Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homily - "The keys to the kingdom"


Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nats Mass!

from Sunday's Washington Post:


Fans who stream into the Navy Yard district before Nats games are now greeted with increasingly varied entertainment choices, from Yards Park for fresh air and views of the Anacostia River to the Fairgrounds for frat-rock music and adult refreshments to a variety of neighborhood restaurants and taverns, with more to come.

On Sunday afternoons this summer, they’ve had another option: a Catholic church service. Or, as the local St. Vincent de Paul church calls it, “Nats Mass.”




“For me, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said Rev. Andrew Royals, 34, a Montgomery County native who became the pastor at the South Capitol Street church about two years ago. “On game days we had thousands of people walking right in front of our church. I was like, ‘Well, I’m sure some of these people would like to go to church.’…And we thought there’s no reason people can’t do both.”
And thus, Nats Mass was launched in May, a noon service that runs about 40 or 45 minutes, getting attendees out the door in plenty of time for a 1:35 first pitch.

The first session, a trial run that wasn’t publicized, attracted a crowd of five. But then the church – which is located at the corner of South Capitol and M streets – put up a sign touting the Nats Mass service. It publicized the service on Facebook. It used the #NatsMass hashtag on Twitter. And the crowd has grown at each successive mass.

Royals is expecting between 75 and 100 people for Sunday’s service, the seventh of nine scheduled Nats masses this season. By next season, he hopes to reach the church’s capacity, which is about 150. The church has long held an 8 a.m. Sunday mass for regular parishioners, and it recently added a Sunday evening mass for the younger demographic, but Royals expects that Nats Mass will eventually be the parish’s biggest event of the week.

“We’re shattering attendance records each Sunday,” he said. “That’s what gives me hope. I’m pretty sure at some point I’m going to start mass one Sunday, and I’m going to look out and see a church filled with Nats fans.”



How could he tell? Well, for one thing, the Nats fans typically wear red casual baseball gear – “we kind of lighten the strictures up a little bit,” Royals joked, when asked about the dress code.

There are other things that make Nats Mass unique. Royals tries to keep the service a tad briefer than normal, so anxious fans don’t get distracted by the approaching gametime. And he will include references to baseball or to the Washington nine in his homilies – “it makes it easy when you know that everyone has something in common even beyond our religion,” he said. Baseball “kind of gives you an extra set of things that we can all relate to.”

And then there are the games themselves. Royals accompanied a group of churchgoers to a Sunday matinee against Milwaukee after a Nats Mass in July; the home team recorded a walk-off win. In fact, the Nats are 5-1 thus far after Nats Mass services. Playoff schedules, of course, are weeks away, but Royals said he might add an extra Nats Mass if there are any Sunday postseason games at home, “so people can come and actually pray for a win.”

Before launching the baseball-linked service, Royals consulted with several priests and neighboring pastors; everyone he asked had positive feedback. Three months later, that hasn’t changed.

“If I don’t start this Nats Mass, somebody else is going to,” he remembered thinking. “I think it’s a winner for the parish, and it’s a winner for the fans, and hopefully it’s a winner for the Nats.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Solemn feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(from catholicism.about.com)

Celebrated every year on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven, before her body could begin to decay--a foretaste of our own bodily resurrection at the end of time. Because it signifies the Blessed Virgin's passing into eternal life, it is the most important of all Marian feasts and a Holy Day of Obligation.
 
 

Quick Facts:
 Date: August 15.
 Type of Feast: Solemnity; Holy Day of Obligation. (For more details, see Is Assumption a Holy Day of Obligation?
 Readings: Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab; Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56 (full text here)
 Prayers: The Hail Mary
 Other Names for the Feast: The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; The Assumption of Mary Into Heaven; The Dormition of the Theotokos; The Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary
History of the Assumption:
The Feast of the Assumption is a very old feast of the Church, celebrated universally by the sixth century. The feast was originally celebrated in the East, where it is known as the Feast of the Dormition, a word which means "the falling asleep." The earliest printed reference to the belief that Mary's body was assumed into Heaven dates from the fourth century, in a document entitled "The Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God." The document is written in the voice of the Apostle John, to whom Christ on the Cross had entrusted the care of His mother, and recounts the death, laying in the tomb, and assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Tradition variously places Mary's death at Jerusalem or at Ephesus, where John was living.

A Required Belief:
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, exercising papal infallibility, declared in Munificentissimus Deus that it is a dogma of the Church "that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." As a dogma, the Assumption is a required belief of all Catholics; anyone who publicly dissents from the dogma, Pope Pius declared, "has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith."

While the Eastern Orthodox believe in the Dormition, they object to the papal definition of the dogma, seeing it as unnecessary, since belief in Mary's bodily assumption, tradition holds, goes back to apostolic times.

Pope Pius XII, in the text explaining his definition of the dogma of the Assumption, refers repeatedly to the Blessed Virgin's death before her Assumption, and the consistent tradition in both the East and the West holds that Mary did die before she was assumed into Heaven. However, since the definition of the Assumption is silent on this question, Catholics can legitimately believe that Mary did not die before the Assumption. (For more details on this question, see Did the Virgin Mary Die Before Her Assumption?.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This will make you smile

Here's something from the internet that will make you smile.  It's greatly needed with all of the increasingly sad news we see daily.  It's a short video that is really cool and positive with a great message at the end. 




Son Buys Mom Her Dream Car (And Surprises Her With It)


                  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"All this gravely offends God and humanity" - Pope Francis

The situation in Iraq is becoming increasingly more dire each day, as the article from catholicvote.org indicates.   Cardinal Wuerl will be celebrating the 12:10 Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral on the Solemnity of the Assumption this Friday, August 15, for peace, religious freedom, and toleration.  Please pray to the Lord for peace in Iraq and the Middle East through the intercession of the Queen of Peace.


The Holy Father is pleading with the world:

“Dear brothers and sisters: The news reports coming from Iraq leave us in dismay and disbelief...thousands of people, Children dying of hunger and thirst in their flight; women abducted; violence of every kind; destruction of historical, cultural and religious patrimonies...All this gravely offends God and humanity.”
 
 
This might surprise you, but the Holy See is also not opposed to military intervention by the United States in Iraq. In fact, some officials seem to suggest that military action might be the correct action to prevent a potential genocide from occurring.

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, who serves as the Pope Francis' ambassador to Baghdad, told Vatican radio that American strikes are “something that had to be done, otherwise [ISIS] could not be stopped.”

Additionally, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that “military action in this moment is probably necessary.”

As much as we wish we could simply walk away from this troubled country, the United States bears a lot of responsibility for how things have unfolded in Iraq.

Perhaps we were naïve in 2003 when we invaded Iraq and attempted to establish a new democracy. It seems we were also naïve a decade later, hoping we could abandon the country to the newly formed government without leaving behind any military presence.

As the violent and radical Islamic regime known as ISIS spreads across portions of Iraq, Christians face certain death if they refuse to renounce Jesus Christ.

And so over 100,000 Christians have fled their homeland “horrified and panicked” with “nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Patriarch Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Patriarch Sako appealed to Western nations to intervene:
“To summarize the situation of the Christian villages around Mosul up to the borders of Kurdistan Region: the churches are deserted and desecrated; five bishops are out of their bishoprics, the priests and nuns left their missions and institutions leaving everything behind, the families have fled with their children abandoning everything else! The level of disaster is extreme.

“The position of the American president Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing. The talks about dividing Iraq are threatening. The Americans are not up to a rapid solution to give hope specifically as they are not going to attack the ISIS in Mosul and in the Nineveh Plain.”
Our Catholic bishops in the United States have called upon all Catholics to join together on August 17 to pray for peace.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Happy Feast Day, Dominicans!

"Arm yourself with prayer rather than a sword; wear humility rather than fine clothes." - St. Dominic

Dominican House of Studies

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Unusual pro-life video

From tfpstudentaction.org:


You'll really love this unusual pro-life video...

When you watch it, you'll understand why Planned Parenthood workers panicked and called 911.

Four police cars arrived. And what did they find?
Just dozens of young men peacefully praying the rosary to end abortion.
Police officer: "I just want to let you know that we got a call..."
"But you're completely within your rights to continue what you're doing for as long as you want. And if you need help, give us a call."
The pro-life rally was one of the highlights for the boys attending the TFP Call to Chivalry camp in Pennsylvania.

                      

Monday, August 04, 2014

"The Mass is the work of God"

“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God."  - St John Vianney (feast day today)

Friday, August 01, 2014

"Get...to Mass"; Mark Wahlberg does... twice on Sundays

'My faith is the most important part of my life': Mark Wahlberg the devout Catholic reveals he often attends church TWICE on Sundays

dailymail.co.uk
Dec 17, 2013

Mark Wahlberg has revealed he often goes to church twice on Sundays.

The Lone Survivor star, who has four children, Ella, 10, Michael, seven, Brendan, five, and Grace, three, with his wife Rhea Durham, is extremely religious and his Catholic faith is 'the most important' part of his life.


The 42-year-old actor told Parade magazine: 'It's the most important part of my life. I don't try to push it on anybody and I don't try to hide it.
 
'If the kids are good, I'll have doughnuts for them at 6:30 in the morning, and I'll say, "You guys gotta let Mommy sleep in!" I'll go to church at 7:30 and everybody will be eating breakfast when I come home. 
'Then we'll go to church again at 10:30, if things aren't too hectic. Or if one of the kids has a game we'll watch them play. It's a nice family day.'...
 


The Superfluous Church

Recently an article about a new municipal art project in Belgium caught my eye.  It seems that hardly anyone in the village of Bossuit goes to church these days.  Their local parish of St. Amelberga was shuttered in 2009, due to both a lack of attendance and a lack of funds for its upkeep.  Instead of tearing the building down, or converting it to another use, the townsfolk turned it into a “ruin”, removing the roof, furnishings, and so on.

What struck me most about the story was not so much the repurposing of a deconsecrated building, but rather the way in which it was described: St. Amelberga’s was a “superfluous church”.  By “superfluous”, the author meant that this was simply an extra, unnecessary building.  However in a broader sense, that description pretty accurately describes how many self-identified Catholics view the Church.

The hard fact is that Catholicism seems to be going nowhere but down in Europe, and in some parts of the U.S., as well.  Even in supposedly ultra-Catholic Poland, a recent survey showed that Mass attendance has now dropped to under 40%.  After all the Polish people went through under Communism, and given the example of Pope St. John Paul II, this is a particularly tragic development.  So we need to ask ourselves, why is this happening?

Unlike many in the commentariat, I’m not particularly interested in armchair quarterbacking the job of a bishop.  His is a very difficult vocation, which I have a limited understanding of.  I do, however, have a great deal of experience in being a sinful, lay Catholic.  So instead, it seems to me that the solution to this problem is really quite simple.  GET YOUR ASS TO MASS.

To begin with, attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is not optional: in fact, it’s one of the Precepts of the Church.  Remember those? They haven’t been abrogated.

Moreover, you do not get off the hook for Mass attendance by taking an inside baseball approach.  Some do not like going to Mass because their church is an unattractive building, or they don’t personally like the pastor, or because the music is bad, or because the congregation does something resembling jazz hands during the “Our Father”, or there is too much Latin, or there is not enough Latin, or the priest is a lifetime subscriber to Commonweal, or the parishioners think that women wearing trousers is a venial sin, and so on, and so forth.  None of these things, by the way, are valid excuses for failing to attend Mass on Sunday.

Too many non-Catholics in Western society today have concluded that the Catholic Church is irrelevant, even malevolent, seeing it as an obstacle rather than a solution to the problems we all face.  They walk past Catholic churches every day without pausing to step inside and ask questions.  And they swallow, hook, line, and sinker, what the mainstream media tells them about Catholicism, without considering either the veracity of the information they’re being given, or the viewpoint of the person doing the reporting.

Yet one big reason, if not the exclusive one, as to why the world takes an increasingly dim view of Catholicism is the fact that non-Catholics do not see many Catholics actively practicing their faith in what is generally considered to be the most basic form of religious worship for Christians: going to church on Sunday.  What’s more, even for those of us who are attending regularly, how often are we inviting others to come along with us, and see what it’s like?  Our inactions, like actions, have consequences.  If we don’t take our faith seriously, we can’t expect other people to do so.

As time goes on and society continues to circle ever-faster down the moral drain, it’s reasonable to assume that there will be more art projects like this one in Bossuit.  Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

Those of you who should be going to Mass, and are not, can make a big difference simply by showing up.  And those of you who have been faithfully showing up, can do more by taking advantage of the opportunity to bring others with you, even if they have no interest in exploring conversion, but just so that they understand better what we as Catholics believe.  Our goal, then, should be to find ourselves in a world where the term “superfluous” should never be found applicable to the Catholic Church.

 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

“Or the devil doesn’t have your accommodations ready!” - Pope Francis joke

The following article comes from religionnews.com and involves a humorous story with Pope Francis that Cardinal McCarrick told to our men's discernment group back in April.



WASHINGTON (RNS) June 16, 2014  The day before a newly elected Pope Francis was to be formally installed at the Vatican in 2013, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica when he passed out at the altar and had to be rushed to the hospital.

It was a scary moment, and especially odd to see McCarrick stricken; even at 82, the energetic former archbishop of Washington always had a reputation as one of the most peripatetic churchmen in the Catholic hierarchy.

Doctors in Rome quickly diagnosed a heart problem — McCarrick would eventually get a pacemaker — and the cardinal was soon back at his guest room in the U.S. seminary in Rome when the phone rang. It was Francis. The two men had known each other for years, back when the Argentine pope was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires. McCarrick assured Francis that he was doing fine.

“I guess the Lord isn’t done with me yet,” he told the pope.

“Or the devil doesn’t have your accommodations ready!” Francis shot back with a laugh.

McCarrick loves to tell that story, because he loves to tell good stories and because he has a sense of humor as keen as the pope’s. But the exchange also says a lot about the improbable renaissance that McCarrick is enjoying as he prepares to celebrate his 84th birthday in July...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Heroic Sudanese Catholic woman meets Pope

Rome (AFP)  yahoo.com - A Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for renouncing Islam sparked a global outcry that eventually led to an acquittal, met Pope Francis after arriving in Italy en route to the United States.



 
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her family were received by the Argentine pontiff at his home for a 30-minute meeting Thursday in which he thanked her for her "courageous testament of faith" and her "tenacity", the Vatican said in a statement.

Ishag and her American husband Daniel Wani in turn thanked Francis for the "great support and comfort" they had taken from "the pope's and many other believers' prayers".
 
The meeting was "a sign of closeness and solidarity for all those who suffer for their faith, in particular Christians who suffer persecution", the Vatican added.
 
The 77-year-old pope gave Ishag rosary beads after an "affectionate and warm" chat about her plans in the United States, where she is expected to fly with her family in a few days' time, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
 
The White House in Washington said it was "delighted" Ishaq is now "safe and free and will soon be traveling to the United States".
 
"For months, Americans of all faiths kept Ms Ishag in their thoughts and prayers as Sudanese authorities sentenced her to death for the alleged crime of apostasy," read a statement released by President Barack Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, who accompanied the family on the flight to Rome, tweeted a photo of the young mother aboard the plane cradling her infant daughter as her toddler son drank from a bottle.
 
"Mission accomplished," he wrote.
 
A global outcry erupted in May after Ishag was sentenced under Sharia law to hang for apostasy.

"Today, she and her family have left Sudan on their journey to freedom. Her departure with her immediate family — including her infant daughter, born in custody — is a testament to her unyielding faith and the support she received from friends and allies, including our Embassy in Khartoum and the broader US government," Rice said.
 
"We look forward to the day when they arrive in America."
 
The statement thanked the Italian government for its efforts on Ishag's behalf.

- 'A day of celebration' -

The family flew into a military airport in Rome early Thursday and were greeted by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, as well as Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini.
 
"Today is a day of celebration," Renzi said.

Days after her conviction, the 26-year-old gave birth to a second child in prison.
 
Ishag's conviction was overturned in June, but she was immediately rearrested while trying to leave Sudan using what prosecutors claimed were forged documents.
 
Two days later, Ishag was released from prison and she and her family -- including her American husband Daniel Wani and the two infant children -- took refuge in the US embassy.
 
Ishag was born to a Muslim father who abandoned the family, and was raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum says Ishaq joined the Catholic Church shortly before she married in 2011.
 
She was convicted under Islamic Sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983, and that says Muslim conversion to another faith is punishable by death.
 
The court had also sentenced her to 100 lashings because under Sharia law it considered her union with her non-Muslim husband to be adultery.
 
Ishag's case raised questions of religious freedom in mostly-Muslim Sudan and sparked vocal protests from Western governments and human rights groups.
 
The case has re-focused attention on a country which has slipped from the international spotlight but where an 11-year-old war continues with millions of people in need of humanitarian aid.
 
Ishag's husband Wani said her family had sought protection at the US embassy because of mounting death threats.
 
Ishag, Wani and their children are being hosted by the Italian government in Rome for a few days before they fly to New York.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"God never ever tires of forgiving us"

“Let us not forget this word: God never ever tires of forgiving us!”

— Pope Francis

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"You have to go with the Eucharist as No. 1" - MLB pitcher

San Diego Padres’ Pitcher Practices Patience

Joe Wieland looks to recover from arm injury and have a healthy second half of the 2014 season.

by Trent Beattie
ncregister.com
3/28/14


Heading into spring training in February, San Diego Padres’ pitcher Joe Wieland was feeling great.

He thought his previous arm injuries were behind him, and he was hoping, by this time, to have earned a spot on the team’s major-league roster.

Things turned out differently, however. After re-aggravating a tenacious right arm injury, the 24-year-old Reno, Nev., native is now focusing his attention on a successful surgery and recovery. After a March 26 arthroscopic operation, he’ll have to spend three months rehabbing his arm before he has the opportunity to return to the big-league roster.

As the Padres looked to open their season against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 30, Wieland spoke of accepting his recent injury as part of God’s plan.


How has spring training gone, and what are you looking forward to now that the regular season is upon us?

I started last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, where a ligament in my elbow was replaced. Throughout the 2013 season, I endured quite a few setbacks as I tried to get my arm back into pitching shape. We never did find out what was wrong with the arm last year. That was no fun, so coming into spring training this year, my big goal was to stay healthy.

Things turned out differently than I had hoped, though. My first three outings were great, but in the fourth outing, the pain started up again. An MRI last week showed that there was a bone spur, cartilage or scar tissue that has been giving me problems. Being injured is never fun, but it’s a great relief to finally know what the cause of the pain is.

On Wednesday of this week [March 26], I’ll go in for arthroscopic surgery, which is supposed to be quick and easy, as far as surgeries go. Then I’ll have three months of rehab, and I should be back in “game shape” by the All-Star break in July.

It will take some patience, but I just have to accept it as part of God’s plan and try to make small improvements every day. It’s important not to get too caught up in what you’d like to happen in the future, all the while ignoring the good things you already do have. So many people are much worse off than I am. I can walk, talk and do everything else that a healthy person can do; the only thing I can’t do right now is play baseball.

When did you start playing baseball?

I played baseball almost from the get-go. My first toys were a ball and a bat, and I’m told my first word was “ball.” Baseball seems to have always been a part of my life. I remember my dad coaching me in Little League, even though he hadn’t played baseball as a kid himself. Yet he knew what he was doing, and he helped me to become a better player.

I’m a pitcher now, but hitting used to be my favorite thing. I was drawn to any sport that involved hitting, like golf, ping-pong and tennis. I played soccer, basketball and football, as well, but I had always been most into sports that had bats, clubs or rackets.

I fully intended to be a shortstop, until my sophomore year of high school; but that’s when I had a great pitching season. The scouts took notice, and that’s when the transition to pitching started.

Were you able to connect sports and faith while growing up?

When I was really young, they were separate. I went to Catholic schools, so we would pray before games, but I remember wanting to get that part over with so I could run out onto the field and start playing. Yet, as I got older — say, around 13 or so — sports and faith started to come together.
I made the discovery that any talent I had for sports or anything else did not originate from me, but was ultimately due to God’s goodness and generosity. I could then see that sports were not some separate compartment of my life, isolated from God, but were an extension of God’s love for me.

Without God, I’d have no ability to play sports; and even more to the point, without God, I’d be nothing.

My parents and grandparents were huge, as far as making right and wrong clear to me and my younger brother and sister. They were strict, but it was with a good goal in mind, not just for the sake of being strict. They wanted us to become responsible people who do the right thing.
Something else that really helped to shape me as a young Catholic was the availability of retreats. I was able to go on and even lead some retreats while at Bishop Manogue High School in Reno, Nev., so those experiences helped to solidify my connection with God. When I went to the 2012 Catholic Athletes for Christ retreat, I was able to learn even more than I had previously.

That 2012 retreat was where I met Justin De Fratus, a pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies. We discovered that we had a lot in common, so we kind of stuck together that weekend.

You were also able to go on that retreat with Jeff Suppan, who played with you for a year while he was with the Padres in 2012, right?

Yes, Jeff is a great man who isn’t shy about laying out the faith with anyone at any time. There’s a story from the 2012 season, when we were doing pitcher fielding practice. It was after we had been to a Bible study with some other players and were discussing how Catholicism is very biblical.

While the other guys started to become quiet as they did the drills, Jeff kept talking about the Catholic faith. Even as he was going through his pitching motion and scooping up balls in the infield, he was still going on about one aspect or another of Catholicism. I was very impressed with his multitasking abilities, which made it possible to play baseball and evangelize at the same time.

Jeff is an awesome guy who has been a great example to me of how to carry myself as a baseball player and a man. The same is true with Mark Kotsay, whose house I got to stay at last season. Being around Mark and his family was one of the few bright spots from last year, as I was grinding along, recovering from surgery.


What are some of the things you like most about the Church?

You have to go with the Eucharist as No. 1. That’s the greatest thing, and you don’t get that anywhere else. The Church calls it the source and summit of the Christian life, and that’s just what it is. How else can you explain our Savior becoming truly present to us for our consumption? Words can’t adequately describe it.

At every Mass, a miracle takes place on the altar. We may not see it with our eyes, but bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. That’s a true miracle, so I count myself privileged to be a part of it. Even now, as I’m talking about it, I’m getting goose bumps. It’s a totally amazing gift to have access to the Eucharist.

Another thing I like about the Church is [the sacrament of] reconciliation. We all fall short, so before we can receive the Eucharist, we need to be in a state of grace. That’s where reconciliation is so helpful. Many people are anxious before going, even to the point of skipping out on it, but we should pay attention — not to how we feel before going, but how we feel afterwards.

There’s no feeling like being told by Jesus, through the mouth of the priest, that your sins are forgiven. It’s a very humbling experience, to be honest about how you’ve messed up, but the grace you get in return is more than worth it. Even if you don’t have mortal sins to confess, getting rid of the venial ones that have accumulated is a relief.

Even though I’m one of the people who can get anxious about it beforehand, there’s such vitality to the whole thing. You get to see who you really are and who God really is, a reality check that is irreplaceable.

Since you share a name, do you have a devotion to St. Joseph?

Devotions are a relatively new thing for me. I’m learning more about the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and the intercession of St. Joseph, whose feast day was March 19.

Jesus and Mary, rightfully, get a lot of attention, but St. Joseph can be passed over a lot. If you just take the time to reflect on his role in the Holy Family — that of protector and provider — it’s just mind-boggling: how holy he must have been. Here, you have the head of a family whose other members are the Son of God and the Mother of God. St. Joseph was given the amazing task of filling the role of father to Jesus as he grew up on earth.

If a short reflection on St. Joseph doesn’t inspire us to look more deeply into his life, I don’t know what will. You can’t pass over someone like him. He has more to teach me about being a true Christian man than I’ll ever understand, but it’s very enjoyable to start understanding it at least a little bit better.