New Commercial in Production: “Heavy Burdens”

Dear Friend of CatholicsComeHome.org,

Catholics Come Home® is blessed to announce another new evangomercial and a family coming home story!

Catholics Come Home® announces production of a new evangomercial: “Heavy Burdens”!
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “The New Evangelization begins in the Confessional.” Taking that to heart, Catholics Come Home® is in production of a new website dedicated to Confession and will start production on a new evangomercial called “Heavy Burdens” this November, to be released on Ash Wednesday. Please keep our production process in your prayers! This effort is also inspired by our dear friend Jeff V. Jeff, who was diagnosed a short time ago with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), was given 2-5 years to live. He is spending the last years of his earthly life drawing near to God, frequenting the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist, and spending time with and providing for his family. We hope you too are inspired by a short clip from his recent interview with me.

Please help us fund our “Heavy Burdens” commercial!

Mary and her family return home with the help of Catholics Come Home®!
Please take a moment to read this powerful and beautiful story, sent to us by our new friend Mary from Trenton, New Jersey:

Mary_AB_family.1Our family—my husband, my three teenaged sons and I—has heard the call of Catholics Come Home and we have received this invitation. I was not raised as a Catholic as my husband had been, but became a Catholic just prior to our wedding. It was wonderful to belong and worship the Lord but I was new in my Christian faith, had much to learn and felt the draw to seek church experiences elsewhere. Just before my third son was born, we began to move away from the Catholic Church where we were married and where our first two sons were baptized. We spent some time visiting various churches, but no matter how long or in what manner of worship we tried, we just weren’t home. I had felt God leading me back to the Catholic Church but didn’t know where to begin. Our church traveling lasted for fifteen years.

I prayed for guidance and turned in faith to the Catholic School of our home parish. They welcomed us with open arms and this was the beginning of our return.

It was just a few months ago that the “Catholics Come Home” campaign had begun to catch my attention. The website was intriguing and had enough information to encourage me to visit often. I especially loved to watch the Evangomercials. I was a born-again Evangelical Christian who had finally realized that the Catholic Church was my home; it is vibrant, relevant and deeply steeped in Christian tradition. The journeys I had made through the other denominations were nice places to visit, but I couldn’t manage to make them a permanent home. The website, book (Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life) and Facebook page “Catholics Come Home” have been instrumental in guiding me back, in guiding my family back.

As I have made my full circle journey back home to the Catholic Church I now find that my love for the LordMary AB Solo is complete. The Bible tells us to” Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” and seeking has brought me back to the Catholic Church and my family with me. We are no longer searching for spiritual fulfillment but have found our hope, our comfort and our faith in the Catholic Church once again.

Returning was easy, I walked into the rectory office, explained that we were moved by the “Catholics Come Home” campaign and would like to return. To my surprise there was no questioning, no condemnation or accusations, there was simply…welcome back. You can go home again and it is my heartfelt desire for people to come to know Jesus Christ and His Gospel, to place their faith in Jesus and experience Him through the Catholic Church. Thank you for the invitation; this Catholic has come home.

GK Chesterton once said, “The difficulty in explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” Let us continue to pray that more souls like Mary and her family will rediscover the goodness, beauty, and truth of Catholicism. With your help, we can continue airing Catholics Come Home® evangomercialsTM, particularly our newest “Heavy Burdens” ad, which will help souls all over our country find the peace and healing that only comes from God!

As always, we thank you for your continued support of our mission to invite Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church.

Reasons People Avoid Confession by Lorraine Murray

Published: June 7, 2012 in The Georgia Bulletin

A priest once mentioned that the loneliest time of his week was Saturday afternoon when he sat in the confessional waiting for parishioners to show up. Although his comment was humorous, it points to a real problem. And here are some reasons many of us avoid this sacrament:

1. We may be afraid of looking foolish because we haven’t been to confession in a long time—and are uncertain about what to do. If you fall into this category, you can ask your confessor to guide you—or check this website for a refresher: www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php.

2. We may have bought into the notion that we can confess our wrongdoings directly to God—and thus don’t need this sacrament. This belief goes against Catholic teaching, however, and it is not scriptural. Christ instituted the sacrament of reconciliation when he said to his apostles, the forerunners of today’s priests and bishops: “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

3. We’re uncertain about what to confess. One solution is getting a good examination-of-conscience guide to help us discern our sins. Many parishes provide these guides in the narthex, or you can ask a priest or deacon to suggest one. An excellent one for teens can be purchased at the Life Teen website: http://store.lifeteen.com/comeclean.aspx. A good examination of conscience for adults can be found online following my column at the Georgia Bulletin website.

4. We are embarrassed to mention our sins to another person. This is a common feeling because it is hard to admit our failures out loud. Praying ahead of time for the grace to be honest and courageous will help. It also helps to realize that the priest acts in persona Christi, which means that he is standing in for Jesus Christ, who knows our hearts so well.

5. Many people have been taught there is no need to confess venial sins, and they have not committed any mortal sins—so they don’t go to confession. However, according to the catechism, confession of venial sins is strongly recommended, since it helps us fight against evil tendencies.

6. Perhaps we struggle with the same sins over and over, and we are ashamed to admit this. It is true that part of a good confession is promising to avoid sins in the future—but we may fall short of the mark. Confession reminds us that God’s well of forgiveness is infinitely large.

7. We may need more than just a few minutes because we require spiritual counseling about our sins. In this case, it is best to make an appointment to see the priest in his office.

8. We are afraid of shocking the priest. Keep in mind many priests have heard thousands of confessions over the years. They surely won’t be astonished by what we confess. In fact, most priests are overjoyed that people are coming to confession, and they are eager to offer absolution.

9. We may be hesitant to tell our sins to someone we also socialize with at church suppers. The confessional has a privacy screen, but if this isn’t reassurance enough, you can always confess to a priest at another parish. Keep in mind that priests will never divulge to anyone what you have confessed.

10. We may be afraid the priest will ask us to make changes in our lives. For example, a confessor may tell a couple engaging in pre-marital sex that this is a mortal sin, or tell a married couple that using contraception is a mortal sin. It is hard to face the truth about ourselves and often it is difficult to change. But if we avoid doing this, our souls are in grave danger.

National Catholic Register: Converts Come to the Church Like St. Paul

CULTURE OF LIFE
Converts Come to the Church Like St. Paul

Answers to: ‘What Helped Your Conversion?’
BY Jim Graves
June 16-29, 2013 Issue | Posted 6/10/13 at 5:08 PM

June 29 is the feast day of one of the Church’s most famous converts — St. Paul — who went from being the Christians’ greatest foe to a pillar of the nascent Church.

Every Catholic has a family member or friend who is far from the Church, and it is often difficult to know what the right thing is to say or do to lead them in the right direction.

As the Church celebrates St. Paul’s feast day (also the feast of St. Peter, the first pope), the Register asked notable converts, “What was most helpful to you on your road to conversion?”

Many have been aided in their entry or return to the Catholic Church through the efforts of Tom Peterson, a former advertising executive who founded Catholics Come Home (CatholicsComeHome.org). Headquartered in Atlanta, the organization produces inspirational television commercials that reach out to those not practicing the faith. Peterson also operates a pro-life website, VirtueMedia.org, and a website in support of priests, EncouragePriests.org.

Although not technically a convert, Peterson went from being a nominal Catholic to a zealous one. As he recalled, “I’d be there physically at Mass, but I didn’t follow the teachings of the Church.”

What called him to conversion, he said, were “people who spoke a common language with me and treated me with love and compassion.”

When an opportunity arises to talk about your faith, “keep it simple,” he urged.

He also believes in connecting on a personal level with a potential convert: “When people showed they cared about me, listening to my questions and needs, they drew me in. I wanted to be more like them, and ultimately more like Christ.”

Peterson also suggests inviting potential converts on a retreat, as a retreat played a significant role in his conversion. “Offer to go with them, as having a mentor and guide can help a great deal.”

Deacon Joe Calvert of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., once dabbled in Eastern religions and was an ardent anti-Catholic.

Being an avid reader and a “truth seeker,” however, Deacon Calvert studied Catholic teaching, including the new Catechism of the Catholic Church when it came out in 1992.

“I was looking to poke holes in the logic, but I couldn’t find any,” he said. “I did not rejoice as I finished the Catechism. If this book were true, then I would have to admit that I had been wrong about many things.”

He entered the Catholic Church in 1995 and was ordained a deacon in 2008.

In conjunction with his studies, what was helpful to Deacon Calvert on his journey to the Church was the example some Catholics provided him.

However, a hindrance to his entry into the Church was the widespread ignorance among other Catholics he knew about the basics of the faith: “I’d ask them questions, but so few knew why they believed what they did.”

When evangelizing others, he recommends patience: “When you evangelize, remember you’re working on God’s time, not yours. We don’t know what’s going on inside someone; often, when they’re most obstinate, they’re just about ready to convert. Pray, trust in God, and put it into the hands of the Blessed Mother.”

Matthew Arnold heads the Catholic apostolate Pro Multis Media (MatthewArnold.org) and is host of the Radio Maria program Shield of Faith (RadioMaria.us/shieldoffaith). A dedicated evangelist today, he was once agnostic and interested in the New Age.

He attributes his conversion to the prayers of others, particularly his Catholic wife, Betty, but he also points to some other positive influences. He attended a Catholic Engaged Encounter so that he could marry in the Catholic Church, for example, “which, although I grumbled about it at the time, it demonstrated to me that the Church saw marriage as something serious.”

He agreed to raise their children Catholic, although he had no intention of converting himself. He took RCIA classes, however, and was impressed by the witness of a priest who taught them, Father Benjamin Fama, who would make “provocative” assertions, such as about Church teaching on apostolic succession, and then say, “Don’t complain to me if you don’t like it. I’m just the messenger.”

Arnold reflected on “Jesus giving the keys to Peter” and recalls going to dinner one night and “having this mental image of a long line of popes, from Peter to [at the time] Pope John Paul II.” That helped him come to understand and accept the teaching.

His advice for evangelizing potential converts is what he terms “the three Bs”: 1) Be bold; 2) Be brief, realizing you can’t explain the whole Catholic faith in a few minutes; and 3) Be biblical when speaking with non-Catholic Christians, as they’ll be impressed with Catholics who know their faith and Scripture.

In all circumstances, reflect a fourth “B”: Be Catholic all the time.

“Make the Sign of the Cross and say grace before meals, for example, whether you’re at home or at McDonald’s,” he said. “As a non-Catholic, when I met Catholics who really lived their faith, it was very compelling.”

Richard Lane is a former Lutheran who entered the Catholic Church in 2003. Today, he operates a full-time Catholic apostolate, Qorban Ministries (Qorban.net).

For Lane, it was a caring attitude among Catholics he met that first attracted him to the Church. As a non-Catholic, he attended Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Oakland, Calif., and recalled it as “one of the most loving and welcoming parishes I have ever been in.”

He later accepted the invitation of a fellow Catholic to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Lane is excited that his apostolate has been an effective tool in leading many to a “deeper relationship with Christ.”

He encourages his fellow Catholics to learn their faith and then “approach people in love and without fear. Do not approach them with an accusatory tone; approach in love and respect. Go and make disciples, and preach the Gospel boldly!”

Dave Armstrong is a Catholic author and apologist who once worked as a Protestant campus missionary. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1991. He is the author of numerous books and operates a website, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism (BiblicalCatholic.com).

Armstrong first took notice of the Catholic Church regarding the issue of artificial contraception. He was “shocked” to learn that no Christian group had accepted its use before 1930. “I immediately grasped the absurdity of a scenario where the entire Christian Church had been completely wrong all those centuries, and, all of a sudden, we get this revelation in 1930 — in our supposedly ‘enlightened’ and ‘progressive’ age — that contraception is okay.”

He also took notice that the Catholic Church was the only Christian denomination that did not reverse its teaching.

Discovering Cardinal John Henry Newman’s “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine,” he recalled, “did me in.”

Unfortunately, he knew only one Catholic at the time, which is “striking and sad.”

The “Catholic apologetic revival and strong presence on the Internet” have improved things for potential converts today, he added.

Regarding evangelizing others, he suggested, “Be gentle; don’t push. Wait for the other person to bring things up. Be a witness by your life and demeanor. Look for common ground, as St. Paul did on Mars Hill in Athens.”

Above all, he said, “The Holy Spirit is what converts souls, not us. We simply remove roadblocks.”

Jim Graves writes from

Newport Beach, California.

News Story: People returning to Confession because of Pope

“In Latin America, during Holy Week many people who hadn’t confessed for many years” returned to the sacrament because of things they had heard Pope Francis say…

“Many young people, men and women in these church groups have not only rediscovered the faith they lost along the way or a faith that had become sterile and indifferent, but they have undergone a real conversion of their lives,” Archbishop Fisichella said.

Read more here!

Have you been away from the Sacrament of Confession for a while? Learn more and come home!

Families Need Mass: New Commercial from CCH!

Catholics Come Home® is excited to announce a new evangomercial! Additionally, during this month of May when we celebrate Our Lady, we reflect on all of the ways she has guided us with her motherly love during the month of April with a great month for coverage for CCH in the news.

Catholics Come Home® announces a new evangomercial: “Families Need Mass”!
Please take a moment to view our new evangomercialTM with the powerful message that families need Mass to reach their fullest potential. Our culture needs to hear this truth! Please share this commercial with your networks through email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and your other social networks. With your help, we can have more stories like Mary’s: “Our family has returned to the Catholic Church as a result of Catholics Come Home. Thank you for providing such a wonderful evangelical tool.” Praise God!

NBC TV and ABC News Radio feature Catholics Come Home®!
The momentum keeps building for Catholics Come Home® in the news! We were recently featured in an NBC news story, subtitled “Lapsed Catholics lured back by Pope Francis” (which also appeared on the home page of MSN.com) and on ABC News Talk Radio

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Fathers for Good, an initiative of the Knights of Columbus, also focused on Catholics Come Home® in the article, “Home is where the faith is: Catholics Come Home® has reached millions with a simple invitation.”

Catholics Come Home® is highlighted in a British Newspaper!
Check out the engaging article about Catholics Come Home® featured in the British newspaper, The Catholic Herald. God-willing, we will see evangomercialsTM airing overseas in the near future!

St. Edith Stein once said, “The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.” Let us continue to work together to be a light to our nation, a beacon of hope for our culture, through our ongoing invitation to souls to come home to Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. Please help us fund the airing of our new Families Need Mass evangomercial, so we can bring a renewal of peace in our homes and a refocus on God as the center of family life!

Great books for families!

Check out these two wonderful books, perfect for building up your family and enriching your own life and reading:

Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families by Patti Armstrong and Theresa Thomas, to be released this Spring!

Big Hearted gives you an inside look into the triumphs, struggles, joys and sorrows of ordinary families with generous hearts. It invites you to witness extraordinary love in ordinary moments like the simple cooking of a meal or the hug between a teenaged brother and his baby sister. Just like your family, these families experience pain, setbacks, and challenges. And just like your family, they also experience love and immeasurable blessing through their commitment and care for each other. In this book, you will learn the story of: ? A father of seven healthy boys who struggled to love his Down syndrome baby girl ? A mother of twelve who learned an important lesson about Christmas from her children ? A special relationship between a teenaged brother and his infant sister ? Two grandparents in their final days who inspired their grandchildren in simple ways ? Two orphan children from Kenya who prayed for adoption by an American family and got what they asked for! It has been said that God cannot be outdone in generosity. The stories in these pages will show you how big hearted families experience this truth in a myriad of ways, sometimes miraculously.

Dear God, I Don’t Get It by Patti Armstrong, available now!

“Dear God, I don’t get it!” is the perfect story for 3rd through 6th grade Catholic kids and classrooms with excellent writing, vocabulary and thinking activities incorporated at the end of the book. It combines a great story with age-appropriate apologetics and is endorsed by best-selling authors Emily and Jeff Cavins as well as Bishop Zipfel. Mary Kochan, Senior Editor of Catholic Exchange and homeschooler endorses “Dear God, I don’t get it!” and explains, “Sixth-grader, Aaron Ajax is happily comfortable, with not much more than the annoyances of a little brother to disturb him and he takes his friendship with God for granted. When a sudden change in family circumstances uproots him from the home and friends he has known his whole life, Aaron wonders what has happened to his relationship with God. Through this true-to-life story we follow the journey of a young boy coming to grips with a lesson we all need – that real friendship with God means God is in charge.”

Pope Francis Likes CCH!

Dear Friend of CatholicsComeHome.org,

The excitement of the Easter season continues here at Catholics Come Home® as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, our beloved Pope Francis, a momentous month for our apostolate in the national spotlight, and the extraordinary plan God has for all of our lives!

Pope Francis knows about Catholics Come Home®!
In the March 17, 2013 issue of Catholic New World (Chicago), Monica Mavric, a judge in the archdiocesan Tribunal recalls her first visit with Pope Francis, when he was a Cardinal in Argentina. During that visit, “Chicago was in the midst of Catholics Come Home, a campaign using advertisements to encourage non-practicing Catholics to return to church. Mavric took Catholics Come Home materials to share with then-Cardinal Bergoglio. He was very happy to have it, she said.”

Catholics Come Home® makes a splash on International TV News and on mainstream National TV during Lent and Holy Week!
We couldn’t be more fired up about the incredible results of our Epic campaign during The Bible on History Channel. According to the producers of The Bible, the series reached more than 100 million viewers during its airing from Lent to Easter Sunday. It’s exciting to think that all of those viewers were reached with the message to “come home to Jesus and His Church,” thanks to your generous support! Catholics Come Home® received an outpouring of emails and social media feedback from both practicing and fallen-away Catholics, as well as non-Catholics during the campaign. Amazingly, our website received 15,000 visitors at once at 10pm EDT on Sunday March 3rd and CatholicsComeHome.org received more than 75,000 visits during the month that our EPIC evangomercialTM was airing! One thing is clear after this campaign: we need to do more niche campaigns like the History Channel Bible Miniseries and our ESPN Coach Lou Holtz campaigns, to invite more souls home. These targeted niche campaigns are effective and cost efficient!

Multiple Good Friday national news stories about Catholics Come Home®!
The spotlight on Catholics Come Home® and the Church continued on Good Friday, with FOX News featuring me our apostolate in three stories throughout the day, commenting on the resurrecting effect Pope Francis is having on the Catholic Church. Since you probably weren’t watching TV on Good Friday, here are some clips from the stories that day, appearing in America’s Newsroom, Fox Report with Shepard Smith, and Special Report with Bret Baier.

Also on Good Friday, Catholics Come Home® was featured in a prominent article in the National Review online. In it, I refute errors about Catholicism, and explain how to invite more souls home to Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church.

Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life is now in airport bookstores!
We recently received the great news that my new book, Catholics Come Home:God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life is now prominently displayed among bestsellers on bookshelves in the Atlanta and all the NYC area airports! Click to watch this new promo video for the book, and please share on Facebook and Twitter, so more people can read and benefit from the Good News that God has a unique and extraordinary plan for everyone!

A Coming Home Story…from Facebook!
Several weeks ago, a young woman and mother of two visited our Facebook page, asking questions about the Catholic Church. She wondered about how to recover from feelings of frustration over scandal in the Church, the Church’s teachings on various ‘controversial’ topics, how to forgive Catholics who hurt her in the past, and more. Sometimes her posts with harsh remarks had to be deleted. She seemed convinced that she would never return home. Nonetheless, Katie Peterson Warner, our Director of Communications and Evangelization, continued to dialogue with her online, lovingly and patiently inviting her to open her heart again to the Catholic Church. After much prayer and digital conversation, we received a message from her on Good Friday, during the hours of Divine Mercy, saying, “I want to thank the invisible person who answered my questions and helped re-open my heart. I went back home today and will be there till the day I die. Thank you and God Bless you…for this Catholic has come home and it feels so good.” God could not have given us a greater gift on such a holy day! Please keep this young woman and her family in your prayers as they return home to the practice of the Catholic Faith, thanks to the workings of the Holy Spirit in her heart and missionary evangelization using Facebook! Can you believe it?!

Your generous spiritual and financial support continue to impact many souls, some of whom you may never meet here on earth. What a great reward awaits us who continue to spread God’s Word to the spiritually poor. Please help us continue this vital work so the Holy Spirit can bring more growth to the evangelization mission of Catholics Come Home®!

As always, we thank you for your continued support of our mission to invite Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church.

The Meaning of Marriage

A Reflection by Damien J. O’Connor, Office for Pastoral Services, Diocese of Bridgeport

I remember when I was a high school morality teacher, I used to show a video by National Geographic entitled, Lions in the Darkness. I’m sure that most of my students questioned my sanity for showing it to them. Nevertheless they watched the video intently. The scenes simply documented the daily habits of the lions and lionesses. The scenes revealed them copulating, hunting/eating, sleeping together, killing the weak and a total disregard for the greater good of the animal kingdom. It was simply in their nature and their DNA to act this way. This was their normal state. The question I presented to my classes was quite simple, “How are human beings any different in today’s society than the lions?” Now these were fairly intelligent adolescents yet they all struggled with this question. Some simply could not make a distinction between the lions and humans while others, rightfully so, were offended by the implication I was making about them (as part of society) through my question. Thank God for the students that were offended!

The recent debate over same-sex marriage has gained national attention in the United States and rightfully so. The institution of marriage or more appropriately, the Sacrament of marriage has been reduced to a simplistic list of qualities a couple should have if they meet the criteria for marriage as understood by mainstream society. The currant language that seems to qualify a couple for marriage is:
• I/We love each other
• I/We make each other happy
• I/We enjoy intercourse together
• I/We would die for each other

There is a subtle yet dangerous dynamic that occurs in every aspect of mainstream society called Normalization. Simply put, the more we are exposed to something, the more normal it becomes and ultimately accepted. Rarely do we see qualitative or quantitative studies to substantiate that which we now consider normal even if it had always been considered abnormal or even evil in nature. Rarely do we see studies that evaluate what benefits the greater good of society, consult teachings from scripture or even basic common sense and human nature. Nevertheless normalization is all around us and it is often evil.

It has become “normal” and expected to be politically correct and yet no one can provide a credible source through which politically correct or incorrect language and behavior is elucidated. Beyond inclusive language that in many cases seems reasonable, political correctness is nothing more than an overwhelmingly persuasive way of thinking that is based in fear. Due to normalization we now live in a very strange reality: we self-censor ourselves. We are afraid to say anything, so we say nothing. This is not of God and most certainly not Christian. Society and I would dare say most politicians, do not want Catholics to think, use logic, common sense and most certainly live our faith through a radical missionary spirit: which is exactly what we are called to do through our baptism.

The marriage debate regarding same-sex couples offends me deeply not because I am anti homosexuals but because the Sacrament of Marriage is immeasurably more than how it is defined by most in society and is most certainly more than a catchy one-liner on Facebook or 120 characters on twitter. Furthermore, and to be fair, if I was in a homosexual relationship and perceived the way in which marriage is predominantly exemplified in society, it would seem only fair that same sex couples qualify for the same rights. That is precisely my point. I have never understood it as a right but as a vocation.

I knew as a young adult that I was meant to give myself to God in some way as we all are. I had grown up around priests and they deeply influenced my faith development. I witnessed the profound graces of their vocation as I observed them live their faith. I also knew them as human beings, who like me, could be Christ to others or falter and need God’s mercy through the sacrament of confession. Needless to say, I was naturally drawn to the priesthood but wasn’t sure if that was what God was calling me to. I began praying daily that God would show me my vocation, because we all have one. I knew that true joy could only be achieved by fully giving of myself to God and not taking or desiring that which others had. I spent over a year praying daily that I may grow closer to God and that when my vocation became clear, I would first be completely grounded in our Lord.

Then I was given the greatest gift of my life, my wife Monica. Far more important than our nascent physical attraction, love for each other and friendship, God called us to be together. The way in which we live our marriage is a Sign of the Sacrament of Marriage. Our vocation is to be a living Sign of God’s love to all those we encounter, most especially our children, who through the miracle of their birth, consummated our Holy vocation. Although we fail at this often, that is our constant calling and what we have given our lives for. I simply do not understand marriage outside of these parameters. Our marriage (as all marriages) is meant to be a gift to the world and ultimately God, and not a gift that I deserve or qualify for. I deserve it no more than I deserve life itself.
Since Adam and Eve the world has understood marriage and the family as the basis of a civilized society. It has always been the primary source for education, faith development, morals, dignity, self-worth, sacrifice and the stewardship of God’s most precious gift, children.

From the beginning of time there was nothing more natural or understood than the structure of a family being a man, woman and children. It is shockingly narcissistic and naïve to think that suddenly now, we the current (and temporary) stewards of the earth, have come to some sort of unfounded evolution of thought and behavior that contradicts a previously universal truth that has existed since the creation of the world.

Society needs a “new normal” regarding marriage. It is paramount that sacramentally married couples boldly live their vocations and be a very visible Sign in mainstream society. We must all pray publically for vocations to sacramental marriages. When a man and a woman desire marriage, they must understand that their preparation to receive the sacrament, is just as important as the formation prior to joining religious life or ordination to the priesthood. They are giving their lives completely united in God. Canonically, a man and a woman have a right to be married. However, this does not presume that they are automatically predisposed to be Signs of a sacramental marriage. We must have the courage and discipline to prepare these couples with the same fervor, spirit and candor that is applied to men who desire ordination to the priesthood or women who wish to join religious life.

From the beginning of Christianity it has always been through our example that we evangelized the world. I implore sacramentally married couples to live their vocation with a missionary spirit, joyfully in the public square!

Salvation history was changed forever through a family, the Holy Family.

“At a historical moment of severe family fragmentation throughout the Western world, the example of evangelical Catholic families that share joys and burdens, and do so with wit and grace, is one of the most powerful conversion tools available to the Catholic Church.” (George Weigel)