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The Chime Travelers Series Arrives!

Lisa M. Hendey, founder and editor of CatholicMom.com, give us a glimpse into her new Chime Travelers books, published by Servant. When the bells chime, get ready for adventure and fun as you join Katie and Patrick on their travels back in time to far-distant lands. The mysterious strangers they meet along the way turn out to be saints of old who become close friends who help our young travelers understand their faith a little better. Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime? Be ready when you hear the bells chime.
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Jean Vanier on St. Francis and the Leper

The following is a excerpt from Jean Vanier's book, The Gospel of John, The Gospel of Relationship, published by Franciscan Media. Francis of Assisi said that he felt repulsed by those who were suffering from leprosy. In the Middle Ages, there were some twenty thousand leprosariums in Europe. He was disgusted; he did not want to be close to them. We can understand that because of the deformed faces of such people and the smell characteristic of the disease. Francis was therefore shocked and afraid and turned away from them.
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Making Good Choices

Fearing that he might not resist the temptations commonly experienced by lawyers, Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1578–1622) became a Capuchin priest, a noted preacher, and a martyr. Each of us will die eventually. “What kind of conscience will I bring to that moment?” should be our main concern. “By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel that had transformed them and made them capable of attaining to the greatest gift of love: the forgiveness of their persecutors,” writes Pope Benedict XVI in Door of Faith, his apostolic letter about the current Year of Faith.
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Our Belief in God

Today we welcome guest blogger Jim Van Vurst, OFM, who writes A Friar's E-spirations. In his lifetime, Jesus’ mission was not about building himself up. He came to love and to save every human being. And he would do that no matter what the cost—even death on the cross. He worked all of his public life to show how much God loved everyone—including those rejected by the religious leaders who were convinced God couldn’t love people who broke the law.
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Guiding Teens Into Christian Maturity

The following is an excerpt from the book What Teens Want You to Know But Won’t Tell You by Roy Petitfils. Teens want and need adults to be grounded in being adults. When your goal is to be liked by young people you risk losing sight of the bigger goal, which is to journey with them into Christian maturity. Secondly, you’ll lose the respect of teens, which is worth a lot more than being liked. The key to effectively reaching them and deepening our relationships with them is not by trying to be their friend, but by being friendly, authentic, and respectful to them while maintaining healthy boundaries as an adult.
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The Face of Innocence

"What's Wrong?" I asked my best friend as she called me crying one day. "Jade is being abused by her boyfriend," she cried. My best friend Sandie and I have been friends practically all of our lives. We are godmothers to each other's children, even witnessing their births. We babysat for each other. We attend each other's family functions, and even run marathons together. We are the next best thing to family. Sandie's 17-year-old daughter, Jade, is her oldest child.
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Love Your Enemies

This blog is taken from the book The Gospels According to Saint Francis, by Hilarion Kistner, OFM. “Love your enemies (Mt 5:44).” That always reminds me of a priest friend of mine, who used to say, “I don’t think we should preach that to our people. Let’s just get people to love their friends; that’s hard enough.” That saying reminds me that we should start where we have our first problem; maybe it’s even loving ourselves. If we really could come in touch with ourselves—not independent of God but because of the good that God is doing in us—and see that God even overcomes the evil that’s in us, maybe we can begin to love ourselves.
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How to Discipline Teens

I once watched a teacher whom I knew didn’t really like teenagers try to discipline a classroom of high school students, telling them she really loved them and cared about them, and that she was doing this for their own good. You should have seen the eyes roll, the smirks, and the looks of disdain the teens had for this teacher! It wasn’t because of the punishment per se but because they knew their teacher didn’t like them.
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Tips for Connecting with Teens

Teenagers are not always the easiest people to connect with. It can be done, though, says Dr. Roy Petitfils. In his book, What Teens Want You to Know (but won't tell you), he offers a few practical tips to parents for “seeing” teens: Be aware of your assumptions. As much as possible begin every interaction with an open mind. This is not easy, but it’s difficult to see the reality of the young person in front of us when our vision is being blurred by our preconceptions and assumptions. Adolescence is a time of rapid change on every level. When I was teaching in the classroom, every day I had a note on my desk that read, “These are not the same kids that were here yesterday; get to know these kids."
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Expanding Our Faith

Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a fourth-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012. Last week, my parish went through a huge change that a lot of other parishes across America have experienced. In an attempt to combat the current shortage of priests, my parish was assigned to form a pastoral region with a neighboring parish. Basically, that means that my parish will now share one pastor with this nearby parish.
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