Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Theology Lesson from Charlie Brown?

I came across this great reflection on the powerful imagery of the Christmas classic A Charlie Brown Christmas: 
"I have watched the holiday Peanuts special for years, but recently I heard a professor comment on the beauty of the gospel as presented in A Charlie Brown Christmas. In this particular special Linus—frustrated with his friends’ attitudes and actions—has a rant about “what Christmas is all about.” This rant consists of some shaming and correcting, but garnishes most of its content from Luke 2:8-14. 
As Linus preaches this message of the birth of Jesus Christ the savior and Messiah, something amazing happens visually. He drops his blanket. The object he clings to for security, assurance, identity, and hope falls to the ground as he proclaims the birth of Jesus. Intentional or not, it is a enormously significant visual. It shows that an understanding of the gospel strips away the need for any other objects of hope because there is but one true hope, one true security, and that is faith in the one true Savior. Yet, as soon as he is done reciting Luke, he picks the blanket up again. Linus is like many of us. Unable to completely affix his eyes on Christ and terrified of the requirements and actions of true faith, he opts for the thing that gives him hope, security, and salvation without a price. We may think this a silly comparison—a cartoon boy inseparable from his blanket—but the truth remains that our wallets, no matter how full, will not save us. Our social networks and iPhones, no matter how many friends they list, won’t save us. All that will is the understanding that God hanged on a cross to free us from sin and give us new life. A new life necessitates a new way to see life. We make silly mistakes and poor trades when our worldviews breakdown. We trade investment in TV heroes for investment in God, we trade the security of the cross for the instability of a boyfriend or girlfriend. Our worldviews will never been perfect, but they can be reformed."

A Christmas Reflection and a Christmas Homily

This is a really good reflection on the importance of Christmas.

This is a really good Homily from a Christmas Day Mass. (This is worth a read)

Merry Christmas (FYI: Its still ok to wish people a Merry Christmas, because according to the liturgical calendar it is the Christmas season until January 9th)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Funny (and somewhat religious) Basketball Traditions

Caught these on "Around the Horn." They are very cool and funny student traditions.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent vs. Christmas Assignment

We are approximately half-way through the liturgical season of Advent.  Below is a link to an article written by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, about the old-school and new-school views of the Advent and Christmas Seasons. 

After reading the article complete the following reflection.

Reflection Assignment
Write a two paragraph reflection that answers the following
Paragraph 1: Which side of the Advent debate are you on? Why?
Paragraph 2: What are some of your family's Advent/Christmas traditions? Are there any traditions you would like to start?

- Your assignment should be about one typed page
- You must use Times New Roman font size 12 - double spaced

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Francis Reflection

Reflection Assignment
Pick one line/phrase from the above prayer and then do the following:
Paragraph 1: Describe how the line/phrase embodies an event from the life of St. Francis
Paragraph 2: Reflect and describe how that phrase should be more apparent in your life; use a specific example

- Your assignment should be about one typed page
- The phrase you have chosen should be centered on the page below your heading.
- You must use Times New Roman font size 12 - double spaced

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reconciliation Tomorrow

As Catholics, we are called to go to confession at least once per year.  The Lenten season, as a time of repentance, is a perfect time to pursue this sacrament. 

On Tuesday, November 29th, we will go to confession as a class.

Catholics for centuries have found it profitable to examine their consciences in light of the Ten Commandments.  Click below for an Examination of Conscience that is based on the Ten Commandments and directed at teenagers.

Quote for Reflection
“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy.”
- St. Isidore of Seville
Doctor of the Church
(560 – 636)

Monday, November 21, 2011

St. Francis of Assisi

Directions: Watch the video and take notes for a quiz on Monday.  The link below is A Great Excerpt from "Between Heaven and Mirth" by James Martin, SJ on the humor of St. Francis, while note required, it is recommended. 

Who Cares About the Saints? (St. Francis) from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.

Link: A Great Excerpt from "Between Heaven and Mirth" by James Martin, SJ on the humor of St. Francis

Monday, November 7, 2011

Roman Missal, Third Edition

On November 27 (the First Sunday of Advent), the Roman Missal, Third Edition, a new translation of the prayers said at Mass will be implemented in all English speaking countries (this includes the United States) .

If you have been hearing the buzz but are not completely up to speed on the new Roman Missal, here 2 items to help you out:

Video put together by Lifeteen:

All History of Salvation II students should read the article, watch the video and take notes on them for a quiz the first time your class meets during the week of 11/14.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Is There a Connection Between Halloween and All Saints Day?

Mr. Foley's Classes should watch the video and take notes for a quiz.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Came across this short piece on the importance of monks.  It was posted on a blog called Standing on My Head, which is written by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

Check it out:
The words 'monk' comes from 'monos' or 'alone'. In other words, 'alone with God'. Nobody but me and God. Everything else and everyone else given up for God. Alone with God. God alone.

This example was first set by the desert fathers in the early fourth century. Christianity had become fashionable. The emperor and his mother embraced the faith. People were converting in order to be part of the inside circle. So St Anthony took off to the desert to live in a cave.

The desert fathers of Egypt therefore set an example of renunciation. They deliberately walked away from the power, the privilege, the prestige, the prosperity and the pride that could have been theirs. Instead they lived in caves, did quiet, repetitive work, kept silence and learned to pray.

Now the thing I have always loved about the monastic founders--whether it was St Anthony of Egypt or Pachomius or Benedict--is that they didn't set out to start a 'movement'. They just did what they had to do. They were faithful to their vocation and calling. That others joined them, and that a movement developed was not only an unexpected growth, but often an unwelcome one at that.

Furthermore, they changed history, and that is also something they didn't set out to do. Anthony and Pachomius and Benedict went out to mind their own business, work hard, pray hard and study and be true to themselves and their God. They ended up preserving classical learning, laid the foundation for a new christendom, and established a refuge for what was left for civilization, thus planting a seed for a new civilization.

You thought monks were just cutting themselves off--doing something radical and a little bit misanthropic. In the meantime they were doing something beautiful for God. Hidden away in the desert, they are cultivating the power of prayer and planting the seed of God in the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reflection on St. Patrick

Because St. Patrick was, in short, an amazing guy. He offers Christians important lessons about forgiveness and love. And he offers everyone else some lessons, too.

Patrick was born to high-society parents in Roman-occupied Britain sometime during the late fourth century (probably 387). Around the age of 16, Patrick was captured by Irish bandits and sent to Ireland, where he was sold into slavery. For six years he worked as a shepherd, tending flocks for his owner, a local chieftain and high priest of the Druids. There he learned the Celtic tongue -- perfectly, it is said. And in those difficult conditions, the exiled young man turned inward and discovered God. In his Confessions, Patrick wrote that he "prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn." 

At 20, he made a dramatic escape, traveling some 200 miles to the coast and, with the help of some sailors, made his way back to Britain, where he reunited with his family. 

After his return, Patrick, now a deeply religious man, decided to study for the priesthood, and spent some many years in a monastery in France, in preparation for his new work. In 432, according to most sources, he was sent to Ireland to serve a local bishop. Upon landing he was met, according to legend, by one of the Irish chieftains, who threatened to kill him. Patrick won him over, and the man became a Christian. When the bishop died, Patrick was appointed successor. He would now serve the flock in a different way. 

In his 40 years in Ireland he attracted numerous followers, baptized thousands, and built churches -- for the people who had previously enslaved him. "I never had any reason," he wrote, "except the Gospel and his promises, ever to have returned to that nation from which I had previously escaped with difficulty." He died in 461 -- in Ireland, of course. 

Certainly a man worthy knowing about. For the Christian, Patrick poses an important question: would you be willing to serve a place where you had known heartache? And how much is the Gospel worth to you? For everyone, he offers a challenge: can you forgive the people who have wronged you? Could you even love them?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are Things Still Sacred?

A great reflection from Archbishop Dolan on the importance of keeping certain days (seasons) sacred in our spiritual lives.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How did I miss the Feast of St. Francis??

St. Francis is one of my favorite Saints, but school and life have been so busy lately that I completely forget to blog on his feast day - October 4th.  So today you get extra St. Francis stuff.

A Great Excerpt from "Between Heaven and Mirth" by James Martin, SJ on the humor of St. Francis

A St. Francis Bio 

And since St. Francis was known for his love of animals and many parishes often have an animal blessing as part of the celebration of his feast, you get a picture of my pets.  Pray for yours!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Surprisingly Joyful Theology of 1 Thessalonians

This is a combination of many of my favorite spiritual subjects: James Martin, SJ, St. Paul, and Joy...check it this except from James Martin, SJ's new book.  I've already pre-ordered the book.

Rejoice Always!!


A nice reflection on vocations.  We will cover this later in the year.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Moving Tribute to an Ordinary Hero of September 11th

A piece done by ESPN that remembers the man who led people to safety after terrorists struck the World Trade Center on September 11th -- a former Boston College lacrosse player whose trademark was a red bandanna

A Reflection on 9/11 by Fr. James Martin, SJ

and a well done reflection - Click Here

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Baseball Career Sustained by Unwavering Faith

Enjoy this excellent story from a few days ago about Florida Marlins Manager Jack McKeon. It really is an inspiring story about a devout Catholic. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Archbishop Chaput to Philadephia

Pope Benedict has accepted the retirement of Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia and has named Archbishop Charles Chaput to succeed him.
We used some of Archbishop Chaput’s writings and quotes in class.  Prior to Philadelphia, Archbishop Chaput served as the Archbishop of Denver; he is the author of the book “Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life”
And for those interested here is how a new Bishop is selected: USCCB - Appointing Bishops

Liking Catholicism on Facebook

Many Catholic Bishops, authors, and groups utilize facebook as a means of communication.  If you go to their facebook page and “like” them you will receive information and news in your facebook news feed as it becomes available.

Some examples of people or groups you could friend:
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Diocese of Rockville Centre
Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
James Martin, SJ (Catholic Author)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Pope Tweets!!!!!

Today, Pope Benedict XVI launched the Vatican's first multimedia news portal, which is also designed for mobile devices.

“We are trying to give everybody an opportunity to have Vatican news immediately in a modern and accessible way, using new technology,” said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

One of the most notable new features of will be its integration with social networks, and a design geared toward mobile devices such as the iPad. “This is a new approach for us,” Archbishop Celli noted.

The new information source will highlight the Pope's travels, acts and teachings. It will also contain statements released by various departments of the Vatican, news developments from local churches worldwide and information about other important global developments.

In related news, Pope Benedict XVI tweeted for the first time today.  His first tweet read: "Dear Friends, I just launched Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI".

Monday, June 27, 2011

Through Failure to Freedom

Is it wrong of me to post an article about failure on the day grades are posted?

This is an excellent article that discusses how sometimes failure is the right path to success; it uses JK Rowling, Conan O'Brien, Fr. James Martin SJ, and St. Ignatius of Loyola as examples (that's a random group of people).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21 - Feast Day of St. Aloysius Gonzaga

You every wonder where Gonzaga University, the NCAA basketball power house, got its name?  Well, its after this saint --  St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

Here is a short bio:
St. Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy. The first words St. Aloysius spoke were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. He was destined for the military by his father (who was in service to Philip II), but by the age of 9 Aloysius had decided on a religious life, and made a vow of perpetual virginity. To safeguard himself from possible temptation, he would keep his eyes persistently downcast in the presence of women. St. Charles Borromeo gave him his first Holy Communion. A kidney disease prevented St. Aloysius from a full social life for a while, so he spent his time in prayer and reading the lives of the saints. Although he was appointed a page in Spain, St. Aloysius kept up his many devotions and austerities, and was quite resolved to become a Jesuit. His family eventually moved back to Italy, where he taught catechism to the poor. When he was 18, he joined the Jesuits, after finally breaking down his father, who had refused his entrance into the order. He served in a hospital during the plague of 1587 in Milan, and died from it at the age of 23, after receiving the last rites from St. Robert Bellarmine. The last word he spoke was the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Robert wrote the Life of St. Aloysius.
Here is a link to a really good reflection on the life of St. Aloysius: Click here

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Father's Day Prayer

God, bless all the fathers (grandfathers, Godfathers, soon-to-be-fathers, etc.) in the world.

Guide them to be good role models and loving to all their children.

Help them to be a father like You are. Give them grace and patience to handle situations in a loving way.

A Father's Prayer

A Father's Prayer
by General Douglas MacArthur
(May 1952)

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough
To know when he is weak and brave enough
to face himself when he is afraid;
One who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
And humble, and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; A son who will know Thee – and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those that fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom,
and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

Pentecost in 2 Minutes

Monday, June 6, 2011

Who Cares About the Saints?

Last week I posted about a recommended book for the summer, My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ.  As a companion to the book, Loyola Productions and James Martin, SJ have created a video series entitled Who Cares About the Saints?.  The series is incredibly well done and highlights the life of each one of the saints in the book.

Here are some of the videos:


St. Francis

Who Cares About the Saints? (St. Francis) from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.

St. Peter

Who Cares About the Saints? (St. Peter) from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.


Who Cares About the Saints? - Mary from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.

St. Ignatius

Who Cares About the Saints?...Ignatius from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.

Therese of Lisieux

Who Cares About the Saints? (Therese of Lisieux) from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.

Thomas Merton

Who Cares about the Saints? (Thomas Merton) from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.