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The sign of peace

Posted February 15, 2019 at 12:00 am

You know you’ve been there before, in that emotional state – with a heavy heart, mind or spirit, you attend Mass, hoping to find peace with that something or someone through prayer. As the liturgy continues, the worry or concern might be overwhelming and the last thing you want is human contact – with your spouse, your child, your parent or even your neighbor. But, that is exactly what God is calling us to do when we make the sign of peace in Mass.  

In the Gospel of Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus says, “So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then

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    Your Valentine?

    Order roses. Check. 

    Purchase chocolate. Check. 

    Dinner reservation? Oops, better get on that.

    The country’s most romantic holiday is nearing, and despite what a popular greeting card company might say, Valentine’s Day has Catholic roots, although confusion remains when it comes to St. Valentine.

    A third century priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecute Christians during the reign of Claudius II, St. Valentine of Rome was a Catholic Bishop of Terni who

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    Can you hear the bells?

    Bells will be ringing.

    Or maybe not.

    Depending on the church one attends, altar servers might or might not ring the Sanctus bells during the consecration, trumpeting the turning of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

    According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the how to manual on celebrating the Mass, there are two occasions when bells might be used during the liturgy. Of course, the most common is during the consecration.

    Bells may also be rung shortly before the consecration, according to the GIRM,

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    Epiphany

    With the final needles of the now parched Christmas tree ready to fall to their grave on the den floor, the liturgical season transitions from Christmas to Epiphany. 

    Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6, is the traditional day to once again haul out the boxes from the attic and refill them with the Christmas decorations and outdoor lightings that have been brightening the homestead since shortly after Santa paraded past Macy’s on Thanksgiving Day. Christmas is officially over, minus the less enjoyable tradition of opening

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    Candy canes rooted in sweet  tradition of Catholicism 

    The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, and the lights put up without pulling out one’s hair.  

    Now perhaps comes the most delectable part of decking out the house with Christmas cheer: strategically placing the candy canes on the tree, participating in a Christmas tradition rooted in Catholicism.  

    Candy canes? Catholicism?  

    According to legend, those delicious, sugar-powered candies first made their holiday appearance during the 17th century. Originally believed to be developed in Europe as a white

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    A Pearl Harbor hero

    On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Father Al Schmitt, a Navy chaplain aboard the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor, awoke to celebrate Mass on board the Nevada-class battleship.

    Only minutes after the Sunday morning Mass had ended, the Oklahoma was torpedoed during the Japanese’s surprise attack on the Hawaiian Islands. Father Schmitt, along with several other shipmates, was trapped in a small compartment with only a small porthole as an escape route. 

    Father

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    Advent wreath

    Advent is approaching, and in many households and all Catholic churches the traditional wreath celebrating the season will be prominently displayed. 

    The Advent wreath, which is a European tradition, can be an evangelization tool to teach children about the real meaning of the Christmas season. Advent is not only a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus but also a time to prepare our hearts to receive him.

    The wreath, which holds four candles,

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    An angel in the trenches

    As Veterans Day approaches, our country, cities and even churches honor those who have gone into harm’s way or paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom.   

    Perhaps we should also include St. Therese of Lisieux during our Veterans Day celebration. St. Therese, also known as “The Little Flower of Jesus,” is believed to have played significant roles in protecting soldiers on both sides during World War I and World War II.   

    When World War I broke

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    Guardian angels

    Who has never prayed to their guardian angel, whether it’s help to pass a test, perform well in a job interview or help us get through the difficulties of life?

    Guardian angels were even once featured in one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time.

    So exactly who is our guardian angel and does everyone actually have a heavenly protector?

    According to The Catechism of

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    Steps to the priesthood

    On Sept. 15, at Sacred Heart Church in Baton Rouge, seminarians Matthew Dunn and Danny Roussel were admitted to candidacy for the priesthood for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Both Dunn and Roussel are third year theology students at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. According to Father Matt Lorrain, director of seminarians for the Baton Rouge diocese, the simple ceremony is an important step in the discernment process for those considering a vocation. 

    “When you’re descerning a vocation,

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    Faith on the water

    On an early spring day more than 80 years ago, a modest but unique boat first navigated the murky swamp waters of the Atchafalaya Basin.  

    Only this was no ordinary maiden voyage as on April 21, 1936, Mary, Star of the Sea brought faith to the water. For the next five years the chapel boat was a fixture in places such as Belle River and Bayou Pigeon, ultimately covering three civil parishes and some 900 square miles. 

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    Laying on of hands

    The imposition, or laying on of hands, is a common practice in the Catholic faith, used in the administration of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick and holy orders, as well as other rites, including exorcism. 

    The history of the imposition of hands dates to the patriarchs in the Old Testament to convey power, blessing or consecration. It was used in blessing children, consecrating priests and in sacrifice. 

    The imposition first appears in a religious sense in the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. Prior to sacrificing animals, the priests

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    Vessels with a purpose

    The Mass itself is a beautiful celebration, one of sacrifice and celebration. It’s also a sum of many components, including the vessels, each of which serves a significant role in what is a beautiful celebration.

    Perhaps the most sacred is the chalice, which will hold the consecrated body and blood of Christ. The presiding priest might use his own personal chalice, or one provided by the parish. A priest’s personal chalice typically holds some type of significance.

    A member of a religious

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