God wants us to be happy.
Of course, that’s not all there is to life, to be happy for happiness’s sake. God is more concerned about His people being good and doing good as vessels of His creation. But if we are not happy, everything – including being a good Catholic – becomes more difficult. Negative thoughts, a lack of confidence, and disconnect with oneself and with others create barriers to reaching one’s full potential. On the other hand, happy people have the energy, enthusiasm, and focus to live out their lives in the manner which God intends for us to do.
So, we know that God probably does want us to be happy, and we understand that happiness clears the way for authentic spiritual living. The question is, how can we become happier?
Dr. Laurie Santos has grappled with this question throughout her professional career. A Professor of Psychology at Yale University, she finally decided to put her research to use by creating a class called “The Science of Happiness.” In short time, the class became the largest in school history, with just under a quarter of the entire Yale student body registered.
Dr. Santos was encouraged to share her secrets with a world desperate for her teachings, so she developed a class on Coursera, a free online university open to the public. As the world suffered through a pandemic, political turmoil, and other societal disruptions, enrollment quickly doubled, quadrupled, and more. By the end of 2020, more than three million people had signed up for her Coursera course!
A few months ago, in an interview with Newsweek, Dr. Santos distilled her lessons on happiness into five key practices. For each principle, I’ve provided a Bible verse (or two) to illustrate that these practices do in fact align with what God wants – and expects – from us.
#1 Get Social
We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25)
In a 2002 happiness survey, psychologists Ed Diener and Martin Seligman discovered that one thing separated the top 10% of happy people from others. Happy people were more social.
Come early and stay late for Sunday Mass. Join a committee, choir, or some other organization at church. And if you’re not yet sick of Zoom, make it a routine to chat with your relatives and friends who live out of town.
#2 Give Thanks
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
People who show gratitude tend to be happier and show lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. One study found that health care workers who journal their gratitude show less stress and depression. Another body of research demonstrated that people suffering from chronic pain experience better sleep and mood when they practice gratitude.
Keep a journal. Send a thank-you note to someone, even if their act of kindness took place months or even years ago. Always be sure to say thanks, wave, or smile, even for the little things in life – holding a door, a driver’s courtesy, or a compliment.
By the way, you will not be surprised to learn that the concept of thankfulness appears almost 200 times in the Bible!
#3 Be in the Moment
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. (Matthew 6:34)
Harvard psychologists have learned that people spend more than 40 percent of their time mind-wandering—not paying attention to the here and now. Living in the past is unproductive and a far-off future is never guaranteed. We must find joy in each day we have been blessed with.
Many people swear by meditation. Although I don’t do it, I certainly commit myself to noticing what the world around me looks, sounds, and feels like. “My coffee tastes great this morning.” “This shower feels nice and warm.” There are good, pleasurable things all around us, if we just take a little time to pay attention to them.
#4 Rest and Move
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, to eat bread earned by hard toil – all this God gives to his beloved in sleep. (Psalm 127:2)
Studies too numerous to list demonstrate the links between physical fitness and mental health. When you exercise, it increases adrenaline, endocannabinoid, dopamine, and endorphins, which are associated with happiness and confidence, and which reduce anxiety, stress, and physical pain. In addition, all of the other happiness habits depend upon getting a full night’s rest, every night.
Enjoy a regular walking routine or some other workout schedule. At night, read a book instead of using electronic devices. Set and maintain a consistent bedtime routine.
#5 Be Kind
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. (Luke 6:35)
The science says that we receive happiness when we are kind to others. People who share more of their time and money in charity and random acts of kindness are reportedly the happiest.
Also, be kind to yourself! People who are compassionate toward themselves are more likely to reach their happiness goals than those who impose harsh self-criticism and unrealistic expectations. The past year and a half has been pretty tough; remember that you’re human and you’re doing the best you can.
Chances are that you are already engaged in some of these five key principles. Try doing something new in each category, and before long you just might find that living a happy Catholic life is not nearly as daunting as you thought.
Oh, and if you’d like to check out Dr. Laurie Santos’s Coursera class, look for “The Science of Well-Being” on Coursera.org.
By Andrew Crane
Parishioner and Member of our Dignity of Life Committee
Source: Santos, L. (2020, December 22). 5 things that will make you happier. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/2021/01/08/laurie-santos-yale-happiness-professor-5-things-that-will-make-you-happier-1556182.html.
COVID-19 Stress Relief Tips
1) Rest assured, you are not alone. It is natural to feel stress and anxiety at this time.
2) Set aside time to breathe. It allows you time to take a break from your concerns.
3) Know it is okay to ask for help. The reality is most people not only want to help; but it brings them joy.
4) Focus on the good and provide acts of kindness. Contact someone who is alone and let them know you are thinking of them.
5) Take one day at a time. Be grateful for the connections you have.
6) Know timing is everything. Stay informed but avoid too much negative news.
7) Focus on what you can do and accept the things you cannot control. Take care of yourself.
8) Find ways to stay safely connected. Sharing helps to stay connected.
9) Set daily routines that include being creative. Try to get fresh air, even if it is standing in your driveway for five minutes.
10) Write it down. It helps to get your fears and concerns out of your head and into the open.
11) Remember daily prayer lightens your path.
Brought to you by our Health & Wellness Committee: Carole Stoychoff, Marianne Olson and Judy Benkowski. Typed by Carol Jensen.
Meet our Health & Wellness Committee who Share Ideas on Coping and Finding Joy During COVID-19
Hello, I am CATHY S. I am a newly retired RN. I have been at SEAS for 25 years. I look forward to making a difference with sharing my talents and knowledge. I look forward to meeting and getting to know more of our SEAS’ families. I have also been involved with our choir for 7 years and am really excited to get back together again. I want the church to be filled with the sound of music.
Regarding finding joy during this pandemic, I want to share Kimberly Wagner’s words of wisdom regarding setting a trajectory of joy before the day begins. She states “You might find it tempting to sleep in right now, but be intentional with the early moments to prepare your heart for the day before chaos takes over. It’s vitally important to meet with God by getting into the Word and letting Him know how very much you need His help for all that will come your way. My responsibilities and the future unknowns never look as threatening and ominous once I go to the Father of comforts and sit in His presence a good while– before all the daily distractions hit. Personally, I cannot stress this enough– getting to God in the first moments of the day can really set the course for the rest of your day.”
Hello, I am MARY JO R.. I have been a member of SEAS for 27 years. I enjoy my role as a volunteer at SEAS, especially as a coordinator of the annual Christmas Sponsorship Program. I am a RN and have worked in various positions in medical/surgical nursing. However, I enjoy cardiac nursing the most. I look forward to working with this great team as we build the Health and Wellness Program at SEAS. I look forward to meeting other parishioners as they explore information and opportunities in their wellness journey.
I would like to share with you “4 Ways to Cope With Covid 19”. This is my biggest takeaway from an article I read in Psychology Today by Jamie Aten, PhD
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule and practice other healthy sleeping habits (e.g. using naps with care, limiting light exposure from LED screens before sleep)
- Maintain a healthy balance of nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy protein.
- Exercise regularly. Try to get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Stay somewhat physically active during your day.
- Do not self-isolate. Are others perceiving you as emotionally withdrawn? Reach out to others. Call a friend. Face Time or Zoom someone. Go for a walk with someone.
Hello my name is JUDY B. I am the mother of 6 wonderful children and the grandmother of 12 awesome grandchildren I am a retired teacher. I love to be outside walking and enjoying the beauty and wonder of God’s beautiful world.
Hello my name is LYN W. I have always been interested in health and wellness and how they are connected. I worked at St Vincent Hospital in the lab for over 40 years. Until Covid 19, I volunteered at Unity Hospice and at St Mary’s Hospital as a Eucharistic Minister. I have worked in healthcare most of my life. My outlook on life has been impacted by care needed for parents and in-laws due to their aging and dementia. I have experienced how wellness and health interact to lead to a better lifestyle.
My thoughts on finding joy during Covid -19 are based on an article by Angela Gorrell. She states “Gratitude brings to mind good that is in the world which makes rejoicing possible”. Personally, I am practicing gratitude during these difficult times. I am grateful for the following: 1. Noticing changing of the seasons in the neighborhood on my daily walks. 2. Technology that allowed us to connect with children and grandchildren. 3. Ability to connect with friends through FaceTime on Thanksgiving while we were in quarantine.
Hello my name is CAROLE S. I am an RN. I spent 42 years of nursing at St Vincent Hospital. Twenty-two of those 42 years was spent in neuro-ICU and 20 years in home health care nursing. I feel I worked from one spectrum to the other. I was happily married for 48 years until the passing of my husband in 2018. I have 2 sons, 1 daughter and 7 grandchildren who are the love of my life. Being a member of SEAS and beginning this journey of bringing wellness to parishioners has brought much fulfillment to my life.
Hello my name is MARIANNE O. I am a retired nurse and mother of three. I received my nurses training from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. I have had experience in various fields of nursing. I worked in medical-surgical nursing, surgical outpatient, outpatient allergy clinic, and in emergency room nursing (my favorite). I retired after 15 years of nursing with The Red Cross. The health field has been very important in our family as my daughter and granddaughter are both RN’s. I also have another granddaughter who is a physician assistant. I found all of my nursing experiences very rewarding. I am happy I chose nursing as my lifelong career.
Hello I am TINA F. My husband, Matt, and I moved here 2 years ago from Eau Claire WI -where we raised our two kids. We have been members at SEAS the last two years. I worked on the Parish Life Committee at SEAS; however, my passion is health and wellness. I have been bugging Sister Marla since I moved here to start a Health and Wellness Committee. I am a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist and have been working in this field for 35 years. I have a private practice in Green Bay and work part-time. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing group of individuals. With God, we look forward to reaching out and bringing health and wellness to all of you.
For many of us, this pandemic has caused some real suffering including death, illness, financial hardship, depression, loneliness, fear, anger, etc.
I have taught classes in the past on how to find joy in the midst of suffering. St Thomas Aquinas states, “Joy can be described as spiritual contentment, resulting from the possession of a desired good. “Authentic Joy” consists in the possession of God, Who alone can satisfy our hearts, which thirst for infinite truth and infinite love. Joy is present when there remains nothing to be desired”.
One of the truths that has helped me to view “suffering” differently is the truth that suffering can bring you closer to God. There is no doubt Jesus carried the cross and suffered miserably. However on the other side of this suffering was the resurrection. I really have come to believe that if God brings you “to it”, He can bring you “through it.”
“You cannot conceive”, said Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez “how great is the reparatory value of suffering”. Suffering you see nourishes and perfects love. And it is love alone that has any value in God’s eyes. St Therese said “when suffering is accepted with love, it is no longer suffering, but it is changed to joy.”
Changing my perspective on “suffering” has helped me immensely to get through difficult dark times. Maintaining hope is also key. Never give up hope! I have lived long enough to know there is always hope. Hope is also another prerequisite to finding joy.
Our virtual Mardi Gras event was February 6, 2021, with a delicious meal, silent auction, and jazz music. We are grateful to all who helped make it a success. There were many behind-the-scenes volunteers that we couldn’t have done it without. We enjoyed the music of local band Brass Differential who recorded three songs exclusively for this event. Catholic Financial Life sponsored the songs My Feet Can’t Feel Me Now and Do Whatcha Wanna. Gerbers Law sponsored the song Hurricane Season. We especially thank the cooks who made all the food. You’ve asked for the recipes. Here they are.
▪ 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
▪ 12 oz. (4 links) Johnsonville New Orleans Andouille sausage
▪ 1 medium-sized onion, cut in large chunks
▪ 1 green bell pepper, seeded & cut in chunks
▪ 3 ribs celery cut in chunks
▪ 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (used Zatarains)
▪ 1 – 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
▪ 1 cup long-grain white rice
▪ 1 can (15.5 oz.) chicken broth
▪ 1# peeled & deveined uncooked shrimp
Cut vegetables in similar-sized pieces for even cooking. Stir all ingredients, except the shrimp, together in a large bowl. Pour into baking dish and cover. Bake at 350° for 1 -1 ½ hours. Add shrimp in last 30 minutes of baking. Check and stir several times throughout.
▪ 1 can cream style corn
▪ 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
▪ 1 stick melted butter
▪ 1 cup sour cream
▪ 1 pkg. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
▪ 2 eggs, slightly beaten
Mix all ingredients well. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 350°.
Authentic New Orleans Style Gumbo
Ingredients for the Roux
▢1 heaping cup all-purpose flour (1 ¼ – 1 ½ )
▢2/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
Ingredients for the Gumbo
▢1 bunch celery, diced, leaves and all
▢1 green bell pepper, diced
▢1 large yellow onion, diced
▢1 bunch green onion, finely chopped
▢1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
▢2-3 cloves garlic
▢1-2 Tablespoons cajun seasoning * (I used 1 TBSP Zatarains)
▢8 cups Chicken broth *
▢12 ounce package andouille sausages , sliced into coins
▢Meat from 1 Rotisserie Chicken*
▢2 cups Shrimp, pre cooked
▢Cooked white rice for serving
Make the Roux*. In a large, heavy bottom stock pot, combine flour and oil. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 30-45 minutes. This part takes patience. When it’s finished, it should be as dark as chocolate and have a soft, “cookie dough” like consistency. Be careful not to let it burn! Feel free to add a little more flour or oil as needed to reach this consistency.
Brown the sausage. In a separate skillet on medium-high heat place the sausage slices in one layer in the pan. Brown them well on one side (2-3 minutes) and then use a fork to flip each over onto the other side to brown. Remove to a plate.
Cook the vegetables in broth. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the hot skillet that had the sausage to deglaze the pan. Pour the broth and drippings into your large soup pot. Add remaining 7 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Add veggies, parsley, and roux to the pot and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly tender. (Skim off any foam that may rise to the top of the pot.) Stir in cajun seasoning to taste.
Add meat. Add chicken, sausage, and shrimp.
Taste and serve. At this point taste it and add more seasonings to your liking–salt, pepper, chicken bullion paste, garlic, more Joe’s stuff or more chicken broth–until you reach the perfect flavor. Serve warm over rice. (Tastes even better the next day!)
Notes roux. The roux can be made 3-5 days in advance, stored in a large reseal-able bag in the fridge.
Notes chicken and broth. The best way to make this gumbo is by buying a rotisserie chicken–removing all the chicken, and using the carcass to make homemade chicken broth. Then make the gumbo using the chicken and homemade broth. You can use store-bought chicken broth, but homemade is way better! (I used store-bought for the Mardi Gras.)
Storing Instructions. Store Gumbo covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freezing Instructions. This recipe makes quite a lot, so save leftovers for another day! To freeze gumbo, allow it to cool completely and store it in a freezer safe container (separate from the rice) for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Nutrition. Calories: 464kca. Carbohydrates: 5g. Protein: 12. Fat: 29g. Saturated Fat: 3g. Cholesterol: 116mg. Sodium: 1303mg. Potassium: 371mg. Fiber: 1g. Sugar: 1g. Vitamin A: 230IU. Vitamin C: 38.4mg. Calcium: 94mg. Iron 1.7mg.
Our jazz songs’ sponsors. Thank you for your support!
You’re not racist.
I always thought that was enough. Oh, I knew that I had my biases and prejudices, like everyone. But because I was conscious of them and did not treat others unfairly because of them, I wasn’t racist.
I was certain that racism was not endorsed by the Bible. Sure enough, in James 2:8-9, we read, “However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
I was also pretty sure that church leaders must have condemned racism. In 2020’s “Open Wide Our Hearts,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops proclaimed, “Racism is evil because it attacks the inherent dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God.”
So, I thought I knew what racism was, that it was inconsistent with my faith, and that I wasn’t part of the problem.
But that’s no longer enough. I have to take the next step; I have to be an anti-racist. All Catholics have to be anti-racists. Each of us must be part of the solution.
If we are to end the scourge of racism in our land, we must now stand up to all words, actions, traditions, and policies that prevent people from realizing their full potential, enjoying life to its fullest, and fulfilling the “more perfect union” the Constitution calls for.
It is time to take a side, and as Catholics that must be the side of anti-racism.
Elie Wiesel knew something about racism. Millions of his Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis because of their ethnic backgrounds. Wiesel himself was a survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe” Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
We can become the center of the universe when it comes to combatting racism. The alternative is to do nothing, to say nothing, and allow the center of the universe to remain as it was. As a black hole.
For more information, videos, and a Prayer to Overcome Racism, go online to www.usccb.org, the Issues and Actions tab, Racism drop-down box.
Written by: Parishioner Andrew Crane, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Dignity of Life Committee Member
How to Discuss Politics in a Dignified Way
Social Justice Essay
“So, what do you think about impeachment?”
It’s Thanksgiving, and once again we can count on Uncle Charlie to bring up politics. As we approach another contentious election year, how can we maintain our Christian dignity when disagreeing with people we care about?
A common suggestion is to avoid politics altogether, and sometimes this may be the only solution. However, a better option might be to respectfully engage in polite discussion. When polarized Americans are retreating into two separate camps with their own cable news networks, websites, and radio shows, intergroup interactions could greatly benefit society.
When a friend or relative disagrees with you, ask whether that relationship is worth it, suggests author David Olarinoye. If so, consider giving up the goal of winning the argument. If you can, make the new goal coming to a truce. In this way, you know that there will be disagreement and that you’re not going to win but you’re not going to lose either.
Make yourself be heard, share the facts and statistics, and ask the other person to provide their sources of information. And let the other person do the same thing. Be a good listener. And remember that you will not convince someone that they are wrong and you are right.
Most people want to solve the same problems; they just have slightly different solutions. Seek out ideas that you both agree with. And keep it about the ideas – don’t make it personal. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
So when Uncle Charlie wants to talk politics on Thanksgiving, pass the gravy, and don’t necessarily pass on the opportunity to understand each other’s point of view just a little bit more.
Authored by Andrew Crane, parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Dignity of Life Committee
The crisis of abortion is enormous. A tragedy of epidemic proportions, abortion is the leading cause of death in the world taking an estimated 40 million lives every year. 40 Days for Life is a world-wide campaign to educate, build awareness, and pray for God’s intervention in bringing about an end to abortion.
40 Days for Life-Green Bay is September 26 – November 4, 2018. Our team is walking on Fridays from 10am to 11am at Planned Parenthood, 2605 S. Oneida St., Ashwaubenon, Green Bay. Please join the team if you are available. You’re also welcome to join the vigil any day or time you’re available as its 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
The dates our team is at the vigil are October 5, October 12, October 19, October 26, and November 2.
Pro-life and post-abortion resources are below.
Following is a list of deceptions propagated by Planned Parenthood (PP) followed by videos with the truth by the Center for Medical Progress; obtained from Alliance Defending Freedom website.
- Deception 1: PP provides essential Care women can’t get anywhere else.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDHPq6q-RWY (36 seconds)
TRUTH: There are more than 13,000 low cost clinics that women can chose instead of PP. Most of these clinics, which outnumber PP nearly 20:1, offer far more health services than PP. On average these clinics are less than 5 miles from PP locations. To find out where to get your care, go to http://getyourcare.org/ .
- Deception 2: If Planned Parenthood loses funding, other clinics will be overwhelmed with new patients.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgOQ6kwgxvM (51 seconds)
TRUTH: By PP own numbers barely 2% of women step into one of their facilities. If you believe PP isn’t double counting, which they’ve been known to do, they see 2.7 million people per year. So if each person went to one of the other (more than) 13,000 low cost clinics, it would mean an extra 1 person to each clinic every other day. These clinics could expand if they had access to the resources PP has (> $500,000 government funding/year).
- Deception 3: Defunding Planned Parenthood would actually increase abortion.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR9-jZFmoEo (52 seconds)
TRUTH: PP basis for this claim; if defunded, PP won’t be able to give out birth control. Untrue; they can give out BC whether or not they get federal funding. PP was defunded in TX in 2012. Did abortion sky-rocket? No. In 2012, there were 68,298 abortions; in 2013 there were 63,849 (6.5% fewer abortions).
- Deception 4: Planned Parenthood wants to reduce abortion.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnItPOgQfOo (46 seconds)
TRUTH: PP is growing in market share. From 2006-13, as number of abortions decreased dramatically, PP went from committing 20% of all abortions to 32% of all abortions; 60% increase in market share. In 2006, PP committed about 290,000 abortions; in 2013 327,000 abortions.
- Deception 5: Planned Parenthood cares for poor women in rural and underserved areas.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlDv5JG3YT8 (48 seconds)
TRUTH: PP is concentrated in large cities and metro areas; exodus from rural areas. Opting to build abortion mega centers in big cities where the abortion customers are, not where the women in need are.
- Deception 6: Only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion (Part 1).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fICno5puzy8 (47 seconds)
TRUTH: PP claims that, of its 2.7 million customers, nearly 328,000 got abortions (2014); over 12%; 94% of pregnant women who go to PP get abortions; PP gets about 1/3 of clinic income from abortion; PP is in the business of creating abortion customers.
- Deception 7: Only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion. (Part 2).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z8Bv6LA_x8 (58 seconds)
TRUTH: PP touts 3% number to disguise the truth that abortion is their business. Where do they get the number? Woman comes in for an abortion. She may also get an STD test, pap test, birth control and pain medication; each one of these counts as a service. So, if the woman only came for an abortion, the actual abortion would only count for 20% of the services. Like Rich Lowry points out; it’s like major league baseball saying that it sells about 20 million hot dogs and plays 2, 430 games in a season, so baseball is only 0.12% of what they do.
- Deception 8: Planned Parenthood is the good-hearted non-profit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcvwigLGN5I (55 seconds)
TRUTH: PP is a billion dollar corporation; reported profits of $750 million over last 10 years, during which it has taken $4 billion “in corporate welfare from Americans’ paychecks”. PP has more than a billion dollars in assets; subsidized by the American people. PP gives millions of dollars to politicians who will keep giving our money to PP.
- Deception 9: Planned Parenthood is relentless in screening for breast and cervical cancer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMeCbR4j8to (45 seconds)
TRUTH: Between 2006 and 2013, PP cut breast cancer screening in half. During that same period, PP’s revenue grew 28% and taxpayer funding increased by 57%. PP does zero mammograms.
- Deception 10: Planned Parenthood is needed to reduce sexually transmitted infections.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK2FzZumCIY (41 seconds)
TRUTH: Would you think that where ever there is a PP that STDs would be virtually eradicated? Of the 25 cities with highest rates of HIV in US, all have at least 1 PP. In cities 2 (New Orleans), 3 (Baton Rouge), and
4 (Jackson, MS), they are the ONLY cities in those states where there IS a PP.
- Deception 11: Redirecting funds from Planned Parenthood to trustworthy care providers would create a women’s health apocalypse.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jWoCH6Nig4 (51 seconds)
TRUTH: There are more than 13,000 low cost care centers in America that are eligible for federal funds; see http://getyourcare.org/ . No one is suggesting cutting funds for women’s health; just PP. PP would not have to shut down if they lose federal funding. They recorded a profit of $127 million in 2014; why not use that profit and their billion dollars in assets to provide care for women instead of funding politicians and building abortion mega centers?
In his encyclical Laudato Si´, Pope Francis challenges us to care about and take action against climate change.
“It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion,’ whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ becomes evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” ~Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si´, 217
Laudato Si´ “unambiguously accepts the scientific consensus that changes in the climate are largely man-made” and states that “climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day” and warns of “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequence for all of us” if prompt climate change mitigation efforts are not undertaken.
Although the science and politics surrounding climate change are still debated in the United States – unlike in most countries in the world – Pope Francis has no doubt that climate change is occurring and must be quickly addressed.
Carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 650,000 years. Seventeen of the eighteen warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. Arctic ice and polar ice sheets are losing mass at alarming rates. Sea level has already risen seven inches in the past century. The evidence of climate change is overwhelming, which is why 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that the climate is changing and that human activities are responsible.
To learn more about how we can meet the pontiff’s challenge on climate change, please visit the website for Catholic Climate Covenant: www.catholicclimatecovenant.org. Also, as always, consider this important issue of Catholic social teaching in mind when voting and when communicating with your elected representatives.
It is not too late to put our faith into action on climate change! However, there will soon come a day when we are past the point of no return for preventing devastating ecological damage, mass extinctions, and human suffering. We must remember we have borrowed the earth from our grandchildren. We must also remember God has trusted us with the gifts of creation and asked us to be good stewards of its care.
By the Dignity of Life Committee
I wonder how many Christians are out in the world who say they believe in God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, but in their hearts believe they are not worthy of God’s love. It seems that no matter what happens, they feel God is not there for them.
For someone who recently completed the Alpha program, this became much more apparent to me. I always believed in God, the power of prayer, and the strength of the Holy Spirit, but did not really think my prayers or beliefs would be of much help or difference to myself or others that I prayed for. I finally had to truly examine my life in the past and present to realize how much God is with me now and has been at all times.
Our faith could be compared to learning how to ride a bike. God first gives us all the protective gear we need in prayer. He then gives us plenty of encouragement with the help of the Holy Spirit. If we fall, the saving power of Christ will help us to get back up. It is up to us to keep trying. We want God to constantly hold the bike so we do not fail and fall. Expecting God’s constant assistance, we might not learn on our own. The beauty of the whole process is that we begin to “ride the bike” without Him holding it. In other words, doing all the work for us. God wants us to be able to ride the bike on our own with Him riding right alongside of us.
We need to practice to get better. When we pray, we learn what God wants for us, how to grow towards Him, and become more like Him. When we add fasting to our routine, we may learn to break self-destructive habits. We also need that quiet time to discern what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us, leading us in the direction we need to go. Last but not least, when we fail, we need to reach out to God through reconciliation for the saving grace paid for by Christ.
God will always be there through the ups and downs of our life whether we feel His hand on the bike or not. We just have to realize and remember to believe He will hold the bike until we are ready. So get all your protective gear in prayer, gather your courage using the Holy Spirit to move forward, and don’t worry if you fall. Christ will be there to pick you up.
We can all ride that bike for LIFE!
By: Worship Committee, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish
Thank you for your support of the school supplies project! Parishioners and Dignity of Life Committee Members Mary Jo and Heather took a carload of assorted school supplies to St. Anthony’s Parish in Neopit. They were welcomed with appreciative arms and assured that the supplies will benefit extremely needy children at the start of the school year who don’t have the resources to go to a store and buy supplies. They were excited to receive them. Although the school supplies are being stored in the social hall at St. Anthony’s in Neopit they will also be shared with the children who live in Keshena. (We also support these neighbors through our annual Christmas Sponsorship Program.) Because of your generosity, these children can start school with the excitement and enthusiasm that most of us remember having on the first day of school.
While there, they received a tour of the church’s renovations. Approximately two years ago, St. Anthony’s rectory completely burned down. They received insurance money to “rebuild” the rectory. However, after a lot of negotiations, they were able to use that money to do some much-needed repairs to their church.
They removed asbestos in the floor and replaced the flooring with new tile and carpet. They converted an extremely small bathroom into a handicap-accessible restroom and added a meditation room/family worship space. The most beautiful part of their renovation story is that they were able to use lumber/wood from their own mill in Neopit. Their finished, renovated church is the result of contributions and workmanship from their own community.
The most exciting news from Neopit is that they now have a priest who can celebrate Mass on Sundays. For the past few years, they could only have one Mass on the weekend on Saturday, which greatly affected their attendance. Now with a Sunday Mass, their attendance is rising and their community is coming together. They feel so blessed to have their recent renovations and our support throughout the years.
Thanks to all the parishioners for valuing and enriching our neighbors in Neopit and Keshena as we all continue to grow as disciples.
By the Dignity of Life Committee of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish
Are we as parishioners truly aligned with our parish vision and mission?
The most important part of any community is to stay engaged and to build our faith as we continue to evangelize all that is good about our parish. To be successful we all need to continuously work on enthusiastically engaging others on what our vision and mission mean to us.
Our more engaged community leads to many benefits some of which include:
- A richer faith experience for each of us.
- A more vibrant parish doing more for others.
- Truly living our mission and vision to grow as disciples and grow disciples.
These alone add up to a huge difference for our parish community and its future.
The question is, are we doing enough to make our parish community’s experience the best it can be? Are we welcoming and appreciative of visitors? How can we better tell our story? Who else can we greet and talk to? Who can we invite to join us at Mass or at one of our wonderful events?
If each of us does just a little bit more, that will make our parish community experience and our own personal experience even better. As Deacon Mark mentioned in his sermon several weeks ago, when we enter the gates of heaven if we’re asked “who did we bring with us?” How will you answer that question?
By: SEAS* Marketing Committee
* St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish
Identifying with our parish mission and vision is what makes disciples out of our parishioners … those people who have the positive energy and passion to engage others in the parish community and beyond, making all feel connected, for the good of everyone.
When discipleship-focused evangelism happens in a parish, it’s dynamic. You can feel the intense energy from your interaction with others. It’s what makes captivated believers out of church-goers. And it makes the job of achieving our mission and vision much more realistic and meaningful.
We need to encourage everyone — no matter what their place in the parish community — to truly follow Jesus’ teachings and share that with others. They could be anyone, anywhere – on a committee, an occasional attendee at Mass, a child, or a member of the staff. We all need to share our beliefs, what we’ve learned along the way, and our success stories with each other. This will help build our community of disciples bring the SEAS mission and vision to life.
Romans 12:4-8. “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Submitted by: Marketing Committee
As the Dignity of Life Committee transitions to our summer break, we wanted to give an update on our activities and a preview of some of our plans for next year. Perhaps our most important accomplishment in 2016-17 was the continued addition of engaged members. We are blessed to have people who are passionate about the causes our committee supports!
Among other parish events in 2016-17, such as the Ministry Fair and staffing the Welcome Desk, we continued with our Christmas sponsorship program of our friends in Neopit, the Respect Life Baby Shower, and the Back-to-School collection. We also added a used school supply collection as well as a letter-writing initiative for those prisoners in solitary confinement.
In 2017-18, we are expanding our efforts to touch upon other pillars of the Dignity of Life’s charter. Our goal is to provide social justice information and updates to help parishioners be more knowledgeable Catholics and make informed choices when voting and lobbying government. We also plan to expand our prison ministry particularly in the areas of providing hope to prisoners.
We are evaluating opportunities for our parish to become more connected globally. We are particularly excited about a program called Sole Hope in which our parish families can “make” denim shoes for people in Uganda suffering from jiggers.
We are formulating an environmental program as a reminder to all of us of our stewardship responsibility of our earth that will also provide an opportunity for grade school students and families to get involved in a fun activity.
Before we break for the summer, and most importantly, the Dignity of Life Committee extends our sincere thanks to Father Paul Demuth for his support and guidance. Our committee will miss you but we wish you the best in your well-deserved semi-retirement!
Submitted by: Dignity of Life Committee
You will not find the “Stations of the Cross” discussed or listed in the Bible as we know them today. They are based on the stories of Christ’s arrest, trial, and death.
Jesus’ followers told the story of his passion, death, and resurrection from the earliest of days. When pilgrims came to Jerusalem, they were anxious to see the sites where Jesus lived, ministered, and died. Soon, however, people moved around so much that they were unable to visit these holy sites. By the 1500s, people all over the world began to create replicas of the places along the route in Jerusalem. Eventually these shrines became the 14 stations we know and celebrate today. Like our parish, many Catholic churches have the “Stations of the Cross” surrounding the walls of their sanctuaries. There are many written prayers and meditations associated with the Stations that the faithful pray during the season of Lent.
The word station comes from the Latin word that means to stand. We are walking from Christ’s trial to His crucifixion at Calvary. We stop at each station to commemorate various events that took place along the way. The act of walking and praying becomes a devotional act, because we are walking with Jesus as he walks to Calvary.
Brought to you by the Worship Committee & Gloria Nolan, Pastoral Minister. Source: www.Catholiceducation.org
Home ownership comes with the responsibility of home maintenance. Initially there is the purchase of fixtures, small home repairs and general upkeep. After time, replacement of appliances, cabinets or flooring might occur. Being a homeowner requires constant attention to the maintenance of your home to prevent disrepair or ruin.
Our body requires more care than our home. Sometimes minor adjustments in our diet and exercise are enough to keep our body in shape and in good health. We go to the dentist, eye doctor, and medical doctor to make sure we are on the right track to live a healthy lifestyle.
What about our soul? How are we keeping this vital part of us alive and well? What inspires and energizes us in the most intimate part of our being? How do we do maintenance on our soul?
I believe it is God, who makes His home in our hearts when we open them in invitation to Him. What ways can we invite God into our lives so that He is able to work through and in us? We can begin with good habits. Do we pray every day, taking valuable time to communicate with God? Do we watch what we say and do and how we treat other people? Do we attend Mass and take advantage of other opportunities for spiritual enrichment? Do we actively seek out ways to protect and care for our faith, keeping our heart and mind open to how God is leading us?
We have the ability and talent to be the best we can be, but only if we pay attention and affirm the faith offered to us freely through Jesus Christ. Whether it is a small fix or major repair job, we just need to do it!
Below are some suggestions for making Thanksgiving an opportunity for expressing our gratitude to the Lord in creative ways.
Write “I’m thankful for you” cards and give them out or e-mail them on Thanksgiving (or mail them beforehand).
Take a walk. Find a place to enjoy God’s gift of creation. Head out the door for a refreshing walk. Invite family, friends or others to share the experience too.
Take advantage of the Thanksgiving holidays to focus on what you’re grateful for and the things you appreciate about yourself and others. It is an ideal time to remember and to celebrate the many blessings in our lives.
The Thanksgiving holiday is an excellent time to rediscover the psalms of praise and thanksgiving. When you find a quiet moment, sit and relax with your bible. Think of a time when awe and gratitude overwhelmed you. Maybe it was a sunrise, or children playing in a park, an inspirational hymn at Mass, a family gathering, or a walk in the woods. Remember how you appreciated that special moment. Then, open your bible to one of the psalms of thanksgiving and recite it to yourself, like Psalm 118 for instance:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Listen to the words. Close your eyes. Let the psalm speak to you.
Other psalms of praise and thanksgiving you might consider include psalms 92, 95, 98, 100, 103, 104, 105, 107, 111, 117, 145, and 147.
Whatever psalm you choose for that quiet moment, thank God for that special time of awe as well as all the good things in your life, and praise God for his glorious deeds.
Thank you, Lord
For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life; for the beauty of the earth and its amazing colors; for crisp autumn mornings and sparkling winter nights; for mountains and forests, rivers and seashores.
Thank you, Lord
For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life; for the water that cleanses, the clothes that bring warmth, the food that nourishes, and the home that gives comfort.
Thank you, Lord
For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life; for those who love us and care for us; for those who value us for who we are; for those we call family, friends, neighbors.
Thank you, Lord
For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life; for the gift of Christ, your Son; for His life, His gospel, His cross, and His Church; for His Eucharistic meal and the promise to be with us always.
Thank you, Lord
For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life; for the time you’ve allotted us, the life you’ve offered us, the opportunities you’ve afforded us, and the miracles you’ve worked for us.
Thank you, Lord
For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life; and for your infinite love that meets our daily needs. May our love, too, be known for its abundance, its readiness to bless and heal, to offer peace and promote justice, and to serve in Jesus’ name.