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FROM DEATH TO LIFE FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020 A MAGAZINE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DETROIT


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020 VOLUME 1: ISSUE 6 P U B L I S HER

The Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit EX E C U TI VE E DITO RS

Father Stephen Pullis Edmundo Reyes ED I TO R I N C HIE F

Christine Warner M A N AGI N G E DITO R

Casey McCorry ED I TO R

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Jennifer Scroggins A RT D I R E C TO R

Paul Duda

A D V E RTI SING MANAG E R

Michelle St. Pierre I L LU S T R ATO RS

Hope Acquilano Diego Diaz Francisco Hernandez Mike Marshall P HOTO GR A P HE RS

Melissa Moon Madi Myers-Cook Matthew Rich Valaurian Waller CO N T R I B UT ING W RIT E RS

Sister Mary Martha Becnel Jeff Blashill Kathleen M. Carroll Sister Mariae Agnus Dei Clara Fox Daniel Gallio Anita Houghton Dr. Daniel Keating Kate Lochner Father Brian Meldrum Daniel Meloy Maria Terrone Aaron Wilkerson Mary Wilkerson James M. Wilson

Patrick O’Brien P R ES I D E NT AND C E O

Elizabeth Martin Solsburg V I C E P R ESIDE NT AND E DITO RIAL D IRECTOR

Rachel Matero GR A P HI C DE SIG NE R

4 ABOUT THE COVER AND CONTRIBUTORS 7 A MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHBISHOP

FE ATU R E S 8

LIVING WITNESS A long-awaited baptism

16 REAL TALK Why are you proud to be Catholic?

EM A I L U S : utgmagazine@aod.org V I S I T U S O NL INE : unleashthegospel.org F O L LO W U S O N FAC E BO O K, INSTAGRAM AND T W IT T E R: @utgdetroit Unleash the Gospel (USPS XXXXX) is a membership publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit, published bimonthly (June/July, Aug/Sept, Oct/Nov, Dec/Jan, Feb/Mar, April/May) by the Archdiocese of Detroit, 12 State Street, Detroit MI 48226-1823. Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Pending in Detroit, MI and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Unleash the Gospel, 12 State Street, Detroit, MI 48226-1823. ©2019 Unleash the Gospel, Archdiocese of Detroit.

44 CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD St. Francis Xavier 46 PRAYER 101 Promises, promises 48 PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH FATHERS Newness of life through the Holy Spirit

D I S CI P LE S

20 FROM DEATH TO LIFE PART 1 Baptism: A love story

52 FAMILY CHALLENGE Love anyway

24 FROM DEATH TO LIFE PART 2 Rooted in baptism

56 GOING DEEPER  The 10 principal virtues of Mary

28 FROM DEATH TO LIFE PART 3 Incorporated into the body of Christ and sent on mission

58 PURSUING HOLINESS In the service of the truth

CU LTU R E

D E TR OI T

34 POETRY At a Cathedral vertical tour Through the water

62 UNLEASHED QUESTIONNAIRE Coach Jeff Blashill

Innerworkings PRINTING

P R AYE R

36 SACRED PL ACES Pilgrimage to the center of the world 40 OUR HISTORY ‘Announcing the kingdom of God’

64 #ASKUTG How does the Eucharist strengthen you? 66 PHOTO ESSAY Most Holy Redeemer, Detroit


TO G ET TO K NO W O U R CO NT RI B U T ING WR ITER S SO ME MO R E, WE ASK ED THEM :

S IS T E R M ARI AE AG N U S DEI , SV: I received a Blessed Mother nightlight as a gift for my first Communion. Each night, after Mom tucked me in, turned out the lights and left the room, I would proceed to turn on my special nightlight, thrilled that God and I had a secret time to say hello. Then, I would dutifully recite a prayer that promised to release souls from purgatory, tell God I loved him and call it a night. Looking back, I realize this ritual was the birthplace of my credo; by the gentle light of Mary, my little 7-year-old heart came to believe. S IS T E R M ARY M ART H A B EC N EL, O P: My earliest faith memories involve my mother leading me in prayer nightly before bed. We would pray memorized prayers, such as the “Our Father,” “Hail Mary” and “Glory Be,” and pray for all the people we knew, especially family members, who were in need of prayers. I remember this time of praying with my mom before bed as very peaceful. KAT HL E E N M . CAR R O LL: I attended religious education classes at a school on top of a big hill. Each Tuesday as the sun set and the sisters explained heaven to us, I could see across the city to a beautiful castle in the clouds. I thought it was heaven. As it turned out, it was a Victorian-era soap factory on the other side of town. I guess, for me, cleanliness and godliness have always gone hand in hand.

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CL A RA F OX: I remember my mother taking me to Mass when I was a toddler. Although I would sit and “read” picture books during Mass, my mother always made a special point to tell me, “This is the moment of consecration,” just in time for me to look up to see the priest elevate the host and hear the bells ring. It took a few years before I began to understand what was happening, but I will always remember my mother at each Mass during consecration and how much she valued this great mystery. DA NI EL GA LLI O: Sunday Mass, third pew, epistle side, with my mother, father and older brother, Christon, at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Conway, Pa. My mother wearing white gloves and a circular white veil held in place with a bobby pin. A NI TA HOU G HTON: I would say that my first significant “faith memory” happened in my junior year of high school. My pastor was proclaiming the Gospel story of the road to Emmaus, and I was particularly attentive to the readings that day. As he proclaimed the part when the disciples were reflecting on their encounter with the risen Christ — “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” — my heart burned within me with a desire to know more about Jesus. I had a sense that something more awaited me in my faith life. I could have never anticipated then all that God had in store for me.


DR. DAN I E L KE ATI NG : My earliest faith memory comes from fourth grade in my parish school, St. Luke’s, when one day, through the words of the sister teaching the class, I was somehow moved by an experience of God so much so that when I came home, I described it to my mom. Later, as a young adult, I looked back on this as a notable time of experiencing or encountering God. KATE LO CHN E R: My earliest faith memory is attending the stations of the cross at Our Lady of La Salette in Berkley. The church was stripped down of any decorations and dressed in purple. Even as a little kid, the reverence, tone and posture of the faithful reciting the prayers struck me. Lent is still a favorite of mine. The reverence around the preparation and sacrifice is so beautiful and powerful and continues to strengthen my faith year after year. FAT HE R BR I AN M E L DRU M : My earliest faith memories are attending Sunday Mass with my dad and brother (and always sitting in the front pew!) and going to the cemetery to visit the graves of our relatives. Both memories remind me of the importance of passing along the faith in the context of the family, which extends through the mystical body of Christ to the living and the dead. DAN I E L M E LOY : I remember reading the numbers on the hymn board in the front of the church and finding the songs in the Missal. I think that was my first sign there were songs we sang in church, but nowhere else. I also remember 3-year-old me being amazed by the censer, also known as the “smoky thing.” I never grasped how it worked, why we had it or what the priest was putting in it, but it all seemed important. MA RY W I L K E RSO N : My earliest faith memory would be first grade, in Sister Teresita’s class. Sister played a song that told the story of John 21, when Jesus asked Peter three times to declare his love for the Lord. All these years later, I can still remember the words and the tune to this song. For me, it’s a significant moment because Peter shows us how much Jesus loves his imperfect followers. It reassures me of serving the Lord, despite the many times I am sure to mess up.

FROM DEATH TO LIFE FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020 A MAGAZINE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DETROIT

DESIGNED BY MIKE MARSHALL

THE COVER “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Rom 6:3-4) The theme of this issue, From Death to Life, is focused on the sacrament of baptism by which we are made one with Christ’s life, suffering and death. It is through baptism that we are cleansed from original sin and become children of God, members of his Church. The cover’s vibrant water imagery represents the immersion of baptism through which we are brought from death to new life in Christ.

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DEAR JOYFUL

MISSIONARY DISCIPLE! O U R E F F O RT S TO U N L E A S H T H E G O S P E L , O U R B A P T I S M P L AY S A C E N T R A L R O L E . O U R U N I O N W I T H T H E C R U C I F I E D A N D R I S E N LO R D W A S E S TA B L I S H E D F I R S T T H R O U G H B A P T I S M . I N T H E A P O S TO L I C E X H O RTAT I O N J OY O F T H E G O S P E L , P O P E F R A N C I S D E S C R I B E S T H E C HU RC H AS THE HOU S E OF THE FAT H E R , W IT H DO O R S A LW AYS W IDE OPEN. BAPTISM IS “THE DOOR” TO THIS BUILDING. IN THIS SACRAMENT, W E A R E N OT O N LY C L E A N S E D F R O M T H E S TA I N O F O R I G I N A L S I N , B U T S A LVAT I O N C O M E S I N TO R E AC H A N D W E A R E A B L E TO E X P E R I E N C E T H E B E A U T Y O F T H E OT H E R S A C R A M E N T S .

IN

Through baptism, we first begin to reap the fruits of being God’s sons and daughters, of being part of God’s family. The Church teaches us that the graces we receive through baptism enable us to believe in God, to hope in him and to love him. It is also through baptism that we receive the power to live and respond to the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The salvation won by Christ for all becomes a gift by virtue of our baptism.

We do not deserve this gift. It is freely given to us by a God who loved us first. But this precious gift is not just for a few of us; it is a gift that God wants to give to all women and men. Jesus tells us to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.” (Mt 28:19) This is our call as missionary disciples. Each of us has been sent by Christ to proclaim the Good News

“AS YOU READ THIS MAGAZINE, I INVITE YOU TO CONSIDER THE GIFT OF YOUR BAPTISM AND ITS RESPONSIBILITIES. ASK GOD TO HELP YOU SHARE ITS BEAUT Y WITH OTHERS.”

THE MOST REV. ALLEN H. VIGNERON Archbishop of Detroit DetroitArchbishop @DetArchbishop @DetroitArchbishop

to the people of our time so they, too, receive this great gift of salvation. As you read this magazine, I invite you to consider the gift of your baptism and its responsibilities. Ask God to help you share its beauty with others and to be open to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. I encourage you to recommit to your baptismal promises — to reject Satan, his work and empty promises; to believe in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, in the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. As we enter this new decade, may you and your family discover the depths of our faith through the grace of baptism and rejoice in the gift our loving Father offers to all humanity.

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LI VING WITNE SS

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A LONGAWAITED BAPTISM After seven years of praying for a baby, the Gimenes family will celebrate new life this spring.

CLARA FOX, WRITER • VALAURIAN WALLER, PHOTOGRAPHER

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“IT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR US THAT WE DO THIS VERY SOON,” SAYS DANIELE MARTINS GIMENES ABOUT THE BAPTISM OF HER BABY BOY. BUT THERE’S BEEN AN UNEXPECTED DELAY. THEIR PASTOR AT ST. JOHN VIANNEY IN SHELBY TOWNSHIP IS ON MEDICAL LEAVE FOR CANCER TREATMENT — AND BOTH DANIELE AND HER HUSBAND, FERNANDO, HAVE AGREED TO POSTPONE THE BAPTISM UNTIL APRIL TO GIVE FATHER TIMOTHY MAZUR THE CHANCE TO BAPTIZE THEIR MONTHS-OLD BABY, MIGUEL GIMENES ANDRECIOLI. THEY HAVE A SPECIAL REASON FOR REQUESTING THAT FATHER TIMOTHY ADMINISTER THE BAPTISM. DANIELE AND FERNANDO, WHO MARRIED IN 2010 IN THEIR HOMETOWN PARISH OF SÃO JOSÉ IN GÁLIA, BRAZIL, TRIED FOR SEVEN YEARS BEFORE THEY WERE ABLE TO CONCEIVE.

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A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT In 2014, the Gimeneses moved to Detroit for Fernando’s work, and they say it was providential that they ended up as parishioners at St. John Vianney. “Our parish made a huge difference in our process to move to a different country and establish our residency here,” Fernando says. “We felt welcomed and at home.” Daniele was quickly able to learn English with the help of parishioners who were eager to practice with her. “It was a blessing for us,” Daniele says. Friendships among the parishioners quickly formed, but one of the most influential was the friendship with Father Timothy. “It all started when Dani had her surgeries scheduled,” Fernando says of the operations they hoped would help Daniele conceive naturally. “After Mass, we talked with him, and we asked for the sacrament of anointing because she was going for surgery.”

From there, Daniele began regularly going to confession, and Fernando soon followed suit. Fernando says it helped that the Catholics at their parish were deeply engaged in their faith. Daniele and Fernando were able to join Bible study groups and found other opportunities to learn about their faith. The Gimeneses say the spiritual direction and confession opportunities with Father Timothy worked as a form of marriage renewal. “We told him our story,” Fernando says. “I think it was healing for us, for our marriage and for us as a couple.”

IN THE HANDS OF GOD Daniele is grateful that Father Timothy kept their faith strong. “He didn’t allow us to be hopeless or give up on having a child in the natural way — and he told us to wait on God’s timing.”


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Still, some doctors were discouraging. “Some doctors told us that it was almost impossible for us to conceive naturally,” Daniele says. But she and her husband rejected in vitro fertilization. “We believe that when the cells come together and form the first cell, life begins. It’s a new life and it’s a new soul,” Fernando explains. “We know that with IVF they freeze the eggs, and that’s like freezing a life. We didn’t think that was right.” Looking back, Daniele and Fernando say the seven-year journey to having a child was a gradual surrender to God’s will. “In the course of

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seven years, I found myself closer to God. My relationship with God grew a lot,” Daniele says, adding, “In the beginning, it was hard to accept that I didn’t have a baby.” Shortly before Miguel was born, she remembers thinking, “It’s OK if I don’t have a baby. I’m OK. I’m happy. My life is good. God is good.” Fernando agrees. “We got to the point where it was entirely in the hands of God. We did our best that we could, and now we just have to trust in God that he provides us with whatever he wants,” he says. “And I think we got to that point over the course of seven years.”

EXAMPLES OF FAITH Daniele and Fernando agree that they grew in their faith from the experience. Throughout their journey, Fernando says he was grateful for his wife’s example. “I always felt like Dani was the person who led me back to the Church,” he says, recounting that he initially attended confirmation classes as a teenager only to be with her. Daniele says baptism is the most important thing in our lives. She looks forward to her son’s baptism, saying, “It’s the moment when he will be washed from original sin, and it’s the beginning of his spiritual life.”


CLARA FOX writes from California.

AN INSPIRED CHOICE

Miguel’s godparents are set to fly in from Brazil in April for the baptism — another reason for the couple’s decision to postpone the event. Baptisms in Brazil are an important family celebration, bringing everyone together. Since it will be impossible for their entire family to travel to Detroit for the occasion, the Gimeneses plan to broadcast the baptism to their family in Brazil. Daniele notes that Father Timothy isn’t the only priest who supported them in their journey. “We have two special priests in our story of Miguel,” she says. About a year ago, before Daniele was expecting, Father Stephen Pullis, the director of evangelization and missionary discipleship for the Archdiocese of Detroit, stopped Daniele and Fernando after Mass and said that while he was praying, God had put them on his heart and he wanted to connect with them. Fernando says they were happy to invite Father Steve to their house for dinner. Afterward, they asked him to bless their house. He made the rounds with holy water, blessing the windows, doors and every room in the house. “We felt so peaceful after,” Fernando says. “It was a really nice sensation. I felt like I was clean.” Shortly after, Daniele realized that she was expecting. “We really, really believe that that intervention was divine,” Fernando says. Father Steve was the first person they told about the pregnancy, and later, he was the first person to meet Miguel.

Their years of praying didn’t stop after Daniele and Fernando learned they were expecting. They needed a baby name. “We were praying constantly about it,” Fernando recalls. One day, while in the waiting room to learn the baby’s gender, they were still undecided about a boy’s name. “It came to me, something whispering in my ear saying, ‘You should call him Miguel.’” Fernando immediately turned to his wife and said, “We should call him Miguel.” And she said, “I like Miguel.” She notes that the name could easily be pronounced by their Portuguese-speaking family and their new English-speaking friends. St. Michael the Archangel had always been their family’s patron saint, Fernando says. “We always were praying for his intercession, to protect our family, so when they did the ultrasound and it was a boy, we thought, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ We had been struggling a little bit to find the name.” Father Timothy also has a special devotion to St. Michael the Archangel, and his grandfather, with whom he was close, was named Michael. “When we went to tell Father Timothy that we were having a boy, and his name would be Miguel, I saw some tears in his eyes,” Fernando says. The Gimeneses are slowly making preparations for Miguel’s baptism. “At Father Tim’s last Mass before he went on leave for his cancer treatment, he was very adamant that he would be back to baptize Miguel,” Fernando says. “So that is our hope.” Adds Daniele, “I always say that Father Timothy is the American grandpa of Miguel.”

WE JUST HAVE TO TRUST IN GOD THAT HE PROVIDES US WITH WHATEVER HE WANTS. — FERNANDO GIMENES UN LE A SH T H E G O SP E L . O R G |

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RE A L TA LK

My Catholic faith has always been a part of who I am. I was raised in a Catholic family, attended a Catholic elementary and high school and now attend John Carroll University in Cleveland, where my pride in my Catholic faith has grown as I’ve come to realize just how much God loves us. I’ve learned to share that with my community. However, it isn’t always easy. In college, there are so many distractions. There will be days where I lack the motivation to live out my Catholic faith. My faith has been tested and I have failed before. I have felt lost. Going to daily Mass has allowed me to grow closer to God and find myself in him and the Eucharist. It took a lot of courage and strength to continuously go to daily Mass, but seeing my relationship with God as a friend has completely changed my mind-set. You have to make time to have a relationship with your friends, and it’s the same with God. Even through these days of struggle, God’s love always prevails, and this allows me to continuously be proud of my Catholic faith. - MARK GRABOWSKI, DIVINE CHILD, DEARBORN

WHY ARE YOU I am proud to be Catholic because being Catholic means being resilient. No matter what hardships are placed in our way, we overcome them. In hard times, your faith is all that you have. The Catholic faith has taught me a sense of community. We have experienced difficult times within our Church, and we depend on one another as a guide to the end of the tunnel. The Catholic Church is evolving, and, in my opinion, there is no better time than now to be Catholic. I love that we are able to keep the traditions we hold near and dear to our hearts, but we are also implementing modern approaches as well. - MAIA COOK, ST. ALOYSIUS, DOWNTOWN DETROIT

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PROUD


I am very proud to be Catholic, for I can share the Good News of our Lord and the true faith as an active member according to the teachings of the Church. I am proud and blessed to be nurtured with the loving sacrament of the Eucharist and experience the mercy of God in the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation. I am proud to call Mary my mother and ask for her intercession as a joyful missionary of our Lord. And finally, I am proud to be surrounded by a cloud of witnesses — our saints — who intercede for me in this awesome ministry of service to the Church. - AUXILIARY BISHOP ARTURO CEPEDA

TO BE

CATHOLIC?

I’m a black cradle Catholic with a Detroit Catholic education from elementary school through college. I’ve lived in the same northwest Detroit neighborhood most of my life, in earshot of the bells of at least six different parishes. I witnessed the changes in my city and Church, yet pride in my Catholicism not only survives but thrives. It’s forever rooted in childhood experiences, revitalized by the Eucharist, rejuvenated by singing with the Black Catholic Ministries Gospel Choir and empowered by witnessing corporal works of mercy in action. Growing up, I was inspired by the commitment of the Sisters of Charity who educated me and the Home Visitors of Mary who embraced my neighbors. Along with all the joys of raising my children and nurturing theirs, I’m most fulfilled when experiencing Christian service. As a service coordinator, I’m frequently overwhelmed by the calls of the poor and humbled by the response of the generous. Our parish food pantry feeds the hungry and clothes the cold. Parishioners and seminarians visit our homebound, and volunteers help neighbors avoid utility shut-off or eviction. I’m so proud of being Catholic and part of such a team of joyful missionary disciples! - CAMILLE GRAVES, ST. MOSES THE BLACK, DETROIT

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“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof. Only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” This has always been the most impactful part of the Catholic Mass for me. Even as a young altar boy, the concept of believing in the powerful nature of that phrase began to shape who I am today: Jesus, I have no right to ask for your intercession, because I am flawed, so just say a simple word from a distance, and I’ll accept what comes from that. Right after I repeat those words at Mass, I realize how unconditionally I am loved. How fantastic it is to be able to celebrate being renewed this way at every Mass. There have been times in my life when situations have challenged my faith, but at the core of all of these challenging times, those powerful words resonate with me. They have helped me realize, once again, that no matter what we are faced with, how dark things seem, how unworthy we may think our needs are, because of faith, we are always loved. Always. Love overcomes all. Being Catholic has taught me that, and I am proud to be Catholic. - MATT LORIO, ST. PAUL OF TARSUS, CLINTON TOWNSHIP

I have strong faith and a close personal relationship with Jesus. I got this from the Catholic Church. I remember that even as a young girl I loved going to Mass every Sunday morning. During the readings, I felt the Lord speaking to me … directly to me! It was so profound and touched my heart like nobody else could. I love my Catholic faith! Where else would I go to celebrate the sacraments? Where would I go to be cleansed by the sacrament of reconciliation? Where could I go to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ every time I partake of holy Communion? I love my Catholic faith! There are so many opportunities to grow in our faith, to grow in our knowledge of Scripture and to grow in our relationship with Jesus. There are so many ways to give back to God and to help our neighbors in need. We have our Blessed Mother and all the angels and saints, as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ, to call upon for intercessory prayers. When traveling, we never have to go far to find a Catholic church. I am truly blessed and proud to be Catholic. I trust in Jesus and his divine providence. I love my Catholic faith! “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” (Jn 6:68) - LYNDA LOPICCOLO, ST. MARY QUEEN OF CREATION, NEW BALTIMORE

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FROM DEATH TO LIFE: PART 1

a love story

AT THE HEART OF THE SACRAMENT IS THE GRACE TO LIVE LIFE FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

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SISTER MARIAE AGNUS DEI, SV, WRITER • MIKE MARSHALL, ILLUSTRATOR


WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS? TO WHOM HAVE YOU ENTRUSTED YOUR DESIRES TO LOVE AND BE LOVED? WHAT ANCHORS YOUR HOPE TO DO SOMETHING GREAT WITH THE GIFT OF YOUR LIFE? ASK GOD’S SPIRIT OF LOVE TO GATHER THESE SACRED DESIRES. THEN GO, BRING THEM TO THE ONLY PLACE THEY CAN WORTHILY BE HELD: THE HEART OF YOUR HEART, THE HIDDEN CENTER WHERE YOU LIVE WITH GOD. GO TO THE HEART OF YOUR BAPTISM, WHERE YOU ARE BELOVED, WHERE YOU BELONG TO LOVE AND WHERE YOU ARE SET FREE IN LOVE TO BECOME THE FULL GLORY OF WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE.

BELOVED SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD THE FATHER What does it mean to be beloved? It means you are cherished, precious and treasured. We get a glimpse of what this looks like watching parents gaze at their newborn child. Though the child does nothing, both mom and dad overflow with wonder at their little one, staggering in the awesome gift of the life entrusted to them. God the Father looks at you in the same way. When Jesus rose from the waters of his own baptism in the Jordan, the Father’s voice broke open the heavens and proclaimed with delight: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:17) So, too, the Father sings these words over you with joyous delight, in and through each day, and into all of eternity. St. Gregory of Nazianzus points to baptism as “God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms it as “the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit,” through which “we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God.” (1213) Through baptism, you exchange your bonds of sin for bonds of love. You are cleansed from original sin and drawn into the promises of God’s kingdom, receiving the great inheritance of love that belongs to you as his beloved son or daughter. You see, when you were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you were changed forever. God forged an eternal covenant of love between you and himself, an indissoluble bond between your heart and his. What does this mean in real time? God has spoken a definitive, personal and eternal “yes” to you and to all the deep questions of your heart: Am I loved? Seen? Known? Wanted? Good? From the cross, we hear Jesus answer us with the whole of his life: “Yes!” Regardless of how life has blessed or broken you along the way, God has spoken the first and final word on your life. Nothing can change the unique beauty and glory inscribed in you, nor your inherent worth and sacred dignity. You are good, and you are beloved of God.

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A LIFE BELONGING TO LOVE

BECOMING WHO WE ARE IN GOD

Baptism establishes you in belonging. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI opened up this reality in an Easter Vigil homily (2008), revealing that in baptism, “(T)he Risen One comes to you and joins his life with yours, drawing you into the open fire of his love.” In effect, you belong to love and love belongs to you. This intimate grafting of your life with Christ creates in you a new center of gravity, to which God unceasingly seeks to gather you, that your life and his be brought together as one. For the Christian disciple, the question is never if God is loving, but how. The great task is not so much in doing something, as it is discerning how the Father is inviting you to receive his love in an intimate relationship of trust and vulnerability that leads to communion with him. In baptism, you became a member of God’s family and gained access to the infinite treasury of love found in the sacramental life of the Church. This means you can claim new life where you need it most. Wherever life is pinned beneath the burden of sin, Christ’s merciful love waits to set you free in the sacrament of confession. Whenever doubt and fear dull God’s promises of love, you can find him faithfully waiting in a nearby tabernacle or altar, speaking the truth he longs for your heart to hear again and again: “I am with you.” And what about when your love threatens to run dry in the daily demand of self-gift? You can look to God in faith and find his gaze of infinite love looking back at you, and here find all you need to trust, stick with him and keep loving without limits. Finally, the light of God’s Spirit is with you to anoint every step of your pilgrimage through to its final passion. Whether joy or suffering, life or death, love is there to enter in, bring meaning and carry you home.

A spiritual guide once invited me to set aside time in prayer to ask the Holy Spirit to help me become aware of the grace of my baptism. He then encouraged me to walk with this grace throughout my life and notice how it had been at work. What came into view was stunning. I began to realize the interior wellspring of grace created by my baptism and its powerful capacity to carve out a clear path toward truth, goodness and the more I had always hoped life held. I learned that the heart of becoming who I was made to be rested in receiving God’s love. The grace of baptism will tirelessly seek to help you become the saint you have been made to be, precisely in and through the real circumstances of your life. Think about St. Peter. It was said he cried so many tears of repentance after betraying Christ, that the tears formed grooves in his face. And it was on this rock, on a heart that knew the depths of God’s mercy, that God in his wisdom chose to build his Church. Or what about Blessed Margaret of Castello? Born disfigured and hunchbacked, she suffered the total abandonment of her parents. She could have easily despaired of her worth and value. Rather, she went to work transforming the hearts of the whole city of Castello, ennobled by the inheritance of love she claimed simply by anchoring herself in the truth that, before anything else, she was God’s daughter. God wants to make of your life a living Gospel. One unique and saving. One you alone can let God write. Baptism calls us to live from the inside out. When we do, we claim the power and potential St. Margaret Mary Alacoque realized in her own baptism: “I possess at all times and I carry in all places the God of my heart and the heart of my God.” God has made your heart his home and he desires nothing more than to fill your life to overflowing with the beauty and truth you long to live and reveal. Go out then, and give God permission.

NOTHING CAN CHANGE THE UNIQUE BEAUTY AND GLORY INSCRIBED IN YOU, NOR YOUR INHERENT WORTH AND SACRED DIGNITY. YOU ARE GOOD, AND YOU ARE BELOVED OF GOD.”

SISTER MARIAE AGNUS DEI, SV graduated from The Catholic University of America with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. After working in intensive care, she entered the Sisters of Life in 2007. She professed final vows in 2015 and currently serves as the local superior of St. Frances de Chantal Convent in the Bronx, N.Y., in the work of formation as the director of postulants for the community.

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FROM DEATH TO LIFE: PART 2

Rooted The universal call to holiness is a challenge to every baptized Christian to become a saint — right now, right where we are.

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FATHER STEPHEN PULLIS, STL, WRITER • MIKE MARSHALL, ILLUSTRATOR


IN MY FIRST ASSIGNMENT AFTER ORDINATION, I WAS AT A LARGE PARISH. WE WOULD HAVE INFANT BAPTISM REGULARLY, AND THERE WERE A LOT OF THEM. ON ONE SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN 2012, I HAD 13 CHILDREN TO BE BAPTIZED AND A CHURCH OF ALMOST 200 PEOPLE! I REMARKED IN MY HOMILY HOW QUIET IT WAS COMPARED TO MY EXPECTATION FOR SUCH A LARGE CROP OF BABIES. BUT I SPOKE TOO SOON. BY THE TIME I WAS BAPTIZING THE LAST CHILD, I AM NOT SURE IF THE PARENTS HOLDING THE CHILD COULD HEAR ME. THE INFANTS AND THEIR SIBLINGS WERE NOW MAKING A “JOYFUL NOISE” TO THE LORD THAT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO DROWN OUT WITH THE RITUAL. IT WAS CHAOS.

FATHER STEPHEN PULLIS, STL is the director of evangelization and missionary discipleship for the Archdiocese of Detroit and serves as a weekend associate at St. John Vianney Parish in Shelby Township and as an adjunct spiritual director at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. He also co-hosts Open Door Policy, a podcast series featuring conversations with missionary disciples throughout Southeast Michigan. Tune in at unleashthegospel.org/podcasts.

Baptism washes us clean of the stain of original sin (and any other personal sins up to that point), makes us heirs to the kingdom of God and makes each of us a son or daughter of the Father. But these are not simply passive things we receive at baptism. Instead, all of these gifts are given to us so we can be actively involved in Christ’s plan of salvation. Among the many gifts of baptism is that it makes us “sharers in [the Church’s] mission.” (CCC 1213) This mission of the Church that we share through our baptism is what the Second Vatican Council calls the “universal call to holiness.” In Chapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the fathers of the Second Vatican Council wrote: “It is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” (Lumen gentium 40) The gift of baptism — new life in Christ — has the power to transform us into saints! In previous times, perhaps there was a thought that holiness was a reserved status for priests, nuns, monks or those who received special visions. It might be tempting to give ourselves a pass for the work of holiness, that we are busy raising a family, working a stressful job or committing to our classes. This temptation was clear to the members of the council when they gathered

last century. They desired to directly confront this notion of a special class of people who were called to holiness. Thus, they wrote that “all the faithful of Christ are invited to strive for the holiness and perfection of their own proper state. Indeed they have an obligation to so strive.” (Lumen gentium 42) The call to holiness for you and for me is rooted in our baptism. Because we have been washed clean from sin, we are no longer held bound by it. (see Rom 8:2) Because we have become adopted sons and daughters of the Father, we have full access to the storehouse of all of his grace. We are brought into the family of God, and he has shared his unlimited data plan of grace with everyone in his family!

AT OUR FINGERTIPS One of the challenges for understanding the universal call to holiness is that we are tempted to think of holiness as something distant, unattainable and unrelated to our daily lives. That could not be any further from the truth. By virtue of our baptism, God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He has drawn near to us. (cf. Mk 1:15) Baptism gives us faith to see that God is close to us and wants us to live in this reality. St. John Vianney would often tell his parishioners to pray a Pater, an Ave and a Gloria — an “Our Father,” a “Hail Mary” and a “Glory Be” — every hour on the hour. This small devotion that took less than two minutes was a way of reminding his people to call their minds back to God at regular intervals. By frequent short prayers, they would know that God was never far from them, whatever they might have been doing. Holiness is attainable because Christ desires it for us. He wants us to be holy; he wants us to be saints. When Christ

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Spirituality is what our faith looks like in everyday life. It is about getting to the bottom of our restlessness. It is here where God is. Margaret Brennan, IHM

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desires something, the only thing that stands in his way is us. He does not force it, because he wants friends and not slaves. (cf. Jn 15:15) Therefore, he gives us all the tools we need, but he wants us to choose to use them. Just as parents have to let their children learn to walk on their own, Christ desires us to attain the maturity so that we won’t be spiritual infants but spiritual sons and daughters of the Father, living with strength but always in relationship with Christ. (cf. Eph 4:11-16) There is something powerful in realizing that if we strive for spiritual greatness — holiness — God will not leave us wanting. In 1999, St. John Paul II told young people gathered for the European Youth Meeting, “Do not be afraid to be holy! Have the courage and humility to present yourselves to the world determined to be holy, since full, true freedom is born from holiness.” That message should resonate with people of all ages, all over the world.

EVERYDAY, REAL-LIFE HOLINESS Holiness is intimately bound up with our daily lives. One cannot be “theoretically holy” because God does not work in the realm of theory. By becoming man and taking on our flesh, God works through the real world. This means he empowers us to be holy in our day-to-day lives. The communion of saints is a witness to the way you and I can become holy in each walk of life. God wants you to be a holy engineer, a holy soccer coach, a holy HR representative, a holy stayat-home mom, a holy artist, a holy student, a holy priest. The sacramental world of the Church shows us that God works through material things. The material sign of baptism (water) is a reminder that God takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. He communicates his eternal truth through material means. He has invited you to be holy today, right where you are, with the duties of your state in life. This

invitation does not have to wait until a better version of you comes along or until you have everything in your life figured out. It is an invitation to accept the universal call to holiness from your baptism and do the ordinary things of this world with extraordinary love. In the midst of the chaos of that crowded church some eight years ago, God was doing something beautiful. He was creating heirs to his kingdom amid the noise and the distraction. God was inviting those moms and dads — and me! — to choose holiness in that moment. He was inviting us to attend to the duties of our stations (parents, caring for their children, changing diapers, assenting to the promises they were asked to make for their infants; me, praying for them, saying the words of the church, making sure the temperature of the baptism water had been turned up ahead of time). There can be no bystanders in the life of discipleship and the call to holiness.


FROM DEATH TO LIFE: PART 3

INCORPORATED INTO AND SENT ON MISSION

The gifts of the Holy Spirit come with lifechanging rights — and extraordinary responsibility. 28

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ANITA HOUGHTON works in the Office of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Detroit. She is also the author of Kerygma 4 Kids and As for Me and My House: A Practical Guide for Leading Your Kids to Christ.

ANITA HOUGHTON, WRITER • MIKE MARSHALL, ILLUSTRATOR


MY HUSBAND AND I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF TRAVELING TO ISRAEL FOR A HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE. FOR MONTHS, I LOOKED FORWARD TO THIS TRIP, IMAGINING WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO WALK WHERE JESUS WALKED AND VISIT THE PLACES THAT ARE NOW HOLY BECAUSE OF HIS EARTHLY LIFE. ONE PLACE THAT LEFT A PROFOUND IMPACT ON ME WAS THE PLACE OF JESUS’ BAPTISM.

Too often, religious sites in Israel can become noisy, chaotic tourist traps that leave little opportunity for meditation and thoughtful reflection. The location of Jesus’ baptism is a rare exception. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River north of the Dead Sea and east of Jerusalem. Leaving Jerusalem, the scenery changes almost instantly from a green, mountainous city to a dramatic desert landscape with dry river beds, canyons, rocky mountains and barren plains. Today, the area is still largely unpopulated. Although a number of tour groups were present at the site, amazingly, the location had an atmosphere of peace and simplicity. As I stared at the muddy water and the surrounding vegetation, I could feel the years disappear and imagined the scene as it is recounted in the Gospels. What are the implications of Jesus’ baptism? Jesus, in anticipation of his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, opens a fountain of grace for all of humanity and gives all people access to God. Whereas in the Old Testament, entry into God’s covenant was only through the circumcision of a Jewish male, now, through faith and baptism, all have free and equal access to God. Baptism is the fulfillment of circumcision and has extended the covenant to all people, including us! Thus, from baptism is born the one people of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all nations, cultures, races and sexes. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1267) The fruit of baptism is a rich reality that includes the forgiveness of sins, birth into new life and the gift of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact, the baptized person is incorporated into the Church, the body of Christ, and is called to live in communion with this body. (CCC 1267, 1269) Unlike having a gym membership, when one comes and goes at will and takes advantage of a menu of services, living in communion with the body of Christ has deep significance for one’s entire life. Through baptism, one enters into a covenant with God, and with that come rights and responsibilities. Though this may sound restrictive on the surface, it actually invites the believer into a new era of freedom and possibilities through a life in the Spirit.

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RIGHTS

RESPONSIBILITIES

So what advantage is it to be incorporated into the body of Christ? First, the baptized person has extraordinary dignity because he or she is an adopted child of God and co-heir with Christ. (Rom 8:17) What does this mean? The notion of Israel as God’s “child” is a prominent motif in the Old Testament. It denotes a privilege reserved to Israel as God’s people, redeemed from Egypt, under divine protection. As God’s child, Israel enjoys an intimacy and closeness shared by no other nation. In the New Covenant, the baptized enjoy precisely this status, and, as heirs, their inheritance is the gift of eternal life. Because Jesus rose from the dead, those incorporated into his body will as well. In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul helps the young Church acquire a deeper appreciation for this gift. Paul regards his readers to be like royal children who possess enormous wealth but do not grasp the value of what belongs to them: “May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe ...” (Eph 1:18-19)

As a member of the Church, the baptized person belongs no longer to himself but to him who died and rose for him. (CCC 1269) As a result, members are now available to work on Christ’s behalf. The baptized are a physical extension of Christ in the world. This is more than an analogy — the Church is not merely like a body; it is Christ’s body. By virtue of their baptism, members of Christ’s body become missionaries, sharing in the priesthood of Christ and in his prophetic and royal mission. (CCC 1268) Christ builds the Church through the gifts of the Spirit that are given at baptism. These gifts are given to build up the body of Christ. (1 Cor 12:7) The gifts are distinctive and unique, allotted to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. (1 Cor 12:11) When the body of Christ uses these gifts as God intended, the Church runs like a well-oiled machine. If not, then something is lacking.

Paul is calling the body of Christ to live with tremendous hope. Heaven is on the horizon! Paul wants his readers to grasp this reality because clarity about our ultimate future changes the way we live today. If a man had to take a miserable job for a year knowing that at the end of the year he would receive $10,000, he would probably be an unhappy worker. If, however, he knew that at the end of the year he would receive $10 million, he might well whistle while he worked! (Ephesians, Peter S. Williamson, p. 48-49)

In addition, Paul is trying to convey that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to members of his body. In his exalted position at the right hand of the Father, Christ wields the authority to govern the cosmos. As a result, that power is available to Christians in the face of the world’s opposition. This message is so relevant to us today! We can count on the power of Christ to help us live faithfully in a culture that does not acknowledge God. The sacramental life of the Church and the sacred Scriptures are the vehicles through which God gives us this grace. (CCC 1269) It is a great right and privilege to have access to this grace, yet so many Catholics misunderstand the sacraments and don’t read Scripture. We, like the Church in Paul’s day, can be like royal children who don’t appreciate what we have.

AND INDIVIDUALLY PARTS OF IT. SOME PEOPLE GOD HAS DESIGNATED IN THE CHURCH TO BE, FIRST, APOSTLES; SECOND, PROPHETS; THIRD, TEACHERS; THEN, MIGHTY DEEDS; THEN, GIFTS OF HEALING, ASSISTANCE, ADMINISTRATION, AND VARIETIES OF TONGUES.” (1 PT 2:4-5) An analogy can help make this clear. If the brain issues a command to wiggle the toes and the body is healthy, the toes wiggle. However, if a nerve is severed and the command never reaches that part of the body, the toes do not wiggle. The same is true for us. If we are not open to the movement of the Spirit and do not utilize the gifts that have been given us, we can paralyze the body of Christ. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Jesus’ baptism took place against the backdrop of a barren and arid countryside. Absence of water will always be the biblical symbol of man’s need for God. Our life in God begins with the waters of baptism and is nourished by the living water that is the Holy Spirit. Without this water, we become dry, rigid and brittle, but with this water, we are able to live out our baptismal call.

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POETRY

Our eager guide, no longer visible, has ascended to heaven and I am alone, rear guard to a column of pilgrims, squeezed in the tightening grip of stone and wall. Still I climb this shaft built for a single body’s passage, twisting round wedge-shaped stairs worn slippery-smooth. My heart pounding in its cloister of bone, I ache for sunlight and vision — long to see my future spread before me, like a new land to explorers who hugged the earth’s curves, believing. When sweat blurs my sight to a single step, I picture medieval masons heaving rock on this spot where I labor in fear — their faithful hearts must have quickened, candles against an inky sea, their very lives chiseled in offering. From far below, an organ’s muffled notes rise, as if reaching for the spires

AT A

CATHEDRAL VERTICAL TOUR 34

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the builders knew only in fragments but envisioned complete. Oh to see with their perspective — the whole, triumphant sweep of cathedral and above, the yearning cupola of sky.

BY MA RI A TERRONE Maria Terrone’s poetry collections are Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press, 2014), A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press), The Bodies We Were Loaned and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Learn more at mariaterrone.com. “At a Cathedral Vertical Tour” was originally published in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry in 2018.

HOPE ACQUILANO, ILLUSTRATOR


Far back within the mansion of our thought We glimpse a lintel with a door that’s shut, And through which all our lives would seem to lead Though we feel powerless to say toward what. It is the place where all the shapes we know Give way to whispers and a gnawing gut. And so, in childhood, we duck beneath The waterfall into a hidden cove; In summer, pass within a stand of pines Cut off from those bright fields in which we rove, Whose needles lay a softening bed of silence, Whose great boughs tightly weave a sacred grove. And Peter, Peter, falling through that plane, Where he had only cast his nets before,

THROUGH

THE WATER “HE MUST IN SOME WAY CROSS OR DIVE UNDER THE WATER, WHICH IS THE MOST ANCIENT SYMBOL OF THE BARRIER BETWEEN TWO WORLDS.” -YVOR WINTERS

And where Behemoth stalked in darkest depths That sank and sank as if there were no floor, He cried out to the wind and felt a hand That clutched and bore his weight back to the shore. We know that we must fall into such waters, Must lose ourselves within their breathless power, Until we are raised up, hair drenched, eyes stinging, By one who says to us that, from this hour, We have passed through, were dead but have returned, And are a new creation come to flower.

BY J A MES MATTHEW WI LS ON James Matthew Wilson has published nine books, including, most recently, The River of the Immaculate Conception (Wiseblood, 2019). His essays and reviews appear regularly in The Catholic Thing and Catholic World Report.

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SACRE D PL ACES

Elizabeth and Sarah Kemp ride Sammy the camel near Jericho.

Pilgrimage TO THE CENTER

OF THE WORLD A TRIP TO THE HOLY LAND — ALMOST NOT TAKEN — IMMERSES THE KEMP FAMILY DEEP INTO THE GOSPEL MYSTERIES.

THERE IS A STONE MARKER IN THE MIDDLE OF A LARGE HALL IN THE HOLIEST PLACE ON EARTH. PILGRIMS OFTEN OVERLOOK THE MARKER — IT’S JUST KNEE HIGH AND SHAPED LIKE AN URN — AS THEY SEEK OUT THE ROCK OF GOLGOTHA AND THE TOMB OF CHRIST IN THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE IN JERUSALEM.

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DANIEL GALLIO, WRITER


Yet this marker, called the “center of the world” stone, has been considered the holiest point on earth for centuries. It symbolically marks the geographic center of Jerusalem and the Holy Land and, for Christians, the geographic center of salvation history. Medieval mapmakers would depict the nations circling the holy city of Jerusalem — the ultimate “still point of the turning world,” to quote poet T.S. Eliot. The marking stone is also a symbolic center of a powerful spiritual attraction. The lure of the Holy Land drew Abraham to found a Jewish homeland and drew Jews from across the world to begin a new nation. Jerusalem has drawn millions of Christian pilgrims to itself since Rome legalized Christianity in the early 300s, and it continues to call pilgrims despite the region’s political strife. In December 2017, this millenia-old attraction unexpectedly drew the family of Harry and Leslie Kemp, parishioners of the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, on a moving eight-day Christmas pilgrimage to the Holy Land that continues to touch their lives today.

The enrollment deadline had almost arrived when Harry decided to attend noon Mass at Transfiguration Parish. “I remember going to Mass and not having a revelation, per se, but walking away afterward with this prayer very much on my heart: ‘We should do this.’” Leslie attended Mass the next morning. The Gospel passage quietly, persistently remained with her: “Let the children come to me.” “Until that point, we had let our minds take over: It’s too expensive, it’s too much work,” Leslie relates. But after comparing their words of confirmation and taking the issue to prayer, the decision became clear. “Let’s do it.”

THE RIGHT TIME?

IT FEELS LIKE HOME

“I wasn’t sure if the timing was right,” Leslie says about the pilgrimage her friends had been encouraging her to consider for months. Leslie recalls how she and Harry would discuss taking the family to the Holy Land someday, just not any time soon. After all, their children ranged in age from 14 to 5. Wasn’t it a little early to take Elizabeth, 14, Katherine 13, Joseph, 10, Sarah, 8, and Margaret, 5, on an overseas pilgrimage? On the other hand, Harry and Leslie often take weeklong trips with Catholic families who are committed, as the Kemps are, to providing a faithfully Catholic home life for their children, so a “holy vacation” is not something out of the ordinary. “So the idea of taking the kids on a trip surrounded by friends was appealing,” Leslie says. But after wrestling with the decision, Harry and Leslie agreed this bucket list item would have to wait. Or so they thought.

“The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the most impactful place in history,” Harry states as we discuss the symbolism of the center of the world stone. Although the lines of pilgrims approaching the crucifixion and resurrection sites are long, the payoff is profound. You can literally touch the stone upon which Christ died and enter the sepulchre from which he rose. “To be there is surreal,” especially while praying within the tomb, Harry says. “To put it into words ... it felt like home.” While hunched inside this holy space, the words of St. Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration immediately came to Harry’s mind: “Lord, how good that we are here.”

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE KEMP FAMILY

The Kemp family in front of the Sea of Galilee.

COMPARING CONFIRMATIONS DANIEL GALLIO writes from Ann Arbor, where he is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

(Mt 17:4)

“The most memorable place for me?” Leslie’s answer comes quickly: It was “standing right between Golgotha and the tomb, where Mary stood beneath the cross.” Leslie describes, almost to tears, meditating at the Place of the Holy Women, which commemorates the three Marys who remained with Jesus until the end. (Jn 19:25) “Thinking as a mother, I said prayers for my family, but particularly for moms who have lost their children. “I felt so connected to Mary ... It was very powerful.”

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SAMMY THE CAMEL The Christmas pilgrimage included about 100 people, many of them children. The sponsor of the journey — Pilgrimages by Corporate Travel — wisely inserts recreational time for young people into the eight-day itinerary. The Kemp children enjoyed a break from holy site visiting when they traveled into the desert near Jericho to ride Sammy the camel. “When we mounted Sammy, we had to hold on to each other to not get flung off,” Elizabeth explains. “And while we were riding, we all took our hands off and tried to ride with no hands. It was fun!” “We also talked about the Wise Men riding camels to visit Jesus,” adds Katherine. “It was fun, but it was religious, too.” One joyful experience happened spontaneously. The pilgrims had gathered to listen to a lecture outside the church that surrounds the traditional home of St. Peter in Galilee. The young people naturally began to gravitate toward a grove of olive trees nearby — and perched in the branches while listening on their headphones. “The speaker gave them full permission to climb and have fun,” Leslie laughs. “They were just like kids would have been when Jesus was there.”

The Kemp family prays at the Stone of the Anointing in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. From left to right: Harry, Margaret, Katherine, Sarah, Elizabeth, Joseph and Leslie.

THE WEIGHT OF LOVE Guides Steve and Janet Ray often schedule events in the early morning to avoid the crowds. An example is a 3 a.m. walk through the winding streets of Jerusalem’s Old City along the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrow, praying at the 15 stations of Christ’s Passion. “It was sad hearing about what Jesus suffered,” Sarah remembers. “It was exactly like you were there with Jesus.” Harry experienced an unexpected moment of grace during the walk. Little Margaret couldn’t stay awake, so Harry lifted her up and carried her the entire way. “It was a joy, but honestly, it was not easy,” Harry recalls. “I was given a sense of the weight of which God was carrying us.”

“EVEN IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU ARE READY FOR AN EXTENDED PILGRIMAGE, USE THE OPPORTUNITY OF A NORMAL VACATION TO VISIT A HOLY SITE.” -LESLIE KEMP

OPEN TO THE UNEXPECTED Two years have passed, but the Kemps still carry with them the blessings received in the Holy Land. Elizabeth feels closer to Jesus when she envisions the places where he was born and died. For Katherine, reliving the events of Jesus’ life helps her feel more engaged when reading the Bible. Sarah would like to go back again “because I would be more mature and experience it in a different way.” “My teachers loved hearing about it and my friends, too,” Joseph says. Sharing his experiences, such as praying shoulder to shoulder with Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, motivated his friends to learn more about the Holy Land, he adds. Leslie has encouragement for parents considering a family pilgrimage. “So many people on the trip said to us, ‘Oh, I wish I had done this when our kids were in the house,’” she says. “Even if you don’t feel like you’re ready for an extended pilgrimage, use the opportunity of a normal vacation to visit a holy site. “There are going to be bumps on a pilgrimage. Just be open to the graces God is going to pour out in unexpected ways.”

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OUR HISTORY

‘ANNOUNCING the of KINGDOM GOD’ Michigan’s history has always been rooted in missionary zeal.

A statue of Father Jacques Marquette in Marquette, Mich.

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DANIEL MELOY, WRITER • PHOTOS FROM ALAMY.COM


JULY 24, 1701, IS SEEN AS DETROIT’S “START DATE,” WHEN FRENCH GEN. ANTOINE LAUMET DE LA MOTHE CADILLAC AND HIS PARTY — ACCOMPANIED BY TWO PRIESTS — LANDED ON DETROIT’S SHORES AND CONSTRUCTED A FORT. DETROIT’S FIRST PARISH, STE. ANNE DE DETROIT, BEGAN TWO DAYS LATER. BUT PREACHING CHRIST ON THE MICHIGAN PENINSULAS BEGAN LONG BEFORE DETROIT’S FOUNDING. WHEN FRENCH EXPLORER SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN FOUNDED THE CITY OF QUEBEC AND EXPLORED THE GREAT LAKES IN THE EARLY 1600S, HE HAD LOFTY HOPES FOR THE REGION, “I HAVE ALWAYS DESIRED TO SEE IN NEW FRANCE, THE LILY BLOOM IN UNION WITH THE CATHOLIC, APOSTOLIC AND ROMAN CHURCH,” HE WROTE IN A LETTER. “I HOPE THAT GOD WILL GRANT THE GRACE OF HIS MAJESTY OF ONE DAY DOING THIS MUCH FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD, HIS OWN GRANDEUR, AND THE GOOD SUBJECTS, THAT HE BRING MANY POOR PEOPLES TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE FAITH SO THAT THEY MAY ENJOY SOMEDAY THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM.”

New France was missionary territory and lured religious leaders who sought to expand the kingdom of God. Many others who flocked to the region were drawn by an opportunity for wealth. Hunters, prospectors and coureurs de bois — a loosely defined term for unlicensed traders — were rugged individuals who were a sharp contrast to the priests and nobility who established forts and missions. It was a tension that would fester among various tribes in Michigan’s settlements for 200 years. CRYING IN THE DESERT One of the first French missionaries to the region, Father Claude Allouez, S.J., wrote to his fellow Jesuits the kind of priest called to this mission ground. “They must be a person dead to the world and to themselves; apostolic men and holy, who seek only God and the salvation of souls,” he explained. “They must love the Cross and mortification; they must not spare themselves; they must desire the conversion of one Indian above an empire. They must be in the forest of Canada as so many precursors of Jesus Christ, crying in the desert to call the races to the Savior.” Father Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit, was one such missionary. He founded the first permanent settlement in Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie and established the St. Ignace Mission on the northern shores of the

Michilimackinac strait that divided the Upper and Lower peninsulas of the land. It was here missionaries brought the word of Christ to the Huron Indians, while traders brought goods from the Old World. The St. Ignace Mission became a center of trade and mission activity for the area. But as the Jesuits preached Christ, conflicts arose between the religious order and the secular authority of New France. Traders introduced liquor, previously unknown to the native tribes, in a move to curry favor and draw the tribes away from English influence. The Jesuits and their Indian congregations were caught in a power dynamic between rival empires expanding their influence, making and breaking alliances with stronger Indian tribes to dominate the region. Father Allouez expanded the Jesuit reach by building the St. Joseph Mission in 1672 at the base of the St. Joseph River, next to a French fort. The St. Joseph Mission was the center of evangelization and outreach to the native Miami and Potawatomi tribes, who allied with the French to defend themselves against the dominant Iroquois to the south and the Sioux to the west. Like Father Marquette, Father Allouez and his companions constructed a chapel, taught the natives the truths of the faith and served as translators and guides for French explorers and traders and Indian hunters and trappers.

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A NEW FORCE In 1694, a new force in Michigan’s missionary history came to the forefront: Gen. Cadillac, who looked to create a fort built with defense and commerce — not missionaries — in mind. Detroit’s beginning marked the beginning of the end of the Jesuits’ first missions in the territory. By 1705, the Jesuit fathers abandoned St. Ignace as the shift in trade, commerce and settlement in the peninsula started to gravitate to Detroit.

WITH DETROIT’S ESTABLISHMENT IN 1701, MISSIONARY WORK IN MICHIGAN CHANGED, FROM THE EXPLORER-PRIEST VISITING NATIVE TRIBES TO THE CREATION OF CHURCHES, SCHOOLS AND A MORE ORGANIZED CHURCH — A CHURCH THAT WOULD HAVE TO CONTEND WITH A MORE ESTABLISHED SECULAR AUTHORITY.”

The conflict between Cadillac and the Jesuits came to a head when Cadillac encouraged traders to increase the access of alcohol to the native population, over the protests of the missionaries who worried drunkenness would ruin their souls. Father Etienne Carheil, originally stationed at St. Ignace, described Cadillac as “the most violent … person he had ever known” in a letter to his superior after a contentious meeting with Cadillac regarding the continuation of the liquor trade.

But Cadillac wouldn’t budge on the issue of alcohol, accusing the missionaries of being “disloyal to the king” and not serving the interest of France. In addition, the French encouraged native tribes to adopt French customs, language and dress, which ran counter to the original work of the Jesuit missionaries who preached Christ to the natives in a way that maintained most of their cultural integrity. Father Francois Vaillant de Gueils, a Jesuit priest, accompanied Cadillac’s party that built Fort Pontchartrain on the banks of the Detroit River. But by the time of Detroit’s construction, the balance of power in the region between religious and secular authority had flipped, with Cadillac’s political and commercial interests firmly dictating policy. Father Vaillant, a missionary since 1670, clashed with Cadillac’s policies on the new settlement. Cadillac encouraged natives to settle into “Indian villages” outside of the fort’s wall, drawing them further into French influence — something the Jesuits feared would disrupt the natives’ way of life. The Jesuits kept their presence at St. Joseph, but the establishment of Detroit forever altered the progress of colonization in the region, with clergy and explorers being more drawn to Detroit than to the St. Joseph community. With Detroit’s establishment, missionary work in Michigan changed, from the explorer-priest visiting native tribes to the creation of churches, schools and a more organized church — a church that would have to contend with a more established secular authority. The early days of missionary activity in Michigan are a story of brave priests accompanying

DANIEL MELOY is a staff reporter for Detroit Catholic.

explorers and hunters to discover parts unknown. Of French clergy learning the ways and customs of natives to preach a new message of the creator of the earth dying for the lives of his creation. Of constructing chapels in the wilderness to minister to scattered and, at times, hostile tribes. All while working with a secular authority more interested in profit and power than the salvation of souls. Priests such as Fathers Marquette, Allouez and Vaillant first brought the message of Jesus Christ to this land. They lay the groundwork of missionary zeal that began on the peninsula well before Detroit’s founding and will continue well into the city’s future. Research for this article was done using The Catholic Church in Detroit 1701-1888, by George Pare, a worked commissioned by Detroit Ordinary, His Eminence Edward Cardinal Mooney.

Hand-colored woodcut depicts Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet on the upper Mississippi River in 1673.

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CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD

CARRY THE

CROSS St. Francis Xavier shows us how to live fearlessly for Christ.

SO MANY SOULS ARE PERISHING DAILY, UTTERLY DESTITUTE OF AID. AND THOSE WHO DESIRE TO HELP THEM, DON’T LET THEM DELAY… IF ONLY A DOZEN WOULD COME OUT EVERY YEAR … ALL WOULD SHORTLY BE CHRISTIANS. Brilliant, tireless, and devoted, Xavier traveled many paths in life. Wealthy noble, influential professor and aspiring cleric were three he’d trod before the age of 30. His relationship with the Lord was characterized by complete obedience and perseverance in the face of new and daunting challenges. His radical missionary life and baptismal zeal show us that fearless faith in God can guide us toward sainthood.

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FOLLOW THE PATH GOD CHOOSES Missionary work was not St. Francis Xavier’s first choice of vocation but he threw himself wholeheartedly at whatever cross or call God set before him, so when a fellow Jesuit fell ill, he instantly volunteered to missionize in his stead. He left his family, his best friend, St. Ignatius, everything of the life he had known to approach his new vocation. He took to heart the Gospel teaching about single-mindedness in the service of God writing, “We must also strengthen ourselves with the saying of the Lord that says: ‘He that loves his life in this world will lose it, and he who loses it for the

sake of God will find it,’ which is in keeping with what Christ our Lord also says: ‘He who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.’” REFLECT AND PRAY: The above words from scripture were the periodic reminder Xavier used to refocus on God’s will and vocational call in times of loneliness, despair, or temptation. Setting aside his own preferences, he solely sought to fulfill the plans God had for him. Take some time aside to reflect on these Scripture verses. What temptations in your life keep you turning your head back from “the plow?” Think about the attachments you have


to “life in this world,” and what attachments you need to lose “for the sake of God.” Reflect on the crosses and stumbling blocks that God has put in your life and how they may be an invitation from God, as they were for Xavier, to a new vocation. DO WHAT YOU CAN During his missionary journeys, St. Francis Xavier filled countless roles. He calmed fellow passengers in their storm-tossed crossing by praying with them, distracting them with his ready wit, and always, always smiling. Though he had no medical training, he did whatever he could to help the many who had succumbed to scurvy on the long voyage, offering his own small cabin to the ill and staying up all night to comfort them. When he arrived in India, he struggled to learn the local language. Rather than allowing this to become a barrier to his work, he turned the few words he knew into songs for teaching the children their catechism. Soon, they followed him everywhere and took their lessons home to their parents. “The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another,” he wrote. Xavier’s journeys brought him to places about which he knew very little and plunged him into circumstances for which his education could not have prepared him. He did not despair, though, nor turn away from his mission. He simply did what he could with the resources at hand because he deeply felt the urgency of his missionary work. It was an urgency he desperately wished others could feel as he did. Writing to St. Ignatius about the university students he knew in Europe he said, “I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books ... This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying

to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like.” REFLECT AND PRAY: Take some time to reflect on your own spiritual gifts and desires. What insecurities are you allowing yourself to interfere with doing God’s work? Do you ever let fears of not being “good enough” get in the way of doing the good you can do? What form of discipleship can you live in your daily life? Try focusing on smaller things and do them with great love. Make Xavier’s prayer your own. Cry out with all your heart: “Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like!” LIVE UP TO THE NAME OF CHRISTIAN Many of those to whom St. Francis Xavier ministered were being evangelized for the first time. However, the zealous missionary also traveled in regions colonized by the Portuguese where much of the population proclaimed themselves to be Christian, while their conduct proclaimed the opposite. In these regions, Xavier promoted the three theological virtues — faith, hope, and charity — as sure guides for daily conduct. He also suggested that daily recitation of the Ten Commandments would keep the faithful from going too far astray. REFLECT AND PRAY: When you find yourself in a period of spiritual complacency start making a nightly act of contrition using the ten commandments as a guide for examining your conscience. Reflect on missed opportunities to act in faith, hope, and charity and contemplate where you can start incorporating those virtues in the next day. Xavier also suggested a morning prescription to these Christian communities you can incorporate into your morning

KATHLEEN M. CARROLL, WRITER • DIEGO DIAZ, ILLUSTRATOR

routine: “The moment you awake, therefore, sign yourself on the forehead and the breast, and pronounce at the same time the solemn invocation of the Holy Trinity, with the deepest reverence of a devout mind, so to adore God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, One Eternal Almighty God Infinite in goodness.” And finally, Xavier proposed that Christians reflect on three acts they hope to make that day that would be “especially due to God and pleasing to him.” NEVER STOP Centuries ago, St. Francis Xavier wrote St. Ignatius, “I have not stopped since the day I arrived.” This is still true. A relic of the saint — the “arm that baptized thousands” — is preserved in Goa, India. It attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims each year, silently reminding every visitor, “The lovers of the Cross of our Lord Christ consider a life of trials a blessed life. For can there be a more cruel death than to live without Jesus Christ after having once known Him, or to forsake Him for the sake of following our own desires? I assure you, dear friends, no cross is to be compared to such a cross as that.”

KATHLEEN M. CARROLL is the editor of Comboni Missions magazine and the director of communications for the Sisters of Divine Providence. Formerly editorial director of Franciscan Media, she has authored five books and edited more than a thousand on Catholic life, saints, and spirituality.

Quotes from St. Francis Xavier are taken from a collection of his letters — The Life and Letters of St. Francis by Henry James Coleridge.

ST. FRANCIS XAVIER St. Francis Xavier is considered to be the greatest Christian missionary after St. Paul. His extensive work in India and Japan earned him the title, along with St. Therese of Lisieux, of patron of all foreign missions. Born to a noble family in Navarre, Spain, he is among the founders of the Jesuit Order. He is reputed to have baptized 100,000 infants and converts during his missionary journeys.

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PR AYER 101

When you renew your baptismal promises this Easter, reflect on what they mean to your life — and speak aloud your answers for all to hear!

(ROM 10:17) WHETHER YOU WERE BAPTIZED AS AN INFANT OR AN ADULT, FOR EVERY CATHOLIC, THE DAY OF YOUR BAPTISM IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DAYS OF YOUR LIFE. IT WAS WHEN, BY GOD’S GRACE, YOU BECAME A BELOVED SON OR DAUGHTER OF GOD THE FATHER, A MEMBER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST AND A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. YOU WERE WASHED CLEAN FROM ORIGINAL SIN AND BEGAN TO LIVE A LIFE OF GRACE: THAT IS, THE VERY LIFE OF GOD BEGAN TO LIVE IN YOU.

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FATHER BRIAN MELDRUM, WRITER • MATTHEW RICH, PHOTOGRAPHER


FATHER BRIAN MELDRUM was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2015 and served as the associate pastor at Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in Waterford. Before attending Sacred Heart Major Seminary, he was a music minister and theater director and member of St. Thecla Parish in Clinton Township. He is currently studying sacred Scripture at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

2019 Easter Vigil Baptisms, St. Anastasia Parish, Troy, Mich.

The gift of baptism is the gift of a relationship with God and an identity as his son or daughter. This is all too easy to forget in the midst of the challenges of life. All too often we believe that who we are is defined by what we are able to do or to make of ourselves, but in God’s eyes, we are defined by to whom we belong and in whose image and likeness we were made. The Church teaches that the mark of our baptismal relationship with God is indelible. It cannot be erased or separated from who you are. Sadly, the relationship can be strained, wounded or even broken by mortal sin. But there is always hope. By God’s free gift of Divine Mercy, the relationship can be restored in the sacrament of reconciliation. The grace of your baptism and the bond of your relationship with God can be healed. On Easter, the Church invites the faithful to renew the promises of baptism. Easter is the time not only to reflect on the power of the paschal mystery, the death and resurrection of Christ, but also to renew your participation in the dying and rising of Jesus you experienced first in the waters of baptism. A priest will ask the same questions that were answered by your parents and godparents on the day of your baptism as an infant, or that you answered for yourself when you entered the Church as an adult. It is important to hear these questions of faith and to respond to them. It is important to reflect upon these questions in your heart, but it is equally important to profess your response with your voice. Your faith is strengthened by what you hear, as St. Paul wrote, “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17) What you hear in the renewal of baptismal promises is a reminder of who God is; how you respond to them is an assurance of who you are: his beloved son or daughter. To prepare yourself to renew the promises of your baptism this Easter, consider the questions that will be asked of you and spend some time in prayer about your response.

DO YOU RENOUNCE SIN, SO AS TO LIVE IN THE FREEDOM OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD? REFLECT: Does freedom mean I get to do anything I want or that I have every opportunity to do the will of God? PRAY: Lord Jesus, you freely gave yourself up to death that I might be free to do your will. Make me free to choose your holy will.

DO YOU REJECT THE LURE OF EVIL, SO THAT SIN MAY HAVE NO MASTERY OVER YOU? REFLECT: Do I call upon the grace of baptism to give me strength in moments of temptation? PRAY: Lord Jesus, your love is stronger than even death. Give me your strength to fight against sin.

DO YOU REJECT SATAN, THE AUTHOR AND PRINCE OF SIN? REFLECT: Do I hold to the truth that I am a beloved son or daughter of the Father, or do I fall into the deception of the evil one who wants to convince me that I am not? PRAY: Lord Jesus, you never doubted the goodness of your Father. Give me this same confidence to call upon God as Father, too.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH? REFLECT: Do I know that the Father who made all things longs to share his creation and his very self with me? PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to see the goodness of God in all creation and in me as well.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD, WHO WAS BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY, SUFFERED DEATH AND WAS BURIED, ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER? REFLECT: Do I recall the love that God has for me by sending his Son to die for me? PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to receive the gift of your salvation won for me by your dying and rising.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH, THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY AND LIFE EVERLASTING? REFLECT: Do I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my call to holiness and my life of mission in the Church? Do I see others as the temples of the Holy Spirit they truly are? PRAY: Lord Jesus, renew within me your life-giving Spirit and send me out to help renew the face of the earth. If you are a parent who will be baptizing a child this year, or if you are asked to be a godparent, you will renew your baptismal promises then, too. Your words of faith stand in for the baby who is unable to speak these words. By offering your baptismal faith, you are promising to share that faith with the child, so that in the sacrament of confirmation, he or she can confirm what you spoke at his or her baptism. Being a parent or a godparent of a new Catholic is an awesome responsibility! The blessing given to the ears and the mouth of the child at the end of baptism is an encouragement for you to support and sustain the new life of grace that God has given, by sharing your faith with the child: The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your lips to proclaim his praise to the glory of God our Father. Amen.

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P RAYING WITH T HE C H UR CH FATHER S

NEWNESS OF LIFE through the Holy Spirit St. Cyril of Alexandria

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IN THIS SELECTION, ST. CYRIL IS PONDERING WHY CHRIST WOULD SAY, “IT IS BETTER FOR YOU THAT I GO [AWAY].” (JN 16:7) “HOW CAN THIS BE?” CYRIL ASKS. HIS ANSWER: BECAUSE WHEN CHRIST ASCENDS AND BEGINS TO REIGN, HE WILL SEND THE

HOLY SPIRIT UPON THE FAITHFUL WHO WILL BRING TO THEM EVERY BLESSING FROM GOD. In Cyril’s view, the deep work of God in us is to make us partakers of the divine nature. (2 Pt 1:4) This is the true goal of Christ’s saving work. But this can happen only by the Spirit coming to dwell in us. By the Spirit’s action in our lives, we leave behind our old way of life and are internally transformed into a new creation. Because the Spirit comes to dwell in our hearts — inside of us — he causes “every virtue” to spring up and makes us effective co-workers in his mission. The Spirit gives us “a new disposition” — as Paul says, we become transformed from within and so can live a new Christ-like way of life. This was true for the first disciples and it is still true for us today. For Cyril, to try to live as a Christian without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is unthinkable. But with the Spirit, who brings us new life and power, we can act boldly as servants of Christ, bringing his mercy and presence to the world. CO M M E N TARY BY DR . DA N I EL K EAT I NG Dr. Daniel Keating is an author and professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John 16:7 1 Come, let us consider something else in our contemplation that is also beneficial and true. Everything on earth was finally accomplished, as we just stated. But it was surely also necessary for us to become sharers and participants in the divine nature of the Word, or rather for us to leave our own life and be transformed into another and reshaped into the newness of a God-pleasing way of life. However, it was not possible for us to attain this in any other way than through communion and participation with the Holy Spirit. The most fitting and appropriate time for the sending of the Spirit and his descent to us was that time in which the due season came: the time after the departure of Christ our Savior. When he was still in the flesh with those who believed in him, he became the supplier, I think, of all blessings. But when the moment and necessity called him to ascend to the Father in heaven, it was essential that he be present through the Spirit to those who worship him and that he dwell in our heart through faith so that, having him in ourselves, we may cry out with boldness, “Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6) and may readily advance to every virtue and, what is more, may be found strong and invincible against the schemes of the devil as well as human attacks, since we have the almighty Spirit. It would surely be easy to show, both from the old and the new Scriptures, that the Spirit transfers those in whom he comes and dwells into a new disposition and transforms them into newness of life. The blessed Paul says, “All of us, with unveiled face, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18) Do you see how the Spirit transforms those in whom he dwells into another image, as it were? He readily moves them from the desire to set their mind on earthly things to an exclusive contemplation of heavenly things, and from cowardly fear to the most courageous disposition. There is no doubt that we will find that the disciples experienced this and were steeled by the Spirit so that they did not collapse before the assaults of their persecutors but held tight to their love for Christ. Therefore, the Savior’s statement is true when he says, my departure to heaven is “better for you.” That was the proper time for the descent of the Spirit. 1

FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ, ILLUSTRATOR

The translation is from Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, vol. 2, Ancient Christian Texts, trans. David R. Maxwell (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015), 252.

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Leave a lasting Catholic legacy.

Pray. Fast. Give.

Pass your values on to future generations by providing for the ministries you love today and into the future.

Pass your values on to future generations by supporting the ministries you What will be your legacy? love today and in the future.

This Lent, create a charitable fund to support a Catholic parish, school or ministry you care about. We make it easy. Visit CatholicFoundationMichigan.org or call 248.204.0332 for assistance.


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FAMILY CHALLENGE

LOVE ANYWAY INSPIRATION FOR PARENTS WHEN FAMILY LIFE GETS FRUSTRATING. KATE LOCHNER is a writer and mom. Most of her professional career has been spent in marketing and content creation. She loves exploring her home state of Michigan and currently resides in the Metro Detroit area with her husband and three kids.

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Recently, my family of five was in the car. I was attempting to get through three full sentences mid-conversation without interruption — a rare moment of husband and wife sitting side by side after a busy week. Then, from the backseat: “Mommy, do you have initials?” I shook myself out of my own train of thought and calmly explained to my always curious 5-year-old girl that I do, in fact, have initials. My husband and I continued when, not a minute later, this time from my little boy: “Mommy, excuse me! Mommy, what’s her teacher’s doctor’s name?” I set aside any desire for adult conversation and decided to soak in a moment of gratitude that I at least remembered to bring the batch of brownies for the dinner we were headed to. Family life can be a challenge at times. I don’t say that to be negative but to acknowledge that the job of parenthood — our biggest responsibility, our highest calling — continually demands much from us. Responding with kindness, patience and service to countless interruptions, unlimited spills and endless sibling quarrels often doesn’t come naturally to us. We need to work unceasingly at building our own virtue. St. Teresa of Calcutta became the inspiration for the tone I wanted to set in my family long before I had kids. And although it’s not easy to be like her, the poem “Anyway” — sometimes attributed to and often associated with her — serves as the perfect blueprint for those who are trying to raise Christ-centered families.

KATE LOCHNER, WRITER • VALAURIAN WALLER, PHOTOGRAPHER


MONDAY FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY Mondays are often about do-overs, the reinstatement of routines and “the grind.” A fresh, often long to-do list is made that requires patience and perseverance, especially for those moms who are working against the clock between school drop-off and pick-up. How often does the weight of our responsibilities determine the tone we use with our spouses? Our kids? It’s in these precise moments, however, when we must remember that despite our idiosyncrasies and shortcomings, we are the domestic church. And we are called to see our spouses and our kids as God sees them, through a loving, forgiving lens. ACT IT OUT: Next time a family member grows shortfused, call upon St. Teresa to respond in love. Say a prayer, even one as simple as, “Help me to respond with charity. Jesus, be with me.”

WEDNESDAY BE KIND ANYWAY TUESDAY BE HAPPY ANYWAY It’s not unusual for families to face lofty challenges. Things like illness, debt and discord among extended family can take their toll on happiness. But it’s when we fall on tough times that we ought to remember our true source of happiness. Smiling in the face of overwhelming adversity is when real Christian joy is born. ACT IT OUT: Spread happiness by helping a family in need. Send a GrubHub gift card, offer to watch the kids or ask your kids to suggest other ways your family can be a blessing.

Errand Day? For many moms it involves packing up the cute, vivacious littles and piling them into the “fun” cart at the store. But when out shopping, opinions from others can frequently fly toward moms with a cart full of toddlers. There’s the classic, “My! You have your hands full!” Or the more cutting, “I always ask parents, was two not enough?” Though probably not meant to be offensive, the words as we hear them can fall heavy on us. But remember: We don’t know what someone else might be facing in their day. Responding in kindness is always the right answer. ACT IT OUT: Next time someone comments on or challenges the size of your family or your faith, respond with a smile and say, “It’s a joy.”

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FRIDAY BUILD ANYWAY The scariest aspect of having and raising a family, for me, is the very real element of unpredictability. As young parents just starting out with toddlers and babies, we don’t have a window into what our future will look like. In fact, it’s a common reason why some choose not to have kids at all — the potential pain and suffering the world could bring to a child. It’s true, we never know what future days hold. But we are living as the truest form of ourselves when we are lovingly and joyfully carrying out our vocation. So, we build our families anyway. ACT IT OUT: Call on St. Teresa to intercede for you. Pray to St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother for help raising your family in the image of the Holy Family.

SATURDAY PERSEVERE ANYWAY It is not uncommon for parents to face a sleepless night (or five). There are instances in our daily family life that could easily set us up for not performing at our best. St. Teresa encourages us to succeed despite mood, circumstances or other people.

THURSDAY BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY Honesty and frankness can be a surefire way to promote strength, resilience and growth in a family, especially when raising kids. Familial structure and discipline are seemingly going out of style. Yet structure, discipline and boundaries shape our kids into respectful, loving, focused humans. ACT IT OUT: When your child does something deserving of correction, find a quiet place, sit down with them and explain why the act was wrong and what could be done better next time. Then, remind them of your love.

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ACT IT OUT: After a particularly long week, avoid hitting the snooze button and get up early on Saturday. Go for a walk or do some spiritual reading.


The poem “Anyway” is an adaptation of a composition by Dr. Kent M. Keith written in 1968. The poem was originally titled “The Paradoxical Commandments” and published in a booklet for Harvard University student leaders. It is often credited to St. Teresa of Calcutta since it appeared on a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, her children’s home in Calcutta.

ANYWAY People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

SUNDAY DO GOOD ANYWAY AND GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY. It’s on Sunday when we give our best to Jesus through adoration at Mass and to our family through a well-prepared Sunday dinner. We’re called to drown out the hustle of the week and make a distinct effort to focus on God and family. It doesn’t matter what has developed over the last six days; we take the day for the enrichment of our family and to glorify Christ. ACT IT OUT: Plan a family outing. Get the kids involved by asking them for ideas. Reserve the day for your spouse and children, with Christ at the center of all you do.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway. Visit 52sundays.com to get Sunday activities, prayers, recipes and more for your family to grow in faith together every Sunday of the year.

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GOING DEEPER

THE 10 PRINCIPAL

VIRTUES OF MARY The example of Our Lady shows us how to be disciples of her son, responding to our call to holiness. my religious community, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, we make and renew together each year our consecration to Jesus through Mary, as St. Louis de Montfort recommended. Louis de Montfort was a 16th century missionary priest and Third Order Dominican who preached about the value of giving oneself over to Our Lady in order to belong more completely to Jesus, who himself chose to depend completely on Mary. About a year before I entered religious life, I made the total consecration to Jesus through Mary with a group of friends. It is impossible for me to explain how life-changing this was, not only for me but for several of my friends as well. One friend, who is now happily married, stated about her own discernment after the consecration, “When you go to Mary, everything goes faster.” And indeed, I personally credit this consecration with helping me discover God’s will for my own life within that next year. Everything in our lives falls into place when we go to Jesus through Mary, because that is the way God has always chosen to come to us from the moment of the incarnation. In his book True Devotion to Mary, in which he explains this consecration of oneself to Jesus through Mary, St. Louis de Montfort highlights 10 Marian virtues. Because Mary is the premier example of Christian discipleship, let us contemplate these virtues and how we can imitate them in our daily lives. How is God calling you to respond in holiness like Mary?

IN

SISTER MARY MARTHA BECNEL made her final vows as a member of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor last summer. Currently, she teaches fifth-grade at Spiritus Sanctus Academy in Plymouth and is a regular contributor to detroitcatholic.com.

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SISTER MARY MARTHA BECNEL, OP, WRITER • DIEGO DIAZ, ILLUSTRATOR


HER ANGELIC SWEETNESS

CONSTANT MENTAL PRAYER

HEROIC PATIENCE

Mary had a sweetness comparable to — and even beyond — that of the angels because she was the sinless vessel chosen to be the mother of God. She was full of grace and thus filled with all the virtues. She lived constantly with the joy and sweetness of heaven before her and sought her happiness in God alone. REFLECT: Where do I seek to find happiness and fulfillment? How can I seek greater joy through a life of virtue?

At those times when unexpected things happened or when she did not understand, Mary always turned to prayer. She pondered all the events of her life in her heart. For her, prayer was not simply a litany of requests for God but a deep and profound relationship with him that touched every aspect of her life. REFLECT: How can I practically devote more time to prayer during my day? Do I spend time listening to God in prayer?

ARDENT CHARITY

DIVINE PURITY

A patient person is sometimes called “long-suffering.” Mary was patient in her suffering to a heroic degree. Think of her at the foot of the cross, consenting to her son’s Passion and death. There could be no more heroic suffering for a mother than to allow her beloved son to suffer and die for the sake of our salvation. REFLECT: How do I respond when I am faced with suffering? Do I allow my sufferings to lead me to God, or do I try to avoid suffering at all costs?

Our Lady had a burning, passionate love for God and neighbor. She recklessly gave her entire self to being the mother of God’s Son. She went in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth in her need. She willingly suffered the agonizing death of her son so that we, too, might be the children of God — and her children. True charity does not hesitate to give oneself to God or to seek the good of the other. REFLECT: How do I live the Greatest Commandment — love of God and of neighbor — in my own life? Is there hesitation to loving God and neighbor that I need to work to overcome?

In his first letter, St. John says of being a child of God, “Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure as he is pure.” (1 Jn 3:3) Surely, no one in the history of the world has placed more hope in Jesus than Mary did. Thus, she became the sinless temple in which he chose to dwell, the all-pure ark truly fit to bear the savior. Her hope in the promises of God led to her being the vessel of the Messiah. REFLECT: How do I live in hope of the promises of God? How can I grow in purity of heart and intention so his love might shine through me to the world?

BLIND OBEDIENCE

Our Lady was wise with the wisdom of God himself. She did not look to the ways of the world for wisdom, but she sought always to see the events in her life as God saw them. She is truly the one who most completely put on the mind of Christ, who most perfectly saw the world as he sees it. We call her the Seat of Wisdom, because the all-wise God chose her as his most perfect dwelling place. REFLECT: Ask God to help you see yourself and the circumstances of your life as he sees them. What does he reveal to you about your own goodness and about your own sinfulness?

Mary could not possibly have foreseen everything that would happen when she said “yes” to the angel’s request for her to be the mother of Jesus. There were moments in her life when she did not understand, but she responded with continual obedience to the Father’s will. She never took even one step backward from her original fiat. Her obedience was always prompt, joyous and complete. REFLECT: How prompt, joyous and complete is my obedience to God’s will, manifested through my state in life and the teachings of the Church?

DIVINE WISDOM

BECAUSE MARY IS THE PREMIER EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP, LET US CONTEMPLATE HER VIRTUES AND HOW WE CAN IMITATE THEM IN OUR DAILY LIVES.”

LIVELY FAITH The Fathers of the Church tell us that Mary first conceived Jesus in her heart through faith before she conceived him in her womb. She had a burning, life-giving faith in God and in his promises. At all moments of her life, this faith sustained her. REFLECT: How does my faith give life to others?

PROFOUND HUMILITY When the angel Gabriel greeted Mary as full of grace, she was surprised and “pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” (Lk 1:29) Sinless though she was, she did not attribute this to her own merits but knew it was a grace from God. In fact, while Mary knew she had never sinned, she did not assume she was incapable of sinning. Her humility led her to rely always on God’s mercy and grace. REFLECT: Do I recognize that all my virtues are a gift of God’s grace?

UNIVERSAL MORTIFICATION Our Lady had a true spirit of mortification, of self-sacrifice. She was willing to sacrifice what was comfortable or convenient for God’s will. Surely, she offered up her sufferings, as well as additional sacrifices, for the sake of us sinners. She desired to participate completely in her son’s work of salvation. REFLECT: What are some sacrifices I can offer up today for the salvation of souls? Our Lady’s virtues show us how to be disciples of her son, seeking to respond to our call to holiness. How is God calling you to respond in holiness like Mary?

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PURSUING HOLINESS

In of the 58

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VALAURIAN WALLER, PHOTOGRAPHER


HO W DO YOU HELP THOSE YOU ENCOUNTER IN YOUR MINISTRY WHO HAVE FELT HURT BY THE CHUR CH? MA RY : We work, serve, minister and worship in a Church full of imperfect people. Our world is so good, but there is so much brokenness. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from a college professor who told my class, “When the time calls for it, we can and should apologize on behalf of the Church for wounds inflicted.” Those wounds are real and deep, and as a minister in the Church, it is important that I never try to minimize or make light of that pain. I have been in many conversations where stories are shared of priests doing something hurtful. I’ve talked with people who have been away from the Church for years because of wounds inflicted by family members in the name of Jesus. I try to apologize on behalf of the Church for their experience and their hurt. Sometimes, an apology offered without an excuse or a “but” can be so valuable. Obviously, I cannot undo experiences or wounds inflicted, but I can acknowledge the pain and clearly state (when applicable) when something wasn’t acceptable.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE F OR EXPL AINING THE TOUGHEST PARTS OF OUR FAITH TO SKEPTICS? A AR O N : I think a lot of times maybe you can’t. I know that is a bit controversial to say, but so often we are trying to start conversations at the “tough parts” without acknowledging the necessary steps in faith that must occur before we even breach the really difficult stuff. The tough questions can be and are answerable with the truths of our faith. However, if a person doesn’t even know Jesus, how can we expect them to adhere to some of the more difficult teachings held within the doctrine of our faith? MA RY : Every teaching in our faith is tied to another teaching, which is deeply connected to another teaching, which stands on the shoulders of yet another teaching, etc. … If someone is sincerely seeking truth, starting at the “tough parts” is sometimes not as effective as slowing down and starting with the person of Christ, or the Trinity. The deep love shown through creation is where all the “tough stuff ” eventually builds from, but if someone isn’t convinced of the passionate love of God the Father, or the sacrificial love of the Son, is it fair to expect them to wade through the deeper questions about morality?

WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED THROUGH W ORK/PARENTING/ MARRIAGE? MA RY : I think learning how to manage time is essential. I’ve learned when I am at work in ministry, spending time with my children or spouse, I have to choose to be fully present. I’ve had to work hard to carve in time for a personal relationship with Jesus through his Church. It’s so easy, when working in ministry, to allow the Gospel message to kind of become distant … something I am proclaiming to others. It can be easy to work on a talk or a presentation for a few hours that is about the truths of our faith and consider it time spent with God. In some ways, of course, it is, but it’s not the type of time with God I need to spend to grow in my own walk with the Lord. A A RON: The same can be true for our children. We can spend so much time setting up faith experiences for our kids but not intentionally spending time in personal prayer. We’ve really had to learn how to balance that in our marriage. We find when we are intentional about our own very personal walk with the Lord, everything is just better. Our home life is better, our faith life is better and ministry makes more sense.

HO W DO YOU CONSISTENTLY BRING YOUR CHILDREN AROUND PRAYER AND THE SACRAMENTS? A A RON: This can be very difficult, especially with a family as young as ours. Our strategy is that we don’t give ourselves a pass to opt out of prayer or the sacraments — even when it’s challenging. We just recently had an experience at Mass where our 2-year-old was behaving as a 2-year-old often does. A parishioner was upset, whispering to Mary some very negative things about our child. MA RY : I wish I could say I handled it in a classy way, but I might have let my quick tongue get the best of me. Going to Mass with five young children will never be an easy task. I can absolutely see how people start to shy away from attending the sacraments and are truly too tired to even think about prayer. A A RON: I think part of the battle is naming it from the beginning. With young children, I’m always going to feel tired at the end of the day when it’s time to pray. There will always be parishioners who think it’s better if their parish is quiet. However, I believe that the key is to not let it overwhelm me or become discouraging. MA RY : There is a grace whenever we move through the experiences of prayer or the sacraments. Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying to myself, “I am doing this because I know that it is right, I am obligated to do this, and I believe with my whole heart that grace is moving in these moments.”

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WHAT KEEPS YOU CATHOLIC? A AR O N AN D M ARY : The truth. It’s as simple as that for us. The failings of some parts of the institution, coupled with the chaos of our culture, certainly make it tough. However, not living our faith is not an option. For us, it’s a matter of: “Do I believe in one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church?” If the answer is yes, there isn’t any other option than to be Catholic. We do believe. We believe in God the Father, the love of the Son and the movement of the Holy Spirit through the institution of the Church. One passage from Scripture that we’re reminded of is when Jesus asks Peter if he would also like to leave with the crowd that walks away from Jesus. His response, which we can relate to, was, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68)

HO W DO YOU AVOID COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER CATHOLICS OR OTHER FAMILIES? MA RY : It’s a temptation I think a lot of us feel. Recently, I heard the archbishop use the expression “the fellowship of the disciples.” The expression was interesting because we had just finished watching The Fellowship of the Ring as a family. In this movie, we watched a brave band of all different creatures trying to complete a task with an incredible amount of consequence riding on its completion. I was struck by how each character was so drastically different and yet so needed in the journey. The expression “the fellowship of the disciples” made me think about how the faithful are all so very different but are all working toward the same thing: holiness. A AR O N : They say, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and I think it’s so true. It’s impossible to compare my reality to anyone else’s. The measure of my success is the degree to which I am following the one who has called me. When I feel pulled toward comparison, I try to remember how futile it is and how terribly harmful it is to the body of Christ.

AARON AND MARY WILKERSON are parishioners at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Livonia who participate in marriage preparation and enrichment events and present talks on faithful living with the family. Mary also works part-time as a Catholic speaker/presenter with BOLD Ministries, introducing the Gospel using humor, Scripture and storytelling. Mary is also a co-host of the Certifiably Catholic podcast and the archbishop’s podcast, Eyes on Jesus. Aaron, who joined the Church in 2009, and Mary are parents to Aaron, 8; Joseph, 7; John Paul, 6; Malia Paul, 4; and Julie Grace, 2.

“ I ’V E L E A RN E D WH E N I A M AT W O RK I N M I N I S T RY, S PE N DI N G T I M E WI TH M Y C H I L DRE N O R S PO U S E , I H AV E TO C H O O S E TO B E F U L LY PRE S E N T. I ’V E H A D TO W O RK H A RD TO CA RV E I N TI M E F O R A PE RS O N A L RE L AT I O N S H I P W I TH J E S U S T H RO U G H H I S C H U RC H .” — MA RY W ILK E R SO N

HO W DO YOU KEEP CHRIST AT THE CENTER OF YOUR MARRIAGE? MA RY : For me, it means living the values Christ has called me to, recognizing my great responsibility and challenge to love Aaron well and to lead our children to heaven. Obviously, these are no small tasks. It means serving when I don’t want to, picking up that dirty sock for the 900th time, without making a comment that I’ve already had to pick up socks 899 times. It means being intentional about spending time with Aaron and really carving out that time. We always joke that we are best friends, but part of our friendship is that we need to be in each other’s presence. We call each other to a deeper level of holiness in the day-to-day by reminding each other of who we are called to be. A A RON: For me, it means taking the teachings of Jesus and applying them to your marriage as much as you’re able. One thing I can think of is not leading your spouse to sin. I try not to be a negative influence on my wife and keep our household free of overtly disparaging thoughts and negative behavior. Also, I try to be humble and resolve conflict quickly, even if I’m not the one responsible for it. Typically, this takes some internal prayers for the grace to admit my faults and apologize for what I’ve done and also give forgiveness if I’ve been wronged.

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UNLEA SHE D Q UESTIONNA IR E

COACH

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DIEGO DIAZ, ILLUSTRATOR


WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?

WHAT IS YOUR MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION?

I’m actually reading a W.E.B. Griffin novel, Covert Warriors, and re-reading the Jim Collins book Good to Great.

Riding on the tractor with my Grandpa Owen, my mom’s dad. Grandpa was an Irish Catholic farmer. He was a man of great faith and work ethic.

A Father Solanus badge. My mom has made sure my siblings and I and our families have one on us at all times.

WHAT VIRTUE DO YOU MOST ADMIRE IN OTHERS?

I love to golf, but I am not very good at it!

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? My biggest fear would surround the health and well-being of my three children.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE? Complaining! It is too easy to complain. It is much harder to identify problems and work for solutions.

WHOM DO YOU ADMIRE? My parents. They have been such great examples in their faith, their marriage and their kindness.

IF YOU HAD UNLIMITED RESOURCES, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Kindness and compassion! The world is a better place with these two virtues.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE THE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS?

WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST HAPPINESS?

Their love. Real friends love you for who you are.

Family. I am blessed in life to have been born into a great family and to marry into a great family.

WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Get my coffee and spend the 30-minute drive to work preparing for the day.

Create programs to eliminate poverty. I don’t believe in handouts, but I absolutely believe we can work to help those in poverty help themselves get out.

WHAT TALENT OR SKILL DO YOU WISH YOU HAD?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FEAST DAY?

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

The feast of St. Patrick. My mom is a very proud Irish Catholic and has passed that heritage on to me and my siblings.

The real friendships I have with so many great people.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST RISK YOU’VE TAKEN?

Beautiful. Peaceful. Loving.

My biggest risk was uprooting my family to take the head coaching job with the Indiana Ice. A lot of prayers went into that decision!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY OR PASTIME?

WHO IS YOUR FICTIONAL HERO? Captain John H. Miller from “Saving Private Ryan.” His line, “Earn this,” has had a special meaning for me.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED WHEN YOU DIE? By the impact I had on others’ lives. That’s what is most important to me.

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE MOTTO OR MANTRA?

Musical ability. I love to sing, but I have a terrible voice.

Greatness is a daily choice! Greatness doesn’t happen by chance; it happens to those who choose it every day.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS? Did I do the very best I could? I self-reflect often. All you can do in life is do your absolute best.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF HEAVEN? WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? I worked as a bag boy at the Sault Ste. Marie Country Club washing golf clubs.

Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, 46, was born in Detroit, grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and played college hockey at Ferris State University. Before becoming Red Wings head coach in 2015, Blashill’s coaching career included stops at Ferris State, Miami University, Western Michigan, plus a stint with the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he won a championship in 2009. As head coach of the Red Wings’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Grand Rapids Griffins, Blashill won a Calder Cup Championship in 2013 and was named the AHL’s Most Outstanding Coach in 2014. Blashill’s large Irish Catholic family is spread throughout Michigan, where his ancestral roots date to 1870. Blashill and his wife, Erica, live in Plymouth with their three children: Teddy, Josie and Owen.

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The Eucharist is the true “super food” that renews my strength to do what our heavenly Father commands of us: to love one another and keep his commandments. Real love is hard, so receiving the Eucharist at Mass on Sunday is essential to recharging my spiritual battery for the week ahead. -NORMA DIGREGORIO, ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX PARISH, SHELBY TOWNSHIP

It is yet another reminder of God’s love, and it represents him in us and how we must keep him in our lives, on our minds, on our lips and in our hearts. -STEVEN KOVALESKI, ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE PARISH, GARDEN CITY

THE EUCHARIST GIVES ME THE POWER TO BELIEVE THAT WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT ME, I WILL ALWAYS STAND STILL AND READY TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES IN LIFE. -MARIA SOLNIKOWSKI, SHRINE OF THE LITTLE FLOWER PARISH, ROYAL OAK

THE EUCHARIST PROVIDES ME WITH THE GRACE TO KEEP GOING, TO KEEP PERSEVERING IN THE FAITH DESPITE ANY TRIALS I MAY BE GOING THROUGH AT THE TIME. I THINK IT’S REALLY EASY IN OUR FALLEN WORLD AND IN THE CURRENT CULTURE TO BECOME COMPLACENT OR EVEN LOSE HOPE. FEEDING ON THE EUCHARIST IS WHAT SUSTAINS ME AND RENEWS MY HOPE IN THE LORD. -MICHELLE PICCOLO, OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL PARISH, PLYMOUTH

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In the Eucharist, we become one with Christ, he living in us, we living in him. It’s the closest we can get to him in this life. How grateful we should be for this wonderful gift! I am not strong enough, loving enough or forgiving enough on my own to deal with the problems I face, but Jesus within me has all the strength, love and forgiveness I need to carry me through anything. Thank you, Jesus, for this wondrous gift of yourself! -MARY BRUA, ST. FRANCES CABRINI PARISH, ALLEN PARK


FOR YEARS, I WORKED ACROSS THE STREET FROM MOST HOLY TRINITY CATHOLIC CHURCH. DURING LENT, I WOULD MAKE IT A POINT TO SKIP MY LUNCH AT WORK AND GO TO NOON MASS DAILY AND THEN RETURN TO WORK. AFTER YEARS OF DOING THIS, I BEGAN TO REALIZE I WAS A DIFFERENT PERSON WHEN I WOULD RETURN TO WORK. I WAS CALM — NOT ARGUMENTATIVE AS USUAL. I WAS MORE PEACEFUL AND ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH MY WORK IN A BETTER WAY. I REALIZED IT WAS RECEIVING THE LORD DAILY IN THE EUCHARIST THAT CHANGED ME. TO THIS DAY, I STRIVE TO RECEIVE THE BODY OF CHRIST DAILY. -ROBERT SMENTOWSKI, OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL PARISH, PLYMOUTH

This is my prayer when I receive the Eucharist: “Lord, allow me to consume your very being now, so that you become part of me and I become part of you. Strengthen me this day and the days ahead to do your will.” When I partake in the drinking of the wine, I repeat, “Lord, allow me to consume your blood this day, so you become part of me and I become part of you (the body of Christ).” This prayer allows me to focus on his true presence and the reason why I am receiving him. -ARTHUR EVEN, ST. ANDREW PARISH, ROCHESTER

WHEN ONE DEEPLY MEDITATES ON EXACTLY WHAT THE EUCHARIST IS — ALMIGHTY GOD VISITING US IN A MOST PERSONAL MANNER — WE ARE COMPELLED TO RECEIVE SUCH A KING WITH ALL THE REVERENCE AND HUMILITY WE CAN OFFER. WHEN WE RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION, WE ARE AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK A COMPLETE RENEWAL OF OUR PERSON. CHRIST GRADUALLY MOLDS US DEEPER INTO HIS VERY LIKENESS AND BEING. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE IS MORNING EUCHARIST. THE LORD, IN HIS KINDNESS AND MERCY, IS CHANGING ME EACH DAY IN ORDER THAT I BECOME THAT WHICH HE FORESAW WHEN HE CREATED ME 74 YEARS AGO. -THOMAS WHITE, ST. HUGO OF THE HILLS PARISH, BLOOMFIELD HILLS

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PHOTO E SSAY

Most Holy Redeemer

Detroit

MO ST HO LY REDEEMER’S H I STO RY I S AS COLORFUL A S I T S PR ESEN T-DAY COMMU NI T Y. F OUNDED I N 1880 BY A F ORME R CONFED ERATE CHAPL AIN, T HE PA R I S H ORIGINALLY S ERV ED A PRE DOMIN AN TLY I RI SH CO NGREGATION — AND MA SS W A S HELD AT WHAT T HEN W A S KNO WN AS PADDY MCMA HO N’S SALOON. T HE PR ESE N T-DAY CHURCH W A S CO NS TRUCTED IN 1 9 2 1 , A ND A CA MPANILE WAS A D D ED I N 1 9 2 4 TO HONOR PAR I S HI O N E RS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN WORLD WAR I. MO ST HO LY REDEEMER ADDE D A SPA NI S H-L ANGUAGE MA SS I N 1960 , AS IRISH A ND GERMAN RESIDE NTS MO V ED TO THE SUBURBS A ND FA MI LIES OF L ATIN A MERI CA N DE SCE NT MOVED I N TO T HE N E IGHBORHOODS S UR RO U NDIN G THE CHURCH.

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Led by pastor Father Dennis Walsh, the parish is served by two additional SOLT priests (Father Anthony Blout, pictured here, and Father Mark Wendling), two brothers, four seminarians and five sisters.

VALAURIAN WALLER, MADI MYERS-COOK, PHOTOGRAPHERS


Devotion to Mary is strong within the parish. In fact, through the Armada Blanca movement, the community seeks to help children grow in devotion to the rosary and Our Lady of Fatima.

The parish is under the care of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), which came to the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2011. SOLT is a missionary community of priests, sisters, brothers, lay families and lay volunteers.

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The Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe — the patroness of Mexico — has special resonance for the parish, which is located in the heart of Detroit’s Mexicantown. The community’s celebration features costumes that recall Our Lady’s appearance as an Indian maiden dressed as an Aztec princess.

“We serve through relationship,” says Sister Mary Solanus Casey, SOLT. “We don’t just take care of a physical need; we form a relationship with people. We bring people back into the relationship of the Trinity.”

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Diversity is a vital part of the parish community, whose mission statement reads: “Empowered by God’s Spirit in the Scriptures and Sacraments, we seek to be servants of Jesus Christ the Redeemer in our multicultural parish and community.”

Pastor Father Dennis Walsh, SOLT greets parishioners after Mass.

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s g n i dd We RICH IN HISTORY, TRADITION A N D S T U NN I NG B E A U T Y!

Sweetest Heart of Mary

St. Josaphat

4 4 4 0 Russe l l S t . De t ro i t , M I 4 8 2 0 7

715 E . C a nf i e l d S t . D e t ro i t , M I 4 8 2 01

For information on booking the Catholic wedding of your dreams in Detroit, visit motherofdivinemercy.org or call 313.831.6659. Caring wedding coordinators to assist you every step of the way. No need to be a parishioner. Free secured parking.

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C AT H O L I C F U N E R A L & C E M E T E RY S E RV I C E S

" L et the eyes of our faith never wander from the cross of Calvary." St. John Paul II, 1998 (1920-2005)

Join us for our Stations of the Cross by Candlelight T H U R S D A Y , F E B R U A R Y 2 7 , 2 0 2 0 A T 6 P. M . I N T H E M AU S O L E U M S AT O U R L A DY O F H O P E A N D H O LY S E P U L C H R E C E M E T E R I E S

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I T ’ S N E V E R T O O E A R LY T O S TA R T P L A N N I N G 313.879.3741 | cfcsdetroit.org Holy Sepulchre | Our Lady of Hope | St. Joseph Holy Cross | Mount Carmel | Mount Hope


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Unleash the Gospel Magazine: February/March 2020  

Unleash the Gospel Magazine: February/March 2020  

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