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THE GOOD NEWS JUNE/JULY 2019 A MAGAZINE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DETROIT


JUNE/JULY 2019 VOLUME 1: ISSUE 2 P U BL ISHE R

The Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit E X E C UT IV E E DITO RS

Father Stephen Pullis Edmundo Reyes E D I TO R IN C HIE F

Christine Warner

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

E D I TO R

Jennifer Scroggins A RT DIRE C TO R

Paul Duda

5  A MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHBISHOP

M A R KE T ING DIRE C TO R

Patrick Hodgdon Michelle St. Pierre

FE ATU R E S

P R AY E R

I L LUST RATO RS

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A D VE RT ISING MANAG E R

Diego Diaz Rebecca Loomis Bridget Stec P HOTO G RAP HE RS

Melissa Moon David Puente Matthew Rich Naomi Vrazo Valaurian Waller CO N T RIBUT ING W RIT E RS

Adele Paz Collins Daniel Gallio Dr. Daniel Keating Courtney Kiolbassa Jeanne Mancini Father Brian Meldrum Daniel Meloy Jill O’Hara Ryan O’Hara Christine Valters Paintner Father John Riccardo Dominick Tecson

LIVING WITNESS A journey navigated by God

14  R EAL TALK Unleashing the Gospel, day by day 18  K ERYGMA PART 1 Kerygma and creation 22  K ERYGMA PART 2 A good news, bad news situation 26  K ERYGMA PART 3 God to the rescue

C U LTU R E 30  P OETRY Pilgrim’s Prayer

Patrick O’Brien P R E SIDE NT AND C E O

Elizabeth Martin Soslburg

God among the pots and pans

V I C E P RE SIDE NT AND E DITO R IAL DIRECTOR

Rachel Matero GR AP HIC DE SIG NE R

Innerworkings P R I N T ING E M A IL US: utgmagazine@aod.org V I S I T US O NL INE : unleashthegospel.org F O L LO W US O N FAC E BO O K, INSTAGRAM AND T W IT T E R: @utgdetroit Unleash the Gospel Copyright © 2019 is a publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit, 12 State St., Detroit, MI 48226-1823. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Unleash the Gospel/Archdiocese of Detroit, 12 State St., Detroit, MI 48226-1823.

32  S ACRED PL ACES Pilgrimage: A motion of the human heart 38  O UR HISTORY The finest thing this side of heaven

C ONVERSATIONS WITH GOD St. Ignatius of Loyola

44  P RAYER 101 The gift of the Gospel 46  P RAYING WITH THE CHURCH FATHERS St. Leo the Great

D I S C I P LE S 50  F AMILY CHALLENGE A week of praying with the saints 54  P ERSONAL REFLECTION Living life on God’s time 56  P URSUING HOLINESS Q&A Jill and Ryan O’Hara

D E TR OI T 60

UNLEASHED QUESTIONNAIRE Jeanne Mancini

62  # ASKUTG How do you experience God in your daily life? 64

PHOTO ESSAY Sacred Heart Parish, Dearborn


DEAR JOYFUL MISSIONARY DISCIPLE! IN

THE P L AY JULIUS CAESAR BY WI L L I A M SH A K E SP E A R E , A C H A R AC T E R USE S T H E E XP RE S S I ON: “ I T WAS GRE E K TO M E .” IN CO IN IN G T H IS P H R A SE , SH A K E SP E A R E GAVE U S A NE W WAY TO RE F E R TO W O R DS, CO N C E P T S A N D DISC USSIO N S W E DO NOT U ND E RS TAND . OU R GOAL F OR TH IS ISSUE O F UNLEASH THE GOSPEL IS TO L E AD YOU TO WARD A GRE ATE R U ND ER STA N DIN G O F A PA RT IC UL A R G R E E K W O R D, “ K E RYGM A ,” WHI C H I S U S E D THROU G H O UT T H E N E W T E STA ME N T.

“Kerygma” is translated in English to “preaching.” It is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω kērússō, literally meaning “to cry or proclaim as a herald.” St. John Paul II described it as “the initial ardent proclamation by which a person is one day overwhelmed and brought to the decision to entrust himself to Jesus Christ by faith.”

“ THE KERYGMA CAN BE PROCL AIMED EFFECTIVELY ONLY BY FIRSTHAND WITNESSES — MEN AND W OMEN WHO HAVE ENCOUNTERED THE LORD PERSONALLY AND CAN SPEAK OF WHAT HE IS

This is the Gospel we are called to unleash, the Good News we are called to proclaim: the truth of who God is, what Jesus did for us through his death and resurrection and what he offers to those who believe in him. Brothers and sisters, as you read these pages, please begin by praying to the Holy Spirit that you may be overwhelmed by Christ’s love and compelled to share this love with those around you. The kerygma can be proclaimed effectively only by firsthand witnesses — men and women who have encountered the Lord personally and can speak of what he is doing in their personal lives.

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

In picking up and reading this magazine today, you have affirmed your place on the front line of our missionary transformation — our call to encounter Jesus anew, grow as his disciples and bring the light of Christ into our homes, parishes, schools and workplaces. As you enjoy this issue and continue your walk with Christ, my prayerful hope is that the word “kerygma” will no longer be Greek to you, but rather a source of joy and strength. Sincerely yours in Christ, The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron Archbishop of Detroit

DOING IN THEIR PERSONAL LIVES.”

NAOMI VRAZO, PHOTOGRAPHER

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LI VING WITNE SS

A JOURNEY NAVIGATED BY GOD One aspiring law student found faith where she least expected it

DANIEL MELOY, WRITER MATTHEW RICH, PHOTOGRAPHER

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YOU COULD SAY KAT COTTON HAS A KNACK F OR BEING IN THE WRONG PL ACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. AN ASPIRING L AWYER, KAT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN DOING HER PRE-L AW INTERNSHIP AT A CATHOLIC MATERNIT Y HOME. SHE SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN LEADING A PRAYER GROUP OF YOUNG MOMS LOOKING F OR SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE. SHE SHOULDN’T EVEN HAVE BEEN ALIVE AFTER SHE NEARLY DRO WNED WHEN SHE WAS 11 MONTHS OLD. AND F OLLO WING AN UPBRINGING IN WHICH GOD WAS, AT BEST, AN AFTERTHOUGHT, KAT CERTAINLY SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ON FIRE F OR THE CATHOLIC FAITH.

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Father Steven Wertanen, pastor of St. Anastasia Parish, baptizes Kat.

Yet there she was this Easter, standing before the faithful at St. Anastasia Parish in Troy, a fully initiated member of the Roman Catholic Church. “Seeing my journey now, I see it was all directly navigated by God,” says Kat, 24. “It’s hard to sum up in words: being proud of the one true faith; proud to be part of an organization that has so many sub-ministries that look out for people; being proud of knowing the teachings of the Church — knowing what’s right, what’s real. No one can get you down if you truly believe.”

MIS TAK E? M AY B E NOT Kat’s unlikely journey to the faith began with a mistake, a clerical mixup that changed her life. As a criminal justice major at Oakland University, Kat was seeking a

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senior-year internship. Aiming to go to law school — and living on a tight budget — Kat was thrilled when she found a law firm that would offer her a paid internship. But soon her delight turned to disappointment when her adviser told her that the internship wouldn’t qualify for the school’s requirements. “She pulled out this giant book and said, ‘You can only pick from this book, and all of these spots are taken,’” Kat recalls. “I was devastated, because she said if I interned there, I would have to quit my current job and also intern somewhere else to fill my requirements. I wanted law school so bad, so I wanted to be able to keep that internship. My adviser said, ‘There is a place that would work for your requirements. It’s called Mary’s Mantle.’” Kat was confused. Mary’s Mantle isn’t a law firm, a probation court

or even a legal service. It’s a Catholic apostolate in the Archdiocese of Detroit that houses homeless expectant women transitioning into motherhood, then assists them through an aftercare program so they can take proper care of themselves and their babies. Bewildered, Kat was timid in her interview with Monica Bihar-Natzke, then the aftercare program coordinator for Mary’s Mantle. But upon learning of the organization’s mission, Kat hit it off with Monica and went to work as her assistant, driving all over Metro Detroit to do everything she could to assist mothers in need. “My internship adviser was reading the stuff I was doing and saying the stories were crazy, what I was doing on home visits,” Kat says. “I was helping mothers fill out


supporting documents to qualify for aid, writing and updating files and client case notes. And I was frustrated, thinking, ‘Does anyone see that I’m not qualified to do this?’ But after a while, I realized this is what I needed. I saw a lot of parallels to my life and my mom’s life.”

never present in the home. The relationship ultimately fell apart. Having watched her mother struggle day to day and witnessed her siblings go through life’s trials with seemingly no one there for them, Kat wanted to help families like hers by pursuing a law career.

I N S PIR E D BY HER C H ILDHOOD

A CHANGE I N D I R E C T I O N

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Kat was the third of four children raised by a single mother. Her younger brother died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and her mother worked nights. Money was tight, and religion wasn’t a priority for the family. “My mom cleaned office buildings in the evening, busted her butt to make sure we had what we needed,” Kat says. “Unfortunately, there was a lot of unsupervised time growing up.” Kat’s mom and dad were never married, and Kat’s father became paralyzed in a motorcycle accident when Kat was three. He lived in a nursing home in Ohio and couldn’t be active in Kat’s life. When Kat was 12, her family moved with her mom’s boyfriend to Glennie, a small town in northcentral Michigan. But stability was

Kat graduated from Oakland and began working 60 hours a week between a job as a legal assistant at a law firm and her work at Mary’s Mantle. One day, Monica invited Kat to lunch and offered a proposition. Monica intended to leave Mary’s Mantle, and she wanted Kat to take over her role. That would mean leaving the law firm where she was working. And that would mean delaying her dream of going to law school. But Kat knew where she was needed. “I went to the attorney I was working for, stood by his doorway and said, ‘I have something to tell you, but I don’t know how to say it,’” Kat recounts. “Spit it out,” the lawyer told her. “‘You know where I intern? They want me to take on this expanded role,’” Kat remembers telling the

“I went to the attorney I was working for, stood by his doorway and said, ‘I have something to tell you, but I don’t know how to say it.’”

attorney. “This guy — he’s normally rigid — just smiles and says, ‘This is great. I think you’ll make a great attorney, but it’s important for you to be around the people you are serving.’” And just like that, the aspiring law student who’d come to Mary’s Mantle by accident was now in charge of helping mothers in need plan household budgets and navigate social services. Kat was also in charge of leading morning prayer. “It’s at the kitchen table, where we have a spiritual morning meeting,” Kat says. “There was no formal training for this but, all of a sudden, the girls are looking up to me to lead them in prayer. And I don’t know how to pray. And here I am thinking, Here are these girls who don’t understand what I’m saying because I don’t understand it. I need to study up.”

FA I T H I N T H E BAC KG R O U ND Catholicism had been in the background of Kat’s life. Her sister’s father’s family was Catholic, and seeing her sister being raised in the faith had sparked Kat’s interest in God. But Kat says religion had been forced upon her mother, who wrote off God after the death of her mother’s baby son. Kat was 3 when her brother died. She recalls an elderly man telling her that it would be OK, that her brother was all right and was with God. When Kat shared the story with her mother, her mom said there had been no such man. But Kat insists there was, chalking up her vision to being a guardian angel who was there to console a little girl when the world seemed to be falling down around her. Kat had her own near-death experience after almost drowning in a bathtub when she was 11 months old. She was taken to the ICU at Toledo Hospital, where she was resuscitated after having no heartbeat and no pulse.

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Her mother called her a “miracle baby,” but even after the dramatic event, religion and God were never a priority in Kat’s or her family’s lives. During her childhood in Ohio, Kat had the opportunity to attend St. Joseph School in nearby Erie, Mich., after her family entered a lottery sponsored by the Diocese of Toledo to pay the tuition for students who didn’t have financial means. Kat’s mother seized the chance to get her daughter out of a public-school system she considered inadequate. At St. Joseph, Kat learned about Jesus and Mary and wanted to receive the sacraments, but the parish said no, citing her mother’s unwillingness to go to RCIA. It was a huge disappointment to Kat, who felt rejected by the Church.

T HE TU RNING POINT The Church came back into the picture for Kat through a dedicated Mary’s Mantle volunteer, Renee Kole. A parishioner at St. Anastasia, Renee kept inviting Kat to the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass at her parish. Kat always politely declined.

SCHOOL ISN’T GOING TO BE EASY FOR ME; WORKING WHILE GOING TO SCHOOL ISN’T GOING TO BE EASY FOR ME; BEING A CATHOLIC ISN’T GOING TO BE EASY FOR ME. BUT THOSE ARE THINGS I CAN OFFER UP TO GOD IN PRAYER, FINDING STRENGTH IN A GOD WHOM I KNOW LOVES ME.” 10

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But during a “home Mass” at Mary’s Mantle, St. Anastasia pastor Father Steve Wertanen preached about the love people have for their pets, which spoke to the animal lover in Kat. Kat remembers: “I’d been to Mass before, but this is right in front of me, because the room is so small, close quarters, and he was explaining how he loved his dog but then said, ‘If you could only imagine the love you have for your pet, your children, then maybe you could understand a fraction of what God feels for us.’ For me, it felt like he was talking directly to me. There was just a ‘wow’ moment — whoever this guy is, I want to hear more.” After a few more weeks of encouragement from Renee and Father Steve, Kat and her boyfriend, Spenser, went to Mass at St. Anastasia. That’s when Spenser made a discovery. “A funny thing happened at Communion time,” Kat says. “I’m still at prayer when Spenser comes back and he whispers, ‘Why didn’t you go for Communion?’ And I go, ‘Because I’m not Catholic.’ He goes, ‘What?!’ He’s thinking, Here is this girl taking me to church to see if I’m Catholic — what is going on? So, leaving the church, he’s holding my hand and my chest is just beaming with love. He reaches out and says, ‘Thank you for coming to Mass. You don’t know what that means to me.’ And I go, ‘You don’t know what it means to me to go to Mass with you.’” Kat explained her situation to Spenser and expressed a desire to join RCIA. Kat took to the classes the way she does everything — fully invested — with Renee as her sponsor and Spenser as a supporter. He dubbed Kat “the most Catholic person who isn’t Catholic” when introducing her to his friends.

A NE W BE G I NNI NG Kat’s time in RCIA was part of a transformative year. As she learned more about the faith, she left her position at Mary’s Mantle to work for the Oakland County Road Commission and prepare to take the LSAT to continue her pursuit of a law career. Her newfound love for the Church has given Kat an unshakable confidence for the challenges ahead. “My purpose is not to get rich,” Kat says of becoming a lawyer. “If I get rich along the way, great, because money helps. But it is your faith that will carry you through anything. School isn’t going to be easy for me; working while going to school isn’t going to be easy for me; being a Catholic isn’t going to be easy for me. But those are things I can offer up to God in prayer, finding strength in a God whom I know loves me.” At first glance, entering the Church might seem like the conclusion of a twisting, unpredictable and unlikely journey for Kat, from an upbringing she describes as “a little crazy” to a clerical mistake that had her completing her college internship at “some religious organization.” But in fact, Kat is just starting a new chapter of her story, one she’s inspired to write because she knows God is with her and always has been, even if she wasn’t aware of it at the time. “Through all of those challenges I faced, it was my faith that kept me going, even if I didn’t know it,” Kat says. “You could say, it was a mistake how I ended up at Mary’s Mantle. It was a mistake how I ended up where I am. But now I know it was God’s plan. He was with me every step of the way.”


Kat and her RCIA sponsor Renee Kole.

“You could say, it was a mistake how I ended up at Mary’s Mantle. It was a mistake how I ended up where I am. But now I know it was God’s plan. He was with me every step of the way.”

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RE A L TA LK “Unleashing the Gospel” is anything, big or small, that brings people closer to Christ. I try to share the Gospel with at least one person every day, whether it is by giving Miraculous Medals to strangers on the street or by praying with a neighbor. I’m part of Young Catholic Professionals (YCP), and often strangers come to our events for the first time without knowing anyone. I gravitate toward people standing alone, so I just approach and welcome them. I’ve met some really devout Catholics doing this. A lot of people are reserved, but once you break the ice, the conversation flows naturally, when you invite them into a conversation, building a trust with them. This is what the apostles did, building a bridge of trust before preaching. People need to trust you and respect you before they trust what you have to say about Christ. Simply starting a conversation can lead to sharing the Gospel. - MARK NEMECEK, SS. PETER AND PAUL, WEST SIDE DETROIT

UNLEASHING THE GOSPEL, As a religious sister, my life is deeply immersed in the Scriptures. We gather as a community throughout the day in prayer with the Scriptures, in the Liturgy of the Hours and in the highlight of our day, the Mass, which is itself filled with the Scriptures. After nine years in the convent, many Scripture passages have become such a part of me that they spring to mind at various opportune moments, refocusing me on the Lord and his will. I have also found in my life personally that sometimes I need the comfort of the Scriptures; no other spiritual book will do. In moments of stress or of grief, even the driest passages of Leviticus have brought me a deep peace and sense of the Lord’s presence and love. And it is only through these moments of encounter with the Lord in his word that I am able to preach and proclaim his word to others, to bring anything of worth to those whom I serve. - SISTER MARY MARTHA BECNEL, OP, SPIRITUS SANCTUS ACADEMY, PLYMOUTH

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I love the idea of “Acts Chapter 29” that Archbishop Vigneron wrote about in his pastoral letter. There is no Acts Chapter 29 in the Bible, but our lives are that next chapter, the continuation of Christ’s mission on earth. We try to bring Christ into all parts of our lives. My wife Heather and I have six children whom we homeschool. Our goal for them is by the time they are grown, they will know Jesus, and they will know our Blessed Mother. Not just know about them, but know them intimately. It can be overwhelming at times dragging kids around to extra Masses and Holy Hours, aside from our usual Sunday Mass, but the fruits that it brings are worth the work. This year has been different than years past for me spiritually. I introduced a program called Exodus 90 at our parish, and it brought in around 40 men total. This program has transformed all of our lives, and we’re starting to see the fruits of it through other things at our parish, such as a new group to help develop young boys into strong Catholic men called “Troops of St. George.” I’m looking forward to this and anywhere else the Lord is calling me. - JOE VANASSCHE, ST. STEPHEN, NEW BOSTON

To me, the word “proclaim” means how I proclaim Jesus to other people through my words, actions and attitude. It is about how I treat others. It can be something as simple as thanking the teenage boy by name who bagged my groceries at Meijer or saying a prayer for the person who cuts me off, rather than getting angry. I proclaim Jesus with how I live my life in big, medium and small ways. The word “preach” I think often has a negative connotation. It brings up images of standing on a soap box in a busy location yelling at people that they will go to hell. To preach simply means to announce, declare or herald a message. I want my life to be an announcement of the power of Jesus Christ, that my unique life story will encourage other people and point them right back to Jesus. - PATTY BREEN, ST. AUGUSTINE AND ST. MONICA, DETROIT

PHOTO COURTESY OF SACRED HEART MAJOR SEMINARY

NAOMI VRAZO, MAREK DZIEKONSKI, PHOTOGRAPHERS

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When I bring my roles as a mom, grandma and Catholic school educator together to unleash the Gospel, it is all about what I do, not necessarily what I say. We all know that kids do what you do, not what you say. That is part of unleashing the Gospel, that is what the Lord would want us to do, so people will get to mimic that, and it is joyful, it brings joy into my personal life as well as my life as an educator. I get the blessing and joy of being able to model to the children what it means to follow the Gospel by teaching. In doing their work, their school work, we thank God every day. We start our day by asking the Lord to be on our hearts, our minds and on our lips. When we are learning, we call on Jesus, we call for the help because he says that in Scripture, call on me, I am always there, I am everywhere with you. We teach children to do that. We see teachers do that. We model that when we pray with them. It is not unusual for students to see teachers praying together. We celebrate that we are in a place where we can do that. In this world that is chaotic, when you come to our school, it is an extension of your home. We nurture our children and we give them Jesus every day. And that is the beauty of it. - MARIANNE LUPINACCI-KOSINSKI, PRINCIPAL, JOHN PAUL II SCHOOL, LINCOLN PARK The number one Scripture verse that has affected my life is Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” When that is applied to life, all doors open, all power of the kingdom of heaven is granted. I was in trouble when I was 16 years old. A that point in time, I threw my hands in the air and said, “I want to give up.” One day, my mother asked me to go to the store to get a Twix and a Sprite while she was studying. As I was about to leave the store to get on my bicycle, I saw a reverend speaking on the TV. I’m not sure who he was, but he was saying how faith is the substance of things hoped for, but not seen. I heard that as I was walking out the door. Coming back home, I thought, “Man, why am I giving up?” It was a newfound drive inside me that propelled me forward from that day on, and I refused to forget it. That Scripture verse stayed with me, especially when finding the Bible myself. So I just reread the entire chapter of Hebrews — it really stuck with me then and still does now. - POSIE WEST, CATHEDRAL OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT, DETROIT

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KERYGMA PA RT I

KERYGMA AND CREATION TRACING THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL’S GOOD NEWS ALL THE WAY BACK TO GENESIS

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IF SOMEONE ASKED YOU WHAT CHRISTIANITY IS ALL ABOUT,

Most of us probably have a number of complicated responses, but the real answer is simple: Christianity — specifically the Gospel — is the announcement of what God has done in the person of Jesus. It’s an announcement about events — events that happened in history and that were witnessed not by people long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away but in fact not that long ago, historically speaking, and at the crossroads of the largest empire in the world at the time, the Roman Empire. It is important to stress that there are reasons to believe these witnesses are credible. The testimony of these witnesses eventually became part of our sacred Scripture. At the heart of this testimony is what is called the kerygma. Kerygma is a Greek word that means “proclamation.” In his apostolic letter Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron writes, “The ‘kerygma’ is the New Testament word for the simple, radical, countercultural and joyful message of the Gospel — that ‘initial ardent proclamation by which a person is one day overwhelmed and brought to the decision to entrust himself to Jesus Christ by faith.’” Let’s pause for a moment. Have we been “overwhelmed” by the proclamation of the Gospel? Or did we learn the faith as a set of rules when we were growing up? The archbishop continues, quoting Pope Francis, “The kerygma ... needs to be the center of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal. ... On the lips of the catechist, the first proclamation must ring out over and over: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you.’ … This first proclamation is called ‘first’ not because it exists at the beginning and can then be forgotten or replaced by other more important things. It is first in a qualitative sense because it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways. …”

FATHER JOHN RICCARDO, WRITER • REBECCA LOOMIS, ILLUSTRATOR

Finally, the archbishop reminds us, “The kerygma is often described in terms of four essential elements: (1) the loving plan of God for human beings; (2) sin and its devastating consequences, especially separation from God; (3) God’s answer to our predicament in the sending of his Son for our salvation; and (4) the response this gift calls for from every person: to repent of our sins, believe in Jesus and be baptized, so we can be filled with his Holy Spirit and live a new life in his family, the Church. It is essential for all preachers and catechists to learn the art of proclaiming the kerygma and to reflect on how to make all their preaching and teaching more kerygmatic.” I have found it personally helpful to further simplify the kerygma to four words: Created, Captured, Rescued, Response. But it’s crucial to remember in all of this that the goal isn’t simply to memorize these; the goal is to reflect on them and, more importantly, to pray with them, so we will be overwhelmed by what God has done in Jesus and respond by surrendering our lives to him in faith.

L I F E - C H A NG I NG NE W S The Gospel is not just news; it’s extraordinary news — it’s the kind of news that changes your life forever. An analogy that I find most helpful is D-Day. Imagine you’re living in France in 1944. For several years now, your homeland has been occupied by a demonic tyrant who has destroyed your country, deported many of your friends and neighbors and killed some of your family. Then, on June 7, you wake up to this headline in the papers: “Allies Land at Normandy!” How would you react? Would you simply turn the page to check out the weather and wonder what’s for breakfast? Of course not! That headline would give you hope, because something has happened. And what’s happened is the kind of event that changes everything. Someone has come to fight for you, to rescue you, to liberate you. This is the kind of news the Gospel is, except infinitely better. When we see pictures of the Allies landing at Normandy, it’s obvious what they have come to do: They have come to fight and to rescue those who were oppressed. Unfortunately, when we look at paintings of Jesus in the manger, it’s not so clear why he’s there. But he’s there for the same reason: to fight, to invade a kingdom by his stronger kingdom and to set his people free from a tyrant. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free,” many of us pray every morning in the Benedictus. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. What happened that God would need to liberate his people? Who is this tyrant who holds humanity captive? Where did he come from? Where, in fact, did everything come from? For each part of the kerygma, there is a question that can help us better dive in:

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• Why is there something rather than nothing? • Why is everything so obviously messed up? • What, if anything, has God done to fix the mess? (And if he’s fixed it, why are things still so messed up?) • And how should we reasonably respond to what God has done for us in Jesus? Each of these could take many pages to fully answer, but let’s look very briefly right now at the first question: Why is there something rather than nothing?

A R ADICA L W ORLDVI EW The first few chapters of Genesis often cause people a lot of confusion! The best explanation I’ve ever heard is that chapters 1-11 of Genesis are inspired poetry. They communicate truth to us, but in a poetic, not a literal, way. The authors are less concerned with communicating how God created the world than with why God created the world. Oftentimes people want to pit science against the Bible and turn these chapters into a fierce debate. But there is no debate between evolution and creation; the debate is between chaos and creation. God revealed to the sacred authors a radically different worldview than the one that governed the mind-set of Israel’s neighbors. The people of the Ancient Near East saw the world more or less in this way: There were many gods, none of whom was really and truly good. They were, instead, more or less like us: angry, greedy, lustful and spiteful. At a certain moment in time, these gods created man to be their slaves. As such, there was no ultimate point to life. Life was truly meaningless. With a worldview like that, what could be the goal except to maximize pleasure and minimize pain? In a world like that, despair was rampant — how could it not be? Into that world, God revealed that reality was something very different. There was but one God, and he was good. Everything that is, he made — freely, without effort and out of love. And the highlight of everything he made is the human person, male and female, in his own image and likeness: “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. … God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” In the biblical vision of reality, then, the human person is not created to be a slave but has extraordinary dignity. Being made in God’s image means far more than we can address here, but among the things that are important to highlight are these: the capacity for reason, freedom and being made for friendship and love. Now, freedom is a word that is often terribly misunderstood. We tend to think of freedom in our culture as the ability to do whatever we want, but that’s not freedom, that’s lawlessness. The true purpose of freedom is to be able to love and to be loved. Only a free person can choose to love. And only love can satisfy the human heart, because you and I are created in God’s image and likeness and God is love.

C R E AT E D TO LO VE Before we close, let’s reflect for a moment on one other thing. God is quite simply incomprehensible. Whatever picture you and I have of God, it’s wrong. He’s powerful beyond all imagining! The universe is roughly 46 billion light years across. It’s made up of roughly 100 billion galaxies, each with roughly 100 billion stars in them. And he created this with one sentence: “Let there be light!” But in the midst of this massive, immeasurable universe, the creature God most loves, the one who catches his eye, so to speak, is you, and me, personally and by name, for God never sees crowds. Grasping the biblical answer to the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” gives us further answers to some of life’s most critical questions: Why am I here? Where am I going? How do I get there? The answer, biblically, to all three of these questions is one word: love. Why am I here? Because the creator of this massive universe, who simply said, “Let there be light,” chose to create me. He willed me into being. I don’t just happen to be here; you don’t just happen to be here. You’re here because in God’s mind, it’s good that you exist! Where am I going? What’s the end for which I was made? What’s the purpose of my life? Love. You and I were created to be divinized! To share forever in God’s own abundant life, joy, happiness and love forever. And how do we get there? We get there by his love, which was poured out for us on the cross. In other words, we get there by God loving us. But we also get there by loving God and each other in return; this, after all, is the first and greatest commandment, as Jesus teaches us. As we reflect on this first part of the kerygma — Created — let us realize with wonder and awe that the God who is infinitely good and powerful beyond all telling not only willed me into existence but is, right now, at this very moment, holding me and you and everyone we love and care about firmly in his hands. He says to us right now, “You are my son, my daughter. Your life is firmly in my hands. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be anxious. I have a plan for your life. I have created you to be infinitely happy. And it is my good pleasure that you would know me and my love and all I have done for you, and to give joyful witness to this extraordinary news.”

FATHER JOHN RICCARDO is currently the pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Plymouth. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and was ordained in 1996. Starting in July, he will be the Executive Director of a new apostolate called Acts XXIX, focused on working with pastors and their teams to reclaim the missionary identity of parishes here in Detroit and around the country.

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A GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS

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TO UNDERS TA ND T H E G O S PEL PRO C L A MAT IO N O F SA LVAT IO N — T H E KERYGMA — F IRS T WE MUS T EXPLO RE T H E DEVA S TAT ING CO NS EQ UENC ES O F S IN

FATHER JOHN RICCARDO, WRITER


O U R ARC H B I S H O P O F TEN SAYS , “G O D W ANTS HIS W O RL D B ACK.”

We might ask: What happened that God needs to do something to get it back? What happened is the second part of what the kerygma calls “sin and its consequences” or what I have come to designate by the word “captured.” If the Gospel is the Good News, then we can call this the bad news. And the bad news is far more horrific than our worst nightmare. I would suggest the Gospel is

REBECCA LOOMIS, ILLUSTRATOR

considered, mistakenly, by many to be simply news, because they don’t recognize — or haven’t heard proclaimed — just how bad the bad news is. Only when this is grasped is the proclamation of what God has done for us in Jesus truly good, extraordinary, life-changing news. One way to get into this most important truth of the faith is to ask the question, “Why did God become man?” Why did the second person of

the Holy Trinity become incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Did he merely come to tell us stories? Did he come to do miracles? Or did he come for something more? I find it helpful to recall what one author says: The incarnation of the second person of the Trinity was the invasion of one kingdom — the kingdom of darkness — by another and stronger kingdom — the kingdom of God. Or, in the words of 1 John 3:8, “Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.” In other words, God became man to fight, to liberate and to rescue his creation held bound by the one Jesus calls “the ruler of this world.” (Jn 12:31; 16:11) Let’s try to understand this second part of the basic message of the Gospel by looking at five things: 1. The identity of this person Jesus refers to; 2. His reason for rebelling against God; 3. His strategy; 4. His goal for your life and mine; 5. The consequences of sin. In looking at these, we hopefully will grasp just how bad the bad news is and why our lives should be a joyful, wholehearted surrender in faith to the God who has fought for us.

T H E I D E NT I T Y OF TH E EN EM Y When we looked at the beauty of creation, we saw that God is the creator of everything and that he made everything out of love and it was good. Our opponent, the one

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W HENEVER THINGS GO WRONG ... THE ENEMY IS THERE IN OUR MINDS WHISPERING, “SEE! HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU. HE DOESN’T CARE! HE’S NOT A GOOD GOD.” Jesus came to fight, was one of these creatures made by God. He was an angel. St. Paul tells us that the enemy often disguises himself as an “angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14); that is, he doesn’t appear with a pitchfork and horns and reveal himself as evil. He’s subtle; he’s smooth; he’s a master at marketing, we could say. Two names we most commonly use for the enemy are the devil and Satan. These names reveal something about his character. “Devil” means “the divider.” This is what the enemy seeks to do: He tries to sow division — within marriages, families, parishes, workplaces, friendships, countries, etc. The word “Satan” means “the accuser.” This creature, as we’ll see in a moment, loves to accuse. He accuses God, he accuses us and he accuses others in our minds and thoughts.

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THE ENEMY’S REASON F OR REBELLING Why would this angel, created out of love by God, rebel? The reason, according to Scripture, is envy. “But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are allied with him experience it.” (Wis 2:24) Envy is something far worse than jealousy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that envy is “sadness at the sight of another’s goods.” (2539) So, who was this angel envious of? When I first heard this, everything changed for me. He wasn’t envious of God. He was, and is, envious of us. This creature was so incensed at God’s plan for us to become partakers of the divine nature (cf. 2 Pt 1:4) that he rebelled and went to war against the creature God loves most of all, the one made in his image

and likeness and to share in his own abundant life: you and me.

THE STRATEGY OF THE ENEMY Often in sports, coaches prepare their teams for the opponent by watching copious amounts of game film. In other words, you record what the other team does and then you study it and prepare a game plan based on what you see the opponent does well and not so well. At various points in Scripture, God is giving us, if you will, “game film” on the opponent. He is revealing to us the strategy of this one who hates us. One of the most important places God reveals this strategy to us is in the account of the Fall in Genesis 3. Genesis 3 doesn’t merely reveal to us what happened way back at the beginning of our race, when our first parents were deceived into rebelling


against God. It shows us what always happens. In other words, it shines a light on the tactics of this angelic creature who is envious of us and is trying to keep us from the end for which we were created. So, what is that strategy? Simple: He tries to tempt us to think that God is not good, that he’s not a loving father. Instead, the enemy whispers in our ears, “He’s holding out on you. He’s your enemy. You could be happier without God.” This is at the heart of the temptation by the serpent in the garden. Here’s how St. John Paul II described what happened that fateful day and what we learn about the enemy: “The spirit of darkness is capable of showing God as an enemy of his own creature, and in the first place as an enemy of man, as a source of danger and threat to man. In this way Satan manages to sow in man’s soul the seed of opposition to the one who ‘from the beginning’ would be considered as man’s enemy — and not as Father. Man is challenged to become the adversary of God!” (Lord and Giver of Life, 38)

Whenever things go wrong, when prayers are unanswered or answered in a way we didn’t want — when the diagnosis comes back malignant, when some tragedy happens — the enemy is there in our minds whispering, “See! He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t care! He’s not a good God. Isn’t it obvious? If he was good, he wouldn’t have let this happen!” I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard that voice countless times in my mind.

T H E GOAL OF T H E ENEM Y Jesus addresses the enemy’s goal for your life and mine perhaps most powerfully in John 10:10: “A thief

comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy.” The Letter to the Hebrews says this creature has the power of death and holds us in bondage to the fear of death. (Heb 2:14-15) In other words, the desire of this creature is to deceive us into rebelling against God and to lead us into bondage, destruction and death. It can’t be said strongly enough: This creature absolutely hates you and me. He wants to destroy us, mock us, humiliate us and trick us into rebelling against God so we won’t reach the end for which God has created us: to be divinized. And it’s all out of envy.

THE CONSEQ U E NC E S O F SI N What, then, are the consequences of sin? What was the result of the Fall of our first parents? Often, this is simply answered by saying the consequences of sin are separation from God. This is true, to be sure! But it doesn’t grasp the whole horror of the bad news. And I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, this didn’t really matter to me. “So what?” I thought. “I’m separated from God. What’s the big deal about that?” To understand more fully what happened as a result of sin, we need to understand that our first parents, unknowingly, sold not only themselves but our human race into slavery to powers that we cannot compete against. These powers include most especially Sin and Death, which are best understood by being written with capital letters. Sin is not only something I do or don’t do; it is first and foremost a power, almost like a government or authority, constantly trying to exert pressure on me to cooperate in its maliciousness and rebellion.

This might sound a bit too much to our ears, but I think it’s actually rather easily proven by our experience. Have you ever done something you knew you shouldn’t do, and you didn’t want to do — in fact, perhaps you hated doing — but you did it anyway? (cf. Rom 7:19) I do all the time! Have you ever wondered why? This is the reason. Because on our own, without God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are powerless to overcome Sin. It’s not enough for us to repent, as important as that is; we need to be delivered from the tyranny of Sin. Death as a power is much more obvious, I think. No matter how much money I have, no matter the medical care I have access to, no matter what area of the world I live in, the best I can do is delay death. It comes for us all, and anyone who has ever been there at the bedside of a loved one watching them breathe their last knows painfully well just how truly impotent we are in the face of this horrific power.

A MO D E R N- DAY I MAG E For me, personally, the most powerful way to enter into this part of the kerygma is to pray about the image of a human trafficker, a modern travesty of unimaginable proportions. Our race, as a result of the Fall, is like someone who has been captured and is now in the hands of a human trafficker who exploits, uses and abuses that person. And there is no way out unless someone stronger comes to the rescue. And that’s exactly what happened. That’s why Jesus came. And that’s why we give God praise and thanks and glory and honor and surrender to him in faith.

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GOD

RESCUE FATHER JOHN RICCARDO, WRITER

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J E S U S O N T H E C RO S S I S A NY T H I N G B U T A V I C T I M . H E ’S T H E T RI UM P H A N T V IC TO R W H O ’ S CO M E TO F RE E US F RO M O U R CA P TO RS .

SO FAR, WE HAVE LOOKED AT THE FIRST TWO PARTS OF THE

KERYGMA — THAT IS, THE BASIC PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. WE HAVE SEEN THE GOODNESS OF CREATION AND THE HORRIFIC NEWS THAT EXPLAINS WHY EVERYTHING IS SO MESSED UP. WE STRESSED THAT WITHOUT THIS SECOND PART, OR WHAT WE MIGHT CALL THE “BAD NEWS,” THE GOSPEL IS JUST NEWS. THE GOSPEL, HOWEVER, IS NOT JUST NEWS; IT IS EXTRAORDINARY NEWS! IT’S EXTRAORDINARY NEWS BECAUSE OF THE THIRD PART OF THE KERYGMA: GOD’S RESPONSE TO SIN IN THE PERSON OF JESUS — OR WHAT I SHORTEN TO SIMPLY TO THE WORD “RESCUED.”

REBECCA LOOMIS, ILLUSTRATOR

THE BASIC MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL Perhaps we could reduce the Gospel to something as simple as this: You matter! You matter more than you could ever possibly imagine. The one who made the universe that is 46 billion light years across thinks you are worth fighting for. The one who hung the stars in the sky thinks you are worth dying for. And he has fought for you and died (and risen) for you because you could never have gotten free on your own. The Gospel is extraordinary news because God has come to his people and set them free — free from the power of Death, free from the dominion of Sin and free from Satan’s grip. And God has done this in a most remarkable fashion. Let’s pause here and remember that the intent of hearing this proclamation and praying with it is to be overwhelmed by God’s love, mercy and power and to respond by entrusting ourselves to Jesus in faith. Or, we could turn that around and say the intent of sharing this message with family, friends, co-workers and anyone we meet — unleashing the Gospel — is to overwhelm them with the good news that they matter. HUNTED OR HUNTER? This theme of God’s rescue of the creature he made in his own image and likeness and destined to share in his own divine nature can be approached from many angles. One way is to ask what might seem a silly a question: Is Jesus in his passion and death the hunted or the hunter? Is he the victim or the aggressor?

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JESUS IS UTTERLY AND ABSOLUTELY UNCONQUERABLE.

HE HAS NO RIVAL.” In looking at a crucifix, we’re looking at a man arrested, chained, scourged, crowned with thorns and then nailed to a cross. Obviously, he’s the hunted and the victim! But is he really? Jesus is … God. He is the second person of the Trinity made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. How in the world is it possible to nail God to a cross? Where would someone buy such a nail? There is only one way for God to get on a cross: He has to want to be there. But why would he want to be there? In trying to answer this question, let us remind ourselves that there have been three basic ways of understanding the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus down through the ages. THREE WAYS OF APPROACHING THE PASSION The first way of approaching Jesus’ passion is to see it as a revelation of God’s love. Every baseball game on TV used to have a guy sitting behind home plate with a sign that simply said “John 3:16.” That famous verse tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” Jesus later tells us, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15:13) Blessed be God this is true, and many people are moved deeply when they hear it.

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A second way of approaching Jesus’ passion is to see that Jesus on the cross is making atonement for our sins. One thinks here of Paul’s words to the Church in Corinth: “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor 5:21) Peter also uses this theme when he writes, “He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Pt 2:24) This is likewise true, although many of us can have a harder time approaching this understanding of the passion. We can easily think, wrongly, that we’re not that bad — Jesus didn’t really need to go through all that for me. These first two approaches are the ones I think we most often hear. I know they’re the ones I’ve most often heard and most often preached, too. But there is a third way of understanding Jesus’ passion, and it is used over and over again in the writings of the early Church fathers. This way sees Jesus’ passion as his going to battle for us against those powers from which we cannot escape on our own: Sin, Death, Satan and Hell. In other words, God’s response to sin is not simply to forgive, although he does forgive; it is to free us from the tyrant. Jesus’ words in the Gospels can help explain this third approach. After having driven out a demon from a man, Jesus is accused by some of the religious leaders of driving out demons by the power of the prince of demons. In response, and as a way of explaining what he has come to do, Jesus tells this parable: “When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him

and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils.” (Lk 11:21-22) In Matthew’s account of this parable, Jesus says, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and steal his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.” (12:29) Who is the strong man? The devil. What is his house? This world. What are his goods? Us, the human race, which has unwittingly sold itself into slavery to him by our rebellion at the beginning. Who, then, is the one stronger than he who binds him so the goods can go free? Jesus. UTTERLY UNCONQUERABLE This message is especially important for us to ponder. Jesus is not simply kind, or gentle, or merciful, or patient, or generous. He is all of these, to be sure, and so much more. But Jesus is utterly and absolutely unconquerable. He has no rival. And out of his inestimable love for us, he has come in disguise as a man so as to engage the enemy in a battle so we can go free and become all God has intended us to be from the beginning. Early Church figures such as Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa, to name a few, all use this imagery in describing Jesus’ passion. But one in particular drives this home most powerfully: Melito of Sardis. In an Easter vigil homily given in the early 2nd century, Melito preached these words: “Who is he who contends with me? Let him stand in opposition to me. I set the condemned man free; I gave the dead man life; I raised up the one who had been entombed. Who is my opponent? I, he says, am the Christ. I am the one who destroyed death, and triumphed over the enemy, and trampled Hades under foot, and bound the strong one … This is


the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end — an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father.” Paul, in his Letter to the Colossians, describes the result of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus in a most powerful passage. He writes that God disarmed “the principalities and the powers, he made a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it.” (2:15) These principalities and powers are Sin, Death and Hell. God made sport of them (the original Greek can be translated as “stripped them naked”) and then

finally triumphed over them in Jesus. That word, triumph, was a technical word in Paul’s day. A triumph was a mega parade in an empire filled with parades. There were very precise conditions under which they could be held, and they were meant to show the power of the emperor and the defeat of the enemy, whoever that was at the time. It would be common that a triumph would be a massive celebration, often after a decisive battle against an opponent. The emperor would ride through Rome in his chariot, dressed in a most regal way, with a long train of the spoils of war behind him. And sometimes, at the very end of that train would be the enemy general, chained, naked and caged as if to say to the people of Rome, “This is the one who used

to threaten and tyrannize us. He will do that no more!” This, Paul is telling us, is what Jesus has done to our enemy. What, then, is the reasonable response to someone who saves you from Death? What is the reasonable response to someone who saves you from Hell? What is the reasonable response to someone who has bound the strong man so you can go free? Isn’t it reasonable to trust him? Isn’t it reasonable to surrender to him? And isn’t it reasonable to tell others?

IN THE NEXT MAGAZINE ISSUE,

we will explore how we are called to respond to God’s love and the invitation of the Gospel.

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POETRY

Weary pilgrim let your heavy steps slow. Untie those knotted brows

PILGRIM’S PRAYER BY COU RTNEY K I OLB A S SA

the forehead wrinkled in prayer your mud-soaked shoes — leave them to dry outside and thaw your bones in a momentary home. You seek stubbornly: that death-grip on a printed map. Insisting on a singular path. This road has wound around your back and left you aching. You have traveled as though this earth is yours to take. Have you come only for the plans you’ve made? Can you spare the whims of a day marked only by sun and rain? See how the earth labors to give you your necessary walking, your deserved rest. Arrival was etched in your chest before your feet met the ground. Find a refuge not in spectacle but in tender step and sound. Consider, too, the simple joy of arriving each day, of settling in and shedding blistered skin until the calloused peels away and only the truest things remain.

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BRIDGET STEC, ILLUSTRATOR


Sifting flour for daily bread white mist rises dough multiplies before my eyes

GOD AMONG THE AND

Chopped carrots form a broken string of orange prayer beads The sharp knife cuts through

After St. Teresa of Avila

any confusion bone gleaming exposed Sizzle of steak onions and mushrooms alchemy of steel and flame My cup of coffee is of course always a revelation And the glasses of wine waiting on the table a wonder of earth and time Magpie caws outside an apparition in black and white among russet leaves The sun descends slowly in violate reverie recalling the beauty of endings The timer bell rings

BY CHR I ST I N E VALTE RS PAI N TN E R “God Among the Pots and Pans” was originally published in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry 2018

BRIDGET STEC, ILLUSTRATOR

calling me back again to this prayer To the miracles of dinner and dishwater and our long slow sighs.

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SACRE D PL ACES

A motion of the human heart

BE EXPECTANT. A PILGRIMAGE — OR EVEN A SHORT VISIT — TO A CATHOLIC SHRINE OR HOLY SITE COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE. DANIEL GALLIO, WRITER NAOMI VRAZO, MICHIGAN DRONE PROS, PHOTOGRAPHY

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A Catholic traveling on vacation spends a few hours in a cathedral, admiring the stained glass windows and marble statues. He sees the same images he’s been looking at since his youth. There’s no new theology to learn and nothing he hasn’t heard or read about before. Or consider the person who identifies with no particular religion — is “spiritual but not religious.” On a whim, she decides to stop into an historic shrine recommended by a favorite travel site. At first, they are mildly interested, at best — yet, somehow, both emerge from the churches feeling spiritually invigorated, with hearts awakened to the sense of the sacred and the beauty of the Catholic faith. This is the experience St. John Paul II writes about in a 1993 letter honoring the Holy House of Loreto, an Italian shrine of the Blessed Mother. “How many people have gone to a shrine out of curiosity, as visitors, and have returned transformed!” the Holy Father exclaims. He reminds us that a pilgrimage


TO GO ON PILGRIMAGE REALLY MEANS TO STEP OUT OF OURSELVES IN ORDER TO ENCOUNTER GOD WHERE HE HAS REVEALED HIMSELF.” — POPE BENEDICT XVI

Camino de Santiago, Spain

to a Catholic shrine could become a moment of grace and an authentic act of worship. Such a moment can even move the heart of a skeptical pilgrim — essentially a tourist — who journeys to a shrine only for the history, the artwork or the natural scenery. Pope Francis agrees with John Paul’s insights about the spiritual power of pilgrimage. In a 2018 address, Francis encourages — in fact, challenged — international shrine rectors to develop what he called a culture of hospitality at their shrines. When pilgrims feel welcomed, especially after a long and difficult journey, their hearts are particularly opened to being shaped by grace. This “climate of friendship,” he explaines, becomes an ideal condition for metanoia, change of heart. For Catholics who have been away from the Church yet who still feel moved to visit a shrine, whether out of sentimental reminiscence or just plain curiosity, the human warmth of a hospitable welcome could be “a fertile seed that our shrines can throw into the soil of the pilgrims,” Francis suggests. Nourished by grace, such a seed might lead to a fruitful reconciliation with the faith. Both of these popes have understood that the most secularized tourist and the most seasoned Catholic can both be surprised by grace on a visit to a Catholic shrine. In that sacred atmosphere, a combination of the graciousness of God and a little bit of willingness can lead to something extraordinary: seeing life, and faith, with new eyes.

FUNDAMENTAL IMPULSE The longing to go on pilgrimage has been in our hearts from the beginning of time. Father Bede Jarrett, OP, attributes this desire to the “instinctive motions of the human heart.” A pilgrimage to a sacred place is a fundamental spiritual act that derives from a person’s core. Some scholars trace the origins of pilgrimage to a superstitious belief that the divine can be localized. Wayfaring tribal people, for example, would return to the protection of the nature gods they believed resided in the forests and caves of their homeland. For us today, perhaps the origins of pilgrimage are less important than the essence of the experience itself. Catholic anthropologists Victor and Edith Turner have an intriguing insight: Being on a pilgrimage is something of an in-between state, bookended by what a person is and what he is to become. There, in that mysterious space, where “the normal does not apply,” suggests Edith, is where meaningful spiritual change can happen. And it’s in that personal cloud of unknowing where pilgrims often experience an intense sense of communitas, or grace-inspired unity, with fellow travelers. On the pilgrim path, differences in nationality, age, religious belief and social position become unimportant. CAMINO MIRACLES I can attest to the sometimes otherworldliness of the pilgrimage experience. On my own journey on Spain’s Camino de Santiago in 2008, villagers often would appear seemingly out of nowhere, “camino angels” pointing me, a very confused pilgrim, back toward the right path or away from the wrong one. I’ve seen miracles of metanoia, such as a young German pilgrim — a self-professed atheist but baptized Catholic — standing in line to receive Communion at a pilgrims Mass at a mountainside monastery, some two weeks into his camino journey. I’ve also experienced the miracle of heartfelt human communion. I had anticipated taking on the camino like a modern-day St. John of the Cross. On my solitary journeying, surely I would be gifted with illuminations of wisdom from above (as long as I wasn’t bothered by those pilgrims in front of me). What was I gifted with instead? A camino of lively, laughing fellowship with an unlikely crew of peregrinos:

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a sailor from Norway; a man from Quebec walking in honor of his recently deceased wife; a Catholic schoolteacher from Ireland on her summer vacation; a young Lutheran priest, just ordained; a 40-something German walking out the sadness of a fresh divorce; and a deeply religious Calvinist husband and wife from South Africa, accompanied by the man’s middle-aged sister who refused to abandon her pilgrimage in spite of a perpetually barking ankle. Many of us sat together, sweaty and dusty, at the noon pilgrims Mass at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela — our destination finally reached and our last day together. I looked around at my companions, looked up at the glowing statue of St. James behind the high altar and simply said to myself, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord. Thank you so much that I am here.” THINNESS OF THEOPHANY Pilgrimage can be a challenging thing to fully understand, but we know this for sure: Men and women are beings with spirits, born to worship God in “Spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:23) This impulse to worship is part of our very natures: a “wholesome craving” its been called. And, as beings who also have bodies, theologians point out that we seem to be drawn instinctively to physical places called theophanies. These are locations where God literally breaks into our world, as in the burning bush or the crib of Bethlehem, or where God shows his presence through holy people or miracles, such as at apparition sites of the Blessed Virgin. At such places, explains Father Kevin Codd in his book on walking the Camino, there’s a “thinness”

WE KNOW THE DIVINE CAN BE LOCALIZED, THAT GOD DOES CHOOSE TO SHOW HIS POWER IN SPECIFIC PLACES THROUGH MATERIAL MEANS.”

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to the space that divides us from the divine. Visiting a sacred site with its sensory treasures — religious art, sacred relics, soaring spires, moving liturgies — helps the mind to visualize the invisible God. And thus, we feel closer to God, less separated from the world of the spirit. As Catholics, we know the divine can be localized, that God does choose to show his power in specific places through material means and that there can be interchange between earth and heaven through the supernatural thinness between them. PENANCE IS PART OF THE TRIP Traditionally, pilgrimages have a penitential element (from the Latin poena, meaning punishment). Woe to the medieval criminal sentenced to pay for a crime through a pilgrimage of penance! Murderers were sometimes forced to make a long journey, scorned and alone, with the murder weapon chained around their necks. Some criminals had to walk barefoot wearing nothing but a waistcloth. The 500-mile trek under the brutal sun of the Camino de Santiago would have been tortuous, even deadly. For the modern pilgrim, spiritual travel can provide plenty of opportunities for penitential discomfort, as well: blisters, pulled tendons, heat headaches, bumpy bus rides, stuffy sleeping rooms, toilets few and far between (and hopefully working). Discomfort is not always physical, either. Consider the sandpaper nature of human relations. Often it is difficult to show kindness to others during a lengthy pilgrimage. But if we have to petition God for patience, over and over again, is that such a bad thing? And think of the benefit of offering up our various struggles — lost luggage, late flights — for the well-being of others. (Even for the wellbeing of the snorers in the next room!) HOLISTIC HUMAN EXPERIENCE Of course, there are this-worldly motivations for making a pilgrimage. Not everyone’s urge to travel to a shrine or other religious site comes from a holy impulse. And what’s so wrong with that? Pilgrims through the centuries have enjoyed the exciting newness of travel, and God understands we need a break sometimes from the grind of everyday life. Pilgrimage as vacation can easily be merged with pilgrimage as devotion. “Our holy days become holidays,” as the saying goes. So, why not make a visit to a Catholic shrine soon? Be expectant. You might be surprised by what heaven has in store for you.


WHY NOT MAKE A

Marquette’s final resting place and adjacent St. Ignace Mission Church and Museum of Ojibwa Culture.

VISIT?

Cross in the Woods, Indian River, Mich.

Going “up north” this summer? Consider making a side trip to one of these Catholic shrines and memorials to add an inspiring dose of spirituality to your recreation time, whether on your own or with your family. SHRINE OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY 400 South Blvd. W., Pontiac 248.320.0107 Recently reopened by the Franciscan Terra Sancta Ministries, the shrine features an interior chapel with a statue of Our Lady of the Cape for veneration (a replica of the one at the national shrine in Quebec), an outdoor grotto of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and a beautifully restored chapel dedicated to St. Joseph. Regularly scheduled devotional events. OUR LADY OF THE WOODS SHRINE 100 Deyarmond St., Mio 989.826.5509 This shrine of stone is so mountainous it contains multiple niches dedicated to Mary — Our Lady of Lourdes, Fatima, La Salette, Czestochowa, Guadalupe — and honoring her Assumption. Interior passageways lead to grottoes of St. Anne de Beaupre, the Holy Family, St. Anthony and St. Francis, including relics. Wander the grounds and discover a monumental crucifixion scene. Visit nearby Huron National Forest.

NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE CROSS IN THE WOODS 7078 M-68, Indian River 231.238.8973 Spend quiet time before the largest crucifix in the world in a gorgeous natural setting. Visit the sanctuaries of St. Francis; St. Peregrine, patron of cancer patients; and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint. Knights of Columbus members will want to visit a memorial to Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights. Climb the penitential “holy stairs” on your knees. FATHER JACQUES MARQUETTE NATIONAL MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM 720 Church St., St. Ignace 906.643.8620 Located in Straits State Park, this open-air memorial with wall panels chronicles the life of the French missionary and explorer of the Mississippi River. An interpretive floor map shows Father Marquette’s remarkable journeys of exploration. Follow a trail with historical stops to enjoy a stunning view of the Mackinac Bridge. Visit Father

ST. PETER CATHEDRAL 311 West Baraga Avenue, Marquette 906.226.6548 A pleasant drive into the heart of the Upper Peninsula will bring you to Marquette and St. Peter Cathedral, the mother church of the Marquette diocese. Visitors can honor the Slovenian pioneer priest Bp. Frederic Baraga, just proclaimed “Venerable” in 2012. The crypt of the first bishop of the UP is located in a special chapel within the cathedral. It is a welcoming place for prayer, as is the cathedral’s perpetual adoration chapel. Call ahead for a guided tour. CROSS VILLAGE M-119/West Levering Rd. (25 miles north of Petoskey) 231.242.0182 Venerate the stately white cross that rises above a scenic bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. A cross has been on or near this site since before 1700, planted by Jesuit missionaries, perhaps by Father Marquette himself. Enjoy a Polish meal at Legs Inn, a Michigan historical site, after arriving at the village through the Tunnel of Trees. Other noteworthy devotional and historical sites to add to your pilgrimage list: Shrine of Ste. Anne de Detroit; Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Riverview; National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak; Our Lady of Orchard Lake Shrine Chapel, Orchard Lake; St. Bonaventure Monastery/Shrine of Blessed Solanus Casey, Detroit; Assumption Grotto Church, Detroit; Mission Church, Mackinac Island; and Mariner’s Church, Detroit.

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OUR HISTORY

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n e v a he DR. HERMAN A. PETERSON

is Diné College librarian, Tsaile, Navajo Nation, Ariz.

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FOUR MILITARY CHAPLAINS OF DIFFERENT FAITHS LOCKED ARMS ON A SINKING SHIP

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SIMPLY RECORD THE ACTUAL DIALOGUE. THEY SEEK TO PRESERVE THE HONEST EXCHANGE OF IDEAS THAT TYPIFIES INTERFAITH RELATIONS AT THEIR BEST. A FEW YEARS BACK, I RECEIVED AN INTERFAITH BOOK OF A VERY DIFFERENT SORT. I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ITS STORY WITH YOU BECAUSE I HAD NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE I SAW THIS BOOK.

The story begins like a bad joke: “There were two ministers, a priest and a rabbi ...” But the narrative takes a serious turn quickly. It was World War II and these men of God were military chaplains on the U.S. Army troop transport ship SS Dorchester. They were on their way from Newfoundland to an airfield in Greenland, along with 904 soldiers, sailors and civilian workers, when the ship was hit by a Nazi torpedo on Feb. 3, 1943. What happens next takes interfaith relations well beyond the realm of words into the realm of deeds — the heroic act of four men who have become known as the Four Immortal Chaplains. WHO ARE THE IMMORTAL CHAPLAINS? George Fox was born in Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Army during World War I, in which he served as a medic and was decorated for bravery. He attended the Moody Bible Institute and Boston University School of Theology and was ordained a Methodist minister in 1934. Rev. Fox was serving a congregation in Vermont when World War II broke out. He enlisted as a chaplain and eventually was to be stationed at a U.S. airbase in Greenland.

The oldest son of a rabbi, Alexander Goode was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in Washington. He became a rabbi in the Reformed tradition, having attended the University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College. He served Temple Beth Israel in York, Pa., while pursuing a medical degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. As a chaplain in the U.S. Army, Rabbi Goode was unhappy being stationed stateside and pulled some strings to get assigned to Greenland. Clark Poling was the son of a minister in the Dutch Reformed tradition. His father moved the family around frequently while Clark was growing up. Poling attended Hope College in Holland, Mich., and Yale Divinity School before being ordained like his father. Before going overseas, Rev. Poling asked his father to pray that his son would have courage. Courage would be needed on the trip to Greenland. John Washington was an Irish thug from Newark, N.J. Becoming an altar boy and singing in the choir began to transform him until he discerned he had a vocation to the Roman Catholic priesthood. He was educated at Seton Hall University and Immaculate Conception

Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1935. Father Washington served several parishes in the Archdiocese of Newark before enlisting in the Army as a chaplain. He trained at Fort Benjamin Harrison and was then assigned to go to Greenland. A TORPEDO AT NIGHT Voyages through the North Atlantic are always unpredictable, but this time the danger was magnified by the presence of German submarines. The Dorchester, a converted luxury liner, was accompanied on its way to the Greenland military base by two freighters and three U.S. Coast Guard cutters, including the Escanaba, which was stationed in Grand Haven, Mich. (The Escanaba itself was sunk only four months later, with just two survivors.) To be ready if the worst happened, the men on the Dorchester were ordered to sleep in their clothes and to wear their life jackets. Tragically, comfort triumphed over safety below decks that night. What happened next has been the subject of a documentary and several books. One such book, No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains and the Sinking of the Dorchester in World War II, by Dan Kurzman, brought this story to my attention.

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“I COULD ALSO HEAR THE CHAPLAINS PREACHING COURAGE. THEIR VOICES WERE THE ONLY THING THAT KEPT ME GOING.” The events have been immortalized in stained glass at the Washington National Cathedral’s War Memorial Chapel and at the chapels at West Point and the Pentagon, among other places. The story that began like a bad joke ended like a Shakespearean tragedy. After the torpedo hit and the order to abandon ship was given, many of the men rushed onto the deck of the ship without their life jackets. They were met by the four chaplains, who calmed the frightened, helped the wounded and guided the men to lifeboats. The chaplains began handing out whatever spare life jackets were available. When the last of the jackets were gone, they gave out their own. “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven,” survivor John Ladd said of the selfless act. “I could hear men crying, pleading, praying,” remembered William Bednar, another of the 131 sailors who survived the ordeal. “I could also hear the chaplains preaching courage. Their voices were the only thing that kept me going.” As the Dorchester plunged into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, witnesses saw the four chaplains at the rail locked arm in arm, each praying in his own faith tradition. WORDS PROVEN BY DEEDS This final image of the chaplains, for me, speaks volumes about the nature of interreligious dialogue.

While words help build bridges to understanding between people of differing faiths, it is ultimately the deeds of those people that enable the bridges to be crossed. The saga of the Four Immortal Chaplains is about the fulfillment of words by a deed — a deed of four men of different religions who had become friends before this calamity occurred. I suspect the major reason why this story became popular during the war was that it showed fearlessness in the face of danger. In the military, this fearlessness is called “bravery” or “courage,” as is portrayed in the windows and paintings at various military chapels around the country. While undoubtedly these men of God were brave, I would propose there is a deeper root to their courage. In the First Letter of John, 4:18, we read that “perfect love drives out fear.” Though the rabbi in the group obviously would not have considered this letter to be divinely inspired, the same idea has been shown to be present in the Rabbinic Judaism of the first century. I think the fearlessness of these men was centered in their love for one another as brothers in the Lord, symbolized by their linked arms as the Dorchester sank beneath the waves. The point of making a record of interreligious dialogue is to inspire deeds of love among sisters and brothers of different religions, like the deed of the Four Immortal Chaplains.

MICHIGAN’S ONLY FOUR CHAPLAINS MEMORIAL (AND IT’S NEARBY) Soon after the end of World War II, the interfaith witness of the chaplains of the Dorchester became known throughout the country through magazine, newspaper and radio accounts. Plaques, paintings, monuments, statues, stained-glass windows and even a U.S. postage stamp — one source says more than 300 works — have been commissioned through the years to honor their sacrifice. At best count, just one permanent memorial of the four chaplains is in Michigan: at Arborcrest Memorial Park, a cemetery in Ann Arbor. The marble and travertine stone monument was dedicated at a dramatic unveiling ceremony on Saturday, May 29, 1954 — Memorial Day weekend — according to reports in the Ypsilanti Press and Ann Arbor News. Wartime memories would still have been fresh, and the event must have been emotional for the attendees. The monument is substantial. The slightly concave front panel measures 16 feet wide by 11 feet high. Affixed to the panel is a relief of the four chaplains, sculpted from Carrera marble and designed by legendary University of Michigan Museums artist Carleton Angell. It shows them linked arm in arm, looking skyward from the Dorchester’s railing as the waves of the North Atlantic swallow the broken ship. The facial features are identical, clearly intended by the artist to show the men’s unity of spirit. Michiganders everywhere can be proud that this historically significant memorial is part of the state’s cultural and spiritual landscape.

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CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD

Meditation inspires creativity. YET WE DON’T TEND TO THINK OF MEDITATION AND IMAGINATION TOGETHER — THE FORMER REQUIRES FOCUS AND THE LATTER EXPLORATION. ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA TEACHES US THAT OUR IMAGINATION CAN ACTUALLY HELP US PRAY WHEN WE PURPOSEFULLY ENGAGE OUR SENSES. MEDITATION WITHIN THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. IGNATIUS IS

MEETING GOD THROUGH YOUR

imagination St. Ignatius shows us how to use our senses to pray CHRISTINE WARNER, WRITER

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NOT ABOUT FREEING OUR MINDS; IT’S ABOUT DRAWING US INTO THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL THROUGH STORYTELLING AND SENSATION. THE PRACTICE OF IMAGINATIVE PRAYER COMES FROM TWO IMPORTANT THEOLOGICAL CONCEPTS:


1. God made our imaginations. The same God who acted in the Bible story made the whole world and our imaginations. Therefore, it is right to use this God-given gift, the imagination, to better understand and personalize God’s supreme gift, Jesus Christ. 2. God became man in the Incarnation. This means God chose to communicate with us through the things of this world. God reveals himself through the tangible. So, imagining the physical and sensory aspects of the Gospel is an authentically Catholic form of prayer. In his book The Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius outlines four weeks of daily spiritual practices. Originally written in Spanish, the book is a guide for contemplative prayer. It’s designed to be read in parts — not skimmed or read consecutively — to allow for meditation, reflection and practice. St. Ignatius explains the joy of meditative prayer: “For it is not knowing much, but realising and relishing things interiorly, that contents and satisfies the soul.” SEE THROUGH GOD’S EYES Imaginative prayer first appears in the second week of The Spiritual Exercises, when St. Ignatius presents a meditation about the Incarnation — when the Son of God took on human form in the person of Jesus. St. Ignatius encourages us to imagine how God sees and feels, now and throughout salvation history. Imagining how God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit views the world is intended to help us better “follow and imitate Our Lord.” St. Ignatius gives us three ways to imagine God’s view of the world, as well as those of Mary and the angels. We should begin with a prayer of petition, to receive “interior knowledge of the Lord.” These exercises force us outside the limits of our mind and our humanity into the divine. 1. Picture God’s view of the world, seeing all people and places. “See the various persons: and first those on the surface of the earth, in such variety, in dress as in actions: some white and others black; some in peace and others in war; some weeping and others laughing; some well, others ill; some being born and others dying, etc.”

DIEGO DIAZ, ILLUSTRATOR

2. Listen to hear what people are saying, and how God responds. “Hear what the persons on the face of the earth are saying, that is, how they are talking with one another, how they swear and blaspheme, etc.” 3. Observe the actions of humanity, good and bad, and how God reacts. “Look then at what the persons on the face of the earth are doing, as, for instance, killing, going to Hell etc.; likewise what the Divine Persons are doing, namely, working out the most holy Incarnation, etc.” Through each of these views, we experience who God is and how the workings of the world affect him. This perspective prepares us to expand our imagination further to picture our own role in the story of the Gospel. ENTER THE GOSPEL STORY Imaginative prayer continues into a meditation about the Nativity. This time, St. Ignatius asks us to place ourselves inside the Gospel story. Who would you have been? What emotions would you have felt? What was the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem like? This places us in the divine narrative of the Gospel, so we can experience it as our own narrative. It lets us meet Christ through the story of his life and death.

As you start this meditation, engage all your senses for total immersion in the story. Visualize the people, environment and emotions, the long journey from Nazareth to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. St. Ignatius offers guidance for activating each of our five senses. Sight: “See the persons with the sight of the imagination, meditating and contemplating in particular the details about them.” Hearing: “Hear … what they are, or might be, talking about.” Smell and taste: “Smell and … taste the infinite fragrance and sweetness of the Divinity, of the soul, and of its virtues, and of all, according to the person who is being contemplated.” Touch: “Touch … as for instance, to embrace and kiss the places where such persons put their feet and sit.” St. Ignatius shares that entering into God’s vision and the Gospel stories leads to “reflecting on oneself and drawing profit from it.” We become able to contemplate faith mysteries with less intellectual critique and more emotional attunement. We can apply the same sensory exploration and imaginative prayer to all of Scripture. This Ignatian contemplation opens us up to let the Holy Spirit work in, through and around us.

St. Ignatius of Loyola Born in Spain in 1491, St. Ignatius had a lively imagination and burning desire for fame. His romantic notions of glory led him to join the army at the age of 17, the beginning of his successful (and pompous) military career. It all came to a devastating end in 1521 when a cannonball hit his legs during battle. During his long recovery in the hospital, the only books to entertain St. Ignatius were religious texts — many about the saints. Their stories captured his imagination and sparked his tumultuous conversion and mystical visions. Over time, St. Ignatius became known for his mastery of spiritual direction. He founded the religious order the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, starting with a small group of friends in 1539. In his book The Spiritual Exercises, he offers guidance for contemplative prayer with Scripture: visualizing Gospel events and placing yourself in the stories and scenes. Your imagination helps you bring faith mysteries into the present moment. Using the imagination to inspire contemplative prayer is central to Ignatian spirituality, examined and explored here.

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PR AYER 101

GOSPEL

THE GOOD NEWS CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES

Consider a typical weekend experience in Metro Detroit: On Saturday evening, you see your favorite performer at your favorite local venue. You’ve been looking forward to this concert, so you’ve invited your best friends and paid a premium for front-row seats. As soon as you hear the opening notes of your favorite song, you jump to your feet. You sing along. You don’t want it to end, and you hope for an encore. On Sunday morning, you go to Mass, a little late but in time for the Gospel. You don’t know anyone in the parish, so you slip into a back pew. You haven’t looked at the readings, so as the Gospel is read, you try to figure out which one it is. You hear the opening words of a familiar story, maybe “the Prodigal Son” or “The Good Samaritan,” and you think: Old news. Heard this one before. You sit back down, thankful they used the short version, and you hope the priest or deacon who is about to preach will do the same with the homily.

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AT ANY TIME — IF ONLY WE LET IT These are two different events and two very different experiences. Why do we memorize the words to our favorite songs but zone out when we hear a familiar Gospel? Why is it so easy for us to share the good news that the band is in town but difficult for us to share the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus? Recall what the proclamation of the Gospel is meant to be: a life-changing event. The good news of Jesus when proclaimed and shared has the power to change everything, even the culture. The bold proclamation, the kerygma, is the truth that God has a plan for your life; that sin and its devastating consequences disrupt God’s plan and rob you of joy; that God in his goodness sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to save you by dying on the cross and

rising from the dead; and that now, by accepting the gift of salvation and responding to God’s call to grow in holiness and engage in mission, you can live a joyful life in the community of the Church. The power that is unleashed when the good news is heard is precisely “ THE GOSPEL HAS why we should prepare THE SAME PO WER AS ourselves for a real encounter with the person WHEN IT WAS FIRST of Jesus as the Gospel is PROCL AIMED BY proclaimed each Sunday. The Gospel has the same THE APOSTLES.” power as when it was first proclaimed by the apostles: the power to free captives from slavery to sin, to set cold hearts ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit and to compel us forward to share the good news in our archdiocese.

FATHER BRIAN MELDRUM, WRITER • NAOMI VRAZO, PHOTOGRAPHER


PREPARE

PONDER

SEEK OUT THE READINGS

LISTEN FOR GOD’S VOICE

It has never been easier to access the Word of God. You can get daily and Sunday readings from any number of apps, podcasts, print media and websites. The U.S. Bishops’ website, usccb.org, is always a great place to start.

READ THE GOSPEL BEFORE SUNDAY

Read the Sunday Gospel ahead for the following Sunday early in the week. Name a certain grace you hope to receive as you read the word.

RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO SKIM

Avoid the urge to gloss over a reading that is familiar. God always has something more to say to us each time. The Gospel is the living, dynamic word — not dead, static letters on a page. From year to year as the Scriptures are read, the word does not change, but the word changes us, if only we allow it to!

PROCLAIM COMMIT IT TO MEMORY

Memorize a verse from the Gospel and share it with someone. Recite the verse in moments of temptation or despair.

Spend time listening as you read and pray. In the Scriptures, God speaks human language. Jesus tells stories. The Holy Spirit unlocks passages that seem confusing. Ask help from Our Lady, who pondered God’s word and kept the things that happened to her and Jesus in her heart. It takes time and quiet to ponder.

SHARE THE GOSPEL

PICTURE YOURSELF IN THE STORY Place yourself in the scene as you read the Gospel. What do you see and hear? If you express yourself better through writing, continue the conversation with God in a journal.

PRAY FOR INSPIRED HOMILIES

Pray that your bishops, priests and deacons, as they prepare their weekly homilies, will be used by the Holy Spirit to deliver the word with power, conviction and love.

When Verdi’s Rigoletto was set to premiere in 1851, the composer gave the sheet music for the famous aria “La donna è mobile” only to the tenor, making him swear not to share it or even whistle the melody. Despite this, the story goes that the next day the popular tune was heard up and down the streets. We simply cannot keep beauty and joy to ourselves, and so it is with the beauty and joy of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus is waiting to meet you as the word is proclaimed. He is waiting to bring joy to your life through the Good News of salvation by his cross and Resurrection. It is time to unleash the Gospel in the Archdiocese of Detroit. It is time to pray that the tune catches on and that the Gospel might bring music to our ears and joy to our hearts.

Think of someone each week with whom to share the message of the Gospel. Invite someone to attend Mass with you and read the Gospel with them to help them prepare.

PRAY FOR THE STRENGTH TO EVANGELIZE

Pray for the courage to share a word of conviction to help someone in a difficult situation. Assure them that God is speaking to them, too. Read the Gospel together and invite them to listen to what God has to say.

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.

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P RAYING WITH T HE C H UR CH FATHER S

ST.onLEO THE GREAT our redemption in Christ

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DIEGO DIAZ, ILLUSTRATOR


ST. LE O THE GRE AT, POP E F ROM 4 4 0 TO 4 6 1 , IS REN O WN E D F OR U P HOL D I NG THE F U L L DIVINIT Y AND THE F U L L HU M ANI T Y OF CHRIST, THE IN CARNATE W ORD OF GOD . THE H OMILIE S OF LE O, PR E AC HE D ON THE M A J OR F E ASTS OF THE LIT U RGI CAL Y E AR, ARE A TRE ASURE F O R GOD ’S P E OP L E .

The following selection is taken from two related homilies Leo gave during Holy Week in the year 441. In these homilies, Leo unveils the full narrative of our redemption in Christ, beginning with Adam and our Fall and culminating with the coming of Jesus and his redeeming work as the Lamb of God. Leo underlines how the one Christ — both fully divine and fully human — uniquely fulfills the role of redeemer, overcoming sin, the power of death and the slavery of the devil. But Leo does not stop with our freedom from these slaveries. He shows that our destiny is to be joined with Christ and transformed into his image. In a marvelous line, Leo says we are called to be re-formed into the image of Christ who conformed himself to our human condition in order to heal our deformed nature. God lowered and humbled himself — in the incarnation, Passion, death and resurrection of Christ — so we could be raised up to communion with God. This is the great glory of our destiny in Christ through the Spirit. But we have a part to play. Leo calls us to embrace this work of redemption by imitating Christ in his humility and patience and setting our minds on heavenly things.

CO M M E N TARY BY D R . DA NI EL K EAT I NG

LEO THE GREAT’S “HOMILIES ON THE PASSION OF CHRIST” SERMONS 52 AND 53 Today’s passage from the Gospel has unfolded for us, dearly beloved, the mystery of our Lord’s Passion. Our Lord Jesus the Son of God undertook it for the salvation of the human race. According to his promise, “he has drawn all things to himself in being lifted up.” (Jn 12:32) After that first and universal Fall of human transgression — from which “through one man, sin entered into this world, and through sin death, and death has thereby spread to all people, in that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12) — no one could escape the terrible dominion of the devil nor the chains of harsh captivity. Neither reconciliation leading to pardon nor a return to life would be accessible to anyone had not God the Son (co-eternal with and co-equal to God the Father) condescended to become the son of man, coming “to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk 19:10) As death came through Adam, so through our Lord Jesus Christ came resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor 15:21)

This whole mystery (which both humanity and divinity have completed together) was a dispensation of mercy and an act of love. We were held bound with such chains that only by this power could we be released. Divine humility, therefore, becomes our advancement. We are redeemed “by so great a price” (1 Cor 6:20); we are healed at such great cost. What return would there be from wickedness to justice, from misery to blessedness, unless the Just One leaned down to the wicked and the Blessed One bent himself down to the miserable. We must not, then, be ashamed of the cross, dearly beloved, for it comes from the strength of divine

wisdom, not from a state of sin. Our Lord Jesus truly suffered with our weakness and truly died. Yet he did not so deprive himself of his own glory that, in the midst of the insults of his Passion, he exercised nothing of his divine operations. As a result, dearly beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ crucified is not a “stumbling block” or “foolishness” to us, but “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1:23-24) We, I say, are the spiritual offspring of Abraham, not born as children of slavery but reborn into the family of liberty. (Gal 4:31) For us … Christ the true and spotless Lamb was sacrificed. (1 Cor 5:7) Let us, then, embrace the wonderful mystery of the saving Passover and be re-formed into the image of the one who conformed himself to our deformity. Let us be raised to the one who made the dust of our lowliness into the body of his glory. That we might deserve to be sharers in his resurrection, let us adapt ourselves to his humility and patience in all things. We are undertaking the service of a great name, the discipline of a great profession. Followers of Christ may not stray from the King’s highway. We are not to be preoccupied with temporal affairs as we head for the eternal. Because we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, “let us glorify and carry God in our body” (1 Cor 6:20) so that we may deserve to come to those things which have been prepared for the faithful through Jesus Christ our Lord. This translation is from St. Leo the Great: Sermons, trans. Jane P. Freeland and Agnes J. Conway, The Fathers of the Church, vol. 93 (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1996), 226-32, with adjustments.

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Restore ASSUMPTION CHURCH in Windsor Help us restore the beauty of historic Assumption Church, built in 1843 on the Canadian banks of the Detroit River, and serving as a living Catholic landmark in the shadows of the Ambassador Bridge for over 175 years. Donate $250 for a copper shingle for our church’s roof and your name or that of a loved one will be written on the back of the shingle and will live as a testimony to our faith for future generations. Help us reach our goal of 3,500 new copper shingles.

Assumption was founded as a mission of Ste. Anne de Detroit in 1728, and became a parish in 1767, the first parish in Canada west of Montreal. To learn more on how to participate in restoring the legacy of this important historic site, visit

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FAMILY CHALLENGE

A WEEK OF PRAYING WITH THE SAINTS Children naturally long for heroes. Whether it’s a knight in shining armor, a superhero with a cape or a noble princess, our children are always seeking individuals of exemplary virtue, character and bravery to hold up as models. As adults, we’re not entirely different. Look at our society and you will see individuals in entertainment, music and politics who have been lifted up as “heroes,” then knocked off their thrones by sin and corruption. We long for a good example to follow. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The home is the first school of Christian life and ‘a school for human enrichment.’” So, basically, we as parents are the professors of the Christian life. We are delegated with the formation of the souls that God has placed in our families. Talk about a big responsibility! About five years ago, my husband, Ben, and I were Catholics who went to Mass most of the time but to confession rarely, and we lived our personal lives largely based on secular values. We were in the midst of our own “dark night of the soul” when we felt called to repentance and conversion. We longed for the beauty, truth and goodness in the Catholic Church. We returned to the sacraments, received the Eucharist for sustenance and found Catholic friends who would model a life of fidelity. However, after years of living a life around a very self-serving model of faith, we still had so many questions. How should we pray? How should we raise our children? How should we live? We needed exemplars — heroes, if you will — to show us how to live a life of holiness. The good news is, the Church had our backs. As Catholics, we have our own “superheroes” who show us the path to holiness through their unique lives: the saints. This week, I would love for you and your family to join me in reflection and fun activities based on the lives of some great saints. Set aside a few minutes each evening to learn about one of our friends in heaven and see how we can learn to lead virtuous and holy lives through their examples. The following reflections and activities have been written specifically to be read aloud and completed with your children. Each day’s reflection concludes with a prayer written by or for that day’s saint, which I hope you will consider adding to your family’s collection of prayers. Wishing you a blessed week! ADELE PAZ COLLINS is a freelance writer based in Falls Church, Va., and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School.

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Adele with her husband and children.

MONDAY ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL Each one of us has days when it feels like everything is going wrong. Maybe we are overwhelmed with a feeling of anger toward a family member or we feel frustrated with every little thing. Thankfully, we have a great and powerful friend in heaven whose job is to defend us against bad things. He is stronger than the most powerful superhero and he fights fiercely for us against all of God’s enemies. St. Michael has a whole army of angels powerful enough to throw Satan into hell, so surely he is strong enough to help us when we feel overwhelmed. ACTIVITY: Print and cut out one set of angel wings for each member of your family. Have each person decorate the wings with the words “Defend me in battle.” Feel free to add your own illustration of St. Michael. Hang the wings near your bed to remind you that St. Michael is always protecting you. PRAYER: St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. — Traditional Catholic prayer


WEDNESDAY POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II St. John Paul II loved the family and taught us that the family is the building block of society. He encouraged us to make each of our families a “shrine of life and love” and to protect the human dignity of every person within our family. He told us that when we make a sincere gift of ourselves to our families, God multiplies our love and transforms the society in which we live.

TUESDAY ST. JOSEPHINE BAKHITA When she was 11, St. Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped and forced to be a slave. She endured years of cruelty and suffering under many masters. When she was taken to Italy, she learned about God and decided to follow Christ. The freedom she found as a daughter of God led her to seek her own physical freedom — going to court in Italy to fight for freedom from slavery. She became a religious sister and spent the rest of her life working and praying in the convent, known for always having a smile on her face. She learned to give thanks for all things, even for her captivity, because being a slave led her to Christ. ACTIVITY: St. Josephine Bakhita’s life shows us that God frees us from bondage through his unconditional forgiveness, love and grace. Take a spool of yarn and loosely wrap it around the hands of a volunteer from your family. Pass around a pair of scissors and have each family member snip one piece of yarn to symbolize the freedom we find in Christ. PRAYER: St. Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured untold hardship and suffering. Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church. O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery; intercede with God on their behalf so that they will be released from their chains of captivity. Those whom man enslaves, let God set free. Provide comfort to survivors of slavery and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith. Help all survivors find healing from their wounds. We ask for your prayers and intercessions for those enslaved among us. — Pope Francis

ADELE PAZ COLLINS, PHOTOGRAPHER

ACTIVITY: Assemble several building blocks or construction toys, such as wooden blocks, Legos or Duplos. Work together as a family to construct the tallest tower you can build. Is it easier to build a tall tower with a narrow or wide base? Explain that each of our families is like a support at the base of the tower and that together with all of the other Catholic families of the world, we make a firm foundation for our society. PRAYER: Lord God, from you every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. Father, you are love and life. Through your son, Jesus Christ, born of woman, and through the Holy Spirit, the fountain of divine charity, grant that every family on earth may become for each successive generation a true shrine of life and love. Grant that your grace may guide the thoughts and actions of husbands and wives for the good of their families and of all the families in the world. Grant that the young may find in the family solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love. Grant that love, strengthened by the grace of the sacrament of marriage, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass. Through the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that the Church may fruitfully carry out her worldwide mission in the family and through the family. We ask this of you, who is life, truth and love with the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. — Prayer for All Families, St. John Paul II

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FRIDAY ST. FRANCIS St. Francis was an Italian monk who lived an especially simple life and was known for delighting in God’s creation. He reminds us that all good and beautiful things in creation were given to us by our loving Father, God, for us to love and enjoy. ACTIVITY: Go for a walk through your yard and pause to give praise for every living thing you notice. Say “Praise be to you, my Lord, through _______.” Fill in the blank with whomever you find, whether it’s Brother Geranium or Sister Roly Poly. Get down in the dirt and see what little creatures you can meet!

THURSDAY ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish priest who was sent to a concentration camp during World War II. When a fellow prisoner was sentenced to death, St. Maximilian offered to take his place, knowing the prisoner had a family. St. Maximilian reminds us that we find our true freedom when we offer our suffering for the lives of others. ACTIVITY: Decorate a small jar or box with the word “Offerings.” Place some scraps of paper next to the box. During the day, when you experience an inconvenience, pain or frustration, offer it up for someone who needs your prayers. Write their name on the piece of paper and place it in the jar. Keep the jar on your prayer table to always think of the souls who need our prayers. PRAYER: St. Maximilian, amidst the hate and lonely misery of Auschwitz, you brought love into the lives of fellow captives, and sowed the seeds of hope amidst despair. You bore witness to the world, by word and deed, that only “Love alone creates.” Help me to become more like yourself. With you and Mary and the Church, may I proclaim that only “Love alone creates.” To the hungry and oppressed, the naked and homeless, the scorned and hated, the lonely and despairing, may I proclaim the power of Christ’s love, which endures forever and ever. Amen. — Love Alone Creates, Mission of the Immaculata

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PRAYER: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. — St. Francis of Assisi


SUNDAY ST. JOSEMARÍA ESCRIVÁ Sometimes it feels like the little things we do during the day don’t really matter. We rush through our jobs, doing them quickly or poorly because they feel insignificant. Maybe we do a sloppy job setting the table for dinner or we scribble through homework because we want to get on to something more fun. St. Josemaría teaches us that every little thing we do can glorify God. We can turn all of our activities and jobs into little prayers to God, sanctifying him at work, at home or at school.

SATURDAY ST. FAUSTINA St. Faustina was a Polish religious sister who was visited many times throughout her life by Jesus Christ. Jesus told her that God is full of mercy and love, and even the most sinful people should not be afraid to draw closer to God because his mercy is greater than the sins of the whole world. St. Faustina taught people to say the prayer, “Jesus, I trust in you.” ACTIVITY: Today’s activity is about trust. Create an obstacle course in your living room with things such as couch cushions, chairs and toys. Split your family into teams of two. Cover one team member’s eyes with a bandanna or dish towel. Now, have the other partner lead the blindfolded partner through the obstacle course backward without stepping on or bumping into anyone or anything. When the team has completed the obstacle course, switch the blindfold and repeat with the other partner. Make a note of how good communication builds trust! PRAYER: O Jesus, I want to live in the present moment, to live as if this were the last day of my life. I want to use every moment scrupulously for the greater glory of God, to use every circumstance for the benefit of my soul. I want to look upon everything from the point of view that nothing happens without the will of God. God of unfathomable mercy, embrace the whole world and pour yourself out upon us through the merciful heart of Jesus. — From the diary of St. Faustina

ACTIVITY: Prepare a simple tea party for your family. Have everyone help with some part of the preparation: setting the table with cups and saucers, putting the sugar on the table, pouring the water over the tea bags, pouring the tea, etc. Play some soft classical music and try to maintain a spirit of quiet prayerfulness, offering thanksgiving and praise to God through each job. Continue to offer silent prayers as you are sipping your tea together. Assign each person to help with some part of the cleanup and try to do each job carefully, neatly and completely, making your work a prayer to God. PRAYER: Dear God, St. Josemaría loved you a lot and he also loved children. I would like to love you as much as he did and to please you always. I want to help you make the world a better place and to make people happier. I want to think about you all day long, when I get up and when I go to bed, when I’m doing my homework and when I’m playing. I want to obey my parents, to be kind to my brothers and sisters and to pay attention in school. I want to share the things I have and the presents I get. I can’t do these things on my own. Dear God, St. Josemaría is very close to you in heaven and he helps me to be good. St. Josemaría, please ask God for the favour I want … (ask for the favor you want). My guardian angel, help me too. Amen. — Prayer for Children, St. Josemaría Institute

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PERSONAL REFLECTION

LIVING LIFE ON od has made every person on earth unique and has called every one of us to a distinct vocation. Though none of us is the same and every person’s faith journey looks different, we all have one shared element in our lives: time. Each of us has the same 24 hours in a day. Every second of every day, God is calling us to draw near to him. But how often do we find ourselves wasting the precious gift of time on things that don’t bring us closer to heaven? “Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.” (Eph 5:15-17) This excerpt from Ephesians can help us reflect on how our time can be better spent on things that will grow our faith. Not that we should give up Netflix forever, stop playing video games or delete our social media accounts, but we can aim to become more intentional disciples by prioritizing the activities that will lead us to Christ. Here are three suggestions for using your time more productively and faithfully:

G

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WATCH

GLORIFY

RETREAT Some of us find we’re most productive in the early hours of the morning, whereas others might enjoy their most productive hours late at night. Regardless of when you find yourself most focused, recognize it and ask yourself how you can offer that time for spiritual growth through activities such as journaling, reading Scripture or listening to or creating music. Alternatively, you might want to dedicate that time to volunteering or spending time with people who need your care and attention. Even Jesus needed time away from the distractions of the world to speak to his Father, to ponder and to discern. If the Savior of the world needed to retreat, we probably do, too. “Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.’ He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.’” (Mk 14:32-36) When do you find yourself most focused? Where can you retreat for a short period of time every day to reflect and listen more closely to what God is saying to you? What activities can you do during this time that will help you grow in your relationship with Christ?

NAOMI VRAZO, PHOTOGRAPHER

You can glorify God in everything you do. That means your whole day can be part of one long prayer, whether you’re at work, out with friends or at the gym. Invite God into the things you do every day. You can say a quick prayer as soon as you wake up that you accomplish all God wants you to do that day. And no matter what you do for work, before you begin, ask God to bless your labor. If we simply invite God into our lives every day and are conscious of his presence, our time will become his and not ours. We all have different gifts that were given to us by God, and no matter how big or small they seem, they all contribute to the building of the kingdom. “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ... Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” (Col 3:17, 23)

We might not realize it, but God presents himself to us in subtle ways every day. All too often we’re consumed by what’s happening on our phones or anxious about what’s happening in our heads, that we fail to recognize God. He’s in the family member who seems to be distant and hurting. He’s in the homeless man you passed on the street who might need a friend. He’s in the person asking for volunteers to serve in a ministry at your parish. When we’re watchful, we start to recognize that God presents himself in many different ways and calls us to respond. “Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’” (Mt 25:44-45) How can you be more present to recognize the subtle ways God reveals himself to you? In what ways do you think God is calling you? What can you do to respond?

Into what areas of your life can you invite God? What gifts has God given you and how can you glorify God with them? In what ways can you transform your day to become one constant prayer?

DOMINICK TECSON is a writer and web designer. He is the the founder of Pursue & Protect, a faith-based blog dedicated to inspiring others to pursue lives of purpose. He currently lives in Riverside, Calif., with his wife and three fur babies.

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PURSUING HOLINESS Q&A

RYAN JILL O’HARA Bringing Christ into your family life, workplace and friendships 56

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MY WIFE AND I ARE TRYING TO FIND MORE WAYS TO CENTER OUR MARRIAGE ON GOD, DAY BY DAY. WHAT DOES IT PRACTICALLY MEAN TO YOU TO “BRING CHRIST INTO YOUR MARRIAGE”? HO W DO YOU DO IT? RYAN : This has been a high priority for Jill and me for as long as we have been married. Patterns and habits come and go, like the seasons, but a practice that has been consistently helpful in centering our lives around Jesus Christ is praying together. Practically speaking it looks like reading one of the daily Mass readings together, usually the Gospel, and then sharing what strikes us, challenges us or confuses us. Based on what we uncover, we each craft and pray out loud a brief spontaneous prayer. This helps to connect and apply God’s word to our lives, our marriage, our hopes, our dreams and our challenges. A simple, 15-minute experience like this, a few times a week, significantly amplifies Christ’s presence within our relationship.

J I LL: Praying for your marriage and your spouse, individually and together, can be a great place to start. Prayer opens your heart to your spouse and to the Holy Spirit, who will inspire and lead you down the path of making your marriage Christ-centered. Have a conversation (maybe on a date night) where you consider God’s will and mission for you as a couple. What doors have been opening recently that may indicate God working out his purpose for the two of you? What areas of service do you share a heart for? What risks could you take together to engage in your faith life more deeply?

IN A SECUL AR W ORK ENVIRONMENT, HO W CAN I BE A WITNESS AT W ORK WITHOUT HURTING MY PROFESSIONAL REL ATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE WHO MIGHT BE HOSTILE TO THE FAITH? RYAN : A friend of mine ended up joining our Catholic couples group because she noticed a crucifix on the desk of one of her colleagues. The crucifix was like a welcome mat. It signaled to everyone who passed by, including my friend, that Jesus Christ and her Catholic faith were important to her. This visible sign set up a unique and safe opportunity for discussion about spiritual things at work. Whether it’s a crucifix on a desk, a sign of the cross in the lunchroom or a simple offer to pray for someone who is hurting, it’s simply a matter of being willing to live your faith publicly. Are you the same person around the office that you are at Mass? If so, combined with a pinch of courage, intentionality and intercessory prayer, opportunities will arise and others will approach you, rather than you needed to wonder who around the office should I approach.

RYAN AND JILL O’HARA live in West St. Paul, Minn., with their four children. Ryan is a speaker, writer and the content director for Saint Paul’s Outreach (spo.org), a Catholic ministry that helps U.S. college students meet and follow Christ.

DAVID PUENTE, PHOTOGRAPHER

J I LL: I would recommend a few key areas to focus on when considering your witness at work. First, how am I living as a witness of Christ in my actions and my words? We want to pique the curiosity of those we work with, leading them to ask us to “give the reason for the hope we have.” (1 Pt 3:15) Once someone asks us about our faith or why we live or act in a particular way, we have an open door to share our faith and avoid the hostility that occurs when we “push” our faith on someone uninvited. The most natural way to pique this curiosity is to exhibit an attitude of joy. I have seen, through experience, that an authentic joy, not falsely created by inebriation or illicit or prescription drug abuse, is so rare in the secular workplace, it cannot help but be noticed. We can foster this joy through our personal relationship with Christ and by cultivating gratitude for his generosity in our lives (even if circumstances are difficult, we can always be grateful for salvation and creation). We can also pique curiosity with our speech. Do we avoid gossip, complaining and foul language in our workplace? Speaking kindly and positively will definitely stand out as unique in most workplaces and hopefully cause others to notice, and possibly ask, why and how you exercise self-control in these areas.

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RYA N: In addition to our own personal prayer throughout the day, every evening in our living room my wife and I (along with our four sons) take time to pray together as a family. We do this in two phases. The first phase is personal prayer time for the boys. We set a timer for 10 minutes and the boys (and Mom and Dad) can choose to read something from the Bible or the lives of the saints or, if they are in a creative mood, use a Bible coloring book or journal. After the 10 minutes are over, we pray night prayer together from the Liturgy of the Hours. Each of the boys has a part to play as we recite the prayer of the Church. This two-fold approach has helped establish prayer as a priority for each of the boys, while also helping them learn how to do it. In fact, it’s often in the midst of these 10 minutes or just after as we share a snack that some of the best conversations about faith arise — all because we chose to give 10 minutes every day, as a family, to God. J I LL: Make prayer a habit in family life, by looking for opportunities to pray “in the moment” for real-life situations. As you pull out of the driveway, pray for safety as you travel. When your child can’t find his favorite toy, ask for the intercession of St Anthony to help him find it. When your child shares a difficult situation with a peer at school, bow your heads together to ask the Holy Spirit for help and wisdom for your child in handling that situation. Before getting on the ski lift for your child’s first solo trip down the slopes (or before some other risky endeavor) pray that her guardian angel would go with her to protect her.

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I LEARN ABOUT MY O WN PRECONCEIVED IDEAS AND THE CHALLENGES TO THE STEREOT YPES I HOLD ABOUT PEOPLE IN THESE ENVIRONMENTS.”


MOST OF MY FRIENDS ARE OTHER CATHOLICS OR PEOPLE WHO SHARE MY SAME VALUES. HO W CAN I GO BEYOND MY PERSONAL BUBBLE TO MEET OTHERS TO EVANGELIZE? OR HO W CAN I EVANGELIZE AMONG MY CURRENT SOCIAL CIRCLE? RYAN : It starts with a smile. While many of our closest friends may also be committed Catholics, we do interact every week with perhaps hundreds of people who don’t have a strong relationship with God. A smile is the first step. Are you willing to welcome a stranger with a friendly face? A face that says “I see you. You matter.” Second, have a willingness to not simply smile, but to engage in conversation. Are you willing to say hello to someone on the street or make conversation with the person in the aisle next to you? Third, are you open, if the opportunity presents itself, to mention the name of Jesus or something related to God in that type of impromptu conversation? And finally, are you willing to tell the Holy Spirit, each day before you leave the house, “I’m available” and open your heart, mind and eyes to spiritual needs of the people (friends and strangers alike) that you encounter? When we are available to the Holy Spirit, friendly to those we meet, willing to engage in conversation and mention God should the situation arise, suddenly hundreds of opportunities show up to evangelize and I didn’t even have to go to the other side of the world or even a different part of town.

J I LL: My favorite way to evangelize is by stepping out of my usual circles into situations I wouldn’t normally venture into or to practice being present and available in situations that I would normally move in and out of quickly, without much awareness of those around me. How about visiting the grocery store in the inner-city neighborhood, rather than the typical one in your suburban neighborhood? How about looking up from your phone and just taking to the people around you while you are in the waiting room of the car service station or health clinic? What about walking between destinations rather than taking your car and being open to encounters with the people you see? Some of my most memorable encounters have occurred when running errands. I’ll park the car at one destination and walk to a nearby store that requires me to walk through a different residential neighborhood than mine. I have opportunities to wave at someone sitting on their doorstep, give a moment of attention to the little girl playing on the sidewalk alone, offer a word of encouragement to a boy learning to skateboard or even lend a hand to someone carrying a load. Each of those feels like little encounters with Christ. When I take a step out of my comfort zone to encounter others outside of my typical social circles, I’m blessed both by the opportunities to be a witness to Christ in these environments, as well as what I learn about my own preconceived ideas and the challenges to the stereotypes I hold about people in these environments.

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UNLEA SHE D Q UESTIONNA IR E

JEANNE WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? Finding the Bright Side, Chasing the Art of What Matters by Shannon Bream for fun and inspiration and Into Your Hands Father by Father Wilfred Stinnisen for spiritual reading.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? Crowds! I get a little claustrophobic. It is ironic since my job is to help run the world’s largest annual pro-life event, the March for Life!

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE? Traffic. It is a major part of life in D.C., but not something I’m very patient with.

IF YOU HAD UNLIMITED RESOURCES, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I would give a lot of money to the March for Life to be able to do more to build a culture of life.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FEAST DAY? Hard to name just one! St. Anne’s feast day (July 26) and St. Gianna’s feast day (April 28) would be at the top of the list, plus any Marian feast day. Also St. Joseph (March 19).

WHAT IS YOUR BEST QUALITY? I’m a pretty good listener.

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WHAT IS THE BIGGEST RISK YOU’VE TAKEN? One that comes to mind is a crazy thing that a friend and I did when we were in high school. We were driving by a hospital and got an idea (inspiration?) that we should go talk to someone inside the hospital. We did, went to a random floor, found a man and told him that God loves him.

WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? Moving from California to Connecticut. My dad was in the military and we moved around quite a bit when I was young, but my earliest memories were the specifics of this move. My mom and dad house hunting (I didn’t like that I got left behind!), and shortly after traveling across the country with all of us

(me and three siblings and one on the way), camping and seeing sights. We visited a friend with a pig farm on our trip. On our last morning there, I didn’t want to leave the pigs (I’ve always really, really loved animals), so I went and hid in the pig pen. It took my family a while to find me. When I was found, we had to quickly get in the car and continue on the cross-country journey. My pajamas got ditched shortly into the trip, because they smelled — appropriately — like a pig pen!

WHAT VIRTUE DO YOU MOST ADMIRE IN OTHERS? Strength and gentleness.


WHAT WORDS DO YOU USE TOO MUCH? “And” and “like.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY OR PASTIME?

WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST HAPPINESS?

Hiking in the woods, napping, cooking, enjoying a leisurely meal with family.

Honestly, my relationship with God — prayer, sacraments, etc. And then family, my closest friendships, deep talks with my husband, being outdoors, a great meal, going for a run and playing with our dog, Tobias.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE THE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS? Honesty, depth, goodness, humor, faith.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Get on my knees and start the day with an Our Father. Coffee is a close second.

WHAT TALENT OR SKILL DO YOU WISH YOU HAD? I don’t pick up languages easily and would love to have that skill.

In the way of spiritual books, I tend to read many by Father Jacque Phillipe. With fun, light books, my husband and I have been listening on road trips a lot to Mary Higgins Clark lately. I also love Jane Austen.

WHO IS YOUR FICTIONAL HERO? One would be Jean Valjean from Les Miserables.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? I’m pretty shy by nature and I’m proud that I’ve let God use me in ways that I wouldn’t naturally have been drawn to, such as tough media interviews and speaking to large crowds.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF HEAVEN? All prayers answered. No pain or wounds. No tears. All of the joy, hope, peace and relief of “Resurrection Sunday” in one place. The communion of saints, including loved ones who have gone before us.

WHICH SAINT DO YOU TURN TO FOR INTERCESSION THE MOST? Blessed Mother, St. Anne and St. Gianna

HOW DO YOU DEFINE A “MISSIONARY DISCIPLE”? A personal follower of Christ who has been “sent.”

WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT? These days, it would be worries about running a small nonprofit, overall business direction, fundraising, etc.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? With the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, working in a youth shelter with young people who were victims of abuse and/or neglect.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED WHEN YOU DIE? An apostle of the New Evangelization.

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE MOTTO OR MANTRA? WHAT IS YOUR MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION? Our dog, Tobias! (Is a pet a possession?)

WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT? There are many, but one that comes to mind is tripping on my way up the stairs to make a speech when I was in high school.

DIEGO DIAZ, ILLUSTRATOR

Not that I embody this well, but I love the phrase “Be only all for Jesus through Mary” coined by St. Teresa of Calcutta.

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? My husband!

Jeanne Mancini was appointed to the role of president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund in 2012. As president, she directs the organization’s efforts to restore a culture of life in the United States, most notably through the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Jeanne lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., from 2003 to 2005 while she worked for the Cardinal Maida Institute, located at the St. John Center for Youth and Family in Plymouth. As the associate director, she worked under Father John Riccardo and taught adult formation classes about Theology of the Body, the feminine genius and other topics. Her previous roles include working with the Family Research Council (FRC), where she focused on issues related to the inherent dignity of the human person, including abortion, women’s health and end-oflife issues. She also worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Secretary. Her federal government experience includes global health policy and domestic and international health care issues. Jeanne has made frequent media appearances, including interviews on MSNBC, CNN, FOX, ABC and CBS. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and the Washington Post, among other publications. Jeanne holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from James Madison University and a master’s degree in the theology of marriage and family from the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. She now lives in northern Virginia with her husband, David.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS? To live my professional and personal vocation well and with elegance.

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When I witness simple acts of kindness, then feel God’s presence in the resulting joyful smiles. - ROBERT MURPHY, ST. MICHAEL PARISH, STERLING HEIGHTS

WHEN I FEEL ANGRY, FRUSTRATED OR IMPATIENT, I CLOSE MY EYES AND TAKE A MOMENT TO ASK GOD TO SEND ME HIS GRACE AND WISDOM THAT WILL ULTIMATELY LEAD ME TO A CALMER FRAME OF MIND. THEN I REALIZE JUST HOW TRULY BLESSED I AM EVERY DAY! - CHRIS BOWEN, ST. FRANCES CABRINI PARISH, ALLEN PARK

BY DOING ACTS OF CHARITY TOWARDS THOSE WHO JUDGE, RESENT OR PERSECUTE ME. THIS REMINDS ME THAT CHRIST DIRECTS MY DAILY LIFE IN WAYS I WOULD NOT OTHERWISE CHOOSE AS A HUMAN. - ALBERT B., ST. MARY PARISH, MILFORD

I start the day with his word, getting to know the Lord and the story of his people. At work at night by myself as a custodian, I recite a scriptural rosary from memory so I can continue to work and meditate on the mystery of the day. At the end of the day, I exercise while praying for others and offering my efforts to the Lord and Mary. Mary and the Lord are my companions through the day. - WILLIAM GINZEL JR., SACRED HEART PARISH, YALE

HOW DO YOU EXPERIENCE GOD IN YOUR As a catechist of over 20 years and a librarian as well, I’ve experienced God’s winks on many occasions. It is hard to explain, but whenever I need a bit of encouragement to continue on, God always sends me the right message to uplift me and remind me that he is always at my side. It might be a song on the radio, it might be a friend calling me out of the blue and telling me something I needed to hear. It even comes from my prayer life — although I should be feeling anxious, I instead have a peaceful calm that carries me through the day. - LISA VALERIO-NOWC, SAN FRANCESCO PARISH, CLINTON TOWNSHIP

I experience God daily when I see my kids. Their love for me is unconditional. It reminds me of God’s love. He gives me a new opportunity every day because he loves us how we are — just like my three lovely kids. - XOCHIL MORENO, STE. ANNE PARISH, DETROIT

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I WORK AT COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH AND THE INDIVIDUALS I COME IN CONTACT WITH EVERY DAY DURING INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS OR GROUPS REMIND ME OF GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. GOD SENDS THESE PEOPLE INTO MY LIFE TO TEACH ME PATIENCE AND REMIND ME THAT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. - DEBORAH KOKOSZKA, ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST PARISH, ALLENTON


I experience God in many ways, including in and through the Office of Hours, praying the Rosary and Mass. But, I also try to see him in everyone I meet or see — the fact that he or she is his child as am I. I see him in his creation. The breeze reminds me that, while I can’t see God, he is real: I can’t “see” the wind, but I can see its effect, I can feel its effect.

LATELY, I AM AWAKENING AROUND 3:00 OR 4:00 EACH MORNING. NOT GONG BACK TO SLEEP, I KNEEL AND SAY THE ROSARY. I FIND THIS TO BE A GOOD TIME TO ALSO CHAT WITH JESUS AND/OR THE HOLY SPIRIT. AFTER THIS 20-30 MINUTE BREAK, I AM ABLE TO HOP BACK INTO BED AND RESUME THE SLUMBER UNTIL THE ALARM SOUNDS. THESE SESSIONS SEEM TO BE BRINGING ME CLOSER TO OUR BLESSED MOTHER. - MIKE BUTKIEWICZ, ST. LAWRENCE PARISH, UTICA

- KEVIN STOLZ, GUARDIAN ANGELS PARISH, CLAWSON

PRAYER AND DISCERNMENT THROUGHOUT THE DAY KEEP THE SPIRIT OF GOD LIVING WITHIN ME. I ASK DAILY THAT I BE God is always present. This is mostly evident when faced with an everyday decision. During a moment of contemplation, God makes himself present by sparking energy into you. This is a sure sign to always follow in his plan. If you go astray, he will lead you back.

GUIDED TO WHERE HE WANTS ME TO BE AND THAT HE WILL

- ANGIE HANSON, ST. MARY PARISH, WAYNE

OF THE DAY’S STRESSES, STRUGGLES AND DISAPPOINTMENTS.

Each morning I get up and take my dog Hazel for her morning walk. For me, I spend that 20 to 30 minutes walking with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I thank them individually for all that they have provided for me, from the first breath of fresh air to the beauty and stillness that the morning brings. With the beauty and the love of God surrounding me, my heart fills with joy! I say my morning prayers and ask for strength and courage to do his will each and every day. - THOMAS FRANCIS, ST. LOUISE DE MARILLAC PARISH, WARREN

ALLOW ME TO SEE CLEARLY WHAT IS ASKED OF ME TO HELP OTHERS THAT DAY. I ASK THAT HE HELP ME CHOOSE THE RIGHT THOUGHTS AND WORDS TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS. I ASK THAT HE MAY HOLD MY HEART AND KEEP IT TENDER SO I MAY LOVE AND FORGIVE. I ALLOW MYSELF TO BE PART OF GOD. I REFUSE TO BECOME STAGNANT AS GOD GIVES ME STRENGTH TO MOVE FORWARD REGARDLESS I CONSTANTLY REMIND MYSELF TO TOTALLY TRUST IN GOD AND ALLOW HIM TO BE IN CONTROL EVERY DAY — AND I AM AMAZED.

By the many blessings he has bestowed on me. Feeling connected with God, when I read my daily passage, as well as when saying the daily prayer posted in our parish weekly bulletin and every day prayer. God is with us at all times and you can’t help but feel his presence. - VERONICA CABBLE, ST. BLASE PARISH, STERLING HEIGHTS

- SHARON MILLER, ST. EDITH PARISH, LIVONIA

I experience God in what feels like a lot of small ways. Sometimes his miracles are so small I look back and realize I didn’t notice them at the time. For example, he reaches me through a smiling child in my classroom who’s asking for a hug and sometimes it’s through complete strangers that I fall into conversation with at the store. I’m really trying to open up my eyes and heart to him more and more.

I BEGIN EACH DAY BY READING SCRIPTURE AND REFLECTING WITH THE “LIVING FAITH” DEVOTIONAL IN THE HOPE THAT I WILL CARRY THE WORDS I RECEIVE AND SHARE THEM WITH OTHERS I ENCOUNTER. - ALEXANDER DIMERCURII, ST. ANDREW PARISH, ROCHESTER

- SHANNON BERRY, OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL PARISH, PLYMOUTH

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PHOTO E SSAY

Sacred Heart Parish

Dearborn

THE PEW S MAY CRE AK WI T H AG E AS LITTLE SCHOOL C H I LD REN SLIDE IN F OR MASS. B U T DAY A FTER DAY, EACH P EW I S FI LLED WITH YOUTH. THE MO SA IC TILE FLOOR MAY S CAT T ER YOUR ATTEN TION IN MA NY D I R ECTIONS. BUT YOUR GAZE I S LE D ULTIMATELY TO THE A LTA R WHE RE THAT RE D CAND LE R EMAIN S EVER IT, S I G NI FI Y I NG THE PRESE NCE OF C H RI ST. A ND THE WIN DO W S ABO V E — COMPOSE D OF DELI CAT E STAIN E D GL ASS — LE T IN A PO W ERFULLY GEN TLE LIG HT THAT NEA RLY F ORESHADO W S THE STA R K BE AUT Y OF HE AVE N. F RO M T HE YE ARN ING SOULS WI T H I N T HE CHURCH DOORS, TO T HE PA RISH’S IRISH H ER I TAGE DATIN G BACK TO TH E 1 800S, EVE RY THIN G ABOUT THE COM M U NI T Y OF SACRE D HEART PARI SH I S A TRUE RE FLE CTION OF T HE PR ECIOUS HE ART OF OU R LO R D — A SAFE RE FUGE OF D I V I NE LOVE ROOTE D IN YEA R S O F TRADITION.

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White flowers and pastel banners draw attention to the altar and to the triumphant nature of the Easter season.


Community — what a beautiful gift. Interceding for a friend or praying for those most in need is the backbone of our Catholic community. Without one another, we would struggle in our pursuits of holiness.

Mary Grace Lehmkul, who graduated from Sacred Heart School in 2017, and her family return to the parish for 4:30 p.m. Mass. As the Lehmkuls leave, they are among the many people at Sacred Heart who display obvious joy — smiling and laughing with each other after Mass.

MELISSA MOON, PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER • NAOMI VRAZO, PHOTOGRAPHER

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Girls in charming white dresses and boys in sharp suits line up to process in for their first Holy Communion. This new generation of disciples is a reminder for us to return to that same childlike faith and joy that we had at our own First Communion.

The overall experience of Sacred Heart is one of welcome. From the ushers to the music minsters to the pastor, each person contributes to the “spirit of radical hospitality� with which Archbishop Vigneron charges parishes in Unleash the Gospel.

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It is in the silence of our hearts that we come to know the voice of Christ. Let him talk to you as much as you talk to him.

As they gather for their weekly allschool Mass, the Sacred Heart School community shows itself to be proudly Catholic through prayerful participation in the liturgy.

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Providing care for today, Built on our legacy of service

Lourdes Senior Community sets the standard for senior living. Situated on 35 acres of woodland and lakefront property, we offer a full continuum of care, with award-winning independent apartments, assisted living, memory care, long-term care and short-term rehabilitation.

Fox Manor Independent Living Mendelson Home Assisted Living Clausen Manor Memory Care Lourdes Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center

UNLEASHING THE GOSPEL

IN 18 COUNTRIES

A Great Place to Call Home

WORLDWIDE

(313)342- 4066

Missionaries

www.PIMEusa.org

2300 Watkins Lake Road • Waterford, MI • 48328 248-674-2241 • www.LourdesSeniorCommunity.org Sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace


Situated off Michigan Avenue, Sacred Heart stands out like a historical marker among the new eateries and heavy automotive influence that make up the main drag of Dearborn.

The parish community exists to support the community of the family. As the first evangelizers of their children, parents play an irreplaceable role in building up the Kingdom of God.

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I am Sacred Heart. “Jesus is the treasure buried in the field that is worth selling everything for. Sacred Heart has more deeply inspired me to want to go out into the world and help other sinners find their way home to Him. He is our only hope, and He is worth everything.”

deacon andRew Mabee

seminarian, archdiocese of detroit

I am Sacred Heart. “Some of the best-known theologians teach at Sacred Heart. The lectures are like going on a retreat.”

Matthew hUnt

Graduate student

I am Sacred Heart. “Sacred Heart teaches faithfully about our Church. I feel at home every time I go to class.”

Lidia Lopez de Rojas

Undergraduate student

The mission of Sacred Heart Major Seminary is simple and compelling: to educate and form leaders of the new evangelization of our increasingly secularized world. Hundreds of lay men and women study at Sacred Heart Major Seminary—in addition to seminarians in priestly formation. If you attend Sacred Heart, you too will learn to proclaim the Gospel with vigor and charity to a culture in need of hope and healing. The range of opportunities is wide: from informal online personal enrichment courses to full master’s degrees in theology and pastoral studies on our historic campus. Evening classes, daytime classes, and online courses give you the flexibility you need. Come, equip yourself to “unleash the Gospel”!

Learn more. shms.edu/study Heart. Mind. Mission. Heart. Mind. Ministry.

313-883-8696 admissions@shms.edu


12 State Street Detroit, Michigan 48226-1823

Profile for Archdiocese of Detroit

Unleash the Gospel Magazine: June/July 2019  

Unleash the Gospel Magazine is a publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Unleash the Gospel Magazine: June/July 2019  

Unleash the Gospel Magazine is a publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Profile for aod87