Windows’ witness

Photo: Psalter of Queen Melisende/Flickr Commons

This November, as we remember our departed in a particular way, it is a good time to remember also that the church offers comfort for the men and women left behind when a beloved spouse dies. Widows and widowers have a life full of dignity, purpose and mission. As Vatican II declared, “Widowhood, accepted bravely as a continuation of the marriage vocation, should be esteemed by all.”

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Pray the Rosary for Stronger Marriages and Families

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This Oct. 13 marks the 100th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady of Fátima. At Fátima, Portugal, Our Lady urged the shepherd children to pray the rosary daily to obtain peace for the world. In this time of crisis in marriage and family life, a daily family rosary — a daily rosary from all Catholics — for the strengthening of marriage and family is a powerful means of building peace in the world.

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A Pervasive Toxin is Attacking Our Kids

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Parents, as your teens head back to school, you should know that this year they are at a greater risk than ever for encountering a toxic substance proven to traumatize the brain, impair concentration, decrease cognitive functioning, induce depression and anxiety, and reduce pleasure in everyday life. Rising in use each year, this substance is attacking our kids’ ability to learn, thrive and be happy. And you are the most powerful force in their lives to protect them from it.  Continue reading “A Pervasive Toxin is Attacking Our Kids”

Grandparents are a Treasure

“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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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 “The Power of Couple Prayer”

Saints Louis and Zelie Hold Open the Doors of Mercy

The marriage and family life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s parents invite us to practice mercy

This year in our archdiocesan Catholic schools, students have been making “Doors of Mercy” art projects. Behind brown construction-paper sets of cathedral doors, they have glued or drawn a picture of their own families. So when the door-flaps are opened, the family is revealed inside.

If we open wide the “Doors of Mercy” and look through them to see the ways we can let mercy flood in to our own marriages and our own families, what beautiful scenes of compassion, forgiveness, tenderness, presence, healing and encouragement are revealed? Celebrating the July 12 feast day of newly canonized Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her four sisters (they also had four little ones who died in infancy and early childhood), can help answer that question. Continue reading “Saints Louis and Zelie Hold Open the Doors of Mercy”

Get Touchy with your Spouse

Drawing closer physically ‘incarnates’ your love and can strengthen your marriage

Elizabeth Jordan was unhappy in her marriage. Her husband Tony was a jerk. They argued about money. They were emotionally distant. The love between them was almost dead. Elizabeth could, justly, complain long and bitterly about her husband.

What happened to transform their marriage so that they were helpful, loving and united again? Surprisingly, it was one party’s conversion. Elizabeth’s change of heart toward her husband changed her own behavior in the relationship. Together with her intense prayer support for him, this triggered the softening of his heart toward her and his own conversion to Christ.

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