Year of Faith

Pope Benedict's Final General Audience

pope_bxvi Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Church for the last time as Pope in the  final General Audience of his pontificate today in St Peter's Square.

Here is an excerpt from his remarks:

At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world's greatest figures - from the Heads of State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.

Read the full text of Pope Benedict's message here.

We love you Papa B!

[Video] Pope Benedict Abdication Partay

[youtube=] Ryan, Sr. Theresa, and I celebrated (a little early) the Solemnity of the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, and also celebrated Pope Benedict, his life, his ministry, and his gift to the Church.  We talked about our reaction to the news of his abdication, his impact on our lives, and thoughts on the Pope and the Papacy in general.

These live hangouts are a blast, thanks for joining us and interacting if you made it.

CATHOLICISM Lenten Reflection by Fr. Robert Barron [Videos]

Pope Benedict receiving ashes on his head during Ash Wednesday last year. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI, Associated Press


"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning." Joel 2:12 "A clean heart create in me, God, renew your spirit within me." Psalm 51:12

Video Reflections to Prepare for Lent

Two teaser videos for you this Ash Wednesday morning from Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicism series.


Who is Jesus Christ?  He is either who he says He is, or he is a lunatic, liar, and maybe even worse.


The temptation of Jesus reminds us to strive to put God at the center of our lives during Lent.


And 'cause I like you I'm gonna throw this in here too.  I'm feeling particularly Lent-y this morning.


Listen, today is the last Mass our beloved Papa Benedict XVI will be saying as Pope.  If you don't already have enough reason to go to Mass and get your ashes to kick off this special Lenten season, go to Mass to join the Pope in the Eucharist offering prayers for him and this challenging time for the Church.  Do it!

Check out the Mass readings for today here.


The Girl Who Made it Rain

girlUmbrella In June a desperate urgency hung over a hot rural town in western Ohio.  In the 1920's rain was a sensitive friend to the farmers in this town who relied on the growth of their crops to support their families.  If there is too much rain, the corn and tomatoes could be washed out.  If not enough rain fell, then few crops would survive the heat and make it to harvesting season.  So far this season you could count on one hand how many times it had rained.

By the end of June it seemed the whole town took on the temperament of the fields: hot, grumpy, and thirsty for rain.  After hearing an ear full of complaining for the past six weeks, the old Priest of the town took action.  At the end of a particularly arid Sunday Mass Father announced a special Mass to be held the following Friday offering up the intentions of all farmers and to ask God to send rain.

"Jesus tells us not to worry.  The daisies never worry and yet they are clothed with more splendor than King Solomon." The kind old Priest smiled, "How much more will God take care of you, whom He loves much more than daisies."

Not a few in the pews thought even daisies would not hold up much longer in such a scorcher and wondered if the Priest could not have chosen a better example from the Bible.  Even so, they were all a little hopeful and at least determined to pray with all their hearts at next Friday's Mass.

That Friday, the kindly old Priest looked out on the small congregation of winnowing fans in stuffy dresses and brow-wipers in cotton shirts.  All the windows were ajar and even the doors to the Church were left open to gasp for air.  Every now and then the sighs of uncomfortable horses could be heard, tied up on the shady side of the Church near the doors.  Other than this there was no movement nor even the faintest breeze outside.

The worn Priest nervously patted his neck with a handkerchief and wiped his mouth as eyes persisted on him, waiting for the homily.  The dry heat was everywhere and on everything.  He smirked as he made a silent joke to himself about the effect this Mass might have on the next month's collection if rain did not come soon.

The Priest began to speak, starting the homily on faith he had given every year around this time for decades, when an object in the sea of warm bodies caught his breath.  It was small, short, and brightly colored; clutched firmly in the grasp of a small bright girl whose feet hardly touched the ground where she sat.  Such an object was unique in the Church and one of its kind on that day.  The Priest had not seen one in almost two months.

A familiar feeling of conviction, hope, and reckless abandon stirred anew in the Priest's soul.  And the stooped Priest of God stood tall and pointed to the girl and gave a homily that made everyone who heard it forget about the heat and see themselves and God for the first time in months.

No one who retold this story in the years to come could ever remember if rain came that year.  Either way wouldn't change the transformation that happened to the eyes of everyone present that day.

But if it did rain, it was because of the faith of the girl with the umbrella.

March for Life 2013

[youtube=] Send some prayers our way today as our youth group joins over 200,000 others in a March on DC to stand up for LIFE.  Check out more about the March for Life here.

"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?"

              - Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta