In Defense of Mother Church

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According to a news report, a certain private Catholic school was recently faced with a unique problem.
 
A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom.
 
That was fine provided it was of a natural or neutral skin tone, but after they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints.
 
Every night the maintenance man would remove them; and the next day the girls would put them back.
 
Finally, the principal, Sister Mary, decided that something had to be done.
 
She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian, who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine the yawns from the little princesses).
 
To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, Sister Mary asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.
 
He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.
 
There are teachers...... And then there are educators!
 
Don’t mess with nuns... they are wicked smart!!
 
A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.
 
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
 
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
 
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
 
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.
 
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”
 
“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”
 
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”
 
“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

How Rich Are We?

 
One day a father and his rich family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose to show him how poor people can be. They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “Very good Dad!” “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Yeah!” “And what did you learn?”
 
The son answered, “I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the garden; they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard; they have a whole horizon.” When the little boy was finished, his father was speechless. His son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how ‘poor’ we are!”
 
Isn’t it true that it all depends on the way you look at things? If you have love, friends, family, health, good humor and a positive attitude towards life — you’ve got everything! You can’t buy any of these things. You may have all the material possessions you can imagine, provisions for the future, etc.; but if you are poor of spirit, you have nothing!
– Author Unknown

What the holy souls have taught her over the years:

 
The holy souls have repeatedly told her that the greatest help for them that they can obtain from those here on earth is the offering of holy Mass. Next to the Mass, the holy Rosary and the Stations of the Cross are very beneficial to them.  Any sacrifice we make--even the smallest ones-- offered specifically for them have a great value in the eyes of God, and greatly lessen their sufferings and time in purgatory.  The poor souls have told her that even the smallest prayer or sacrifice is like giving a cool glass of water to a parched sojourner travelling in the driest desert.  
 
They normally appear to her in their normal clothes, that is, the ones that they most often wore during their lifetime, and they often have the appearance of one earnestly begging and desiring help.  Sometimes they appear somewhat distraught but this presumably is to elicit compassion on the part of Maria.  They normally appear to her looking as they did in the prime of their life, however children and teenagers always appear as they did right before their deaths.  And while there are indeed some children in purgatory, their Purgatory is normally not very long or painful, since during their lifetimes they often could not have committed any grave sin since they did not attain much understanding or discernment, and are therefore not accountable to the extent that an adult is.
 
The holy souls have also told her that there are many, many degrees in purgatory, and that the lower parts of purgatory are the most difficult and the most purifying, and this is where those with grave (severe) sins go--that is,  grave sins that have not been forgiven in the sacrament of Confession. As each soul makes reparation for his/her sins that they have committed against God and there fellow man, they are slowly purified and therefore they slowly make progress to the higher levels of purgatory. The souls that appear to Maria are almost always souls that are residing in the higher levels of purgatory.  Essentially, the more repentant and sorrowful one is for the sins committed against God and neighbor during ones lifetime, the quicker one progresses from the lower to the higher degrees of purgatory.
 
The greatest complaint from the souls in Purgatory:
 
Abandonment by their loved ones. According to Maria, the greatest “complaint” of the souls in Purgatory is how they are almost completely forgotten by their family and loved ones--that rightly complain that they receive no spiritual help from those they themselves helped so much during life! How few prayers are ever offered up for them--even at their funerals! Yet prayer is precisely what they need the most! All the beautiful memorials, celebrations, tattoo’s etc. done and given in their honor, while they may be good intentioned, in reality do nothing for them and in no way help to relieve them of their suffering/purification.   
-Maria Simma

 coal in fire

 
A pastor heard that one of his parishioners was going about announcing to one and all that he would no longer attend church services. This rebellious parishioner was advancing the familiar argument that he could communicate with God just as easily out in the fields with nature as his setting for worship.
 
One winter evening, the pastor called on this reluctant member of his flock for a friendly visit. The two men sat before the fireplace making small talk, but studiously avoiding the issue of church attendance. After a while, the pastor took the tongs from the rack next to the fireplace and pulled a single coal from the fire. He placed the glowing ember on the hearth. As the two watched in silence, the coal quickly ceased burning and turned an ashen gray, while the other coals in the fire continued to burn brightly. The pastor’s silent message was not lost on the parishioner. After a long pause, he turned to the pastor and said “I’ll be back at services next Sunday.”
 
Do not abandon the assemblies as some of you do, but encourage one another but all the more since the day of the Lord is nearing. 
(Hebrew 10: 25)

jesus embracing sinner

Inspirational 1

 
This is the Message I keep re-reading b/c it is the most poignant and hits closest to home. And indeed, it DOES bring me peace of mind, heart & soul:
 
"Children, you must learn to depend upon grace to show you a solution when human affect does not. Nothing escapes My view, as I am Omnipresent and Omnipotent. This, then, is your reason to trust in Me. There is no problem - no situation - which grace cannot act upon. Proceed in Holy Love which carries you forward without fear."
 
"Trust is your vehicle of action. Do not fear man more than you trust in Me. The unknown power of My Grace awaits your beck and call. Fear only the power of your lack of trust. Every challenge is only a test in your trust."
 
Inspirational 2
“Nothing happens by chance. Everything is My Will. Every aspect of every present moment is ordained by Me. Therefore, it is best not to question - but to pray to accept what I allow in your every present moment. I also provide the grace in each moment to help you to accept everything. My Permitting Will is your anchor in grace. I permit the grace you need for every moment in time - this is where your trust comes into play. Trust in My love for you. In and through this love, I support you in good times and in difficulties. I give you nothing that you and I cannot handle together. I deliver you from evil. I cover you in the grace of every solution you need. I make strong your prayers. I show you the light on the path where there was nothing but darkness. Therefore, fear nothing. Trust in My Strength always. I will be your strength and your guide.”
 
I’m a failure at accepting His Will.
 
Seems like I’ve probably questioned His Will, on average, about 1/2 dozen times a day.
 
Pretty sad!
 candles image for website
 
When the people of Israel offered worship, in the Old Testament they did so amid the flicker of many lights. ‘So Solomon made… the lamp stands of pure gold, five on the south side and five on the north, before the inner sanctuary’ (1 Kings 7:48-49).  So important were these candelabra that the main one, the Temple menorah, because the most recognizable symbol of all Judaism. In the New Testament, we find St. Paul preaching in a crowded room. St. Luke notes that ‘there were many lights in the upper chamber where we were gathered’ (Acts 20:8).  Lights are so important, that St. John warns us in the book of Revelations, that if a Church is falling slack in its devotion, God could remove its lamp stand (Rev 2:5). 
 
The lamp was itself a symbol of Jesus Christ, who consistently spoke of His Gospel and even of Himself in terms of light; ‘I AM the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (Jn 8:12).  As such, during the Easter Vigil liturgy, the priest holds aloft the paschal candle and proclaims, ‘Christ out Light’ three times!
 
St. Jerome, who is probably the greatest scholar in the ancient world, states; ‘whenever the Gospel is to be read the candles are to be lighted…’.  Additionally St. Jerome also stated, ‘Your Word is a lamp unto my feet’ (Ps 119:05). 
 
Finally, we have all noticed that a lamp is constantly lit next to the Tabernacle; signifying HIS presence! This comes not only from Scripture (Jn 8:12), but from Tradition as well. As you will note from the sketch below, according to Jewish Traditions, the Priest of the Temple maintained a lit Menorah next to the veil, covering the Ark of the Covenant! The same is true today in Mother Church.  
*Signs of Life by Scott Hahn

 

 
This is a story about a man called Joseph, who had the misfortune to get caught in a serious flood.  The water was rising all around him and was soon up to his knees.  He climbed the staircase to the first floor but still the waters rose.  It wasn’t long before the water was up to his waist and he looked out of the window to see what was happening to his neighbors.   
 
A boat was passing and the occupant shouted, “Hey, Joseph!  Quick, climb aboard my boat and I will take you to safety.”  Joseph smiled and replied, “Thank you very much, but I have had a word with God and He will take care of me. You use the space on your boat to help others less fortunate than myself.”  Soon the boat was out of sight.   
 
The flood would not stop and the water continued to climb.  Joseph was forced onto the roof of his home and he surveyed the catastrophe below him.   
 
A helicopter flew over Joseph and a man used his microphone to tell Joseph that worse was yet to come.  He threw a rope down to Joseph and cried, “Quick, Joseph, climb up while you still have a chance!”  Nevertheless, Joseph had been a good man all his life and placed his faith in the Lord, so he declined the offer, requesting that they go in search of other people.  “You don’t have to worry about me,” he shouted, “I have spoken with God and He will not let me die.”
 
The helicopter flew away and the waters rose and rose until finally it was all over.  Joseph was taken from this earth.
 
As stated earlier, Joseph was a good man, so naturally he was taken to the pearly gates to meet St. Peter.  On entering heaven he was taken and introduced to God who welcomed him with open arms.  But, Joseph was not content and asked God, “I am confused my Lord, I have been a devout follower my entire life, and never once have I strayed from your chosen path.  I believe I was too young to die now.  I prayed to you and asked you to save me, but my faith let me down.  How could you have been so cruel?”
 
And the Lord replied, “What do you mean I let you down?  I sent you a boat to save you, and a helicopter as well.”   -author unknown

 

I’ve learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
 
I’ve learned....That when you’re in love, it shows.
 
I’ve learned ....That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.
 
I’ve learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
 
I’ve learned....That being kind is more important than being right.
 
I’ve learned....That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
 
I’ve learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in any other way.
 
I’ve learned....That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
 
I’ve learned....That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
 
I’ve learned....That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
 
I’ve learned....That life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
 
I’ve learned.... That money doesn’t buy class.
 
I’ve learned....That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
 
I’ve learned....That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
 
I’ve learned.... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
 
I’ve learned....That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
 
I’ve learned....That love, not time, heals all wounds.
 
I’ve learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
 
I’ve learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
 
I’ve learned.... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
 
I’ve learned....That life is tough, but I’m tougher.
 
I’ve learned....That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones 
you miss.
 
I’ve learned....That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
 
I’ve learned....That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
 
I’ve learned....That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
 
I’ve learned....That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
 
I’ve learned....That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you’re hooked for life.
 
I’ve learned....That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
 
I’ve learned....That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.
 

marine in hospital ward

 
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
 
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.
 
She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.  
 
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand.   The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.  
 
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength.  Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.
 
He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.  
 
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.  
 
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.  
 
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.  
 
“Who was that man?” he asked.
 
The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.
 
“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”  
 
“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”  
 
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.
 
When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”
 
I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman’s name?
 
The Nurse with tears in her eyes answered, Mr. William Grey.
 
The next time someone needs you ... just be there.  Stay.
 
 
WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. WE ARE SPIRITUAL BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY HUMAN EXPERIENCE. 

 

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Summer is upon us, bringing vacations, picnics and beach parties.  Actually we have been blessed with summer-like weather for several weeks.  The warm weather has also brought out summer apparel earlier than usual.  Unfortunately, skimpy garb more suitable for vacations picnics and beach parties has also made its way into Church as the clothing of choice for many people.  In visiting many or our parishes this spring for Confirmation as well as attending some commencement ceremonies, I have noticed more and more people wearing short shorts, tank-tops and flip-flops.  Even the more formal wear with slit-leg dresses bare midriffs and strapless tops looks more suited to a House of Blues than the House of God.

Now I’m sure some people will immediately object to my making these observations, rationalizing that it is better that these people come to Church even if they’re not properly dressed rather than not have them there at all.  They argue that we should just be happy that they’re in Church, regardless of what they wear.  I disagree.

St. Paul said “to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,” adorned “not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).  Similarly, St. Peter wrote, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

In the parable of the wedding banquet, Jesus said that “when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.  He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’  The man was speechless.  Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).

Of course, Jesus did not tell this parable to give a literal instruction on how to dress at a wedding, but to illustrate God’s righteousness as “garments of salvation” and “robes of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10), where the acquisition of these qualities is likened to clothing given us at a wedding.  But Jesus could tell this parable because His listeners were familiar with the custom that refusal to wear a proper wedding garment was an insult to the father of the groom and could get a guest ejected from the festivities.

The Church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27) and the faithful, clothed in their wedding garments, are called to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:8-9).  Our revised translation of the Roman Missal now brings out that imagery more clearly when the priest presents the Body and Blood of Christ to us at Mass saying, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”  As we go up to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we should not insult the Father by not dressing properly for this, for taste of the heavenly banquet.

For now, one very practical area that we could work on would be for everyone to dress with proper dignity for Mass, whether it is celebrated in the ordinary or the extraordinary form.

May God give us this grace.  Amen.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

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PROLIFE

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baby in church 

We, at St. Helena Catholic Church, are concerned with educating, directing, and sustaining all who visit. 

In particular those who draw near to the teachings and traditions of Holy Mother Church. 

We strive to achieve this by utilizing the Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude.