Family

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Four Critical Principles for Catholic Fathers

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” (Pope St. John XXIII) I often feel completely lost and befuddled as a Catholic father in today’s world. How do I set the right example? How do I help my sons grow up with a strong Catholic faith? How do I prepare them […]

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Try Hard, Love Much

“She tried hard and loved much.” Not to be morbid, but I hope that can be truthfully put on my tombstone. I’m not planning on dying any time soon, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Over the years I have come to realize that a great way to live is to really consider my own death. What is […]

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Why Pornography is Not Good For Married Couples

February is for Lovers. It is the reason that the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey is opening in theaters on Valentine’s Day. The producers hope that sweethearts will celebrate by watching sadomasochistic pornography together on the big screen. But pornography and love do not go together; one is selfish and the other is selfless. Even the non-religious world is coming […]

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Mass without My Kids: Not All It’s Cracked up to Be

Every so often, I find myself at Mass without my kids. And it never fails to shock me that…I’m just as distracted without them as I am when they’re with me! I wrote this piece back in 2007, when I only had one toddler to my name and was the full-time parish secretary. This toddler came to work with me every […]

St. Michael the ArchangelSt. Michael the Archangel

On Slaying Dragons And Other Noble Pursuits

A Lesson In Motivating My Boy Child To Choose The Good In the three minutes we had been sitting in our church pew, Christopher, my five-year old, had managed the following: He “accidentally” tore several pages of the green Gather hymnal, He took off his brown leather school shoes and tossed them under the pew (revealing large holes in the […]

"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo

What You Need to Know to Become a Holy Family

The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the holiness and joy of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph of Nazareth. It’s place on the liturgical calendar is the Sunday following Christmas, unless Christmas falls on a Sunday. When that occurs, as it did three years ago, the feast is celebrated on Friday, December 30th. Pope Benedict XVI observed […]

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

When My Martha Tendencies Highjack My Desire To Be Like Mary During Advent

I woke up one morning recently and panicked about my failure to “plan” Advent.  After a few hours of agonizing about an approach, I concocted a plan of attack. “If we get an Advent wreath, make a calendar, prepare an empty manger with sacrifice straw and pull out all fifty of the Christmas books, I think we’ll be in good […]

"Suffer little children to come unto me" (detail)  by Juan Urruchi"Suffer little children to come unto me" (detail) by Juan Urruchi

We Teach Our Children That God Loves Them

As responsible and caring parents, we teach our children that God loves them. We also teach them to pray and to go to God with their needs. But how do we explain those times when God lets them suffer and their prayers are not answered the way they had hoped? It makes the most sense to look to Jesus for […]

Photography Copyright © by Colleen DugganPhotography Copyright © by Colleen Duggan

How to Keep Your Kids Catholic

I don’t remember much of the arithmetic or history my fifth grade teacher, Sister Matthew Marie, a religious with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, taught us. But I do remember that when she needed our attention, instead of yelling, she whispered. She sometimes played soccer with us on the playground during recess, and watching Sister run — with her […]

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Parents of Large Families: Ours is a Public Ministry

I went to the dentist last week and when it was my turn to have my teeth cleaned, the energetic 23-year-old hygienist made small talk as she prepped the room for x-rays. “Your husband was just in here and he told me you guys have six kids?” the young woman said. “Yes, we do,” I answered. I braced myself for […]