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Good News for January 25th


I once was part of a panel discussion on prayer. During the conversation, several people referred to an article by Jerome Kropp entitled, “The Top Ten Excuses Not To Pray.” We’ll go like David Lettermen and look at some of the reasons this week (starting at the end) and examine the other reasons later.

#10 – “I don’t know where or how to start.” Well, start by asking God for help. “Ok Lord, what do I do?” God will send the Holy Spirit and God’s inspiration – usually in the form of a thought – will enter into your mind. Begin there and see where the mental conversation with the Lord leads.

#9 – “I don’t really know how to pray. All I know about prayer is what I learned as a child – the Our Father, Hail Mary… you know.” And what exactly is wrong with that by the way?”


Let’s start with the second point first. No prayer is beneath anyone’s dignity. The Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary are scripturally-based and powerful expressions of prayer. You can certainly start with them then add three additional items; “Thank you for this Lord; Help me in this area Lord; I’m sorry for this Lord.” God hears and loves any and all prayers – even – or perhaps better – especially ones that are short and simple (Look at Matthew 6:5-16).


#8 – I’m not sure I have the right motivation. It’s easier to pray when we are afraid or desperate. Shouldn’t one pray simply out of a sincere desire to be closer to God?


First – God doesn’t focus on your technique. God is concerned with the heart – where ever that heart is. Saint Mother Teresa used to say, “Pray as you can, not as you can’t.” Start where you are. Try, “God, help me to desire to pray according to your will.” But what if you aren’t sure of God’s will for you? Say, “God, help me to know your will.” God will send the Holy Spirit to guide and deepen your prayer. Your inexperience, reluctance, lack of clarity might be an issue for you, It isn’t an issue for God.


Second – there is something to be said about persistence. Luke 18 1 8 Look at Luke 18:1-8 and the “Parable of the Persistent Woman.” Your prayer might stumble, become distracted or uninspired. Stick to it and just say the next prayer. Third – Don’t be too concerned about the correctness of your motivation. Purely selfish prayer is hard to keep up over the long-run. Keep on praying. God will purify your intentions over time.


#7 – Who am I to presume that God – the creator of the universe – wants to hear from me, especially the mundane details of my life. Isn’t that a source of pride? Not really. Pride would be not acknowledging that we are the way that God intended us to be. Pride is thinking that the particular mess that you have created is far beyond God’s help.


This is also a trick of the devil – “You’re not worthy. Why bother praying?” That just takes us away from our relationship with God. Jesus was always exhorting the “addicted, the afflicted, the angry and the anxious” to turn to the Father in prayer.


Not sure where to start? Simply grab a bible and start reading the Gospels. That’s prayer and a connection to God through His “Word.” The door is always wide open – “Just say the word, Lord, and I shall be healed.” Next week we will look at the reasons #4, #5, and #6 why people don’t pray.


Fr. Charles


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St. Malachy’s Catholic Church

1429 N. 11th St Phila. Pa 19122

Presents

“The Source”

Holy Hour with Music

Come, Receive

The Lord’s Mercy & Healing

Confessions Available

6:30 pm

On the following Dates

Jan. 29th, Feb. 18th, March 18th,

April 15th & May 20th

Social to follow.




St. Blaise was a Bishop of the early Church who had a great story of grace.


Saturday (2/4) & Sunday (2/5) the Church has the tradition of blessing throats and seeking God's intercession for our health. Fr. Charles Zlock will be blessing throats that weekend after all Masses. Join us!




Opportunities to

Reflect, Renew& Restore

Cranaleith Spiritual Center

13475 Proctor Rd,

Phila. Pa 19116

Gaelic for “sanctuary of trees,” Cranaleith offers serene and rejuvenating space to those who wish to reflect on what matters deeply in their lives, renew their spirit for life and work, or restore themselves from life’s traumas. Individuals and groups are invited to participate in retreats and other programs offered in a spirit-rekindling environment of well-being, respect, and harmony. Cranaleith is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. For program, information log on to

www.cranaleith.org

1/24/23 Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop, and doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of writers and Christian unity. His role as a priest and bishop helped bring thousands of Protestants back to the Catholic Church. In the late 16th and early 17th century, St. Frances de Sales conducted spiritual direction both in person and in written correspondence. This inspired his famous work “Introduction to the Devout Life.” During his ministry in Switzerland, he wrote and distributed religious tracts that made inroads among Protestants and helped between 40,000 and 70,000 return to the Catholic faith. Because he is a patron saint of writers, his feast day traditionally marks the release of the Pope’s annual message for World Communications Day. Pope Benedict XVI’s 2013 message reflected on social networks and their potential to strengthen unity and harmony between people. He also warned that these enable a mindset that rewards popularity, rather than rewarding what has intrinsic value. St. Francis de Sales was no stranger to unpopularity. As a priest, he volunteered to lead a mission to return the Calvinist Switzerland back to the Catholic faith. He faced much hostility, including death threats and would-be assassins. He was born in 1567 in the Savoy region in what is now part of France. He was a diplomat’s son, born into a household with great devotion to St. Francis of Assisi.

He studied rhetoric, the humanities, and law in preparation for a political career. He had resolved to hold to religious celibacy and he held a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary, but he kept this strong spiritual life secret from the world. This devotion clashed with the wishes of his father, who had arranged a marriage for him. The Catholic bishop of Geneva found Francis de Sales a position in the Swiss Church, leading to his ordination as a priest in 1593.

He was named Bishop of Geneva in 1602, after which he worked to restore Geneva’s churches and religious orders. He helped the future saint Jean Frances de Chantal, whom he had served as a spiritual director, found a women’s religious order. He died in 1622 in Lyons at a convent he had helped to found. Frances de Sales was canonized in 1665 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1877.




1/25/23 Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle Saint Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “…entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior.


One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing.

From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).

Paul’s life became tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new.

So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal, and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.


1/26/23 Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishopsYesterday the Church celebrated the Conversion of Saint Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Today the Church honors two of Paul’s co-workers. Saints Timothy and Titus were both chosen as bishops in the apostolic age of the early Church, and each received letters from Saint Paul that are included in the New Testament. One early tradition states that Timothy died a martyr’s death by stoning at about the age of eighty, after opposing a procession in honor of the pagan goddess Diana. No details are known about the death of Titus.


Timothy was born in either Lystra or Derbe, modern-day Turkey. He was the “son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:1). Since his father was a pagan, Timothy was most likely not raised in a strict Jewish home, even though his mother and grandmother were Jewish Christians. However, Saint Paul mentions that “from infancy” Timothy was versed in the Jewish Scriptures (see 2 Timothy 3:15). Saint Paul also suggests that Timothy was a bit timid in his personality (see 1 Corinthians 16:10).

Timothy began his conversion to the Christian faith after Paul and Barnabus visited his hometown of Lystra during their first missionary journey. Paul and Barnabus had recently been rejected by many of the Jews, so they began to turn their preaching toward the Gentiles. Timothy, being of both Jewish and Gentile origin, must have paid special attention. During that visit, Paul healed a man who was crippled from birth (see Acts 14:8–10) as a way of showing that the power of God worked through him. In subsequent years, a Christian community in Lystra emerged that held Timothy in high regard (see Acts 16:2). Therefore, when Saint Paul passed through Lystra during his second missionary journey a few years later, he met Timothy and invited him to join him in his travels. Timothy not only agreed but also allowed Paul to circumcise him so that when they preached to the Jews, the Jews would not hold his uncircumcision as a child against him.


Titus was a Greek, not a Jew, most likely born and raised on the island of Crete. Tradition states that he was educated in Greek philosophy and poetry as a youth. After Paul and Barnabas completed their first missionary journey, the same journey that sparked faith in the heart of Timothy, they traveled to Jerusalem to help resolve a dispute over whether or not Gentile converts to Christianity should undergo the Jewish rite of circumcision. Paul invited Titus to join him in Jerusalem, perhaps partly because Titus was a Gentile convert who did not undergo circumcision (see Galatians 2:3).

Details about Titus’ conversion are unknown. What is known is that he became a close companion of Paul during those early years of the Church. With Titus’ assistance, Paul prevailed at the Council of Jerusalem by convincing the others that circumcision for Gentile converts was unnecessary. This huge decision opened the door widely to the Gentiles, inviting them to enter freely.


In the three to four decades to follow, both Timothy and Titus assisted Paul and the other leaders of the early Church by preaching and tending to administration. Timothy’s journeys led him to especially assist the Church in the Greek cities of Philippi, Athens, Thessalonica, and Corinth, eventually becoming the first bishop of Ephesus, in modern-day Turkey.


1/28/23 Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the ChurchThomas was born sometime near 1225. He had noble beginnings, born in the castle of Roccasecca in Italy, the son of Count Landulf of Aquino. When he was only five he was sent to the Benedictine Monastery School at Monte Cassino, and when he was fourteen he was sent to the University of Naples where he was exposed to a variety of philosophies including Aristotle and the Islamic philosopher Averroes of Cordoba.

In 1244 Thomas joined the Dominicans, a decision his family opposed so strongly that his brothers kidnapped him from the friary and carried him to the family castle at Roccasecca where he was held captive for more than a year. In 1245 Thomas was given release, returned to the Dominicans, and shortly thereafter moved to Paris where he studied from 1245 to 1248.

Thomas Aquinas was canonized by Pope John XXII in 1323, named a Doctor of the Church by Pope St. Pius V in 1567, and designated the patron saint of Catholic schools, colleges, and universities by Pope Leo XIII in 1880. He is also the patron saint of theologians, philosophers, students, and booksellers. Since the Sixteenth Century, he has also been known as the “Angelic doctor.” His memorial was moved from his death anniversary to January 28, the date his body was transferred to Toulouse in 1369.






REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

Congress XIII (2023)

Announcing the Congress Theme — “Write the Vision:

A Prophetic Call to Thrive”

July 20-23, 2023

The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745 https://nbccongress.org





Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia assigned to St. Athanasius Parish located in West Oak Lane. Deacon James was ordained on June 6, 2004. He is responsible for teaching the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and instructing a bible study class at St. Athanasius Parish. He is currently employed as the Associate Director of the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in East Germantown. He is also an instructor in Homiletics for the Permanent Diaconate Program of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


Attention! Attention! Men of St. Raymond Save the Date March 4, 2023


15th Annual Man UpPhilly

Men’s Conference

March 4, 2023

Join other Brothers in Christ for

this special experience and stand

united as true Men of God.

Cardinal O’Hara, High School

St John Vianney Hall Theater.

1701 S. Sproul Road, Springfield, PA 19064

Speakers

His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Archbishop of New York

Deacon James Mahoney

St. Athanasius Parish

Assoc. Director Miraculous Medal Shrine

Jim Wahlberg

Producer, Writer, Film Director

and Catholic Revert

Music By Mark Forrest, (Irish Tenor)

Archbishop Nelson Perez,

Mass Celebrant

To register for this event contact

Arleen Daniels at 215-549-3760







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