Small Groups: The Best Most Dangerous Thing That Can Happen to Your Parish

Today at New Evangelizers, I write about "Small Groups."  By that what I mean is a handful of parishioners -- say, less than 15 -- getting together to do Christian stuff together.  Learn about the faith, do a work of mercy, pray, whatever it is that particular group does.Your parish has to have small groups.  If it doesn't, everyone dies on the vine:But everybody – everybody – in your parish needs a small community.  Human beings literally cannot socialize in large gatherings.  You’ll not … [Read more...]

Why Being a Writer Isn’t as Obvious as All That

Karen Kelly Boyce has a good piece up at the Catholic Writers Guild on cementing your identity as a writer. Her two instructions are: 1. Tell people you are a writer. 2. Treat your writing seriously.  Make an office, use it. For those of us transitioning from "I'd like to be a writer one day" to "I am a writer" there's a vicious cycle of self-doubt: We don't take ourselves seriously, so others don't take us seriously, so we don't take ourselves seriously . . ..Karen's instructions are j … [Read more...]

#Synod14 – Prostitute Nation and a Jar of Perfume

If you want to understand the clerical food fight portion of this month's Synod on the Family, what you need to know about is sexting.Not the Catholic kind, the other kind.Your must-read article for this month is The Atlantic's feature Why Kids Sext.  It's long, and you should read the whole thing.Points to ponder as you do so:Louisa County is normal America.  There's nothing "different" that explains why there was suddenly a website full of students' naked images running on I … [Read more...]

Ebola and Your Spiritual Life – Why Yes, You Are Going to Die

I've been following the Ebola news with interest.  It takes a special kind of hubris to assume that Americans are somehow automatically protected from massive deadly epidemics, or any other disaster.   I'm certainly hopeful, of course, that this will turn out to be a local tragedy and not a turning point in world history.  As a general rule, turning points in world history make good reading but horrible living. *** I grew up in a family that didn't freak out about death.  It helped somewhat tha … [Read more...]

The Go-to Guide for New and Struggling Catechists Now Out in Kindle

Something fun: I was putting together my author bio for the 2015 Gospel Reflections e-book, and discovered my catechist book is now out in Kindle.  Woohoo! Pretty cool, huh?  That makes me high-tech and stuff, right?If you know a religious education teacher who's floundering big time, this book is your answer.  It's short, readable, and gives you step-by-step methods that anyone can use to put together a passable Sunday school class.Yes! Even at your cra … [Read more...]

#Synod14 – The Universal Cure for What Ails You, Ecclesiastical Edition

Synod Survival Tip, and this works for parish and family life too: If you find yourself stuck on the grumpy loop, rehashing over and again the failings of Cardinal Clueless or Father Frustrating, pray for him as if he were dying.That's right.  Imagine your nemesis on his deathbed, about to face his eternal reward, and pray as if his very soul were at stake.  If you are correct in perceiving just how far he has strayed from his vocation, then his eternal soul truly is in grave danger even no … [Read more...]

Medieval Lit for Ordinary Readers: St. Gerald of Aurillac

Today (October 13th) is the feast of St. Gerald of Aurillac, which means it's time for me to point you to fun for junior historians.  Biography in general is a useful way to study history, because you quickly get past the generalizations and see what people really did.  Even better is biography written in the era you are studying, so that you not only find out what happened, but how the contemporaries viewed the events.St. Odo of Cluny wrote a biography of St. Gerald, which you can read in E … [Read more...]