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I’m sure this post will get many likes by my “Title-Reading Only” Christians brothers and sisters simply based on their interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Mathieu 23:9: “Call no man father….”

First off, if that interpretation was accurate, St. Stephan committed blasphemy in Scripture when he refers to “our father Abraham” in Acts 7:2; as did St. Paul in Romans 9:10, where he speaks of “our father Isaac.”

The custom of Catholics reverently referring to priests as “Father” is biblical.

According to Catholic.com, Paul refers to the spiritual fatherhood of priests with his statement, “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:14–15).

Peter followed the same custom, referring to Mark as his son: “She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark” (1 Pet. 5:13).

Additionally, John said, “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1); “No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth” (3 John 4). In fact, John also addresses men in his congregations as “fathers” (1 John 2:13–14).

By referring to these people as their spiritual sons and spiritual children, Peter, Paul, and John imply their own roles as spiritual fathers. Since the Bible frequently speaks of this spiritual fatherhood, we Catholics acknowledge it and follow the custom of the apostles by calling priests “father.” 

Failure to acknowledge this is a failure to recognize and honor a great gift God has bestowed on the Church: the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood. [1]

I get all that, but here’s something else fathers do — they stick around!

When I was a kid, priests came to a parish and stayed long enough where you could develop a sense of security in their fatherhood. Unless something tragic happened, they just didn’t leave. And if they had to leave, they left you in the hands of another strong father-figure.

That doesn’t happen today. Priest come and go. Sure, we can blame the priest shortage, but is there really a world-wide shortage of priests?

Between 1970 and 2017, the number of priests has declined from 419,728 to 414,582. At the same time, the Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from 653.6 million in 1970 to 1.229 billion in 2012. Those combined stats, however, are quite misleading since Mass attendance in most nations is substantially down, around or below 40%.

Today, there are actually more priests for the Collect in attendance, per ratio, worldwide, than there were in 1970.

That doesn’t mean we stop praying for more vocations to the priesthood. We also don’t punt and come complacent, relying solely on Deacons, Pastoral Associates, and alike. The Catholic Church needs her priests!

When I asked my parish pastor why we don’t invite foreign priests to fill in the void, his response was shocking.

“No one would show up,” he said. He went on to explain how a visiting priest with an accent stood in for him one weekend (I believe the priest was Irish) and the parishioners did nothing but complain. Imagine, he continued, if it was someone without a strong command of English.

What?!

In my childhood parish, we had a priest who did not have a strong command of English. He also spoke softly. You had to really struggle to listen to his sermons. However, he had such a love for the Eucharist and his ministry that parishioners fell in love with this father-figure. Many began to weep at Mass when he announced his transfer from the parish. Thankfully, back then, we had other parish priests, so his departure did not tear apart the congregation.

However, when there’s just one priest for a parish, their departure can be devastating.

A family needs both a mother and father, who are present, attentive, and faithful to each other and the Church. We have so many studies that shows what happens to families when a father is not present — especially its negative effects it has on boys. We can also see the negative effects the lack of Fathers is having on the Catholic Church.

We venerate Saints like Patrick, Xavier, Isaac Jogues, Ignatius of Loyola, Junipero Serra who traveled to foreign lands to spread the Word. Unless given the gift of tongues, they most likely had to learn the native languages and spoke with an accent. Yet, there are Dioceses in the United States that continue to limit the number of foreign priests who can come to our shores, bringing the strength of their belief with them.

That’s not only UnAmerican; that’s downright unCatholic!

Until we have enough priests that can tend to one spiritual family and stay, just like all Judeo-Christian fathers are called to do, maybe — just maybe — we should stop calling Catholic priests “Father”?

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. With sincere thanks, James would like to thank Zoltan Suga from Pixabay for providing the image for this blog post on CorporationYOU.com.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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“Meet them where they are.” It’s a reference to Luke 24:13-35.

It’s often used by Christians who are more patient than I with other Christians who are not quite there yet.

“We’re all sinners” is another one.

I get it. Christians are supposed to be kind and loving. All I can say is that I try. However, that’s not to say that we’re also not supposed to be truthful when it comes to our Faith.

Let me give you a perfect example.

Almost a decade ago, my wife and I moved to Los Angeles so I could pursue a writing career. I’ve written about that pursuit several times in this blog, so I’m not going to repeat myself here. With that said, I quickly found myself swimming with the big fish.

A few months in, I was talking on the phone with Monsignor James McDonald, a Catholic priest with who I stayed in contact with most of my life. Filled with pride, I began discussing my accomplishments. As I began to describe the storyline behind the screenplay that was giving me the most accolades, a horror film titled Fortune Five, about a serial killer written in the same vein of Silence of the Lambs, Fr. McDonald quickly interrupted me.

“Jimmy … YOU’RE A WHORE!” he shouted over the phone. “You’re nothing but a whore!”

Though most people are shocked when they hear my story, I very much appreciated Fr. McDonald’s candor. After the initial smackdown, I explain, Fr. McDonald proceeded to catechize me. However, most folks can’t get over a priest seemingly being so unkind.

I am often reminded of this experience when I hear or read the discourse between Jesus and Cleopas & gang on the road to Emmaus.

After listening to the disciples, Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are….”

Much like Fr. McDonald, the Risen Lord gave them a bit of a tongue-lashing before proceeding to catechize them. He catechized them for hours.

Jesus did not just teach the disciples about Himself and His ministry, He started “with Moses and the Prophets [and] explained how the Old Testament is in the New concealed and the New Testament is in the Old revealed.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”

Luke 24:27

St. Augustine put it this way. “This grace hid itself under a veil in the Old Testament, but it has been revealed in the New Testament according to the most perfectly ordered dispensation of the ages, forasmuch as God knew how to dispose of all things.” [On the Spirit and the Letter. Chapter 27.]

Only after Our Lord “opened the scriptures to them” that “He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” Only after the disciples were catechized did they come to the table to celebrate the Eucharist.

Have you ever noticed that the first reading is always the Old Testament? It is where the New is concealed. The Gospel reading is where the Old is revealed. The readings are a road map to Emmaus, a pathway to the table of the Lord and the Supper of the Lamb.

Every Mass we journey on the road to Emmaus.

Come to the Lord prepared. Every week walk with Him. Learn from Him. Live your life like you’re on the road to Emmaus — because you really are!

Dr. Brant Pitre offers this in-depth explanation on Understanding the Sunday Readings. Watch it!

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. With sincere gratitude, James would like to thank 👀 Mabel Amber, from Pixabay, for providing the image for this blog post on CorporationYou.com.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

I recently read an opinion piece in the National Catholic Reporter titled “Time to put the ‘catholic’ back in the Catholic Church.”

It’s not necessarily a hit-piece on those who enjoy the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). However, it didn’t paint the TLM movement in a positive light, either.

Born after Vatican 2, I never experienced the Latin Mass in my youth. However, I remember witnessing some of the changes in my parish, such as moving the altar forward, replacing the crucifix with a statue of the Risen Lord. As a cradle Catholic, I just went along with the changes and gave it little thought … until one day, I traveled abroad.

Well, I really didn’t travel abroad. I traveled to Canada. Québec, actually. Montréal to be precise.

During my stay, I attended Sunday Mass at chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, “Our Lady of Good Help”, in the district of Vieux Montreal.

The Chapel was breath-taking and I waited with bated breath for Mass to begin.

Everything seemed to be exactly like what I experienced in my local parish in the States — until everyone began speaking.

Not that I’m a francophobe. I just felt removed — not a part of the parish. Sadly, I didn’t feel “catholic.” In fact, I really didn’t feel “Catholic” either. For the first time, I understood why the Latin Rite was in Latin for so long.

Years passed since I attended a Traditional Latin Mass. My wife and I had recently moved to California. My wife, who was Lutheran at the time, leaned trad.  (Actually, she leaned Orthodox … Russian Orthodox.) Since we often attended different services at the time, we both found common ground with the Mass of the Ages.

Though my wife truly enjoyed it, I again felt removed. I didn’t feel “catholic” (lowercase c) However, I did feel “Catholic.”

After that Sunday, I returned to attending Mass at my parish, Saint Finbar.

It was a multicultural parish in Burbank, California. Founded by Irish, the congregation now also included Latino, Filipino, and Vietnamese parishioners. For the first time as a Cradle Catholic, St. Finbar’s gave me a sense of “being catholic”. The Masses and music were reverent. The Sanctus and the Agnes Die were sometimes sung.

One priest eloquently sang the entire Eucharistic prayer.

I remember the first time I heard it, I rolled my eyes. Is this going to be like Godspell, I remember saying to myself, fearing a contemporary music abuse of the Novus Ordo. It was Southern California and Burbank was in Hollywood’s backyard. However, to my surprise, it was moving. So moving, I would intentionally skip his Masses, from time to time, to make sure that I was attending Mass for the right reason, the Eucharist alone.

Later, as a fundraiser, the parish music ministry put out a CD of their liturgical performances, which included the Eucharist prayers. I would often listen to these recorded prayers when stuck in traffic or on my way to work.

The only negative thing I can say about this “experience” was that many of the Masses were in the native tongues of the parishioners. Except for Holy Days of Obligation and Soup Fridays during Lent, the Church Community of St. Finbar rarely gathered together as one Catholic community.

Yet, the parish never lost its true sense of being “catholic.”

On one of those Sundays where I had no choice but to attend a Mass in Spanish, I never felt removed from the Mass.  In fact, I often preferred the Spanish Mass. The celebration didn’t seem to end. It flowed out of the Church and went forth to the veranda outside the church. Music played as families handed out loaves of bread to anyone in need. It was beautiful.

However, it was helpful that I understood Spanish. Then it happened…

It was Easter Sunday and I was outside the church assisting as part of the Greeting Committee. I felt that I didn’t meet my Sunday obligation and picked up a bulletin to see when the next English-speaking Mass was scheduled.

“Have you ever attended a Vietnamese Mass?” one of the greeters asked me.

“No, they’re usually on Wednesday,” I added.

“There’s one following this Mass,” she continued. “Stay behind and attend. It’s beautiful.”

So, I did.

I had never experienced such a beautiful Liturgy. The entire Mass was sung, from beginning to end, by both the Priest and the Collect. I stood in the back, watching with great awe. And even though I did not understand a word of it, I was captured by its elegance, grace, and reverence — especially for the Eucharist.

I didn’t realize it then, but I was forever changed.

Years have passed and my wife and I moved back to New York after starting a family. Though we started attending Mass together, nothing matched the feeling about being “catholic” that I experienced at St. Finbar.

In an effort to better evangelize, my present parish has embraced a less traditional model of worship taken from the pages of the book Rebuilt.

Though I applaud the efforts made by the parish in Maryland, I am highly skeptical of any Church where I have difficulty finding the word “Catholic” on their website. A second concern comes from their use of the term “service” over Mass and their focus on “tools and tricks” such as building a sense of theater.

Though our Pastor had greatly improved the reverence experienced at Mass, few parishioners appear equally reverent. We are among the few who improve our wardrobe during Mass, often receiving comments (all good) on our boys’ attire and manners.

Last year, I approached my pastor and expressed our possible need to go elsewhere. I’m not a big fan of “Church shopping”, but something had to change.

Speaking of my thoughts about attending a TLM, I harkened back to my Easter Sunday experience and said, “I’d rather go to a Church where my kids didn’t know what was going on and everyone else did than be at a Church where they knew what was going on and those around them don’t.”

Of course, I was referring to the holiness of the Mass.

Since there was not a Diocesan Traditional Latin Liturgy close enough to attend, I confessed that we attended a Saturday Liturgy at the SPX church in our area. After a long conversation, too long to discuss, out of loyalty to the Church,  he kindly asked me not to attend an SPX Mass, but understood my reasons for wanting to go to a Traditional Mass.  

“They’re good people,” he said.  “But some of the things they say about the Pope….”

“There’s a picture of the Pope on the wall when you walk in,” I added.

Pope Francis?” he asked shockingly.

Yes, I nodded.

“Before I was a priest,” he suggested. “I would often worship with my eyes closed at Mass.”

“I do already,” I added with a smile. “Before you were here, the cantor would start the Lamb of God while people were still shaking hands during the Sign of Peace. I’d close my eye so no one could interrupt me while I focused on the Agnes Dei . One time, a woman in the pew in front of me kept smacking my shoulder while I was praying — just so I would shake her hand.”

We both chuckled and moved on to more kinder and gentler topics, like my wife and my boys.  Out of respect to our pastor, I submitted to his authority and continued to worship at our local parish.

On Father’s Day, ironically, our pastor shockingly announced that he was being transferred to a new parish. We were away that weekend, as we are most weekends in the summer, attending Mass at the parish by our summer camp. 

Without an appointment, I visited him at the Rectory and luckily arrived at a time where he did not have an appointment.

In short, we revisited my original concern — specifically with the Rebuilt program.

“If you ever left, our backup plan was at St. Ann’s,” I said with a chuckle in my voice. 

St. Ann’s is Catholic Church in the rural town where I work. Her pastor was well-known for his orthodoxy and reverence. The altar servers still use patens during the reception of Holy Communion, which is rarely seen today in a Novus Ordo Mass. 

“But,” I added. “They transferred him (St. Ann’s pastor) too.”

Though our out-going had nice things to say about the incoming pastor, he gave me his blessing to move on if we felt the need.

“You have to go where you’re fed,” he said. Of course, he met “go where you are fed” within the Catholic Church.

And that was the answer I was looking for.  That’s the answer we’re all looking for! To be fed!

I felt lost in the Mass in Quebec, not because I did not speak French. It was because it appeared perfunctory. I felt disconnected with the Traditional Mass in L.A., not because I didn’t understand the Latin. I do. It was because it appeared methodical.

Now, I’m not saying all the Masses in Quebec are perfunctory. Nor am I saying all the TLM are methodical. Nor am I saying that all Vietnamese Masses are life-changing.

I am saying that a Mass done correctly is life-changing.

So, how do you know when a Mass is done correctly? Trust me, you’ll know. You’ll feel it and see it. You’ll see all the participants: the priest and the people in the pews, the readers and cantors, all the ushers and musicians reverently partaking in the Supper of the Lamb, fully focused on the Source and Summit of our faith, “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

It doesn’t matter what form it’s in. It doesn’t matter what language it is in. It doesn’t matter if it is illicit. All that matters is that the faithful come together with Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, as God’s Temple. (1 Cor 3:16)

Being “catholic” does not mean that we worship using the same words and music. On any given day (or from Sunday Mass to Mass in larger parishes) one can go to a Mass in Latin Rite Church, in which I belong, and experience a difference in song or celebration.

The New Order Latin Rite is also divided into an ordinary and extraordinary form. That’s not very universal.

Further, within the Latin Rite, there are some other Latin liturgical traditions, such as the Ambrosian (habitually celebrated in the Archdiocese of Milan), the Mozarabic (celebrated in a more restricted manner in Toledo in Spain), and that of the city of Braga in Portugal which is permitted in that diocese but not widely used. [1] Pope Paul VI celebrated the Ambrosian Rite.

Even in the Traditional Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, which has garnered so much attention lately because of Pope Francis’s Moto Propio “Traditionis Custodus“, one can experience a High Mass or Low Mass.

The list of liturgical differences goes on and on. Change the music and the sense and feel of a Mass changes completely. Just by having a different priest and a different homily, the true universality of the Mass is removed.

In fact, the Catholic Church is comprised of six individual rites and within those rites are 24 sui iuris (self-governing) Churches — all with their own unique traditions and treasures.

“In the liturgy, above all that of the sacraments, there is an immutable part, a part that is divinely instituted and of which the Church is the guardian, and parts that can be changed, which the Church has the power, and on occasion the duty, to adapt to the cultures of recently evangelized peoples.” (CCC 1205)

What makes the Catholic Church truly catholic is not only the immutable part in the rubric of its Masses. What makes the Church truly catholic is the power of the Church to adapt to the cultures of recently evangelized peoples.

People are going to go where they are being fed. We all have cultural and social needs and desires.  Rebuilt works for just as many people as the TLM does.   That’s why “[t]he celebration of the liturgy, therefore, should correspond to the genius and culture of the different peoples. (CCC 1204)

The Catechism states: “In order that the mystery of Christ be ‘made known to all the nations . . . to bring about the obedience of faith,’ (Cf. SC 37-40) it must be proclaimed, celebrated, and lived in all cultures in such a way that they themselves are not abolished by it, but redeemed and fulfilled: It is with and through their own human culture, assumed and transfigured by Christ, that the multitude of God’s children has access to the Father, in order to glorify Him in the one Spirit” (CCC 1204)

The Church has been aware of this for centuries. In 1570, the Church declared “[t]he Sacrifice (of the Mass) is celebrated with many solemn rites and ceremonies, none of which should be deemed useless or superfluous.”

So, why this sudden “desire” by Pope Francis “to press on ever more in the constant search for ecclesial communion”?

It seems to me that the more reverent liturgies we have, the more catholic the Church becomes.  In the end, that’s what truly makes the Church “Catholic”.

Watch Dr. Brant Pitre’s Mystery of the Church.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

My wife walked by me this morning with a gentle touch. I winked and batted my eyebrows .

“Maybe,” she amorously added with a smile, “but I have the Catholic Moms meeting tonight.”

“Tell them we’re in the NFP window,” I said joking half-heartedly. “If any group should know about the NFP window, it’s a group of Catholic moms.”

So, what is NFP?

It stands for “Natural Family Planning.” Some people falsely believe NFP is synonymous with the Rhythm Method; it is not!

Also known as the Fertility-Based Awareness Method,(FBAM or FAM); Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an effective and fulfilling method of avoiding pregnancy 1 that has developed significantly over the past 80 years.

It’s a way for women to take control of their fertility without using chemical hormones and invasive devices. Maybe that’s why it is sometimes called Green Sex

Used most notably by practicing Catholics, FAMs have been catching on. There’s even a TED TALK about it.  So, if it’s a “female thing” why am I talking about it?

Well, as a husband, I didn’t immediately jump on board with NFP. As a Catholic, I knew I had to avoid unnatural contraception methods. However, as a male, I shamefully pushed the responsibility of monitoring onto my wife.

It is her body after all; what do I really know about it.

However, as our marriage started to grow in Love and Respect, my understanding of NFP started to grow — as did my amazement for my wife’s fertility. The more awareness I had, the more love and respect I had for her and her body.

However, my true interest in NFP came from a peculiar source: Ricardo Montalbán. Star Trek‘s Khan. Fantasy Island‘s Mr. Rourke. Yes, THAT Ricardo Montalbán. (Or at least I think it was Ricardo Montalbán.)

At the time when I was struggling with NFP — (and you will struggle at first; everyone does) — I recall watching an interview where Ricardo Montalbán discussed his faith. He was a devout Catholic; a devoted husband, he mentioned how every month was like a “Honeymoon” for him and his wife because of NFP.

Now, I searched the internet trying to find this particular interview and I found many interviews where Mr. Montalbán discussed his Catholic Faith. However, I couldn’t find this particular NFP interview. 

Of course, I began questioning whether it was actually Ricardo Montalbán?  But the image was so strong.  After discovering that he was happily married to the same woman for 63 years, I searched some more.

Sadly, I never found it.  So, was it Ricardo Montalbán or someone else?  I may never know. What I did find, however, was some articles on NFP’s “Honeymoon Effect”.  Many of them were supportive, but not overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a good example.

Regardless of where I heard about the “Honeymoon Effect,” I’m writing to let you know that it exists. 

The irony, however, is that the “Honeymoon Effect” happens over time. Unlike the blissful beginning of a marriage, the “Honeymoon Effect” comes years later — like when your youngest starts to consistently sleep through the night.

Gentlemen, there’s nothing like knowing your wife’s body biologically and spiritually. To know her cycle. To know when she is fertile. Getting to truly know how she was created! It adds wonderment and awe to your relationship.

Sure, as men, we are always prepared to have sex. So the natural rhythm of nature oftentimes alludes us. Natural Family Planning or Fertility-Based Awareness forces us to pay closer attention to our spouse and the nature of her needs. 

These methods, not only, restore the natural bond between husband and wife. They remind us what Love truly is…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres … Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4–8) 

And if you are patient, kind; if you don’t boast or dishonor; and if you’re not self-seeking, you discover yourself in the middle of a great love story where you are continually in the recurring role of the bridegroom nervously, fondly, and passionately awaiting the arrival of your bride to the nuptial bed where you two truly get to know each other.

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James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. He has been happily married to his wife, Jen, for over 17 years. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

When I lived in L.A, I belonged to a Christian Men’s Fellowship Group. Weekly, we would meet and study the Word. Since most of us were in the Film Industry, in one form or another, we jokingly referred to ourselves as “The Christian Underground.” (Though, there was more truth in that name than we were willing to admit.)

Before and since, I’ve never belonged to such a rewarding group of Christian brothers — and I moved from Los Angeles over a decade ago.

Most of my brothers in this group were raised Catholic, however, at the time, only two of us practiced Catholicism as adults. Today, I believe, I’m the only member of “The Underground” who still attends Mass weekly.

Though I understand many of the reasons for their exodus — one has to go to where they believe they are being feed — nothing makes me as sad as hearing that one of the Collect has left the Church.

Bishop Fulton Sheen may have put it best when he said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

Most people leave the Catholic Church because they have been poorly catechized. (Most. Not all.) Additionally, most wrongly perceive how the Catholic Church worships — including many Catholics.

We don’t solely worship with song and sermon, thought that is an part of our celebration; they’re not truly the part of our worship. We worship with sacrifice; the sacrifice of the Eucharist, to be precise — and it sometimes takes a lifetime to understand that Sacrifice.

Sure, Evangelical services are uplifting. They are filled with great music. Their pastors give moving, powerful sermons. I love Evangelical Sunday services — and that’s why I don’t go to them.

Worship of the Lord is not about us. Worship of the Risen Lord is all about Him — or at least should be.

People often say, “I don’t get anything out of a Catholic Mass.” The retort of many Catholic priests or those of us who study our Faith is usually “Well, you don’t understand what’s going on.”

And maybe that’s so, but that’s not the right response.

Father Mike Schmitz has given the best responses, here and here. In both videos, he explains that there are plenty of things to get out of Mass. However, one does not go to Mass to get, one goes to Mass to give.

On Monday, I would go with anyone to a Tent Revival. On Tuesday, invite me to hear Christian brothers and sisters witness. On Wednesday, we can share in fellowship and study the Word. Thursday: Let’s all answer the Altar Call together and get slain by the Spirit. Friday: We can all quiet our minds and experience Taizé prayer. Saturday, let’s loudly sing contemporary music together in praise. But on Sunday…

Sunday is offered to us so we can disconnect from the world and all its distractions, stand before God and His awe, and simply make a sacrifice — and give. Sunday is all about God. God is Love and Love always demands some kind of sacrifice.

Love calls us to sacrifice ourselves.

In short, if you are not personally getting anything out of your Sunday worship, you’re probably doing it right.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Father’s Day

I’ve been an author, a press secretary. Director and screenwriter. I’ve ran a congressional campaign. Advised politicians. Rubbed elbows with U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators— and once told a Governor’s Top Aide to suck it.

Been Teacher of the Year! Made PBJs for Gary U.S. Bonds, sold Moet to Eric B and Rakim, and broke break with a Maharaja.

I’m one degree of separation from the last three presidents and two degrees from Sir Paul McCarthy.

I’ve even been in the presence of a Pope and a Saint.

But when I die, there’s only one thing for which I want to be remembered — being a loving husband and dad.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads who make a difference!


James Henry
 is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

The other day I came home and learned from my mom that my seven-year-old misbehaved for most of the day.

By the time I arrived home from work, my wife had already disciplined him and served up a consequence for his behavior before darting off to work. So, instead of hearing what happened from my bride, I sat him down and asked my son what happened.

After hearing his confession, I asked him what consequence he received for his actions.

“Mommy said I can’t watch T.V. tonight,” he confessed.

“Wow, you must’ve been pretty bad,” I replied.

Yes, he nodded.

Later that night, we prepared and ate dinner. After we cleared off the table, I plopped down on the couch to relax and turned on the television, forgetting all about the incident. As his big bro and I were scrolling through the selections on Prime, I noticed my seven-year-old son was pacing in the hall.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, having forgot that he was punished.

“I’m not allowed to watch T.V.” he said with a sigh, “and I don’t know what else to do.”

“Go read a book,” I sternly added, pretending to have remembered.

“Okay,” he pouted and went off to his room.

With that, I kindly asked my mom if she would mind keeping him company. She quickly agreed to read with him, impressed that he first honestly confessed and then voluntarily forfeited television without having to be reminded. I was impressed, as well.

Later, when his mom arrived home from work, I called him out of his room and praised him in front of her, for accepting his consequences. I also came clean and told him that I had forgotten that he was punished, then boasted to my wife that her reminded me.

Together, we praised him. “You are definitely on the path of becoming a strong Christian man” I added with a sense of pride, then we sent him off to bed with hugs and kisses.

Full disclosure, as a father, I don’t know what I’m doing to bring about such an amazing behavior.

The only thing I may do differently than other dads is that I constantly remind my boys that it’s my job to make sure they grow up to be strong Christian men.  I also share with them with my hope that on the day that I open my eyes in Heaven, I will find my entire family standing at my side — along with their families.

Maybe that’s the secret? Or maybe the secret is just having the love and support of a strong Christian woman as a wife?

I don’t know.  

Right now, I’ll take it — either way. 

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

When I was a kid, we all gathered around the television on Sunday nights and watch “The Wonderful World of Disney“. Every now and then, Walt Disney would introduce a show or pitch a product.

There was something magic about those nights.

Walt Disney’s ideas were all so new. His love for his product undeniable. If there was a new technology, Walt presented it on screen — humbly giving all the credit to the men and women who helped bring that new tech to life.

On Easter Sunday, I couldn’t help but to reflect on those days while my family gathered around the flat screen to watch the premiere of “The Chosen” Season Two.

Before the show began, the series creator, Dallas Jenkins appeared and talked the his show — just like Walt.

Walt Disney - Quotes, Frozen & Pictures - Biography

Dallas teased a new episode and pitched new things, singing “www dot the chosen gifts dot com” — just like Walt.

Here’s Walt Disney singing with the Sherman Brothers.

The greatest connection between the two, however, was how the nation came together to watch something wholesome that they created, with a sense of unity.

I wonder if Walt has been looking down at Dallas from the Heavens at all this? If so, I’m sure he smiles every time he hears the slogan Get used to different, thinking “Why didn’t I come up with that?”

This Tuesday, April 13, Season Two: Episode 2 will be released. If I had one thing I would change about “The Chosen” it would be that Dallas premiere new episodes and continue bring people together on Sunday nights — just like Walt … and just like Christ intended.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Recently, I received a text with a link to a short clip titled “Jordan Peterson cries talking about Jesus.”

I watched the clip and responded.

Immediately, the exchange continued.

Like Jordan Peterson, I often rely on scientific means to BELIEVE.

Though today I don’t subscribe to the 1960’s Hippie imagine of Saint Francis of Assisi, his writings did inspired me to leave home and study Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana. As my scientific knowledge increased, my Faith grew stronger.

For example, the scientific discovery of Fetal microchimerism better formed my understanding and acceptance of the Catholic Church’s Marian Dogmas. My blogpost The Theology of Jesus’ Blood Type explains how science helped seal my Faith in the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.

In fact, the Church uses science all-the-time.

The Church calls in scientists to try to disprove every alleged miracle or apparition.[1] For example, the Lourdes Medical Commission, while documenting thousands of extraordinary cures, has only validated only a handful of them. [2] Additionally, the Church sends a Promoter of Faith to interrogate and challenge those who are promoting someone’s sainthood. You might know that person as The Devil’s Advocate.

It is his duty to suggest natural explanations for alleged miracles, and even to bring forward human and selfish motives for deeds that have been accounted heroic virtues.

The ultimate weapon of the Devil’s Advocate: The Scientific Method!

God knew many of us would need more than blind faith to follow Him. That’s why there’s science.

The Church is steeped in science — and always has been. *

Take Saint Thomas the Apostle. Thomas needed evidence to believe and became the first Saint to use the Scientific Method!

Scripture tells us that Christ didn’t leave the Apostles faith to chance so he gave them evidence. He appeared to them, not once, but twice — when Thomas was present.

We all know the story. Thomas couldn’t believe in the resurrected Christ until he personally made an Observation.

Though John’s Gospel has Thomas silent at the moment of Christ’s visitation, Thomas had previously formulated a Hypothesis eight days before when he said, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Thomas was given a chance to test his hypothesis with an Experiment when Christ had His incredulous disciple reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side.

Thomas had both felt and seen the physical evidence of the Resurrected Christ, and was able to Draw a Conclusion, when he said “My Lord and my God.”

Finally, Thomas Communicated the Results, traveling the four corners of the globe spreading the Good News to the blessed who have not seen, but believe. Tradition, in both the East and West, has Thomas preaching in the regions south of the Himalayans, including India, where he suffered martyrdom in Madras.

This was not the first time that Thomas showcased his inquisitive mind. Earlier, in the 14th Chapter of John’s Gospel, Thomas asked the question: “Lord, we know not whither thou go; and how can we know the way?”

Maybe that’s why Thomas is also known as Didymus, meaning Twin — because he’s the spitting imagine, in heart and soul, of all of us who draw our conclusions by using the scientific method.

Who knew that following the science could lead one to follow Christ.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

* NOTE: I figured some readers would have a problem with the line “The Catholic Church is steeped in science — and always has been” due to the Galileo Affair. With that, here’s a LINK to my blogpost of this incident.

Image by James Chan from Pixabay

Most American Christians believe that all Christians celebrate Easter on the same day. In fact, 2016, one of the U.S. presidential candidates, wrote this:

This weekend, Christians of every denomination remember the most transformative event in history – Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection – the ultimate sacrifice that redeemed the whole world.

The fact is not every Christian denomination celebrates Christ’s resurrection on the same Sunday. This year, for the majority of Americans, we celebrate Easter on April 4th.  However, our Orthodox brothers and sisters, celebrate the resurrection in May. (May 2nd to be exact.)

So, why are there two Easters?

Historically, the early Church did not have a set date for Easter.  In fact, not every Christian remembered Christ’s resurrection on Sunday.

The Catholic Encyclopedia informs us, that according to Irenaeus, “St. Polycarp, who like the other Asiatics, kept Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon, whatever day of the week that might be, following therein the tradition which he claimed to have derived from St. John the Apostle, came to Rome c. 150 about this very question, but could not be persuaded by Pope Anicetus to relinquish his Quartodeciman observance.”[1]

Interesting!

After that controversy ended, the Catholic Encyclopedia states that:

“…the second stage in the Easter controversy centers round the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325). Granted that the great Easter festival was always to be held on a Sunday, and was not to coincide with a particular phase of the moon, which might occur on any day of the week, a new dispute arose as to the determination of the Sunday itself. The text of the decree of the Council of Nicaea which settled, or at least indicated a final settlement of, the difficulty has not been preserved to us, but we have an important document inserted in Eusebius’s “Life of Constantine” (III, xviii sq.). The emperor himself, writing to the Churches after the Council of Nicaea, exhorts them to adopt its conclusions and says among other things: “At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. . . in the city of Rome and in Africa, throughout Italy and in Egypt. . . with entire unity of judgment.” [2]

As already stated, we don’t have the exact words of the great council, but we may safely infer from scattered notes that the council ruled:

  • that Easter must be celebrated by all throughout the world on the same Sunday;
  • that this Sunday must follow the fourteenth day of the paschal moon;
  • that that moon was to be accounted the paschal moon whose fourteenth day followed the spring equinox;
  • that some provision should be made, probably by the Church of Alexandria as best skilled in astronomical calculations, for determining the proper date of Easter and communicating it to the rest of the world.

This was not a perfect solution. But it appears, by 525 AD all the Christian communities of the world were celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord on the same Sunday.

So, what happened?

Why do Russian and Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter or Pascha, on one Sunday and everybody else celebrates the Resurrection of Our Lord on another Sunday?

Well, the Gregorian calendar happened — kinda.

According to Wiki: The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, is internationally the most widely used civil calendar. It is named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.

Wiki states: The calendar was a refinement to the Julian calendar amounting to a 0.002% correction in the length of the year. The motivation for the reform was to bring the date for the celebration of Easter to the time of the year in which it was celebrated when it was introduced by the early Church. Because the celebration of Easter was tied to the spring equinox, the Roman Catholic Church considered the steady drift in the date of Easter caused by the year being slightly too long to be undesirable. The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, for the sake of convenience in international trade. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece, in 1923.

Blah, blah, blah-blah, blaaaah!

However, the Orthodox Church vigorously opposes the use of the Gregorian calendar, writes Fr. Jon Magoulias, a Greek-Orthodox priest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Modesto, California.

This, he informs us, resulted in the West and East celebrating all Church feast days on different dates, the Orthodox celebrations always falling thirteen days behind the Western. [3]

In 1923, Fr. Jon Magoulias continued, an inter-Orthodox congress was held in Constantinople attended by representatives of some, but not all, Orthodox churches. This congress made the very controversial decision to follow a revised calendar that was essentially the same as the Gregorian calendar, for all things except the celebration of Pascha, which continued to be calculated according to the original Julian calendar. The result being that today the Orthodox celebrate most feast days, like Christmas, Epiphany and the rest, at the same time as Western Christians and only Pascha and the feast days that are connected with it like Pentecost and the Ascension, are dated according to the Julian calendar and celebrated on different dates. [4]

Fr. Magoulias stated that for Orthodox, it is important to maintain the teachings and traditions of the Church intact and pure [5] — and I would argue, for Catholics, this applies as well.

But remember, I said the problem was that “the Gregorian calendar happened — kinda.” Well, the kinda is kinda important.

Well, Catholics believe Easter Sunday formula handed down by the First Ecumenical Council, held in Nicea in 325 AD is: The first Sunday which occurs after the first full moon (or more accurately after the first fourteenth day of the moon) following the vernal equinox. For Orthodox Christians, the formula is this: Pascha is to be celebrated on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, following the first day of Spring (March 21 on the Julian calendar), but always after Jewish Passover — and that’s the kinda that makes all the difference!

Because of this difference, Christians celebrate the most Holiest of our Holy days on different days. By doing this, it appears to me, that we are acting more like they who divided His garments by casting lots than those followers who near the cross of Jesus stood.

Personally, I think holding on to the tradition of the Julian calendar is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face. We know it was an inaccurate measuring tool. It’s definitely not Divine. So, why continue to use it?

I understand that Orthodoxy can also point to Canon VII of the Holy Apostles to counter any argument against the Julian calendar.

For those unfamiliar, Canon VII states: If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed. However, in the same breath, Canons XLV and LVX of the Holy Apostles respectively state: “Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them” and “If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated.”

To that I ask: “How close are these Canons adhered to today by Orthodox clergymen or laymen alike today?” (For the record: My Lutheran wife and I often hold hands in prayer and my kid’s dojo is held in the hall of a synagogue. Just saying.)

Now, I would never ask anyone to compromise their beliefs, but there has to be some wiggle room here. It’s also not my intent is not to pick on our Orthodox brothers and sisters — alone.

To Catholics, I ask you to answer this: Is there 100% certainty that you got the Easter formula correct? It appears that the formula was never written down. Even the Colonel’s fried chicken recipe and secret recipe for Coca Cola are written down somewhere. And since even the followers of the Apostle John got the formula wrong and later adjusted their practice, maybe we can conclude our date formula for Easter does not meet the standard of “an infallible Church teaching”?

Maybe?

The Good News (pun intended): Christians of every denomination did remember the most transformative event in history – Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection – uno die et uno tempore per omnem orbem in 2017.

The bad news is this isn’t going to happen again until 2034!  We need to change this.  There’s only one person who can initiate this change: Pope Francis.

Source: Günther Simmermacher | Pixaby

Here’s several ways you can address a letter to him.

  • His Holiness, Pope Francis PP. / 00120 Via del Pellegrino / Citta del Vaticano
  • His Holiness Pope Francis / Apostolic Palace / Vatican City
  • His Holiness Pope Francis / Vatican City State, 00120

Do not write “Italy” on the envelop as the country. The Vatican is considered its own independent nation

If we don’t unify now, after 2017, Christians will not celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ on the same day and at the same time throughout the world until 2034. Maybe that’s why the enemy is having such an easy time as of late. Think about it.

Kalo Pascha 2017!

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James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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