Case Study: Best Practices in Parish Logistics

This is a follow-on to yesterday's post, in which I pointed out problems.  Big ones.  Today let's talk solutions.  Before I get on to the case study I want to share, here are a couple  links to the Jesus is Lord adult-discipleship program:Martina Kreitzer shares the first semester's experience at the parish-of-origin for Jesus is Lord. Marcel LeJeune has adapted it for campus ministry.This works.  If you want a parish full of adult disciples, click through and take notes.Something … [Read more...]

New from Margaret Rose Realy: A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac

 I just received Margaret Rose Realy's latest book, A Catholic Gardener's Spiritual Almanac. I've had a chance to thumb through it, and want to go ahead and mention it now, since it has excellent Easter-basket potential.What it is:  A month-by-month tour of the Catholic garden.  For each month there are notes on the seasons, the feasts, a selection of saints, spiritual reflections, and practical gardening notes.  If you took the pure practicality of A Garden of Visible Prayer, the li … [Read more...]

A Patron Saint for Rabble Rousers and their Bishops

When I answered Tom McDonald's How I Pray series, one of the pile of question marks in the black hole that is my prayer life concerned spiritual reading.  Two answers of late:1. The book I'm carrying around town and reading in snatches is Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper, by Brant Pitre.  So far, it's excellent. Recommended if you have a general understanding of the significance of the Mass and the Last Supper, and are looking for so … [Read more...]

Christian Community and the Loss of Penance

In a private forum, someone asked why Catholics don't talk about acts of penance so much anymore.  Why so little discussion of fasting, self-denial, self-mortification, and the like?  It's out of vogue.I floated a thought or two (summary: I'm Exhibit A for Poor Penitential Performance), and someone came back with the observation that penance is something we're expected to do all on our own. It's not communal.I replied: I think that's true. We have all kinds of self-chosen suffering tha … [Read more...]

What Makes a Good Penance? 3 Tips for Mid-Lent Adjustments

Good news: If your Lent needs some improvement, there's no law that you can't adjust your personal penance mid-stream. Here are a few things I've found helpful for ordinary Catholics to consider when figuring out whether a chosen penance is realistic or not: 1.  Is it consistent with my state in life? A lot of spiritual writing is done by people who aren't, say, on call 24/7 caring for young children.  While it is good to examine your responsibilities and ask whether you need to adjust your pr … [Read more...]

Five Reasons I Love Ashtags. Actually Six. And a Youtube Video.

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I know these people who don't love ashtags.  People like Monique Ocampo, who is even giving up selfies for Lent.  I get it, but I am not these people.  Five reasons, six for the intrepid, and the first one will shock you:Reason #1: I like people.I particularly like the people I'm friends with on social media.  So I like to see photos of them.  It makes me happy to be able to see you with your cat, or your birthday cake, or your brand new, freshly-repentant ashes.  It's like getting Christ … [Read more...]

Atheism, Beauty, and the Loss of Penance

My young daughter, whose cuteness makes her look even younger, sat on the stool at the jewelry store, stone still, waiting for the two gloved salesladies to punch holes through her earlobes on the count of three.  Stoic child, but if you can read her you knew she was nervous.  This was something she wanted, very much wanted.  She knew it would hurt, because we all reminded her of that fact, repeatedly.  She also knew two other things: Her older sister had done it and she was just fine now, and th … [Read more...]


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