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Urban Impressions of the Stations of the Cross

Thursday, December 31, 2015

January 31 - The Seventh Day in the Octave of Easter

An Introduction

In today's Gospel, John the Baptist, introduces us to Jesus, the "Word."
He describes Jesus' in relation to his Father and to us. 

Tomorrow is the Rose Bowl, a time for festivities and camaraderie.
One team will win, and one will lose; but both worked hard to have this opportunity and are privileged to participate in it. The experience, not just the outcome, is one to savor. A common expression comes to mind: it's not if you win or lose- but how you play the game. Sportsmanship can be defined as winning or losing gracefully, and can transform adversaries into friends. Common ambitions form communities. There is something meaningful aside from winning.

Sometimes, a fan or a player will display a reference to another verse from the Gospel of John: Jn 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. "
God's love is apparent in today's reading too. " He came to what was his own,but his own people did not accept him." Jn:1:11

But that is not the end of the story; God gives us second chances, numerous chances. Jesus is with God, and is God Jn 1:1, and God is merciful. God wants everyone to win. In the very next verse, we hear " those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,.." Jn:1:12 Children admire parents and enjoy imitating them, because they wish to be like them.

As one year is ending and the next approaching, people often think of what they hope to accomplish. We might seek to transform aspects of ourselves by making resolutions. Resolutions embody our aspirations, and might be summed up in a logo. In Greek, "Word" is λόγος logos. Teams or businesses select a logo to represent their mission what is important to them, which represents their character.

What personal logo are you inspired to chose?

Pope Francis has dedicated this year to mercy- a time to show love to others through our actions. Demonstrating our concern for others might help them to do likewise - so that everyone wins.
Perhaps you might incorporate particular spiritual or corporal works of mercy into your resolutions. 

May your new year be a memorable one,

Reflection by Laura Ross

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 30 - The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

The Secrets of Eternal Life

In this passage (from 1 John), St. John speaks to the followers of Christ reminding them of the reason they are dear to him and why they have a special place. God’s love is extended to all of his children and creatures, but to those who are willing to recognize him as their father and accept his forgiveness he gives the secrets of eternal life.

Today I was troubled by something in life and was blessed with a message that Jesus shares with his disciples in the gospel according to John, chapter 14, verses 1-4:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

In today’s text, St. John is echoing this message and sentiment of the Lord: You are accepting this path of eternal life that I am revealing, and thus you will not perish with the temporal things of this world. As the weight of anxiety to gain or keep the things of this world troubles us, we can take strength in the reassurance of both St. John and Jesus Christ. Even the dearest of worldly things is not meant to last; but, there is an eternal place to which we are headed, and that will never be lost to us. Rather, it is yet to be gained.

With the holiday season upon us, what are some anxieties weighing upon our hearts that we can relinquish with confidence by the strength of these words? Perhaps there are even added anxieties arising due to the nature of the holidays in our culture. Let’s make an extra effort this year to accept this message and focus on what will bring us peace in the wake of our celebration of the birth of he who wishes to save us from all anxiety.

Peace be with you, and Happy New Year!
Reflection by Aaron Keller

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 29 - Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

God is Love

God is love. God's love came to dwell among us through the mystery of the Incarnation in Jesus Christ, which we celebrate during the Christmas season. Joseph and Mary carried God's love forth into the world. When they brought the baby Jesus to be presented in the temple, Simeon encountered Him, recognizing in the humble form of a baby a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for the people of Israel. Luke 2:32. 

May we to live our lives modeled after those of the Holy Family, as ambassadors of God's love, carrying it forth into the world, and sharing it with those we encounter. May our faith and action be united in love, so that we may abide in God's love. 1 John 2:6. Amen.
Reflection by Anon.

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28 - Feast of the Holy Innocents

God’s Light

The feast of the Holy Innocents commemorates the young boys (two years old and younger) of Bethlehem and its vicinity ordered to die by King Herod who was threatened by the news that a new messiah had been born. 

In today’s reading we learn that to walk with God means to walk in the light, for God is all light. When we do not admit our faults and shortcomings, we deny ourselves the redemption that Jesus Christ offers to us. 

Are there contradictions between what you say and what you do? Do you practice being impeccable with your word? How are you bringing in God’s light into your life in these days of Christmas? 

To walk with God is to walk in the light, for God is all light. Be encouraged and remember that we have an advocate to the Father that will atone for all our sins, and those of the whole word. Jesus Christ, the babe persecuted out of Bethlehem by Herod. 

Reflection by Crispina Ojeda-Simmons

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27 - The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph


Family. This word in our society can take on so many different meanings. Two parents, one parent, grandparents, guardians, spouse, etc., with children or childless, can make up a family unit. But the core value of any family unit is love for one another; love that is manifested by support, respect, kindness, patience, etc.

We are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, and so we are part of God’s family. Do we show our love for one another with support, respect, kindness, patience…?

Reflection by Donna C.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 26 - Feast of St. Stephen

Love Your Enemies

The feast of St. Stephen celebrates the first martyr of the Catholic Church. The name Stephen is derived from Greek meaning crown or literally “that which surrounds.” 

In today’s reading, Stephen is described as “filled with grace and power….working great wonders and signs.” He has detractors, who cannot contradict him, whose fury moves them to ultimately attack him violently and to kill him. St. Stephen maintained his focus on the glory of God and Jesus even as his detractors charged upon him. He appealed to God for the forgiveness of those who stoned him as he lay dying. Today’s gospel has Jesus giving a warning to his disciples but also encouragement. 

The disciples should not be afraid to speak for their words would be “the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

St. Stephen’s detractors could not or were unwilling to come to terms with his message.

Have you ever found yourself confronted with a message or information that upset you? Are there people, places or situations that you avoid because they make you uncomfortable? 

St. Stephen commended his spirit to the Lord as he lay dying and forgave those who were killing him.

Do you forgive readily? How have you or could you emulate St. Stephen’s ability to forgive? 

Jesus told his disciples that God the father would work through them.

Do you give God space to work through you? How does God work through you? 

Let us end this reflection with a prayer to St. Stephen:

Lord, we celebrate the entrance of St. Stephen into eternal glory. He died praying for those who killed him. Help us to imitate his goodness and to love our enemies. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Reflection by Crispina Ojeda-Simmons

Friday, December 25, 2015

December 25 - Christmas

The Love and Joy of Christmas

The Love and Joy of Christmas

The Word of God in the readings today overflows with joy.

Chapter 52 of the Book of Isaiah proclaims a great beauty, exulting one who brings good tidings, bears good news, and announces peace and salvation. And it speaks of a shared shout for joy upon witnessing the redeeming works of God. This imagery beautifully anticipates the arrival of Christ, and His works, but the Truth of the Word of God is not passive in nature. By its very being, in calling us to faith, it calls us to action. Again and again, Psalm 98 commands us to join in acting joyfully, even in song, for having seen, with all the world, the triumphant and saving power of God.

All of this was written before Jesus was born, before the authors or their first listeners could know the full meaning towards which the Holy Spirit was guiding them, and all of us. The first chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that their original understanding of the Word of God was incomplete precisely because it is through Jesus, as the Son of God, that God has most fully made himself known.

In the beginning of the Gospel according to John, the very good news is that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but also God himself, who became flesh and made His dwelling among us, even as a newborn child, in order to be with us in a new way. The miraculous hope and salvation offered to the whole of humanity is an act of love, expressed by the perfect love that created all of us, given freely so that we might know that love more personally, and share it more deeply.

Because Jesus is God, He perfectly understood the full meaning of what He was doing when He came among us, and He could not fail to fulfill what He set out to do, so the whole of the love He poured out over the course of His human life--His compassion, His sacrifice, His suffering, His joy--all of this was contained in the moment He became one of us. His birth, though later, was the moment in which that true light, which enlightens everyone, could finally be seen by human eyes.

Since Jesus is also the Word of God, the joy in all of this is not merely a reflection of Him; it is a part of Him. Christmas overflows with joy because it is filled with love. This is true most of all in Jesus, as He shares Himself with each of us. And so too it should be true in each of us, as we share His love and joy with Him, and with each other.

How is love, and the way we share it, transformed by God dwelling among us in the person of Jesus?

How does Christmas present an opportunity to better love and share joy like Christ?

How does this beauty, this transformation, this opportunity, reach across the whole year?

How are all of these qualities, fully realized, at once both universal and deeply personal?

Reflection by John Manley II

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 24 - Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Fidelity, Love and Eternity

Today’s texts have overwhelmed me with the richness of visuals and depth of God’s goodness! Three things are beautifully illuminated: 
  • God’s fidelity
  • Love without measure
  • Eternity

Fidelity is a biggie today. 

All throughout these texts, we are given examples of the LORD’s promises, and —this is key — His constancy of their fulfillment. His absolute greatness is incomparable. Promises matter to God and He is faithful in all things … we can trust EVERYTHING to, in and about Him!

God’s love is literally without measure. 
My vocation as an artist constantly reminds me of this unedited, full-blown love as I work in the studio. He destroys the boundaries established by sin, fear and doubt. He shifts my sight toward Him and all of me is restored … enabling me to share the beauty and love HE IS through my work! Set yourself to serve Him without reservation and His love will completely transform everything.

Finally, eternity … WOW! 

The texts are abundant with how God’s fidelity, greatness, love, and even David’s Kingdom ARE FOREVER! It truly calls us to relinquish our own self-sufficiency and the need to be the creator (instead of being in relationship with The Creator). He makes the way before us … Glory be to Him!


  • What might be some initial steps you’d be willing to take – even just for today — in giving all things to Him if you knew His promises are always fulfilled?
  • In what ways do you put boundaries on God’s creation, blessings and great love? How might you lessen your grip on self-attainment and instead realign with the wonderment of His surprise, His constancy even in unknown?
  • By reflecting on eternity, might you relinquish the efforts by your hands alone, and instead honor God as the true Creator of all that is good and right?
Reflections by Jill McLean

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23 - Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

A Family

The readings and gospels of the Advent season highlight anticipation of and preparation for a brighter future following the birth of our Lord.  Many of these Advent readings also emphasize the importance of families in guiding our values, traditions, and building of our Christian faith.

The Gospel for the fourth Wednesday in Advent highlights the birth and naming of John, the son of Elizabeth, John the Baptist.  The Gospel notes an impression among believers that the ‘hand of God’ plays a role in our lives and in guiding our decisions - in this Gospel story, as seen in the naming of a child outside of the standing tradition to be named after his father.  This Gospel of the Advent season showcases the mutual affection and respect displayed by members of a family for each other and the central role that families play in forming our faith and Christian lives. 

Where do you sense the presence of the 'hand of God' in your life and your family life? 

Reflection by Ken H.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22 - Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

At What Length?

In the reading from the Book of Samuel, Hannah gives her child to Eli for life long service to God. She took her dedication to the Lord to the point of giving her child to him. I wonder if this is how mothers of priests feel.

The Gospel is the Canticle of Mary. Mary agrees to be the Mother of Jesus, giving her life totally to the Lord. Her life was not to be anything like she probably imagined.

At what lengths are we willing to go to dedicate our lives to the Lord? Each day, we are faced with decisions that can lead us toward God or lead us away from him. How will we answer?

Reflection by Donna C.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21 - Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Welcoming Mary and Jesus

When the pregnant St. Elizabeth greeted St. Mary at her home upon the latter’s arrival, which came as a surprise after a long journey for the newly pregnant Mary, the two engaged in an exchange of love and praise. As we learn from the text, this exchange, both in terms of Mary’s motivation to undertake the travel and effort and Elizabeth’s response to her visit was inspired by the Holy Spirit. We also see that from the outset, Elizabeth focuses not on whether or not she is worthy of the visit from Mary and the unborn Lord Jesus in her womb but rather on the greatness of Mary. Moreover, Elizabeth is not only excited for herself but for her child as well, who is blessed by the presence of Mary and Jesus.

To reflect more deeply on this text, we might consider:
  • What are some of the qualities of a saint that Elizabeth displays through this interaction? 
  • Are we as happy as Elizabeth to know that Mary and Jesus care for us and wish to assist us in our times of difficulty? What can we learn from this interaction that may increase our own appreciation of their love and presence in our lives?
Reflection by Aaron Keller

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

A Miraculous, Humble Beginning

In tandem, the three readings ask us to reflect upon the miracle conception and birth of Jesus Christ. From the prophecy of Micah calling forth a new ruler from Bethlehem, to Mary and Elizabeth both immaculately conceiving children, ending with Jesus’ purpose to rid us of sacrifices and offerings to, instead, follow His example. On the fourth Sunday of Advent, the readings require a bit of remembrance and reflection upon the beginnings of Christ, a reaffirmation of faith in his miracle, and belief in God’s power.

Questions for deeper reflection
  • Why is it important for us to move away from offerings to emulating Christ? How is that both more rewarding and more challenging?
  • Why do you think Mary was in such a hurry or “haste” to see Elizabeth?
  • We often think and talk about the importance of Jesus’ crucifixion in our lives, but what role does Mary’s virgin conception play in our lives both as Christians and our daily lives?
Reflection by Gene Mitchell
Participant in RCIA

One Word at a Time - Drink

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 19 - Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Parallel Births

There are lots of areas on which to comment on today’s Daily Reading. What struck me were the similarities. The first Reading and Gospel took place in different centuries. In each, God chose two humble women to each bear a son for His service. Both women were childless and barren. The angel of God appeared to Manoah’s wife and to Elizabeth’s husband Zachariah with a message that they would give birth to a son and the son is to be nazirite for God (consecrated) from the womb. Although they were afraid of the angel, they were obedient. Manoah’s wife gave birth to Samson; and Elizabeth gave birth to John (the Baptist). Samson would begin the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines. (To his detriment, Samson disobeys a vow by cutting his hair.) Both sons went on to do great things for God and His people.

A stranger approaches you, claiming to be an angel of God. This self-proclaimed angel tells you that God wants you to do something. How would you react? Would you trust this person is God’s messenger?

Donna Moy and The Holy Spirit
Donna is also in RCIA and is looking forward to receiving the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil this spring.

Friday, December 18, 2015

December 18 - Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Miracles of Miracles

Our reading today tells the wonderful miracle story of the Annunciation of our LORD Jesus Christ. Joseph, noted as son of David, like Mary shows steadfast obedience to GOD’s direction without waver. Ever aware of his calling from the LORD, Joseph acts in love and duty fulfilling his sacred obligation. Jesus, Emmanuel meaning “God is with us” is the miracle of all miracles; he begins his earthly journey from this point to his passion for our salvation. 

In today’s world miracles still abound. Yet this passage suggests that by choosing Jesus as our savior he “is with us.” It is the most profound, sacred and prized of all miracles. We are a part of the miracle of miracles! With such a gift we are called to pause and give the moment over to God in praise to him by our acts of charity and kindness towards others. This passage seems to be itself a catalyst awakening the thankful heart in us all for the ultimate gift from GOD! Like Joseph we awake each day blessed to the miracle that we are, saved through our obedient faith in the LORD whose birth begins the penultimate sacrifice for all mankind. 

Thanks be to GOD in the HIGHEST! 

In which ways do you repay God for his gifts in your daily life? 

What sacred obligations is our LORD asking you to fulfill during advent? 

Like Joseph, are there miracles waiting to happen around? Have you fallen asleep to God’s request? Won’t you awake to this call?

Reflection by Chris Pope

Technically Christmas

"In my family, Christmas was spent at my uncle's house. Our family arrived on Christmas Eve with presents and food. But we were not allowed to open presents until Christmas Day. My cousins and I then spent the evening eating and hanging out while we waited until after Midnight Mass, which, to our young minds, was technically Christmas Day. So instead of sleeping and wake up the next morning like most people, all the kids would tear open all the presents and stay up for another 3 hours! It was always fun and we all have great memories for each of our Christmases. Even now, our family gets together for the whole day even though we don't have piles of presents to open!"

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17 - Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Belonging to Christ, Listening as Mother Mary Does

In our Gospel today, we see the lineage that we as Christians belong to. Genealogy gives us a sense of belonging to our family tribe. This tribe might be relatives or friends who help us to understand the importance of community. All ethnic groups flock to their Church to find others who have the same belief system they do. We see that there are 14 generations from the Babylonian exile to Christ. This knowledge gives us a sense of belonging to Christ. There are frustrations as well as joys in belonging to family; we all have unique parts to our family and a definition of family that is different from others. This season we have a chance to truly listen as Mother Mary did to Angel Gabriel as he told her she would be the Mother of God. Listen to those who need it the most in our families and offer them our loving concern.

How do people outside the realm of Catholic/Christians feel that sense of belonging to Christ?

What about the gangs in Chicago how can we use their sense of belonging to shift to belonging to Christ?

In our own Church how do we invite other people to belong to our everyday or Sunday Mass?

Reflection by Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Tradition from the Philippines

Fr. Ipzum who writes to us from Iloilo City, Philippines, shares:

"The Traditional Noche Buena here in the Philippines. We do it after attending the Midnight Mass of December 24. This is not just an ordinary gathering for more than the sumptuous food, is a heart-warming reunion of families."

We have a large Filipino population active in our parish. If you have anything to share on how you celebrate Noche Buena, feel free to submit it to the form or comment below!

December 16 - Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent


If we see and hear, we must go tell. John's disciples approached Jesus with genuine questions. Unlike others who tried to question him in order to entrap him, these questions were truly meant to understand who Jesus was. Jesus doesn't directly answer their questions (as is so often the case). Rather these men witness the ministry of Jesus, including many miracles and healings. The story ends with the men being told simply, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard."

We are called to do the same - to go and tell others what we have seen and heard.

Where have you seen God in your life? 

Who is an example for you of a faith-filled disciple? Why is this person a role model for you?

How can you share the love, joy, and mercy of God with those around you today?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Books and Poems from Advent Evening of Reflection

At our recent Advent Evening of reflection there were several books and poems mentioned. Julie Berggren, our presenter kindly provided the full list. We are looking forward to several future evenings of reflection - February 18, March 15, and April 7. We hope that you are able to join us.

Sources from “Waiting with Hope in Advent”
Julie Berggren

Henry Nouwen, Eternal Seasons

“Faith is An Inkling” by Herbert McCabe from God, Christ and Us

“The Woman Whose Husband Was Dying” by Ted Kooser from Splitting an Order

“After Annunciation” by Madeleine L’Engle from Winter Song: Christmas Readings by Madeleine L’Engle & Luci Shaw

“There Was a Time: An Advent Poem” by Fr. Joseph Breigher from Catholic Review

Excerpt from “The Risk of Incarnation—A Christmas Meditation” by Parker Palmer from On Being, December 24, 2014 (

December 15 - Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Openness to Change

Today’s readings ask us to approach our lives with an openness to change. In the reading from Zephaniah, the Lord says, “I will change and purify the lips of the peoples.” In the Gospel, Jesus shares the parable of the two sons, one who initially said no to working in the vineyard when his father asked but then changed his mind and went, and the other son who agreed to work but never did. Jesus explains that the first son did his father’s will because he eventually went to the vineyard, even though it required a change of heart.

God does not ask us to be perfect. Instead, these readings encourage us to move from spiritual complacency to becoming more aware of the areas in ourselves and our lives that are most in need of God’s transformation.

During this notoriously chaotic Christmas season, how are you allowing enough time in the day for God to transform your heart?

In which areas of your life do you need God’s help?

How open are you to the spiritual growth God has intended for you?
Reflection by Annie Syrowski

Monday, December 14, 2015

Officially Registered Holy Door!

Last evening the Holy Door was opened by Archbishop Cupich. We also now have our Holy Door registered on the Year of Mercy website from the Vatican. You can head there to see some pictures of our Cathedral and also explore other Holy Doors from around the world.

It is a great opportunity for a bit of a virtual pilgrimage. 

December 14 - Memorial of St. John of the Cross

Picking a Side

This Gospel annoys me at first. Like most things that annoy me, I quickly realize it is because it hits close to home. I want that straight forward answer from God. I want the neon sign making it easier to have faith, easier to know what I am to do with my life, easier to be a disciple. Yet, I know that I do not always make it clear to others that I have this Catholic faith, that I believe I have a calling in life, that I am trying to live as a disciple. When things are uncomfortable, or I'm just too tired to deal with the issue, or I would rather be a bit selfish it is tempting to hide that faith, that call, that role of disciple. It is tempting to blend passively into the background instead of boldly declaring who I am and Whose I am. 

In today's Gospel Jesus is basically saying we have to pick a side. We have to say what we believe and to live that belief out in our daily lives.

What people and circumstances make it difficult for you to boldly live as a disciple?

What is one way you can more fully live as a disciple today? 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Year of Mercy & the Holy Door

In just a few hours, Archbishop Cupich will open the Holy Door of Holy Name Cathedral. We will join with cathedrals and basilicas all over the world. While the Jubilee Year of Mercy officially began on Tuesday, it will be a bit more noticeable with an increase of information, events, and liturgies.

If you want to start early on learning more about the Year of Mercy, Holy Doors, and other aspects of the Jubilee year here are two sites to try.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has a site with information. 

The Vatican's website will give a more international flare and also keep you up to date on how Pope Francis is celebrating the year. 

In addition, if you are a young adult and would like an incredible way to celebrate the Holy Year, check out the detail on the young adult pilgrimage to Italy. We will have an informational meeting at 6:30 on January 25.

Everyone should stay tuned as more information will be shared as the year goes on and we journey more fully into the experience of God's mercy and the call to offer mercy and compassion to each other.

December 13 - Third Sunday of Advent

We “Rejoice” in the coming of the Lord!

Today, the third Sunday of Advent, also called “Gaudete Sunday,” reminds us to live today and every day with a spirit of joyful rejoicing. Taken from the first word of the opening prayer at Mass, “Gaudete,” Latin for “rejoice,” reminds us of the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, both at the end of the age and in the memorial of the Feast of the Nativity. For the first two weeks of the season our focus has been on reflection, penance and prayerful waiting and preparation as we await Jesus’ second coming at the end the of the age. Today we rejoice that our faith revolves not just around penance and wallowing in our sinfulness, but in the confidence that Jesus our savior has removed the judgement against us. It reminds us that Jesus continually renews us with his love. This sense of rejoicing is symbolized in the change in color of the priest’s vestments from purple to rose and the lighting of the rose-colored candle in the Advent wreath. How do we live rejoicing? In Luke’s Gospel we see the crowds asking John the Baptist the same question and his answer is as practical today as it was then. John tells those who asked the question they should live simply, share their resources and come back to a sense of justice. He impressed this on the Roman soldiers, tax collectors and the people alike. 

How are you especially aware of the poor and vulnerable and do you support them?

How do you practice charity, not just alms giving but addressing the social and political dimensions of poverty?

Reflection by Nick O'Hearn

One Word at a Time - Feed

Each Sunday during this Year of Mercy, we will have a wonderful addition to the site - One Word at a Time.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December 12 - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Declaration of the Kingdom of God

In today’s reading, God, calls on a meek, young woman of faith to take on the greatest mission for humanity. Mary, is frightened and concerned with the magnitude of her mission. However, God, provides her with answers to her questions. It is then, Mary accepts and makes her declaration.
  1. Have you ever had a calling that is challenging and/or frightening?
  2. What did you have to give up or face, to rise up into the calling?
  3. Did the Holy Spirit guide you through the work? Perhaps, through resources, people or clarity.
Reflection by Jaime Gonzalez

Friday, December 11, 2015

December 11 - Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Shake it Off

Taylor Swift’s song “Shake it Off” is a generational anthem about being true to yourself and the happiness that results from doing so. Today’s readings are not at all dissimilar- in both the reading and the Psalm, God lays out his promise of what we are to receive as a result of leading a devoted life. Essentially, what He is promising us is fulfillment. At the time of the Old Testament the primary concern of those reading the scriptures was the continuity of one’s family lineage. For God to say that we would have descendants as numerous as the sand is metaphor for saying that we will find fulfillment and spiritual wealth by following God. This is God’s promise and covenant with us. But like any good promise, it gets more complicated when we go to put it into practice. The day’s Gospel demonstrates this point.

Jesus, when talking about the Pharisees points out the inherent hypocrisy in rejecting John the Baptist for refusing food and drink while at the same time rejecting Jesus as a glutton for eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees are a good foil to demonstrate how the world will treat a religious individual. No matter what you do, someone seeking to take issue with you will take issue with you. Taking these two passages together, it is clear that someone who seeks to follow God cannot worry about perception, but instead have faith in God that the vindication he promises will come to fruition even when doubt is cast on you from external forces. Or in other, more contemporary words, “haters gonna hate, so I’m just gonna shake it off, shake it off.”

Reflection by Nicole Burdette
Nicole is another participant in our RCIA program and is looking forward to joining the Church fully at the Easter Vigil this year.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Christmas Tradition - Thousands of Cookies

Some have wondered what we are looking for in the traditions. To kick things off, here is one in my family. If you would like to submit your own tradition, recipe, song, or other related item, please head to this link.

Ever year, THE Christmas cookies were made in my family. Seemingly thousands of small, round, frosted shortbread cookies were cranked out. They required the whole family to help - they had to be frosted while still warm and decorated before the frosting hardens. After years of doing this we perfected the the assembly line. 

What I love about this memory is that it was a family project. All four of us had our role. I remember we moved in a little family dance with the usual debates of what colors to make the frosting or whether those sprinkles matched that frosting. I remember packaging the cookies onto holiday themed trays and plates, battling holiday colored cellophane. I remember how excited family and friends were when we brought the cookies to parties and potlucks. I remember (often giving thanks) that we always ended up with empty trays with a smiling Santa, Frosty, or a pattern of snowflakes dusted with crumbs and stray sprinkles.

If you're brave and you have some helping hands, below is the recipe for The Christmas cookies in my family. May you frost them quickly and not drop too many bottles of sprinkles on the floor. Thanks to my dad for sending the recipe; he was the one after all who made the dough and frosting each year.

THE Christmas Cookies!

  • 6 cups flour 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 1/4 lb butter at room temperature 
Knead flour, sugar, and butter well. Form into rolls. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate over night. 

Slice into 1/4 inch thick cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 375 for about 10 minutes. Makes about 180 cookies, 1 inch in diameter. 

  • 1 egg white 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar 
Beat egg white until foamy. Add sugar gradually. Beat until smooth and shiny and frosting stands in soft peaks. Frosting will be very hard when it is dry.

Jennifer Delvaux

December 10 - Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Learning from HIM

Loving Father,

Please give us strength to trust in Your Wisdom in the midst of our trials.. Through the meek and humble heart of Your Son JESUS, please enable us to journey toward you, entrusting all our burdens to Your steadfast Love.

How has GOD's Wisdom helped you today?

Reflection for GOD's Glory

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December 9 - Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Love Wins

In Jesus' Parables, what did he teach us about love and compassion?

We understand that whatever situation confronts us that Jesus is willing and able to embrace us and give us peace and rest when our burdens and hearts are heavy. When Jesus walked the earth he healed the blind, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf were able to hear and he preached the gospel to the poor. 

What a marvelous way to show love. LOVE WINS! 

Reflection by Annon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 8 - Immaculate Conception

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the feast days that edges out the Advent readings in honor of the feast.


Our MOM was conceived this day!  Immaculately!!!!  Oh how I love her, adore her, am devoted to her!  When we pray, through her intersession, she offers our prayers to GOD. Divinely skillful, she knows how to make gold of our dross, our impurities.  Our MOM ceaselessly , with grace, covers our weaknesses before the face of GOD.  

Mary Mother of GOD.  Pray for Us!

How has Our MOM cared for you today?

Reflection for GOD's Glory

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7 - Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Faith as a Verb

Today’s scriptures describe faith as action and in action. Using dramatic imagery, the reading from Isaiah tells us what will happen when our Lord comes again – the desert and the parched land will exult, streams will burst forth in the desert, the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the lame will leap like a stag. 

In the Gospel reading, a group of men carry a paralytic man on a stretcher through the crowds so he can be healed by Jesus. After failing to reach Jesus this way, they climb a roof and are able to lower the man directly in front of him so he can be healed. These men exercised great faith not only through prayer, but in the way they took care of each other. 

How can we continue to push ourselves to express our faith through action? On this Feast Day of St. Ambrose, a saint who believed “giving to the poor was not to be considered an act of generosity, but a repayment of resources that God had originally bestowed on everyone equally and that the rich had usurped,” consider sharing your resources or talents with those less fortunate.

Reflection by Annie Syrowski

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December 6 - Second Sunday of Advent


Advent gives me hope. In Advent, I await GOD's Mercy....and when His Mercy comes.....It is a Baby! 

Oh Little Child of Mercy, please have mercy on me, your little child.

Do you smile when you hope in JESUS?

Reflection for GOD's glory

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5 - Saturday of the First Week of Advent

How Do We Respond to Jesus’ call?

In the first reading today, from the Prophet Isaiah, we see how God provides for his chosen people by providing rain for the seed, wheat from the soil and pasture for the flock. We see those promises from the Old Testament fulfilled in the new covenant in the person of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. We see that Jesus was constantly on the move, teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the advent of the Kingdom of his Father, healing the sick and showing compassion for the harassed and depressed people with no direction in their lives, who are like sheep without a shepherd. If we look around us we see that Jesus needs our help today much as he relied on his disciples in the early days of the Church. Every one of us is called to be a “laborer” for the Lord, as Matthew points out in today’s Gospel. And what are we to do? Reach out to our families, neighbors, colleagues at work and anyone who comes into our lives with the God’s message of hope, especially in this season of Advent.

Do you long to see God’s face?

How do you find God in the faces of the distressed we encounter in our daily lives?

How do you see God in the faces of those caught up in the horrible tragedies overseas?

Reflection by Nick O'Hearn

Friday, December 4, 2015

December 4 - Friday of the First Week of Advent


Today's Readings

I'm struck by Jesus’ simple request to keep this miracle (gift of sight) a personal bond, yet the recipients instantly disobey his request. In present times the Benedictine Order adheres to silence as a policy for spiritual advancement in their community. This prevents spiritual pride from creeping and disturbing the personal relationship that Jesus calls us to have. God’s gift of faith saves us (and makes us see); what may help maintain your faith are those unspoken and private moments that belong to God and you alone.

How are you keeping Jesus’ teaching in gratitude for his gifts?

How can you practice the humble gift of listening and silence?

While we have fellowship in public communal prayer such as Mass; how can you strive for the personal relationship that God wants to have with us?

Reflection by Chris Pope
Chris is currently in RCIA and plans to be fully initiated into the Church at the Easter Vigil.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December 3 - Thursday of the First Week of Advent

Giving Up Our Selfish Selves to Show Trust and Mercy to Others 

Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier who served in India as a Jesuit priest. . His missionary work mirrors our own work with our families, our children, our husband/wife, our colleagues. We are called to serve not only with our words but also by what we do everyday. By Francis Xavier’s sacrifice, the giving up of his selfish self, he was free to bear the Gospel message to the place where he worked. Sacrifice is leaving your own needs at times and focusing on the greater good, the good of prayer, the good of helping someone in need, the good of just listening to another. The greatest gift we have to give is our time. Francis gave his to others.

In the scripture of Isaiah, we hear the call to trust in the Lord so His presence becomes more evident to us in all that we are and do and in the responsorial psalm we hear the psalmist giving thanks to the Lord for He is good, his mercy endures forever.

How is our life like the missionary work of St. Francis?

How do we bring the Gospel message to the place where we work?

How do we show the realization that God is good and that His mercy endures forever?

Reflection by Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2 - Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Attention to Others Needs in the Name of Christ 

This is a prayerful Advent reading as we see Jesus attending to the people surrounding Him by making sure they have enough to eat. He and His disciples only have a little to offer. They offer wholeheartedly what they have. We are amazed that the group has something left over.

During this time in our own lives, as host or hostess of meals we attempt to make sure people have enough. We offer them enough in regard to friendship, time, food, drink and other necessities. Their weary selves are grateful, they want to be nourished by the life of Christ as seen in us. As we get ready for His Incarnation, we show the care Christ shows to us by offering us Himself everyday in the Eucharist. Matthew states “They all ate and were satisfied”. 

How are we ‘satisfied’ by Christ’s presence in our lives?

How do we assist others in ‘satisfying’ their need for Christ?

How does the satisfaction of others bring us closer to Christ?

Today, in work, play, prayer, how can we bring others a sense of Christ and the satisfaction He brings to all of us?

Reflection by Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 1 - Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Yearning for Peace

Today’s first reading can make you cry with longing. We are not coming together. We are living in a world of increased fragmentation, new reasons to take a side against fellow human beings, lines being drawn by race, religion, gender, economics and morality. “The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb”. Really? When? It seems like something with little chance of happening. Yet, how many pictures have you seen of baby animals of adversarial natures getting along instead of eating each other, or an older animal caring for the offspring of an enemy species? My ancient dog, who had obviously forgotten why she hated cats welcomed my two little kittens who had not yet learned to fear her, and now never will. Are these tiny animal kingdom visions of Christ’s Second Coming, which will usher in the new creation which Isaiah describes? 

We yearn for peace, but our sinfulness, our selfishness, causes war. How do we break peace? How can we make peace?

Reflection by Barb R.

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30 - Monday of the First Week of Advent

Today is not only the first Monday of Advent, it is also the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Beautiful Feet

As a person without a car for the last two years, the line “How beautiful are the feet that bring the good news!” took aim, fired, blew up my mopey pity party and set me on a new mission.  Driving might give you time to think, but walking everywhere and riding public transportation provides more opportunity for interaction with people outside our circles.  When you are out on the street, it becomes apparent that our culture has become ruder and cruder and is in desperate need of hearing the Good News.  Instead of shrinking from those who disturb my peace or offend with their vulgar speech, should I be trying to find a way to reach out to them in a Christian way that might help change their hearts and launch them on their own path to Christ?  We are all called to introduce the Lord to those who do not know Him, yet I am often afraid.  But Andrew did it.  So can I.  So can you.

Imagine how far Andrew and the other apostles were sent outside of their comfort zones to bring Jesus to the world.  To what new and needy place can your beautiful feet take you?  

Reflection by Barb R.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 29 - First Sunday of Advent

Today we begin our Advent reflections written by parishioners. Some are leaders on commissions, some participate in liturgical ministry roles, and some are individuals going through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) who will be baptized and confirmed at the Easter Vigil.

We hope these brief reflections give you the space to enter a bit more fully into the Advent season, to prepare a bit more on a spiritual level to welcome Christ anew into your life. You can follow the link to the Mass readings for the day.

Preparing for the Coming of Christ

Today, the First Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning of the Church’s Liturgical Year. The word advent comes from the Latin adventus meaning coming. So it is with this, the Season of Advent. The first three of this four-week season is a time for us to await and prepare for Christ’s second coming at the end of time as Luke alludes to in his Gospel passage today. His theme is to be “vigilant at all times and pray that we have the strength” to follow Christ and make an accounting before the Son of Man. The fourth week of Advent has as its focus the upcoming celebration of Christ’s birth.
  1. How do we prepare for Christ’s coming and the celebration of Christmas?
  2. Do we get caught up in the commercialism and forget the real reason we celebrate the season? 
  3. Do we spend quiet time in reflection and prayer?
Reflection by Nick O'Hearn

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Preparing for Christ

Advent is a time when we are reminded of the need to prepare for Christ’s coming. We actually prepare for Christ’s coming in three different times – sounds more like a Back to the Future movie than a liturgical season.

First, we are very familiar with the preparations to commemorate when Christ came to Earth in the historical context. Particularly this year, it is good to remember and honor where our Savior began his earthly journey. The Hispanic tradition of Las Posadas has all the more meaning as we watch news coverage of families seeking shelter, seeking home, seeking salvation.

Second, we prepare for Christ’s return. We do not know when that day or hour may be, so Advent is a time each year we remind ourselves to always be prepared. We are reminded to be aware of our relationship with God, with each other, and with the Church.

Finally, we prepare ourselves each day, every day to welcome Christ more fully into our hearts and lives. Looking to the past, when Jesus came to the world as an innocent child while looking to the future to the day when Christ our King will return, we are challenged to open ourselves more fully to God each and every day. In a world filled with so much fear, hatred, and violence, this call to invite the God of love, compassion, and strength into our hearts, minds, and souls becomes ever more necessary.

May your Advent be challenging and fruitful as you prepare for Christ’s coming in the past, future, and present

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Welcome to Virtual Faith Formation

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20)

At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus commissioned his disciples to a grand mission. We, as baptized Catholics and members of the Cathedral community, are commissioned and given this same task too! We share in this mission. It is for this reason that the Faith Formation Department thought of coming up with a site to invite people to recognize God’s presence in their lives and share this experience with others. Let this site be our simple way of propagating God’s kingdom. We pray that you will find it helpful in your spiritual journey.

We welcome all of you and we continue sharing Christ with everyone!