Bishop Joseph Perry: The Relevance of Church

Is it too late to save our families and ourselves for God?

It is not easy proclaiming the Gospel in a secularized world – a world that is of diminished religious tone.

In a recent address, December 21, to the Cardinals and staffs of the Roman Curia at the Vatican, Pope Francis recalled that we are no longer living in a Christian world. 

“Christendom no longer exists. Today, we are no longer the only ones who create culture, nor are we in the forefront or those most listened to … we are no longer living in a Christian world, because faith… is no longer an evident presupposition of social life; indeed, faith is often rejected, derided, marginalized and ridiculed… the faith used to be passed on within families and the example of parents; society too was inspired by Christian principles. Today, this transmission has been interrupted and our social context, if not anti-Christian, appears to be at least impermeable to the Christian faith.  Hence the question … how to proclaim the Gospel where it is no longer known or recognized?  It is pointless getting agitated. There is no need to get organized, or to make a noise. There’s no need for gimmicks or stratagems. In the mission of proclaiming the Gospel, you move because the Holy Spirit pushes you, and carries you.  And when you arrive you realize that He has come before you and is waiting for you.”

“Proclaiming the Gospel,” adds the Pope, “does not consist in besieging others with apologetic speeches … in shouting in peoples’ faces.  Even less is it necessary to fling the truths and doctrinal formulas on others as if they were stones … if people to whom it is addressed have no opportunity to meet and taste in some way God’s tenderness and His healing mercy… to facilitate, that is, make it easy not to put us in the way of Jesus’ desire to embrace everyone, to heal everyone, to save everyone.”  Always aware that without Him we can do nothing.

With these thoughts of the Holy Father in mind, is it too late to save our families and ourselves for God?  How about the evangelization of our households, our friendships.  How about fervent practice of our faith for these times and every time.  How about we men being intentional pastors of our households leading the way?

Bishop Joseph Perry

Manhood Monday: Living a Blessed Life

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Alleluia MT 24:42A, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The widow is another example of the poor ones in the Gospel today whose detachment from material possessions and dependence on God leads to their blessedness (Lk 6:20). Her simple offering provides a striking contrast to the pride and pretentiousness of the scribes denounced in the preceding section (Lk 20:45–47). 

Likewise, in the scripture verse above, the theme of vigilance and readiness is continued with the bold comparison of the Son of Man to a thief who comes to break into a house.

Do you remember not too long ago when the average person would work for the same company for two or more decades?  It still happens, but not that often. More like eighteen months to three years.

Our paycheck, and identity, and thus possessions, can be taken from us like a thief unless we stay awake with readiness. It is best to be detached from these, and work to truly make Jesus the center of our lives.  And this is the meaning behind the CMCS logo, with the four letters surrounding the crucifix – Christ as Center.

Dependence on God leads to blessedness. It’s not about our good intentions to love God, but how much we offer to Christ to fill our hearts, and He possesses our thoughts and actions, every minute of the day and night.

The CMCS-Team

PS. Thanksgiving Day Prayer click here.

Frank’s Photo of the Week

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Photo: ‘In All Circumstances Give Thanks‘ Copyright Frank J Casella Prints | Cards

A Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue in a church hallway, silhouetted by window light.

“Failure is an event, not a person”. – Zig Ziglar

We either succeed or we learn.

When I sit in the presence of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and give thanks for life and every breath I take, I realize how much it’s more about the big picture of things and less about me.

“In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thes. 5:18

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you in your inbox again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

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

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The Culture of Waste and Faith Formation

How to apply tithing to spiritual poverty

Pope Francis is known as “The Quotable Pope”.  An example of this is from each day on Twitter like this one:

” Consumerism has accustomed us to waste. But throwing food away is like stealing it from the poor and hungry. “

,,,, I can relate to this because my family has been in that position of having to turn to our parish and St. Vincent DePaul Ministry or Catholic Charities food pantry to put food on our table.  There is a present statistic out that says the average American family dumps in the trash 140 LBS. of food each year. 

This is food that is paid for from our working incomes. I’m sure we all tithe our cash to give to the church or to further God’s work. Why not make less trash with our food and do the same??

Likewise, when Francis Cardinal George came to be our Ordinary here in Chicago, it wasn’t too long before he said …“The greatest poverty is not to know Jesus Christ” … So, spinning the Popes quote from above, if you will …

” Always be a consistent living example of the Gospel. Because failing to do so is like stealing from the spiritually poor the opportunity to know Jesus’ love”. 

Finally, not too long ago when my son’s were teenagers (they are now in their 20’s) while taking my son to his sports practice, the thought occurred to me how many households in my neighborhood have two parents that work out of the home.  How they put their children into multiple sports programs with the intention of while they are working to “provide” someone else will take their child to the events.

I constantly would get phone calls, emails, etc., (from parents) assuming that since I’m taking my child anyways to take theirs too … and they will lie and rationalize to get it done, without any thought of the liability they put on me in the event something happens to their child.

Personally, my wife and I are that kind of parent who alwyas sat on the sideline even during practices to send the message to our boys they are important to us. Sure we have “better” things to do, but It personally gave me windshield time in the car to talk with them about what they saw happen in practices or in the games, or let them lead the conversation to become more a part of their lives.

We don’t get a second chance at this while they grow up. Sometimes us dad’s, as the priest of our house, have to lead the conversation with our wives about which parent is going to cut back – or cut out – the work load to live on less (maybe less sports programs) to invest more into our children and instilling their faith formation.

“With the “culture of waste”, human life is no longer considered the primary value to be respected and protected.” ~ Pope Francis

By the way, that picture at the top of this article, from the Bishop Perry Men’s Forum, all the left over food goes to the poor.

Frank J Casella

Haven’t been to confession in a while? Click Here

Taking it all in stride

God’s will is that we depend on Him.

Taking things in your stride means, as you go along the bumpy road of life, which most people will inevitably experience, you endeavor not to let the more challenging events you encounter blow you off course.

Much of the strength I get to take things in stride is through my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean I don’t have problems. In fact, I probably have more. Because people it seems test you to see the power of your belief.

Anger, worry, struggles and the like are revelations that things are not going our way, and that we are not in control of everything. When I take things in stride, and wait on God and meet Him where He is at work (in my life), it’s always amazing how things unfold and come together in ways that I could never do myself.

Try it. Pray for your circumstances. Ask God to show you what to do. Wait for the answer. Don’t take it back … just wait … in HIS time not yours. You will see.

God’s will is that we depend on Him. So keep it all in perspective and take in all in stride.

Frank J Casella

Faith: Pass it on

Sharing the faith is like marketing, and looks easy to do. But it takes the very serious and skilled to make it work. St. Paul was a great example of this in how he mentored St. Timothy.

We see on social media how things go viral, usually because a product or service, or idea, generates enough enthusiasm that it spreads and causes people to tell their friends and associate about it. The life in Christ can be the same way.

But none of this happens by chance. For example, St. Paul told St. Timothy to pass on everything he had learned from him, but not just to anybody. He carefully instructed Timothy to set the standard high: Select “faithful men” who have the heart and the skills to teach others.

These men would then do the same thing, selecting great leaders and teaching them God’s truth, and they’d do the same thing with people they selected. Today most of us can look back at a generation or two of faithful people who where part of viral marketing the Faith to our generation.

And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.

2 Timothy 2:2

Discipleship is like the apprenticeship model described by Fr. Burke Masters: 1) I do, you watch. 2) I do, you help. 3) You do, I help. 4) You do, I watch.

This is a function of CMCS, to help men develop a relationship with Jesus Christ to the point that it spreads. But before it can spread, He needs to dwell in the center of our lives.

We know this is happening when others tell us they see it, when we are developing relationships with others who also live their faith.

Sometimes it takes one man to plant the seed, and another man to nurture it. Sometimes it is us who does the planting and nurturing, other times we are receiving it.

The important thing is that we keep our eyes open for the ‘flags’ that tell us to pass it on. Faith that is developed by watching others example living out their faith. This is in connection to the signs from the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the Church, and through prayer.

In our information overload culture, marketing today means more about being ‘attractive’ in a way that causes others to take notice and spread it, than to push our message onto everyone we think will hear it. There are many businesses who glorify God as their mission, but you don’t see any of that in their marketing or the main areas of their website … it’s how they do business that makes them different. So, too, it should be with our own lives.


  • How do you live your life in a way that is attractive for God?
  • Who do you look to as a mentor in your own faith?
  • Do you have a list of other men who you pray for and consider mentoring living their faith?
  • Do you have a life mission that includes how you impact this generation for Jesus who, in turn, pass this on to others?

Understanding Faith

Faith is the highest form of knowledge to guide our path. Faith provides visible understanding from the invisible. When we have Faith we can see the world through God’s eyes. …

Many times when I’m trying to put my finger on a thought or a direction in life, but can’t seem to connect the dots, I look to the Holy Spirit to communicate with God and to show me the way.

For example, while struggling with a behavior from a co-worker, I felt a certain way about how to respond but didn’t have the confidence yet to act on the way I felt. The next day an article came across my path (I wasn’t looking for it) confirming my thoughts, so I then acted on my convictions.

I simply reflected on this article through my knowledge of the Bible and the Catechism on what God says.

When God wants to reveal, He does so ‘on the mountain’. It takes effort and silence for us to listen to God, away from noise and social media and daily life. There is no other way to hear God’s voice but to be away from the noise, I have found.

For example, one day a week I am completely offline. I am also intentional when online no more than a cumulative one hour a day. Part of this, each morning, is to spend time listening to the Holy Spirit, even if only ten minutes… but it usually goes for an hour.

I also spend time each Sunday prostrate before the Crucifix, as well as monthly in Holy Adoration at my parish before the exposed Eucharist. You don’t have to do all of this that I do, in fact, you don’t have to do any of it.

The point is God want’s us to depend on Him – Faith.

Jesus invites us to join Him in the Bible to study the scriptures, the Catholic Catechism in understanding His Word and our Church, and to be silent so He can reveal Himself to us. This must be ingrained in us so that we have it as our filter to see life.

What would you do if the Bible or Catechism where taken away from you? Make it the center of your life today … we should live our faith to the point that Christ lives in us!

This is the only way I know to do God’s work, and to meet Him in His work – His agenda and not mine.

It is also important to have a roll model, who precedes us in Faith, to ask for intersession. This could be a Catholic Saint or late family member, like our earthly father or grandfather, who has gone before us.

My personal favorite is the late Francis Cardinal George, and his tremendous example of Faith through his life, many people feel that he will become a Saint. Now the Church says to ask for intersession from Father Augustus Tolton.

Saint Fra Angelico, for example, brought glory to God through his paintings. His life and work is a tremendous roll model to me, so that my life, too, may be an encouragement to the world through my Artwork.

We come to a full understanding of our Faith when we transition from self, to giving it away to others.

What is your talent or gift so others may see the glory of God through your Faith?

Frank J Casella

Being Renewed and Mastered by the Faith

By Frank J Casella

Whenever there are people working on my house, from the plumber to the A/C tech, and most recently the roofer and siding company, I try to spend some time talking with them and to check their ‘spiritual temperature’ to see where God is at work.

My wife and I try to hire a Catholic / Christian to service our home, when possible … keep it in the family.

So, one man was telling me how his son is in jail, and how he bought his son a TV so that he can watch the Cubs games. He also told me that his son started reading the Bible again, and the others in the jail call him the Bible guy.

I asked the man how this came to be, that his son went back to the Bible? He said that now that his son has time on his hands that he can concentrate on it more. Where before he had a lot on his mind and trying to fight his battles in life. I shared with this man what I’m about to share with you below.

After this discussion I said a prayer and thanked God for touching hearts in this way, and prayed the Holy Spirit continue to develop this relationship between the father and the son, and the spiritual growth of the Son while in jail.

Many times, even in my life, it is through our struggles that we mostly come close to God. For God’s will is that we depend on Him. Sometimes He needs to do things that get our attention! … and our response.

There are some important words recently shared by Benedict XVI, pope emeritus, through his reflection The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse. As I was reading the pages of this document, I couldn’t help but see how these words not only speak to this matter in the church, which is deeply important, but also when you take them out of this context how they speak to us in general about living the Faith.

These words in particular jumped off the page at me:

“God became man for us. Man as His creature is so close to His heart that He has united himself with him and has thus entered human history in a very practical way. He speaks with us, He lives with us, He suffers with us and He took death upon Himself for us. We talk about this in detail in theology, with learned words and thoughts. But it is precisely in this way that we run the risk of becoming masters of faith instead of being renewed and mastered by the Faith.”

I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of becoming too busy for God, and to pass on advice to others about living the Faith even when I was failing at being renewed and mastered by the Faith myself. We are raised with knowing the Catechism and the ways of the Faith. But practicing it, living it, and putting it into action is something else.

Life is a work in progress, and it’s understandable how many men I talk with find it a struggle to develop the discipline to grow in the Faith, even though the benefits outweigh the work.

Have you ever noticed that when Jesus had struggles, and ultimately faced His Crucifixion and death, He went to the quiet place to pray? He fought His battles on his knees. He brought himself into one-ness with God, because He could not do it alone in His own flesh, but that of the Father. Just like the man in jail I told you about, I believe he is turning to God because of the place he is at right now – he can not go through it in his own strength.

I am really impressed how this Dad forgave his son while in jail, and supported him by buying him a TV. I’m sure the son feels this encouragement like no other. It’s like during the Passion of Jesus Christ, how Saint Peter denies Jesus three times and runs away. Yet in the end Jesus handed Peter the keys to the Church with true forgiveness.

Likewise, as Benedict XVI says: “A society without God — a society that does not know Him and treats Him as non-existent — is a society that loses its measure.” How many times have we, as men, because we are wired to fix things, taken matters into our own hands confident with how God wants it done, or never considered God’s plan in the first place? This to me is treating God as non-existent.

“The reason is the absence of God”, as Benedict XVI says, “The power of evil arises from our refusal to love God. He who entrusts himself to the love of God is redeemed. Our being not redeemed is a consequence of our inability to love God. Learning to love God is therefore the path of human redemption.”

If you don’t know were to begin to love God, or make renewal, I’m reminded of these little books by Mother Angelica. She shares in a simple way how to turn to Jesus, say your prayers, pray to the Holy Spirit, and go to confession. That is simply what religion, and loving God, is about. And remember we have Bishop Perry’s Virtues of a Catholic Man to help put this all into action.

You can’t have and live your Faith without action …. towards loving God. You can be given the Catholic sacraments, but they mean nothing unless you work on them … all the time.

The Church is known as the redemptive agency in the world. And a very important aspect of this is the Eucharist. We as men, especially those of us who lead a family, need to bring ourselves to the Eucharist as a living sacrifice. We need to do this to the point of being transformed from the good intentions of viewing it as only a Host, into the right-action of being moved by the presence of the Living Eucharist.

Read these words slowly at least three times shared by Benedict XVI: “The declining participation in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration shows how little we Christians of today still know about appreciating the greatness of the gift that consists in His Real Presence. The Eucharist is devalued into a mere ceremonial gesture when it is taken for granted that courtesy requires Him to be offered at family celebrations or on occasions such as weddings and funerals to all those invited for family reasons.”

The Living Eucharist is one of the most important ways I think we come to love God, and to become renewed and mastered by the Faith. And to see how and where God is at work in our lives and in others. This is a free gift that helps us, as Benedict XVI says: “To see and find the living Church is a wonderful task which strengthens us and makes us joyful in our Faith time and again.”

This is how the man working on my house came to tell me about his son. Because, I gave God my time to just be in the moment, so the man felt the love of God radiate from me to the point that he opened up to sharing what he is struggling with. God presents these moments to us when we bring ourselves into one-ness with Himself, the Master of the Faith. And through people is the most common way I have seen how God works in the world.

Thanks for reading.

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Side Note: To the men reading this from Chicagoland, be sure the check out the Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum coming in two weeks. Hope to see you there!