During his homily at the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of sharing little gestures of love within the family. These little acts of love are vital to the heart of a parish family, too. Here are some examples of little gestures we can do within our parishes to welcome others and foster a culture of encounter. What ideas can you add?
â€œChristians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of their faith, not sure of Jesus Christ,â€ Pope Francis.
Bridge building can be hazardous, huh? Just take a look at what happened to the peace doves Pope Francis released while, ironically, praying for peace in the Ukraine where violent protests have raged since late November.
The moment provided a bit of inspiration for my latest piece at CatholicMom.com.
The Church fathers, St. Benedict in particular, wrote about the need for Otium Sanctum or Holy Leisure. It refers to an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, to be at peace through the activities of the day, to pace ourselves. Or, as Pope Francis might say, simply wasting time with one another. Do you waste time with your children? What does that look like in your home? Do we, collectively, even know how to waste time with one another?
“Open your hearts to life!” has become a recurring theme in Pope Francis’s pontificate. It’s also the theme for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2013-14 Respect Life Campaign that kicked off in parishes across the nation on Respect Life Sunday.
The phrase “Open your hearts to life” can be a difficult one for many couples who are quite open to life yet find their hearts overflowing with grief due to pregnancy/infant loss or infertility.
This is one area that seems to be a bit off the radar screen and weighs heavily enough on our hearts to call us to action.
Pope Francis’ first encyclical Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith) was released on Friday, and we spent some time reading through much of it together late last night. Hey, what are you going to do … watch a rerun of Law & Order or read our Holy Father’s first encyclical? Choices, people, choices!
Coincidentally, our latest post for Catholic Stand was scheduled for today, too, and we were ready to submit a post about tangible things parishes can do to stop losing young families and start raising up the next generation of saints. As we read Lumen Fidei, we found pearls of wisdom and nuggets of gold to weave into our post. In other words, we wanted to strike while the iron was hot!
Today’s blog bits include some great photos of my mom with Timothy Cardinal Dolan over in Rome. Meanwhile back in Des Moines, we experienced a most festive and celebratory proclamation at Mass for our new Holy Father Pope Francis. How about you? What did you hear or see at Mass regarding the selection of our new Holy Father?