Archive for “2014”

August 29, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Friday, August 29 ~ Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Holy Gospel: Mark 6:17-29  

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Meditation

Are you prepared to be a witness, and if necessary, a martyr for Jesus Christ? John the Baptist bridged the Old and New Testaments. He is the last of the Old Testament prophets who pointed the way to the Messiah. He is the first of the New Testament witnesses and martyrs. Jesus equated the coming of his kingdom with violence. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force (Matthew 11:12). John suffered violence for announcing that the kingdom of God was near. He was thrown into prison and then beheaded. Why did Herod put John to death when he knew him to be a righteous and holy man? Herod was a weak ruler. He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right. Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice. Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin.

Prayer 

O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice, we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you teach. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation 

Since John’s martyrdom to the present times the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and persecution at the hands of violent people. The blood of Christian martyrs throughout the ages bear witness to this fact. Their testimony to the truth of the gospel and their willingness to suffer and die for their faith prove victory rather than defeat for the kingdom of God. Through Christ’s victory on the cross they obtain the glorious crown of victory and everlasting life with Jesus Christ. What gives us the power, boldness, and courage to witness to Jesus Christ and to the truth of the gospel? The Holy Spirit fills us with courage, love, and boldness to make Jesus Christ known and loved. We do not need to fear those who oppose the timeless truths of the gospel, because the love of Jesus Christ is stronger than fear and death itself.  His love conquers all – even our fears and timidity in the face of opposition and persecution. We can trust in his grace and help at all times.

About Saint John the Baptist

There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: “I am the truth”? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ. Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer. Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men. He was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. To endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward. Since death was ever near at hand, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: “You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake.” He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”

August 28, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Thursday, August 28 ~ Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Holy Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

Meditation

Jesus ends his teaching on watchfulness and vigilance with a parable that contains an element of surprise – the master suddenly returns home unexpectedly, probably from a long journey. He rewards the dutiful servant for his faithfulness to his master. He has performed his service with diligence and has done all that the master required of him. The master punishes the other servant who behaved wickedly. This servant was not only irresponsible, he was frequently absent from work and spent his master’s money by throwing endless parties with his friends. The wicked servant also abused his fellow workers with physical force and violence, probably to make them do the work he was supposed to do for his master. The master not only throws him out of his house, he fires him from his job! He also throws him into the worst possible place – a prison of no return where there is nothing but torment and misery. Should we be surprised to see the master acting with such swift judgment? After all he is only giving back what they have given to him. The master rewards the faithful servant with honor, promotion, and friendship, and he punishes the unfaithful servant – who stole from his master and used his position to abuse others – by removing him from his position of trust with the master and by throwing  him into prison for robbing the master and mistreating his fellow servants.

Prayer

Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord, that spirit with which you endowed your Bishop Saint Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

Jesus calls us to be vigilant in watching for his return and to be ready to meet him when he calls us to himself. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God’s way of love, justice, and holiness. The Lord’s warning of judgment causes dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly wait for his return in glory.  God’s judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life.

 

August 27, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Wednesday, August 27 ~ Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Monica

Holy Gospel: Matthew 23:27-32 

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”

Meditation

Jesus used strong language to warn the religious leaders about the vanity of appearance and pretense. In Palestine tombs were often placed by the sides of roads. They were painted white which made them glisten in the midday sun, especially around the time of the great feasts, so that people would not accidently touch them and incur ritual impurity. Jesus warns that what truly corrupts a person is not ritual impurity but the impurity of sinful attitudes – such as pride, greed, sloth, envy, hatred, gluttony, and lust – which lead to sinful behavior. The scribes and Pharisees were intensely religious in their outward observances, but their outward show didn’t match the inner reality of the state of their hearts. They not only neglected the poor and the weak, but they were intolerant towards anyone who challenged their idea of religion. That is why so many of the prophets in past ages – who warned about tolerating evil desires and unjust behavior towards one neighbor – were persecuted and even killed by their own rulers and people.

Prayer

O God, who console the sorrowful and who mercifully accepted the motherly tears of Saint Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine, grant us, through the intercession of them both, that we may bitterly regret our sins and find the grace of your pardon. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

Jesus chastised the religious leaders for being double-minded and for demanding from others standards which they refused to satisfy. They professed admiration for the prophets by building their tombs while at the same time they opposed the prophets’ message and closed their ears to the word of God. They shut themselves to heaven and they hindered others from understanding God’s word. They rejected Jesus as their Messiah because their hearts were blinded and hardened to the voice of God. Only the humble of heart can receive from God true wisdom and understanding, pardon and healing. The Holy Spirit is ever ready to renew our minds and hearts and to teach us God’s way of love and holiness. Ask the Holy Spirit to purify your heart and mind and to fill you with the wisdom and understanding of God’s word.

August 26, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Tuesday, August 26 ~ Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel: Matthew 23:23-26

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”

Meditation

Jesus used the example of tithing to show how far the scribes and Pharisees had missed the mark. God had commanded a tithe of the first fruits of one’s labor as an expression of thanksgiving and honor for his providential care for his people (ref. Deuteronomy 14:22; Leviticus 27:30). The scribes, however, went to extreme lengths to tithe on insignificant things (such as tiny plants) with great mathematical accuracy. They were very attentive to minute matters of little importance, but they neglected to care for the needy and the weak. Jesus admonished them because their hearts were not right. They were filled with pride and contempt for others. They put unnecessary burdens on others while neglecting to show charity, especially to the weak and the poor. They meticulously went through the correct motions of conventional religion while forgetting the realities.

Prayer

O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation 

In light of today’s gospel, do you allow any blindspots to blur your vision of God’s kingdom and his ways? Jesus went to the heart of the matter when he called the religious leaders of his day blind Pharisees and hypocrites! The word “hypocrite” means “actor” — someone who puts on a show or a “game face” usually to draw attention to themselves, or a “public face” to appear one way on public, but in reality act very different “behind the scenes.” Jesus chastised them for neglecting the more important matters of religion, such as justice and the love of God and love of neighbor.  Might we be guilty at times for falling into the same mindset? We need to remember that God places in every heart a desire and intimate yearning to personally know the One who created us in love for love. Saint Augustine, who found God only after many years of “acting” and wandering in disbelief and spiritual darkness, exclaimed in his book Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” May we learn to rest in the arms of the Lord, and to have genuine minds and hearts rooted in Christ.

 

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August 25, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Monday, August 25 ~ Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Louis of France, King; Saint Joseph Calasanz, Priest

Holy Gospel: Matthew 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”

Meditation

Jesus was angry with the religious leaders because they failed to listen to God’s word and they misled the people they were supposed to teach and lead in the ways of God. Jesus gave a series of examples to show how misguided they were. In their zeal to win converts, they required unnecessary and burdensome rules which obscured the more important matters of religion, such as love of God and love of neighbor. They were leading people to “Pharisaism” rather than to God. They failed as religious leaders to teach others the way of God’s kingdom because they failed to listen to and to understand the intention of God’s word. Through their own pride and prejudice they blindly shut the door of their own hearts and minds to God’s understanding of his kingdom.

Prayer

O God, who brought Saint Louis from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of a heavenly realm, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, by fulfilling our duties on earth, we may seek out your eternal Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer

O God, who adorned the Priest Saint Joseph Calasanz with such charity and patience that he labored tirelessly to educate children and endow them with every virtue, grant, we pray, that we, who venerate him as a teacher of wisdom, may constantly imitate him, for he was a co-worker of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever Amen.

Contemplation

How can we shut the door of God’s kingdom in our lives? By closing our ears to Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelations 17:14; 19:16), who speaks words of life and love, truth and freedom, hope and pardon. The Lord Jesus wants to dwell with us and to bring us his kingdom.  He opens the way for each of us to “ascend to heaven” and to bring “heaven to earth” in the daily circumstances of our lives. God’s kingdom is present in all who seek him and who do his will.  Do you pray as Jesus taught, “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)?

August 24, 2014 – Readings for the Week

Monday        2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12:15- 24; Mat 23:13-22

Tuesday        2 Thessalonians 2:1-3a, 14-17; Matthew 23:23-26

Wednesday   2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18: Matthew 23:27-32

Thursday      1 Corinthians 1:1-9; Matthew 24:42-51

Friday           1 Corinthians 1:17-25; Mark 6:17-29

Saturday       1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 25:14-30

Sunday     Jeremiah 20:7-9; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27

August 24, 2014 – Parishioners in Prayer

[one_third]Max Flores
Jennifer Bogdziewicz
Charles & Nancy Brant
JoAnn Buttler
Ann Marie Elkins
Don Fortner
Ruth Harper
Bernie Hause
Jonathan Holmes[/one_third] [one_third_last]Jack Beckman
Pam Jurgens
Fr. Mike Lumpe
Maria Paras
Linda Pauley
David Simmons
Sandra Valencia
Bill & Dora Zweydorff
Christopher Clark
Hayden Thompson (newborn son of Brooke & John Thompson)[/one_third_last] [hr margin=”30px 0px 30px 0px”]

BANNS OF MATRIMONY: Fr. Lumpe and the Cathedral Community wish to congratulate Catlin Pickenpaugh & Kyle Shindledecker on their marriage last Saturday, August 16.   Blessings to the happy couple!

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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEWLY BAPTIZED: The Cathedral Community welcomes our newest member, Marlowe Daisy Altman, who was baptized on August 17, 2014.  Congratulations!

August 24, 2014 – In, Around and Near the Diocese of Columbus

THE CATHOLIC MEN’S LUNCHEON CLUB, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2014

The Catholic Men’s Lunchaon Club will feature a presentation on “Evangelization in the Workplace” by Mr. Marc Hawk. Marc is a member of St. John Neumann parish in Sunbury and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.  He began his career as an accountant, working later in commercial banking.  Since then, Marc and his brother founded RevLocal, a digital marketing agency. Marc serves as President of the Columbus chapter of Legatus and President of the Board of St. Gabriel Catholic Radio. Join us Friday, September 5th at St. Patrick Church, Downtown Columbus. Mass at 11:45a.m. followed by Lunch & Speaker until 1:00p.m. No reservations are  necessary; $10 covers the lunch and meeting. Bring a friend!

ANNUAL BLUE MASS

Saint Timothy Church, 1088 Thomas Lane., Columbus, 43220, Thursday, September 11, 2014 beginning at 5:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to pray for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remember those who have fallen, and support those who serve. Also remembered are the 2,973 who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Celebrant will be the Most Rev. Frederick F Campbell, Bishop of Columbus. All are invited, especially active and retired police, fire, and emergency medical services in the greater Columbus area, and their families. A reception will follow the Mass.

FOR BETTER…FOREVER, A RETREAT FOR MARRIED COUPLES SEPTEMBER 13, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014. Featuring celebration of Mass and reflection by Bishop Frederick F. Campbell and presentations by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak, hosts of More 2 Life Radio and authors of Parenting With Grace andA Marriage Made for Heaven: The Secrets of Heavenly Couplehood. The retreat will be held from9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at St. Agatha Church, Upper Arlington.  Cost is $75 per couple and includes a light breakfast and buffet lunch provided by Berwick Catering.  September 13th is just around the corner. Register now!  Go to http://familylife.colsdioc.org or call 614-241-2560.

THE FRIENDS OF THE POOR WALK/RUN SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

The Friends of the Poor Walk/Run will be held on September 20, 2014. Check-in starts at 9:00 a.m., walk starts at 10:00 a.m. This event will take place at the St. Francis DeSales High School Stadium, 4212 Karl Road, Columbus. The registration is on-line or on paper.  You can go to the web site www.fopwalk.org and click the tab labeled “Walkers”.  Then click on the drop down “Become A Walker.”  After that, scroll to locate “Ohio” and click on “Show me the Form.”  From there, take STEP 1 and enter “Columbus.”  Search for “Diocesan Council of Columbus” then select the radio button and go on to STEP 2.  This is where you enter your e-mail address, goal, etc.  In the “Walk Event” box select “OH Columbus: St. Francis DeSales High School, Diocesan Council of Columbus.”  Record your password, as you will need it to sign in as a registered walker.  Once you press “Add Walker,” you are a registered walker.  You can also complete a Friends of the Poor Walk Registration/Pledge Form on paper.  Please contact Pat Summers at (614) 228-7302 about this.

Bethesda Healing Ministry Invites you to An Experience of Hope

A healing retreat for women, men and families wounded by abortionSaturday, September 20, 2014 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Reservations/information:  Confidential Ministry lines: 614-309-0157 or 614-309-2651, at call our Office: 614-718-0277, M-F.

THE FIRST ANNUAL DISCIPLESHIP WALK

“To raise awareness of how each of us is called to be a disciple of Jesus.” The Office of Vocations will be holding it’s first “Discipleship Walk” on Sunday, September 21, 2:00 p.m., at the Darby Bend Lakes Metro Park.  This free 5K walk is sponsored by the Office of Vocations, Sts. Simon and Jude Parish, and Face Forward.  For more details and to register for the walk, visit www.faceforwardcolumbusblog.com.

CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES BREAKFAST WITH THE BISHOP, OCTOBER 3, 2014

Catholic Social Services Breakfast with the Bishop will be Friday, October 3, 2014, 7:45 a.m.-9:00 a.m., at the Hyatt Regency, 350 N. High Street, Columbus. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Speakers for the event are Bishop Frederick F. Campbell and Jodi Pfarr, Minneapolis, MN, Bridges Out of Poverty certified trainer, advocate, and teacher. All proceeds from the breakfast will support the programs and services of CSS. For tickets or event sponsorship call Peggy Welch at 614-857-1254 or via the CSS website at www.colscss.org.

MARIAN DINNER OCTOBER 8, 2014

Bishop Campbell will host the annual Marian Dinner at 6 p.m., October 8 at St. Andrew Church’s Bryce Eck Activity Center, 3880 Reed Road, Columbus. Women, especially those in high school, will join together with their pastors, members of religious communities, and other people of the Diocese for prayer, a meal hosted by the Bishop, and an opportunity to hear from him as well as a member of a religious community about vocations to religious life. For more information, please contact Fr. Paul Noble, Director of Vocations, at noble@seekholiness.com, or call (614) 221-5565.

SENIOR or DISABLED IN NEED OF HOME REPAIR?

Service Saturday, sponsored by Catholic Social Services, will be held on October 11. Do you know of an older adult (60+) or a disabled individual living in Franklin County who needs help with a small home repair or special project?  If so, please contact Peggy Sirbaugh in the CSS office, 614-857-1251 or psirbaugh@colscss.org with the name, street address, zip code, phone number and project idea. Be sure you discuss the event with the individual before making the referral.  Please call by Tuesday, September 2. We can accept a maximum of 30 worksites, so please don’t delay!   (We are unable to accept plumbing, electrical, and second-floor exterior projects.)

Faith, Prayer Sources of Strength for Slain U.S. Journalist

Courtesy: Catholic News Service

ROCHESTER, N.H. — In April 2013, the parents of slain U.S. journalist James Foley attended a prayer vigil at Marquette University in Milwaukee to pray for their son, who at that time had disappeared in Syria.

Before Diane and John Foley had confirmation that spring that their son was missing, Diane said she just felt it — he had missed one of his usual phone calls home — and once they knew for sure, the couple said they were relying on their Catholic faith to cope and leaning on prayer to bring him home.

JamesFoleyImage

“Faith has been part of family life, but this has deepened my faith because there is our hope. Our hope is that God will take care of Jim,” she told the Catholic Herald in Milwaukee at the time.

That strong faith will likely help the couple, who are members of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Rochester, get through the fact that their 40-year-old son was beheaded by militants with the Islamic State extremist group, known as ISIS.

According to an AP story, U.S. officials confirmed a graphic video released Aug. 19 that showed ISIS fighters beheading Foley, a 1996 graduate of Marquette who had been a freelance journalist for the past several years, mostly in the world’s trouble spots. In 2011, he was kidnapped on a Libyan battlefield and held captive in Tripoli for 45 days.

Sometime in late 2012, he went missing in Syria. The last time the Foley family heard from him was before Thanksgiving that year.

A statement about his death attributed to Diane Foley was posted on a Facebook page originally set up to urge James’ release. Family members “have never been prouder of him,” it said.

“He gave his life trying to expose the suffering of the Syrian people,” the statement said, which also urged the militants to release others they are holding hostage. “Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.”

ISIS said they killed James Foley in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on the militants’ strongholds and the group said it would kill another U.S. hostage.

News of his grisly death has sent shock waves around the world, eliciting prayers and statements of support for the family from Catholic leaders, the Marquette community, reporters’ organizations, fellow journalists and many others.

“The brutality of this act is itself evidence of an unspeakable evil that is rampant and inhuman,” New Hampshire Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester. “To the prayers that have been offered since his captivity almost two years ago, we now add our prayers for James’ eternal rest and, in Christ Jesus Our Lord, James’s future resurrection to eternal life.”

“Our prayers also must accompany a sorrowful mother, a grieving father, a deeply pained family and countless friends who have kept vigil all this time,” he said. “May we also pray for those who have embraced the way of darkness and death, that they may turn away from this terrible evil now and forever.”

News reports said the Foleys’ pastor, Father Paul Gousse, was at the family’s house for about 45 minutes Aug. 19. He left without speaking to reporters. The parish posted a notice that the church would be open to all to join in prayer for Jim, his family, friends, colleagues “and all who are still in danger.”

Besides Facebook, his family has been using Twitter and other social media to express their sorrow and ask for privacy.

In her statement on Facebook, Diane Foley said: “We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”

James’ sister, Kelly, took to Twitter asking others not to watch the video that shows his beheading: “Please honor James Foley and respect his family’s privacy. Don’t watch the video. Don’t share it. That’s not how life should be.”

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said on Twitter that anyone sharing the images of the event would have their accounts suspended. “We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you.”

In 2011, after he was let go by his kidnappers in Libya, James Foley wrote an article for Marquette magazine on how prayer, specifically the rosary, got him through captivity in a military detention center in Tripoli.

He had been captured with two colleagues, he said. “Each day brought increasing worry that our moms would begin to panic. My colleague, Clare, was supposed to call her mom on her birthday, which was the day after we were captured. I had still not fully admitted to myself that my mom knew what had happened. But I kept telling Clare my mom had a strong faith.

“I prayed she’d know I was OK. I prayed I could communicate through some cosmic reach of the universe to her.”

Foley began to pray the rosary.

“It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused,” he wrote. “Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.”

Foley also describe his experience at Marquette University, which he said “has always been a friend to me. The kind who challenges you to do more and be better and ultimately shapes who you become.” He added that Marquette had never been “a bigger friend to me than when I was imprisoned as a journalist.”

Marquette posted a link to his article along with a statement about his death on the university’s website: https://news.marquette.edu.

“The Marquette community is deeply saddened by the death of alumnus and freelance journalist James Foley,” the university’s statement said. “We extend our heartfelt prayers and wishes for healing to James’ family and friends during this very difficult time.”

James Foley had majored in history at the Jesuit university, then enrolled at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and earned a master’s degree in 2008.

“(He) had a heart for social justice and used his immense talents to tell the difficult stories in the hopes that they might make a difference in the world — a measure of his character for which we could not be prouder,” the Marquette statement said.

A campus prayer vigil to remember Foley and to support his family was scheduled for Aug. 27 on campus.

 

Marriage Perspective: Grace Trumps Dysfunction in Marriage

Grace trumps dysfunction in marriage

By Patti Maguire Armstrong

Got dysfunction? Everyone has from one extent to the other: a harbored resentment, stubbornness, or jealousy, all the way to major issues such as addictions or mental illness. The dysfunctional parts of our personalities are the ones that interfere with happy marriages.

Lack of forgiveness and lack of unconditional love makes us dysfunctional as marriage partners and as Catholics. I know what some of you are thinking: Who are you to call me dysfunctional? You don’t know what I have to live with!

No, I don’t know. After 33 years of marriage, I can honestly say I deeply love my husband. I will admit, however that there were moments in the past where I felt like I hated him. That is hard to admit because it reveals more about me than about him. It exposes my dysfunction to ever let myself ever feel that angry. Anger does no favors in a relationship. It only creates more pieces to pick up later. And there’s nothing like having to apologize later for your own behavior when you started out with a perfectly good reason to be angry, right?

I know we are not alone. Among our happily married Catholic friends, I know that many have gone through some tough times and survived to enjoy happy, strong marriages today. The reality is that many couples have divorced for a lot less.

Marital Graces

Since my husband and I have often failed in the perfect marriage department, I’ll let you in on the secret as to why we have survived and prospered: the grace of God.

MarriageRings

During one dark period, it seemed we could simply not get along. I don’t remember what the issues were at the time, but a black cloud hung over us. “Why don’t we do a novena of rosaries together in front of the Blessed Sacrament,” I suggested. We had to do something. So, for nine days, we prayed a rosary in the small chapel at our church in front of the tabernacle. No one was there each time, but if they had been, we would have simply prayed together silently. The cloud gradually lifted and everything was fine by the end. Just like that. We had solved nothing ourselves, but suddenly, we were okay again. God’s grace made up for what was lacking.

I know there are sometimes reasons one spouse must get away from the other and times when a spouse decides to leave rather than work on the marriage. But even then, for Catholics, marriage is sacramental and forever. Annulments are given when it is determined the marriage was never sacramental at the start. So even when divorce is advisable, a valid marriage is a marriage is a marriage “until death do we part.”

After Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation, the seven Sacraments dwindled to the two Sacraments in non-Catholic Christian circles. This is unfortunate because sacraments bestow graces and thus the marriage sacrament brings down God’s graces on a couple.

Pray Together

One major tool to strengthen marriage is prayer. Do you pray together with your spouse? If not, my question just made you uncomfortable. We’ve never done that…it’s too uncomfortable…he/she would never agree to it.

I’ve been there and said that, so excuses will not get me to back off. The way Mark and I first prayed together was when we had a house that would not sell. It was a desperate situation because we had already moved to another state. I heard that praying a novena to St. Jude, the patron of impossible causes, could accomplish the impossible. Since people were living in our house that had trashed it and we had no money to fix anything, our situation seemed as impossible as any. (Read the whole story here.) I tracked down a prayer card and before we proceeded with our plan to foreclose. We prayed it together for nine days; alternating who read it each night. Our prayers were immediately answered in a big way. More importantly, Mark and I began praying together, having gotten over the hump of feeling uncomfortable doing so.

By praying and calling on the graces God gives to married couples, we have survived and flourished. If the bad times had not turned around, we would have gone from bad to worse and to possibly divorce. Instead, through the grace of God, we have always bounced back.

I know there are some horrendous horror stories out there. I have interviewed couples and ghostwrote some of the worst of the worst stories including a whole collection in the Amazing Grace for Married Couples, co-authored with Jeff Cavins and Matthew Pinto. Adultery, addictions, same-sex attractions, apathy, and more appeared to have destroyed any chance for happiness. The miraculous healings began with prayer. Sometimes it was just one spouse and sometimes it was neither spouse but instead the prayers of others that started the turnaround, but in each story, prayer and putting God at the center changed everything.

A Gallup Poll that was done in 1997 by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement in Phoenix, Arizona reported the divorce rate among couples who pray together regularly is 1 out of 1,152. That’s less than one-tenth of one percent.

Imagine what prayer could do to turn about the tragedy of so many broken marriages. Praying together makes a huge difference. So discomfort or not it is worth the effort. Even if a spouse will not cooperate then do it alone. Prayer brings down God’s graces and that is stronger than any of our dysfunction.

 

From living a life that ignored Catholic teachings to becoming a Catholic writer and speaker, Patti Maguire Armstrong was transformed after she began to learn and embrace her Catholic faith. As a freelance writer, Patti has published more than 400 articles for both secular and religious publications.Patti and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. Her newest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families, a collection of stories to inspire family love, and Dear God, I Don’t Get It, and the sequel, Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious, children’s fiction that feeds the soul through a fun and exciting story.  This article is made available courtesy of The Integrated Catholic Life.