Feast of Ss. Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Education of the Virgin_Velazquez

The Education of the Virgin, Diego Velázquez, c. 1617-18

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus. Joachim and Anne are not mentioned in Scripture. Everything we know about them has been handed on by tradition. Desiring to have children, Joachim fasted and prayed in the desert for a child. An angel appeared to him and announced that he and Anne would soon have a daughter, who would be world renowned.

As respected members of the Jewish community, Joachim and Anne taught Mary the tenants of the faith. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, Joachim and Anne brought Mary when she was three years old to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. Mary remained in the temple to be prepared for the special role God would have her play in salvation history.

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Balancing Priorities in Marriage and Family Life

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Work-Life Balance

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21

What do you treasure most in your life? Your career, beautiful home, car, friendships, family, leisure time, possessions? To help you determine what you treasure most, look at your calendar. Where do you invest the greatest amount of time, energy, and finances?

Take a few moments to look at the figures below and honestly decide which one best represents the focus of your life.

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Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Love of Christ Imaged in Marriage

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Louis and Zelie_03

July 12th is the Feast Day of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In October 2015, they became the first couple to be canonized together as husband and wife.

Louis and Zélie are not saints because they raised a saint but rather because they lived and imparted the faith to their family in a concerted and committed way. They evangelized their children by their example as a couple, living their faith in works and instruction in the heart of the family. Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World), stresses that the family is the place where children are evangelized and then the family becomes the evangelizer of other families:

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Lord, Heal Our Land

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United we stand

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

As we just celebrated the 243rd birthday of our nation, our country is fraught with division and strife. We are in a cultural battle between good and evil. Our only hope is to turn to God to heal our land.

On January 22, 1999, when St. John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe patron of the Americas, he asked her to intercede for peace, justice and respect:

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of Peace! Save the nations and peoples of this continent. Teach everyone, political leaders and citizens, to live in true freedom and to act according to the requirements of justice and respect for human rights, so that peace may thus be established once and for all.[1]

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Christian Families can Change the World

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Gomez Address_190618

On June 18, 2019, the Most Reverend José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles delivered the keynote address at the annual liturgy conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, speaking on the pastoral state of the family.

“Today we are looking at a future generation in which there may be far fewer children,” said Archbishop Gomez, “many young people are debating whether it is ‘ethical’ to have kids in an age of global warming. There is an even larger conversation going on among millennials about the ‘value’ of starting a family.”

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Corpus Christi: Eucharist and Marriage Intimately Linked

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Bride Groom at Consecration_crop

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist – His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Marshall Fightlin, seminary professor and licensed marriage and family psychologist, compares the conjugal intimacy of Christ in the Eucharist to the conjugal intimacy of the spouses in marriage.

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Faith of Our Fathers

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shutterstock_father leading son climbing wall

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Fathers, never doubt your importance of your example in the lives of your children, especially when it comes to instilling the faith.

A significant study conducted by the Swiss government in 1994 and published in 2000 revealed some astounding facts regarding the importance of a father’s faith in the generational transmission of faith and religious values.[1]

The study concluded that “It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.”

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From Trial by Fire to Baptism by Fire

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Holy Spirit and Fire_Lk 3 16_flipped

I (Dennis) did not come to know the love of the heavenly Father until I experienced a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Unfortunately, brokenness from a failed marriage was the catalyst that drove me to my knees, crying out to God for help. Like Abraham Lincoln in the midst of division in our nation, I was driven “upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” [1]

I was raised a Lutheran. Growing up, we did not pray as a family. God was a “Sunday Only” thing. I married in the Catholic Church in 1979. My wife and I attended mass irregularly during the early years of our marriage. But I lacked knowledge of the grace that God pours into a sacramental marriage. The seeds of dissension were planted in our marriage by unchaste behavior during our courtship. Mortal sin had blocked the grace that God wished to dispense into our marriage. We had opened the door to Satan in our marriage which had destructive consequences.

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The Fruits of the Holy Spirit in Marriage

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Veni Creator Spiritus

Do you wish for more patience, gentleness and self-control in your interactions with your spouse? How about kindness, joy, or peace? All of these are fruits of the Holy Spirit and they are yours for the asking!

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there are 12 fruits that the Holy Spirit wants to grow within us:

The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self- control, chastity.” 1832

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Faith: A Force for Good in Marriage

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Couple Praying Rosary Holding Hands

On May 20, 2019, the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution issued the report The Ties That Bind: Is Faith a Global Force for Good or Ill in the Family? The goal of the study was to understand how religion is linked, on average, to four key family outcomes in 11 countries: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Drawing on data from the World Values Survey (WVS) and the Global Family and Gender Survey (GFGS), the report found that:

  • Both women and men in “highly religious” couples (i.e. regular church attendees) reported significantly greater satisfaction in their relationship compared to less religious and secular couples.
  • Women in “highly religious” relationships were about 50% more likely to report that they are “strongly satisfied” with their sexual relationship than their secular and less religious counterparts.

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