Manhood Monday: Trying to Become Saints

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of Holy Week

Verse Before The Gospel Jn 12:1-11

Hail to you, our King;

you alone are compassionate with our faults.

God bless “Keep in mind that our community is not composed of those who are already saints, but of those who are trying to become saints. Therefore let us be extremely patient with each other’s faults and failures.” your day.

Saint (Mother) Teresa, quoted in ‘No Greater Love’ edited by Becky Benenate and Joseph Durepos

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

A bare altar with purple banner sets the tone at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois, where faithful Catholics visit throughout the days for prayer and observing for Holy Week. Photo: ‘Holy Week’ Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

Growing up as the fourth of five children and the child of parents who owned a prominent business in the community, Casella Custom Draperies (later Dorothy’s Custom Draperies), I had a name to live up to. I was reminded all of my life while living at home what a Casella does and doesn’t do. People in the community would often tell my parents of their interaction with us kids, especially when my mom was measuring their windows. Because of this I have become proud to be a Casella, but more important the name that I and my family bring to Jesus Christ. For Christ and the Church was and is the foundation of our family. Below are some ways that we, as Catholic men, can live up to the virtues that Jesus modeled for us during His earthly ministry.

During this Holy Week, may we commit ourselves to living “in the name of the Lord.”

14 Ways To Becoming The Man God Calls You To Be
  1. Admit your weaknesses and limitations, while finding strength in faith and genuine love to overcome your sins and faults.
  2. Men need confession regularly. Also, ask your wife and children for forgiveness when you fail them.
  3. Learn what being a real man is all about, study and live-out the Virtues of a Catholic Man.
  4. Be leery of the demonic influences which destroys men and their homes.
  5. Be strong, without putting on a mask of false strength. Persevere and don’t quit.
  6. Focus on the right goal, live as a beloved son of God, and be a man that can become a saint.
  7. Acknowledge one’s faults and live according to the Holy Spirit. Trust in and live God’s agenda, and not in your own human understanding.
  8. Appreciate properly the differences between men and women, and how God made you to be a gift to each other.
  9. Be a man of true love and of wisdom, pursue holiness, and make a difference in the world.
  10. Be a roll model to your children, so they don’t have to look elsewhere for a mentor. Bring them to the pew on Sunday, and encourage this when they are out on their own.
  11. True manliness is not opposed to love but thrives on it, and knows the place of sexuality for the unmarried man as well as for the married man.
  12. Maintain your children’s trust by how you love their mother.  Date your daughters, example to them what to expect from a man.
  13. Catch your kids doing something right.
  14. Develop a relationship with Christ that reveals your meaning and identity as a man.

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.


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Click here to learn about the annual Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum held on the Saturday after Easter. All men from around the Archdiocese of Chicago and surrounding Chicagoland are invited to attend.

Prayer Of One Who Serves As A Member Of The Police

By Bishop Joseph N. Perry

O good Lord, I know well that thou art all perfect and are in need of nothing.  Yet, I know that thou hast taken upon thyself the nature of man and, not only so, but in that nature didst come upon this earth and suffer all manner of evil and didst die for our sake.  This is sacred history which has spilled from the heavens with light and glory and great promise for all who believe in thee.

O dear Lord, thou didst suffer in no ordinary way but unheard of and extreme torments.  Indeed your agony still cries from the streets where we labor.  This is the truth of the Gospel which has shaped my vision and my hope for all that is meaningful to me.  You are the one foundation, Jesus Christ crucified.  I know it O Lord, I believe it and I place this faith steadily before my eyes and heart.

And, here I am, a member of the police force, sworn to serve and protect the citizens of our city and in so doing bound to meet up with the two glaring portraits of life, sin and evil, goodness and virtue that collide on the streets of the living.  I cannot do this task alone.  All I know is that I am in sore need of your guidance and direction that I may judge wisely and discern truthfully; that especially in times of danger I may offer my life to you and for others and that in face of genuine encounters with the virtue of citizens I may praise them and be for them myself a symbol of honor and justice. 

I left home this day to serve thee and thy people.  I pray you bring me back home safely with my family and loved ones, only to again serve as I am want to do this day and every day. In all things honoring you as the Lord of my life, AMEN

Bishop Joseph N Perry – Archdiocese of Chicago – 2020

Manhood Monday: How to Know the Truth

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Alleluia JN 8:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Sin is doing what we want without God. 

Freedom is not about doing what we want, rather to have the ability to do the right thing.

But how do we know how to keep from sin, and to do the right thing? 

God’s Word.

The only way to ‘Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man’ is to know the truth with discipleship in Christ

The CMCS-Team contributed to this message


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘Backyard Morning in the Fall‘ by Frank J Casella All Rights Reserved

Each of the seasons bring with it elements and details of art created by God.

Life is too short, and the scenes of Fall colors from this year will be different next year, as they are different from last year.

Often times I feel that God is just waiting for us to show up to take part in the moment with Him.

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.

Not signed up yet? Click here.

The Story Behind Catholic Men Chicago Southland

By Frank J Casella

“Catholic Men Chicago Southland is an apostolate of Reverend Bishop Joseph N Perry, and works to encourage and support contemporary Catholic Men to grow spiritually, and to bring Jesus Christ into their daily lives and all of their relationships.” — The CMCS Mission

That was the mission we started with in 2004 when Deacon John Rangel, David Taylor (who no longer lives in the Archdiocese), and I went to Bishop Joseph N Perry with our vision, and hope for his blessing. And it’s still our mission today. We went to Bishop Perry because he was, and is, our local Vicar (as one) of the six Vicariates (divisions) of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

We could have tried to do this on our own, but I learned from my previous experiences, both with the Catholic Men In Action that I was a territory rep for (and is no longer a ministry), and from my photography work for the archdiocese and covering the ministry of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, that you need to have a platform to work from.

Bishop Perry not only understood this, he also was interested is providing a challenge to men in the Vicariate to live the Virtues of a Catholic Man and make Christ the center of our daily lives. So it has been proven many times over the years that Bishop Perry’s belief in CMCS, and nurturing Catholic men’s spirituality, has opened more doors — and hearts — than we could ever do on our own. And this I am personally grateful for!

I’m glad that we also followed his advice to stay a manageable size in the Vicariate, instead of trying to reach the whole archdiocese, since each Vicariate is about the size of the average diocese in the American Church. That if a group of men wanted to start a movement in another vicariate, we’d provide their Vicar with the template for doing this. So far there has been much interest, but no commitment.

You might say that Catholic men’s ministry is second nature to me, having been raised as a third-generation Knights of Columbus. I recall vividly helping my late father as a kid with all the functions, causes, parties, and parades. From going to talk to the butcher, to table set up, promotion and ticket sales, serving the participants, clean up, and finally awarding the results to a charity, which CMCS does today. Event planning is my conditioned skill.

But there was something missing in all of this. I saw this void. A need for a Catholic men’s prayer breakfast, to challenge men to replace bad habits with good habits and to develop a holy life. To feed the stomach, and then feed the Soul.

As far back as the 1980’s I recall men’s conferences starting to trickle into the fabric of our faith life. And this is where I met Deacon John Rangel, who has a passion for parish men’s groups and Pro-Life. We went to many of these events, from many faiths. Some called for men to be accountable to each other, and others had an Altar Call, or to be Born Again. And most of the Catholic men’s conferences had a great message but fell short of making that challenge or commitment to holiness.

We need Catholic and holy men in our lives, who practice virtues and goodness, make a positive difference, and that we can look to as models of a life work in progress.

“We are a people of possibility, the Holy Spirit is the great encourager … holiness is possible.

Matthew Kelly

In Covenant With Jesus

It is true, Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with each of us as our Savior and Lord. But Jesus wants much more than that; he wants us in covenant with himself. I can have a personal relationship with the neighbor down the street; but that doesn’t mean he wants me to move in and share his home.

Jesus Christ wants us in the New Covenant that he established through his own flesh and blood, the same covenant he renews through the Holy Eucharist. When his sacrifice for us is renewed at the altar, we gather at the family table for the sacred meal that makes us one.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.”

(Rev 3:20)

Likewise, in the home, us men are called to lay down our life for our wife. To serve her as Jesus served her. To love and sacrifice for her the way Jesus loved and sacrificed for you.

The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1666

But remember Christ’s words to Saint Paul that “power is made perfect in weakness.” That is, most men will admit that their strength, their rock is their wives.

Jesus wants us to know not only the Father and the Holy Spirit but his Blessed Mother and all his sainted brothers and sisters as well. He also wants us to live according to the family structure he established for his Church on earth: the Pope and all the bishops and priests united to him.

The Gospel is not about setting up a legal system, but about transforming hearts. It is about freeing people, one at a time, from the darkness and slavery of sin.

Presenting The Challenge

I remember when the late Cardinal Francis George, then archbishop of Chicago, said one of his many profound words in the public square, when he said that “we as a Catholic Church have much to learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters about marketing and promotion, and evangelization.

This was my answer. So around 2009 we began an online ministry to reach Catholic men in any way possible, and learn from those who are good at it. But Bishop Perry reminded the need to balance that with the community ‘in the pews’. Community is the foundation of our Catholicism.

So in the era of TV Evangelists, Internet Churches, and Social Media Ministry, CMCS sets the tone in Chicago Southland for nurturing Catholic men’s spirituality, and presenting men the challenge for holiness, in Covenant with Jesus. And we do this in-person, through our gatherings, where men can discuss and connect the dots with each other about their spiritual journey. And we have Mass with bishop who presents the challenge to the men.

The men will tell you how the personal impact from this is profound in a way that can not be experienced online. Then, what we do online is a symptom of what is working with community ‘in the pews’, to continue their spiritual journey. We are all a work in progress, and learn from each other.

It’s not about accountability to each other, but Covenant with Jesus that transforms us as men.

I have seen over the years that when you foster a Man in holiness, the positive adjustments he makes creates a upstanding man, husband, or father, and this impact can be felt for three generations. What this takes is (for us) to transform one man at a time from good intentions into right-action, and thus to develop a holy church.

For just as the Church cannot survive without the sacramental priesthood, so too, the father is an essential element of a healthy family. Fathers have a significant spiritual impact on their (and men with all) children precisely because of their unique role in the order of creation.


Frank J Casella is an Artistic Photographer, and co-founder of Catholic Men Chicago Southland, and the Bishop Perry Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.

Measuring Up To Jesus

By Frank J Casella

The other day when I was on Twitter a quote I saw from sales guru hit me: You become what you think about all day long. It made me ponder on what I think about every day, which lead me to realize how much my thinking, and lifestyle, has changed over the years.

I used to be more selfish, helping and serving others with the end motive of serving my own needs and ego, and praying for my own needs — talking to God more than listening. St. Francis says [that] it is through giving that we receive, and I took it literal.

Today, when I give of myself I do not look for what I receive, because the real gift is how God is blessing others through me .. which I may never see. My agenda has become Gods agenda. Said another way, I live my life as a prayer.

If we focus our attention on bad news and gossip, and distractions, we will miss God’s incredible, visionary, optimistic purpose for every believer: to grow so much in our faith that we shine like beacons to everyone around us!

God’s vision for each church is that we would grow so much in our love for God that we’d love people the way He loves them: unconditionally and passionately. He want’s us to be filled up with Christ’s grace, truth, and purpose so that everything we do will reflect Him to those around us.

Measuring Up To Jesus Photo Copyright Frank J Casella All Rights Reserved

I assure you, the longer you look at Jesus on that Cross, the more He will speak to you about who you are and how you can become more Holy.

The greatest image I have of my late father is how he prayed the rosary, looking at the Cross, each morning in a room with only the window light , just him and God, before leaving for work.

The greatest image my children say they have of me is how I kiss the crucifix each morning as soon as I wake up. What they do not see is how often I spend just gazing at it in holy contemplation.

“If a hypocrite is standing between you and God, it just means the hypocrite is closer to God than you are.” — Zig Ziglar


Frank J Casella is a photographer, and co-founder of Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.

This is something VERY special

A special message on Giving Tuesday. Sent to me by a friend. It will make you happy and might even bring tears to your eyes.

Deacon John Rangel, CMCS Director of Mission

 

 

 

 

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Bishop Joseph N Perry: Keep Us Thankful O Lord

10 lepers approached Jesus with the request that He heal them.  Jesus instructed them to first go to the priests and offer what Moses has prescribed.  And, on their way they were  cleansed.  One of them, realizing he had been cured, retook his steps to find Jesus and express his gratitude to God.  Jesus, upon receiving the man, was surprised that only one was inspired enough to give God thanks.  “Where are the other nine,” Jesus explained, sadly.  “Was there no one to give thanks to God except this foreigner?”  Luke 17, 11-19

In my short life thus far I have come to understand that thanksgiving takes on its highest meaning following experiences like suffering, chaos, deprivation, poverty and loss.

We raise our children to say thank-you whenever they receive something from someone’s generosity.  However, it takes time and life-experience for our children to understand the real power behind thanks.

For the pilgrims of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, of that first Thanksgiving in the year of our Lord 1621, the beauty of the world was found in its bounty.  They could hear the author of the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy say, “The Lord, your God, is bringing you into a good country, a land with streams of water, with springs and fountains welling up in the hills and valleys, a land of wheat and barley, of vine and fig trees.”

Having arrived in an untamed world underneath it all for them was a deep love of nature and a sense that God was everywhere in the beauty and bounty of the earth.  They knelt to give thanks for that generous gift.  They were now safe after a long arduous journey and a hard winter of deprivation and the deaths of a number of their companions.

Now, in the Plymouth wilderness sitting down with first Americans, eating foods from the wild never before tasted, undoubtedly motivated by gratitude for survival but more deeply moved by a recognition that the graciousness of God had pulled them through the dark, cold days of the struggle to form a new colony away from oppression and religious persecution in their homeland from whence they came.

Pilgrims, they were trustees for future generations and were to set an example for a civilized new world, to, as St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians urges, sing “with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

So, where do the lepers of today’s Gospel come in?  Well, their story is one of giving and receiving.  A thanksgiving story, no doubt.

The inability to give or show gratitude is a mark of disfigurement, a kind of spiritual leprosy.  One who can neither give nor receive can never enter into a relationship of grace, a covenant of love. The leper who returned to Jesus to say “thanks” enters into a relationship with God.

The other nine stood far off, negating even the possibility that something could happen. They stood on the fringes of life because they could not, in their hearts, find time to give thanks. Their spirits remained leprous.  It is almost as if they took for granted that they would be cured, as if it were their right.  Their bodies were now whole, their souls still marked with decay.

Everyone of us has something for which to be thankful.  It helps, I think, to recall the chaos, suffering, deprivation that has marked your life so that power can be given the thanks you raise in prayer on Thanksgiving Day.  For there is wisdom to be discovered from the crosses we are asked to carry in life.

Like the pilgrims, most of us have fought the storms, banished the threats, overcome the fears and made covenants of friendship with God and each other. We are all pilgrims walking an earthly path on the way to a heavenly land where we will be giving thanks for all eternity.

Sitting down to the big meal seems like the highlight of Thanksgiving, but the highlight really comes a couple hours later.  The pumpkin pie is gone, the turkey is picked over, the dishes are done, relatives, friends and guests are gone, the kids and pets are snoozing and somehow, when all is quieted down, the labor for the feast is done, in the depth of your soul you join a whole nation, satiated with food and drink, as if embraced by the wide arms of God, and give a sigh of relief and say “Thank you God!”

Before you sit down to feast at a table others have prepared, remember to say thanks to the wife, the kids and anyone else who deserves to sense your heart and feel what you really mean to them.  Remember to lead your household in prayer in thanks to an all provident God!

We are born into this world with empty hands and we take nothing from this world with us in the end.  All that we have, we receive from the generosity of God.  Today, we thank God for his care of us and praise him for his kindness.

Please respond, “Keep us thankful O Lord!”

  1. We give you thanks O God for our Holy Father the Pope, our bishop, and his assistant bishops and all of our pastors who share in your ministry and authority; that you may guide them so that they exercise your power wisely, let us pray to the Lord.
  2. We give thanks O God for the many blessings you have showered upon us. For those who have not received as much of your bounty, for the poor and needy of your world, the unemployed and those who struggle in any way, we pray to the Lord.
  3. We give thanks O God for your limitless mercy and the treasury of your goodness which you share with us.  That those who do not recognize your love may become aware of your kindness, let us pray to the Lord.
  4. We give thanks O God for the family and friends you have given us.  That they may always know your generosity and protection and be appreciative of your gifts, let us pray to the Lord.
  5. We give thanks O God for the gift of redemption and the forgiveness of our sins; that our lives may show forth more clearly the predilection we enjoy by your Son’s death and resurrection for our sakes, we pray to the Lord.

Almighty Father, we give thanks to your majesty for the many gifts we have received; we ask you to continue your kindness and forsake us not, through Christ our Lord.  Amen!

+ JNP 2011

 

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