Bishop Joseph Perry: Family Prayer for Vocations

Parent(s):

Good Lord, we beg your blessing upon our family.  We thank you for the children with which you have blessed us.  Bless us as we use this day to give you praise.  Help our children grow towards you through the various things they learn about the mysteries of life and creation sewn by your hand. Grant wisdom to me/us their parent(s), their teachers and others you have given to guide them.  Preserve our efforts to give our children all that they deserve.

We pray you grace our children with faith, openness of heart, a willingness to learn, a desire to do good to others as you have taught.  Keep them ever strong and ready for any test of character.  As they grow in knowledge and experience inspire in our children a desire to serve you in holiness of life.  In whatever walk of life they choose be for them a true path to your kingdom. May you find among our children generous hearts to serve you and the Church perhaps as a priest, or religious brother or sister.  Should their Calling be to extend this family of ours, may theirs be a holy matrimony and family life after the example of your life with Mary and Joseph. 

Child/Children:

O Jesus, whisper in my heart how I might best serve you.  Make me strong in faith, always attentive to people’s needs, ever spiritual, understanding and charitable.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much.  Bless our priest(s) and religious who serve(s) us.  Bless my parents, our bishop and pastors and all who help the Church’s work.

Family:

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, increase the number of our priests and religious men and women.  Preserve them for your Church.  Keep them zealous in their vocation and successful in their labors.  May they do all things for love of you and the Church.  We pray through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever.  AMEN

Bishop Joseph N Perry

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sub-Committee on African American Affairs

2020

Click here for more prayers by Bishop Perry

Manhood Monday: When You Get to Know God

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Alleluia  Jn 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Love is stronger than evil. Take each day of the next week and spend fifteen minutes with God.  Not to pray, but to listen.  Ask God to dwell in your heart and to speak wisdom to you (James 1:5).  Tell Jesus that you love Him with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind – and then do it and live it.

 “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jn14:6. When you get to know God, you will see He knows you and He loves you!

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Bishop Prays the Rosary – Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella

Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago finds a place to pray the rosary at a Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.

“The month of May is a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary”, Pope Francis says, “the restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this “family” aspect, also from a spiritual point of view. For this reason, I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May.”

Want to discover the peace and clarity that comes from praying the Rosary? Follow this link from Dynamic Catholic.

Thanks for Reading. Please see the note below.

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.


A day dedicated to unleashing the power of giving

GivingTuesday is joining forces with PayPal to help nonprofits like CMCS rally their supporters, raise donations and rebuild communities.

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 #GivingTuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

Let’s come together to create a wave of generosity, citizen engagement, action from business and philanthropy, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.

Several CMCS-Men are out of work, and many more of us are trying to sort out what the new normal will look like for the coming weeks and months. While we could not convene in person on April 18th at the Bishop’s Men’s Forum, Catholic Men Chicago Southalnd (CMCS) has continued to support our community… We’ve tested small groups of parish men who’ve been meeting with us on video chat about the Gospel readings, and we’re looking to invest in the tools to expand on this and to help us all connect the dots on our journey and CMCS motto of ‘Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man’.

And we look forward to the day that we can meet again with all of you in person!

Give What You Can

It is our mission to encourage and support contemporary Catholic men to grow in holines, and to make Jeus Christ the center of our lives. Your contributions help us do that. As an example, we’ve seen a 70% increase in followers to the Catholic Chicago Men Blog, and still growing. We don’t charge subscriptions for this and never will. People contributing the amount they think is fair for our blog, and now our video ministry, is what allows us to support Catholic men in the Chicago Southland, the Archdiocese, and everyone who needs our resources.

CMCS is an Illinois State recognized nonprofit, and is not an IRS-certified charity. No revenue is generated by advertising, and funded only by individual support. Operation of CMCS is debt free, and administration is done by the CMCS-Team who gain no financial benefit from their engagement for this apostolate. Donations above CMCS expenses contribute towards the part-time work of the director.

And we can’t do this critically important work without you.

Would you consider to keep our mission alive, by helping more Catholic Men to grow in their love and understanding of God through a gift to CMCS today?


Not signed up yet? Click here.

Catholic Men Family Connection

A Father’s love is never time wasted

Photo: ‘Learning the Game’ Copyright 2010 Frank J Casella

Families, as the domestic church, have the opportunity to make the family meal a time of prayerful encounter with one another and with Jesus. At a family meal we share our experiences of the day and connect them with the experiences of others in the family.

We can also enjoy the meal as an opportunity to reflect upon our family life in light of the Scriptures, that connects us to Jesus too.

Choose a family meal each week to share each of our experiences of the week. Perhaps take turns as family members to plan and prepare the meal together. Begin the meal by reading the Gospel for the day. As you eat, talk together about how these events speak to our lives in the light of Scripture.

Download and share Bishop Perry’s Prayer Before Meals.

Next, each family member can share the things that are going on in his or her life. Consider what Jesus might say to each person if he were sitting at your dinner table. Conclude with a special prayer after your dinner.

Dad’s, as the priest of your family the domestic church, pray a prayer of blessing for each family member, asking that Jesus continue to be present in each person’s life, helping each one to be a better follower of Jesus. Conclude with a Sign of Peace.

A Father’s Love

Men, how many times have you (and I) done things with human understanding instead if seeing those things through the eyes of Christ. Do you have this regulator switch that turns Christ’s love ON and turns it OFF, instead of being filled with His love and making our ‘plans’ His. It’s all about relationships. If you are a Father, what is your relationship with your children? What is your relationship with the Lord Jesus?

I recall a few years ago when I spent a weekend with my teenage son attending a basketball tournament that he was playing in. I rationalized that because of the distance and cost of travel we would stay in a hotel, but the real truth is I knew that I needed to do a better job at giving my son my time. I always ask for lessons from God in everything that I do, but this weekend God had a lesson that I didn’t ‘plan’ for.

We all have the same amount of time, what is different is how we use it. We all have ‘important’ things to take care of: work, house, car, and many details in-between. Sometimes, we make all of these details so important that we let go of the one thing that is most important – relationships.

I was thinking about all of this while watching one of my son’s games, when he took a hard fall while driving the ball and was injured. This is a very rare occurrence for him. It wasn’t until after the game and on the way home that his knee started to puff up and become painful. I cannot find the words to describe how much I wanted to take that injury from him and carry the pain for him. If you are a Father I’m sure you know what I am talking about.

Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me. 1 Peter 2: 24 – 25: ” He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep’s but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.”

The lesson the Lord spoke to me is this: Jesus envelopes you with his loving arms, like a father with a young child. It is impossible to love Jesus more than he loves you, more than how a father (or parent) loves their children.

A father’s love for his own child is only a glimpse of A Father’s Love from the Lord Jesus. Just like how Jesus says ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’, when you feel distant from God, who moved?

In other words, does your relationship with your children example A Father’s Love that you have with the Lord. If not, what has stopped that from happening?

Our first job as a Dad is to get our family to Heaven. Each child is different in making the connection and developing the relationship. It is never time wasted because, as a Father, the impact you have on your family can go three generations deep.

Frank J Casella, CMCS-Director

Bishop Joseph Perry: A Prayer for Employment

Pray this each day, whether or not you are employed.

O God, Father of us all, You bestow on us gifts and talents to develop and use in accord with your Will and to advance your kingdom on earth.  Grant to me, through the intercession of Saint Joseph, the man chosen by God to care for you in your childhood and youth, employment and work that I may with dignity provide for my family. Grant me the opportunities to use my energy and abilities for the good of those who depend upon me for care and support.  You placed me in charge of this family.  I beseech your assistance in helping me provide for them as you would have me do. You are our God and head of this family.  Amen

Bishop Joseph N Perry

Click here to download (PDF) copy

The Secret to Your Identity as a Child of God

How to experience the journey of spiritual transformation.

Photo: ‘Flowers in the Woods’ Copyright 2017 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

It is said, as I shared in my last post, that if you start to spend ten minutes to an hour a day with your own thoughts, it will take up to sixty days before you remove all the clutter and eventually can start the hour thinking about yesterday and today!

I have found this to be so true!

Silence can be scary, I know. Especially when you haven’t done it in a while, or you may have thoughts of it causing your skeletons in the closet to come to the surface of things.

This is where prayer comes in.

It is like walking through the forest or woods. At first you notice the beauty of the trees, and how the sunlight interplays with the branches. Then as you walk down the trail, and listen to the birds and sounds of nature, your brain starts to shift to the peacefulness as your surroundings fall into the background.

Things start to enter your brain about your deeper thoughts that do not have a chance to surface because of all the distractions in life. The secret here is to seek what God says about these thoughts.

How do you learn to understand the Word of God? By reading it and by trusting the Holy Spirit.

Reading the Word of God can be as Fr. Larry Richards says “Bible before breakfast and Bible before bed”, or it can be just spending time with the daily Mass readings. The important thing is to put our thoughts in right perspective, because when we remove the Word of God from our lives we can feel overwhelmed and on our own.

Remember that God uses people and our circumstances to do His work. This is all a journey, and not a destination.

Check out this 2-minute video where Father Burke Masters shares his journey from knowing to believing his true identity in Christ. You may recall he shared something like this with us at our Men’s Forum a few years ago.

The world can have us confused in everyday life about our true identity as men. It can be from what we do for a living, to our image through the things we own. We may love God, but do we truly have Christ in our hearts?

Once we experience the journey of allowing God to transform our us, we begin to see our lives, and the world, through His eyes and our true identity as a child of God. And this can only come through the silence of deep thinking and prayer.

Thanks for reading.

Frank J Casella

Manhood Monday: Hope in the Lord

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Third Week of Lent

Verse Before The Gospel PS 130:5, 7

I hope in the LORD, I trust in his word;
with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption.

Even now and as we grow older, our faith can grow through our experiences, especially if we can tune in and recognize those moments either as they happen or when we look back on them. Many times, those moments can feel like interruptions as they occur. But when we look back we may realize they were moments of grace.

Most of us inherited our faith.  It was bequeathed to us by previous generations.  We were brought to the baptismal font as infants.  We grew up in the church. We were tutored in the basic truths of the faith.  We were fortunate if we saw those truths exemplified in our families.  Loving parents, fellow Christians, clergy and other model adults made the idea of a loving God believable.  The necessity of sharing with our brothers and sisters – siblings – planted in us the seeds of generosity and sharing.  Receiving fair treatment along life’s way helped us to learn to trust.  By being forgiven we learned to forgive others while learning that we are loved by God despite our mistakes.  In other words, Christian faith was a part of our development.  It was natural to become a follower of Jesus Christ. We cannot remember when Christianity was not a part of our lives.

Bishop Joseph Perry: ‘Come and See’

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo” ‘Prayer Offerings’ Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19):

“With the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, we are confronted once more with the fragility of our lives, and again we are reminded of our common humanity — that the peoples of this world are our brothers and sisters, that we are all one family under God.

God does not abandon us, he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing. In this moment, it is important for us to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to intensify our prayers and sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives.

United with our Holy Father Pope Francis, let us pray in solidarity for our brothers and sisters here and around the world who are sick. Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones to this virus. May God console them and grant them peace.

We pray also for doctors, nurses, and caregivers, for public health officials and all civic leaders. May God grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good.

In this time of need, I invite all the faithful to seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I share this prayer with you (PDF).”

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.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

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.

You Know What It Is That Has A Grip On You

By Frank J Casella

In Mark 9: 14-29 the disciples were unable to drive out the demons.  Jesus said “This kind can only come out through prayer” … a variant reading adds “and through fasting.”   

What are your demons? 

What has a grip on you? 

Photo ‘Morning Buzz’ by Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

If you look at what you worry or think about all of the time, or what uses up most of your time, this is what might have a grip on you. This is your demon.  

Said another way, anything that distracts you from growth in holiness with Jesus is your demon.  You know what it is, and you have not been able to get rid of it.  Look what Jesus says: “This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting”.

You don’t have to look very far around you to see that our culture is distracted by consumerism.  Anyone who has a storage shed, or a garage and/or basement packed with stuff is distracted by consumerism. 

Life is not about what clothes you where, or what your body looks like. It’s not about where you work, or what position you hold. Life is not about what college you went to, or what college your kids are going to. Nor what car you drive, or the house you live in. Your identity is not in what sports team you root for, or what jersey you wear. And it’s not about how much money you have, or don’t have.  Life is about the discipline of your identity in Jesus Christ.  Does consumerism have a grip on you, or are you in His grip?

Our culture tells us that we can have what we want, when we want, whenever we want it.  They call it freedom.  Our Church tells us that true freedom comes from our identity in Jesus and discipline … the freedom to have the ability to do what we ought to.

It takes hard work to live the Catholic lifestyle. And the benefits are out of this world!  Our own society tells us to listen to our bodies about what we want in life, and not allow our bodies to be controlled by our soul.  Do you give your body what it wants, or does your soul tell your body “NO”.   One more Coke. One more slice of pizza. Ten more bucks on lotto. Pornography. Gossip. That second helping at dinner. On the couch in front of the TV instead of in a chair reading a spiritual or uplifting book … like the Bible.  Buying that fancy BMW instead of buying a Ford Taurus SHO …. and donating the difference to the poor. 

Having things is not bad, only when we fail to keep them in right perspective.

Our culture tells us that happiness comes from consumerism, and thus our lives are never fulfilled or complete, we always want more.  What we long for is Jesus, but are we afraid?  We as Catholic men are called to change our bad habits into good habits to live a fruitful life.  A happy life.

Look at the sports Champions.  Most of them excel at doing one thing very well, with discipline derived from good habits.  As soon as they lose their focus they suffer.  Whether its your sports or your diet or whatever else, our Church teaches everything in moderation.  Look at the Catholic Saints, the Champions of our Church, they are all known for doing one thing well – transforming their shortcomings into virtues.

What example do we leave our kids when we put them into multiple sporting teams at the same time?  Confusion!  There is a discipline in doing one sport at a time and doing it well.  Sure, they can do them all … just one at a time in different seasons…It’s okay. Each sport activity has its own discipline, and coach, yet we tell our kids they can have what they want, when they want it, instead of inspiring them to make a decision to learn the discipline for one sport / game, and thus for life. 

I saw too many kids a few years back with my son’s basketball team who can’t focus on the basketball game with the rules from one coach because they just came from soccer with rules of a different coach. They don’t make or have time to practice at home, to be prepared, conditioned, and disciplined.  What about you, where or what is the confusion in your life? Are you able to work for two different bosses on the same day? Do you feel that your life is complete and happy?

Faith: Are you going to Mass on Sunday? 

Do you bring your family with you? 

Consumerism wants you to believe that Mass is boring: the Catholic faith is religion and rules. 

Do you go to Mass with an open mind prepared for God to speak to you, or do you just show up? 

Do you remember to take your experience from Mass and share it in everyday life through your thoughts and actions? 

What you think you become. Do you have good intentions … or right-action?

It all starts with prayer and fasting, as Jesus says, then He will come into your life and give you more satisfaction and peace in life than you can imagine.  An hour a week in Holy Adoration.  A day without coffee to sacrifice for someone you know who has a health set back. A day without texting or iPhone … start with two hours … and communicate with Jesus instead.

The Catholic Church says take your eyes off self and put them on serving others. God speaks more through your loving and serving others instead of serving yourself.  Are you listening to your body … or are you listening to your soul? 

Is Love only a feeling to you? Turn Love into an action!  Ask Jesus to reveal to you what your demons are … and what is distracting you fully from passion and purpose in life.  No, don’t tell God what you think it is, but ask Christ to show you your life through His eyes.  Sit in his presence until He speaks to your soul. He has your best interest in His Sacred Heart.  He holds YOU in the palm of His hand.

Do you know what it is that has a grip on you?  Some of you already know, when you begin to live in His grip you will develop growth in Holiness, and become the best man and person that He has called you to be.

Need help getting started?  Do you follow this blog if not alaready? Next study the toolbox for the Catholic man. Questions? Contact us.

Frank J Casella, CMCS Executive Director