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Lord's Day Mass
Saturday: 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.

Daily Mass
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 8:30 a.m., and 12:15 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday: 6:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. 

Eucharistic Adoration
Monday - Friday: 9am - 9pm in the Reservation Chapel

Solemn Vespers and Benediction: 7:00 p.m. Wednesday

Reconciliation (Confession)
Wednesday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. or by appointment


Fr. John's Homily 2.18.2018

Fr. Ted's Homily 2.18.2018



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Posted by on in Reflection

Humility is a major theme in the upcoming weekend’s readings. For instance, in the first reading (Sir 18:9-14), we will hear, “The one who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds…”

In this weekend’s Gospel (Lk 18:9-14) Jesus relates the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying near each other. The Pharisee says, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity…” and continues with a laundry list of sins that others have committed but not him. Hmmm. Does this behavior sound vaguely familiar this election season?

But Jesus draws attention to the repentant tax collector nearby who prays, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus says the tax collector who humbles himself will be justified when he goes home. Jesus predicts that the self-righteous Pharisee will be humbled.

Humility has been defined as transparency, self-awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, holy actions and sinful behavior. Perhaps it is also a realization of “there but for the grace of God go I.” Humility helps us be merciful and to recognize our need for God. A humble spirit may help us listen and interact civilly with others, even those we may not agree with- especially with those who do not agree with us.

Pope Francis has done much to model humility in our Church. For instance, when his pontificate was first announced he requested that we pray for him and he identified himself as a sinner. He went on to continue to choose a simple lifestyle, and he has been willing to meet with a wide variety of people, including future saints and sinners. And people have taken notice. Someone I know who is not Christian told me how much they like Pope Francis because “he is not judgmental, he embodies what Christianity should be about.” (Yes, they truly used the word “embodies”! Very incarnational!)

Pope Francis has also actively sought out opportunities to build bridges with those of other faith traditions. It has even been joked in Greek and Latin circles that Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew from Greek Orthodox Church are BFF’s! For example, they have met together to pray for peace in Assisi along with those of other faiths. Together they have met with refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos.

greek and latin perspectivesWon’t you join us this weekend as we follow Pope Francis’ example and participate in ecumenical dialogue? This Sunday afternoon at 3pm in our new social hall, we will welcome Fr. Lucas Christiansen, Assistant Priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church from the west side of our city and his parishioners who choose to join him! Please join us!! Refreshments will be offered for all!

fr. luke christiansen

Fr. Luke Christiansen

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Posted by on in Reflection

I love Indiana! My husband thinks I’m crazy for never wanting to move, especially when my allergies are a mess or we’re shoveling snow trying to get everyone out the door in the morning. But this is exactly WHY I love Indiana. Just when I’m getting tired of one season, another one comes along. And it’s beautiful…and refreshing…and new.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 says:

“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces…a time to keep and a time to cast away…a time to be silent, and a time to speak…I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about. God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.”
-Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2, 4-7, 10-11

This is one of my favorite scripture versus from the bible because it reminds me that in our own lives there are also seasons, and I have realized recently that parenthood can be very much the same way. I am realizing this now as my oldest is a senior in high school and getting ready to launch and my youngest is a sixth grader leaving the comforts of elementary school, and my middle, well, let’s just say she’s so independent that there are days I look at her and think, “Oh my goodness! I forgot to ask you about (fill in the blank)!” and then I feel so far from being mother of the year. I am realizing this now as my husband and I are not able to function on five or six hours of sleep the way we used to when our children were little and needed to be fed or comforted after a bad dream in the middle of the night, and as our own parents are aging and require just a little more time and reassurance that they have left their legacy within our family but are still needed. I’m realizing this now as I notice that I’ve worked myself out of a job, just a little bit, because my kids can get their own food, put themselves to bed, and take care of most of their daily needs.

As I reflect on all of this and pray about it I realize one thing. This is exactly as it should be. These precious little people are totally on loan to me! They are God’s gift to me…little ‘ol me!!! It is then that I begin to wonder what in the world I did to deserve them?! And what in the world am I supposed to DO with them?!

God answers, “Get them to heaven!” That’s it. That’s all.

Sometimes as parents we need momentum to get through the challenging times. Other times, we wish things would slow down. Either way, parenthood is a journey that we are not intended to do alone. It is our vocation and our calling from God. The thing He has blessed us with because He trusts that we are capable and the perfect earthly parents for His precious children. The children for whom he already has a great plan! Yes, God already knows what our children’s lives will be like before he even gives them to us! And we get to be a part of that plan. What a gift, what an honor!

Colossians 3:16 says,

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

We are to teach, advise, and urge, our children…sing with and celebrate their successes, and have gratitude for them every day. We are to weep and laugh, embrace them and let them go, speak to them and at other times be silent and listen. We are to help make them Disciples of Christ…Saints even! We are to do our very best to get them to Heaven. We do this by loving them, unconditionally, the way that God loves each of us…especially as they develop, grow, and change…just like the seasons…trusting that we’ve done enough and knowing that we will be there in the next season of their lives when they need us.

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Posted by on in Pope Francis

Pope FrancisI live near a particular neighborhood where handlebar mustachios and fixies are common place. While visiting a local coffee shop with a buddy I heard a young lady with tattoo sleeves and dreadlocks exclaim, “even that Pope guy is going eco-friendly and sustainable,” which was awesome to hear and caused me to inhale with pride. But then my inhalation turned into an audible sigh as she turned her praise into a tirade of misquotes and generalized guessing on what Pope Francis could've meant in his latest encyclical Laudato Si. Really, I’m not surprised. How can I be upset that the secular world doesn't understand the entirety of Pope Francis message when many self-proclaimed Catholics haven't read it. Let me see a show of hands: How many of you thought that it was a call to drive a Prius, build an urban chicken coop (kinda cool actually) and wear skinny jeans? Thought so. For the record, nobody should ever wear skinny anything and please put your hands down. I thought it timely to clarify what “On the Care of Our Common Home” actually says and equally important, what it doesn't say. So for all of you who just want the cliff notes on Laudato Si, here you go (skateboards optional).

First and foremost, an encyclical is a letter that a pope writes about particular issues affecting our current social, cultural, economic, paradigm. This particular encyclical focuses on being good stewards of our environment. This is just the latest in a long line of social issue encyclicals that popes have written beginning in 1891 when Leo XIII wrote Rerum Novarum, so the idea that no other pope has been involved in social issues is patently false as there was Quadragesimo Anno, Centesimus Annus, Pacem in Terris, Humanae Vitae, and Caritas in Veritate just to name a few. Where this one differs is that it was written to all persons on earth because the environment affects us all.

This encyclical is not a call to socialism of any sort. As Pope Pius XI said in Quadragessimo Anno, “Nobody can be both a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.” Since Pope Francis is not teaching anything different than other popes, this idea remains the same.

Laudato Si is not a chastisement to Americans in particular. This is a letter written to all of the world to look at overconsumption of natural resources and to work towards the common good in a way that does not violate the principle of subsidiarity – meaning the lowest levels of authority i.e., the individual and family makes the necessary changes in an act of solidarity with society at large before the state or federal government starts mandating laws. It is a call for all humans to make small and yes, large, changes in order to make a difference, because as the Holy Father says, “there are no actions that do not have a direct effect on our environment.” So if that means not using herbicides on your lawn and let the bees return or if it means to stop supporting product and companies that strip-mine the world’s natural resources, the call to action will look different to everyone.

There is a call to action. As we all know, it's easy to spot a problem, but finding a solution to that problem can prove to be a bit more difficult. Even more so is finding a long term solution that is sustainable and practical, which we are all called to do! Whether you are being invited to use a rain barrel for your garden and to stop watering your lawn- which is a huge drain in resources, or you are called to overhaul your corporation’s carbon footprint and create an asset recycling and waste reduction plan we are all called to have particular care for our common home.

Finally, this encyclical is not simply a physical challenge but a metaphysical one, meaning that all Catholic Social Issues are not just about material things but about the betterment of the spiritual ones as well. Our earth is a temporary home for us. Our long term goal is of course heaven. Therefore, becoming depressed at the current state of things is antithetical to what Pope Francis is saying. We are stewards of our planet (Genesis 1:27-31) if only for a short while.

The author of this post is a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Seton Church. This article was previously posted on Those Catholic Men. The author is co-leading a study group on Laudato Si document on Sunday mornings in July starting at 10:45am in the Wake Chapel of St. Elizabeth Seton Church, 10655 Haverstick Rd, Carmel, IN. Please note that there will not be a session on July 3rd due to the holiday weekend. Newcomers are always welcome!

Tagged in: Environment Laudato Si
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Posted by on in Weekly Reflection

I vividly remember comforting our children when they suffered from croup. We would hold them in a steamy bathroom as they struggled to breath but soon full color returned to their lips and they calmed down. How precious the breath of life is!

In the Gospel reading this weekend we hear that the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples greeting them with “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” Next “..he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:22b-23).

The Greek phrase that is translated here as “breathed on them” is found in other important places in the scriptures. For instance in the second story of creation, found in Genesis 2:7, we learn that the Lord “blew into his (Adam’s) nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” In another example, the prophet Elijah, prayed over the widow’s son who was sick and had stopped breathing. And the “life breath returned to (the child).” (1 Kg 17:21) Our God is of the living, not the dead!

The longstanding tradition of the Church has been that the passage from the Gospel of John indicates that Jesus Christ gave the Apostles (and their successors) the authority to forgive sins which is exercised in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are released from the suffocation of sin, transformed into a new creation, and invited to share in new life with Jesus Christ both now and forever. How appropriate for us to have this reading on the Sunday of Divine Mercy! Our God is kind and merciful to us! May we breathe fully as children of God!

Second Sunday of Easter, (or Sunday of Divine Mercy):
Click here for the readings.

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Posted by on in Weekly Reflection

Yesterday evening more than twenty young adults gathered at a local restaurant to help set a new direction for young adults in our local parish. The enthusiasm and joy expressed was inspiring. Truly one had a sense that the Holy Spirit was at work! A few notable observations: there was an interest to continue to meet with other young adults and grow in the Catholic faith. There was also a desire to reach out to other young adults in the community, Christian as well as those not associated with a church, to share the joys of life, whether it be through sports or other activities. Finally, there was a desire to lead and serve, to reach out and make a difference.

Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, is the setting of this weekend’s gospel reading. The reading takes off from where we left off last week. We heard Jesus proclaiming a jubilee year by reading from the writing of the Prophet Isaiah. Particularly significant to us as well since we are in the midst of a Jubilee year! The listeners at that time were engaged in his message and “amazed” but it seems it did not last for long.

This week we hear that those in attendance started doubting his message because it did not line up with their pre-conceived notions of Jesus. But what seemed to really inflame them was when Jesus reminds them of examples of when God acted in unexpected ways, namely, blessing outsiders, the Gentiles and sometimes withholding his blessings from the Chosen People, the Israelites.

May we maintain our sense of wonder at how God is at work in our midst and in other unexpected places. And may we always welcome the mysterious way that God expands our horizons and reminds us of his love for all, especially the lost and forsaken.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jer 1:4-5,17-19, 1 Cor 12:31-13:13, Lk 4:21-30

Click here for the readings.

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Holy DoorThe glory of Jesus Christ is revealed in a merciful act proclaimed this past weekend (Gospel of John 2:1-11). At the wedding at Cana, Jesus Christ turns the water into wine and the celebration continues without interruption. Prior to this, Mary, his mother, instructs the servers to “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). And that summons applies to us as well.

Jesus says, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36). And we must do what he tells us. But how? Perhaps we must first recognize our need and experience the Father’s gift of mercy before we may effectively reflect this mercy to others.

The Church offers us a number of doorways to experience the mercy of God. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she brings the Father’s mercy alive, making it present to us. The Father, acting through Jesus Christ, converts our hearts and we receive grace that is necessary for our salvation (Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Celebrating Mercy, 7).

We invite you to join us in the months ahead as we go, as a community, through Doorways of God’s Mercy (Go here for February flyer). Together we will pray, explore and celebrate God’s mercy. The joy and renewal that we experience will encourage us to share God’s mercy with others. Pope Francis reminds us that God “does not limit himself to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible. (Love) indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes and behaviors that are shown in daily living” (Misericordiae Vultus,9).

The Eucharist is the center of the whole Christian life. So it is appropriate that the Mass will be the first Doorway of Mercy we will visit. On February 2nd and 16th, starting at 6:00 PM (corrected) in the Nave, we will learn how God’s mercy is experienced in the Mass as Fr. Ted goes through the “Mass in Slow Motion.”

During the first full week of Lent, February 15-20th additional Doorways of Mercy will be open. Monday evening we will explore mercy as revealed in the Bible and learn about and practice the ancient Lectio Divina prayer form. Wednesday evening, at the conclusion of Stations of the Cross, Vespers and Benediction, we will have an opportunity to reflect more deeply on the Liturgy of the Hours. We will consider “What did we just do?” and learn how these prayers usher us into God’s mercy. Thursday evening we will begin with a prayerful litany of mercy and learn how we may adore our merciful Lord. All of these gatherings will be led by staff members at our church and will begin at 6:30PM in the Day Chapel (except Tuesday when it will begin at 6:00PM). Helpful materials and resources will be made available at these and other offerings during the Year of Mercy.

Friday we will be inspired by Blessed Mother Teresa’s way of mercy by watching a movie about her life beginning at 7:30 PM in the Upper Room. Saturday, specially named a Seton Day of Mercy, we will be encouraged to attend the 9:00 AM Mass and sent forth with a blessing to go out and practice Works of Mercy in our homes and the community at large- to be merciful as the Father is merciful!

“Mercy is the force that awakens us to new life and instills in us the
courage to look to the future with hope.”
Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 10

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Jesus King of the universe

The witness of Christian priests in Syria who were tortured by ISIS before being rescued has stayed with me all week after our speaker from Aid to the Church in Need spoke on Monday evening. One priest was kept up for multiple nights, his nose was broken, his teeth were broken, he was starved and not allowed to drink. But, he said he never felt so close to God as during this time. His prayer was never so meaningful and consoling. He noticed that the chain holding his wrists together had 10 links and one padlock. He prayed the rosary often during his captivity. Strangely, or not (?) he reported that the same young men who beat him up by night, sought his counsel by day.

In this weekend’s Gospel we hear of Jesus being interrogated by Pilate. Pilate is quite curious about Jesus. He wants to know if Jesus is a King. Rather than answer him directly, Jesus seems to be inviting Pilate to take a stand, “Do you say this on your own?” he asks. How about if Jesus asked us? How would we reply?

Jesus goes on to speak about how his “Kingdom does not belong to this world.” (No, it is much bigger than that!) and, “you say that I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

At the end of this passage, one sentence beyond the reading we will hear this weekend, Pilate says, “What is truth?” What would we reply if a terrorist asked us?

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Dn 7:13-14, Rv 1:5-8 Jn 18:33b-37

Click here for the readings.

A second collection was inadvertently not taken up last weekend for Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy Father, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries, including Iraq and Syria. If you are interested in contributing, for your convenience you may make your checks out to SEAS and put ACN-USA in the memo line and return to church this weekend or you may donate directly by going to www.churchinneed.org.

world meeting of families

World Meeting of Families, Part II

When: Sunday morning, November 22
Time: in the Social Hall
Where: beginning at 10:45 am will be done by 11:45
Who: Parishioners who attended the World Meeting of Families and Papal festivities will share about their experiences.

pope francis adorationAdoration Sunday, November 22, this weekend!

Eucharistic Procession begins: after 5:30 pm Mass. Afterward, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed until 9:00 pm in the Nave, Typically, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm in the Reservation Chapel. November 26 and 27, the Blessed Sacrament will be reposed in the Reservation Chapel. It is not too late to sign up to be an adorer!

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Posted by on in Weekly Reflection

She is an eight-year-old child and a catechumen preparing to receive the Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist. Last Sunday she turned her bright eyes to her catechist and said: “I understand everything you have been teaching me about Jesus. What I don’t understand is the Trinity. How can we have one God and three persons?”

The catechist explained that the Mystery of the Holy Trinity is a Truth that we cannot fully understand. To illustrate the point the catechist told her the legend of a St. Augustine, a little boy, and a walk on the beach. Briefly, the great St. Augustine was walking on the beach while contemplating the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. As he continued his walk he noticed a little boy running back and forth bringing water from the ocean into a tiny hole he had dug on the sand. Puzzled by the boy’s activity he asked the boy what he was doing. The boy replied that it would be easier for him to transfer the ocean into a little hole on the sand than for Augustine (or any of us) to understand the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. And the boy disappeared from sight.

Our catechumen listened attentively and did something that only children and the “pure of heart” can do: she smiled and simply said: “OK.” Then she continued: “Let’s have a donut.”

As we ponder on the Markan description of tribulations, darkened sun and moon, falling stars that will precede the coming of ‘the Son of Man’ (Mark 13 :24-32) let us hope that He finds in us the heart of a child. OK? Let’s have a donut!

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dn 12:1-3, Heb 10:11-14, 18 Mk 13:24-32
Click here for the readings.

This weekend: The second collection will go to Aid to the Church in Need, (an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy Father, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries, including Iraq and Syria. For your convenience you may make your checks out to SEAS and put ACN-USA in the memo line.

belovedSaturday, November 14, tomorrow!

Entering the Story of Marriage

What is God’s plan for our marriages?
How does it relate to our marriages’ today?

Start time: 6:45 pm
Where: Social Hall
Snack: Salsa Bar
It is not too late to join!

middle east crisis

As disciples we are united in prayer and charity with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

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Attending the World Meeting of Families and the Papal festivities last week was an awesome experience! We heard inspiring talks, participated in beautiful liturgies, and met so many wonderful people from all over the world. And we left changed. Affirmed, strengthened, and encouraged. We were affirmed in our marriages, strengthened in our commitments, and encouraged in our tasks to care and form those in our families and in the world. Thus we became energized and more aware of our part in the mission of the Church.

The readings for this coming weekend are very timely. Many of the keynote sessions at the World Meeting of Families referenced passages from Genesis, including those we will hear this weekend at Mass. Bishop Robert Barron relayed that in the Bible we learn that we are created in the image of God and this is basis for a full understanding of human dignity. He reminded us that this is not a privilege to hold onto for our own benefit but it is a mission, a challenge, a responsibility to bring this Good News to the world, to sanctify the world. As children of God through our baptism we share in the priestly, prophetic and kingly mission of God! The family is where we are taught how to live as priest, prophet and king. The family is where our virtues and our sense of mission are cultivated.

In the first reading this week we learn that our primordial ancestor was the first given the task of a prophet to name creatures according to their “divine intelligibility.” To tell it like it is! Not to reshape creation into whatever we want it to be. (Bishop Barron)

Later at the conference Scott Hahn pointed out that “a suitable partner” for the man was a woman, as relayed in Genesis. And that their marriage, becoming “one flesh” was the climax of creation, it was not just an emotional state but a spiritual reality that reflects the unity found within God in the persons of the trinity. And the child that results is the incarnation of their love, the three-in-one, and thus an image of the mystery of God.

In the gospel reading this week we are also reminded of the distinctiveness of the man and woman, which does not detract from their equal dignity. Jesus indicates that the marriage bond is indissoluble. Scott Hahn explains that this is because the marriage bond is covenantal, not simply a contract, but rather a bond created by God when the bride and groom take an oath, when they say their vows invoking God’s powerful name. ”The truth about marriage is rooted in the Word of God.” (Scott Hahn)

The family is the place where the image of God is “burnished, brought to life” (Bishop Barron). But sadly, due to sin, it can also be a place of great suffering. A later speaker at the conference, Cardinal Tagle from the Philippines, discussed that we are all wounded in some way but the wounds that are the most hurtful are those inflicted within the family. However, he encouraged us that fortunately the home can also be a privileged place for comforting others and healing their wounds. “A home is not measured by how many acres you have but rather a home is a gift of a loving presence which leads us to Jesus Christ.” (Cardinal Tagle)

Importantly Cardinal Tagle reflected that our wounds will make us, if we let them, avenues of understanding, compassion, solidarity and love. Just as Jesus bears the marks of his wounds in his resurrected body, our wounds remain with us as well.

Some final thoughts about healing and the paths we could take to promote the redemptive mission of Christ: (Cardinal Tagle)

  1. We must realize all healing comes from God.
  2. That healing is best situated in a community (family, parish,school)
  3. That the wounded person must be involved in the solution

Image of a field hospital, a favorite metaphor coined by Pope Francis for the Church, means we must:

  1. Keep in touch with the chief physician, turn to JESUS
  2. Recognize that our own wounds will enable us to be compassionate.
  3. Not be afraid of the dark. Wounds are never clean, they could be bloody, raw.
  4. Accept that the church as a field hospital, must be ready, prompt, and flexible
  5. Infuse the hospital with HOPE
  6. Be quiet, silent, no words, no solutions just loving presence…discernment is essential in responding to the wounded.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Gen 2:18-24 Heb 2:9-11, Mk 10:2-16 Click here for the readings.

Save the Dates!

  • Marriage Ministry Beloved, Session 1- Oct. 10th, Mass at 5:30 pm, program at 6:45 pm.
  • Father Ted Fireside Talk on World Meeting and Synod on the Family. Sunday, Oct. 25th, 10:45-11:45 am, in Social Hall
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Posted by on in Uncategorized

I sought the Lord, and he answered me . ~ Psalm 34

A short preview of this weekend’s readings:

Lack a trait? Do something about it!
Lack understanding? Come and eat of my (wisdom’s) food and drink of the wine I have mixed…advance in the way of understanding. (Paraphrased from Proverbs 9:1-6)

Make the most of the opportunities you are given:
Live wisely, try to understand what is the will of the Lord…be filled with the Spirit, give thanks always and for everything. (Paraphrased from Eph 5:15-20)

Remain faithful!
“The bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:51c,56)

This is the season when preparations for Seton Adult Faith Formation programs are well underway. The summer has been busy as parish staff and volunteers have worked on finalizing schedules and promotional materials. We have no fewer than 7 media outlets where we distribute information (can you identify them all?) We offer morning, afternoon and night time programs in a variety of formats from small to large.

It is a wonderful fact that the people of St. Elizabeth Seton Church have such a great desire to learn; the demand for Adult Faith Formation opportunities continues to grow.

It is inspiring to observe those who change their schedules, do whatever it takes to attend classes to prepare for the Sacraments, to be initiated into the Catholic Church. It is clear that when people really want to grow, really feel called to increase their understanding, to be conformed to the life of Jesus Christ, they do whatever it takes to participate in some sort of faith formation, in some sort of service work. Whether it is here or at another of our Catholic “branch offices” in the area, it is the Holy Spirit who is in charge of changing peoples’ hearts. We do what we can as mere mortals to provide opportunities and we stand in awe as God does the heavy lifting.

This weekend’s bulletin has extra pages devoted to the large variety of Adult Faith Formation opportunities at our parish. How will you choose to respond to the call of God this year?

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Prv 9:1-6, Eph 5:15-20, Jn 6:51-58 Readings:Click here.

maximilian kolbe

“The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although
the praise of God should know no limits.
Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.”

(St. Maximilian Kolbe) August 14 is the Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (1894 – 1941). http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/tag/st-maximilian-kolbe

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So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. ~ Eph 5:2

“Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.” These prayerful lyrics to a beautiful song come to mind when reviewing this upcoming weekend’s scriptures. Music, like fragrance, has a way of connecting us more deeply with an experience, especially an experience of God. As disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to become ever more like the one we follow, to give off his fragrance. But how does this happen? And how can we be open to the possibility? The other readings for the weekend provide us with some clues.

In the first reading we hear of the prophet Elijah who is running away from a king who seeks to kill him. Elijah is so discouraged that he just wants to die in his sleep under a tree. But an angel of the Lord persistently intervenes, even bringing Elijah cake to eat which gives him strength to go on a long journey. At the end of his trip the prophet will learn more about the nature of God and will receive further instruction. When we have been discouraged have we ignored or heeded the messengers that God sends to help us? Perhaps the story of Elijah will strengthen our hope that God cares for us and wants us to grow in our ability to know, trust and obey God.

The Gospel reading reminds us that Jesus offers us himself each and every Sunday. Through the mystery of the Mass, Jesus Christ offers us living bread from heaven, his body, soul and divinity which will strengthen and form us into the Body of Christ. The sustenance Jesus gives us in the Eucharist transforms us, changes us so that we too give off the fragrance of Christ- a fragrance that will last long after we have left the room, or earthly life. What spiritual aroma will others associate with you after you are gone? Will it be joy, forgiveness, kindness, mercy and compassion, or something else?

“Fragrance Prayer” was composed by Catholic musician, Tom Booth. The lyrics are based on a prayer attributed to Blessed John Henry Newman. A version of this is prayed daily by Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity…..This song reminds me of one of our faith-filled parishioners who recently died, Ray Janko. Ray liked this song and helped spread the fragrance of Christ to all he met. May he rest in peace!

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 1 Kgs 19:4-8, Eph 4:30-5:2, Jn 6:41-51
Click here for the readings.

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “Church”? Do you think of a building and an organization? Yes, the Church is this but there is more! The Church since ancient times has also been described as the bride of Christ and our mother. In the Church we become part of the family of God, through a new birth by baptism. The Church continues to provide for us so we may grow, develop and flourish as children of God, disciples who learn from and follow Jesus Christ. Indeed it is in the Church that we are taught, nurtured, and transformed by the Word and the Eucharist. Do we recognize the gifts we have been given?
God has a plan for our Church family. This weekend’s second reading reminds us that God loves us and calls us to be holy. God our Father blesses us in Christ who makes it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and filled with the abundant grace of the Holy Spirit.

The new Adult Faith Formation year is focused on Discipleship in the Church. It will launch on August 24th with Fr. Stan Tabor speaking beginning at 7:00 pm in the Upper Room of St. Elizabeth Seton Church. He will give us an overview of the Church and how disciples are formed in the Church. Each week at Mass we say we believe “in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” What does this mean and what difference does it make in our lives? How about the others words of the Mass? In the upcoming year we will have additional opportunities to learn about and reflect more deeply on how we encounter Christ in the Mass.
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to know him and the Church he founded. Do you know Christ? Do you understand God’s plan for you? The Great Adventure Bible Timeline begins September 10th and will help you navigate the Bible and answer these questions and more. You can register and order your materials at www.Evangelization.com. Daytime and evening options are available.

Lastly, to be a disciple in the Catholic Church is to be part of a family that extends way beyond Carmel, Indiana! We have the opportunity and the responsibility to be united in prayer and charity with Christians throughout the world! Evenings this fall we welcome a speaker on November 5th and 12th who will help us understand our relatives in the Eastern Churches and their stories. On November 16 we will receive an update on the state of the persecuted Church in the Middle East and be given ideas about how we might make a difference in the lives of our Christian brothers and sisters. Stay tuned for more details!

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Posted by on in Lent

Who do you follow? Is it the New York Times or the Washington Post, or do you prefer Fox News, CNN or NPR as your news source?

Perhaps you follow Twitter or Reddit, Instagram or Snapchat.

How about Jesus Christ? Do you follow Jesus Christ? How?

To be a disciple is to follow Someone rather than something. To be a Christian is to follow Jesus Christ; to know him and to join him in his mission. And what is this mission? It is to love God and love our neighbor in a sacrificial, self-giving way. And where does it start? At home, in the family, this is where we first experience love and where we first practice loving. In the family we learn that God exists and loves us and that we can trust God because we trust Jesus Christ who has saved us. Through our family experiences we learn that we can encounter Christ in many ways including in the scriptures, the sacraments, and in our relationships with other members of the Body of Christ.

It is in the family where we witness first-hand the challenges that life brings. We realize that others are not perfect, and neither are we. We learn that we are called to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Through our extended family relationships we discover that the beginning and the end of life sometimes pose challenges that test our faith and dedication to following the will of God. Often the family setting is where we first learn that decisions made in the workplace impact life in the home.
Home is where we first learn to pray. Here too we are introduced to Bible stories that demonstrate God’s faithfulness and how Jesus Christ has saved us. The home is the setting and family members are the players who teach us that love is the key to being fully alive.

Seton Adult Faith Formation seeks to support you in your mission to be a disciple, to follow Christ and share the Good News with others, including those in your home. We are excited to announce a full line-up for Lent! Highlights:
Parish Mission. March 2-4th Fr. Denis Robinson, OSB this dynamic speaker, from St. Meinrad Seminary will speak about Discipleship in Revelation and Acts. Morning and evening sessions offered.
Oremus “Let us pray.” Starts February 20th (mornings) and March 9th (evenings).Want to start to start praying, or want to deepen your prayer life? Join us. Format includes short daily prayer exercises, weekly gatherings and a brief DVD presentation by Fr. Mark Toups.

Lenten Speaker Series talks begin 7:15pm, Upper room, preceded by soup suppers, 6:30 pm, Social Hall.
March 12th Dr. Elliott Bedford, Dir. of Ethics Integration, St. Vincent Hospital. “Discipleship in Healthcare” particularly concerning beginning- and end-of-life issues. March 19th Pete Slamkowski, VP of Herff Jones. “Discipleship in the Work Place.”
The family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world; it is the leaven of society.

~Pope Francis, October 27, 2013

Tagged in: Family Lent
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Posted by on in Weekly Reflection

What do antacids and vitamins have to do with this weekend’s readings? Stay tuned and you will find out!

This weekend we hear in the Gospel of Mark that one day, on the Sabbath, Jesus healed the sick, including someone with a fever. Here in Carmel if we are sick we may take some over-the-counter medicine and if needed we make an appointment with a doctor and we go to them the same week, if not the same day. If we need medicine we usually receive it shortly thereafter and we are on the mend in no time. Do we ever think how amazing that is?! Do we recognize God at work? The medicines we often take for granted were revealed by the grace of God to those who were given the ability to create and develop pharmaceuticals.

There are some places in the world, however, where doctor visits and simple medicines are not taken for granted. In Haiti for instance many people suffer from chronic stomach distress. Malnourishment is common, and diets lack vitamins which help women to have healthy babies and parents to stay strong to care for their children.

As disciples we are asked to follow Christ. Would you like to be like Jesus and help relieve someone’s pain? Consider making a donation of medicine to the Haiti ministry; simply put a donation in a sack labelled “Haiti” and place it next to one of the Loaves and Fishes Ministry boxes in the entryways of the church. The Haiti ministry is in particular need of antacids and adult vitamins which they will take to Haiti in an upcoming trip. No bottle is too large since ministry members repackage and distribute the donations to those in a number of villages.

The Gospel reading continues with the description that early the next morning, before the sun came up, Jesus “Went to a deserted place, where he prayed.” And afterwards he moved on to nearby villages. And so we also pray for those who like Jesus move on with a purpose, to cure, to preach, to be Christ for one another.

Go here for the readings for this weekend.

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In our everyday speech we rarely hear the word “Behold”. For instance a child may not listen if we called out, “Behold!” instead of “Look out!” to warn them of a car’s approach.

However the word “behold” is often used in the Bible when something important is expressed. The Greek word which is translated “behold” in this week’s Gospel, often means more than simply eyeballing something. According to Strong’s concordance, it is to “See, often with metaphorical meaning: ‘to see with the mind’ (i.e. spiritually see), i.e. perceive (with inward spiritual perception).”

In this weekend’s Gospel reading John the Baptist is standing with two of his disciples and when Jesus walks by he says to them, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” They don’t reply, “Yeah great” and go back to fixing their nets. No, the disciples pay attention and start following Jesus and he asks them “What do you seek?” and they tell them they want to know where he is staying and he replies, “Come and see.” It is interesting to note that Jesus doesn’t simply tell them the address but he shows them the way and encourages them to walk with him.

Flash-forward almost 2000 years... We are in Mass and the priest says, “Behold, the Lamb of God…” Do we pay attention and seek to know and follow Him who takes away our sins? Do we accept the invitation to “Come and see” Jesus? Where might you be called to see Jesus and to be Christ for others? Is it at home, at your work, a retirement community, or school? Do you show others the way?

Go here for the readings for this weekend.
Go here for the passage in Strong’s Concordance

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”.1 The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenev¬er we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” ~ Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium, 3

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love is our missionThis weekend brings to a close the Christmas liturgical season. We will hear about the baptism of Jesus. We will reflect on the implications. We will remember our baptisms which make it possible for us be in union with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The following reflection seems appropriate as we enter into the new year, especially for those starting on the “Quick Journey through the Bible” program on Thursdays. It is not too late to join us! We begin with the book of Genesis!

“Love is Our Mission” because love is our origin and destiny. Created in the image of God, a human being is created for communion, which means that loving God and neighbor is the reason for our existence. Catholics believe these things because of Jesus, our bedrock and cornerstone. Jesus suffered and yet persevered in love; he was crucified and yet rose again. In Jesus, we believe that the Creator of the universe became one of us, revealing not only who God is, but also who we are created to be and become. In a world of anxiety and doubt, Jesus is trustworthy. When we follow Jesus, body and soul, even when it hurts and requires sacrifice, we are living lives of integrity, for only in living this way will our lives coincide with the reason for our existence. This brings us great joy. We sin and stumble, but the God we meet in Christ is faithful even when we are not. God’s forgiveness is a gift that gives us back to ourselves, enabling us to embrace our mission and destiny anew. Catholic sacraments and moral teachings serve this destiny. The sacraments are a genuine encounter with Christ, while the moral teachings show what Christ-like love looks like in particular situations. Catholic life summons us to heroism and adventure even in ordinary daily life. The world is charged with the beauty and grace of God, and neighbors who need our love and kindness are all around us. Please keep reading the Love Is Our Mission catechism for more! ~ Dr. Christopher C. Roberts, editor, Love is Our Mission Preparatory Catechism for World Meeting of Families, 2015 (see picture below).

Did you know? The World Meeting of Families event was established by Pope St. John Paul II in 1994. It is held every three years in cities across the world. 2015 is the first time it will be in the United States. Its goals are (1) to strengthen family bonds and (2) to give witness to the fundamental role of the family in society. Learn more at www.WorldMeeting2015.org.
Excerpted from Archdiocese of Philadelphia website here

Please let us know if you are attending the World Meeting of Families 2015!

Go here for the readings for this weekend!

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pope francis christmasToday I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus. My hope is that everyone will feel God’s closeness, live in his presence, love him and adore him."

—Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi Message, December 25, 2014

12 Days of Christmas…for ideas on how to celebrate go here, short summary follows:

December 24 and 25 Christmas…welcome and greet at Mass…go here to sign up!

December 26 St. Stephen’s Day…care for the poor

December 27 St. John the Evangelist Day…reach out to an estranged member of family

December 28 The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph…spend time with family

December 29 St. Thomas Becket…examine your conscience, speak out about injustice

December 30 suggestion- reflect on your baptism, your spiritual “birthday”

December 31 St. Sylvester I…offer hospitality

January 1 Mary, the Holy Mother of God..pray rosary as family, attend Holy Day Mass

January 2 St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen…say “I love you” to a friend

January 3 The Most Holy Name of Jesus…claim your name

January 4 Epiphany…clean and bless your home

January 5 St. John Neumann, Bishop…consider joining an AFF offering, go here for more information. :)

…count your blessings

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Posted by on in Weekly Reflection

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a virgin in Nazareth named Mary to obtain her consent to be the Mother of the Son of God. In a prayer directed to Mary, here is how St. Bernard described the event:

“Now, O Virgin…the angel awaits thine answer, for it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too, O Mary, our Queen, we who are weighed down by the divine sentence, we wait for thy speech, thy words of mercy. For behold, the price of our redemption is offered to thee; and as soon as thou dost accept it, we shall be saved. We were all created by the eternal word of God, and yet, behold, we die! But if thou wilt speak one little word, we shall live! Speak then, Oh, speak that decisive word. Adam and his unhappy children, banished from Paradise, beseech this of thee! David and all our holy fathers—thy fathers too—beseech thee! The whole world, prostrate before thee, looks to thee and beseeches! On thy words depend the comfort of the afflicted, the deliverance of the condemned, the salvation of the children of Adam! Hesitate not, O Virgin! Speak, O Mary, that sweet word of consent, which we who are on the earth, and under the earth, now wait for!”

Knecht, F. J. (1910). A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture.

Go here for the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

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The “sheep and goats” judgment, which occurs only in the gospel of Matthew, is often quoted in support of charity for anyone in need: “whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me….” However, there is likely more to this passage, as explained by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (usccb.org):

A difficult and important question is the identification of these least brothers. Are they all people who have suffered hunger, thirst, etc. or a particular group of such sufferers? Scholars are divided in their response and arguments can be made for either side. But leaving aside the problem of what the traditional material that Matthew edited may have meant, it seems that a stronger case can be made for the view that in the evangelist’s sense the sufferers are Christians, probably Christian missionaries whose sufferings were brought upon them by their preaching of the gospel. The criterion of judgment for all the nations is their treatment of those who have borne to the world the message of Jesus, and this means ultimately their acceptance or rejection of Jesus himself; cf. Mt 10:40, “Whoever receives you, receives me.”

So while the commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” surely covers charitable acts anywhere, it would be good to take to heart Christ’s specific love for his Church. Do we pray for Christians being persecuted around the world, care for our poorer churches, support our retired religious, prioritize Catholic school education, etc.? Jesus said (John 13:35) that “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


Readings for November 23, 2014 Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Ez 34:11-12,15-17
1 Cor 15:20-26,28
Mt 25:31-46

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Benjamin Franklin’s observation that “nothing is certain but death and taxes” highlights how unpleasant are taxes. In Israel, there was debate about whether paying taxes to the emperor was unlawful before God. Thus the Pharisees found an opportunity to send their own disciples along with some soldiers of Herod to pose a tricky question to Jesus: Should we or shouldn’t we pay taxes?

Jesus said to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” It confounded his enemies, who went away having failed to get him into trouble. Later, however, they twisted Jesus’ response into an accusation before Pilate, claiming that he was “forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor.”

Jesus calls us to evaluate what belongs to governing authorities and what belongs to God. We owe certain sums in taxation, respect for authority, social cooperation, and the like. And we should pray that government does not undermine morality, make foolish and dangerous decisions, or descend into tyranny.

But we owe a lot more to God, not only in generosity to advance God’s kingdom but also in obedience, worship, discipline, study, thanksgiving – aligning every aspect of our lives to God’s will and direction.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_vineyard.pngIt is the time of year when grapes are being harvested and turned into juice, jelly and wine. The smell of fresh grapes being cooked into jelly is delightful! On a recent journey I passed through the Concord grape region of western New York. The picture to the left is a grape vine full of fruit at Barcelona Harbor along the shore of Lake Erie.

The vineyard is the setting for several of the readings we will hear this weekend. In the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah, the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem, are likened to a grape vineyard that is not productive even after much has been done to cultivate and maximize its growth. The description of the future ruin of the vineyard is a prophecy of what the future held for the Israelites, the Chosen People of God.

In the Gospel reading we also hear a parable concerning a vineyard. The owner of the vineyard has invested a great deal in the development of the land. The vineyard is surrounded by protective landscaping and a watch-tower. The owner has rented out the land. When the owner sends servants to obtain the fruit produced they meet a terrible end at the hands of the renters. Even the son of the owner is killed when he arrives at the vineyard to collect the harvest!

The traditional interpretation of this parable is that the landowner is God and the vineyard is Israel. The renters are those who were entrusted with the care of Israel, the scribes and elders. The servants who try unsuccessfully to collect the harvest include the prophets. Finally the Father sends his son, Jesus Christ, to the vineyard but the renters do not accept him any more than the others and kill him as well.

On a personal level we might consider. How has God invested in our personal lives, our homes, our Church? Do we recognize our debt to God? How do we care for what has been entrusted to us? Are we grateful for what we have received? Are we generous and gracious in sharing the bounty when God’s servants come asking?

The readings for October 5, 2014 Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures: Is 5:1-7, Phil 4:6-9, Mt 21:33-43
Click here to read.

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Jesus told a parable about a landowner who hired laborers at dawn, at 9:00, at noon, at 3:00, and at 5:00, paying them the same wage at the end of the day. The longer-working first hired were surprised they were not paid more than those who had worked only one hour.

Church fathers have regarded the first and last hired as: those who served Christ in earlier historical periods versus later, those who begin following Christ early in life versus later, or Jews under Mosaic law versus Christians under the Gospel.

In any of these interpretations, the landowner (God) is being kind to each person. Those hired last had the misfortune to stand around idle all day until they were given useful work. The resentment of the first-hired, like the prodigal son’s brother, is a failure to have pity for that predicament.

It seems that God is calling conflicted and sinful people to himself at optimal points in their lives and in history, according to his perfect wisdom and for the best design of his kingdom. This week’s reading in Isaiah advises us to respond: “Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.”

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Any time a “Doctor of the Church” comes up on the Church calendar, we should pay attention! Today we celebrate Pope Saint Gregory the Great. He was born into a prominent, wealthy, and pious Senatorial family in Rome, and received an excellent education. He went on to achieve the highest civil office in Rome: the Prefect (mayor) of the city. He became one of the richest men in Rome. And after serving faithfully in this duty, he decided to retire and to live as a monk in a monastery.

With his prominence as Prefect, it was nearly impossible for him to remain in relative obscurity. He was asked by the Pope to be ordained as one of the seven deacons of Rome, and to become his ambassador to the Byzantine court. When a plague hit Rome, it took Pope Pelagius with it. Unanimously, Gregory was elected Bishop of Rome.

Among the many notable aspects of his papacy, he worked for the conversion of England through the missionaries he sent there, including St. Augustine of Canterbury. He began a liturgical renewal which led to the development of what we now know as “Gregorian chant.” Much of his writing exists today in the form of homilies, letters, and dialogues. Preeminent among his works is his Regula Pastoralis, or “Pastoral Rule.” Written to the Archbishop of Ravenna, it is Gregory the Great’s wisdom on how a pastor should properly shepherd his flock. In this work and in others, he explains that a priest serves as a watchman, who “always stands on a height so that he can see from afar what is coming. Anyone appointed to be a watchman for the people must stand on a height for all his life to help them by his foresight.” He is encouraging us to achieve the heights of holiness, in order to properly guide and protect those entrusted to us. At the same time, the pastor serves as a physician of souls, expertly identifying symptoms, detecting root causes, and prescribing remedies with precision.

Whether you are a priest or a nun, whether you are married or single, Our Lord has placed people in your care and asked you to shepherd them in some way. This is only possible if we have clear sight from the heights of holiness, otherwise it’s the blind leading the blind. Just as Gregory responded to the call of becoming Pope, we should willingly and courageously respond to the call to union with God and holiness in the moral life. St. Gregory the Great, pray for us

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“…be transformed by the renewal of your mind, 
that you may discern what is the will of God, 
what is good and pleasing and perfect.” 
(Rom 12:2b)

Summer has come late to Indiana. The tomatoes are only now really ripening in earnest on the vine. It seems too early for summer to wind down, but the sight of school buses confirms that yes, a new season of learning, growth, and transformation has arrived.

And how about you? What are your plans for being transformed this year? Here at Seton we have been preparing fall programs for you which will launch in the next few weeks. Our goals include helping you:

  • Grow in your personal relationship with God.
  • Grow in understanding the Catholic Faith and how to live it out.
  • Share your faith with someone in your home.

Our theme in Adult Faith Formation this year is “Discipleship in the Home.” It flows naturally out of our Parish Mission statement, “Go make disciples…teach them” (Mt 28:19-20). The simplest definition of a disciple is one who is disciplined about learning about the one they follow. As Catholics the one we follow is Jesus Christ who is united with the Father and the Holy Spirit and is our God.

An image of the reconciled Prodigal Son being embraced by his father in the home is the graphic we have chosen for this theme year. The home is a privileged place. It is where we first learn how to care for ourselves and other people. A healthy home offers hospitality to others: the young and the old and everyone in between! It is a place where topics of importance are discussed. The home is where we first learn about our Savior Jesus Christ and how to love and obey God. It is also a place we learn to honor and obey those people God places in positions of authority in our lives.

We hope you will join us for one or more of our upcoming Adult Faith Formation offerings. And who knows, perhaps you will go home with some tomatoes!

Go here for the readings for August 31, 2014 (Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time).


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St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest who was interred during World War II at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he willingly shared his meager food rations with the other prisoners. He pleaded with his fellow prisoners to forgive their captors and to overcome evil with good.

A doctor who treated the men said that Fr. Kolbe insisted that the doctor treat the other prisoners first, before he treated Fr. Kolbe.

When one of the prisoners escaped from the camp, all the remaining prisoners were forced to stand outside in the hot sun until the escapee was found. But he wasn’t found. So the camp commander chose 10 men and sentenced them all to death, as an example to the other prisoners in the camp.

One of those men pleaded for mercy, saying that he had a wife and a child. Fr. Kolbe stepped forward and offered his life in place of the man with the wife and child. All ten men were sentenced to die of starvation. After a few days, one by one they died. The rest of the camp, including the guards and the commandant, heard Fr. Kolbe. He was not pleading for mercy, but rather saying the rosary. When he could no longer speak, for lack of strength, he whispered his daily prayers.

Finally there were only 4 men left, including Fr. Kolbe. The commandant grew tired of waiting, so he ordered them injected with carbolic acid, a lethal drug. Fr. Kolbe was the last to be injected. When they came for him, he willingly raised his arm to receive the injection.
And so, on August 14, 1941, Fr. Kolbe became St. Kolbe. He was canonized in 1982.
If you want an example of selfless love, and trust in God, you couldn’t ask for a better one than St. Maximilian Kolbe. His story is a lot like that of Jesus – laying down his life for another.

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Posted by on in Weekly Reflection

This Sunday’s Gospel covers a conversation between Jesus and a Canaanite woman. Jesus and his disciples had withdrawn to the region of Tyre and Sidon, outside the border of Israel, presumably for rest. Canaanites, you may recall from many Old Testament battles, were historic enemies of Israel. The woman, calling Jesus “Lord, Son of David,” begs Jesus to heal her daughter from a demon. Jesus responds that “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The woman then approaches and bows down to Jesus, continuing to ask for help. Jesus says, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” He was not trying to call her a dog. His analogy was that the children (Israel) were much more of a priority for his ministry than any other creature in the house (other nations). Jesus is revealing God’s deep love and concern for the salvation of Israel.

The woman’s response shows humility and resourcefulness: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Jesus then says with kindness, “O woman, great is your faith!” and her daughter was healed.

Go here for the readings for this Sunday, August 17, 2014 the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Tagged in: gospel healing
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Gospel Reflection for: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mt 14:13-21)

The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” Pope Francis penned these upbeat opening lines in his document Evangelli Gaudium.
Discipleship means to follow Christ and reveal Him to others. A disciple “hears the word (of God) and understands it, who indeed bears fruit” (Mt 14:23). You may have heard it said that "God is in the details." When we put God first in life, we open the door for him to fill our hearts with joy and to allow us to touch people in ways unimaginable. He works through us!

Christ gives us the job description of a disciple as one who:

  • remains true to Jesus’ words and teachings. (John 8:31)
  • loves others as Jesus has loved him. (John 13:34-35)

The way of Christ is not always easy. Indeed he warns us that we will meet challenges and temptations, but with Him by our side we will be strengthened and encouraged to persevere in faith, hope and love.

The Catechism reminds us that a disciple has responsibilities as well: “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it” (CCC, 1816). We pursue God out of love and obedience.

Do you believe you are personally called to be a disciple of Christ? Discipleship depends on commitment…no matter the challenges. Christ will refresh us and strengthen us. He will empower us, by the power of His Spirit, to be His disciples.

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Jesus presented three parables: the wheat and weeds growing together, the mustard seed growing, and yeast making dough rise.

  • Wheat seeds are planted, but an enemy sows weed seeds among them. This parable describes the mixture of good and evil people present in the visible Church as God’s kingdom grows (weeds were sown “all through the wheat”). For the protection of the wheat, the weeds cannot be pulled until the wheat is mature.
  • The small mustard seed grows to a large size. This parable points to the ultimate size of the kingdom compared to its small beginnings. In Israel, the mustard seed can grow into a 12-foot plant.
  • Yeast is kneaded through and changes dough. This parable shows the secret and powerful growth of the kingdom as it works its way through the world.

We have an outward picture of the kingdom’s growing size (the mustard seed), an inward look at its hidden successes (the yeast), and the handicap under which it labors (the mixture of wheat and weeds growing together). We can conclude that there is much about God’s kingdom that is intriguing and unknown, and we have a responsibility to pray for its continued progress: “Thy kingdom come.”

Tagged in: Parable
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The setting for this week’s gospel reading is significant. Caesarea Philippi was a city established by Herod Philip in 2 BC near an ancient religious site. The city was built on a terrace 1150 feet above sea level. Natural beauty and a marvelous wonder first drew people to this southern hillside of Mount Hermon 30 miles north of Lake Galilee in what is present day Syria.

Eventually shrines and temples would be established on this site and religious rituals would be carried out for over seven centuries. Why? Inside the hillside was a mysterious cave with a body of water deeper than anyone was able to measure. The stream that flowed from this spring was, and is, one of the major sources of the Jordan river and it yielded lush vegetation along its path down to the fertile river valley.

At the mouth of the cave the ancient Canaanites built a sanctuary to the pagan god Baal. Later when the Greeks discovered the site they believed that a god dwelled in the cave. They established a sanctuary to Pan, a god they associated with what they were frightened of including, “scary noises in the forest.” As the son of Hermes, Pan was thought to have the bottom torso of a goat and a human top . The Romans adopted many of the religious practices of the Greeks and also built temples at the site. Archaeological studies have been used to try to imagine the scene, gain clues to the religious rituals practiced and the architecture of these ancient man-made structures. (Go here for source for historical overview and graphics.) Pan was also worshiped as a God of fertility (For more on this and how Jesus’ words contrasted historical pagan religious practice, the following book by a Benedictine priest might be helpful: And On This Rock: The Witness of One Land and Two Covenants , Fr. Stanley L. Jaki(ISBN 0-931888-68-9).

But why does all this matter to our understanding of this week’s Gospel reading? Because it is the setting for the most important revelation that Jesus gave us. It is here in Caesarea Philippi that Jesus chose to make his most important statement about the future to his followers. He reveals that upon the rock of Peter he would build an ekklesia* (a movement of people, also translated as church) and “the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).

Jesus took his disciples on a trek up a mountain to an ancient pagan shrine to announce that what He would build would endure while the pagan religions would not. And this is true. Only ruins remain of the shrines to Pan at this site in Syria. Orgies are no longer held there and bodies are no longer thrown into the waters of the pool of Pan to try to appease an angry pagan god.

But the Church of Jesus Christ continues. No matter how corrupt, depraved, or misguided our world may become, no matter what false gods may tempt us to go astray, the Church, the movement, founded by Jesus Christ, and built upon and led by the Apostle Peter and his successors will continue to be a force for goodness, truth and our salvation. While Jesus Christ is the source of our hope, He works through our Church, the institution and the people, to guide us and show us His way. This is why we continue to run the good race, fight the good fight, live for the truth and continue to reach out and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to those we meet-- in all we say and do!

For the readings that will be used this Sunday go here.

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When the priest says “He took bread in his holy and venerable hands,” I think of Jesus’ hands before they were cruelly nailed to a wooden cross. He healed many people, touching blind eyes, deaf ears, and diseased skin, pulling people up to start walking or raising some from death. He would have used those hands to gesture as he taught. With his mouth he praised God, explained wisdom and folly, rebuked deceitful behavior, and offered kindness and mercy. With his eyes he could change people with a glance, expressing joy or disappointment, anger or hope.

It is this Jesus, on earth in the flesh and illuminating God’s love, who suffered death so we might be saved from eternal death. We gratefully remember his sacrifice every Sunday as we celebrate the Eucharist, and especially this Sunday, known since the 13th century as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven … and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Therefore,

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim

Till all the world adore his sacred Name.

Based on the Gospel (Jn 6:51-58) for June 22, 2014 “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ”  Go here for the readings.

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The scriptures this Sunday offer us many connections to what has recently happened at St. Elizabeth Seton Church. As we reflect upon the week we are invited to examine when we experienced the presence of God in our life. Perhaps we have witnessed the Gifts of the Holy Spirit being expressed. We may have been inspired by how God is at work through ministries in our parish and the efforts of their leaders and members.

On the first day of this week the Holy Spirit was at work in our midst. As in the time of the first apostles, the Sacrament of Confirmation was conferred upon a vast crowd, one person at a time. And the works of God were seen “among the children of Abraham.” Individuals who might have been sick or hesitant to share their faith received the seal of the Holy Spirit and left the church energized and emboldened to “give an explanation for the reason for (their) hope.”

A gathering of ministry leaders on Monday night shared their stories of lives changed through the power of the “Spirit of truth.” They are witnesses in our midst of Jesus’ promise that he would send us an Advocate, one who “remains” with us, who abides in us and enables us to do good deeds.

May we always give thanks for the good works of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit at work in our Church and in our lives

.Quotes are from readings for May 25, 2014, Sixth Sunday in Easter. Go here for them.

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The Gospel of John includes five chapters (13-17) of intimate discussion on the night of the Last Supper. Jesus tells his disciples not to be troubled because he is going to prepare a place for them and will later “come back again and take you to myself,” adding that “where I am going you know the way.” Thomas then asks an intriguing question: “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” This is exactly our life of faith. We know almost nothing about where Jesus has gone, except that he is at the right hand of the Father in heaven. But we know the way, because Jesus clarified it for Thomas: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Philip then asks Jesus to “show us the Father.” Jesus responds that “whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” The words and deeds of Jesus have been authenticating that “the Father who dwells in me is doing his works…I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being the way and truth and life for us.

Go here for the readings for May 18, 2014, Fifth Sunday in Easter.

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Though I am still quite young, I have already been privileged to participate in many pilgrimages, both in the United States and abroad. Before departing on a relatively recent pilgrimage to Rome, I asked several family members and friends if I could pray for them or for any of their intentions at any of the holy sites in the Eternal City. A high school classmate of mine, who is struggling to discern her vocation, asked me to pray for her. I was surprised that she didn’t ask me to pray at the tomb of St. Peter, the first pope, or the tomb of St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. Not even at the catacombs! She wanted me to pray for her at the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena, whose body lies in the main altar at the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, near the Pantheon. If we know a bit about the life and virtue of St. Catherine of Siena, the logic of my friend’s request will become clear.

Catherine was born in Siena in 1347 and was the youngest of 25 kids (can you imagine!) She was merely six years old when she had a mystical experience in prayer, which led her to be devoted to her daily prayers. At age twelve, she became increasingly aware that God was calling her to consecrated life. This infuriated her parents, whose minds were set on marriage. In retaliation, Catherine cut off her long, brown hair, a symbol of her worldly beauty. After some time, her parents realized their efforts were useless, and finally allowed Catherine to receive the habit of a Dominican tertiary.

When she was 19, Our Lord, the Blessed Mother, and a host of angels appeared to her, and in this experience Christ placed a ring on her finger, symbolizing Catherine’s spiritual betrothal to Jesus. Soon after this episode, she began to go out into the world (in this case, Siena), and to promote salvation in being a disciple of Christ. The fame of her holiness became widespread, and as a result many would come to her to resolve family disputes and arbitrate other interpersonal difficulties.

At age 28, she was invited to visit Pisa, and it was there that after receiving Holy Communion and while gazing upon a crucifix, “suddenly, there seemed to come five blood-red rays which pierced her hands, feet, and heart, causing such acute pain that she swooned. The wounds remained as stigmata, apparent to herself alone during her life, but clearly visible after her death” (Butler’s, 126).

In the world surrounding Siena, there was much division and turmoil. The people of Florence and Perugia formed an alliance against the Holy See and its French legates. The Pope sent an army to put Florence under interdict, and this pressure led the Florentines to have Catherine of Siena act as their mediatrix in this tense dispute. For the past seventy-four years, the popes had fled Rome and its chaos and took up residence in Avignon, so to Avignon she went.

Upon arrival she met with Pope Gregory XI. Her goal of obtaining peace between Florence and the Holy See was not accomplished in their meeting, but her efforts produced a different success. Pope Gregory had made a personal vow to move back to Rome, the diocese of which he was the bishop, but had never revealed this promise to another human being. With some sort of spiritual insight during the meeting, Catherine told the Pope to “fulfill what you have promised.” He acted without delay, moving to Rome within the month. She returned to Siena, but continued correspondence with Pope Gregory and worked as his emissary in Florence, even in the face of danger to her life. She eventually accomplished peace with the Holy See, and later wrote her famous spiritual book, “The Dialogues,” which is worthy of a read by all Catholics. Later, a great schism occurred when Urban VI was elected as Pope in Rome, and at the same time the cardinals in France chose a rival pope in Avignon. St. Catherine worked tirelessly for Pope Urban to be recognized as the true Successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ. For this work Urban asked Catherine to come to Rome to counsel him, but soon after she moved there, she died from a seizure and a stroke at the young age of 33.

In this extraordinary life of St. Catherine of Siena, we meet a woman of great holiness, and it was due to this intimate closeness with Christ that she had the confidence to pursue her vocation and the courage to be daring in her work toward unity within the Church. She is the model of a strong Catholic woman and authentic femininity, not because of the power she wielded or the influence she had, but because of her deep love for Christ, and her willingness to follow Him wherever He led, even if that meant telling the Pope what he should do! I think that’s what my high school friend wants in life: confidence and courage in her vocation which comes with unity with Our Lord. That was my prayer for her while I was in Rome, and it’s my prayer today for all of us at Seton.

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We who know the full story about the resurrection cannot know what this unfolding was like emotionally for the disciples and friends of Jesus. The man they had come to call Lord had powerful authority over nature, sickness, and death. He had taught with deep understanding about human behavior, the Law, and holiness. He had revealed an intimate relationship with God and knowledge of heaven that no ordinary human being could have. For this life to come to an end at Calvary must have caused his followers to continually review their memories about Jesus as they tried to understand what had taken place.

Death makes clear in the harshest way that one’s life on earth is over. One could have heard Jesus say many times that “after three days he will rise again,” and it still would not overcome the fact that they had seen him “crucified, dead, and buried.” So the very least his friends attempted to do was bring honor to the burial site for the one they loved. The Gospel reading for this Easter leaves us with startling evidence of an empty tomb and perhaps some clues beginning to come together in the minds of Jesus’ disciples.

Go here for the readings for April 20, 2014, Easter Sunday.

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“Jesus cried out in a loud voice…’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mt 27:46). Jesus spoke these words on the cross. And those who have followed have spent much time reflecting on them.

Some might downplay the cry of Jesus saying that he clearly would have known this verse and the rest of the Psalm 22 which includes this cry. The remainder of the psalm would have given Jesus comfort since it prophesied how eventually the goodness of God would prevail.

The forsaken Christ certainly felt abandoned at that moment from the Father. But Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that it was not an “ordinary” experience because Jesus took upon himself the pain of all who suffer from feeling distant from God and transformed it. Theologian Karl Rahner writes, “All he (Jesus) assumed was redeemed…He assumed the state of being forsaken; therefore loneliness contains in itself the promise of a happy and divine closeness” (quoted by Lubich, 50). Therefore when we experience loneliness or we reach out to those who are distant from God we are encountering Jesus forsaken.

To read more on this topic:
The Cry of Jesus Crucified and Forsaken, by Chiara Lubich, includes quotes from theologians such as Balthasar, Rahner, and author Rev. Fr. Louis Chardon and St. John of the Cross. To read excerpts, go here and here.

To read what Pope Benedict XVI wrote about this verse go to page 214 here.

To read what Blessed John Paul II wrote about this verse go here.

Go here for the readings for April 13, 2014, Palm Sunday.

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tombWas Lazarus resurrected from the dead? No. It was a “resuscitation or reanimation of a corpse. Lazarus will have to die a second time. The resurrection involves a qualitative change in the nature of the body” (New Collegeville Bible Commentary, 341).

During Lent we are called to leave the tomb of sin and guilt. We ask to be untied from the bonds of sin. We examine our conscience; we resolve to follow God’s will rather than our selfish will. We repent, make sacrifices and seek reconciliation with God and neighbor. But it is not easy. Sometimes we catch ourselves making the same mistakes over and over again. It may be tempting to give up hope that we will ever be worthy to receive the promises of Christ. But to despair is to minimize the sacrifice and redemptive action of Jesus Christ. Christ suffered, died and rose from the dead so that we might be saved from sin and receive the gift of eternal life.

Perhaps it would help if we accepted rather than denied that we are sinners. The Pope’s response to an interviewer’s question “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” surprised me. He responded, “I am a sinner.” May we too recognize our sinfulness and never tire of being called by Jesus to come out of the tomb and into a new life.

Related to this topic: The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin; On Self-Accusation by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis)

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In his book, Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches, George Weigel describes the encounter of Jesus and the woman at the well as the longest dialog in the Gospels. He refers us to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2558 to 2565), which uses this story for its section on “Prayer in the Christian Life.”

Whether we realize it or not, the Catechism says, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. We come seeking water, but Jesus first thirsts for us (asking the woman for a drink of water). He then offers living water (so she will never thirst). We learn to pray by asking God how to do it (“Man is a beggar before God”). Deep in the heart, where decisions are made and our true self is revealed, is the place of encounter, where we worship God “in spirit and in truth.” The life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and in communion with him.

This Christian hymn also alludes to living water:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.

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Many of us here in Carmel have never had to worry about where our next meal will come from or how we will be able to clothe our children. But we know that this is not the case everywhere in the world or at every time in history. My father, for instance, was a refugee in Europe after WWII. Growing up we heard stories of meals of potato peels and fish head soup, of beverages made with used coffee grounds. He said they learned through these experiences to be grateful when they had food to eat and they learned not to worry about where or when their next meal would come. They took one day at a time and eventually things became better for his family and his fellow countrymen. My Dad now can look back at those difficult times and recognize that God was with him all along the way and that everything worked out alright in his life.

It is so easy to be paralyzed by fear in the face of the unknown- especially when we have not had much practice trusting in God. The readings this weekend remind us that God will never forget us, that we are precious to God and that we will be cared for. God will provide for us!

So what are we to do instead of worry? Jesus says we must prioritize seeking the kingdom of God. And what is the kingdom of God? It is not a place per say, it is a way of life! Author Joe Paprocki’s description, as found in the book Under the Influence of Jesus includes: unselfishly caring for others, being light-hearted, serene, gracious, forgiving, and “even-keeled” in contentious situations. Sound like a tall order? Yes, but with the Holy Spirit everything is possible. We absolutely can grow in virtue with the power of God’s grace. This week Lent begins. We hope you will join us this season as we learn from Fr. Barron about some positive steps we can take to avoid deadly sins and foster growth in virtue.

Go here for the readings for March 2, 2014, Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time


Adult Faith Formation 2013-14 Header

 Sunday Nights for Adults…..

with Fr. Barron… 7:15 pm in the Wake Chapel

No meeting Sunday, March 2nd….Join us instead for a talk at SEAS:

Title: “Serving God’s People with Virtue”

Speaker: Jayne Slayton, Director Merciful Help Center
Time: 7:15 pm in Social Hall, fireplace side (moved from Nave)

Remaining dates for Fr. Barron program:
March 9th A Vast Company of Witnesses: The Communion of Saints
March 16th The Fire of His Love: Prayer and the Life of the Spirit
March 30th World Without End: The Last Things

Lenten Programs

Servant of Christ- Pope Francis

March 6, 2014
Soup Supper:
 6:30-7:15pm Social Hall (revised time)
Thanks to Loaves and Fishes Ministry for making supper! Donations to ministry are welcomed!

Talk: 7:15-8:30 pm in Upper Room (revised time)
Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Howell
Go here for details, including flyer

seven deadly sins seven lively virtuesSeven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues

With Fr. Robert Barron

This week we begin our study of the 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Lively Virtues by exploring what lies at the root of all sin.

Choose time that works for you: 
Tuesday, March 4th from 1:30-2:45 pm in Upper Room
Thursday, March 6th from 9:30-10:45 am in Wake Chapel
Friday, March 7th from 9:30-10:45 am in Wake Chapel

Go here for video overview.

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It is predictably human to want “an eye for an eye” and to “hate your enemy” (or at least dislike them mightily). The more we are around selfish and thoughtless people who may trample on us, the more this tendency has to be confronted. We live in a sinful world, and injuries are common enough.

It can be exhausting to keep track of what is “fair” – that a wrong has to be countered with some corresponding revenge, that we are entitled to our resentments of unjust treatment. Jesus calls his followers to do the unexpected.

When we endure insults and show self-control, we learn to identify with the helplessness of others. If we are not at the moment causing trouble for others, it is because of God’s grace in our lives. When we are generous with people who do not deserve it, we are reflecting God’s character. This can be immensely comforting when we are experiencing the pain of unjust treatment.

There is also a shrewd strategy in this behavior. People who do not pay attention to God will be intrigued by it. They may have no other way to see God’s goodness unless they stumble upon it in this unique way.

Go here for readings for upcoming Sunday, February 23, 2014, Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

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josemaria escrivaWe have heard it many times before, possibly ad nauseum: We were each created by God to become holy… to become saints! The Second Vatican Council called it the “universal call to holiness.” This is a wonderful idea and a lofty goal, but our own individual path to that destination is often unclear. Should I just spend more time in the chapel? Should I just volunteer more at the local soup kitchen? Should I quit my job and become a monk?

One man who pondered deeply this idea of personal holiness for everyone was St. Josemaria Escriva, a priest from Spain and the founder of “Opus Dei,” or “Work of God.” He recognized that it is precisely in the workplace and in the family that God calls many to become saints. In a nutshell, Opus Dei is “a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian’s ordinary duties.”

On Thursday, February 20, from 7:15-8:30pm in the PLC, I will be giving a presentation of the historical development and the theological principles which form the basis for the spirituality of Opus Dei. It could transform the way you look at your workplace and your call to holiness! See you there.

"Your daily encounter with Christ takes place right where you work, where your aspirations and your affections are. There we must seek sanctity, in the midst of the most material things of the earth, serving God and all humankind. Heaven and earth seem to merge, my daughters and sons, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your heart, when you strive for holiness in your everyday lives."

~ St. Josemaria Escriva

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Any more a light bulb is not simply a light bulb. There are fluorescent bulbs of all shapes and varieties, incandescent bulbs, LED lights; the list goes on and on. How Thomas Edison would be amazed if he could see all the different sources of light that have developed since he was working in his workshop!

In the Gospel this weekend we hear that Jesus encourages the disciples, and us, to light up the world, to “show your good deeds and glorify the your Heavenly Father” (Mt 5:15,16). The varieties of lights that shine from the lives of Christians are even more diverse than the light bulbs found at the local home improvement store! And sometimes we may hide our light under a basket because we simply do not understand, develop or utilize our God-given talents.

Our talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior. They are forged in us at a young age and cannot be acquired. For a talent to develop into a strength it requires the investment of knowledge and skill and must be used and developed through experience. Resulting strengths are “the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity” (Living Your Strengths, 7). The combination of talents and strengths that each of us has is quite unique. According to the Gallup Company that developed the Strengthsfinder Assessment tool, each individual has only a 1 in 33 million chance of meeting someone who has the same top 5 Strengthsfinder signature themes in the same order!

In the weeks and months to come you will hear more about the Strengthsfinder assessment tool and how it can help your light shine bright! In the meantime to learn more go here and when you are done please send a copy of your top 5 themes to AdultFormationInfo@seas-carmel.org . The community of St. Elizabeth Seton Church values you and would like to celebrate with you your God-given strengths and talents!

Go here for the readings for February 9, 2014, Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

parish mission wrapup

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Lenten programs are planned. Click here to view them.

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parish mission 2014 banner

A “parish mission” is a special event for Catholics in which EVERYONE is invited to take part in several days of activity and prayer, all focusing on faith enrichment. A mission is conducted by guest speakers who provide dynamic presentations directed toward key aspects of faith applied to life issues. Those who attend a parish mission often experience a spiritual renewal, bringing about a deeper love for God, and a revitalization of their personal relationships.

For our parish mission, St. Elizabeth Seton Church has invited a representative from an order of priests called the Fathers of Mercy. For over 200 years this congregation of priests has evangelized and strengthened the faith of parish communities through their exciting form of preaching, that is both powerful and thought-provoking. As the Congregation’s representative I will be conducting the three evening presentations. For those who are truly unable to attend the evening sessions there will be a 45 minute morning session held on Monday, February 3rd thru Wednesday, February 5th starting at 9:30 AM each day in the Church. The Fathers of Mercy are trying to make it so convenient for us all that we hope EVERYONE will be sure to attend one of their presentations each day!

The Fathers of Mercy hope to enrich the faith-life of all who attend, including those who believe that they are already very devout, as well as those who may just be very doubtful. For people who are not Catholic, or who are just unclear about what it is that Catholics today really believe, the parish mission is an exciting way for them to hear a clear presentation of the Catholic faith and get real answers to their questions.

Parents, please encourage your teens on the importance of attending this parish mission, even as you set an example for them by your own attendance. Additionally, it is hoped that everyone will be sure to bring along a friend or relative who might not otherwise intend to go alone.

In order to help you grow in holiness I invite you to come to meet Christ, not only in your neighbor but in His Sacraments. To help in fulfilling your desire for more intimacy with God, as well as to provide an opportunity for reconciliation, I will be available for confessions each night of the parish mission.

The Fathers of Mercy associate their work at parish missions with a scripture passage taken from the Gospel of St. John, in which Jesus spoke to those who desired to be his followers.

Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’And they said to Him, ‘Rabbi’ (Which means “teacher”), ‘where are You staying?’ He said to them, “Come and see”(John 1:38-39). He said to them, ‘Come and see’” (John 1:38-39)

Please join me this week and learn how “To Serve is to Reign.”


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Recently my husband and I enjoyed watching a beautiful new baby being very carefully handed from one grandparent to another down the church pew. Through it all the child slept soundly and the adults smiled widely. There is something very good and wonderful about seeing multiple generations together. In the connection of the old and the new, representatives of the past and the future meet in a very visible way and give each other support and care in present. It is a picture that increases our hope and warms our hearts.

This weekend we are asked to remember the child Jesus being passed into the elderly arms of first the prophet Simeon and then the prophetess Anna. Here too the past and the future meet in a dramatic way in the child Jesus. The old welcome the young, the young blesses the old with his presence. We learn of the hope that this child brings to the whole world. And Simeon praises God and is at peace. For this child in a very concrete way is salvation: Simeon’s, Anna’s and ours. In the person of Jesus Christ the divine and human natures are united. Through the person of Jesus Christ, and what he will experience, young and old alike share the hope of eternal life. Those who lived in the past, those currently with us and those who will come after us will be offered the opportunity of a life that is ultimately neither old nor young but eternal.

Go here for the readings for February 2, 2014, Feast of Presentation of the Lord

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hands cross 2Recently I had the privilege of observing an excellent medical team at work. They demonstrated direction, joy, unity and mission. All on the team understood their individual roles, and their efforts were directed to the care of the patient. They worked together efficiently and joyfully. They were united in their mission of surgically fixing a broken bone. They got the job done successfully and everyone involved benefited.

These same themes are evident in the readings for this weekend. In the Collect prayer the priest leads us in asking God to “direct our actions according to (God’s) good pleasure that…we may abound in good works.” In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah we hear of the future joy awaiting those currently experiencing difficult circumstances. The Responsorial, Psalm 27, remind us that the Lord lights our way and gives us courage to get through the darkest of times. In the second reading St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians, and us as well, to be “united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” Finally in the Gospel we hear of Jesus calling forth individuals to join him in his mission of saving souls.

By virtue of the anointing we received in our baptism and confirmation we are also called to join in this mission. We come to Mass each weekend to be formed by the Word of God, and nourished at the table of the Lord. We go forth united in the mission to joyfully bring the light of Christ to all we meet in the world. It is the light of faith, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which gives us our direction and focus.

Go here for the readings for January 26, 2014, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

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In The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity, author Taylor Marshall explains that “According to the Catholic Church, the baptism of John the Baptist was not the sacrament of baptism, but a Jewish tevilah [the Jewish ceremonial washing that signified an inward spiritual cleansing and renewal] preparing the Jewish people for the advent of the Messiah. John the Baptist did not administer the Christian sacrament of baptism because he did not baptize in the Trinitarian name.” Taylor also notes: “Saint Ignatius of Antioch (writing before A.D. 108) said that Christ was baptized not so that the water should purify Him, but rather ‘that He might purify the water,’ so that others might be saved through baptism.”

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Beginning January 9th, SEAS will begin a study of Lumen Fidei, an encyclical letter to the church on the light of faith written jointly by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope 

Francis. This work is the last of the theological virtues to be treated in an encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI. His draft was given to Pope Francis who added to it his own ideas and published it as the Year of Faith was drawing to a close.

As a relatively new Catholic, I have been pleased to find that these and other papal encyclicals are available online to download and read. Scripture has always been an important source of wisdom to me, but I didn’t formerly appreciate the role of tradition in guiding my faith. I have found that reading these encyclicals is an excellent way to learn how our faith, though ancient, is as relevant and empowering today as it ever was. In encyclicals, aspects of the faith are explored in light of the past. We are given pastoral guidance as to how to understand and live out our faith in present circumstances, encouraged by the hope that we have for the future. I look forward to reading Lumen Fidei in the coming year.

Lumen Fidei document can be found by following this link: http://bit.ly/17PAxMf

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In this week’s gospel, people are commenting about the temple’s appearance when Jesus begins to talk about the future. Besides the temple’s destruction, there would be wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues, and signs from the sky. These things have happened and likely will happen again. Jesus then gives four exhortations, which are useful to the Church now as then:

  1. Earthly things will not last. We should remember this every day. It affects our focus and helps us make wise choices.

  2. Don’t be deceived. There will be imposters and liars seeking to lead people astray. Our ability to detect falseness is dependent on our familiarity with what is true.

  3. Don’t be terrified. Wars and conflicts will occur, but they will not determine history. We should not worry as if we had no hope.

  4. Some in the Church will be persecuted and hated, and it will lead to their giving testimony. Jesus himself will give them wisdom in speaking.

For those undergoing persecution anywhere in the world, we should be praying and also praising God. With Jesus giving them just the right words to say, we know some in their midst may be convicted of sin and drawn to him for salvation.


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This week we had the unusual experience of Halloween activities being moved to All Saints Day because of inclement weather. Let’s hope that Christmas won’t be moved next! At our house we have considered giving out Holy cards of St. Elizabeth Seton along with candy tonight!

In any case, in this weekend’s readings we learn of height-challenged Zacchaeus climbing a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he walks by. Imagine his surprise when Jesus announces that he will visit his home! Those who overheard were even more surprised since they expected Jesus to avoid tax collectors because of their sinful practices. However, Jesus seems to be aware of the potential hidden in people. Zacchaeus is greatly changed by his encounter with the living God. He indicates his desire to amply repay those he has wronged. He also goes beyond what the law requires and states he will give away half of his possessions to the poor.

Over and over again the scriptures demonstrate the powerful effect of merciful love. Is it any wonder then that our popular new Pope encourages us to “Be missionaries of God’s love and tenderness! Be missionaries of God’s mercy, which always forgives us, always awaits us and loves us dearly” (Pope Francis Speaks to Our Hearts: Words of Challenge and Hope, 77). May we know and share the merciful love which is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord!

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For a change, the purpose of a parable is revealed ahead of time: “Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” It seems that a dishonest judge, unwilling to render a just verdict for a widow, finally relents and rules in her favor. He does not do it for justice sake but to get rid of her.

Jesus contrasts that judge with God. If a wicked judge will respond to one who is persistent, how much more will God, who is holy and perfect, respond to our prayers if we persist. This is similar to Jesus’ statement that if a child asks his father for bread, he will not give him a stone, or the story of one who wakes his friend to beg for bread to feed a nighttime visitor. If imperfect people respond appropriately to petitions, we can be sure our loving Heavenly Father will do that and much more.

Jesus also says that God’s response is not slow. While we may be impatient, God works in a number of unseen ways, setting up circumstances for our lasting benefit. So with confidence, we should continue to knock, seek, ask.

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ex 17:8-13
2 Tm 3:14-4:2
Lk 18:1-8


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A friend of mine recently moved into a new house. She and her husband had a long journey before arriving at their new home. Not in terms of miles but in terms of time. She estimated that they visited hundreds of houses over the past few years and none of them “felt right” until she visited the home they are currently renovating. It would be difficult for my friend to put into words why this was the house she felt comfortable buying. She simply knew it.

This weekend we hear from the Gospel of Luke that Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51). Perhaps the time “felt right” for Jesus. Somehow he knew this was the time when he was to go to the “city of destiny, where his exodus (suffering, death, resurrection, ascension) is to take place, where salvation is accomplished and from where the proclamation of God’s saving word is to go forth” (from Lk 9:51 footnotes, NAB).

So how is it that Jesus knew when he was to begin on his journey to Jerusalem? There is good reason to believe it flowed from his close relationship with his Father. For instance the verse, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows* the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” (Mt 11:27).

We ask our Lord Jesus Christ to draw near us, to help us to know the Father, to fill us with the Holy Spirit who will teach us how we are to proceed and bring us to eternal life!

The readings for June 30, 2013 Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21
Gal 5:1, 13-19
Lk 9:51-62

Reflection and Question:
Jesus calls us to follow him and be his disciples. In Luke’s Gospel, we see what it means to follow Jesus. He tells us there may often be hardships in following Jesus “wherever he goes.” We must be willing to keep ourselves focused on sharing the Good News, and not look back so we can serve Christ.

When Jesus calls will you say, “Here I am Lord, I will go Lord if you lead me?

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The two young men walk side-by-side through the airport. One wears a crisp, white oxford shirt tucked neatly into black dress pants. The other wears a colorful, wrinkled t-shirt, has a cap perched roguishly on his mop of red hair and a backpack slung over his shoulder. Their banter demonstrates their joy at being reunited, the brotherly love they have for each other, the vitality of their lives and their hopes and dreams for their future.

And the parents? Once upon a time they too were students and dreamers, graduates and sojourners embarking on a journey only God could map. Trailing behind the young men the they enjoy the sight of their sons and are grateful to witness once more the unfolding of God’s providence before their very eyes. For a moment they glimpse the result of the spiritual nourishment their family has received. They all have been profoundly impacted by a sacred mystery, one which often escapes their awareness. It is a mystery that makes them holy, so that as part of the human race, bounded by one world, they are enlightened by one faith, and united by one bond of charity…and are bathed in the sweetness of God’s grace (Preface: The Fruits of the Most Holy Eucharist, Roman Missal.)

May God bless this family, and the others who gather this weekend, as they celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ and high school graduations. May they continue to grow in faith, hope and charity and may the peace of Christ reign in their hearts and homes.

Elisabeth Groot, Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation

The readings for June 2, 2013 Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Gen 14:18-20
1 Cor 11:23-26
Lk 9:11b-17

Reflection and Question:
Today we celebrate the mystery of the bread and wine becoming Jesus in the Eucharist, his most holy body and blood. The Eucharist binds us to all people at God’s table, celebrating the mystery of the Church as the body of Christ here on earth. As the body of Christ we, too, participate in this mystery. We are nourished by the Eucharist, and so, become the “food,” the presence of God for others - the broken, the lonely, the hungry. We have been abundantly blessed and fed by Jesus with his own body.

How will you become the “food” and share the abundance of God’s blessings with others you meet?

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When Jesus appeared to the disciples, in a room in which the door was locked, and said, “Peace be with you,” the disciples were filled with joy. (The Gospel of Luke adds they were terrified at first, so their joy was after they had recovered from the shock.) That has to be one of the top joyful moments in the history of mankind. The disciples loved Jesus. What words they could understand, they had believed. They had witnessed his astonishing miracles and had left their normal lives in order to follow him. Then they witnessed his humiliation and brutal execution, helped with his burial, and learned that his tomb had been emptied. None of us since that time have had to face the fear and despair that Jesus had gone down in defeat and no one like him was left to follow.

This Gospel reading is somewhat imitative of what happens when we become a new creation in Christ: Jesus instilled in his disciples a firm sense of peace. He filled them with joy. He gave them an assignment: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Joy Daniels, Parishioner of St. Elizabeth Seton Church


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St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

10655 Haverstick Rd.
Carmel, IN 46033-3800
Directions: click here 

317.846.3850 (main)
317.846.3710 (fax)

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