June Explanation Station from St. John Adult Faith Formation
Pope Francis, in his Pentecost Sunday homily, provided powerful examples of how to recognize the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Spirit will never tell you that on your journey everything is going just fine. No, he corrects you; he makes you weep for your sins; he pushes you to change, to fight against your lies and deceptions, even when that calls for hard work, interior struggle and sacrifice.
The evil spirit pushes you to always do what you think and what you find pleasing. He makes you think that you have the right to use your freedom any way you want. Then, once you are left feeling empty inside – it is bad, this feeling of emptiness inside, many of us have felt it – and when you are left feeling empty inside, he blames you, becomes the accuser, and throws you down, destroys you.”
Let us keep these words in our hearts and minds as we continue to make important choices in our daily lives. Come, Holy Spirit! Fill us with joy and peace.
May Explanation Station from St. John Adult Faith Formation
Preparing hearts for the Ascension of the Lord
Ascension is a time to teach our children that by living the faith, the day will come when “we all shall be taken up in clouds to meet Christ and to be with our Lord forever.” As joint heirs of heaven, we must keep before their eyes and ours the fact that this was the reason for our creation. We must also stress the words of Christ, our Brother, words of consolation for us at His Ascension: “I go to prepare a place for YOU.”
Our prayers for Ascension Sunday (May 29th) must indicate triumph, because Jesus has accomplished the world’s redemption. They must also express the joy with which the angelic choirs are preparing to lead Him to His throne and to adore Him. “Lift up your gates, oh ye princes, and the King of glory shall enter in.”
April Explanation Station from St. John Adult Faith Formation
The Beauty of the Paschal Mystery
Let’s take a look at the word Paschal. It comes from the Hebrew word PASACH which means to PASS OVER. This refers to the first Passover when the Lord passed over the homes of the Israelites while striking down the firstborn of Egypt. In that case, the Israelites smeared the blood of a lamb on their doorposts to signify their belief in the one true God. The sacrificing of an innocent lamb became the means of their salvation and their deliverance from captivity in Egypt. In the same way, God sent His Son to be our paschal lamb. The essence of our faith is this: that Jesus came to die for us, to free us from sin, and so that we might have a new and eternal life.
During these last days of Lent, let us set aside time to learn all we can about this Paschal Mystery. We hope you will take part in all three days of the Easter Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.
March Explanation Station from St. John Adult Faith Formation
Spending Lent with the saints is a great way to grow in holiness. While most of us do not have million-dollar fortunes to give away, we can be more generous with what we have toward those who have less. While few of us will have ecstatic visions in prayer, we can commit to spending more time in silence with God. While likely none of us could subsist on only one meal a week, all of us can recognize luxuries and extras that we can do without.
By putting aside these things, we will find we have more room in our hearts for the one thing necessary: God’s grace. Source: Aleteia.com
Note: Bishop Robert Morneau, for many years, had a favorite book on saints called All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time by Robert Ellsberg. It’s a great one! You can even find this book used at a low cost on Amazon.
February Explanation Station from St. John Adult Faith Formation
Why Catholic Bibles have more books than Protestant Bibles
The Catholic Church is entirely responsible for the composition of the Bible, which books are included, as well as the breakdown of the chapters and verses. There are 73 “books” in the Catholic Bible and 66 in the Protestant Bible. Protestants removed seven books because some verses were inconsistent with their theology.
Martin Luther removed Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. He attempted to remove James and Revelation, but this was rejected by his followers and those two books stayed. Catholics are often accused of adding seven books, but despite this common belief, it is false. Older, pre-Protestant, Catholic translations of the Bible include them.
January Explanation Station from St. John Adult Faith Formation
The Fathers of the Church
If you aren’t familiar with the early Church Fathers, you may want to do some research on their inspiring lives. The Church Fathers were influential theologians, bishops or scholars whose writings explained key Scriptural principles in the early Church. They were not all ordained, and not all of them became saints.
But they had powerful communication skills, personal holiness and doctrinal orthodoxy, so we honor them unofficially as “fathers” for their proximity to the Apostles, their explanations of how to understand and apply Scripture, and their ability to teach the Catholic faith.
Studying the early Church Fathers has deepened the faith lives of many, even to the point of convincing non-Catholics to become Catholic.
Explanation Station from St. John Adult Faith Formation – Prepare with purple. Celebrate with white.
Our first season of the new church year is Advent. Advent is NOT Christmas, even though it feels like it in the stores. Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas and it means Coming. Christmas is coming, so we prepare our hearts, our minds and our homes. The liturgical color of Advent, purple, is highly visible in clergy vestments and decorations because it is the color of fasting and penance. With candles, more lit every week, we recognize that Christ is the light shining forth in the darkness. The readings for the Advent Season prepare us for the holy birth of our blessed Savior.
The next liturgical season is the Christmas Season. Christmas begins, not ends, on December 25th and lasts through Epiphany which is on January 6th. This season is a joyful season, a season of celebration! We take down the purple decorations and vestments and clergy will wear white, the color of celebration.
So let’s plan this year to keep that tree up until January 6th and continue celebrating Christmas as it should be! A blessed Advent Season to all as you continue to prepare.
EXPLANATION STATION by St John Nepomucene Adult Faith Formation
Why do we pray for the Holy Souls in November?
It is no coincidence that this time comes right before Advent, a liturgical season that prepares believers for light to appear in the midst of darkness. Death is not only a part of eternity, but also of community. We pray for each of the dead, not just for our own loved ones.
The church consists of those alive on earth and also those alive to God in heaven and in purgatory, which is marked by the feasts of All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd. The prayers we offer are especially for those souls still in purgatory.
November is a great month to visit your favorite cemeteries for some beautiful moments of prayer, a great annual spiritual activity for the whole family.