We Yearn For Peace!

By Bishop Josph N Perry

My late father was a World War II veteran who was assigned 1942-1945 to the European Theatre. That generation of men has been dubbed the greatest generation for reasons of their patriotism, their family values, and work ethic. It has also been suggested that many of the WWII veterans that returned home had been made pacifists by the ravages of experience connected with that war. The sons they spawned turned out the Vietnam War generation – my generation – who fought that war, others of whom became draft dodgers and pacifists, protesters through the streets for an end of a longer than long and lengthy conflict in Asia.

My father would not allow me as a child to have guns and holsters and toys that dealt with war. I was ill-equipped to play with the neighbor kids when they played war or Cow-boys and Indians or pretended to shoot each other. I did no quite understand it back then, only later in my adulthood did I begin to understand what my Father was doing with me that he could not quite articulate.

Ours is a different generation. We have gathered to pray, once again, for a new year safer for our children to travel the streets and sidewalks to school and church and parks and other places. We cannot confine our children to inside the home. It is natural for children to want to be outdoors. Continue to encourage them as you have always done to be aware of what’s in front of them, in back of them, on the side of them. More and more kids travel to school on busses or in cars these days. Yet even then, encourage your children and grandchildren to be vigilant, to speak up to parents and teachers when they see something wrong and where to take refuge if danger closes in on them.

When we were growing up my mother did not allow us to watch certain TV shows that were considered “adult entertainment”. In the 1950s, adult entertainment was Payton Place and The Untouchables. We had to go upstairs while mom watched her favorite TV adult shows. I wasn’t able to watch The Untouchables until I became an adult and then got a kick out of some floozy sitting atop a desk filing her nails while her gang lord crook wearing a gun and holster next to his rib was on the phone bringing booze into the city. Those images were off-limits for children of my time. How things have changed with the tenor of morals displayed on the viewing screen and the troublesome Internet!

Today is different. Notice, the popular video games with which children and teens are engaged. Most of them have to do with rabid violence, high powered weapons cutting down opponents and blood spurting every which way. Kids have these at home and work them with their coins in video arcades and at shopping malls. This is considered innocent youth entertainment. And we purchase these games for our youth. I suggest we should fast from these images and other movies where people like actors Stephen Seagal and Vin Diesel and others act out glorified violence. Unbeknownst to us these images work themselves in the consciousness of our youth getting across the idea that violence and killing are the only ways to be somebody. A gun in the hand always renders one a false sense of power.

Now, I am not saying my parent’s methods of raising us were the best. All I know is that I did not turn out the worse for it. I believe there is something to be said for steering clear of giving birthday gifts and Christmas gifts and gifts in between that symbolize violence and killing so prevalent in our city and other cities across the country. Follow through with the rearing of your kids and grandkids on this. Support your prayers and messaging by fasting from the images and instruments associated with violence. Then, sooner or later, the kids will understand.

Bishop Joseph Perry

JNP2017

Giving Thanks. Living In Peace.

Life, and the persons we share it with, is too short.

12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you, 13and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. 15See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all. 16Rejoice always. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

1 THES Chapter 5:12-18

I have a confession to make. I have lived through at least seven car accidents while I was the driver. None of them have I caused, just my being in the wrong place at the ‘right’ time. However, all of them caused me to reflect on me asking “why did that happen”?!!

But that’s not the real confession ….

The confession is that all of those accidents revealed my unfinished business in that moment had I died, and how I needed to work on each day to correct things that went wrong ‘yesterday’ … and (do that) for the rest of my life. As a Catholic man, it is my responsibility, as it is yours, to be a spiritual leader for our family and an example of our relationship with Christ!

Our first ministry is to get our faimily to Heaven.

I’m sure if you ask your priest or deacon they will tell you the number of people they see at funerals who’ve gone up to bodies and weeping over unsettled issues. The closer you get to people, the more you have disagreements.

It seems that everywhere you look people want to fight you. And today both online and offline. Conflict resolution involves making right towards others to be at peace with all people – and we can’t change others until we can change ourself first.

Bishop Perry’s Men’s Forum 2018

Every day you and I need to work toward living and being “The Goodness of a Catholic Man”, and a servant leader after God’s own heart. Many times we have good intentions but hide behind, or allow, things that distract us to never take action on our responsibilities: prayers or the Cross, the TV clicker, your fears, gossip, sports, money, pornography, work …. the list goes on.

What do you hide behind ?

If you are married, are you and your wife a “gift” to each other, or do you repay evil for evil? Do either or both of you withdraw from the other to make them “pay the price”? Do you threaten divorce instead of work on better communication, no matter what it takes? If so, what is it going to take for you to look at each other in the eyes and say ” YOU ARE NOT MY ENEMY!!! “

Men – how do you talk to your wife? You may have issues, but she is the ONE (that you married and thus God gave to you), and so treat her like the queen of your household. Because she is!! I have learned, when our wives are unhappy, more often than not it’s because of our selfishness (just saying), by not filling her with our love and affection in the way God that made her.

What about your family members: children, siblings, parents, cousins, uncles and aunts … and even close friends … to name a few? As Father Larry Richards says, “the best way to set people free is with your love, not your judgement”. Yes, sometimes we need to tolerate family or friends, and other times we need to remove persons from our lives because they cause a threat to our health or to our life. But, otherwise, Christ calls us in all things to respect each other as a person, as a man or as a woman, no matter how we feel about them.

The reality is that God doesn’t need you or me to do His work! He needs us to love people and let them experience an example of what it is to be Catholic! To be contagious with our Faith!! Spiritual poverty is very common because of our hard hearts. To become the body of Christ we all need to be renewed in prayer.

Let us bring our questions to Jesus. Let Him show us through this renewal how to witness the way in His love.

…. So, going forward, I challenge you to take the steps needed to take care of unfinished business! You know what it is.

Instead of tolerating those persons or issues, this time tackle them like a football superstar … even if it means to make a stop at confession as a first step. Reconciliation and Forgiveness is not a bad thing. Pride and dictating is. In your position of spiritual leadership in the home, responsibility and integrity matters!

Pray is the best way. God, through our action, will then show us how to do the rest.

Life, and the persons we share it with, is too short. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Frank J Casella

How are you giving to others?

Giving Thanks, Living In Peace

Photo: Copyright Frank J Casella All Rights Reserved

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it represents everything that is important to me: My entire family, my wife, my kids, my friends, my open table (especially my Italian side, always have room for one more), food, and my faith in God and in this country.

There is no busyness, like with Christmas to follow, and there are no concerns about the meaning of the holiday across religious or political lines, its just simply being thankful …. and grateful.

There are a couple things I’m grateful for: Firstly, the almost 20 years that Catholic Men Chicago Southand (CMCS) has been in existence. That many of you reading this have either volunteered behind the scenes, been to our events or donated with your dollars, and you continue to believe in the vision (trust me, I pray and question all the time to be sure that if its no longer a fit then its time to quit, and you just keep on giving).

The other thing I am grateful for is my gift of photography, for all the people who have mentored me over the years, and namelss others who make it possible for me to provide and share hope and God’s love to people through these pictures.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I’d love to hear from you: what are you are grateful for? Mention it in the comments.

In the past, when asked, we’ve read things like this:

“I am grateful for my family and for good health. Those are big-ticket items on my grateful list. I am also grateful for a warm home and food on the table and wonderful friends and neighbors.”

“I’m grateful for the gift of life and the love that has been poured over me. I’m grateful for family and friends who accompany me on this journey life, Love, and faith.”

“When you have been fighting cancer, every day is a gift.”

How are you giving to others?

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on December 3, 2019 and every day.

Please consider a gift to CMCS to support Bishop Perry’s apostolate of nurturing Catholic men’s spirituality in the Chicago Southland.

Also, now is the pre-sale for the Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum on April 18, 2020. This will be a special way for you to invite and give other men for the Christmas Season, the gift to participate in the Forum .

If you will not be able to attend this event, donations are accepted to offset the expense of offering complimentary tickets to priest’s and seminarians, and others who can not afford to attend.

For example, we always ‘scholarship’ a table to the men of Zacchaeus House, please give to them as well this season of giving. Click here to read a recent article about this other apostolate of Bishop Perry.

And lest we forget …

Bishop Perry’s classic and timless article on Thanksgiving; Deacon Rangel’s article on ‘The Works of Mercy. What are we doing about it?’: and from two years ago, reflecting on my article on things I have reflected on, in talking with other men. These are somewhat long reads, so make a pot of coffee or enjoy during your holiday travels.

On behalf of Bishop Perry and the CMCS-Team, Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers and, of course, the CMCS-Men!

Frank J Casella