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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.

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Image by Wojciech Kaczkowski from Pixabay

The Chosen creator Dallas Jenkins changed the filmmaking world with the online series about Jesus and its $11 million ground-breaking crowd-funding campaign. “Get used to different” has become the series mantra.

One thing I like about being a Catholic Christian is the fact that it is radically different. Just like Wynton Marsalis’s stylish attire made him radically different in a world of Jazz.

Traditions are important in Catholicism. Change is rare. So rare, we still this consider the Novus Ordo Missae new — and its our Liturgy for over 50 years! In today’s fast-pace, ever-changing world where gratification comes in nanoseconds, that’s radically, radically different! Amen, amen?

So, when I saw the article “Let’s add 5 healing mysteries to the rosary” in U.S. Catholic‘s online magazine, I thought this is radically different in a Wynton Marsalis/Heavenly trumpets sounding different.

Immediately, I emailed it to my pastor.

“Get permission to republish this in the bulletin,” I wrote. “Might be a good Lenten devotional?”

That just might have been my biggest understatement of the year. This would be a great Lenten devotional!

With Lent just around the corner, I didn’t ask for permission to republish this. “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” to quote the legendary Jimmy Buffet.

As a preemptive penance, I’m asking everyone who reads this blog post to Pay It Forward! and click on the author, Alice Camille‘s personal webpage and/or the link to her original article, and #share it!

“Our world needs them,” Alice Camille wrote about 5 healing mysteries to the rosary. “You or I might pray them. Heaven will hear them. It doesn’t matter if Rome never knows about them.”

Well, let’s pray that Rome learns about them.

COVID has wounded us in so many ways. The world needs healing. So does our nation, and many of our friends and family members need to heal from the effects, small and large, of COVID.

Lent is around the corner. Let’s come together as One Body and pray the Rosary for healing!

So here’s Alice Camille‘s five healing mysteries of the rosary.

Get used to different!


The first healing mystery:

Jesus restores the outcast to community

“Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?” (Luke 17:17)

They were lumped together as “unclean.” Nobody knows what afflictions they suffered. These lepers couldn’t be touched, were thrust from home and family, and were forced to live apart. Whatever infected them couldn’t have been worse than this awful isolation, as we know intimately.

Jesus, heal us from this pandemic. Restore our community to health and wholeness. May we remain grateful for the privilege of human gathering.


The second healing mystery:

Jesus rewards the woman of courage

“Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” (Matt. 9:22)

She wasn’t supposed to be out in public, touching a man’s clothes, or cause a stir that would embarrass her family. But the hemorrhaging woman had suffered too much for too long to behave by social norms that didn’t serve her and couldn’t save her. She trusted Jesus. Good for her!

Jesus, bless the courageous ones who won’t sit quietly by and suffer without taking their destiny in their own hands.


The third healing mystery:

Jesus frees the imperiled child

“Lord, have mercy on my son, for . . . he suffers terribly.” (Matt. 17:15)

This poor child fell often into fire and into water. He reminds us of all our children now suffering the effects of conditions they did nothing to cause and are powerless to change.

For all the ways in which the world’s children suffer—hunger, domestic abuse, impaired learning conditions, depression, anxiety, shame— Lord, rescue our children and restore their hope.


The fourth healing mystery:

Jesus heals the person suffering mental distress

“But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ ” (Mark 1:25)

Demons haunt us all. But some, like this man who cried out to Jesus, are especially burdened. People who are emotionally fragile, or whose mental health was already compromised, suffer exceptionally from the pandemic conditions of stress, upheaval, and isolation.

Lord, we ask you to keep our vulnerable loved ones in your special care. Hold them in the palm of your hand and let them feel your constant protection.


The fifth healing mystery:

Jesus heals the Earth’s abundance

“So they cast [the net], and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.” (John 21:6)

Behind the realities of pandemic looms the greater danger of a world enduring the cumulative effects of exploitation, greed, indifference, and ignorance. Climate change is changing the rules of our future survival.

Merciful Lord, this creation is your first and best gift to us. Give us the wisdom and the will to transform our global commitment to the planet that is our home.


This article also appears in the January issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 86, No. 1, page 47-49). Click here to subscribe to the magazine.

About the author

Alice Camille

Alice Camille is the author of Working Toward Sainthood (Twenty-Third Publications) and other titles available at http://www.alicecamille.com.

James is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James has been featured on The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio),  Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  

Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influenced that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly. 

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

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

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Every year during Holy Week, I watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ — and every year I cry; and every year,  I cry at the same scene.

I can watch the betrayal of Jesus by Judas;  I can watch the Sanhedrin trail before Caiaphas; I can watch the brutal scourging;  I can watch Jesus fall over and over, and look-on as people spit on Him and kick Him;  I can keep it together as nails are driven into the flesh of His hands and He is lifted upright on a cross, all without shedding a tear.

However, every time Peter denies Our Lord, my heart and soul weep; my body quakes; and tears flow down my face.

This year, I was prepared.  I told myself that I would not cry as the scene approached, but  again, I could not hold back the tears.

How many times have I denied my Lord in my thoughts and words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do?  More than three!

When I was a boy, I was once told by a priest in my home parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, that there’s a  follower of Christ in scripture who represents each and everyone of us.

For years I thought that I was Thomas, Doubting Thomas, because I have always questioned and studied to not only understand, but to please my hunger for the Truth.

I thought, deep down, if given enough evidence, my faith would never waiver.  Today, I have a library of evidence.

After watching The Passion, annually for the last decade and a half, I have sadly come to realize that I am Simon Peter, Cephas, Kepha.  I am someone who denies the Lord.

Denies, plural and in the present tense.

I so want to be Simon Peter, the Rock, but the sad reality is that I am not, and I may never be.

Who in scripture are you?  Have you ever pondered that question?

Maybe you are Peter, as well? Or Andrew? Or James? John? Philip? Bartholomew? Thomas? Matthew? James the Lesser? Jude? Simon the Zealot? Matthias? Saul? Mary Magdalene? Martha? Mary? Lazarus?

The truth is: The person we are eventually supposed to be most like is Jesus Christ.  And, like my Lord, every time I fall, I pick up my cross and carry on!

As Christians, we carry on even if we need someone else to carry our cross for us!

This Holy Good Friday, maybe you can join me and pray,  “Forgive me, Lord. Have mercy on me and on the whole world” and then pick up your cross and carry on.

James DobkowskiJames 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 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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Image by PixArc from Pixabay

It was kind of an amazing sight — if anything about being part of a funeral procession could be amazing.

Minutes before, we had just viewed the wake of a close friend for the last time.

For me, she was a friend, a sister, someone I knew since high school.  To my wife, she was a close confidant.  To my boys, she was an aunt-figure who lavished them with love, gifts, and hand-me-downs — bags and bags of hand-me-downs.

She was the stand-in for our first-born’s Godmother, who couldn’t make it north from Nashville — a role that she would voluntarily play on a permanent basis.

After saying goodbye, we left the funeral home with heavy hearts, gathered in our minivan, and joined a long line of cars that followed her hearse from the funeral home down Montauk Highway to Wellwood Avenue, the main street of my home town of Lindenhurst, Long Island.

As we pulled up to the Church, our cars were stopped in the middle of the road by a traffic officer.   Second in this seemingly mile-long procession, we quietly watched and waited as the officer spoke to the driver of the car in front of us.

Shortly after, he slowly approached.

“Good morning,” I greeted him, believing that he was going to point us to an area set-aside to park.

“Just leave your keys in the car,” he politely commanded, seemingly in disbelief.  Then added, “… just in case we have to move your car.”

Park here?  In the middle of Wellwood Avenue? 

Wellwood Avenue is the main artery in and out of my hometown.  When our parents asked where we were heading after school, we would often say “Into town” which meant we were going to Wellwood Avenue.

It’s where we got pizza, ate ice cream, saw a movie.  It was the home to our restaurants, our Church, our local theater.

Only one street went from the shore line of our community to the very end of our town, and that was Wellwood Avenue!  It was, in more ways than one, our main street.

We did as he asked, as did the rest of us in the procession, and slowly exited, leaving our vehicles parked along the double yellow line.

That’s when it hit us all — and we moved forward, like zombies, in perpetual disbelief.

The streets were lined with bystanders.  Elected officials and police officers in dress uniforms stood at attention.  There wasn’t a parking — or standing — spot in sight.

Wellwood Avenue — Main Street — was shut down!

“You only see something like this if a President dies,” I whispered in the ear of my eldest.

My knees weakened as the bagpipes waled, seemingly guiding us all inside Our Lady of Perpetual Church, my childhood parish.

Like outside, the Church was adorned, wall-to-wall, with people from all walks of life.  Elected officials.  Teachers. Parents. Loved ones.  Relatives and friends.

Every parish priest and every deacon was present.  In fact, the officiant of the Mass came all the way from Virginia to serve and honor the deceased.

Absent, however, were news reporters.

You see, on paper, my dear friend wasn’t someone “special”.  She was just a mom, a housewife, and a friend.

She never sought higher office beyond the PTA.  She never sought fame or riches.

All she did was love and love large; so much so, that at news of her passing, a multitude came to pay homage. So many, in fact, that they had to shut down Main Street.

Seeing all this, I struggled, as a Christian, how someone so faithful to Our Lord could be taken so early and so painfully?

Finally, the priest approached the podium to give his homily.  He shared with us all an event that only he and her husband knew:  After being diagnosed with brain cancer, the doctor asked this couple if they had any questions.

“Can you give me three years?” she asked.

“One of my patients lived 20 years,” the doctor professed. “Most live four to 15 months.”

After leaving the doctor’s office, her husband turned to her and asked. “Why did you ask for three years?”

“You and the kids aren’t ready now, but you’ll be ready in three years,” she answered, and three years was the time she was granted.

Jesus, the priest reminded us, only had three years to prepare His family, the world.  Comparing my friend’s mission to that of The Christ, the priest defined Jesus’ mission as Love.

The priest then spoke directly to her husband, “Your marriage presented that Love to all who witnessed it.”

I was a groomsman in their wedding. I witnessed that Love first hand.   In fact, I wanted that same Love in my life, in my relationship with my wife.

I also knew that my dear friend had slipped into a coma only days after her wedding anniversary.

Suddenly, the yoke of my sadness was lifted.

You see, she knew, as the priest explained, that God didn’t make her sick.  She also knew that He can take a tragedy and use it to send a clear message of his Real Presence — and often He uses His most loyal followers to communicate this message of His Love.

Take the death of His Son, for example!

Soon, everyone in the Church and all the people lining the streets, would know what I had just realized…

“And like Jesus’ life,” the priest added, “your marriage, your Love-on-display, lasted 33 years.”

Of course, I’m paraphrasing.  An Irish funeral followed the Catholic funeral at the cemetery, so things might not be exactly as I remember them.

But for all those listening on that day, in that holy place, the veil was lifted and His message was clearly received.

therese-giganteTherese M. Gigante, beloved wife of Gerard; cherished mother of Christina, Gerard, Joseph, Annemarie, and Matthew; loving daughter of Margaret and the late Vincent Moran, caring sister of Ann Massetti, Vincent Moran, Mary Cramer, Margaret Cronin, Elizabeth Lovizio, Bernadette Haffner and Joseph Moran; adoring aunt to many nieces, nephews and, endearing friend to many more, died on November 15, 2019 exactly as she lived her life, sharing the gift of Christ’s Love to everyone she encountered.

Always a giver, she only asked for three things:

  • A Church funeral where we could all pray together.
  • An after-party where we could all drink, love, and laugh together.
  • And for us all to move on.

Well, we did our best and gave her two out of three!  Enjoy the video of her life.  You’ll quickly understand why it won’t be that easy for many of us to move on.

In the end, keeping true to herself, she gave us all a very clear and lasting message:  The only road that matters is the road you take to Heaven!

Rest in Peace, Reese, and may the perpetual light shine upon you!

#ThreeThirtyThree

 

ON A PERSONAL NOTE:  There will soon be a scholarship in Theresa’s name.  To honor Reese’s life in a special way, all my profits from the 2020 sales of my book:  Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, an inspirational novella, will go to that scholarship.  You can find the book on Amazon. com.  God bless.

    ++++++++++++++

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
James Dobkowski
Today, James lives in UpState New York where he continues to teach.

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Recently, I started following an admitted atheist on Twitter after s/he challenged me because I put a #Faith in one of my tweets. @[anonymous] Atheist showed an almost Christian brand of kindness when I revealed my #Faith became unshakeable after I felt the physical presence of God lift a major burden off of me.

Nota bene: I respectfully changed the person’s Twitter handle @[anonymous] Atheist.

Things were amicable and soon, we started following each other.  From time-to-time, I would respond to a tweet that I disagreed with. And s/he would respond in kind.

It all appeared cordial.

For the proof of God, I introduced [anonymous] Atheist to Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. PhD, President of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009.  Fr. Spitzer had a series on EWTN titled ‘Finding God Through Faith and Reason’.  Today, he is the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and President of the Spitzer Center.

He’s pretty deep and science-based, which speaks to my science background.  For the repliability of the Gospels, I posted this lecture by Dr. Brant Pitre.

I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Pitre and often refer to him as the “new Scott Hahn.”  (If you’re into Catholic Christian apologetics, you know what I mean.)

However, after I responded to these two response tweets — where [anonymous] Atheist asked someone in the twittersphere to present proof that God existed — s/he blocked me.

I didn’t realize it at first. I’m not very twitter-savvy.  I only discovered that I was blocked after I searched for the [anonymous] Atheist.

[anonymous] Atheist posted often and when I didn’t see any recent tweets, I grew concerned.  When I discovered that I was blocked for seeing his/her tweets, I tweeted:

Blocked? Really? I really enjoyed your tweets.

Soon after that, I couldn’t even find the [anonymous] Atheist on Twitter, altogether.  So, I thought, either there’s a nuclear blocking option or s/he has left the twitter world completely.

So, I used another Twitter account — and that’s when I discovered I was nuked!

Again, I’m not Twitter-savvy, so forgive me if these are not the proper Twitter-terms.

For a moment, I was sad. Did I say something offensive? I don’t believe I did.

Finally, I had to chuckle.

Wouldn’t that be ironic, I thought, offending someone who makes it a daily ritual trying to offend people — particularly people of #Faith?

Then it hit me: Isn’t that what is happening across this nation?

Social media has given everyone a soapbox to stand on.  [anonymous] Atheist is probably still out there, and still challenging people of #Faith.

Today, we are all truly globally connecting, yet sadly no one is really communicating.

James DobkowskiJames 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.

 

Suggested Reading:

Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says. Lee Billings.  Scientific America.  2019.

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Hope

(Source: Pixabay.com|jill111

Recently, the governor of my home state, New York, signed the Reproductive Health Act, the most progressive abortion bill in the history of the United States.

Like Governor Cuomo, I am Catholic.

Unlike Governor Cuomo, I was never an altar boy.   So, maybe he has one up on me there?  I also never attended Catholic school.  However, I did attend CCD classes throughout my primary and secondary school years.

As a Catholic, I applaud the governor for supporting the Child Victims Act, which the Church long-opposed until there was the inclusion of employees of public institutions. (Although, nowhere in the bill did I see the inclusion of dirt bag politicians – just saying.)

I think we all can agree, we need to pursue and punish the monsters who sexually abuse children and post-pubescent teens,  regardless of race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation and/or political affiliation.

However, as a Pro-Life Catholic, I break with the governor on the Reproductive Health Act.  So, the rest of blog post might disappoint you.  Sorry.

With the signing of RHA, I reached out to my Bishop, His Eminence Edward B Scharfenberger for answers.

Unlike many of my fellow Catholics, I did not ask if he was going to excommunicate Andrew Cuomo from the Church.

Excommunication is a heavy burden for any Bishop to bear.  And though I understand that excommunication is not supposed to be a punitive act; it’s hardly ever received that way.  Further, historically, it usually causes more harm than good, and most often leads to schism — which is never positive.

I simply asked the Bishop in regard to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing of RHA:

“What do you have to do as a Catholic to not receive Holy Eucharist in the Catholic Church?”

To my surprise,  I immediately received a response from the Diocese of Albany.  It read:

“The Bishop discussed this…. The governor does not present himself for Eucharist.”

And there, I saw my first sliver of hope.

I am aware of plenty of Catholics who openly snub Church teachings, yet religiously receive Holy Communion every week.  Sadly, some of them are priests.

However, Andrew Cuomo does not!

As I understand it, Governor Cuomo, who is divorced, has stopped presenting himself for Holy Communion since he began co-habitating with his girlfriend.

For Christian Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian life.  Not receiving It is a BIG deal!

In Cor 10:16-17, Saint Paul tells us that we just don’t participate in the Eucharist, we are in communion in the blood of Christ. “…nonne communicatio sanguinis?” as it is written in the Latin Vulgateκοινωνία or koinonia in Greek.

Early Church Father and Orator,  St. John Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407) commenting on Paul’s words made this very clear when he said:

The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the Body of Christ?Wherefore said he not, the participation? Because he intended to express something more and to point out how close was the union: in that we communicate not only by participating and partaking, but also by being united. For as that body is united to Christ, so also are we united to Him by this bread.(Homily 24 on First Corinthians: 4)

The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine.

St. Paul also teaches us in 1 Cor 11:27 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.”

The Catholic Church maintains that teaching.

It’s not that we’re mean or are trying to deny non-Catholics something extraordinary. It’s actually done out of love.

No one, but God can read the intentions in one’s heart. The only way for the Church to understand that one fully accepts Her teachings on the Eucharist is if you have professed your Faith to Her, first by entering the Church through the sacrament of Baptism, followed by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation.  As we grow in our Faith, we confirm our Baptism as young adults through the sacrament of Confirmation.

So, this practice of restricting the Blessed Sacrament is a spiritual protection, in a sense; kind of like not letting a person who is not a board certified surgeon operate on another person.

Simply, this person may have a perfect understanding of the body systems, but they haven’t proven their understanding.

The Church just didn’t come to this practice in the recent past, as some believe.

The practice of a closed communion goes back to the days of the early Church — to the near roots of Her foundation.

St. Justin Martyr, a second century Christian, wrote “And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the person who believes that the things which we teach are true….” [1]

So, why would Andrew Cuomo NOT present himself for Holy Communion if so many others do?

I can only hope it’s because he respects the Gospel truth when it comes to receiving the Holy Eucharist — and maybe, just maybe, he knows in his heart of hearts that he’s in the wrong?  And that gives me hope.

Now, don’t misunderstand me.  Signing the Reproduction Health Act is not an act of Christian charity, by any means.

There are 198 world nations.  Fifty-nine out of the 198 allow abortions.  However, only seven of these 59 countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks: Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Of these seven countries, the Netherlands and Singapore allow abortions after 20 weeks, but ban it after 24 weeks.

Astounding, isn’t it?  Almost unbelievable.  But, you can fact check it all here.

Sadly, since the signing of RHA in New York on January 22, 2019, other states, such as Virginia, have become bold enough to submitted similar bills.

Will the Almighty judge Governor Cuomo for opening this kind of  legislative Pandora’s Box?  I don’t know?

All I know is that the lack of compassion for our neighbor is at an all-time high.  Not surprisingly, it comes at a time in our nation when the respect for Life is at an all-time low.

However, calling for the excommunication of Andrew Cuomo, and people like him, is not the answer.

In doing so, we turn the Bishop into nothing more than a modern-day Caiaphas.  Likewise, we appear, on the world stage, looking more like the misguided standing alongside the Sanhedrin, crying out, “Crucify Him!” before Pontius Pilot, than who we really are: Christians.

Feeding into anger and frustration, we, in a sense, risk becoming the like our enemies, who Christ calls us to Love.

We have to take this fight to the battlefield where we have the most weapon power.  That’s why, since January 22, we now start our dinner grace with a pre-amble prayer.

We pray nightly for the Governor of New York; but above all, we also pray for our brother in Christ, Andrew Cuomo.

In doing so, I like to believe, that we keep hope alive — even if it’s just a sliver of hope.

James Dobkowski

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, 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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virgin-mary-2112654_640 (1)

Source: Cbdlq on Pixabay

“Not unless there was an Immaculate Conception….”

It’s a punchline I hear from time-to-time.  Most often the jokester is implying that something or someone was (or was not) “conceived without sex … like Jesus.”

I usually bite my lip and say nothing.  Often, I’ll wait until the joke-teller is alone; I’ll then try to quietly approach him or her and usually privately say something like this:

“I know you’re an intelligent person and wouldn’t want to tell someone something that isn’t true, but a virgin birth …. ummm … sorry … that’s not the Immaculate Conception.”

Few people are immuned from this dogmatic faux pas.

Religious affiliation doesn’t inoculate one from error.  Unfortunately, Catholics often have to be corrected on this infallible teaching in Catholicism.

Intelligence doesn’t spare one either.

After the 2016 Presidential election, Secretary Hillary Clinton joked, “The things that come out of some of these men’s mouths …  maybe you (these men) were dropped by immaculate conception.”

According to the article, her joke was received with “rousing applause from the audience.”

Reading this truly made me sad.

Not only did the audience, the news reporter, and the editorial team not know the true meaning of the Immaculate Conception, but the woman telling the joke — who is arguably the most prominent woman in the United States, if not the world — didn’t even know that the truth of the Immaculate Conception.

This isn’t a political statement against Mrs. Clinton.  I’m sure I can find plenty of theological faux pas on her opponent’s Twitter account.  The point of reference here is the Immaculate Conception.

The Immaculate Conception is not an it.  The Immaculate Conception is a who.  

The Immaculate Conception is actually a woman!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that this woman was “redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son” (CCC 492).

She was a woman full of grace, kecharitomeneA woman blessed above all woman.  A holy woman who became the Mother of God.

She was conceived just like you and me.  However, when she was conceived, she became and forever remained Kecharitomene.  Immaculate! 

So, it’s not Jesus who was conceived “immaculately”.  His mother, Mary, was!

Sorry for ruining future punchlines.

To learn more about the Immaculate Conception, go to Catholic Answers.  You may also like to the The Science of the Immaculate Conception.

 

James Dobkowski

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘TwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL! 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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Women dominate the New Testament. Of the world’s major religions, the Christian scriptures appear to focus the most on women in the ministry of the faith.

So, it begs the question “Why doesn’t the world’s largest Christian denomination allow woman to become priest?”

To address that question and many other issues facing Christianity today, I began writing. At first, Hail Mary was supposed to be a television drama. I scripted a few episodes and a Series Bible that received much praise beyond the typical Hollywood Polish Pass.

However, the content was considered at odds with what the modern television audience. So, I decided to re-write these teleplays in book form and release each individually as I complete the transition from a script to a literary work written in prose.

Though Hail Mary explores controversial Church issues, the series is not an opinion piece. It’s a story – or a series of stories.

Each new book in this series will revolve around Sister Mary Joseph, a former cloistered Irish nun trying to adapt to American life after she becomes involved in solving the many life issues of an urban community – while secretly disguised as a priest.

All Mary Joseph has to guide her, in this role, is her love for the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In this series, many of the issues facing the Church today will be examined and explored with grace and dignity. And, to the best of my ability, resolutions will be based on ecumenically accepted Church teachings. However, I am not a theologian — or even theologically educated. I’m just a storyteller. Nothing more.

American contemporary Christian singer and songwriter Rich Mullins may have put it best when he said, “It’s so funny being a Christian musician. It always scares me when people think so highly of Christian music, Contemporary Christian music especially. Because I kinda go, I know a lot of us, and we don’t know jack about anything. Not that I don’t want you to buy our records and come to our concerts. I sure do. But you should come for entertainment. If you really want spiritual nourishment, you should go to church…you should read the Scriptures.”

Maybe the same applies to contemporary Christian fiction writers? I don’t know. But the quote most certainly applies to this author and the Hail Mary series.

Most importantly, Sister Mary Joseph’s call as a woman to impersonate a priest is NOT intended to be an outward condemnation of Church teachings. Instead, the true intent of Hail Mary is to entertain — and possibly guide the reader to inwardly examine one’s “self.”

Therein lies the central question of Hail Mary – the deep, spiritual question that dwells in every person: Are we truly answering God’s call?

In the first book: Hail Mary: Bread & Wine, Mary discovered a homeless parishioner, named Jesus, who took her on a modern day Passion of the Christ.   In the next book, Sister Mary Joseph’s American parish adventures continue.

Below, you will find the opening chapter of Book II.   In the industry, it’s called a teaser. I hope reading it is an enjoyable and positive experience – and you look forward to the release Hail Mary Volume 2: The Prayer of Saint Francis

 


HAIL MARY 2:1

Source: Pixabay.com | Pixel2013

Have you ever been in one of those situations where your heart races, your hands become clammy, your mouth feels like a sand box and your tongue feels like a paperweight? And somewhere, in the midst of it all, you begin to wonder, “How did I get here?”

Sister Mary Joseph was having one of those moments.

Her hands, positioned for prayer, dripped with sweat and her dried mouth felt like it was stuffed with cotton as her focus leaped from one Church image to another; from the Lord, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to all the Saints.

Guilt-ridden, she reached up and tugged on the Roman collar around her neck then began to pray, “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

If this was a normal day, she would’ve been praying silently or alone and the Amen that followed would’ve been soft, demure and her own. But today was no normal day. And Sister Mary was not praying silently, nor was she alone.

She was center stage – center altar to be exact – pretending to be a Catholic priest at the eight am daily Mass at Brooklyn’s century-old St. Vincent Ferrier parish

“Amen,” responded the few Collect in attendance.

The People of God, gathered for their daily nourishment of the Eucharist, were unaware that the celebrant before them was really Sister Mary Joseph.

The reasons why the Irish-brogued Sister of the Poor Claires had taken on role of an impostor priest were many. However, defiance was not one of them.

But for now, she was committed to carrying out this mission – even at the cost of losing her soul.

“The grace and the … The grace and — of … of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship — I mean: the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” the impostor priest fumbled through the Entrance Song.  Confused, the congregation respectfully stood in silence as they exchanged awkward glances.

“Oh brother,” Sister Mary quietly lamented.

Later on, Father Tonna and Sister Mary Joseph, still in her public guise as Father Joseph, exited the old Black Forest Bakery.  When the bakery first opened in 1878, it was one of many Mom & Pop stores owned by German immigrants that speckled this Brooklyn neighborhood one hundred plus years ago.

Today, this century old bakery and Otto’s Deli, two shops down, are all that remains of the original immigrant community that settled here at the end of the 19th century.

These businesses are kept alive, mainly, from nostalgic online orders, by those whose families moved out of the city long ago, and from in-store purchases by new immigrants who have developed a fondness for things like Lebkuchen.

Like many who grew up in this neighborhood, Tonna was raised on the bakery’s German delights. Going to the Black Forest Bakery on Sunday was as much a part of their family ritual as going to the nine AM Mass.   Hard rolls, crumb cakes, and Danishes from the Black Forest Bakery were as much a part of the Sunday breakfast as where eggs, bacon and home fries.

With every visit, Peter fondly recalled waiting in a long line with fellow parishioners and feasting on free sugar cookies as mom and dad ordered – a tradition that sadly soon ended after Vatican II changed the pre-Mass fast from midnight to Mass to just one hour before receiving.

“You had to see me. It was horrible,” Mary Joseph moaned as she exited the Black Forest Bakery with Tonna, who held their order of German delights in a 1 lb. white paper bag.

“It couldn’t’ve been that bad,” Tonna contended, trying to be supportive.
“It was worse,” the Irish-brogue priest impostor insisted.
“Here!” Tonna added as he started to unveil their purchase. “This should cheer you up.”
“They’re called Bear Paws?” Father Joseph asked.
“Bear Claws,” Tonna pointed out. “See the claws. Take a bite.”

Ignoring Tonna’s correction, Mary Joseph dug right into the heal of the Bear Claws.

“Mmmmm,” she groaned with a mouthful of pastry. “That’s –”

Suddenly, she stopped as her eyes locked on a mystical vision in the distance. This was the same vision that had been haunting Mary Joseph since that prayerful morning in the Irish Hills.

“What? You don’t like it?” Tonna innocently questioned, not being able to see the angelic apparition.

Now locked in a trance, like one of the visionaries of Kibeho, Mary Joseph advanced forward and unquestioningly followed this mystic image that now guided her forward.

“What the…?” Tonna added, seemingly at a loss of words – or at least kind words. Tonna followed Mary Joseph and finally caught up with her just as the pair turned a corner.

Now awakened from her trance, Mary Joseph peered down the street, in search of the angelic image – but was it gone.

“What was it?” Tonna asked with concern.
“I thought I saw her again,” Mary added.
“Her?”

As they fixedly stared at each other in question, a car suspiciously edged passed the two, slowing as it neared the house across from where they stood.

Only seconds passed before several glass bottles with burning cloth wicks were tossed from the car at the Brooklyn home.  Time appeared to slow as the homemade bombs took flight.

Finally, the bottles landed and violently shattered, spreading terror and flames as the car spun away — but not before Father Tonna caught a glimpse of the teenage driver.

“Luisbi?” he silently sighed.

A sudden scream diverted Tonna’s attention and the pace of time returned to normal for the Brooklyn Diocese priest. In a flash, his old fire-fighting instincts kicked in and the former New York City firefighter rushed forward in to action.

Without questioning, he unraveled a garden hose, and then ordered several neighbors to do the same. As the neighbors scurried to comply, Peter handed Father Joseph the nozzle and pointed to where he wanted his co-cleric to direct the stream of water.

What happened next still has people talking to this very day…

Unshaken, Peter ran into the home as the neighbors surrounded the front of the house and tried to drown the flames, as best as they could.

“Look!” a neighbor shouted. “I see four men walking around in the fire … and the fourth looks like –”
“Peter!” Mary cried at the sight of her new found friend exiting the fiery furnace with a frightened family, huddled under the protection of a wet blanket.

Upon Peter’s command, the family sped forward together, away from the blaze, escaping the flames as the courageous cleric fell to his knees from exhaustion.

Seeing Peter fall, Mary broke the line and ran forward to aside.

“Are you okay, Peter?” she asked once she arrived at Tonna’s side.
“That was so much easier with an air mask,” he added as he gasped for air and coughed uncontrollably. “What an adrenaline rush. Man, I miss that!”

Then, without warning, her Irish rose within Sister Mary Joseph and she socked the winded priest in the forearm.
“What where you thinking!” Mary Joseph growled.
Peter grabbed his left arm and laughed, all the while gasping for air. “By the way, you have a pretty good punch.”

Now far from the flames, the family stepped out from under the protection of the water-soaked blanket as the neighbors crowded around them with concern.

To their amazement the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their clothes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

In worship, the family turned East and gave praise.

“Allah Akbar!”

BUY IT NOW!


James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul and the new book series Hail Mary. 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.

 

 

Hail Mary: Prayer of Saint Francis.  Copyright © 2017 by James Henry Dobkowski. All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce this book or portions thereof, in any form.

Book design by James Henry Dobkowski.  Cover Photo: Silhouetted of a Nun is used by the permission of the photographer Kjeld Friis. © Kjeld Friis. See more by going to KjeldFriis.dk.

 

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ash-wednesday-corporation-you

Ash Wednesday – Corporation YOU © 2017

Today is Ash Wednesday.

For six years, I lived and worked in Southern California, within the bounds of the largest Catholic archdiocese in United States where I attended Mass and services at the parish of St. Finbar in Burbank.

Almost 5 million Catholics work, live, and worship in the Los Angeles community of 11 million people which prides itself on its embrace of multiculturalism.

Oddly enough, when I lived in So Cal, not one Ash Wednesday passed without someone pointing out that I had “something” on my forehead.

The first time it occurred, I was in a Target. The person was kind and concerned as she approached and expressed her concern.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said. “You have something on your forehead.”
“It’s Ashes,” I replied, believing she would then know what I was talking about. She didn’t. “It’s Ash Wednesday,” I continued. Still nothing. “I’m Catholic,” I added. “We put Ashes on our forehead to mark the beginning of the season called Lent.”
“Wow, that’s cool,” she smiled, then walked off.

I have to admit; though I chuckled, I was equally amazed that she didn’t know. The following year, it occurred again.

My wife and I went to have sushi after receiving ashes to meet our holy obligation of eating fish. (And yes, I’m aware that sushi is not the true intended act of penance imposed by the Church to commemorate the day.)

As we we’re leaving the restaurant, the Japanese-accented Sushi Chef called out to us.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “Have good day.”
“You too!” my wife and I added in unison.
“Excuse me, you have something on you –,” he added, pointing to his forehead.
“Yes, thank you,” I replied. “It’s ashes. It’s Ash Wednesday.”
“Oh my goodness,” he humbly replied seemingly losing his accent. “I’m a lapsed Catholic.”

We chuckled. First at the loss of the shame-filled Sushi’s Chef’s Japanese accent; but also at the fact that it happened again!

I was equally amazed that he didn’t know.

The most noted case of mistaken ashes came when British Sky News reporters, on Ash Wednesday, thought the dirty mark above the brow of then Vice-President Joe Biden was also just something on his forehead.

It’s quite humorous. The reporter, another self-proclaimed lapsed Catholic, finally realizes three minutes and 10 seconds into the broadcast that Joe Biden’s something is, in fact, ashes, and humbly apologizes.

Take a look at it HERE.

In her defense, and the defense of the others, our ashes often lose their intended shape, that of a cross — especially by the end of the day.  (See below)

Catholic Guide to Ashes

Though I no longer live in Los Angeles, I, oddly enough, miss those awkward Ash Wednesday incidents.

I don’t miss them because they made me laugh — even though they did.  I miss them because they revealed, to me, the true nature of the season of Lent that lives in the heart of those of goodwill.

Lent is a season of Penance, yes; but it’s also a season of Reflection.

But what exactly should we reflect on?

Well, how about we reflect on being more Holy, more Christ-like; we can do this by reflecting His loving character more.

In fact, I’d argue that the motivation behind these well-intended interactions were, for the most part, just as Christian as the act of receiving and wearing ashes.

How so?

Then let me start with this question: If Jesus was walking down the street and he saw a smudge on someone’s forehead, what would He do? What would He say?

I think that Jesus would stop, point, and say, “Excuse me, sir. You have something on your forehead.”

So, if today, if you are stopped by a well-intended non-believer or non Church-goer, simply smile and say, “No, that’s not dirt on my forehead. It’s Ashes … but thank you!”

Maybe, you could even take this opportunity to start a conversation — and possibly take the first step in introducing someone else to the Love of Christ.

 

James DobkowskiJames 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.

 

 

Lent Fun Fact:
The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Friday was the reason for the creation of McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.

 

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The daffodils that my sons and I planted in the Fall had just started to break through the ground … then the Winter Storm Stella hit dropping over two feet of snow on those budding bulbs extending winter, just as Punxsutawney Phil predicted.

It reminded me of sermon I heard when I was a kid after a very similar late season storm.

That year, the winter was unseasonably warm and the birds, which had began their Spring migration North, got caught off guard.

Standing at the podium, my pastor lamented about trying to save a flock of Canada geese in his yard that were now in jeopardy due to the bitter cold.

“I opened up my garage door and tried to corral the geese inside — to safety,” he said. “The harder I tried, the more the geese ignored me.

“I kept shouting, ‘Don’t you know, I’m trying to save you.’ But they just wouldn’t listen,” he explained. “I must’ve been out there for 30 minutes.

“Finally, I gave up,” he sighed. “As I stood in the garage, I thought ‘If I could only become a goose. I could tell them that I was trying to save them.’ And then it hit me….

“God became human.

“That’s why He became one of us.

“To talk directly to us. To tell us directly that he’s trying to save us.”

Now, all we have to do is start listening.

 

James DobkowskiJames 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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