prayer

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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 […]

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail)
Artwork © by Jef MurrayBlessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Did Mary Ever Have Days Like This?

I didn’t have a good excuse. No sudden death, news of great tragedy, or personal fall-through. The clock just met 4:00, the kid of choice started with the customary late afternoon ranting, and it all unraveled from there. Somehow, the everyday things—the weight of my worries, the onslaught of my duties, the trial of just getting through the rest of […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

O Joyful Catholics, Where Are You?

I believe one of the greatest obstacles to evangelization and sharing our faith with others today is that many of us have forgotten how to be joyful. I know when the stresses of the world weigh me down, I struggle to maintain a joyful attitude in the presence of others. We are often so busy with our hectic schedules and […]

Santuário de Fátima
Bascilica of Our Lady of the RosarySantuário de Fátima Bascilica of Our Lady of the Rosary

Praying the Five Prayers of Fatima

Today, May 13, 2016, we celebrate the ninety-ninth anniversary of the first apparition of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, to the three young seers at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal during 1917. Later that year, on October 13, the Miracle of the Sun was witnessed by up to one hundred thousand people. The children were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos (age 10), Blessed […]

Photograph © by Andy CoanPhotograph © by Andy Coan

Fixing Catholic Boredom in Six Easy Steps

On a recent Saturday morning my fifteen-year-old son said: “Dad, I’m bored. What are we going to do for fun today?” Knowing my youngest son well, I translated this to mean that he was looking for something new and exciting and I was supposed to provide it. This all too frequent discussion with my children has been the cause of […]

"The Exhortation to the Apostles" (detail) by James Tissot"The Exhortation to the Apostles" (detail) by James Tissot

“See How They Love One Another”

“See how they love one another”—this was the observation that the pagans made, to their own bewilderment, about the early Christians. Our earliest brothers and sisters in Christ lived lives of such unprecedented joyful service that it astounded the world around them, a world that had never seen anything like it before. These first Christians lived according to the model […]

LUCIA, FRANCISCO AND JACINTALUCIA, FRANCISCO AND JACINTA

Inspired by Our Lady of Fatima to Do Less (and More!)

I am constantly challenged to do more, sometimes by people who don’t even know they’re doing it.  Back when I used to work for our parish, almost everyone knew me.  After Mass once, a well-meaning and very enthusiastic parishioner came up to me and exclaimed, “WHY aren’t YOUR KIDS signed up for Vacation Bible School???”  She was smiling, she was excited, and […]

Pope St. John Paul IIPope St. John Paul II

Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope St. John Paul II

“The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centered prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel message in its entirety. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb…” (Pope St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae) […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Three Powerful Lessons from the Blessed Mother

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. For quite some time, I have had a desire to write about my ever growing appreciation and deepening […]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy CoanMission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

The Problem of Suffering

I remember sitting in my Introduction to Moral Theology class as a college undergraduate and being asked, “What is the problem of suffering, and how do we respond to it?”  We were then introduced to Rabbi Harold Kushner, who wrote a book called When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  Rabbi Kushner explained that there are three basic premises we […]