"...I will show you the way to heaven."-St. John-Marie Vianney

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Holy Scripture

                                  Summary of Last Meeting's talk:(Given ByFred Kreuder on 6/21/10)

Our Men's group provides a forum for Christian fellowship, prayer, support, and religious knowledge. It is a place to grow in our spiritual maturity as we grow in our relationship with God.

Catholics believe that God reveals Himself to us in Jesus Christ through both Divine Tradition as well as Sacred Scripture.

The Word of God in written or oral form is interpreted authentically by the magisterium (teaching body) of the church.

In order to grow in our relationship with God, we need to know Him better. One way to accomplish that is by reading His Word.

Catholic bibles (for example: New Jerusalem, New American) are different from non-catholic bibles.

The Old Testament (OT) of the of the Catholic bible contains 7 additional books, called the deuterocanon (Maccabees 1 & 2, Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith & Baruch, as well as extended versions of Daniel and Esther), that are not in most non-Catholic bibles. These seven books were part of the Septuagint, the version of the OT that was used by Jesus and the Apostles, particularly when preaching to the Jews of the Diaspora (2/3 of all Jews in Jesus' time).

A proof that Jesus and the Apostles used this version of the OT can be found in John 10:22-36 where they celebrate the feast of Hanukkah (Dedication and re-consecration of the temple alter). The only OT books that mention this feast are Maccabees 1 & 2.

In 397 AD, more than 360 years after Christ's death and resurrection, the canon of the Old & New Testaments are proclaimed at the Council of Carthage III. Up until this time, many other books (i.e. Gospel of Thomas, Letter of Clement, the Didache, etc) were used in liturgies in Christian communities. This canon is the same one that is currently used by the Catholic Church.

During the Reformation in the early 1500's, in order to comply with non-Catholic doctrine, Protestants removed the seven books of the (deuterocanon) OT named above and tried to remove Revelations and the epistles of James and Jude. Martin Luther also added the word "alone" to Romans 3:28.

Knowing how the canon of the bible developed is very important to Catholics. The Church did not spring from the bible. The Church existed first and then compiled the Word.

The Protestant doctrine of "the Bible Alone," "Sola Scriptura," is not found anywhere in the bible!

Protestants also have "traditions" such as alter calls and worshiping on Sunday that are not proscribed by the bible. Worshipping on Sunday is part of our rich Catholic tradition. the bible says to "keep holy the Sabboth (Saturday).

1 Peter 3:15 calls us to be able to provide a defense of our beliefs and to do so in a gentle and reverent manner. Understanding Catholicism is our first line of defense. Most non-Catholics are at odds with what they perceive the Church to be and not what it actually is.

We are called by our faith into an ecumenical communion with our non-Catholic Christian brothers (see the Catholic Cathecism pps 813-822).

It is our mission as "Fishers of Men" to spread our understanding of our Catholic faith. It is our duty as Catholic men to learn as much as we can regarding our faith so as to provide a ready defense of it. It is our duty as Catholic men to reach out to our Protestant brothers with compassion and love in order to initiate the dialogue that leads toward Christian unity. BE NOT AFRAID to take the first step. Trust in God to guide you.

Recommended Reading:

Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating
Catholic and Christian, Alan Schreck
Making Senses Out Of Scripture, Mark Shea
Where Is That In The Bible?, Patrick Madrid
Where We Got the Bible, Bishop Henry G. Graham
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Understanding the Scriptures- The Didache Series, Scott Hahn
Reasons to Believe, Scott Hahn
By What Authority, Mark Shea
Surprised By Truth, Patrick Madrid
Inside The Bible, Kenneth Baker, S.J.
The Faith of the Early Fathers, William Jurgens

Recommended Web Sites:
Catholic Answers: www.catholic.com

National Fellowship of Catholic Men: www.nfcmusa.org/

Recommended Video: Why Be A Catholic, Tim Staples

Recommended CD's Available at: www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/

The Mass Explained, Fr. Larry Richards
The Truth, Fr. Larry Richards

The Lamb's Supper, Scott Hahn
Why a Protestant Pastor Became Catholic, Scott Hahn
Why Do We Have A Pope? Scott Hahn

A Call to Joy, Matt Kelly

The Bible Made Me Do It, Tim Staples

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Men of the Cure of Ars
To create an opportunity for men to grow in faith while being supported by our
brothers in the faith.
We are committed catholic men who recognize our need for God's help.We
gather in Christ's Presence in an atmosphere of trust, equality, and anonymity to share
personal feelings and experiences.
                            In our times there are many obstacles to faith, but a man of the Cure of Ars is a
man who is seeking the Lord in his life: "You will seek Me and you will find Me when
you seek Me with all of your heart."(JER 29:13) Our Lord Jesus came to show us God's
love through the gift of Himself on Calvary and so we discover that only through the
sincere gift of ourselves can we truly learn what it means to be a man after God's own
heart. This calling is not a burden to be carried by the self-reliant, rather a privilege to
be exercised through the help of God's grace and the support of fellow brothers in
Christ "who encourage one another and build each other up."(1 Thes 5:11) As a result, a
man of the Cure of Ars is fulfilled by discovering and joyfully living out God's purpose forhis life.

The Men of the Cure of Ars meet every third Monday in Msgr. Leonard Hall at
7:30pm. For Information feel free to call the Rectory at 623-1400 and leave a message
for the Men's group.

Check us out online at www.curemen.blogspot.com or look us up on FaceBook under
"The Men of the Cure of Ars"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Men of God:Monthly Bulletin Article #1

“Put off the old man that belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new man, created after the image and likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”—Ephesians 4:22-23

            Are we true men of God? Are we men of faith? Of Hope? Of Love? Can we claim to truly be men of the Eucharist? Of Integrity and sincerity? Of Purity and Obedience? Are we true men of God?

       My brothers, ours is a frightful task. We are called to be blameless and innocent, “living as children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; called to shine as lights in the darkness of this world.” (Phil 2:15) But how can we accomplish such a mission? We are not supermen endowed with some sort of herculean strength. After working all week tirelessly to make a buck how can we be expected to perform such feats of religious fortitude? Who does God think we are anyway? We are not Jesus. We don’t have the power that He had. Or do we?
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,
and Christ shall give you light.” (Eph 5:14)
       We have, through Baptism the power; through The Eucharist, the Strength; through Confirmation, the commission to do as Jesus did and live a life glorifying Our Father Who art in Heaven. The calling we received from God to be providers, protectors and leaders in our families and communities is indeed a difficult one, but one that deserves the best of our abilities and all, even the last drop of love we have. From where does this love come from? From what fountain can we draw a never-ending supply of the Grace we will need to accomplish so overwhelming a mission? Can we, mere mortals, do the work of God? “Truly Truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works I do: and greater works then these he will do.” (John 14:12)
      These things we are called to do, the lives we are summoned to live and the great works which our Lord beckons us to perform in His name flow from Faith in Christ Jesus Who strengthens us to do all things. (Phil 4:13) Starting now, here in this parish, we the men of the CurĂ© of Ars, must “fight the good fight of faith and take hold of the eternal life to which we were called (1 Tim 6:12).” Accepting this call we begin once again anew, the way that our parents set us on when they brought us to the Priest who Baptized us. Let us as the Men of this parish begin the way anew together. Let us stand as a “Band of Brothers” and bear our share of suffering for the Gospel (2 Tim 1:8). Our God has called us to be brothers in Christ Jesus our Lord and he has given us not a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power and love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). As brothers then, let us pray together, let us fellowship together, let us grow in Faith together. Let us learn what it means to be true men of God. And we can do it…together.

“The Men of the CurĂ© of Ars” meet every 3rd Monday of the month in Msgr. Leonard hall at 7:30pm.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catholic Man of the Month (June 2010)

St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, Martyrs of Uganda † (1886)

Feast Day: June 3

King Mwanga was a violent ruler and pedophile who forced himself on the young boys and men who served him as pages and attendants. The Christians at Mwanga's court who tried to protect the pages from King Mwanga. The leader of the small community of 200 Christians was the chief steward of Mwanga's court, a twenty-five-year-old Catholic named Joseph Mkasa (or Mukasa).

When Mwanga killed a Protestant missionary and his companions, Joseph Mkasa confronted Mwanga and condemned his action. Mwanga had always liked Joseph but when Joseph dared to demand that Mwanga change his lifestyle, Mwanga forgot their long friendship. After striking Joseph with a spear, Mwanga ordered him killed. When the executioners tried to tie Joseph's hands, he told them, "A Christian who gives his life for God is not afraid to die." He forgave Mwanga with all his heart but made one final plea for his repentance before he was beheaded and then burned on November 15, 1885. Charles Lwanga took over the instruction and leadership of the Christian community at court -- and the charge of keeping the young boys and men out of Mwanga's hands. Perhaps Joseph's plea for repentance had had some affect on Mwanga because the persecution died down for six months.

Anger and suspicion must have been simmering in Mwanga, however. In May 1886 he called one of his pages named Mwafu and asked what the page had been doing that kept him away from Mwanga. When the page replied that he had been receiving religious instruction from Denis Sebuggwawo, Mwanga's temper boiled over. He had Denis brought to him and killed him himself by thrusting a spear through his throat. He then ordered that the royal compound be sealed and guarded so that no one could escape and summoned the country's executioners. Knowing what was coming; Charles Lwanga baptized four catechumens that night, including a thirteen-year-old named Kizito. The next morning Mwanga brought his whole court before him and separated the Christians from the rest by saying, "Those who do not pray stand by me, those who do pray stand over there." He demanded of the fifteen boys and young men (all under 25) if they were Christians and intended to remain Christians. When they answered "Yes" with strength and courage Mwanga condemned them to death. He commanded that the group be taken on a 37 mile trek to the place of execution at Namugongo. The chief executioner begged one of the boys, his own son, Mabaga, to escape and hide but Mbaga refused. The cruelly-bound prisoners passed the home of the White Fathers on their way to execution. Father Lourdel remembered thirteen-year-old Kizito laughing and chattering. Lourdel almost fainted at the courage and joy these condemned converts, his friends, showed on their way to martyrdom. Three of these faithful were killed on road. A Christian soldier named James Buzabaliawo was brought before the king. When Mwanga ordered him to be killed with the rest, James said, "Goodbye, then. I am going to Heaven, and I will pray to God for you." When a grief-stricken Father Lourdel raised his hand in absolution as James passed, James lifted his own tied hands and pointed up to show that he knew he was going to heaven and would meet Father Lourdel there. With a smile he said to Lourdel, "Why are you so sad? This nothing to the joys you have taught us to look forward to." Also condemned were Andrew Kagwa, a Kigowa chief, who had converted his wife and several others, and Matthias Murumba (or Kalemba) an assistant judge. The chief counselor was so furious with Andrew that he proclaimed he wouldn't eat until he knew Andrew was dead. When the executioners hesitated Andrew egged them on by saying, "Don't keep your counselor hungry -- kill me." When the same counselor described what he was going to do with Matthias, he added, "No doubt his god will rescue him." "Yes," Matthias replied, "God will rescue me. But you will not see how he does it, because he will take my soul and leave you only my body." Matthias was cut up on the road and left to die -- it took him at least three days. The original caravan reached Namugongo and the survivors were kept imprisoned for seven days. On June 3, they were brought out, wrapped in reed mats, and placed on the pyre. Mbaga was killed first by order of his father, the chief executioner, who had tried one last time to change his son's mind. The rest were burned to death. Thirteen Catholics and eleven Protestants died. They died calling on the name of Jesus and proclaiming, "You can burn our bodies, but you cannot harm our souls." When the White Fathers were expelled from the country, the new Christians carried on their work, translating and printing the catechism into their natively language and giving secret instruction on the faith. Without priests, liturgy, and sacraments their faith, intelligence, courage, and wisdom kept the Catholic Church alive and growing in Uganda. When the White Fathers returned after King Mwanga's death, they found five hundred Christians and one thousand catechumens waiting for them. The twenty-two Catholic martyrs of the Uganda persecution were canonized.

Prayer: Martyrs of Uganda, pray for the faith where it is danger and for Christians who must suffer because of their faith. Give them the same courage, zeal, and joy you showed. And help those of us who live in places where Christianity is accepted to remain aware of the persecution in other parts of the world. Amen

Virtues we can learn from this Catholic man—
† Courage
† Strength in times of trial
† Christian Joy
† Purity
† Forgiveness

(Taken from Butlers lives of the Saints.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

From The Catechism (June 2010)

MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD I. The Desire for God

27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator

In this passage we read about our clear call to a higher union than anything on this earth can offer us. Through our call to union with the Ancient of Days, we simple humans, see our dignity unquestionably. Our relationship with the God of all is meant to be so intimate that we become one with him; we literally unite to him, so that we, God and man, are one. This call is brought to fruition when we receive from the Sacred hands of the Priest, the Body and Blood of Jesus.

28 In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being:

From one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "in him we live and move and have our being."

We, as men, are a “religious people” in so far as we search the heavens for answers to questions that we find no answer for. In this search we offer prayers, sacrifices and so on. If religion in general can be defined as mans seeking out of God, Christianity can be defined as God’s seeking out of man. For it was our God who first loved us, who created us, who taught us, who chastised us, who descended to this world, becoming like us in all except sin, redeemed us and rose from the dead so that we may have life in Him for all eternity. Our religion beckons us to answer the call of a lover, who seeks communion with and sanctification of His beloved.

Recommended Reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church

-Paragraphs 1-28