EL CENTRO — Isabel Andrade, Catholic Charities community services program supervisor for Imperial County, gave a presentation on Listos California during the El Centro City Council meeting Tuesday, August 4, regarding disaster preparedness.
WASHINGTON— The leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, headed by Archbishop José H. Gómez of Los Angeles cosigned a letter requesting that emergency aid to Catholic schools be included in the next federal COVID emergency relief package.
“The economic devastation that has hit so many of America’s families has made it impossible for many struggling families to continue paying tuition,” the bishops wrote. “As a result, already 140 Catholic schools have permanently closed their doors, and hundreds more are in danger of being unable to open in the fall. The closure of schools that serve urban areas are
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WASHINGTON—Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement today:
“Alongside Pope Francis and my brother bishops throughout Latin America, I condemn the sacrilegious attack against the Cathedral of Managua that occurred on Friday, July 31. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, archbishop of Managua, called the incendiary-bomb attack an ‘act of terrorism.’
“The apparent target of the explosion—an historic crucifix crafted in the 17th century—has become a poignant image of the country’s suffering Church, which has sustained repeated rhetorical and physical attacks (three in the last
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SAN DIEGO –The U.S. Catholic Church at all levels is tackling the legacy of racism in the country and working toward lasting change.
At the San Diego Diocese, the Office of Ethnic and Intercultural Communities will host a community forum via Zoom, the latest diocesan event to explore racism in various arenas and to identify long-term solutions that can be implemented locally.
The three-part forum will start by listening to personal stories then focusing on strategies for overcoming racial prejudice in the Church and strengthening diversity and inclusion in parishes. The forum will be held Wednesday evenings, 6:30-8:30 p.m., on
Read More at Southern Cross
The latest 2020 Census response rates released show that Imperial County is falling behind in both the State and National self-response rates, according to a press release.
SAN DIEGO — The producers of the religious drama “Fatima,” which will be released in theaters and premium video-on-demand Aug. 28 (its original April 24 theatrical release date was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic), could not have asked for a better endorsement.
At a private screening held last January for the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, the film received a standing ovation.
In a March 4 telephone interview with The Southern Cross, producer Dick Lyles said the Shrine of Fatima had declared the film to be both historically and theologically accurate and had praised its
Read More at Southern Cross
Reflection by Tracy Eisner
Today’s Gospel: John 6:51-58 – Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus emphatically and repeatedly proclaims that He is the bread of life and partaking in His body and blood will bring eternal life, entwining us with Christ — the one and only true sustenance. Jesus doesn’t say that the bread and blood represent Him or are a likeness or symbol of Him: the bread and blood ARE the body and blood of Christ. Period End. Important enough that He speaks this six times in this Gospel…in case we didn’t hear it the first five times.
As a young mother with 4 kiddos who took turns distracting me during the Mass, receiving Holy Communion was frequently the only part of Mass that I remembered. As I lamented to a friend that I often felt exasperated and got nothing out of Mass due to the constant herding of little kittens in my pew, she reminded me that there are many graces granted to those who attend Mass and receive the holy Body and Blood. She also encouraged me to keep on keepin’ on, and that I would experience those graces throughout my long days and short years with these little people. And so I went, even when I knew it would be a struggle — no matter what shenanigans were going on in my pew (looking at you, palms on Palm Sunday), when we took our place in line to receive Holy Communion the kids lined up and pulled it together for the remainder of Mass, every time. My strength renewed for another week ahead, that post-Communion peace in our pew was a little reminder that He was with us every wiggle, loud whisper, wrestling match and loud toddler protests. Graces abundant indeed.
Believing that He healed the broken, rose from the dead, and sits at the right hand of God, for me, it’s not that big of a stretch to believe He can turn bread and wine into His very presence each and every Mass. The ultimate gift is the receiving of the Eucharist: to be one with Christ, wound together in body, blood, soul and divinity in spite of our past or future.
How do you prepare your heart to receive the precious Body and Blood of Christ before Mass?
Lord, may Your great love lead us to You, to experience Your love and ultimate sacrifice for us in the gift of the Eucharist, Your Body and Blood.
Copyright 2020 Tracy Eisner
Wife to my HS sweetheart and mama to 4 awesome young adults. Intermittently blogging these days as we navigate a half-empty nest with two more ready to spread their wings sooner than I’d like! Long walks with my dog, time at the beach, yoga, a good book — these are some of my favorite things!
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Parenting – The Most Difficult Job on Earth
Thanks to a prayer pledge through Blessed Is She and a quick study on YouVersion with my sisters-in-law, I realized how much more I need God when trying to lead my children towards Him through the everyday grind. I cannot get through one day without His help.
So where is His help??
Or should I say, WHO is His help?
God gave us the Helper, or the Holy Spirit, for a reason! He knows we cannot do anything without Him, even though we like to think we can. I was recently told by a friend at a Blessed Is She Brunch that it’s not true God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Because He absolutely does! How else will we realize we need Him if we are given too much on our plate? We need to be turned into a big pile of a blubbering mess for us to learn to lean on Him.
And, with parenting, I’m turned into a big blubbering mess on my knees …
Every. Single. Day.
Parenting is HARD STUFF! Especially when you want to parent the way God parents us with gentleness, mercy, patience, slowness to anger, love every time, etc.
It’s so much easier to snap at my 4-year-old when he has a massive meltdown over a misplaced pea than to remember to take a breath and calmly tell him how to get through that dinner catastrophe.
It’s so much easier to yell back at my 2-year-old when he screams (at decibels I didn’t know humans could reach) after telling him, “No, you CANNOT dip your favorite cow stuffed animal into your milk and cereal,” than to walk over to him and gently explain why he cannot do that.
These things are my auto-pilot responses most often. Responding with gentleness is the last thing on my mind. Responding with patience isn’t even in my mind.
But after this prayer pledge, I realized that when I call on my Helper, God’s responses to my children come front and center.
Ask and You Shall Receive
This prayer pledge taught me DAILY to call on the Holy Spirit, something I really don’t do. I talk to God my Heavenly Father and Jesus my Savior and Brother because I feel a connection with them. Through this pledge, I realized that I have never felt a connection with the Holy Spirit. After realizing this lack of relationship, I simply whispered this prayer to Him:
Holy Spirit, please show me your relationship with me.
Enter prayer-answering floodgates bursting open.
After I said that prayer, within the next two days I was asked to join a study on the Holy Spirit and my small group also began a seminar called “The Gift” which is an incredible introduction to the Holy Spirit as well.
This prayer pledge taught me to talk to the Holy Spirit when I was struggling … so naturally, I had Him on the line all day long! But when I spoke to Him when things were getting crazy chaotic, I responded with such gentleness and patience to my boys that I was blown away.
The two most effective prayers that I remembered and spoke constantly throughout the days were:
(From the Prayer to the Holy Spirit by St. Augustine)
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy
Holy Spirit, please deliver the grace to me to be gentle with my children today. Breathe the love of Christ through my words and actions.
The days that these prayers were echoed in my heart all day long, there was a tremendous effect on my parenting. Go figure, huh? God gives a Helper; I call on my Helper and … He HELPS!
The Holy Spirit quickly heightened my awareness of each situation I encountered. I very quickly learned yelling only makes everything worse, so it was easier to not yell for that reason.
I was also convicted of things I needed to change, like putting my phone down. When it was down, my children got my full attention (as they always should) and in turn their behavior was better. I was also made aware that when I was interrupted while on my phone, I became too irritable with them.
And finally, I was also able to see my babies through God’s eyes and feel even more love for them, a love that conquered the exhaustion from having a new baby and the irritation I felt with every little chaotic fight that broke out between them. It was a breath of fresh air – the breath of the Living God!
Satan Despises Stillness
WHY is it so hard for us to remember these SIMPLE instructions God gives us? He knows we need help, we know we need His help, and yet we forget to call on Him time and time again.
It’s because Satan is super good at his work (he even tempted Jesus). He makes sure that how little money we have left in our checking account is constantly in the back of our minds.
He reminds us how much debt we have and how much overtime will have to be worked to cover all the bills AND food.
He echoes in our minds all the things we did WRONG with our children and with our husband that day.
He attacks our identity as children of God. He will tell us we’re ugly, we’re terrible parents, and we will ruin our children. He repeats messages of no hope.
He knows if we believe these lies he is whispering all day and letting them build up on our shoulders, one little cry from our child will make us snap at them for no reason.
He keeps a never-ending playlist of the things we need to do running through our minds so we never stop going. So we are never still.
He knows what happens if we become still: we stop hearing His voice and start hearing our Creator’s instead.
Sit and Be
We don’t allow time to sit and be. To sit and be with our Heavenly Father who speaks slowly, quietly, lovingly, gently, patiently, and asks to take all of our worries from us. When you sit in stillness, you will hear:
“My child, I love you. I love you. Sit and talk to Me. I will take all of those worries off your shoulders if you allow Me. Just ask Me. You are a WONDERFUL mother to My children. I see how much you love and care for them.
You will be okay financially. I will always take care of you and provide for you and your family.
Those things on your list you need to finish? Forget about them right now and spend time with Me. I promise there will be plenty of time to finish them, and if you spend time with Me, you will be refreshed when you have to start them. I will send My Helper to be with you every step of the way.
You are never alone.”
Right now, whatever you are doing, retreat to a quiet place (even if it’s the bathroom). Sit and be still. Allow God to talk to you.
This is what your weary soul is hungering for: time with its Creator!
Allow yourself to be refreshed so you can approach those tough situations in parenting in a totally new way.
Allow our loving Helper to breathe new life into you so you have the strength and love of Christ in your words and actions.
Allow the Holy Spirit to whisper Truths into your mind to suffocate the lies Satan is speaking.
Call out to your Helper! He is waiting.
Do you have a relationship with the Holy Spirit? What are certain things throughout the day that are tougher and trigger not-so-Godly responses to your children that you can call on your Helper for assistance?
Copyright 2020 Elaine Sinnott
Have you ever noticed the vulnerability of babies and elderly when it comes to showing a smile to others? It’s like a joy and a total trust in God that is wonderful to watch. Not only is wonderful to watch but even better to partake if you’re on the receiving end. Just like the love of God, when we are dependent on His Love, we can smile knowing that every hair on our head is counted. We are accounted for. We mean something to him.
There have been times in my own life when my brain cried out for peace just thinking about all I had to do. I become overwhelmed thinking of the tasks at hand instead of just trusting God is with me and will show me how to go about my life each moment.
Thinking of young children and of the elderly reminds me that life is short, but when we depend on God more we know that we can freely be happy. We can trust that even the smile on our face will be provided by God since He is watching over us. The next time you see a baby or toddler or a very old person who is dependent on others, think of God’s providence in your own life. You can count on that.
Dear Jesus, we know you are caring for us. When we see a child or an elderly person, we see your grace at work for you take care of everyone. Even those who are neglected are never forgotten by you. Help us to trust that you will proved happiness in our lives. You can give us true joy. You can take away our burdens and our sorrows. Lord, our prayer is that you will make us like children in our trust and love of you. Amen.
Copyright 2020 Anne DeSantis
SAN DIEGO — A popular cartoon has been making the rounds on social media. It depicts an imagined conversation between God and the devil about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Christian communities.
The devil crows that, with COVID-19, he has succeeded in closing every church in the world. But God counters that, in fact, He has opened a church inside every home.
Whether aware of it or not, the cartoonist was illustrating the concept of “domestic church,” the idea that every Christian family is a microcosm of the Universal Church and that every home should be a place of prayer.
For John Prust, director of the diocesan Office for Family Life and Spirituality, the domestic church is “the Church in miniature.”
“The larger Church is really a series of domestic churches, a family of families,” he explained, “and the Church really begins at home.”
This concept has its roots in the earliest days of Christianity, when the first Christians would meet in small groups in their own homes to celebrate the Eucharist. In the latter half of the 20th century, the ancient concept was dusted off, reintroduced to the world by the Second Vatican Council, and then championed by successive popes.
But, despite having such a distinguished pedigree, many Catholics are still unfamiliar with domestic church and what it means. This situation is something that the Family Life and Spirituality Office is actively working to change.
Prust and associate directors Ricardo Marquez and Janelle Peregoy have each penned brief reflections on the meaning of domestic church. They also have been updating their office’s website and are currently developing a handbook that they hope to make available to parishes within the coming months.
With all churches in the diocese closed for public Masses since March 16 and a statewide stay-at-home order in place, the idea of domestic church is especially timely.
Marquez acknowledged that, in contemporary Catholic life, parish church buildings have become the gathering places for worship. But Catholics are currently unable to assemble there in large numbers.
He said the pandemic and the resulting lockdown have presented Catholics with “an opportunity to look into our tradition, our history,” and to recover the concept of the domestic church, which was always there.
Developing resources on how to transform homes into domestic churches had been on the agenda since the Family Life and Spirituality Office was established in 2017 after the previous year’s diocesan synod on marriage and family. While the ongoing lockdown did not inspire the idea, it has provided the office with time to devote to this long-gestating project.
“What better time to help families remember … or just make them aware of what they really committed to, what it means to be family,” Prust said.
In his recent essay on the subject, he stressed how the domestic church is some-thing to which all are called to participate.
“Wherever a married couple lives, the domestic church is found,” he writes. “Even those who are single or divorced are also sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, and therefore part of the domestic church.”
He added that the domestic church “grows” through a family’s commitment to mission, to fellowship, and to prayer and the sacraments.
In her own essay, Peregoy identifies Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia as “a pastoral guide” for developing a domestic church. The papal document promotes the use of symbols, actions, stories and prayer as powerful means of evangelization within the home.
Peregoy’s essay encourages families to reflect on what they are doing in each of these areas. For instance, in terms of symbols, is there religious imagery hanging on the walls of the house? In the realm of action, does the family attend Mass regularly and are the parents involved with parish ministries and community organizations? Regarding stories and prayer, does the family read Bible stories and pray together?
Reflecting on the importance of the domes-tic church, Prust told The Southern Cross, “There may be no better thing that we can do to strengthen our parishes and strengthen our Church than strengthen our families.”