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Facing Grief During the Holidays

“Make a plan.” That’s what I was told when I asked a friend for some advice about facing the holidays after my husband and daughter were killed in a drunken driving accident. I asked the question because I felt completely lost. It was hard to face any day, let alone a holiday. I had no idea how I would manage a season of joy. Pain and confusion were my reality, not happiness. 
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Don’t Let Family Struggles Get You Down On Thanksgiving

Starting at the end of October, we are often inundated with images of happy, harmonious families gathering around the table to enjoy a huge Thanksgiving feast. The implication is that all families are joyfully united at Thanksgiving because, well, it’s Thanksgiving and everybody’s happy at Thanksgiving. Not true.
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The Saints Are Our Friends

  Who doesn't love the saints? Who among us hasn't reached out to them in times of trouble? Fr. Gary Caster has long-admired the saints. In fact, his favorite is Thérèse of Lisieux. But Fr. Caster warns us not to look at them as switchboard operators conveying our messages to Christ. They are our friends—companions on our faith journeys.  
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Homily Helps: Be Prepared

Exegesis of the Gospel: Mark 13:24-32 Chapter 13 is the most difficult section of Mark’s Gospel, using apocalyptic, symbolic language that usually points to some ensuing catastrophe.
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Family Faith in Action: Dealing with Life's Trials

Read MK 13:24-32 Jesus said to his disciples: "In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. "And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory,
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Why We Pray the Rosary

You've probably heard the expression knock on wood. But what you might not know is that one derivation of this popular saying refers to one of our own Catholic traditions—the recitation of the rosary. The rosary was a physical representation of inner faith, and it was natural to touch it when you were in distress or pain. “Knocking” rosary beads together, people said, was a sure means to get an answer to your prayer!
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The Easiest Prayer Ever

Plenty of people think they don’t pray well. Or that they somehow pray wrong. Or that everyone else has an easier time praying. With this in mind, let me introduce you to a kind of prayer that anyone can do. Whether you’ve been on dozens of retreats or are just beginning to incorporate prayer into your day, the examination of conscience can be a wonderful—and easy—support for your spiritual life.
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We Reflect the Love of Christ

  In our faith journeys, sometimes, like the moon, we reflect the love of Christ. Other times, we feel mired in darkness. But God's love is unconditional and eternal, as Colleen C. Mitchell explains in this week's Franciscan Spirit video.
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Homily Helps: The Poor Widow

Exegesis of the Gospel: Mark 12:38–44 Once again we find Jesus criticizing the scribes, the experts in interpreting the Torah. They were an ancient version of a lawyer. Not all scribes were self-serving as the ones depicted in this passage. Jesus is not condemning all scribes—only the ones who fail to carry out their duties justly and with compassion.
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Family Faith in Action: Small Acts of Greatness

Read MK 12:38-44 In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues,  and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers.  They will receive a very severe condemnation."
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