Burning Hearts Disciples Blog

The Burning Hearts Disciples Blog is a place where you will find faith-based reflections on current events, reviews on the newest Catholic resources, and is the heart of the Burning Hearts community. 

Inspiring, Equipping, and Supporting Disciples

Did You Know? 4 Things You Won't Hear at a Catholic Wedding

on Wednesday, 08 July 2015. Fr. Larry Rice Posted in Sacraments, Family Faith

Did You Know? 4 Things You Won't Hear at a Catholic Wedding

by Fr. Larry Rice

There are few events in life that are as steeped in tradition as a wedding. And the traditions surrounding weddings come to us through our families, our friends, our culture, and our religious traditions. But every religious tradition handles weddings differently, and some of the things that people expect to see and hear, are often not part of the Catholic way of celebrating weddings.

Here are four things you won't hear at a Catholic wedding:

1.  "Who Gives This Woman?"

For example, in some traditions, at the conclusion of the procession into the church, the presiding minister may ask,“Who gives this woman to be married?” And the father of the bride will be expected to respond that he, or he and his wife, do.

At Catholic weddings, it’s presumed that the bride—and the groom for that matter—give themselves to each other.

2.  "Speak Now, Or Forever Hold Your Peace"

If you’ve ever seen a wedding on a television series, you’re probably familiar with the dramatic possibilities that arise when the minister asks, “If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be wed, let him speak now, or forever hold his peace.” Well, we Catholics don’t do that.

In many places, notices of upcoming weddings are published, allowing anyone with objections to come forward before the couple gets to the altar.

3.  "With This Ring, I Thee Wed"

Another touching moment in most TV weddings is the phrase, “With this ring, I thee wed.”

For us Catholics, the moment of the marriage is the exchange of consent, and the speaking of the vows. The ring is a symbol of the union that has already taken place. We bless wedding rings, and they are exchanged with the phrase,

“Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

4.  "I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife"

Another thing we don’t say at Catholic weddings is “I now pronounce you man and wife.” We believe that the couple becomes husband and wife not because the minister declares them to be such, but because they have given their consent and made their vows
to each other. The function of the priest or deacon is to preside and witness these vows, not to make the marriage happen.

Through all of the ceremony, the emphasis is on what the bride and groom do, and not on anyone else. This celebration of love and unity mirrors the love of God for his people, and should inspire all of us to be more loving, more committed people.


Fr. Rice is Vocations Director for the Paulist Fathers.

Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission

Image: iStockphoto

Resource Review: Dr. Brant Pitre's Lighthouse CDs on Marriage

on Wednesday, 08 July 2015. Steve Anderson Posted in Family Faith, Sacraments, Resource Reviews

I decided to listen to both of these talks by Dr. Brandt Pitre as I was exploring resources to help my son prepare for his upcoming wedding.

Jesus the Bridegroom:
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

In Jesus the Bridegroom, Dr. Pitre’s down to earth speaking style really helps explain the covenant relationship between God and his people and how that is reflected between a bride and a groom. The alert listener will come to understand why the Church values Holy Matrimony the way it does 

To be sure, most Christians are familiar with the apostle Paul’s teaching that Christ is the ‘Bridegroom’ and the Church is the ‘Bride’. But what does this really mean? And what would ever possess Paul to compare the death of Christ to the love of a husband for his wife? If you would have been at the Crucifixion, with Jesus hanging there dying, is that how you would have described it? How could a first-century Jew like Paul, who knew how brutal Roman crucifixions were, have ever compared the execution of Jesus to a wedding? And why does he refer to this as the “great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32)?

 Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told Dr. Brant Pitre

Do I HAVE to go to Mass?

on Monday, 06 July 2015. Fr. Larry Rice Posted in Sacraments, Family Faith

Sunday Obligation

Do I HAVE to go to Mass?

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

on Monday, 06 July 2015. Posted in Praying with Children, Family Faith, Prayer

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

on Monday, 29 June 2015. Posted in Sacraments, Family Faith

Marriage and the Sanctity of Life

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.

Praying When You're Too Busy To Pray

on Friday, 26 June 2015. Brittany Miller Posted in How Do You Pray?, Family Faith, Prayer, Resource Reviews

Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason EvertOur 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.

 

Fatherhood and the Sacredness of Human Life

on Wednesday, 10 June 2015. Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

Fatherhood and the Sacredness of Human Life

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.

When Dad Is a Fan

on Wednesday, 10 June 2015. Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

When Dad Is a Fan

by Bernadette Bonanno

I can always tell when my husband is on the phone with his dad. He stops whatever he is doing, walks outside and starts smiling in anticipation of his dad’s latest joke. My father-in-law just survived his third heart attack but continues to enjoy life and see the humor in it all. What a blessing to have a father who, after riding the waves of life with his children, emerges with a smile. Fathers do that. They bring levity to the weight of daily living.

A Strong Foundation

It’s widely held that children formulate the image of their heavenly father based on their relationship with their earthly fathers. So, in 1989 when our oldest was about six and Bart Simpson made his TV series debut, I banned the show from our house. Recently, our oldest son asked, “Mom, why didn’t you want us to watch Bart Simpson?”

Homer, Bart’s dad, was always messing up and treated as an incompetent buffoon. I answered my son, “You have a wonderful dad. You and your three brothers are probably going to be fathers someday, so how would planting those seeds benefit four impressionable minds?”

Fathers are unique in their parenting styles but similar in the fact that they are like foundations of homes; they hold up, hold together and keep the family safe from whatever life throws at them. Interestingly, like a foundation, the powerful role they play is sometimes hidden from view.

 

Did You Know? Displaying Flags in Catholic Churches

on Wednesday, 10 June 2015. Posted in Ordinary Time

Did You Know?  Displaying Flags in Catholic Churches

Surprisingly to many, there are no regulations of any kind governing the display of flags in Roman Catholic churches. Neither the Code of Canon Law nor the liturgical books of the Roman rite comment on this practice. As a result, the question of whether and how to display the American flag in a Catholic church is left up to the judgment of the diocesan bishop, who in turn often delegates this to the discretion of the pastor.

The origin of the display of the American flag in many parishes in the United States appears have its origins in the offering of prayers for those who served during the Second World War (1941-1945). At that time, many bishops and pastors provided a book of remembrance near the American flag, requesting prayers for loved ones—especially those serving their country in the armed forces—as a way of keeping before the attention of the faithful the needs of military families. This practice has since been confirmed in many places during the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi conflicts.

The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has in the past encouraged pastors not to place the flag within the sanctuary itself, in order to reserve that space for the altar, the ambo, the presidential chair, and the tabernacle. Instead, the suggestion has been made that the American flag be placed outside the sanctuary, or in the vestibule of the church together with a book of prayer requests. It remains, however, for the diocesan bishop to determine regulations in this matter.


Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.  Reprinted with permission.

Photo: CNS/Paul Haring

Resource Review: The "R" Father

on Monday, 08 June 2015. Maureen Anderson Posted in Resource Reviews

The "R" Father: 14 Ways to Respond to the Lord's Prayer by Mark Hart

The "R" Father: 14 Ways to Respond to the Lord's Prayer

 

Many would say the most important prayer we can say is the "Our Father" Why? Because Jesus himself taught us this prayer!  And yet, it is so easy to fall into the rote repetition of the words of this classic prayer without really engaging our hearts with it.

More than a series of petitions, the Lord's Prayer is a way for us to connect deeply with the heart of our heavenly Father.  In The "R" Father, popular Catholic author Mark Hart reflects on each of the words and phrases of the Our Father, he emphasizes the intimate relationship that God desires to have with us.

By breaking down this prayer into bite size pieces, Hart makes the depth and richness of this prayer come a live in a new way.  Despite having been a cradle Catholic who has said more "Our Fathers" than I could ever count, I had no idea of the deep meaning underlying each phrase.

Dandelions for Mary

on Monday, 01 June 2015. Brittany Miller Posted in Family Faith, Resource Reviews

Review of Take it To the Queen: A Tale of Hope

Dandelions for Mary

Spring in Kansas brings beautiful pink and white blossoms, bright green leaves, new blades of grass, and every young child’s flower of choice: the dandelion. There is usually no shortage of bright yellow blooms and white balls of fluff adorning our slightly neglected yard. Thus, to my daughter’s great delight, she can pick flowers whenever she chooses. Often, she brings the flowers over to me, and joyfully bestows her gift of a dandelion bouquet upon an all too grateful mother. They may be weeds, but when given with total love by a bright-eyed three-year-old, they seem more beautiful than the most gorgeous of roses.

When May arrived, I decided that we would spend a little time honoring and learning about Mary. We planted flowers in a small Mary garden and I purchased a new book. Take It to the Queen: A Tale of Hope by Josephine Nobisso is an allegorical account of Mary’s role in salvation and as our mother.  I wondered if the story might be a little advanced for my daughter, but she was captivated. At the end, without any prompting from me, she even asked if the story had a picture of baby Jesus. She must have grasped at least little pieces of the allegory.

The Madonna in Art

on Monday, 11 May 2015. Posted in Burning Hearts Disciples

by Rev. Larry Rice, CSP

One of the most common themes in Western art is that of the Madonna and Child—a serene painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holding the child Jesus in her arms. But this image, so familiar that it has appeared on US Postal Service Christmas stamps nearly every year since 1966, was not always a staple of Christian art.

For most of the first three centuries of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin was usually depicted as part of a group of apostles, or as part of a Nativity scene; she was almost never alone or a central figure.  But in the fifth century, the Council of Ephesus addressed the Nestorian heresy, which claimed that, when Christ died on the Cross, it was only his human nature that experienced suffering and death. By extension, the Nestorians claimed that Mary was the mother only of Christ’s human nature and not
the Mother of God. The Council of Ephesus reinforced the Church’s long-held belief that Mary was the Mother of God and worthy of the Greek title “Theotokos.” Shortly thereafter, the Empress Eudocia sent a painting of the Madonna and Child home from the Holy Land and had it placed in the Church of Constantinople. This is the first historical mention of the Madonna and Child as an artistic subject. That painting was taken to Venice in 1202, to the Cathedral of St. Mark.

In subsequent centuries, the Madonna and Child has become one of the most popular themes in Western art. This popularity reflects the Church’s veneration of Mary for her role in our salvation and also for her place as an exemplar of the virtues of purity, humility, and faithful acceptance of God’s grace.

madonna image


Fr. Rice is the vocations director for the Paulist Fathers.
Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Reprinted with permission.

Fully Alive

on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. Posted in Burning Hearts Disciples

Theology of the Body Series

Fully Alive

Missed the first course? Can't make all 6 weeks?  That's okay - we'd still love for you to join us! 

Audio/video recordings and slideshow handouts will be available to those who miss a week, but want to catch up on what they've missed.*  If you want to join us after the first session, simply send a note to the presenter Kristin Bird, and she will send you the material to get caught up.


*Note:  Learners attending for Ongoing Formation credit through the Diocese who miss a week will be required to listen to audio recordings and present a one page typed response to the content covered on the week they missed in order to receive full credit for the course. 


Be inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings on the meaning of life & the purpose of love!

 


Saturdays 9-11am

April 25, May 2, May 9,
May 16, May 23 and May 30

Location:
Most Blessed Sacrament
Oshkosh, WI

St. Peter Church - Aquinas Hall

(enter via doors on Pearl Ave)

 



In this 6-part series, learn more about the legacy left behind by St. John Paul II. This introduction to his Theology of the Body will explore these questions (and more):

  • What does Scripture reveal to us about who God is? About who we are?
  • Why do I have to go to Church? Why can’t I just pray by myself?
  • How is God’s Divine Design revealed in sacred art and architecture?
  • What exactly is God’s Plan for sexuality? What does the Church really teach about sex?

A Diocese of Green Bay Ongoing Catechetical Formation Course.

To register, contact Diocese of Green Bay Department of Education:
http://bit.ly/FullyAlive2015
920-272-8309
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TOBflyerOshkosh

Why Do We Celebrate Easter for 50 Days?

on Monday, 13 April 2015. Posted in Easter, Seasons

Why Do We Celebrate Easter for 50 Days?

Most people think of Easter as a single day. It’s never had the commercial appeal of Christmas, and because it always falls on Sunday, most people don’t get an additional day off from work. But for Catholics, Easter isn’t just a day, it’s a whole season. The Easter season stretches all the way to the feast of Pentecost. Lent, which sometimes feels like it’s stretching on forever, is actually forty days long. Easter, on the other hand, is all of fifty days long. About these fifty days theologian Nathan Mitchell writes:

‘The great fifty days of Pentecost are not an unwelcome, unrealistic obligation to “party on,” even if we don’t feel like it, but an invitation to explore more deeply “the weather of the heart,” to awaken our memory of God’s presence and power in our lives, to look more closely at all the rich and varied textures of creation.’

One way the church pursues this goal of seeing God present in the world is through the reading of the Acts of the Apostles. At Masses all through the Easter season, our usual practice of reading from the Old Testament is replaced be reading from the Acts of the Apostles. These readings tell the story of the church’s earliest days, and the beginnings of our faith’s spreading throughout the ancient world. These stories of heroism, controversies, persecutions and miracles all testify to the continued presence of the Risen Christ in the world, through the lives of his disciples, and the actions of the Holy Spirit.

All of this should be an encouragement and a sign of hope for us today. Despite war, violence, personal struggles, and an under-performing economy, God has not abandoned us, nor left us to our own devices. The risen savior is still with us. These 50 days of Easter ask us to reflect on his presence, and—even in the face of danger or fear—to live with joy.


by Rev. Lawrence Rice, CSP.  Originally published on ForYourMarriage.org. Copyright 2015 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Used with permission.

Did You Know...About Sacred Chrism?

on Wednesday, 25 March 2015. Posted in Lent

Did You Know...About Sacred Chrism?

Chrism is blessed at the end of Lent by the diocesan bishop, at a special liturgy called the Chrism Mass.

by Rev. Larry Rice, CSP

The Catholic Church uses lots of physical materials in the administration of its sacraments: water,
wine, bread, and oils are typical examples. We have three kinds of sacramental oils: the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and sacred Chrism. This last is a kind of multi-purpose oil used for many kinds of sacraments and blessings.

Like all our sacred oils, Chrism is made from olive oil, although other vegetable oils can be used if olive oil is unavailable. And like the other two, Chrism is blessed at the end of Lent by the diocesan bishop, at a special liturgy called the Chrism Mass. Unlike other sacramental oils, Chrism is scented, usually with essential oil of balsam, giving it a woody, pine-like fragrance.

Sacred Chrism is used primarily for baptisms and ordinations. At Baptism, after the Baptism in water, the one being initiated into the Church is anointed with Chrism, along with a prayer that recollects Christ being anointed priest, prophet, and king. During a priesthood ordination, the hands of the ordinand (the candidate for ordination) are anointed with Chrism, while the bishop prays,

“The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.”

While this is happening, the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus is usually sung.

In addition to these sacramental uses, sacred Chrism is also used to consecrate a new altar and to bless church bells at their installation.

For centuries, this fragrant blessed oil has been a symbol of God’s overflowing grace and
generosity. It’s a multi-sensory reminder of the goodness of creation and of people and objects that are set apart from that creation to serve a sacred purpose.


Father Rice is Vocations Director for the Paulist Fathers.
Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. Used with permission.

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