Do I HAVE to go to Mass?

Written by Burning Hearts Team.

Sunday Obligation


It happens every year at this time. I’ll be at a wedding on a Saturday, and someone will ask, “Father, does this count for Sunday?” Or someone will say, “Father, I missed Mass last week because we were driving in from Detroit—is that a sin?” Or in the winter, an elderly person will say, “Father, I need to go to confession because I missed Mass last week, because of the snow storm.”


Our Sunday Mass obligation is something we Catholics take very seriously. In some ways, it sets us apart from other Christian denominations, where weekly church attendance is seen as the ideal, rather than as part of our minimal obligation to the faith.

Send Them Off With Prayer

Written by Burning Hearts Team.

Have a child heading off for camp or a mission trip?  Preparing for a road trip? Sending a college student back to school?  This prayer is a great way to keep Christ at the center of any journey you may be taking!


Litany of the Way: Prayer for the Journey


As Jesus sought the quiet of the desert,
teach us to pray.


As Jesus washed the feet of his disciples,
teach us to love.


As Jesus promised paradise to the thief on the cross,
teach us to hope.


As Jesus called Peter to walk to him across the water,
teach us to believe.


As the child Jesus sat among the elders in the temple,
teach us to seek answers.


As Jesus in the garden opened his mind and heart to God’s will,
teach us to listen.


As Jesus reflected on the Law and the prophets,
teach us to learn.


As Jesus used parables to reveal the mysteries of
the Kingdom, teach us to teach.


Amen.



Prayer taken from the Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised Edition, copyright © 2007, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Marriage and the Sanctity of Life

Written by Helen M. Alvaré.


For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother / and be joined to his wife, / and the two shall become one flesh. / This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32).



St. Paul could not have been more correct. This Christian teaching—that marriage and the relationship between Christ and the Church, shed light on each other—remains “a great mystery.” What can it mean?


At the very least, it must mean that marriage is a far weightier matter than bridal magazines and television shows indicate. It also means that God himself made marriage, and had it in mind when he made two “opposite” sexes who are able to become “one flesh.” Finally, from the reference to Christ and his Church, we get the distinct impression that marriage—like the relationship between God and the People of God—might involve great sacrifice for the other, total fidelity, and not a few ups and downs.

How Do You Pray? When You're Too Busy To Pray

Written by Brittany Miller.

Too Busy to Pray

Our church bookclub recently finished the book Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert. Part biography and part explanation of five things Mr. Evert deemed most important to this amazing pope and saint, the book was a page-turning and inspiring read

It must be impossible to read about this great saint without desiring to amend some aspect of one’s own life in imitation of his holiness. Among the amazing aspects of Saint John Paul the Great’s life was his devotion to near constant prayer.

My own prayer life had been inconsistent and of little depth in recent months, so I decided that now would be the perfect time to make some changes. 

Jumping In With Both Feet

Inspired by Saint John Paul the Great’s other great devotion to Mary, I thought that the daily Rosary would be a good place to start. Some of the women in the book club recommended saying the Rosary while doing other tasks, such as driving or doing dishes. After some rather questionable driving, loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher with clean ones and falling asleep while praying in the evening, I decided that I need to pray the Rosary when I am neither busy nor tired.

Fatherhood and the Sacredness of Human Life

Written by Kimberly Baker.

by Kimberly Baker


The upcoming celebration of Father’s Day is a fitting time to examine the irony that in our current culture, fatherhood is rarely mentioned. When mentioned at all, fathers are mocked or portrayed negatively. Some movies and stories downplay the role of the father in a child’s life, yet simultaneously portray the child as suffering from the father’s inability to live up to that role.


In reality, the nobility and significance of fatherhood remain a powerful witness in the lives of those who have had the opportunity to grow up with a present and caring father. And there are, of course, profound stories and testimonies to counter the culture’s defeatist attitude towards fatherhood.


Alongside a mother’s unique and nurturing role, the father also has a vital part to play in safeguarding the sacredness of new human life and in forming the younger generation. The father’s special role in protecting and defending both mother and child helps ensure the stability and healthy development of the whole family.


Pope John Paul II wrote of the importance of fatherhood in his Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio:



“A man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family . . . by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife, by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church” (no. 25).



The dedication and commitment of husbands and fathers to their families needs to be affirmed and supported if we are to build a culture of life.


June is also the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How fitting is Christ’s example of sacrificial love when we recall how he gave his life for his bride, the Church. The extent to which he pours out his heart for humanity shows the ultimate model of a man of compassion and quiet strength. We can see concrete examples of this in the Gospel, in the way he treated the Samaritan woman with dignity and in the way he welcomed the little children who wanted to meet him.


When a baby is growing in the womb, the first vital organ that develops is the heart, which starts beating by about 21 days. What does this say about the human person? It is almost as if God honors the capacity to love by giving the heart supremacy even in the physical development of the human being. While not physically connected to newly developing life in the same way as the mother, the father need not be excluded from this beautiful mystery. During this month of June, may all hearts look to the Sacred Heart as a source of inspiration, and may all husbands and fathers be renewed in their calling to build up the culture of life, starting in their own families.

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