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

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.

God Is Good. He Knows Your Needs.

By Frank J Casella

As Men it’s in our DNA to be providers. To fix things. Yet, being a Catholic Man adds a twist to things, as we are called to depend on God as this is His will for us. After all, He knows our needs better than we do, and all we have to do is trust and meet Him in His work.

To be honest with you, for me, sometimes it takes more to wait on God than for me to just get it done. But then, in the end it never fails that His ways are not our ways and He gets the last laugh, so to speak.

It doesn’t matter as much whether we have the resources or means to provide the solutions or not, because what does matter is that we train our spiritual radar to seek God’s agenda.

A few brief examples ….

  • Recently I’ve been trying for a month to get my snow blower to the repair shop, and could not understand the delays and why things were not lining up to get it done. I can’t lift heavy things, and I no longer have a car the machine will fit in, so I have to depend on my twenty-something son’s for help.  Finally as my son was getting the machine looked at, a man also bringing in his repair offered to my son that whether we repair or replace he would cover (the cost) for half of it.  With God there is no coincidences … its about the decisive moment.
  • Here at CMCS we have an iMac computer that is over a decade old. We’ve updated it and it works fine, but we are told its days are numbered (and they REALLY are).  Just then a donation came in with the note to use it to update technology, and then the next day a CMCS man donated a slightly used PC computer.  I gave it to a computer guy I know to look at and, pulling from his computer graveyard, he gave it some newer parts and speed and then we added a new hard drive. The bill was about the amount of the donation, but nothing more, and it’s like a new computer!
  • If you’ve read my articles, or been to the Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum, you’ll know that I’m also a photographer.  I have hosted my pictures on Flickr for about a decade. Well Flickr has a new owner who has changed the business model. So, short of the long, I’m moving my stuff to ipernity. Just about when the ipernity free trial was up, and I was deciding to pay for the service or not, a man from Europe paid for a gift subscription saying that he is inspired by my works and hopes that I will stay and inspire others.
  • Before last winter I was thinking about a new roof for my house, and how I might finance the ordeal. So a Christian man I’ve known for years who is in this business connected me with a contractor to come out to look at it. Turns out I had hail damage on the roof, because the back of the house faces the lake and wetlands of Homewood Izaak Walton Preserve. We got the insurance rep out, the contractor talked with him, and then the insurance bought a new roof and soon the siding. All it cosst so far is my insurance deductible. God uses people to do His work, and these people involved where no exception … They’re meant to be.

So my friends, God is good and knows your needs. Many times, though, we are too busy doing God’s work for Him when He often doesn’t need us to do it. Rather, we are to see where God is at work and then take action to meet Him in His work.  And pray.

I often, depending on the matter, pray for intercession from Our Lady of Good Remedy, Francis Cardinal George Fr. Michael McGivney, or St. Rita of Cascia.


Frank J Casella makes pictures of moments in time and human interaction that shares hope and God’s love in the word, and is co-founder of Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum. 


If this article was meaningful to you, please rate it below. 



Cardinal Francis George – Witness

Uploaded on Nov 11, 2011 by Salt and Light

In this episode of Witness, Fr. Thomas Rosica interviews one of America’s great religious leaders, ( the Late ) Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago. During his tenure as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal George earned the reputation of thinker-in-chief. A philosopher, theologian, and pastor with a great missionary spirit, Cardinal George offers reflections on some of the pressing challenges before Catholics in North America today.


Cardinal George’s gallero is now up – Holy Name Cathedral

Catholic New World: Cardinal George’s gallero is now up. A “punctuation mark” on the life of a great man, Msgr. Mayall says.

“Month’s Mind” Mass to Honor Cardinal George – News – Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal’s Galero to be Suspended in the Cathedral Sanctuary

Chicago, IL (May 6, 2015) – A “Month’s Mind” Mass, a centuries old tradition honoring the one-month anniversary of a person’s death, will be celebrated for Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, on Sunday, May 17, at 5:15 p.m., at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior Streets in Chicago. Rev. Msgr. Daniel Mayall, Rector of Holy Name Cathedral, will be the main celebrant and homilist at the “Month’s Mind” Mass.

More via “Month’s Mind” Mass to Honor Cardinal George – News – Archdiocese of Chicago.