What does Jesus' coming mean to you this year? We hope you will take 5 minutes to reflect on that life-long question as you listen to this beautiful hymn. For us Contolini it is gratefulness for the gift of another healthy year together. I started writing this short reflection before attending Mass today only to realize it is Gaudete Sunday (Rejoice Sunday). We are called to rejoice and be grateful always; in good times and in not-so-good times. Or as Blessed Solanus Casey said: "Give thanks in advance". It has been a year of growth, change and some challenges for our family. We are grateful for all of it.
May the amazing gift of our God becoming man give you true hope and joy this Christmas season.
Enrico, Norine, Isabella, Emanuela, Pietro, Paolo (and Rosie the dog, 2 chickens and 3 ducks)
Cari amici, con il nuovo anno ho pensato di scrivere su questo sito che ho recentemente aperto qualche riflessione anche in italiano per presentare ai miei connazionali il punto di vista e il coinvolgimento sociale e politico dei cattolici negli Stati Uniti. Da quello che leggo in italiano, mi sembra che questa voce sia carente in Italia. Spero lo troviate utile.
I decided to write a post in Italian to explain to my Italian friends about some of the struggles and issues that Catholics face in the United States, because it seems to me that this type of information rarely reaches the shores of the old country. (a short summary in English is provided at the bottom)
Gli Stati Uniti hanno un nuovo presidente.
Durante la campagna elettorale americana, sono stato in vacanza in Italia. Amici e parenti mi hanno chiesto per chi avrei votato. La mia risposta è che da cattolico praticante sarebbe stato per me impossibile votare per Hillary Clinton. E quasi tutti sono rimasti sorpresi. Ho...
I have not been able to publish on this website since last year, but I am ready to try again and what a better opportunity than Christmas time! Recently France banned the TV advertisement of happy children with down syndrome considering it inappropriate (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/french-court-bans-tv-ad-showing-happy-kids-with-down-syndrome-58702/).
So, to answer such a ridiculous claim, I hope you will take 5 minutes to watch this beautiful rendering of Hallelujah by the Killard House School in Northern Ireland (a co-educational Controlled School providing for children and young people with additional special educational needs. These include Moderate Learning Difficulties, Speech and Language Difficulties and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.)
And if you have two more minutes, enjoy this Christmas reflection that a friend of mine recently wrote. Merry Christmas!
The reality of God is so much beyond our ability to perceive, but is inviting, and phantasmagorica...
At times, I have felt discontent and upset during the last few days. The main reason has been the inability to accomplish all that I have wanted to. My desire for efficiency and results is often unrealistic, but I am working on it. My wife Norine perceived it and made sure to sit next to me at church on Sunday. I love when she does that. After 18 years of marriage it still makes me feel special and appreciated “in good and bad times”. During the homily, she reached out for my hand and then held it for a good part of Mass. I understood then that it wasn’t just her hand, but the Holy Spirit speaking to me and Christmas just made more sense! We know that Christmas is about receiving Jesus and rejoicing for the unfathomable gift of a God that decided to become man to show us the way to heaven.
But how do we “practically” receive Jesus beside in the sacraments?
It’s not anything new and it is actually very simple, because to receive Him is to recognize Him in...
I feel compelled to respond to today's very sad Daily News headline "God isn't fixing this" following yet another American shooting rampage. The front page of the article hints that Republican politicians have a (simple) solution in their hands by forcing stricter gun laws. Do the authors of the article truly believe that, or are they just exploiting the situation for a political motive? No, I do not own a gun or aspire to purchase one, but…..
Laws will never fix hate and despair. Only love will. God is love and God is not dead, but unless we let Him enter into our hearts and spill out its love toward others, tragedies, shootings and murders will continue to happen. How can we still be so blind? We just need to watch 10 minutes of news discussing with excessive dramatization the latest bombings, famines and wars to realize that the world is falling apart and stricter laws are not the answer. If it is not enough, visit a RedBox kiosk or the YouTube movie page and compare the percent...
There is controversy and confusion about what it means to and how we should help the poor, especially those in developing countries. While I don’t want to oversimplify the discussion, the secular approach is based on the conviction that providing food, clean water, education and access to medical care and contraception will eliminate poverty and solve most of the world's problems. This proposition is, at best, incomplete. But unfortunately even some Catholic organizations, at times, fall into this trap. If we look at suicide levels, use of antidepressants, divorce rates, substance abuse and violence to others, just to mention a few, we realize that the so called developed nations are in no better shape and maybe even worse than “developing countries”. Blessed Mother Teresa once said that she had never seen so much poverty as when she visited the United States. She referred, of course, to spiritual and emotional poverty. No matter where they live, the deeper longings of all human being...
Growing up in a Catholic school run by nuns, the months of May and October were always dedicated to Mary. Our teachers distributed rosary coloring sheets and we could color one for every rosary we recited. The students who prayed the most rosaries at the end of the month would receive a prize. So, most nights I would walk to a small outdoor grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes built in my neighborhood after WWII. (http://www.borgotrentoverona.org/index.php?module=content&func=view&pid=144). There I would pray the nightly rosary with a few older ladies. Sometimes, I would get to the grotto 15 minutes early, so I could rush through another 5 decades before everybody showed up, allowing me to color two coloring sheets. I don't remember if I ever won a prize, but I know I got bored and distracted.
I think it is safe to say that most Catholics under the age of 70 find the Rosary boring, too long or even a needlessly repetitive prayer that is hard to understand....
A post on Facebook prompted me to change what I intended to write today.
It is a poem by an Indian blogger, Jameel Ahmed Mohammed, which has gone viral.
It says: "It is not Paris we should pray for. It is the world. It is a world, in which Beirut, reeling from Bombings two days before Paris, is not covered in the press media [...] Pray for the world that blames a refugee crisis for a terrorist attack. [...] For a world that is falling apart in all corners, and not simply in the towers and cafes we find so similar.". You can read it here in its entirety.
The is so much that is broken, but we can be part of the solution, by trying "to do small things with great love" (Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata)
There are others we need to pray for:
"The thousands of unborn children that are threatened every day by abortion and for their desperate mothers;
those who see their children dying in their arms because they do not have food to feed them, while western supermarkets and restaurants thr...
I pondered about what to write in my first post, but what could be more appropriate than today's Gospel reading? In Luke 17:11-17, Jesus meets ten lepers. They plead him to cure them and, when He does, only one (a Samaritan) comes back to thank our Lord for his miracle. Where did the other nine go? Where they too excited and forgot to say thank you because they wanted to go back to hug their families after living for so much time in isolation? Or were they actually ungrateful people, who received what they wanted and just moved on to their now restored normal life?
I feel entitled at times, I complain about what is not right in my life and when the situation changes, I immediately forget about it and move on to the next worry or concern. Instead, I need to be grateful every day for the gift of life, even with its difficulties, for the sun shining and the cold air on a snowy morning like today, for children's silly questions and for the gift of the Eucharist, G...