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Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

It seems coincidental, doesn’t it, that the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the feast of Christmas fall so close together in the calendar? And yet… if it’s an accident, it’s a particularly happy one. Because the two have much more in common than might generally meet the eye.We all know the story: On December 9, 1531, an indigenous peasant by the name of Juan Diego saw a vision on a hillside outside Mexico City: a young, dark-skinned woman who spoke Nahuatl, a native&n...
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Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

In the 1950s and 60s there was an American television program called To Tell The Truth, in which panelists had to guess which of three contestants was the “real” person described, generally someone with an unusual occupation or life-story. The expression used in the show, “will the real (Name) please stand up?” has entered into the vernacular, and it’s particularly relevant today as we try and figure out who this figure is who has so dominated our experience of Chri...
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Everyday Grace for Advent

Everyday Grace for Advent

As Advent begins, so begins anxiety for a lot of people, and it’s important to not allow your stress to keep you from savoring every moment of this very special season. Here are three ways to stay on track: Connect to history. Advent is a time of tradition, and there are other holidays (like St. Nicholas’ feast day, the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the feast day of St. Lucy), that provide a chance to remember all those Christians who have gone before us. The modern Santa has a ...
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A Language of Sound and Silence: Sensory Building Blocks to Engaging Kids at Mass

A Language of Sound and Silence: Sensory Building Blocks to Engaging Kids at Mass

Not long ago, the little son of a friend of mine made a grand discovery: his echo. Unfortunately for my friend, he made this discovery in church. Each time they went to Mass, her little tyke would sit patiently, waiting for a good quiet moment to let out a whoop and hear it bounce back to him from all around! Even more unfortunately for my friend, a good quiet moment often came during the Consecration.Not the kind of participation his parents were going for…This somewhat inopportune disco...
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So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's get organized together! No doubt your children and grandchildren have long lists of toys and electronics they'd love to receive from you for Christmas, but let's slow down a little and think about Advent first. Because in a real sense, Advent is for you. It's your time to ready your home and your heart for the coming of the Christ Child.What would help you? I have a few suggestions: Advent Christmas Grace gives you the opportunity to turn to God in Scripture every d...
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It’s Time to Ask for the Grace We Need

It’s Time to Ask for the Grace We Need

I am deeply in love with Jesus and his Church. It is the reason I started asking my parents to drive me to Mass, even when we didn’t go as a family; it was the reason I decided to go to a Catholic college; and ultimately it is the reason why I felt called to enter the Daughters of St. Paul three years ago and become a religious sister. But over the past few years, people have posed the question to me more than once: “Why would you want to give your life to the Catholic Church, when i...
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The Journey to the Manger

The Journey to the Manger

There are so many Christmas storybooks! You could read your kids a different Christmas storybook each day of Advent for five years and still not exhaust the supply of adventures ending in someone discovering Baby Jesus in a manger! We never seem to run out of ways to arrive at that same manger, and it’s a destination we never seem to tire of! Why is that?I remember a moving conversation I had with a mother whose child was adopted from another country. He’d grown up as the only visibl...
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A Treasure for the Taking: 3 Easy Ways to Help the Holy Souls

A Treasure for the Taking: 3 Easy Ways to Help the Holy Souls

Have you ever heard of the Church’s treasury? It’s not money or the precious artwork in the Vatican museums. No, the Church’s treasury is of infinite value because it contains all the spiritual goods and grace that Jesus himself merited for us. And we can draw from this treasure to help the holy souls! But how?First let’s look at a couple key ideas from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: As members of the Church we belong to the communion of saints. We profess this in ...
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#PutJesusFirst: Enter into God's time this Advent

#PutJesusFirst: Enter into God's time this Advent

It seems to happen every year: people make resolutions to get their Christmas shopping done early, to make sure everything is in place so they can actually find some spirituality throughout Advent… but in reality things get put off, no one’s sure when they “should” be doing anything, and the inevitable happens: Advent feels more and more rushed.It’s a problem. We have a solution.#PutJesusFirst is your go-to planner for all things Advent. It starts well before Adven...
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All Saints and All Souls: contemplating the life we know now and the one to come

All Saints and All Souls: contemplating the life we know now and the one to come

The wind is picking up dead leaves fallen from the trees, swirling them around, making them dance. It feels appropriate, somehow, for our days of the dead—All Saints’ and All Souls’ days—to coincide with the waning of the liturgical year as well as the physically darker days of late autumn. The swirling leaves are just the physical markers of change.October 31 is All Hallows’ Eve, November 1 is All Saints' Day, and November 2 is All Souls’ Day, our own &qu...
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