Tag Archives: Catholic

Fatherhood 101: Raising Catholic Kids @ LovingTheChurch.com

A Father's Guide to Keeping Your Children CatholicThis week at LovingTheChurch.com, I share some of the ground rules Krista and I have focused on in raising our kids Catholic – Fatherhood 101: Raising Catholic Kids

Fatherhood can be very challenging but raising Catholic kids is the primary responsibility of every Catholic father. I can’t give what I don’t have. Living the Catholic Faith is extremely important and takes a “daily” effort. Here are a few simple ways that Krista and I do that.

May God bless you and keep you.

*The photo this week is of my sister, Maria, and her family.

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: A Girl, a Priest, and the Promise of the Sacred Heart

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of JesusToday is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a solemnity near and dear to my heart.

Growing up, we would all gather each night to pray the rosary in our family prayer room around a little prayer altar over which hung a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the same as the one I’ve included here).

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus had a profound effect on me; our Lord’s eyes would appear to follow me. Regardless of where I would sit or knee in the room, Jesus was always watching me with His Heart wrapped in thorns and burning with love.

You don’t forget things like that. It’s a testimony to the importance of sacred images in the home. Children need that sense of wonder and mystery that only images of our Lord, His mother, and the saints can give.

Click here for more on the history of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Today, I would like to share with you an amazing story told by Fr Jorge Bugallo García, LC about life & death, the priesthood, and the mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

A Girl, a Priest, and the Promise of the Sacred Heart

A Girl, a Priest, and the Promise of the Sacred Heart

June 9, 2010. San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. A priest’s life is full of unique and unrepeatable experiences. He is “taken from among men and chosen to represent them” (Heb. 5:1). Unlike other more “ordinary” moments, this one marked my life in a profound way from its very beginning—and also marked my incipient priestly ministry.

I was ordained to the priesthood on December 12, 2009, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Rome. That day, at 10:30 in the morning, Christ had made me his priest forever. It was a Saturday, the 12th of December, in the Year for Priests. I could not have asked for more. That night, I couldn’t sleep a wink from the excitement and the reality of what I had lived that morning. Well, God was already in a hurry, and Our Lady did not waste the opportunity.

On Sunday, December 13, I celebrated my first Mass, right on the altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe, next to the tomb of St Peter, and just a few meters from John Paul II’s tomb. What an immense grace! I felt profoundly happy and could not contain myself in the homily. Amidst tears and emotions, I kept repeating “Thank you!” to God, to our Mother in heaven, and to all those who accompanied me in these twenty-some years of preparation and formation. And yet, even then, heaven was carefully preparing a great event for the following day.

On Monday, December 14, I went with my family to San Giovanni Rotondo, where Padre Pio’s monastery and tomb are located. It was over five hours away from Rome, but it was worth the effort, because I had reserved an altar to celebrate Mass there, and we wanted to visit the place. We arrived around midday and I was able to celebrate Mass at the appointed time. By six in the afternoon—we had already fully enjoyed the day—and it was getting dark out. We got into the car to come back to Rome. My brother asked if he could stop by a shop to fix his cell phone, since it wasn’t working. It was already late and starting to drizzle. But we stopped to look for a shop so that my brother Luis could solve his problem. One thing led to another, and half an hour later, he bought a phone card and that took care of it.

The clock showed that it was 6:45 when we finally started heading down the mountain along the national highway, heading toward the freeway that would lead us to Rome. The going was slow because of the darkness and the rain. Added to that was the fact that a motorcycle, driven by a young woman at a very prudent speed, was setting the pace for the (at least) seven vehicles behind her. While we prayed the Rosary, halfway down the mountain, I suddenly noticed that the motorcycle had disappeared after one of the countless “tornanti” or hairpin curves.

I noticed because the line started to move more quickly and the motorcycle was no longer visible. But a few curves down the road… I saw the motorcycle! It was about five meters from the highway, with its headlight on, lying down with its front wheel turned in the wrong direction. At that moment, something inside me told me: “Stop and go down!” I stopped the car on the side of the highway and told my mother and my brother to wait for me, that it would be something quick. I got out of the car.

It was still raining and the only light guiding me was from the headlight of the partially dented motorcycle. I noticed, from the state of the motorcycle, that whoever was driving it had suffered an accident or at least a bad fall. I called out to see if anyone heard me. There was no answer. I tried again, a little stronger, with the best Italian I could muster. No one answered. As it was the forest, full of overgrown shrubs, and hard to see, I imagined the worst.

Since the motorcycle headlight was pointing toward some trees, I walked toward them. I was completely taken aback when a few meters ahead, I saw the girl who had been on the motorcycle just a few minutes earlier while we were descending the mountain. I was horrified to see that her left arm had been completely amputated, and her shoulder was bleeding nonstop. She had only half of her other arm, from her shoulder to her elbow, and it was also bleeding profusely. Her legs were thrown up toward her shoulders, and both were completely broken. She seemed like a broken doll, but in reality she was a living person. It was a spectacle that you wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I came closer. Her face was only half visible, since the helmet had been smashed onto her head, crushing the entire right side of her head and face. Only her left eye was visible. I spoke into her ear, saying, “I’m a priest… can you hear me? If you want, I can give you the absolution… If you agree, it’s enough for you to make some small movement…” I saw her head move a little.

Meanwhile, my mother had come closer, and she screamed. My brother also came, alerted by the scream. I asked my brother to use his cell phone—which was now working—to call an ambulance from the town. Fifteen minutes later, the ambulance came. During that time, I was with the girl, accompanying her and trying the best I could to squelch the flow of blood from the places in her body where she was bleeding. And most importantly, I gave her the absolution. She was the first person to whom I gave this sacrament—only 60 hours had gone by since my ordination.

The paramedics came and took her pulse. She was very week. “Non ce la fa,” one of them whispered to me. “She’s not going to make it.” I took the girl in my arms, and while I was carrying her to the ambulance, she looked me in the face, closed her visible eye, and her head fell forward on her neck: she left this world. She went to heaven while she was in my arms. Her name was Rosanna and she was 17 years old.

That’s how it happened. Among the girl’s belongings, we found her cell phone, and we were able to call her mother. She lived in a town ten kilometers away from the accident. Imagine what it is like to tell a mother that her daughter has just died in a road accident. In our conversation, I also told her:

“Ma’am, I am a priest. I was just ordained on Saturday. Look, I had the opportunity to share your daughter Rosanna’s last moments of life, and I am very happy to begin my priestly ministry this way.”

In between tears and with her voice breaking, the mother thanked me for the call and among all the words she said, which I was not fully able to understand (she spoke a kind of regional dialect), I did hear her say:

“Father, you are a priest. Father, you should know that my daughter was very devoted to the Sacred Heart. I am a believer like my daughter. And I don’t know why, but I do know one thing. Rosanna did the novena to the Sacred Heart twice. She had Communion and confessed on the first nine Fridays of the month a few times. That is why she could not die without the help of the Heart of Jesus. Thank you, Father, and may God bless you always.”

The words speak for themselves. I do not remember them all exactly, but that was as much as I remember.

That night, we got to Rome around dawn. I could not sleep. I kept thinking about everything I had lived a few hours earlier. It is not easy to explain the things that happen to you sometimes, at least, not like that. I was just starting to assimilate the priesthood I had received a few hours earlier and God was already asking for my help.

Two paths crossed that night: Rosanna’s and mine. And Christ was in a hurry that night. My brother’s cell phone, which hadn’t been working, had slowed down our departure. Then the accident happened while we were praying the Rosary. Thanks to my brother’s cell phone, which was now working, we were able to call the ambulance and Rosanna’s mother.

It’s very clear. There are no coincidences in life. Just God’s hand and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin were enough to work the miracle, to bring a person to heaven.

Marriage Between One Man & One Woman, G.K. Chesterton & The Father’s Role @LovingTheChurch.com

G.K. Chesterton on the role of the father as head of the houseThis week @ LovingTheChurch.com, I reflect upon an article written by G.K. Chesterton, The Head of the House and how it is so applicable to what is unfolding in our modern culture.

Marriage Between One Man & One Woman, G.K. Chesterton & The Father’s Role

May God bless you and keep you!

Becoming A Better Husband: A Reflection on Good Habits @ LovingTheChurch.com

Good habits make a good husband!This week at LovingTheChurch.com I discuss Becoming A Better Husband: A Reflection on Good Habits.

Habits matter…in fact my habits will determine whether I’m a good husband, an “okay” husband, or a lousy husband.

In this article I share a few good habits that I try to practice. Becoming a better husband takes work, it takes God’s grace.

Becoming A Better Husband: A Reflection on Good Habits

May God bless you and keep you.

The Joe & Joe Show: Episode 1 – WORLDVIEW

The Joe & Joe Show is finally here!

My good friend, Joe Gill, and I have been playing with the idea of doing a podcast for almost a year now. We felt there was a real need for a podcast that deals with all those things that prevent us from being the person God wants us to be. A podcast that would try to get to the heart of all the unhappiness we see in the world.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” That’s our motto. Our first episode aired today! Visit our website Catholic Happiness, to listen to this first episode on WORLDVIEW – The Joe & Joe Show

To subscribe via iTunes click here – The Joe & Joe Show

In a few weeks we’ll be airing LIVE on BlogTalkRadio, we’ll be able to take calls and emails. Click here if you are interested in following us there – The Joe & Joe Show

We hope you’ll be a regular listener and thank you in advance for your support!

May God bless you and keep you.

Living The Resurrection

I'm A Sinner and I need JesusChrist the Lord has risen, alleluia!

Jesus Christ, in His Resurrection, has become the hope of our future resurrection.

For many of us, the long penitential journey of Lent has come to an end, the excitement and beauty of Holy Week has passed, and the joy and celebration of Easter Sunday lies behind us.

So now what?

How does Christ’s Resurrection change my life, today?

The Catechism provides the answer:

…The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings…The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. – #651, 654

Christ opens up the way to a new life. Why do I need a new life?

For me, the answer lies in the two parts of the salvific equation.



Now let’s break that down…


Original sin is a doctrinal fact. The effects of original sin are manifested in my nature every day. It’s easy to talk about Adam & Eve, the serpent, and that “first” sin, but understanding how that has affected me is a different matter.

I suffer from a fallen nature.

What does that mean? Again, let’s turn to the Catechism:

As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers; subject to ignorance, suffering, and the domination of death; and inclined to sin (This inclination is called “concupiscence.”). #418

This sin thing is no joke. In this life, I’m likely or prone to be affected by a lack of knowledge or information. I’m going to experience pain and distress. I’m going to die. Oh yeah, and I’m going to be inclined to sin…the very thing that causes me to be ignorant, to suffer, and inevitably to die. How crazy is that!?


This is just a fact. First, I know that I don’t know everything. I’m affected by my lack of knowledge all the time – I make poor decisions, I have to study, I’ve been out-smarted, out-scored, out-thought. Second, I’ve experienced suffering – fevers, flus, injuries, heartaches, tears, loss, anxiety, doubt, fear. And last, I’ve been to enough funerals to know that I’m going to die. That’s REALITY. I’ll never know everything, I’m going to suffer, and I’m going to die and I can’t do anything about it.


I want out of this state of ignorance, suffering, and death. I seriously need and want a savior!

Don’t you?

So it makes sense to me, that if Someone appeared on the scene of human history and said,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word…has eternal life; he does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.” – John 5:24

In other words, “I’m the Savior!” That being so, I might want to hear what He has to say. I might want to investigate His claims. I might want to try to find out if any of His promises came true.


“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” – Matt 20:18-19

He said it, and it all came true. That is a historical fact. The Resurrection happened, for real. In 2000 years, NO ONE has produced a body, bones, or any evidence to prove otherwise.

Think about that. JESUS ROSE.

Therefore, everything He taught and promised, by default, MUST be true. I don’t know of another person in all of human history who conquered death.


Given all that, I need Jesus. He is the answer.

Jesus is the truth.

All the darkness of my ignorance will be enlightened by Truth Himself.

Jesus is the way.

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. – Matt 16:24

Where did Jesus go with the cross? To Calvary, to his crucifixion and death.

Suffering now has meaning. Suffering, that negative effect of original sin, now has redemptive value. No Cross, No Resurrection.

For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. – Phil 3:8-11

St. Paul wasn’t worried about money, a nice house, a nice horse (or car), retirement, prestige, power, or fame. He just wanted to know Jesus Christ, share in His sufferings, and attain the resurrection from the dead.

For me, that’s a game changer. I want what St. Paul wanted, for I know where he now rests. I want to be able to say with him,

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
– Phil 3:7

Jesus is the life.

“O death, where is thy sting!” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Cor 15:55-58

Jesus is the answer to death. I will physically die, just like everyone else. But Christ has promised that this life isn’t the end, in fact He promised that one day even my body will be reunited with my soul, to dwell with Him for all eternity.

How can I be certain of that?

Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead!

And this is my new life. I try to live this life like the next life matters. I try to become more like Christ, and that means living the Resurrection.

May God bless you and keep you.