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Have the children learned to pray for souls?

These last two weeks before Advent, the Scriptures speak of the end of time when all things will be made new. The Church gathers us together to help us prepare. At the end of our life, what will we be able to say?

This month dedicated to our praying for the poor souls in purgatory gives us the opportunity to think about what purgatory is and the likelihood of us being there.

Purgatory is a period after our death, when we are suspended from seeing God. It is a purification of love that purifies our souls from sins for which we have not repented or for which we have not done penance.

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by Father Cioppi

What about our ‘mite?’

The widow this morning becomes an icon for us in our spiritual journey to heaven. God has given us everything. Nothing we have belongs to us. We are simply stewards of God’s creation.

Saint Augustine puts it matter-of-factly: “Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder which you do not require is needed by others”

What prevents us from giving of our surplus to others? Whatever the reason, the truth of the Gospel does not diminish. The world might complicate our perception of the widow’s mite but it does not change the reality of her gift: ‘her whole livelihood. We need to think about her today and understand how we can imitate her in our own life.

On this Veterans’ Day as we mark in a special way one hundred years since the end of the First Great War, we remember the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect the freedoms God gave us. They too knew what the cost would be – their whole livelihood. It makes you wonder for whom or for what would we be willing to offer our lives.

 

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by Father Cioppi

Saint Charles Seminary Annual Appeal

During the month of November, our parish is devoting herself to praying for our seminarians. We remind ourselves that Christ is calling many of our men to His Priesthood and as a parish, we cannot be afraid to admit that these men are among our families and friends.

In this month, look around you; listen and look for men who may have a priestly heart, one that is generous ,kind, giving and prayerful. Let him know what you think and encourage him to talk with his parish priest (that would be me) and begin discerning if God has given him this vocation.

Link here: http://www.scs.edu/

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Act on your gifts, you will not be far from the Kingdom

Today a young man of our parish wishes to be fully initiated into the Church as a Catholic. He is willing to open his heart to the gifts which will soon be called down upon him in order that he might be able to produce good fruit for the sake of souls in the world; for the sake of manifesting the Kingdom of God on earth, among us and within us: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-Control and Chastity.

It will take courage to be such a man, a true defender of the faith, a true preacher of the Gospel in a heathen world. And for this the Holy Spirit will descend on our brother and give him Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude,Knowledge, Piety and Fear of God.

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by Father Cioppi

God is near; He frees us of our blindness!

 

Mark reveals the desire of Jesus that we see the inner beauty of life, that we cast off whatever blindness leads us to isolation and that we understand that inside people are new exciting possibilities to be better and to always be more: more human, more Christian.

These are scary times. Everyone seems on edge. If we have become news junkies we see only the chaos and tragedy of other people’s lives invading our homes and we can become blinded to the goodness, charity and beauty of human life with God.

Blindness leads to fear, my friends and Satan lives on fear and despair.

But we have come together today as God’s People, as people professing that Jesus is Lord, and that through Him Satan has no more power over us, he can no longer deceive us even in our blindness, so we cannot give up hope. We are after all descendants of the resurrection! We are all descendants of Bartimaeus who was cured of his blindness, so he could reveal the Light of Faith to all.

My friends, Catholics believe in the goodness of humanity, even though we are sometimes blinded by the evil we do. Take the Light of Christ that casts off the shadows of sin and build new relationships based on respect and love of even your enemies. If we do this my friends, we need not despair. God is with us; He heals our blindness and brings us into the Light of the New Day!

 

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by Father Cioppi

World Mission Sunday

This is World Mission Sunday and our minds and hearts reach out today to people who in extraordinary ways make it their business in life to live out the Gospel of Jesus on the Continents of Africa and Asia, and in South America. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

These catechists remind us that we share this mission here in America, and in Europe where the faith is weakening and our silence deafening. Christ needs us my friends, to be catechists in a new generation of disciples. In these very public times, we have an opportunity to express Christ’s teaching as servants of both the Word and the Sacrament, in the way the Church reveals that Truth to us.

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by Father Cioppi

Don’t ever give the least, give the most!

The wealthy young man came to Jesus running. He flung himself at the feet of the poor, penniless carpenter from Nazareth.

The man calls Jesus, “teacher” and immediately Jesus stops him: “Why do you call me good?” While at first, it seems that Jesus is trying to cool the young man’s enthusiasm, Jesus did what every disciple should be careful to do: point to the God.

Jesus knows that this man’s zeal has led him to fall on his knees, but he should not fall simply because he was overcome with emotion. As a teacher, Jesus, needs to help him mature in his faith.

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by Father Cioppi

Help young families become bearers of the Gospel

In the Pope’s letter Familiaris Consortio, John Paul explains that the Church must be vitally concerned for the pastoral care of the family beginning with the spousal family of husband and wife. It is here, at the core of the life of the family that we find also the seeds of the Church which is the Spouse of Christ.

It is not easy for husbands and wives to build and nurture a family in these hard times. Difficult decisions have to be made about securing a lifestyle that is practical and sensible. Many times, there are no support systems to help them build a secure and safe environment in which to stabilize a good network of family and friends. Societal expectations and peer pressure present options for couples that do not support the unity of the family or communion with the Church.

Without a good foundation, many temptations and a lack of direction can lead to confusion, a loss of commitment and an unwillingness to persevere in what can appear to be an impossible task.

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by Father Cioppi

“The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.”

The psalm today beautifully sings: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy giving wisdom to the simple.”

As a community of persons, we seem to have lost the sense of sin and redemption; of absolute truth and fear of the Lord. I think we are confused and perhaps lost in a haze of a lot of noise and distraction.

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by Father Cioppi

“Be the servant of all”

Mark writes out a one line mission statement for us who seek to be faithful followers of Jesus.

“Whoever wants to be first, must be servant of all.”

It is not so much a ‘what to do’ but rather a ‘how to do,’ It is an attitude Jesus seeks in us.

If my actions and my thoughts can conform to those of Jesus Who washed the apostle’s feet, then I can properly withstand the deceptions and the false appeal of those who do not hold on to the One Truth, Who is our only hope for freedom and peace.

My friends, when you get home, read the Gospel again and hear for yourselves the Word of God. Consume it and make it a part of your everyday life so you can articulate for others the joy and freedom you experience through Jesus Who possesses your heart.

“Whoever wants to be first, must be servant of all.”

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by Father Cioppi