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

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

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The Value of Hope

By Frank J Casella

Hope.

As I go through my daily life the Lord is showing me more and more how everyone is in search of hope. The economy, employment, world affairs, policies and programs, health care, religion and politics, to name a few. 

All of these bring concern and cause us to look for a sense of hope. One thing I’m seeing since the big tax cut talked about in Washington, is businesses talking about more prosperity, and utilities talking about lowering pricing. But I’ve not met anyone who is experiencing this … in their pockets … yet they have much hope for when it starts to take effect. 

Some people say that the problems of the world have to do with racism, or intolerance of one kind or another. There seems to be a dividing line between people who have faith in God, and others who say faith in God is a distraction and only causes more problems to expectations or progress. 

The people I watch who do prison ministry say that over ninety percent of the men in prison have a broken relationship with their fathers. This is the root of their anger. Ministers find that when these men reconcile with their fathers, or if their fathers are not living to prayerfully and truthfully forgive them, that these men start on the path of hope towards inner peace and less anger. They no longer express anger through their actions.

Hope is so valuable to our lives, two of the many examples happens to be one of the most downloaded shows of the Zig Ziglar podcasts. It’s also one of the most used words or topics on the Seth Godin blog.

Pope Francis says of hope,

“We must help one another … in the many needs of everyday life, but also when we are in need of hope. “

And this brings me to my childhood, when I didn’t talk much and was thus studying people and behaviors. How I saw then the way people were searching for hope, and how today the purpose for my pictures (as a photographer) and how I co-founded this Catholic apostolate to men.  

This is what I call my ‘why’.

… When I help others to find hope, and see it living in the soul of their eyes, it gives me hope in the many needs of everyday life. Priceless!

Has anyone ever asked you “what is your ‘why'”??  If so, what do you tell them?  Also, what is your hope or what gives you hope in life?


Frank J Casella is a photographer, and co-founder of the Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum, and Catholic Men Chicago Southland