Busy Student Retreat
October 26th-30th
Mark your calendars now for the upcoming Busy Student Retreat.  The retreat allows participants to take the focus off of the daily pressures and anxieties of academic life and to take time to deepen their relationship with God through prayer and meditation.  Retreatants go to work and class as normal, but meet once a day with a spiritual director for thirty minutes, and spend another thirty minutes in meditation and prayer on their own. In addition to the times for prayer and fellowship, Mass and Confession (30 minutes before Mass) will be offered daily at 9pm.  Please sign up on the Activity Board or through Flocknote by Wednesday, October 22nd.   The retreat will begin Sunday October 26th with a meal and presentation following the 6pm Sunday evening Mass.

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Top 10 Reasons College Students Need Catholic Campus Ministry


10 - Get answers to questions. You might have questions and you are bound to run into other students who have questions about the Catholic Church. Campus ministries can help you find the answers to the big questions in life and some smaller ones too!

9 - Make good friends for life. A real friend is someone who will look out for your best interests. You definitely need friends who will support you in growing in faith and respect you as a person. Many good friends in college will be friends for life.

8 - Help when you need to make better decisions. If college has a reputation for anything, it is bad decisions. Finding a place that will help you make wiser decisions is a must. Start by asking "what kind of person do I want to be?" and then act like you already are that person.

7 - Discover your path in life. Choosing a career, figuring out your vocation, etc - many things are figured out in college. For life's big steps you might need help and you can get it in campus ministries.

6 - Give back! College is a time to start to think more about others. The majority of college students are mostly on their own. It is time to start to think about how you can give back to God and others. Remember, if you graduate with a college degree, you will be more educated than the vast majority of others on this planet and that is a privilege and responsibility.

5 - Have fun without the guilt! Campus ministries can provide a great way to have a ton of fun, with great people, without all the guilt that goes along with partying and the other trappings of college life.

4 - Live a life of purpose and avoid the college trend of losing faith. There are all kinds of bad stats which show that college is a time of losing faith (one shows that only 25% of young adults attend church weekly). Don't be one of the college students that loses what is most important in life! Find out how to live a live of true purpose.

3 - Learn what is most important. If your classes teach you anything, it is that you don't know everything. The same goes for your Catholic faith. You should learn what the Church teaches on an adult level and most campus ministries provide classes and opportunities to learn more. Having the knowledge of a 15 year old won't cut it for a Catholic adult.

2 - Find out what prayer really is. College is a time for trying new things. Trying a kind of prayer you haven't really done is also important, in order to widen your horizons. It could be attending daily Mass everyday, an hour of adoration every week, a daily rosary, meeting with a spiritual director, etc. Whatever you try, don't ever stop praying. Prayer is the foundation for a relationship with Jesus -> which leads us to #1...

1 - Jesus Christ. What good is your time in college if you don't leave college with a closer relationship to Christ than you did when you entered college? Catholic campus ministry can provide you with the chance to grow in faith. Ultimately - what good is college without it???

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Walk for Charity

Date: Saturday, September 6, 2014

Time: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. *Registration begins at 8:00 am

Location: St. Mary's Colgan Track (212 E. 9th St., Pittsburg, KS 66762)

The walk will take place on the track at St. Mary's Colgan. Please bring your signed waiver form and money to turn in at the time of registration. There will be waiver forms available at the walk to sign, along with water. Please promote the walk in your own parish, and let's raise some money for Catholic Charities. All the proceeds will go to Catholic Charities here in Southeast Kansas (SEK), which is the only place in SEK that assists people with rent and utility services regardless of employment status. The Walk is Free, but Donations are appreciated, and pledge cards will be available to collect donations from friends and family.  Pledge forms are available under the Quick Links tab:  Walk For Charity Printable forms on the right side of this page.  Please make checks payable to Catholic Charities or St. Pius X and mail to St. Pius X Catholic Student Center, 301A East Cleveland, Pittsburg, KS or drop off at St. Pius X Catholic Student Center Office or Our Lady of Lourdes parish between the hours of 9am-3pm Monday through Friday, or you can bring donations to the event! All donations are fully tax deductible.  First 100 to register get a T-shirt! You can register by going to catholicgorillas.org and going to the Quick links tab on the right side of the page for the Walk for Charity. For more information, contact Nicole Goetz at 316-616-5513 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Summer Rule Of Life For College Students

The primary authors are the Apostles of the Interior Life.



A RULE OF LIFE FOR SUMMER
Summer can be a very good time for relaxation and rest, compared to the hectic life of the year, but it can also be a very fruitful time for spiritual growth.

“In this oasis of quiet, before the wonderful spectacle of nature, one easily experiences how profitable silence is, a good that today is ever rarer. The many opportunities of relation and information that modern society offers sometimes run the risk of robbing time for recollection, to the point of rendering persons incapable of reflecting and praying. In reality, only in silence does man succeed in hearing in the depth of his conscience the voice of God, which really makes him free. And vacations can help us rediscover and cultivate this indispensable interior dimension of human life” -JPII, Angelus, July 11, 2004.

It is important to enter summer with a “plan” for your spiritual life. Otherwise it is so easy to drift away even from the prayer commitment that you had during the year.

  • First of all be faithful to your daily prayer. Establish how much time you want to devote to it, how (rosary, meditation on the Word of God, adoration…) and where (home, the chapel, your parish…). It is better to start with a little commitment (for example 20 minutes every day), and then in case increase it, than to start big and then give up because you can’t keep up with it.
  • Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation with frequency. Get information about the days and times for Confessions in your parish.
  • If it is possible, you ought to go to Mass during the week as much as you can, according with your academic/work commitments.
  • Summer is usually a period when you have some more free time on your hands. It is ideal to read some good spiritual books that can inspire you and nourish your faith. You will find a great treasure in the lives of Saints, their writings, and in books about specific topics in which you are interested (e.g., spiritual discernment, virtues, faith and reason, Church history, apologetics, morality, etc.). You can ask your spiritual director or a campus minister for some good titles.
  • Try to be in touch with some good friends, with whom you share the same values. You can either pray together sometimes, or take a commitment at the parish together (e.g., helping with teens, Bible study, working in a soup kitchen, etc.), and certainly keep each other accountable for your spiritual life. If you can’t be physically in the same place, at least you can call each other regularly.
  • If you have a spiritual director, or spiritual mentor, keep in touch with him/her, calling or emailing him/her if you are in need of help and suggestions during the summer.
  • If you are going to spend summer at home, you might find difficulties because you don’t have the St. Pius X community around. Families are not always supportive of faith, some parishes seem to be less alive than the Catholic Center, and you don’t get to see so many young people around. Remember that God is at work also in your parish, in your family and in your home town. Try to see the positive aspects there, and to think of that as an opportunity to give something of what you have received here at St. Pius X during the year. With your family, try to be strong about your decisions, but also understanding of where they are at and not judgmental. You can be a witness to them, with your peace and gentleness.

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Get More Out Of Going To Mass

Many people go to Mass with the expectation that they are supposed to "get" a lot out of it. But, what you get out of Mass is dependent on what kind of changes you are willing to make in your efforts before, during and after Mass, because what you put into Mass determines what you get out of it.

1 - Properly prepare for Mass.

  • Read and study the readings before you go to Mass, and then listen to them intently while The Word is proclaimed. You can find the Sunday readings here.
  • Study the Church's teachings. The more you know about Christ and His Church, the more there is to love. - You can't love what you don't know.
  • Go to Confession regularly. This will help prepare you spiritually.
  • Pray daily. Without prayer you have no spiritual power!
  • Dress appropriately. You are going to meet the King of Kings. Don't dress the same as you would for a lunch date, a party, or class. Make it special.
  • Get there early and sit up front. Less distractions and more time for prayer before Mass.
  • Once inside, don't talk or people-watch...pray.

2 - Make sure your attitude is adjusted properly

  • Don't expect to be entertained. It isn't as much about what God is doing for you, but what you are doing to worship God.
  • Look for God in every part of the Mass.
  • Don't let outside distractions disturb your internal peace.
  • Find one nugget in the preaching to take home with you.

3 - Participate

  • Sing, even if your voice is bad.
  • Respond and pray with gusto. Give it all to God and don't worry about others.
  • Remember that during Mass isn't socializing time.
  • Offer your pain, sufferings, joys and prayers to God.

4 -Listen to the Word and be open to it changing you

  • Are you open to letting God change you? If not, then you won’t be changed.
  • Listen to the Word proclaimed and let it challenge you.
  • Find something in the Homily and apply it for the week.

5 - Know, understand, and proclaim your Faith

  • Don’t just recite the Creed - proclaim it like you mean it and understand what you are proclaiming.

6 - Tithe

  • If every Catholic tithed...think what we could accomplish in spreading the Gospel.
  • Yes, it is our duty to support the Church. But, it does more for our own faith than it does for the Church.
  • Most people "tip" not "tithe" - so be a tither, not a tipper.

7 - When you receive Jesus in the Eucharist - understand what it is you are doing

  • You are taking the Body, blood, soul, and divinity of GOD into you
  • You are joining in heaven on earth
  • You are becoming one with The Body of Christ
  • Be reverent

8 - Tell other people about Him

  • You are now empowered to evangelize (share the Good News of Christ) - which is what the Church exists for.
"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy." - Saint Jean Vianney

 

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Fortnight for Freedom

June 21-July 4th

 

For the Litany for Freedom, events and more ideas, click here.

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Francis: Ask God for advice when you pray, even silently on the bus Rss Feed Twitter Facebook Print

(©Lapresse) Pope FrancisPope Francis

At today’s General Audience Francis remembered the young man covered in tattoos and piercings who asked the Virgin Mary for “advice”. The Pope sent out an appeal against drugs and urged people not to let the crisis “take away our lives”

Iacopo Scaramuzzi
Vatican city

At this morning’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square Pope Francis urged faithful to use their moments of prayer to ask God for advice. He said they could even do so during silent prayer in the street or on the bus. Or pray to the Virgin Mary like a young man covered in tattoos and piercings did when he went to confess to Bergoglio in the Argentinian Shrine of Lujan.

With today’s teaching about “counsel” the Pope continued his series of catecheses on the gifts of the Holy Spirit: “I bless the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart exhorts me. I keep the LORD always before me; with him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken". May the Spirit can always instil in our hearts and fill us with the certainty of his consolation and peace! Always seek the gift of counsel.” “We know how important it is, especially in the most delicate moments, to be able to count on the advice of wise people who love us. Now, through the gift of counsel, it is God himself, with his Spirit who enlightens our hearts, so as to help us understand the proper way to speak and behave and the path to follow,” Francis said.

The Lord speaks to us and offers us advice in two ways: through prayer and through the voice and the testimony of others.” “Counsel, then, is the gift by which the Holy Spirit makes our conscience capable of making a concrete choice in communion with God, according to the logic of Jesus and of his Gospel. In this way, the Spirit helps us grow inwardly, helps us grow positively, helps us grow in communion and helps us to avoid being at the mercy of selfishness and our own way of seeing things. This is how the Spirit helps us grow and also live in communion.” “In intimacy with God and listening to His Word slowly we put aside our personal logic, dictated most of the time by our closure, our prejudices and our ambitions, and instead learn to ask the Lord, what is your wish?” “Prayer, praying is so important. Praying those prayers that we all know from childhood but also praying with our words, praying to the Lord: ‘Lord, help me, advise me, what should I do now?’ With prayer we make room for the Spirit to come and help us in that moment, he advises us all on what we must do. Prayer, never forget prayer, never. Nobody notices when we pray on the bus, on the streets, we pray in silence, with our hearts, take advantage of these moments to pray. Pray for the Spirit to give us this gift of counsel.” “It is the Spirit who counsels us but we have to make room for the Spirit to give us counsel and give space to prayer, prayer for Him to come and always help us. The Lord speaks to us not only in the intimacy of our heart, - He speaks to us, yes, but not only there - but also through the voice and the testimony of others. It really is a great gift to meet the men and women of faith who, especially in the most complicated and important moments of our lives, help us to shed light in our hearts and recognize the will of the Lord.”

At today’s Audience Bergoglio also shared a personal memory of his: I remember once, I was in the confessional, and there was a long queue in front of the Shrine of Lujan, the diocese of that bishop there, and there was a young man in the queue, all modern with tattoos And ... he came to tell me what was happening in his life. He had a big, difficult problem. ' And [he asked me] what would you do? So I told my mother about this and my mother said to me: ‘Go to the Virgin Mary and she will tell you what you must do.’ Here was a woman who had the gift of counsel. She did not know how to solve her son’s problems but she indicated the right way: ‘Go to Our Lady and she’ll tell you.’ This is the gift of counsel. Do not say, ‘Do this ...’. Let the Spirit speak. And that woman, humble, simple, gave her son the truest, most beautiful advice, because this young man said to me: ‘I looked upon Our Lady and I heard that I need to do this, this, this.’ I did not have to say a word. It all came from my mother, the Virgin Mary and the young man. This is the gift of counsel. You mothers who have this gift, ask for this gift for your children: the gift of being able to counsel your children. It is a gift from God.”

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Prayers for Finals


Remember - as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.

Here are some prayers for students who have finals coming up.  St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron of students, so it is a common practice to ask for his intercession and use prayers that he wrote.

PRAYER OF ST. THOMAS
Ineffable Creator, Who out of the treasures of Thy wisdom has appointed three hierarchies of Angels and set them in admirable order high above the heavens and hast disposed the divers portions of the universe in such marvellous array, Thou Who art called the True Source of Light and supereminent Principle of Wisdom, be pleased to cast a beam of Thy radiance upon the darkness of my mind and dispel from me the double darkness of sin and ignorance in which I have been born.
Thou Who makest eloquent the tongues of little children, fashion my words and pour upon my lips the grace of Thy benediction. Grant me penetration to understand, capacity to retain, method and facility in study, subtlety in interpretation and abundant grace of expression.
Order the beginning, direct the progress and perfect the achievement of my work, Thou Who art true God and true Man and livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

Another from St. Thomas Aquinas - patron of students. We used this one in Grad. school frequently.

Grant, O merciful God, that I may
ardently desire,
prudently examine,
truthfully acknowledge,
and perfectly accomplish
what is pleasing to You,
for the praise and glory of Your Name. Amen.
A good prayer to use before studying.
A Prayer before studying for exams.“God of Wisdom, I thank you for the knowledge gained and the learning experiences of the semester. I come to you this day and ask you to illuminate my mind and heart. Let your Spirit be with me as I prepare for exams, guiding my studies, and giving me insight so that I can perform to the best of my ability. Please grant me the strength to handle the pressure during these final days of the semester, the confidence to feel secure in my knowledge, and the ability to keep an appropriate perspective through it all. Help me to keep in mind what is truly important, even as I focus my time and energy on these tests in the immediate future. Finally, may I sense your peace in knowing that I applied myself to the challenges of this day.”
-Amen-


Two Prayers to St. Joseph of Cupertino - another patron of students:

1 - O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.

Through Christ our Lord.
St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.
Amen.
2 - O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of Examination) examination.

In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.

O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me
O Holy Ghost enlighten me
Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.
Amen.

Finally, here are two prayers from Catholic.org:

Under thy patronage, dear Mother, and calling on the mystery of thine Immaculate Conception, I desire to pursue my studies and my literary labors: I hereby solemnly declare that I am giving myself to these studies chiefly to the following end: that I may the better contribute to the glory of God and to the promotion of thy veneration among men. I pray thee, therefore, most loving Mother, who art the Seat of Wisdom, to bless my labors in thy loving-kindness. Moreover I promise with true affection and a willing spirit, as it is right that I should do, to ascribe all the good that shall come to me therefrom, wholly to thine intercession for me in God's holy presence. Amen.
Incomprehensible Creator, the true Fountain of light and only Author of all knowledge: deign, we beseech Thee, to enlighten our understanding, and to remove from us all darkness of sin and ignorance. Thou, who makest eloquent the tongues of those who lack utterance, direct our tongues, and pour on our lips the grace of thy blessing. Give us a diligent and obedient spirit, quickness of apprehension, capacity of retaining, and the powerful assistance of Thy holy grace; that what we hear or learn we may apply to Thy honor and the eternal salvation of our own souls. Amen.
St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for students.
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Bishop-Elect Carl Kemme Ordination and Installation

May 1st, 2014 at 2:00pm

If you would like to join us in the St. Pius X Catholic Student Center Social Hall, we will be watching the live streaming of the event.  If would like to watch it at a different location, you can find the link here.

Earlier this week "The Wichita Eagle" printed an article about the new leader of the Diocese.  It can be found here.

Please keep Bishop-Elect Kemme in your prayers as he transitions into this new role the Lord has given to him.

Below is a video of Bishop-Elect Kemme greeting the people of the Diocese of Wichita

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Mark Hart, Executive Vice President of Life Teen, shares the details of Jesus Christ's Resurrection from the Dead.


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Fr. Robert Barron on The Meaning of Easter

 

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John XXIII, John Paul II Linked by Love of Dialogue With World

Bl. John Paul II and Bl. John XXIII, who will be canonized April 27.

Vatican City, Apr 17, 2014 / 12:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- John XXIII and John Paul II, who will be canonized April 27, are “bound together” by their love for addressing the world in conversation, a cardinal who worked with them both has said.

“Before John XXIII, the Pope was perceived as one who made pronouncements from on high; John XXIII was the first Pope speaking off the cuff, and he paved the way for a new style,” said Cardinal Paul Poupard, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in an April 15 interview with CNA.

“And of course we all remember the spontaneous meetings John Paul II had, especially with young people.”

Cardinal Poupard worked at the Secretariat of State beginning in 1959, the second year of Angelo Roncalli’s papacy.

John Paul II appointed him head of the Secretariat for Non-Believers in 1980, and he was president of the Pontifical Council for Culture from 1988 to 2007.

Cardinal Poupard had the opportunity to spend time with both Popes, and saw that “during their meetings, both of them turned into, in a sense, who they had been before their election.”

He recalled his first meeting with John XXIII, when he, a 29-year-old priest of Paris, presented the Roman Pontiff with the book he published after his doctoral dissertation, about the appointments of bishops in France.

“The appointment of bishops! You wanted to work hard!,” John XXIII told Fr. Poupard, reminded of his own efforts in French bishop appointments.

Roncalli had been apostolic nuncio to France from 1944 to 1953.

“In the conversation, he turned into the apostolic nuncio again,” Cardinal Poupard reflected.

He then recounted that “when John Paul II spoke about the situation in Poland, he spoke such that he turned back to being the Bishop of Krakow, mentioning the Primate, Stefan Wyszynski.”

Cardinal Poupard said that “John XXIII was the first Pope ‘speaking off the cuff’”, and he also “introduced into the style of encyclicals, the reading of the signs of times.”

This style is peculiarly evident, he said, in Pacem in terris, John XXIII’s last encyclical and “his spiritual legacy, I would say, since he died some weeks after the encyclical had been issued.”

Cardinal Poupard explained that “every chapter of the encyclical starts with a statement dealing with an aspiration of men … to peace, to freedom, to dignity.”

This style of Pacem in terris was an inspiration for the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, which was something “new in the history of ecumenical councils.”

“Conciliar documents had always been based on God, on revelation … Gaudium et spes inaugurated a new way of addressing the world, an inductive method which began from the aspirations of the human being instead of a deductive method with a basis in revelation.”

He said John XXIII paved the way to a more spontaneous way of being Pope, upon which John Paul II built, citing in particular the Pole’s institution of World Youth Day.

John Paul II frequently engaged in conversation with the world through his trips to 129 countries, and his dialogue with other Christians and with the followers of other religions.

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Holy Week and The Triduum


Some insights into Holy Week and the Triduum from Pope Francis to start us off:

This week begins with the festive procession with olive branches: the entire populace welcomes Jesus. The children and young people sing, praising Jesus.

But this week continues in the mystery of Jesus’ death and his resurrection. We have just listened to the Passion of our Lord. We might well ask ourselves just one question: Who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, before Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid the enthusiasm of the crowd? Am I ready to express my joy, to praise him? Or do I stand back? Who am I, before the suffering Jesus?

We have just heard many, many names. The group of leaders, some priests, the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, who had decided to kill Jesus. They were waiting for the chance to arrest him. Am I like one of them?

We have also heard another name: Judas. Thirty pieces of silver. Am I like Judas? We have heard other names too: the disciples who understand nothing, who fell asleep while the Lord was suffering. Has my life fallen asleep? Or am I like the disciples, who did not realize what it was to betray Jesus? Or like that other disciple, who wanted to settle everything with a sword? Am I like them? Am I like Judas, who feigns loved and then kisses the Master in order to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor? Am I like those people in power who hastily summon a tribunal and seek false witnesses: am I like them? And when I do these things, if I do them, do I think that in this way I am saving the people?

Am I like Pilate? When I see that the situation is difficult, do I wash my hands and dodge my responsibility, allowing people to be condemned – or condemning them myself?

Am I like that crowd which was not sure whether they were at a religious meeting, a trial or a circus, and then chose Barabbas? For them it was all the same: it was more entertaining to humiliate Jesus.

Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit on him, insult him, who find entertainment in humiliating him?

Am I like the Cyrenean, who was returning from work, weary, yet was good enough to help the Lord carry his cross?

Am I like those who walked by the cross and mocked Jesus: “He was so courageous! Let him come down from the cross and then we will believe in him!”. Mocking Jesus….

Am I like those fearless women, and like the mother of Jesus, who were there, and who suffered in silence?

Am I like Joseph, the hidden disciple, who lovingly carries the body of Jesus to give it burial?

Am I like the two Marys, who remained at the Tomb, weeping and praying?

Am I like those leaders who went the next day to Pilate and said, “Look, this man said that he was going to rise again. We cannot let another fraud take place!”, and who block life, who block the tomb, in order to maintain doctrine, lest life come forth?

Where is my heart? Which of these persons am I like? May this question remain with us throughout the entire week.



The Triduum is made up of the three days before Easter - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It is a single prayer of final preparation where we enter into the redemption of humanity and the salvation of the world made present in the Resurrection of our Lord.

This is the holiest part of the year and makes present the mystery of Jesus passion and death before He rises again.

  • Holy Thursday - The Mass of the Lord's Supper, it is the celebration of the first Eucharist in the upper room. This is when we have the annual washing of feet. Usually there is no other Mass celebrated on this day. Extra hosts are consecrated and then all of the Blessed Sacrament are taken from the Church and the tabernacle is left open to signify our longing for Christ. We have adoration after this mass as our last act of worship before the sorrow of Good Friday.
  • Good Friday - Celebration of the Lord's Passion. There is no Mass this day. Usually there are Stations of The Cross and a Communion service. This is when we have veneration of the Cross and the entire Passion of Christ is read.
  • Easter Vigil - This is the high-point of the Church's year. During this celebration of Christ's death and Resurrection we have the RCIA candidates and elect receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). The vigil must take place after night falls. It starts with an Easter fire outside of the Church. Then the paschal (Easter) candle is lit and processed into the Church. Then we all share the light of Christ with one another. Afterward, we have the Liturgy of the Word, which will have many readings about the story of God's Salvation history (7 Old Testament and 2 New Testament readings). Then after the homily, we celebrate baptism and confirmation. After this we celebrate the Eucharist. It is a long and absolutely beautiful liturgy with many "smells and bells".

We should prayerfully enter into the coming Holy Week in preparation for Christ's rising from the dead. Christ have mercy on us all!

Holy Week in Two Minutes

Want to know why Catholics wave palms on Palm Sunday; wash each other's feet on Holy Thursday; or kiss the cross on Good Friday? Look no further than BustedHalo.com's® two-minute video that describes the final week of Lent we spend preparing for Easter.

 


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21 Reasons To Go To Confession & Why Catholics Confess Sins To Priests


There are several questions we need to sort through before we get to the reason we all need Confession.
  • Is the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) necessary to have your sins forgiven or can you go straight to God?
  • Why do we need this Sacrament?
  • Where did it come from?
  • What does sin do?
We have to lay some groundwork before giving adequate answers.
What Sin Does
Sin causes damage in an three-fold way:
  1. With God
  2. With Others
  3. With Ourselves
Most people easily see that sin can damage the relationship between us and God. This is why all Christians seek forgiveness of sins in some way. But, this isn't the only damage done. St. Paul tells us, in several of his letters, we are all united to God in one body of Christ - the Church. One example of this teaching:
"We, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another." - Romans 12:5
So, when we sin we can damage others. As Paul says in his long teaching on the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians:
"If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy." - 1 Cor 12:26
Thus, we not only damage the relationship with God, but also with other members of the Church. The Catechism teaches:
"1440 Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church."
The third damage caused is to ourselves. We are created for goodness and holiness. When we sin, in a sense, we become less of who we were created to be. This damage needs to be repaired also. This healing only happens when sin is forgiven.
Who Forgives Sins?
Only God has the authority to forgive sins. Yet, this authority is mediated through others. The Jews questioned why Christ was forgiving sins, because they did not realize He was God. We must not forget that Jesus was also a man. He passes on this authority to forgive sins to his apostles.
After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples who were gathered in the upper room, scared out of their minds and confused. Christ comes and breathes the Holy Spirit on them and then commissions them to forgive sins. This is only the second time God breathes on humans. The first is when He breathes life into Adam. Breath is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."" - John 20 19-23
The apostles are sent as the Father has sent Jesus - with the authority to forgive sins. But, how could they know which sins to forgive and which to retain, if the sins were not confessed? This is why the book of James says this:
"confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." - James 5:16
In this context of this verse, a person is told to "summon the presbyters of the church" (James 5:14). Presbyter is the Greek word for priest (or elder).
Therefore, based on the Biblical evidence, we see forgiveness of sins is explicitly tied to confession to a priest, who has the authority to forgive sins, which is given by Christ. Christ thus heals the relationship through the priest and we are reconciled to both God and His Church - healing the two-fold damage done in our relationships.
Can You Go Straight to God?
Yes and no. We are told, as we see clearly in Scripture above, that we are to confess our sins to one another. Thus, the ordinary way we have our grave sins forgiven is through the Sacrament of Confession. Thus, this is the way that Christ has established as the ordinary way to forgive grave (i.e. mortal) sins. But, there are extreme circumstances where God may forgive grave sins outside of Confession if the person has perfect contrition (sorrow) for their sins, but these are extraordinary.
Also, we are only required to go to Confession once a year during the Easter season, and only if we have committed a mortal sin. Thus, all venial sins can be forgiven by going straight to God, though they can also be forgiven in Confession, and this is recommended whenever possible.
Can only Catholics Have Their Sins Forgiven?
The simple answer is no. While confession is the ordinary way to have your sins forgiven, it is not the only way. The Catechism says:
“When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (CCC 1452).
If someone is not Catholic (thus they do not have recourse to the Sacrament), then they can be forgiven, with perfect contrition and confession of their sins to God. If a non-Catholic is in danger of death, they can receive the Sacrament - if they are a baptized Christian.
"If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgment of the diocesan Bishop or of the Episcopal Conference, there is some other grave and pressing need, catholic ministers may lawfully administer these same sacraments to other Christians not in full communion with the catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed." (Code of Canon Law, canon 844.4)
So, Why Go to Confession If you Can be Forgiven Without It?
Many reasons, in fact, I came up with at least 21 of them:
21 Reasons To Go To Confession
  1. God commanded we confess our sins to one another in the Bible. (James 5:16)
  2. It is the ordinary way to have our sins forgiven.
  3. We receive grace to resist sin through the Sacrament, as well as forgiveness.
  4. We learn humility by having to confess to another person.
  5. There is built-in accountability.
  6. Our relationship with the rest of the Church is healed.
  7. We receive counsel from the priest.
  8. We can be comforted hearing the words of absolution.
  9. All are sins are wiped away.
  10. Helps give you the strength to forgive others.
  11. It doesn't cost anything.
  12. We may not be positive that we have "perfect" contrition without it.
  13. Helps us go deep within and think about how we can improve.
  14. It feels good emotionally.
  15. When we realize (again) we are sinners, it is easier to be patient with others.
  16. Always confidential - what is said in the confessional stays in the confessional.
  17. No more guilt.
  18. We are better prepared to receive the Eucharist.
  19. Forgiveness is a necessary part of growing in holiness.
  20. Our consciences can be better formed.
  21. If we have mortally sinned, then Confession brings us back into the family of God - The Church as well as restores sanctifying grace in our souls!

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St. Pius X Scholarships

Have you been active in the Newman Club by participating in events, helping with projects and living out your faith?  If so, you may be eligible for a St. Pius X Scholarship.  The St. Pius X Endowment Association awards partial scholarships each year to a limited number of applicants.   To apply for a scholarship, download the application form and submit it to the office by Tuesday, April 15th.  All information will be kept confidential.  The scholarships will be awarded at Banquet and Ball, which is held on April 26th. Applicants must be present to receive a scholarship.

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In first year, Pope Francis has challenged 'all' to live Gospel

By Carl Bunderson

 

Pope Francis greets the crowds outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran on April 7, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

 

Washington D.C., Mar 9, 2014 / 04:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Anticipating the one-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis as the Bishop of Rome, Catholic leaders nationwide have reflect on his papacy thus far, noting his call for every Catholic to evangelize.

“In a certain sense, by his style of interviews and public statements, he kind of throws the ball back in our court as well – and I don't mean bishops, I mean all the faithful,” Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb. told CNA March 6.

“And what I mean by that is that…it kind of falls upon us to put him in context, and to tell people what he means. And that's part of the sensus fidelium, that's part of, really, our baptismal charism: that the faithful also have the responsibility of articulating the teaching of the Church, so it doesn't focus on one person, like the Pope, like a bishop; that we all have this responsibility of preaching the gospel, and explaining the Gospel, and articulating the Gospel.”

Since the election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope on March 13, 2013, the world has been fascinated by the Roman Pontiff, as seen by him being named “Man of the Year” by several publications. He has so far given three interviews to secular publications, and one to a magazine of the Society of Jesus, for which he was ordained a priest.

Pope Francis' personal style in these interviews and elsewhere, Bishop Conley said, “has given us an opportunity to put his words into context and to explain maybe some of the ambiguities, some of the lack of precision in his language. It's not a bad thing.”

He emphasized that the Pope has said repeatedly that he is first and foremost a son of the Church and “has made it clear he has no intention of changing Church teaching on fundamental issues; but because of perhaps his style, or his way of doing interviews, it leaves a lot of room for us to explain what he really means.”

John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America, told CNA that when Pope Francis' words are misappropriated – as when his comment “who am I to judge” is taken out of context and used to support acceptance of the commission of homosexual acts – “someone ought to call out the appropriators on that.”

Yet at the same time, he said another misreading of Pope Francis' message, “which some Catholics may fall victim to,” is “to say 'yeah, yeah, yeah, fine about mercy, but let me tell you again about the rules.'”

Pope Francis “is saying that’s not the way to sell the faith,” Garvey emphasized. “The most interesting thing about him…is his emphasis on mercy, and his repeated talk about Jesus and the Gospels and the primacy of charity, rather than rules and laws.”

“If we want to evangelize, we need to describe what we love about the faith, (and) not the kinds of rules and laws that we all should, of course, attend to,” he said.

Garvey said Pope Francis' message is that “what draws people to the faith is God's mercy…if we respond to the message that he's communicating – that we need to love God and our neighbors, that charity is paramount, that we need to take care of the poor, that the message of the Gospels is God's mercy, and that’s what the Church is preaching – if we feel we need to respond to that by saying, 'yeah, now he’s not telling you you have to obey all these rules about sex and fasting and take your pick,' we're kind of missing the point that he’s trying to communicate to us.”

“We should, none of us, feel the obligation to make up for the Pope's failures in communication, by saying the things he says we shouldn’t be talking about all the time. What we ought to do, is pay attention to what he’s saying, and try to copy that style for a little while.”

Garvey said he has used a metaphor of teaching someone golf for how to evangelize: “it would be odd, and probably not very attractive, to say, now here's the deal, when you’re on the tee, you don't go outside the white stakes, because they’re out of bounds, and the penalty is stroke and distance…what you should do, is say the goal is to get the ball in the hole with the fewest strokes, by going along the fairways, and enjoying the company with you.”

“They're both apt description of what golf is, and of course the second description doesn’t mean you’re allowed to ignore out of bounds markers or sand traps.” Similarly, in evangelizing, we should focus on what is beautiful about the Church, and not solely rules and laws, he indicated.

Garvey also noted that an important effect of the first year of Pope Francis' pontificate is “how he has kind of transcended liberal and conservative categories,” being both fully concerned with social justice and poverty, but also affirming Church teaching on “abortion and contraception and a hundred other things.”

“There’s a tendency (in the U.S.) to think of Catholics as Republicans because they hold ‘old-fashioned’ views on sex, when in fact so much of the Church’s teaching is more comfortable on the progressive side of the political spectrum,” Garvey said.

He added that the  Pope's style is “a way of taking being Catholic out of politics, and situating it in the real world; and that’s been a really nice thing, I think.”

He also noted Pope Francis' genuineness in his concern for the poor: “it's who he is. The way he’s living is perfectly consistent with the message he's preaching. He lives like a poor man, he takes care of the poor…it's not just a token, it’s the best evidence of his sincerity.”

Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services, said March 6 that “Francis has taught us many lessons in the first year of his papacy, reminding the faithful that the preferential option for the poor is a central mission of the Church…this has made his papacy particularly meaningful to those of us at Catholic Relief Services.”

“In washing the feet of the poor, in visiting the refugees on the Italian island of Lampedusa, Francis has demonstrated that it is necessary to go beyond words to deeds in service to the poor. This is the work that thousands of employees of CRS are engaged in every day around the world, in solidarity with the Catholic community in the United States. Francis has been an inspiration to us all.”

Bishop Conley reflected on the last year in Lincoln – with the caveat that he was transferred there only a few months prior to Pope Francis' election – but saying that “I certainly have detected a greater awareness of our missionary responsibility, our evangelical responsibility to proclaim the faith, particularly among the lay faithful.”

“It seems that there is a new energy, or awareness or attentiveness, to the call of the lay faithful to be part of the evangelization effort of the Church. I’ve noticed that in parishes as I go around and the questions people ask me.”

He added that the priests, also, “have been preaching more and more about the Church as mission, and they’ve been reaching out to those Catholics who have fallen away from the sacramental practice of the faith. But also, a kind of awareness of obligation to evangelize non-Catholics, and to share our faith with them.”

Bishop Conley also reflected on this first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate in his March 7 column at the Southern Nebraska Register, where he noted the profound continuity between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI.

“Often, we hear about the differences between each man who becomes the Pope – in 2005, we heard that Pope Benedict was different from Blessed John Paul II; today we hear that Pope Francis is different from Pope Benedict,” he wrote.

“I am struck more deeply by the continuity in the papacy than by the differences. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And, in thought, and life, and mission, so is the Church.

He described how both know the Church is called to mission to “a world which is hurting,” saying, “Pope Benedict called this poverty a desert; Pope Francis calls it the periphery.”

Bishop Conley wrote, “I am grateful for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI. He called me to the episcopal office and sent me to this great diocese of Lincoln. His humility, brilliance, and generosity brought souls to Jesus Christ. And I am grateful for the ministry of Pope Francis. His openness, and courage, and pastoral kindness make disciples of the world.”

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LENT FAQ
When Does Lent Start in 2014?
Lent starts on Ash Wed, Mar 5 and ends with the start of the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, which is the beginning of the Triduum. Easter Sunday is April 20.

What is Lent?
Lent is a time when the Catholic Church collectively enters into preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent originally developed as a forty-day retreat, preparing converts to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. It is now a part of our Church's liturgical calendar and a season of conversion for all. Conversion is the process of turning away from sin and turning to God.

Are Sundays a part of Lent?
Sundays are always a day of celebration of Christ's passion and Resurrection, so we celebrate on these days. While still part of the season of Lent, they have a mixture of both celebration (because it is Sunday) and repentance (because it is Lent).

Does this mean I can "cheat" on Sundays?
Since Sundays are not part of the penitential season, you are not required to practice signs of penitence on these days. But, there is no reason you can't do them either. If you feel you are "cheating" then it isn't helping! Since the Church has some conflicting information (different documents state different things) I think you should do what you feel is best regarding the Lenten season and Sundays. In other words, follow your conscience.

Why forty days and not some other number?
Because 40 is a special number in the Bible. It signifies preparation for something special - as in the 40 day flood of Noah.
  • *Moses stayed on the Mount Sinai forty days (Ex 24:18),
  • Jonah gives the people of Ninevah forty days to repent (Jon 3:4) - (there are many other Old Testament stories)
  • *Jesus, before starting his ministry, spent 40 days in the desert in prayer and fasting (Matt 4:2).
So, as in the Bible, we spend 40 days in preparing ourselves to rejoice at the Resurrection of our Lord at Easter.

What is Ash Wednesday all about?
Ash Wednesday is so named because this first day of Lent is where we are marked with ashes to show the repentance of our sins and mourning. This is also a Biblical sign that we live today. We can see this in several verses.
  • "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (Dan 9:3)
  • Other verses include: 1 Sam 4:12, Jon 3:6, Esther 4:1 and Matt 11:20-21
Today, ashes are still this same sign of repentance and mourning for our sins. They also represent our mortality. "I am nothing but dust and ashes" (Gen. 18:27). We started as nothing and our bodies will become dust and ashes after our death. Reminding ourselves that nobody escapes physical death, we look forward to eternal life.

So, why are the ashes made into a cross on the forehead?
Because it is the ancient sign of being marked by Christ in our baptism. We are no longer our own, but Jesus Christ owns us. The book of Revelation tells us that all the elect will be marked by the sign of Christ - "On Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads." (Rev 14:1)

Where do we get the ashes?
They come from burning the palms from last years Palm Sunday Masses.

Who can receive ashes?
Anyone can receive ashes on Ash Wed. While we have communion only for Catholics who are in good standing with the Church, all may receive ashes.

Is Ash Wed a holy day of Obligation?
No. But all Catholics are strongly urged to attend, because it is the start of the Lenten season.

Do we have to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wed?
Yes. This means that all Catholics from 14 and up are required to abstain from meat and Catholics 18-60 are required to eat only one average meal and two snacks without anything else. Children, the elderly and those who are sick are not obligated to do this.

Why fast?
Again, this is because we are called to by Jesus. By denying ourselves something good, we remember what the highest good of all is - GOD. We also practice self-discipline and self-mastery, which we need in order to achieve holiness. Jesus fasted in the desert and calls us to as well.
  • "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." (Matt 6: 16)
  • "and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." (Luke 2:37)
  • Fasting also helps focus us in our prayer. *Yet when they were ill, I...humbled myself with fasting.” (Psalm 35:13)
Why abstain from meat?
Because of the spiritual discipline it provides. "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia . . . 'I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.'" (Dan 10:1-3) We give up meat, which still today is a luxury in some parts of the world, as a good thing that we offer up in order to remember that Christ is better than food and needed more by all of us than anything else.

Why is fish not considered meat?
Because it was the food of the poor who could not afford meat, yet could catch fish to sustain themselves.

So, what are the other days of fast and abstinence?
Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence from meat, this is because Christ died on a Friday.

So, why do people "give up" things during Lent?
While we are not required to “give something up” we are required to do something penitential. Lent is a great time to break a bad habit and give it to the Lord. These sins and vices we should not take back after Lent. It is also a time to give something up that is good during this season. This is why people give up something they enjoy. In doing so we can draw closer to God by our temporary sacrifice. We should find an appropriate balance of giving something up and not completely cutting ourselves off of good things. We will find our need for God if we do it correctly.

What else then IS required during Lent?
The Church asks us to increase our prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is assumed that we are already doing these things and should merely increase them.

Got any suggestions?
First off, pray about what you are going to do for Lent. Ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your spiritual practice of Lent. Then find a few things that you feel called to do. Don't do too much or too little. Stretch yourself, but don't pick things you won't stick to.
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This year, journey through Lent
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POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS SPRINGFIELD PRIEST TO HEAD DIOCESE OF WICHITA, KANSAS

WICHITA, Kan. – His Holiness, Pope Francis, has named Msgr. Carl A. Kemme, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, to be the 11th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas. The appointment was announced today in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-elect Kemme, age 53, will succeed now-Archbishop Michael O. Jackels, who in April 2013 was named head of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa.

Bishop-elect Kemme said he was “deeply humbled and honored by the appointment of Pope Francis as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Wichita.”

“To be a bishop in the church has never been something I have sought or dreamed possible,” he said. “I have accepted this assignment relying solely on God’s grace and mercy to help me fulfill the lofty responsibilities of this office. The confidence our beloved Holy Father has shown in me is a source of humility and peace in knowing that God chooses the weak and sinful to accomplish his great mission in the world.”

“Pope Francis has reached into the heart of Illinois, to the Diocese of Springfield, to call forth a pastor. God has heard our prayers for a wise and loving bishop to guide us in building up the Body of Christ and the Reign of God. This person, this priest said ‘Yes’ to that call,” said Msgr. Robert Hemberger, diocesan administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. “We are grateful to God, to Pope Francis, and to this person soon to be ordained the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Wichita.”

Bishop-elect Kemme is the son of Donald and Marita (Kortte) Kemme. He has four brothers and one sister and grew up on a small family farm in rural Shumway. His family attended and his parents are still members of the Church of the Annunciation Parish there.

He was a student at Shumway Elementary School and Beecher City High School and then attended St. Henry’s Preparatory Seminary in Belleville where he received his high school diploma. He entered the Diocesan Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield in 1978, and then graduated from Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, where he earned the bachelor of arts and the master of divinity degrees.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 10, 1986, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Ill.

“Of course, I will miss my family, my friends, my bishop, my brother priests, and co-workers in our diocesan curia in the Diocese of Springfield, but at the same time look forward to making my home now in the state of Kansas and in the Diocese of Wichita,” Bishop-elect Kemme said.

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