Jesus Taught Us to Pray

Father Robert Barron discusses the Lord’s Prayer:

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Connecting Chapter 34 with Culture…

The Chapter Guides for Chapter 34, Embrace Poverty of Spirit, have suggested as an additional item for reflection the film Wall Street and given some questions for reflection:

The epitome of film villains, Gordon Gekko, proclaims “Greed is good” with the following films presenting ample conversation topics, including the famous speech which you can listen to here.    Wall Street R 126 minutes (1987)

A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.

Questions for Wall Street (Lights Camera…Faith! A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture Cycle C by Peter Malone MSC with Rose Patchett FSP p. 328)

1. Carol Fox tells Bud, “Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life. Create, instead of living off the buying and selling of others.” Discuss some recent incidents and financial scandals that make the movie Wall Street look like a precursor to many other morality tales to come. Why is it so hard for us that “greed, for the want of a better word, is not good?

2. How do the names and the characteristics of a “gecko” and a “fox” add to the meaning of the story?” (For example, a gecko or “gekko” is a lizard and some species have unpleasant temperaments and a severe bite; they like the darkness. A fox is a member of the dog family; it is small and solitary and runs fast.)

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Purity of Heart

Veteran’s Day links uniquely with this week’s chapter.  Fidelity, whatever shape it takes, is a component of honoring the 9th Commandment.  Service to each other and minimizing the objectification of other human beings is a challenge in this pleasure-first culture we live within.  If we are to honor the face of God in every other human being, living lives of integrity and fidelity to each other and the Gospels is a necessity.

-Bill Harper

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Who are you planning to vote for and why?

There is nothing like practical application to move principles from the theoretical to the real and relevant.  The virtual conversation this question invites is an attempt to do just that, asking you to frame the rationale for your voting choice in terms of Catholic teaching (resources below) and the facts/policies/platforms/proposals of the candidates surrounding real issues.  Thinking through and articulating a response to this question is just one valuable part of the process.
By making it a conversation where people can respond to one another, additional things take place.  First, we are challenged to practice honest and respectful dialogue with people having different views on potentially emotionally charged topics.  In common discourse we typically avoid these conversations especially when we cherish a particular relationship and don’t want it “soured by politics.”  In this conversation we will assume we are in a cherished relationship with folks to whom we are bound in Christian love; one that isn’t so fragile that it will crumble from disagreement.
By presuming the other’s good will, not assuming motivations that aren’t expressed, by exercising restraint in language, and focusing on the content and not the person, we should be challenged to look at additional perspectives, to evaluate their merits, setting aside (based on reasoned consideration) those which don’t lay a claim on us, and incorporating them (at some level) when they do.

Helpful guidelines – while anonymity is fine (and necessary for anyone in a Church leadership or staff position) please use a means of identifying yourself that assists in having dialogue.  If you want to receive an email whenever a new comment is posted you will need to give your email, but it will not be made public, or used in anyway except to generate the comment feed.  Also be sure to check the box to receive emails for comments.

There will be regular monitoring of the conversation and any inappropriate comments removed.  If circumstances are such that an extended period of time will leave the blog unmonitored then comments may be held before being published.  If you have questions for further clarity you may email

Thank you for taking the time to participate.
May we keep one another in prayer!


Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States provides a framework for Catholics in the United States

Bulletin Insert: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (FCFC)

Illinois Catholic Conference Election 2012 Bulletin Insert Series

Bullet point outline of themes to consider from FCFC

This Fanning the Flame page has additional online resources, including a Bible, Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the US Catholic Catechism for Adults.

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Family Connection for “Our Eternal Destiny” USCCA, Chapter 13

As we approach the holiday season, now may be an especially good time to remember those who have died. Your family could visit a cemetery, perhaps take flowers or a special token to place at the gravesite, and talk about special memories of that person. You could also consider a visit to a widow, widower, or anyone who has recently experienced a loss. It would be nice to call ahead so you ensure you aren’t intruding. Maybe invite them out to dinner or to a special event or simply send a card or note to let them know you are thinking of them. Little things mean a lot, and the blessings of these kindnesses shower in all directions!   – Patti Warner, Chapter Guide for FTF week October 28, and study sheet for USCCA Chapter 13.

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Family Connection – Act Justly

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Matthew 5:3

We can readily find in scripture proof that Jesus and His followers were poor by worldly standards as well as “in spirit.” Simply stated, being “poor in spirit” means that one is detached from things of this world and knows that the kingdom of God is EVERYTHING.
Jesus’ disciples were willing to give up attachments to this world and embrace the carpenter’s son. Jesus spared nothing. He gave his life.
Are we also willing to become “poor in spirit?” God gives us the chance each and every day to live out our faith and meet Him in those around us. Can we detach ourselves from the material world and share our possessions with the poor in our midst? Can we avoid the temptation to hoard our wealth and essentially “rob” those in need? It is only when we sacrifice that we become “blessed” and gain the greatest wealth possible-the kingdom of God.

Opportunities to reach out to those in need surround us. Your acts of charity will sanctify and strengthen your family. Remember the charism of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – seek and find the face of Jesus in others.

Suggestions for YOUR Family Connection:
· Practice the virtue of Christian Charity and let that virtue lead by example
· Adopt a child or elderly person through the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA) or other charitable sponsorship program
· Make a one-time donation or a regular monthly contribution toward a meaningful, noble needed cause.
· Contribute to your local food pantry
· Participate in the Giving Tree Projects and other efforts to assist the poor at your parish
· Volunteer with community service projects
· Support local efforts to assist others
· Be aware of poverty throughout the world
· Be generous with your time and talents
· Join in the efforts of local organizations and causes that reach out to those in need
· Work for systemic change
· Stand for Peace and Justice
· Support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in its mission to serve the poor

PRAY without ceasing, pray for the poor

From Pat Hogrebe, Director St Vincent de Paul, Belleville Council, and Chapter Guide for FTF Chapter 31.

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Chapter 30: Marital Fidelity

The information shared through the chapter on the Sacrament of Marriage (USCCA Chapter 21) is a good complement to the commitment to faithfulness in marriage in this week’s chapter on Marital Fidelity (Chapter 30).  On the webpage there are resources to assist couples and a link to a webcast on the engaging the current cultural discussion on same sex unions.

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October is Respect Life Month

Timing is perfect as we begin this week’s study of USCCA Chapter 29 –  “The Fifth Commandment:  Promote the Culture of Life.”

Excerpt from this year’s statement for Respect Life month, by Cardinal DiNardo, the Chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Activities Committee:

The theme of this year’s Respect Life Program is one often expressed by Pope Benedict XVI: “Faith opens our eyes to human life in all its grandeur and beauty.” He reiterated this insight during his recent visit to Lebanon:

The effectiveness of our commitment to peace depends on our understanding of human life. If we want peace, let us defend life! This approach leads us to reject not only war and terrorism, but every assault on innocent human life, on men and women as creatures willed by God. … The grandeur and the raison d’être of each person are found in God alone. The unconditional acknowledgement of the dignity of every human being, of each one of us, and of the sacredness of human life, is linked to the responsibility which we all have before God. We must combine our efforts, then, to develop a sound vision of … the human person. Without this, it is impossible to build true peace.

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Strengthen the Family

Here is a link to one family strengthening resource… others are welcome to add ideas!!

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Love the Lord’s Day

From an article in Investopedia:

“One of the more visible signs that consumers have regarding a company’s  religious views is whether the business operates on  Sundays. A 2005 article from the periodical The Guardian quoted Pope  Benedict XVI, who called on his Catholic followers to focus on Sundays as a  religious day to stem against “rampant consumerism and religious indifference.”
A number of high-profile retail firms, including chicken fast food  provider Chick-Fil-A, arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby and furniture giant R.C.  Willey, proudly state on their websites that they are  closed on Sundays. Capitalists are quick to point out that Sundays are among the  most popular days for shoppers who work during the week. Additionally, missing a  single day means being closed for 14% of the week.
Warren Buffett called  into question R.C. Willey’s decision to remain closed as it expanded out of its  home state of Utah, but lost out to a “higher authority,” as the stores are  still closed on Sundays. Mr. Buffet isn’t alone, however, when it comes to  keeping business practices  separate from religion. Below are some famous businessmen and investors who have  proclaimed themselves non-religious.” (Read more)

As noted, the article went on to describe the non-religious “successful” folks.

There have been times I have gone out for a Chick-Fil-A sandwich or to Hobby Lobby on Sunday, forgetting that they are closed on those days.  I admit that on some of those times I was disappointed they were closed because it didn’t fit into my plans.  On my better days I am thankful for their witness and use it as a call to accountability about my priorities and faithfulness to really “Love the Lord’s Day.”   I am thankful for the sacrificial witness of faithful followers of Jesus Christ, in this way and so very many other ways.  It reminds me that it is the witness of our lives, more than prosperity or recognition on lists of the famous this or that, that begins to define “successful.”  (Laurie E.)

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