Praise God for the Gift of Marriage

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Today we are celebrating 15 years of marriage. In honor of this blessed day, we would like to share with you the story of how God worked mightily in our lives – even in the midst of hardships, trials, and grief – to bring us together.


It was late in the summer of 2000. Dennis sat there in heavy traffic hoping that he would not be late. He was on the way to the hospital to meet with a group of doctors who were caring for his wife. What was supposed to be a four-day hospital stay had turned into four months. Dennis suspected that this special meeting with the doctors could only mean that his wife’s condition was becoming grave.

During that sad four months, God had reassured him with scripture after scripture that He was going to heal his wife of her illness. They prayed for a miracle, they prayed for healing. Dennis found comfort in God Word’s and he believed that God would grant his wife the miracle of healing.

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More Precious than Silver or Gold

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Today is the second Sunday in Advent. In a society that has lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas, many are already suffering burnout from all the pre-Christmas activities. The secular “Holiday” season kicks into gear earlier and earlier with each passing year. The reality of the materialistic Christmas is that people have forgotten the Christ Child. Christmas is not about buying the latest high tech gifts or winning the subdivision’s “Holiday Lights” competition. The four weeks leading up to Christmas are called Advent – from the Latin word Adventus – which means “coming.” This is a time not for the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and office parties, but is a period of waiting in joyful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Christmas has been hijacked by commercialism and the secular society; we have forgotten to wait in darkness for the coming of the Light into the world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. John 1:1-5, 14

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Jesus Is Coming

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

This is the first week in Advent. Are you spending time every day contemplating the coming of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Or are you frantically buying gifts, making plans, caught up in the whirlwind of activity that surrounds what our culture now calls “the holiday season?” In our neighborhood, Christmas decorations were up on some houses days before Thanksgiving.

Is this what Advent is all about? What exactly are we supposed to be doing during these four weeks set aside by the Church prior to Christmas? We are to be preparing for Christmas. Our activities however, should not be centered on the busyness of the season. Rather, we should be preparing for the coming of the Lord.

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Thanksgiving

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Grace upon Grace

President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday in response to a joint request by both Houses of Congress. He proclaimed November 26, 1789 as a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted to “the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

As families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate to look to Father Solanus Casey, who was beatified in the Archdiocese of Detroit just a few days ago. Blessed Solanus was well-known for thanking God and urging others to do so. He is probably best known for instructing those who sought his intercession to “thank God in advance” for favors received.

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Finding Sanctity in the Present Moment

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Bl. Fr. Solanus Casey

Venerable Solanus Casey, an American-born Capuchin priest who died in 1957, will be beatified November 18, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Mass is expected to draw upwards of 70,000 people. Fr. Solanus Casey was known for his great faith, attention to the sick, and ability as a spiritual counselor.

This week we have the privilege of sharing with you a reflection by Cristin Woodsum on motherhood in light of the beatification of Fr. Solanus. Cristin and her husband Jon have nine children (two in heaven). They attend Our Lady of Good Council parish in Plymouth, Michigan where they are a fixture in the front pew. Cristin and Jon’s marriage makes present Christ’s love for His bride, the Church, giving witness to His self-sacrificial love.


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Prayer is Essential!

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Prayer Righteous Man

If a Christian is to have a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God, prayer is essential. St. Thérèse of Lisieux said “prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”[1] St. John Damascene said “prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.”[2]

Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:18

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“Unleash the Gospel” Pastoral Letter is changing marriage prep

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Unleash the Gospel Lead Photo

Marriage preparation is undergoing a major change in the Archdiocese Detroit as the result of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s Pastoral Letter Unleash the Gospel. Archbishop Vigneron says that “[the synod’s] goal was nothing less than a radical overhaul of the Church in Detroit, a complete reversal of our focus from an inward, maintenance-focused church, to an outward, mission-focused Church” (Unleash the Gospel, 3).

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All Souls Day: Our faith is built on those who have gone before us

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Makonde Family Tree

The Makonde people of Tanzania in Africa are known for intricate wood carvings. One style of carving is called the Ujamaa, which means community and family. Also known as “Tree of Life” carvings, they are fashioned from a single piece of African Blackwood (mpingo), and can be as high as six feet tall. They depict past and present generations of a family, supporting each other around a central family ancestor. The sculpture poignantly illustrates that each person’s life is built upon the lives of those who have gone before them.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

The image of the Ujamaa is helpful in thinking about the souls of the faithfully departed that have gone before us. Our Christian faith has been built on generations of faithful disciples who have kept the flames of the faith burning for more than two millennia. We are truly “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets… [with] Christ himself being the cornerstone” (Eph 2:20). Our ancestors are part of this foundation along with countless saints and unrecognized champions of the faith. This “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) is praying for us, urging us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14).

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Change History: Pray the Rosary

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During the month of October, the Church honors Our Lady of the Rosary. We began this month with a call to pray the Rosary daily for peace in the world and for peace, unity, and harmony in all Christian families. As the month comes to a close, we want to reiterate the importance and efficacy of praying the Rosary daily for these intentions.

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by Pope St. Pius V to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Islamic Ottoman Empire at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. He attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked through praying the Rosary throughout Europe for protection from the invasion. This victory severely curtailed attempts by Islam to control the Mediterranean region. Had this battle been lost, Western Christianity as we know it today would not have come about.

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Praying the Rosary: Being Conformed to Christ with Mary

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JPII on the Rosary

October is the month of the Rosary. This week, we continue to focus on this amazing prayer by citing excerpts from St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Most Holy Rosary). Again, we invite you to join us in praying the Rosary for peace in the world and for peace, unity, and harmony in all Christian families.

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary…is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to ‘set out into the deep’ (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, ‘the way, and the truth and the life’ (Jn 14:6), ‘the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn.’[1]

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