Presence

texting_oceanIn the Easter reading about Thomas, he would not believe the other apostles when they told him Jesus had been to visit them after the resurrection. Not only would he not believe if he saw Jesus himself, he would have to put his hands in the wounds if he would believe. (John 20: 24-29)

This is in such stark contrast with where we are today in our relationships. This technical age allows us to be in touch with anyone at any time. But is this always for the best? 

One night my husband and I went out to dinner. A couple came in and sat at the table next to us. As they entered, the man finished up a conversation on his cell phone … but the woman continued talking on hers. They sat down, looked at the menu, the waitress came, the woman lowered the phone and ordered. The food came, they ate, and she continued texting and talking, one right after the other. The man stared at her from time to time or into space.  Occasionally, he spoke to her and she rose her head and answered … but went right on texting and eating. As he paid the bill, she put her phone down and they left.

A man I know will spend most of the day texting his son, but when his son actually arrives, he greets him and immediately begins texting someone else.

Now I too love the feeling of immediate gratification of connection. At the same time, I still recognize what I am giving up when I’m not present to the person with me. (Though sometimes it’s difficult because they are busy texting!) Our youngest members of society seem to have been born with cell phones in their hands but the rest of us weren’t. We have acquired the ability and have developed a new habit.

Perhaps we need to evaluate this habit from time to time. How much better does it feel to really be present with a person in the flesh; how special the time and ability to share from the heart.  Are we letting these occasions go? Are we missing the beauty around us? And are we assisting others to do the same? What are we giving up?

These devises certainly make life easier in many ways but they do not allow for depth. As we think about Thomas, did his very doubts which made him memorable not leave us an example of presence as well?

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Easter Season - Mary

AlleluiaWhen Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found it open and empty, her grief was intensified because her soul was totally laid bare by the loss of Jesus; His life and now his body.

In her despair, she couldn’t recognize Jesus. When he said her name, “Mary”, she knew in her depths that this was Jesus. What’s more, in that one word…her name, she understood that Jesus knew her through and through, loved and accepted her wherever she was. As he spoke her name, it was all encompassing and she could grasp the depth of his love perhaps more than she had ever understood before.

We may never feel Mary’s experience of the unconditional love of Jesus, but there may be times in our lives when we can get an inkling of how that feels.

The experience that comes to my mind happened when I was about nine years old. In our house, winter or summer, my sisters and I were always barefoot in the house. One day I went to take something out of the fridge and in the process, I broke my mom’s favorite pitcher. It was a wedding gift and we were never allowed to even touch it and here I was standing at the fridge with shattered glass all around me. I started crying so loud, it was close to screaming. My mom came running. She called out over my wailing, “Are you hurt?” I said, “No, but I broke your favorite pitcher,” and wailed all the more. She brought a chair over and had me sit so she could move me and the chair away from the broken glass, as she continued trying to calm me down.

She said, “It’s only a pitcher, don’t you understand that you are worth so much more to me than any pitcher?” The truth was that I didn’t realize that at all. I never understood that. As we got the glass cleaned up and the trauma subsided, I went away feeling like my heart was as big as I was because I grasped what she was saying.

There have been many suggestions why Jesus told Mary not to cling to him because he “had not yet ascended to the Father….” (Jn 20; 17) I have no answer either but I do know that these are the moments we want to cling to; this sense of being known and valued and loved.

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Topics: Jesus, Mary-our-mother, Easter-Lent

The Seventh Sorrow of Mary – Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Jesus_placed_in_tombJoseph of Arimathea, sought permission to bury Jesus. Nicodemus and others came along to complete the Jewish burial rites and Jesus was laid in the tomb. (John 19:38-42)

How anticlimactic this seems. All the people along the way and all the observers as Jesus hung and died on the cross are now gone.

What is there after all is over? Jesus was buried, our loved one is buried, what more is there? It’s almost like we entered our own tomb and now reside in darkness.

Neighbors, friends and even relatives depart and for the first time, we begin to experience the enormity of our loss. There is numbness. The ranting and praying and beseeching are over. It is done. There is nothing we can do now but sit in this darkness and wait. We go through the motions of living; trying to adjust to this new world around us and within us. 

Others tell us we must adjust to our new reality and time will heal us. Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote after the kidnapping and death of her son that,

“Grief is a great leveler. There is no highroad out. Courage is a first step but simply to bear the blow bravely is not enough. Stoicism is courageous, but it is only a halfway house on a long road. It is a shield, permissible for a short time only. In the end one has to discard shields and remain open and vulnerable.  Otherwise, scar tissue will seal off the wound and no growth will follow. To grow, to be reborn, one must remain vulnerable---open to love but also hideously open to the possibility of more suffering.” (Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead, Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY, 1973)

Throughout these Sorrowful Mysteries, Mary remains open to love and vulnerable. We need such examples. We need such support and we need to realize we are never really alone.

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Topics: Mary, death, Lent, Sorrowful

The Sixth Sorrow of Mary – Jesus is Taken down from the Cross

Pieta_Mary_mourning_over_JesusEvery year on the Feast of the Annunciation our parish offers a Mass for bereaved parents and siblings. Each year I am touched by the people who attend; knowing their losses and witnessing their compassion toward each other. 

Before Mass begins, the attendees have the opportunity to add their child or children’s names to a book along with any message they would like. This book is taken up to the altar with the gifts during the offertory.

We also offer paper hearts so the parents are able to write the child’s name down. At the offertory, everyone is invited to the front to place the heart in the basket as they tell the priest what the child’s name is and he repeats it. This may seem unnecessary or maudlin but so often parents no longer feel comfortable speaking of their child and others never mention the child’s name.

After communion a parent gives a short witness talk. This year a father was willing to do this, which we can imagine, is no easy task regardless how long the child has been gone. His daughter died 30 years ago in a tragic accident when she was 17. What touched me most was his confession that the only peace he was able to glean was in seeing the Pieta, where Mary receives her dead son in her arms. He remembered that Mary had suffered such a tremendous loss and she understood his pain.

Sometimes it may seem difficult to grasp the purpose of the Mysteries and yet, this is exactly how they are most helpful. We know from the Gospels what happened in each situation. We know in our hearts how it felt because of our own lived experience. We want to know in our spirits that life continues.

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Topics: Mary, death, Lent, family, Sorrowful

The Fifth Sorrow of Mary – The Crucifixion

CrucifixionAt the foot of the cross, Mary’s sorrow was intertwined with helplessness, reflection and, dare I say, feelings of guilt?

She was given this awesome charge to bring the messiah into the world. Her calling entailed loving Jesus and keeping him safe until he was able to fulfill his mission. She really had no control over that mission nor where it led. She watched as Jesus was thrown out of the temple, as leaders tried to undermine him, as he was judged and beaten and now as he was dying, an apparent failure. Had she fulfilled her responsibility?

All she could do now was to remain by his side, her own heart bereft as his blood and life was slowly drained from him. Presence and love was all she had to offer him. Sometimes that’s all there is.

How many of us find ourselves in similar situations? We stand at the foot of a dying loved one.  They are unable to help themselves, we cannot help, and we doubt that God can help or at least it seems so. Where does one’s mind go in the midst of this? All too often we are overwhelmed by guilt. How could we have contributed to this suffering? This is an excruciating examination of conscious going nowhere.

Jesus looked down from the cross at the profound loss and pain filling Mary and John. In his love he gave them, one to the other, so they could share their grief. He would not leave them abandoned. He would not leave them alone. (Jn 19:26-27)

So often we feel isolated and alone after such tremendous loss. This is compounded when those around us back off with discomfort not knowing what to say or how to help us. Sometimes we find another though, who can comprehend our loss, who is not afraid of our grief and pain, and is willing to sit in the darkness with us until light gradually returns.

May these comforters be blessed for their patience, their presence and love.  May we in turn be blessed with the ability to be such comforters.  Because aside from this, what more can be offered?

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Topics: Mary, Lent, Sorrowful, Crucifixion

Our Lenten Journey

Jesus_Washes_Feet_Last_SupperOur Lenten Journey is just about over. We have either given up something or done something that we normally don’t do to focus on some area of sacrifice. 

The church provides us with this gift of grace for these 40 days. Whether we give up something or add something to our lives, we experience the struggle to remain faithful to whatever we decided to do for Lent.

This week we celebrate the Triduum - the three days leading up to the death of Jesus and to his Resurrection. The first of the three days is the celebration of the Last Supper.

During this dinner, Jesus, looking up to his Father, broke the bread, blessed the bread and shared it with his apostles saying; take this, all of you and eat it – it is my body given to you.  He then took the cup, blessed it and gave it to his apostles saying; take this cup and drink from it – it is my blood.

Before the end of the dinner, he washed the feet of his apostles as a witness to his words; I have come to serve and not to be served.

We are called to live these words of the Eucharist and the witness to his works of service.

In Family Theater Productions’ faith-based short film for teens and families, Family Dinner,” the main character, Cristina, learns this lesson of sacrifice. She gives witness to the words of Jesus at the Last Supper with her own family. She comes to understand the need of sacrifice and the need for family. After families watch the film together, it usually inspires a discussion about the meaning of the Last Supper story for us today.

As we experience this prayerful celebration of the Last Supper, what do we bring into our own families? What sacrifice have you lived within your family or for your family?  How do you give witness to the words of Jesus at the Last Supper and of his action of washing the feet of the apostles?

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Topics: Jesus, Lent, Triduum, Last Supper

The Fourth Sorrow of Mary – The Way of the Cross

Mary-meets-Jesus-CalvaryAs Mary reaches for Jesus as he carries the cross, who could not appreciate her pain and helplessness. There are no words to say anything. There is only love and compassion to share.

Yet this must have been a difficult journey for her to take. She was told by the angel that she was to conceive a child who “will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father…and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 2:32)  But here he was suffering, and on his way to death. 

How can all this be? How can she incorporate this into her mind even if her heart and soul trusts God’s word?

Carol is a friend of mine who has a 26 year old daughter. This child was filled with talent and promise from her earliest days. She delighted in life and in her siblings.  All the children were homeschooled and grew up in a solid Catholic faith. Zoe would spend summers in an acting class when she was young and assisted other children as she aged. She would also help her siblings to create puppets and wrote plays that they could present before the school year began. She excelled at college and was such an inspiration that upon graduation, she was hired to work with the admission office and visit high schools as a representative of the college.

Then things began to change. She lost a severe amount of weight. Her faith, which had always been strong, now became her obsession. She spent hours on her knees praying. In time, she could not function because of her behaviors. As she returned home, her behavior became more problematic. She could stand staring at a point in the yard for hours without moving. She heard voices and began to be verbally and even physically abusive to her family members. In the end she was diagnosed with schizophrenia with religious ideation. 

What happened? Her parents handled her behavior and diagnosis in different ways and over time, separated. How could her mother now cope with this child who was not the same? How could she let go of her expectations and accept who Zoe was now? How could she separate what Zoe needed now versus what she “should and could” be?

Whereas Mary came to a better understanding as Jesus suffered, died and arose, how can Carol come to the same point of acceptance and understanding? We can’t always understand how the Lord is working. We cannot see life in perspective.

May God give us the strength to believe when believing is most difficult and to persevere when prayers seem unanswered.

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Topics: Mary, Lent, family, Sorrowful

The Annunciation: God Comes to Us!

j-annunciationWhat was the young Mary thinking about when the Angel Gabriel came to her?

Most of us probably imagine her in quiet prayer. We can’t be sure of that but I am sure that whether she was seated in silence or not, her heart was at prayer.

Maybe she was concerned about her aging mother or a neighbor with serious problems. We can’t know the specifics but I am sure that her heart was full of longing that the Lord would fulfill His promises to His people. Her heart was also full of profound faith and hope that He would do so.

Then the Angel came with God’s message, she said yes, and the Word was made flesh in her.

When we study the text of the Gospel of Saint Luke, we see there are many references there to Old Testament verses so as to let us see that Mary is our representative … and a symbol of the faith of the people of God.

So we can see ourselves in her. We can put ourselves in the scene in a real way. Whatever may be my prayer or whatever is heavy on my heart, I can put it in Mary’s Heart. Along with my concern, I can share then, her profound faith and hope.

I am also sure that Our Lord intends for us to do this – and that Mother Mary loves it when we do!

When we do, we can let the Word of God be born in us too!

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

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Topics: Mary, annunication, feast-day

Mary’s Fiat - Your Yes!

Pope Francis declared this a Year for Consecrated Life. What does this mean?

During this year he is asking religious congregations to make their unique history known, promote the need for men and women to enter religious life and encourage families to support their children if they choose this way of life. 

The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) has been doing an outstanding job of sharing information with families and those interested in religious life through Facebook posts and other media outlets. I invite you to read an article I wrote for their Resource Packet. I hope you find this helpful.

Mary_and_infant_JesusAs I reflect on this topic, I was drawn to the story of Jesus being found in the temple, The 5th Joyful Mystery. In this story, Jesus and his parents travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. Upon their return home, Mary and Joseph realize their son is not with them. They return to Jerusalem and find Him in the temple listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Mary says to her son, didn’t you know your father and I would be worried about you? Jesus responds, did you not know I would be about the work of my Father?

Jesus needed to respect his earthly parents and at the same time, remain obedient to his heavenly Father. What He experienced with his earthly parents is something that many children experience today.

Sometimes a child’s desire to follow the will of God does not coincide with the thoughts and desires of his or her parents. How do parents and children reconcile this difference - when the parents want one thing but the child wants something else?

I know of a family where the father is a doctor and he had a strong desire that his son follow in his footsteps and attend medical school. The son did become a doctor but instead of joining his father’s practice, he opened a clinic for the poor in a neighboring city. This situation created a lot of tension between them until the son was able to express to his father that he had a strong desire to answer the call from God to serve the poor.

When one discerns the call from God to enter a religious congregation or to answer the call from God that is different from what their parents are hoping for, I encourage all members of the family to reflect on this Mystery and gain some insights and graces from Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Have you ever had a family member enter a religious congregation? What was that experience like for you? Have you entered a religious congregation and had this experience? How did you live this call from God that was different than your parents?

Let us know. Your experience could enlighten parents and families, and encourage those discerning their own call.

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Topics: Mary, vocation, joyful mysteries

Irish Eyes Were Smiling

2015 reunion of travelers that have gone on Holy Cross Family Ministries’ Irish Pilgrimage.This week we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s history as an active missionary in Ireland stems from the second half of the fifth century. He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland.

When he was about 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Great Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland. He lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

He is known for driving snakes out of Ireland. As many trips as I have taken to many parts of Ireland, I have never seen a snake. Hence this tale of his life remains to be true. At least for me, it does!

2015 reunion of travelers that have gone on Holy Cross Family Ministries’ Irish Pilgrimage.Holy Cross Family Ministries recently hosted a reunion with those who have experienced the Irish Pilgrimage that we offer each year. During our reunion we enjoyed a delicious corned beef and cabbage dinner and celebrated Mass. After that, several pilgrims shared some graces and blessings that they had received from the pilgrimage with the group.

Of course, to add to the fun, we had door prizes! One exceptional prize was a beautiful piece of Waterford crystal! This made a very special gift for one of our guests and will always bring to mind many warm memories of the trip.

Once again we are offering an Irish Pilgrimage on August 22-31, 2015. Please join us this year! Visit our website’s event page for details.

A special part of each year’s pilgrimage to Ireland is the opportunity to learn more about Servant of God Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., known around the world as the “Rosary Priest” and remembered for his famous message, The Family That Prays Together Stays Together.

Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? What have been some of graces and blessings you received?

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Topics: pilgrimage, Father Peyton, Ireland, St. Patrick's Day

The Third Sorrow of Mary – The Loss of Jesus in the Temple

The Loss of Jesus in the TempleFor twelve years Mary and Joseph raised Jesus, protected and guided, loved and taught him. Then, when they are on the way home from Jerusalem, they discover he has not returned from the Temple with them. (Lk 2:41‑52) How could this happen and why?

How often does this happen to parents everywhere? Their adolescent suddenly realizes they have a mission, or their own inner voice and sense of direction. Regardless of the caring and direction of their loved ones, they feel impelled to follow it.

But it is never as clear as all that. Parents still see all the careless and foolhardy activities the teens are involved in. It becomes harder and harder to set limits, provide direction and protect them from harm. Many parents over the years have shared how hurt they are by their child’s pulling away from them and not caring about them or the family.  This is part of the pain predicted at the beginning. But it’s a two way street. There is enough pain and angst to go around. It’s just a bit easier if it can be shared.

Presently I have two godchildren and a niece who are finishing their senior year in high school.  They are having so much fun with friends, dances, and other activities. At the same time, they are filled with fear of the future. They have applied to colleges and await acceptance letters.  They want to go away to college and yet fear leaving home. This is their life and these are the friends they have known most of their lives. It’s a monumental moment.

Gazing from the outside of these remarkable young people, I have only memories to enhance my understanding. I pray and support them with love and belief, not only in their tremendous potential but also in their ability to make healthy decisions. No one can make these for them. All we can do for growing youth is to support them as they make decisions for their own lives and help them to draw from their own experiences to make even better ones in the future. We each have our own journey and our own lives to live; no one can do it for us.

How did the story end in the Gospel? Mary kept all these things in her heart. Jesus increased in age, wisdom, and favor before God and man.

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Topics: Mary, rosary, Lent, Sorrowful

The Second Sorrow of Mary - The Flight into Egypt

Holy-Family-flees-to-EgyptAfter the Kings departed, Joseph was visited in a dream and told to take Mary and the infant and flee into Egypt because Herod wanted to kill the child. (Mt 2:13-14)  I’m sure Joseph hastened to do this. His family was in jeopardy and his job as father was to protect them. They did not know what Herod had in mind. They didn’t really need to know.

For the last few months we have heard of the shooting of young men by the police and all the pain and turmoil that has created. The more I heard, the more I wondered why the killings going on in countless communities across our great nation through drive-by shootings were not and never are really mentioned. Is it just something we take for granted? We don’t hear of people being hunted down so justice can be served for these lives so carelessly taken.

I think of Mary and Joseph fleeing unaware of the loss of life in Bethlehem. If they knew, was there anything else they could have done? Obviously not. They had to move to safety first. But I can’t help wondering about all these parents where shootings are an everyday occurrence, and how can they possibly protect their children. Where can they flee? What is our role? Where is the line between protecting ourselves and compassion for others?

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Topics: Mary, rosary, sorrow, Lent

Lenten Reflection: The First Sorrow of Mary - The Prophesy of Simeon

The_Prophesy_of_SimeonWe usually think of the Presentation in the Temple as a Joyful Mystery. And so it is. Mary and Joseph bring their first born son to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Here Simeon and Anna are both so grateful to have lived long enough to greet this child. 

The sad part is that Simeon also warns Mary that her own heart a sword shall pierce that the hearts of many will be revealed. (Lk 2:22-25)

In many ways this is true of all infants. Usually, there is celebration over the birth. Parents are proud and pleased to share their joy. They are also very busy tending to the child so they haven’t much time to think of the future. Yet they surely know that much pain will also come to them along the way;  the child’s first fall and injury, being hurt by other children in school, being exposed to drugs and alcohol, and making poor decisions.

We know these difficult times don’t often come in huge doses all at one time but any one of them causes significant pain and part of that is the knowledge that they as parents, are not really able to protect their child. Their helplessness adds to the pain.

Then there are those who anticipate their pregnancy with joy. They rejoice with everyone as their child is born but then they realize their child has a handicap, or they are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis or another such problem. The joy is now enveloped by pain.  Those who once were ready and eager to rejoice with them, now don’t exactly know what to say and they back away.

It’s important that we remember that every child has a value and is worthy of our joy. Every child enters the world with his/her own gifts and challenges. Let us not falter in our love and encouragement because of physical impairments any more than Simeon and Anna held back their love and praise. May we support every single aspect of life, praising God for His wonderful gifts and knowing that only He can really surprise us through our confusion and pain with the joy of a future and resurrection.

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Topics: Mary, rosary, Lent, Sorrowful

Seven Sorrows of Mary

seven-sorrows-of-MaryYears ago I read a poem in which one line said something like, “Our happiest moments with some remorse are spent.” Even though I don’t remember the poet or the poem, this line has always hit home when I pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. 

From my life experience as well as from reading the Gospel, I know that as wonderful as an event may be, we cannot possibly live in the glory of that high for long. Sometimes I have thought it is just because we can hardly tolerate such joy yet I know that life moves along.

There was the Transfiguration and there was the Crucifixion. There was the joy of Jesus birth but it was in a barn.

During this Lent, I plan to write about the Seven Sorrowful Mysteries. There is a particular Rosary for these Mysteries. You can find it online at the Catholic Company  and for all the prayers and reflections, you can find them in the book The Seven Sorrows of Mary by Brother Joel Giallanza, C.S.C., which can be purchased at our online store.

For this Rosary one starts off with An Act of Contrition. Next we say Three Hail Mary’s.  On each medallion or “Our Father” bead we meditate on each Mystery in turn and then pray the Our Father. Then we proceed with seven Hail Mary’s. You can conclude the Rosary with, “Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who recourse to thee.”

The Mysteries are as follows:

  1. The Prophesy of Simeon when Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple for the Presentation. (Lk 2:22-35
  2. The Flight into Egypt. (Mt 2:13-15)
  3. The Loss of Jesus in the temple. (Lk 2:41-52)
  4. Mary Meets Jesus on the way to Calvary. (Lk 23:27-31)
  5. Mary stands at the foot of the cross. (Jn 19:25-27)
  6. Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms. (Jn 19:38-40)
  7. Jesus is placed in the tomb. (Jn 19:41-42)

In my next blog I will be pondering the first of these Mysteries.

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Topics: Mary, rosary, Lent, Sorrowful

A Surprise King Cake!

Students at Our Lady of Mercy School in Baton Rouge, LA., 2015.

This week I spent some time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at Our Lady of Mercy School. In addition to giving classroom presentations about the Rosary, I also had the opportunity to meet the students who belong to the Mary’s Club.

Mary’s Cub meets each Monday afternoon to learn about the Blessed Mother, Mary, and to learn about the connection between faith and service. The student members are in grades 2-8 and some parents and teachers are also members of the club.

During our time together, I had the opportunity to speak about what our Blessed Mother teaches us about her son, Jesus. We discussed Mary’s “Yes” to the Angel Gabrielle, the conversation with her son at the Wedding at Cana, how Mary prayed with the apostles in the upper room and how she stood at the foot of the cross of her son.

Throughout the presentation the underlying focus was how Mary always brings us to Jesus. Everything she did or said has the focus on her son.

The students began to see the connection with Mary and her son in this special way and were given examples of how we, too, are called to always keep our focus on her son, Jesus.

Before we began our discussion the students had a surprise for me! They presented me with a King Cake. The King Cake has a long history in Louisiana going back to around 1870. As part of the celebration of Mardi Gras, which begins on January 6th and ends on Fat Tuesday, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the King Cake is baked and eaten at most parties – especially at Sunday gatherings.

The cake is made of cinnamon dough, twisted in a circle and covered with purple, green and gold frosting. The circle is a symbol of the unity of faiths, while the color purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power.

The unique item in the cake is a plastic baby symbolizing the baby Jesus. Like the Biblical story, the "search for the baby" adds excitement, as each person waits to see in which slice of cake the baby will be discovered. While custom holds that the person who "finds" the baby will be rewarded with "good luck", that person is also traditionally responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party or gathering.

Hence, my piece had the baby Jesus and so I promised to bring the next cake upon my return to Our Lady of Mercy School!

This symbol of the cake with the baby Jesus in it was the perfect lead into my presentation about how we are called, like Mary, to always focus our actions on bringing others to Jesus.

During this Lenten Season, what will you do to bring others to Jesus? How often do you find Jesus in your own actions?

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Topics: Mary, Lent, ash wednesday

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