Awesome Discipleship Program Based on St. Ignatius

Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola! He’s touched my life in many ways through the years. I attended a Jesuit high school for a year and a half, and had my intellect opened to the connections between art, literature, religion, and history during my collegio classes at Seattle Prep. When I moved to Anacortes part-way through high school, a wonderful old Jesuit serving in the San Juan Islands, Fr. Steckler, gave Catechism lectures at my parish. Blew my mind! I had no idea there was such depth and richness, such a coherent, logical system, such beauty, truth, and goodness illuminating the truths of the faith. May he rest in peace. What a great man. At that time, Fr. Spitzer also gave a talk at my parish about Marian devotion. (Before he made it big.) Later, Fr. Spitzer would be the president of Gonzaga University while I was there. Continue reading →

NFP Awareness Week – Hormonal Contraception Linked With Depression

July 23-July 29 is the USCCB National NFP Awareness Week. This is a great time to raise awareness about NFP in your ministry or parish.

The Pill has been correlated with higher risks of certain forms of cancer, blood clotting, and lower libido. This new study from Denmark finds its correlates with increases rates of depression, especially among teen girls. Shouldn’t they develop a way for couples to manage their fertility in a way that respects womens’ bodies and doesn’t harm their health and wellbeing? They did! It’s called NFP.

 

Mary Magdalene: Telling the Story

                                    Saint Mary Magdalene,
                                    who by conversion become the beloved of Jesus,
                                    thank you for your witness that Jesus forgives
                                    through the miracle of love.
 
                                    You, who already possess eternal happiness
                                    in His glorious presence,
                                    please intercede for me
                                    so that someday I may share in the same
                                    everlasting joy.
                                                                                              Amen.
 
For years, I have been captivated by the person of Mary of Magdala. I’ve dreamed of writing a picture book to tell her story to a new generation. This dream was conceived several years ago when I attended St. Mary Magdalen parish in Everett, where I was, for a time, the “Troop Shepherd” for my daughters’ American Heritage Girls scouting troop.  I spoke to the girls about this incredible woman, and was amazed at what I found as I researched my little talk for them. Mary Magdalen was a wealthy, independent single woman living in first-century Palestine–a woman of influence. A woman broken, and healed, and made new. A woman of whole-hearted passion, energetic and practical, but full of longing, like the Bride in the Song of Songs. A woman to whom Jesus revealed the heart of the mystery of his mission: to offer us a share in his Sonship of His Father. She was a woman of dignity sent on mission. She is woman who shows us how to live the new evangelization and the feminine genius.

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Grandparents are a Treasure

Photo: Shutterstock

“Tell me about your grandmother,” the director of vocations for an East Coast diocese asks the young man sitting on the other side of his desk for his initial interview at the chancery. He leans back in his chair to enjoy the response, knowing already what it will be.

“Oh, she is the most incredible woman,” the young man instantly lights up. “My grandmother is really special to me, and she is so strong in her Catholic faith. In fact, I think I owe my vocation to the priesthood to her,” he reflects. The vocations director nods knowingly. Every candidate for the priesthood that has come into his office has said the same thing.

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Wine Out of Water

Photo: Courtesy Carrie Anderson

“We had been craving community at St. Monica [Parish on Mercer Island], just wanting some kind of couple’s group,” Bill recounted. “Father Freitag was talking about the dissolution of marriages. … Divorce after divorce. It was on his heart that we need prayers for these marriages, and they need help. So it was something that was on our heart,” he told me.

Inspired during eucharistic adoration together, Bill and Carrie Anderson gathered a group of six couples from the parish to meet regularly for dinner about two years ago. They share wine, laughter and fellowship. After dinner, they pray a rosary. They meet in the spirit of the wedding at Cana, as indicated by their name, WOW: Wine Out of Water. (see John 2:1-11)

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A Better Way to Care for Women’s Health

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Bella has painful and irregular periods.

Anna suffers from endometriosis.

Marylin deals with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Pamela has acne.

They were all prescribed the birth control pill to control their symptoms.

But there is a better way! A way consistent with the dignity of women and authentic sexuality, a way that treats underlying causes and respects a woman’s total health, a way free of the Pill’s risks of depression, weight gain, nausea, cancer, blood clotting and early abortions.

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Couple Prayer: The Ultimate Instant Messaging

Which of the following simple, free, daily activities will: 1) make God smile on you and send you powerful help, 2) connect you even more deeply and build spiritual intimacy with your spouse, and 3) dramatically reduce your odds of divorce?

A) Sit in the same room while you each interact with your respective smartphones.
B) Text each other sweet notes throughout the day.
C) Pick up the towels off the floor.
D) Pray together as a couple.

What did you pick? Let’s look at each possibility:
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A Spirituality for Singles

One of my favorite saints was a single laywoman known for her gorgeous hair. She was independent, passionate and completely transformed by Christ. She lived a rich life full of adventure, prayer and evangelization. Mary Magdalen never married or became a nun, but she lived a joyful life that was “single-hearted” for Christ.

More Catholics are single now than ever before, following national trends of adults marrying later, or not at all. In fact, for the first time in history, more singles than married folk head households in America.
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The Power of Couple Prayer

“Praying together is the most powerful predictor of marital happiness that researchers have yet discovered,” wrote the late sociologist Father Andrew Greeley.

One survey found that couples who prayed or read the Bible daily, in addition to weekly church attendance, divorced at a rate of less than 1 per 1,105 marriages. And while 60 percent of couples who pray together “sometimes” checked the box in a survey marked “our marriage is happy,” that number bumped up to 78 percent for those couples who pray together “a lot.” (All research is cited atcoupleprayer.com.) Couple prayer is a powerful means of drawing close to your spouse and blessing your marriage. But how do you do it? Continue reading →

Paris Day 2: Towers of Notre Dame

Ready to see Paris!
Ready to see Paris!

We awoke on a beautiful Saturday morning after our first nights’ sleep in Paris rested and ready to explore. Our first adventure was to climb the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral. When we awoke that morning (at a jet-lagged 4 am!), I had no idea that in a few hours, we’d be climbing the stairs of the famous scientist and future Saint, Servant of God Jerome Lejeune.

What can I say: Paris is magical like that.

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