By Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic

Why I’m Not Leaving the Church and 3 Things We Can Do to Fix It:

Now more than ever people need to know there is something more to life.

Now more than ever people need to know – really know – that the answer is the Good News Jesus offers.

And that is why now, more than ever, people need us to get back to basics: Pray. Serve the poor. Preach the Gospel.

Will you join me? http://reallifecatholic.com/stay-connected/

Aletia: Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

According to tradition, Mary’s parents were barren until God answered their prayers.

Little is known authoritatively about the Virgin Mary’s early childhood and family. However, an ancient text from the year 145, called The Protoevangelium of Jamesprovides a narrative that many saints have turned to when wanting to learn more about the Virgin Mary.

According to the unknown author, a man named Joachim was saddened at not being able to conceive a child with his wife, Anne. It’s recorded, “Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.”

Similarly, Anne “mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness.” Then Anne “saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as You blessed the womb of Sarah, and gave her a son Isaac.”

The Angel Appears

In the midst of her prayers an angel appeared and said, “the Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth; and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.” At the same time an angel appeared to Joachim, saying, “Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down hence; for, behold, your wife Anne shall conceive.”

The two conceived a child shortly thereafter and then according to the story “her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anne brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? And she said: A girl. And said Anne: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anne was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.”

The account echoes many of the stories in the Old Testament, where couples were barren until they cried out to God. Angels are often the bearers of good news to them, proclaiming that they will bear a child. Yet in this case, instead of a boy, the announcement is a girl who “shall be spoken of in all of the world.”

The Catholic Church’s Beliefs

While the story is not known to be a factual account, the Church does refer to the parents of the Virgin Mary as Joachim and Anne.

Whatever happened, it would have been fitting for her birth to be miraculous, as the Church teaches that the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin in the womb of her mother. The Solemnity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is celebrated annually on December 8, nine months before the Feast of the Birth of Mary on September 8.

 

St. Anthony of Padua
Patron Saint of Lost Things
(1195-1231)
Feast Day: June 13

If St. Anthony specializes in anything, it is in finding lost objects. In America there’s even a little rhyme about it:  “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please look all around. There’s something that’s missing and cannot be found.” It’s not great poetry, but it makes its point.

The life of St. Anthony is brimming with miracles, and one of these stories explains how St. Anthony became the heavenly finder of lost objects. A novice in St. Anthony’s community decided to run off without telling his superiors. Before he left, he stole a valuable copy of the Psalms that belonged to Anthony.

Distressed at the loss of such a beautiful book, Anthony prayed to recover it. meanwhile, as the thief was making his getaway, he saw a terrible apparition blocking his path. “Return the book to Anthony!” the vision commanded. Frightened out of his wits, the young man ran all the way back to the monastery to restore the book to its rightful owner.

Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal. How he wound up in Italy is a long story. Here’s the short version:

Anthony had entered the Augustinian order in Lisbon. The bodies of five Franciscan missionaries who had been martyred in Morocco arrived in Portugal. Filled with admiration for the holy men, Anthony decided to switch orders from the Augustinians to the Franciscans and join the mission in Morocco. This he did.

However, on a trip home, a storm at sea blew Anthony’s shop off course. instead of landing in Portugal, Anthony came ashore in Sicily.

His timing was good: the Franciscans were gathering in Assisi for a general meeting, or chapter, and St. Francis himself would be there, It was at the chapter that Anthony decided to remain in italy.

On one occasion, Anthony made it his mission to bring back to the Catholic faith a man belonging to the Cathars, a sect that hated the Church and especially hated the doctrine of Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Nothing Anthony said made any impression on the man, Then on a holy day, Anthony carried the  Blessed Sacrament in procession through the streets. People knelt as the Sacred Hot passed by. When Anthony encountered the Cathar, the obstinate man remained standing. But his mule went down on its knees. The miracle of the mule convinced the Cathar, and he returned to the Church.

After Anthony died, so many miracles occurred through his intercession that Pope Gregory IX declared him a saint just one year after his death. Almost 800 years later, Anthony still holds the record the the fasted canonization.

Ask, and you shall receive! The Dynamic Catholic Institute is extremely excited to share with you The Turning Point, their very first Bible study experience! But this isn’t your typical Bible study. It’s a unique look at the Gospel of John that will help you encounter Jesus in a new and personal way—and it’s easy to bring to your parish or start in your small group. Check it out, and let Dynamic Catholic know what you think: https://goo.gl/WaJUnX

 

Happy Birthday to the Catholic Church!

And a very special Happy Birthday to you, who are the body of the Church!

We’re all familiar with our own birthdays. We celebrate them because they mark the day of the year in which we entered into this life. But did you know you have a second birthday?

Because you are part of the body of the Church, Pentecost is the Church’s birthday. And it’s yours as well. Like any birthday, it’s a cause for celebration.

Pentecost

The word Pentecost is Greek and it means “50th day.” Fifty days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their followers. It’s also the beginning of their Earthly ministry to make disciples of all nations.

Pentecost is also a Jewish holiday, which the Jews use to celebrate the end of Passover. Jews celebrate the gift of the law to Moses at Mt. Sinai on this day. But we, as Catholics celebrate the birth of our Church.

What Happened On The Day of Pentecost?

At Pentecost, the Apostles and their followers were gathered in a room. Jews from all over the world were gathered with Peter, the leader of the Apostles and the Eleven. At this time, a great wind blew and a flame appeared as a tongue of fire, which split itself into many individual flames above the heads of all those present. The Holy Spirit came upon these people and each began to speak in tongues. Despite the fact many had no common language, they were perfectly able to understand one another.

Others who were not so blessed, accused those speaking in tongues of being drunk, but Peter arose and addressed the crowd, explaining that it was only 9 o’clock, and that this phenomenon was not intoxication, but rather this was the work of the Holy Spirit, prophesized in the scripture.

Peter then called all those present to be baptized and about three thousand people were baptized that day.

The Birth of the Catholic Church!

These people were among the first Catholics, and Peter is the first pope of the Catholic Church.

The symbols of Pentecost are the flame, wind, and the dove, which represents the Holy Spirit. The color of Pentecost is red and the priest wears red vestments on this day. Parishioners are also invited to wear red on this day. Red decorations as well as celebrations are appropriate, similar to any other birthday. Special prayers are often said just for Pentecost.

Why Be Catholic and Not Just Christian?

Let Fr. Mike Schmitz from Ascension Presents share the answers to the question, “Why Be Catholic and Not Just Christian?” in this video!

Understanding Holy Week in 4 Minutes!

Understanding Holy Week in just 4 minutes? It’s a great start! Holy Week is quickly approaching, the most sacred week in our Church’s year. Do you know why it’s so holy and sacred? Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink, sit back and take 4 minutes to watch this enlightening video. Enter into Holy Week with a whole new understanding of why this week is “Holy”!

Don’t Stop Understanding Holy Week!

This video took just 4 minutes. Obviously, there’s so much more to know and understand about Holy Week. 4 minutes simply can’t do it justice. Why not take some time to visit a Catholic website to learn more (simply Google “Catholic Information Websites” to find excellent sources)? Or take some time to visit a Catholic store such as The Angelus (located on Diamond across the street from St. Isidore Church in Grand Rapids). Another great source is Michigan Church Supply located on the first floor at Cathedral Square downtown on the corner of Wealthy and Division Streets in Grand Rapids. Not sure what you’re looking for? Someone is always there to help and make suggestions for you.

No matter our age, there is so much to continually learn about the Catholic Faith. Don’t ever stop learning as it takes more than a life-time to know all there is to know about our beliefs!

How are they made? The Roman Rite has very specific guidelines about the process.

Article featured in Aleteia, March 11, 2018 

Image by Joanna K-Penn | YouTube | Aleteia 3/11/18

Ever since the Last Supper the Catholic Church has celebrated a Eucharistic feast that features bread and wine that are miraculously changed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

However, the Catholic Church believes it is not just any bread or wine that can be used and has specific guidelines that govern its creation.

In the Roman Rite (the Eastern Rite will be covered in a separate article), the Code of Canon Law lays out the basics of the bread and wine making process.

Can. 924 §1. The most holy eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed.

§2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.

§3. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.

Can. 926 According to the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, the priest is to use unleavened bread in the eucharistic celebration whenever he offers it.

The instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum adds a few other qualifications.

It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist.

The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances.

There are some exceptions to the rules above, including low-gluten hosts and a form of wine permitted for those who should not consume alcohol. In general, however, these basic rules govern what type of bread and wine can be used at Mass.

Many companies specialize in creating this type of bread, including many communities of nuns. For example, the Passionist community in Erlanger, Kentucky bakes bread each day that is used by parishes across the United States. In an article for Loyola Press, the detailed process is explained.

They start their workday by mixing water and flour to make paste. Back in 1951 when the monastery began making altar bread, they measured flour and water with measuring cups. Now that the business has expanded to 100 parishes nationwide, they have to measure with scales.

The paste is ladled onto “bakers,” a machine similar to a waffle iron, except that instead of a grid, the Chi-Rho symbol is embossed onto the bread. Once the 14-inch plates are cooked, they’re stacked and stored overnight in a humidifier so they can be cut without breaking the next day. The moistened plates are assembled in stacks of 72 and cut into small and medium-sized wafers. Once cut, the wafers dry out in dish pans, to be packaged later by 91-year old Sister Paul for distribution.

It is generally believed that Jesus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper. According to some scholars, “Their best-educated guess is that the wine would have been similar to modern-day Amarone, an Italian red wine made from grapes that have been dried before fermentation.” For these and other spiritual reasons the Roman Rite abides by the simplest ingredients for the matter that becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Eucharistic Adoration at Assumption

by Mary Gelderbloom, Eucharistic Adoration Coordinator

Did You Know?

Eucharistic Adoration is now celebrating it’s 22nd year here at Assumption. It is a blessing to have this Devotion of Love.

Why Embrace This Devotion?

St. John Paul ll, Saint Mother Theresa, Mother Angelica and a list that goes on and on of those who can not say enough about the importance of Eucharistic Adoration. Why? Because one thing everyone needs is a time of silence. Our world is very noisy and it’s getting worse. We need quiet time to be with Our Lord so we can listen to Him.

With the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and the Rosary, we Catholics can do so much to change every aspect of our lives. Our Church, ourselves, our families, our communities, the work force, politics and the entire world. Therefore THESE ARE OUR SPIRITUAL WEAPONS. Praise God we still have religious Freedom, but this is shaky, too!

Miracles Abound in Eucharistic Adoration!

There is an extraordinary miracle that took place in Lanciano, Italy. It has now been preserved in a Monstrance for over 1,200 years! What makes it so extraordinary? Because it holds the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! Scientists began a new investigation from 1970-1971. As a result of the investigation, their conclusion clearly states the flesh is heart muscle and the vagus nerve. Furthermore, the blood is type AB, the same type found in the Holy Shroud of Turin.

There have been hundreds of miracles over the years but I point this out to show the real presence of Jesus in the Monstrance. Remember what Jesus said to St. Thomas? “Blessed are those who haven’t seen and yet believe.” Consequently, if a miracle like that were to happen here at Assumption, we would have Perpetual Adoration right now with a room full of Adorers every day without fail.

We Have A Problem

The problem that’s happening at Assumption Parish is that many of our Faithful Adorers are getting older. Because some can no longer drive due to health reasons, it makes it hard for them to keep a committed spot. Also, we have some over the 22 years who have simply passed away. As a result, we are in need of new Adorers to fill these positions.

I’m happy to announce we have school children coming over for Eucharistic Adoration. These are our “Budding Adorers”. But we need new Adorers NOW to replace those who can no longer commit. With a parish of over 1,200 families (assuming the majority have at least two people in the family), we should have no problem having every hour filled with more than one person. With a minimum of 23 hour-long committed spots, that’s a minimum of 46 people if there are only two Adorers per hour. 46 out of thousands. 46 people out of over 2,400 people. Therefore, we should not have any problem filling these spots.

Besides committed Adorers, I need subs not only to take day spots but for those hours during the night. People have vacations, get sick and emergencies arise in which they need help with coverage.

Remember, this isn’t for me. It’s what Our Lord wants us to do. God wants us to have free time but He also wants us to put Him first. The Lord said to the Apostles, “Could you not watch one hour with Me?”

Will You Commit to Our Lord?

Our Lord needs more people to come aboard. This is the time of Adoration at Assumption:

           Thursday, 7:30 AM to Friday, 7:00 AM

Please call Mary Gelderbloom at 616-433-5005. I can share with you all the details. I will work around your schedule. Eucharistic Adoration can and will change your life. You won’t be disappointed! THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU.

 

May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.

The 13th Day – A Film About the True Story of Fatima

Witness the greatest miracle of the 20th Century, and experience the incredible, emotionally-charged and often harrowing world of three young children whose choice to remain loyal to their beliefs, even in the face of death, would inspire thousands.
Running time:  85 minutes
WATCH THE TRAILER

What’s Been Said About This Film:

“The 13th Day is the best film ever made about Fatima”

Steve Greydanus, National Catholic Register

“A timely message of Fatima has been retold for a new generation”

Leticia Velasquez, Catholic Media Review

“A remarkable re-telling of the Story of Fatima”

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

“…having reminded us of a very important message for the World, contained in God’s proclamation transmitted to the children of Fatima.”

The Jury, International Catholic Festival of Film and Multimedia

“This is a triumph of a film”

Sr. Helena Burns, FSP

Where Can You See This Film?

You can purchase the dvd from Ignatius Press or watch it for FREE on FORMED.org here using Assumption’s code.