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.


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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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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Faith on Fire

Come for a faith-filled and fun family retreat surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest!

Join in fellowship with others looking to deepen their faith in God. Be inspired by talks which challenge and strengthen us. Soak in the Grace that comes through celebrating the Sacraments. Look to be inspired by so many who have fully given their lives over to serving Christ and His Church.

I will be a speaker at the Faith on Fire family conference in Anacortes, WA, July 17-18, giving one talk to youth and one talk to women.

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”

Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church

“God bless you and keep you,” my husband says, tracing the sign of the cross on our wiggly daughters’ foreheads. After our family finishes our night prayer in the living room, and the squabble discussion about whose turn it is to blow out the candle on the family altar is peaceably resolved, each of our girls receives her blessing. “God bless you and keep you,” I also pray for each of them, marking them with the sign of the cross as well. This pairs well with a bedtime hug.

This simple daily practice is one way that we try to live out our family’s vocation to be a domestic church. Through baptism and the sacrament of matrimony, Christian families live their daily life “in the Lord.” Just like the universal church, the Holy Spirit forms the Christian family into a communion of persons, a communion of life and love. Jesus is present in their midst and works in and through them. Continue reading “Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church”

Christmas and January in the Domestic Church

Christmas lasts until Jan. 10 this year.

Though the stores have switched their displays from Christmas décor to weight-loss accessories and Super Bowl gear, if you visit any Catholic Church you will encounter smells like pine, balsam and incense. You will see Christmas trees sparkling with lights and sanctuaries lush with velvety poinsettias. You will hear Christmas songs sung at Mass. And you’ll hear the story of the Nativity over and over again. It is as if we need time to let the grace of Christmas soak in.

By late December, however, our consumer culture is sick of Christmas. It has been celebrating it since November with a glut of holiday products and treats, a frenzy of seasonal activities, and lots of shopping. But the church has been waiting for the Lord through the holy season of Advent with silence, prayer and penance. Now that he is here, the church is ready to revel in Christmas with all her senses!

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Top 10 Ways to Make a Family Rosary a Reality

Praying together doesn’t have to be such a struggle

You know that the rosary is a powerful, Christ-centered prayer, and you would like to pray it as a family to bring its many benefits into your household. You envision a reverent domestic scene, gathering with your children around the family altar. They are purposefully fingering the appropriate beads and reciting the Hail Marys and Our Fathers with devotion. In Latin. Gregorian chant wafts softly in the background. Angels smile.

In reality, the children sprawl in various attitudes of beleaguered exhaustion on the couch and floor. Your tween daughter’s rosary is intricately woven between her fingers as if it were auditioning for a new career as brass knuckles. Whether you have eyeball-rolling teens or couch-acrobatic toddlers, here are 10 creative ideas for incorporating the rosary into your family’s daily routine in ways that are engaging, meaningful and, most importantly, doable.
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Your Place in the Domestic Church

“The work of evangelization begins at home.” –Pope Francis, April 2014

These are the resources included on the handout for the talk I gave at Holy Rosary, Edmonds on Sept. 19. The talk provided lots of practical ways to live out the liturgical year in the domestic church. You can download a PDF of the handout here, but all the live links are below. Continue reading “Your Place in the Domestic Church”

Pope Francis’ Bite-Sized Advice for Families

The pope’s weekly teachings pop with truth, freshness and vitality

If you have five minutes and a smartphone while waiting in the grocery store checkout line, you have enough time to read one of Pope Francis’ recent Wednesday audiences on the family.

Through this yearlong series, Pope Francis has been preparing the church for the World Meeting of Families this month in Philadelphia, as well as for the bishops’ Synod on the Family, which will gather in Rome in October. He urges prayer for the success of these important events, and highlights the importance of educating ourselves more deeply about the truth of marriage and family at this time. Continue reading “Pope Francis’ Bite-Sized Advice for Families”