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Real Marriage—Both “in the Church” and Out

by Deacon Jim Russell There is so much confusion today about what marriage really is. Even faithful Catholics will often struggle to understand the fundamentals of marriage itself. For example: marriage is a Sacrament, right? Well…the better thing to say is that sometimes marriage is a Sacrament and sometimes it is not. Huh? If you’re confused by that, here’s the simplest path to the truth: when marriage takes place between a man and a woman who are both baptized, it’s a Sacrament. Otherwise, it’s not. There are many, many valid but non-Sacramental marriages out there—between spouses who aren’t both baptized. Read More

Reflections on Motherhood

By Patty Schneier | Author & Speaker I was warned that they "grow up so fast." Kind, elderly strangers once looked at me in the grocery store with little ones in tow and advised me to enjoy every moment. I remember thinking at the time, "I’ll never get out of this stage of exhaustion!" Yet, in the blink of an eye, I find myself the mother of young adults who are all making their way in this world, and I am overwhelmed by the passage of time. Now I'm the lady in the grocery store, smiling at young mothers with cute Read More

How Do You Keep the Music Playing?

By Kitty Mandis | Marriage Preparation Coordinator, Office of Laity & Family Life How do you keep the music playing? How do you make it last? These first two lines from a song made famous by James Ingram and Patti Austin in 1983 are questions that all couples face when adversity begins to drown out the melody that they danced to on their wedding day. St. Valentine, whose feast is traditionally celebrated on February 14, is the Patron Saint of Happy Marriages. At the heart of the Sacrament of Marriage are the wedding vows. Infertility, infidelity, death of a child, addiction, disease, Read More

Mercy and the Holy Family

On this day of Christmas, my True Lord gave to me—the Feast of the Holy Family! Not only is today the annual celebration of this special day honoring Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the exemplary “domestic church,” the church of the home, but this year, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, offers another surprise. Today, Pope Francis celebrates the Jubilee of Mercy for Families with a Mass for families in St. Peter’s Basilica. One might think our Holy Father would be “familied-out” by now, right? In just about a year’s time, he has presided over two bishops’ synods on the Read More

Season of Advent, Year of Mercy

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!  Kyrie Eleison! Lord, Have Mercy! We have endured news of so much violence and hate in recent weeks, near and far, with the presence of terrorism lurking here on the home-front. All this is happening as we Catholics experience our annual encounter with the Church’s Season of Advent, featuring its own built-in sense of the apocalyptic. We’re living in the seasonal “hinge” of the Church’s liturgical calendar, from which we seek to glean some sense of meaning as we move from pondering the second—and final­—coming of Jesus Christ, King and Lord of the Universe, toward pondering Read More

Starbucks ‘Outrage’ Should Be About Marriage and Family, Not Cups

Remember the Starbucks cup controversy of last week? In the fickle world of online outrage, it's already a distant memory. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, new and more pressing matters  have come to the fore. But let's go back to last week and recap what happened. I don't think I was the only person to have witnessed a number of well-meaning folks on social media saying that no Christians they know are at all incensed by the plain red cups now featured at the ubiquitous coffee-stop called Starbucks. Apparently somehow the plainness was perceived Read More