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Avoiding the ‘A-Word' During Lent

When I was a kid, there were a lot of things that confused me about Lent. I understood the basics of why we observed the Lenten season, namely to remember Jesus’ suffering and death, and to spend 40 days in repentance in the same way he did in the desert, but there were a few things I just didn’t get.
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Mercy and the Sacrament of Reconciliation

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40 Days of Lent: Look for Ways to Volunteer

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Happy Feast of Saint Patrick!

Image: Saint Patrick's Day Festival. Dublin, Ireland. Miguel Mendez. Today, parades, shamrocks, and green beer will be all around. Many Americans will proudly proclaim their Irish roots, even if they have none. Despite the popularity of such cultural things, many Catholics know little about Saint Patrick.
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Who Was Saint Patrick?

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick, the patron of Ireland and one of the best-loved saints in the Catholic Church. Sometimes it seems that Patrick can't be separated from the myths about him and the cultural trappings associated with his feast day: the snakes and shamrocks, the green beer, corned beef and cabbage.
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Physical Pain and Moral Suffering

Image: Racorn. In his apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris, St. John Paul II says that “suffering is almost inseparable from man’s earthly existence.” He defines two kinds of suffering: physical suffering and moral suffering. The distinction is based on the double dimension of the human being, the bodily and spiritual elements of humanity.
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Mary: A Portrait of Hope and Faith

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." —Luke 1:38 Think of all that Mary just learned: She will soon be expecting a baby, this child is the long-awaited Messiah who will restore Israel’s kingdom and bring the history of the world to its climactic moment, she will conceive not through natural means but by the Holy Spirit, and the child will be the divine Son of God. 
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Follower of Saint Francis: Rhett Engelking, OFS

Image: Angel Acevedo | unsplash In Saint Francis’ “Canticle of the Sun,” the saint proclaims, “Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth/Who feeds us and rules us . . .” How might Saint Francis view the current state of the environment and people’s relationship with nature?
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Models of Mercy: Saint Joseph

My mother raised my sisters and brothers and me in the Catholic faith. While my dad supported her “nonnegotiable” decision, he wasn’t baptized until just before my seventeenth birthday. That was an extremely moving day for all of us, especially my mother. She had never forced my dad to believe, but she did provide him with an outstanding example of what it means to be a person of faith and service.
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Lent and the Parable of the Rich Man and His Harvest

                            Friar Jim shares his own personal feelings about Lent and explores the parable of the rich man and his harvest. There are 18 parables in the Gospel of Luke. One of the shortest ones contains one of the most powerful messages. It’s about the rich man who had a magnificent harvest. He faced a conundrum: “What shall I do with this fantastic harvest? My barns will never hold all of this since they still have some of last year’s harvest.” His solution makes sense and, in fact, helps him plan for what he anticipates will be big harvests for years to come.
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