each day of Lent 2018. You can also subscribe to the calendar so that you do not miss a day.
WHAT IS LENT?
Ever wonder why Catholics (and other Christians) celebrate Lent? What the purpose of the season is? Why it is such an important part of the Church year? The short presentation below provides answers and sources to help to answer the question, and to make sure that your spiritual celebration of the season is fruitful, bringing you closer to Jesus.
WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY?
The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which this year is February 14, 2018. Ever wonder why we do what we do on Ash Wednesday? Ever think about the reason for the Ashes, or where they come from? The short presentation below provides some interesting links to Ash Wednesday resources.
WHAT ARE THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS?
A popular devotion of the Lenten season is praying the Stations of the Cross. But what are they? How did this begin? Are they all from the bible? Are the stations I learned as a kid the only types of Stations of the Cross?
This page provides all kinds of information about the Stations of the Cross, different types, and how to use these devotions to increase spiritual growth during this season.
AN ANCIENT PRACTICE TO BEGIN OR REVIVE A LIFE OF PRAYER
THIS IS WHAT I THINK
IT'S A SPIRITUAL PROBLEM
27 school shootings in the last 20 years. And this does not include suicides, gang related violence or deaths that resulted from interpersonal troubles. Let that number sink in for a moment. 27 school shootings in 20 years. An average of a little more than a school shooting a year. Nowhere else in the world is there this level of violence in schools. Nowhere. Whatever is happening here in the United States simply does not have any other countries to compare to in terms of this issue.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
A version of the Stations of the Cross designed for high school students.
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.
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.
Check out our growing list of podcast programs available. Commentary (Here's What I Think), Theology (Theology 4 Snackers), Technology (DP Tech), and Education (The Catholic Schoolhouse) are podcast areas currently available.
PRAY FOR YOU?
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.
OUR SERVICES INCLUDE
See how The DePorres Pages can help you
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.