Safe Environment Training – Upcoming Sessions

safe-environmentWe often get asked “When and where is the next Safe Environment training session?”

With a mind of keeping this information at everyone’s fingertips, we would like to let everyone know the current, complete and always up-to-date schedule for the program can always be found HERE on the Archdiocese website.

Check it out!

 

“The Persecuted Church – Waiting and Hoping for Peace”

by Ed Harpring

During Advent season, most of us in the Western Christian world look with peaceful anticipation to the joy of Christmas. 98edb8e0de3e5f09d3362c2c8d4ae3eeHowever, in many parts of the world, during this Advent season, Christians are being brutally persecuted for their faith, and are forced to secretly celebrate the birth of our Lord, if indeed, they can celebrate at all.

Recently, Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic agency that helps suffering and persecuted faithful worldwide, published a new report on Religious Persecution. The report described the “emergence of a new phenomenon of religiously motivated violence which can be described as Islamist hyper-extremism, a process of heightened radicalization, unprecedented in its violent expression, with the Islamic State (ISIS) the prime example.” The report went on to say that “an extremist creed and a radical system of law; systematic attempts to annihilate or drive out all groups that don’t conform to their outlook, including co-religionists; cruel treatment of victims; use of social media to recruit followers and to intimidate opponents by parading extreme violence.”

The report shows that radical Islamism is expanding rapidly. Terrorist strikes have occurred in one out of five countries around the world, including Switzerland, Australia and 17 African countries.

Christians are not the only people of faith that are persecuted, but they are by far and away the most targeted group. The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians now die every year, targeted because of their faith – that is 11 every hour. The Pew Research Center says that hostility to religion reached a new high in the last few years, when Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 countries, almost three-quarters of the world’s nations.

So what can we do to help?

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, says that we need to speak out at our Churches and with fellow parishioners. Donate to the Knights of Columbus, who have a fund to help Christians threatened or at risk www.kofc.org/en/christianRelief/index.html. The KofC has donated over $11 million to aid persecuted Christians.

Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil in northern Iraq says in a recent CNA article that everyone can pray for the persecuted Church, and be bold enough to raise awareness by contacting your federal representatives.

Pope Francis has been an outspoken advocate of the persecuted Church. He tells us “Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes. It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests. And, tragically, all this is met by the indifference of many. Seek to coordinate your efforts to respond to the humanitarian needs, whether of those who remain in their homelands or of those who have sought refuge in other countries.”

This Advent, as we look inward to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ, let us also look outward to the many victims of persecution and offer our prayers, petitions and alms.

 

“Journey Of Hope” Catholic Divorce Care Program

“Divorce is a detour, not a dead-end.” b07d40d2b19e99fd1f7a110ca9a5bcb4

Do you know someone who is struggling with the pain of divorce? The “Journey of Hope” program is a proven means of providing hope and healing through the teachings and the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

A new 15 week session of the program is beginning on January 12, 2017 at St. Joseph Parish in Bardstown, KY. Meetings will be held in the Maloney Room on Thursdays from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM weekly.

To register, see the weekly topic schedule or for further information, please check out https://www.archlou.org/journeyofhope , email us at family@archlou.org or call Henry at (502) 349-2922.

Even if you might not be able to attend every week for the complete series, please consider coming as your schedule permits – the program is of amazing help either way!

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend – February 11-12, 2017

Marriage Encounter has a way of making sure that marriage is raised to the dignity it deserves.” – Archbishop Joseph Kurtz

968fecba-819d-4675-af62-e8bc212ef037Do you want to make your marriage stronger? Would you like to spend an uninterrupted weekend with your spouse delving deeply into the wonderful commitment you made with each other in marriage?

Worldwide Marriage Encounter is seen as one of the preeminent ways available today of strengthening and enriching marriages . . . no matter how long you have been together!

Please consider joining the Marriage Encounter team as they host our next weekend event on February 10-12, 2017 (just before Valentine’s Day) at the Mount St Francis Center for Spirituality just across the river in New Albany, IN.

In support of this powerful marriage enrichment opportunity, the Family Ministries Office is offering upcoming information sessions about the weekend, where you can come and talk with the team and learn more about just how great Marriage Encounter can be for your marriage!

Please come out and learn more about just how rich your marriage can become!

To register, or for further information, please visit www.wwme.org or contact the Family Ministries office at family@archlou.org.

wwmelogo “This Weekend was the most joyous and most stimulating time of our lives.  We have had the chance to see how each of us needs to be loved and to give love.” – Quote from a couple who made a Marriage Encounter Weekend

“Advent’s Invitation”

by Michelle Herberger

St. Augustine seemed to be voicing a universal truth when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You, O Lord.” Longing is part of the human condition. We are always waiting on that which isn’t yet. For some, it’s a return to health, a reuniting with a loved one, better financial times, a wedding, a baby, the phone call, a Red Ryder Air Rifle BB gun…the list is endless.advents-invitation

As we look around our world, we see much brokenness and fear. It’s as though we’ve forgotten the fulfillment of God’s promise to us. Advent is a time for us to truly reflect on the meaning of Christ’s coming into the world as God’s promise to us. In doing so, we can become keenly aware that we continue to live in the “now and not yet” of the Reign of God.

The Church invites us to really go deeper with our awareness of waiting. In doing so, the question remains for each of us. What am I truly waiting for, longing for at this particular time? Perhaps the longing is for peace in the midst of turmoil, or justice in the face of injustice, or hope in the face of despair. The invitation could possibly be to witness that for which one truly longs. What would it look like to live out of a place of peace and justice and hope? That might be the very invitation of our Advent waiting and longing.

 

“Holiday Depression”

depressionby Martine Bacci-Siegel

The holiday season is a time full of joy, cheer, parties, and family gatherings. However, for many people, it is a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past failures, and anxiety about an uncertain future.

What Causes Holiday Blues?

Many factors can cause the “holiday blues”: stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension. People who do not become depressed may develop other stress responses, such as: headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating, and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience post-holiday let down after January first. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months compounded with the excess fatigue and stress.

Coping with stress and depression during the holidays:

  • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not put entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day) remember it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.
  • Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them.
  • Leave “yesteryear” in the past and look toward the future. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don’t set yourself up in comparing today with the “good ol’ days.”
  • Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some time to help others.
  • Enjoy activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations; going window shopping without buying; making a snowperson with children.
  • Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
  • Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.
  • Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile.
  • Save time for yourself! Recharge your batteries! Let others share responsibility of activities.

Can Environment be a Factor?

Recent studies show that some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which results from fewer hours of sunlight as the days grow shorter during the winter months. Phototherapy, a treatment involving a few hours of exposure to intense light, is effective in relieving depressive symptoms in patients with SAD.

Other studies on the benefits of phototherapy found that exposure to early morning sunlight was effective in relieving seasonal depression. Recent findings, however, suggest that patients respond equally well to phototherapy whether it is scheduled in the early afternoon. This has practical applications for antidepressant treatment since it allows the use of phototherapy in the workplace as well as the home.

 

“What Are We Waiting For?”

baby-carolyneby Deacon Stephen Bowling

What is it about “growing up” that makes time seem to pass by so much faster?

When we were kids, things seemed to take FOREVER.

Just waiting for dad to come home seemed to take an eternity. Nap time seemed to take FOREVER until I finally got permission to read quietly while my two younger sisters slept. The theme music from “Days of Our Lives” still makes me a little sleepy as my Aunt Lucille used to watch it religiously . . .

And now, everything just flies by.

An hour is barely a moment to get something done; a day seems to end shortly after it begins. Your favorite TV show is suddenly in its 4th Season (“The Vikings” on History Channel) and the little girl you used to rock to sleep every night while singing along with John Denver’s “Poems, Prayers and Promises” is suddenly 24 and in her own apartment.

And yet, we still wait.

We wait for the election cycle to end, we wait for the best deals to arrive with the holiday shopping season and we wait for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to fill our schedules with events . . . and hopefully some good cheer too.

Time it seems truly is relative, subjective and elastic. Time is what we make of it; we can have it last FOREVER or have it run by in just a blink. And therein lies one of the lessons set forth for us by the season of Advent.

Waiting is not something to be afraid of . . . waiting is simply a different way of expressing what should be known as the blessed activity of “taking the time.”

Time is indeed a gift to us all, and yes, as we know, it is ultimately finite. Advent reminds us of this in its scripture readings like in Matthew 24:42 with its admonition of “Stay awake! You do not know on which day your Lord will come!”

Time is precious and waiting is indeed a gift. Our task this Advent season is to once more recognize this and appreciate what we have for what it is. Today really is the first day of the rest of our lives; the gift of time is ours to appreciate.

I truly hope that each and every one of you takes the opportunity to appreciate the time which you have been given this holiday season . . . and may God himself be with you during your celebrations!

Being grateful only if prompted by the season or a feeling of obligation of some sort is not what we are called to as Christians. As followers of Jesus Christ and good stewards of everything we have, gratitude is an act of humility and an understanding as to who is truly responsible for what we have . . . someone who, in the end, is not us but God and God alone.

In this wonderful season, it is our duty not just to “do something out of gratitude” or even “try and be grateful” for what it is we have. Our challenge is to examine our innermost selves and make sure we are ALWAYS grateful for EVERYTHING we have, and to have such a belief shine forth in everything we do.

And as we all know, this is easier said than done sometimes . . . fortunately we need not worry.

If we find ourselves falling short of this attitude as part of our general make-up, God’s grace can bridge the gap for us, and remake us all new . . . we need only seek him out in the sacraments and resolve, just as we do every time we are in the confessional, to do better going forward.

Something else, for which, we all have a very good reason to be grateful.