The Story of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

The Story of St. Elizabeth of Hungary | Catholic Faith Store
The Story of St. Elizabeth of Hungary | Catholic Faith Store

We will be celebrating the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary on November 17. In time for this occasion, let us look back to the story of this remarkable woman. The patron saint of hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, widows, dying children and homeless people lived a remarkable life filled with lessons that we can learn from.

The Early Life, Marriage and Family of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew II and Gertrude of Merania. Her ancestry included many European nobles including Vladimir the Great of the Kievan Rus. It is commonly believed that Elizabeth was born in Hungary, possibly in the Sárospatak castle, on July 7, 1207.

In 1211, Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia sent a formal embassy to Hungary to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth and his eldest son Hermann. This was mostly a political move made to reinforce alliances between families. Elizabeth then traveled to the Thuringian court where she was educated and exposed to their culture in order to prepare her for marriage.

At this time Thuringia was a prosperous place and gave Elizabeth a luxurious and secular life. Despite living in comfort, the young Elizabeth cultivated a religious and pious way of living. She would pray diligently and even practiced small acts of self-mortification.

Elizabeth experienced many tragedies at an early age. In 1213, her mother was murdered by Hungarian nobles. On December 1216, her would-be husband, Hermann, also died. Elizabeth was then betrothed to the second son, Ludwig IV.

Ludwig succeeded the throne in 1221 and would become a great ruler and courageous soldier. Because of his valor, he was revered as a saint by Germans. He and Elizabeth were married also in 1221. Their union was a happy one as husband and wife supported one another.

Elizabeth and Ludwig had three children, Herman II, Sophia and Gertrude. Herman and Sophia became members of nobility while Gertrude devoted herself to a religious life by becoming an abbess.

Charitable Work

Despite being a member of the royal court, Elizabeth lived a simple life and was involved in many charitable endeavors. She used her influence to promote her ministry. Ludwig was also supportive of Elizabeth’s charitable work and prayer life. They were well known for being generous and compassionate toward the poor. 

In 1223, Elizabeth learned all about the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi through Franciscan friars that arrived in Thuringia. After hearing all about what St. Francis stood for, Elizabeth sought to emulate his example. She started to wear simple clothing and devoted time to helping the poor in her land.

When Thuringia was flooded and plagued with disease in 1226, Elizabeth helped care for the afflicted. She also used her dowry to establish a hospital in honor of St. Francis. There she personally tended to the sick and supported those who were impoverished.

Religious Life

Elizabeth’s life was changed when her husband died in 1227 from an illness. The news devastated Elizabeth who vowed never to remarry despite pressures from relatives. She made solemn vows similar to those of a nun to Master Conrad of Marburg, who was an inquisitor, preacher of the crusade. Although Conrad did not belong to any order he was well known for being ascetic and harsh.

Elizabeth vowed to be celibate and completely submit to Conrad as her spiritual director. His treatment was very strict and even cruel. He imposed standards that were almost impossible to meet and his punishments often included physical beatings. He also ordered that Elizabeth’s children be sent away. His firmness, however led Elizabeth to the path of sanctity and he was very active in the efforts to have her canonized when she passed away.

Miracles

St. Elizabeth experienced many miracles while she was still alive. One of the most well known was the so-called miracle of the roses. According to the story, Elizabeth was secretly on her way to give bread to the poor when she met her husband on a hunting party. In order to keep his companions from thinking that she was stealing from the castle’s treasury, he asked her what was hidden in her cloak.

Elizabeth’s cloak then fell open and revealed a vision of white and roses. This impressed upon Ludwig that God was at work in the life of his wife and moved him to support his charitable efforts.

Another miraculous event in Elizabeth’s life took place when she cared for a leper named Helias of Eisenach. She laid the afflicted upon the very bed that she shared with her husband. Her mother-in-law was horrified and told Ludwig about this when he returned home.

Just as Ludwig was removing the bed sheets he saw the figure of the crucified Christ stretched upon the bed instead of the leper.

Legacy

St. Elizabeth of Hungary passed away in 1231 at the age of 24. Miracles began happening in her grave site and these were usually miracles of healing. Many people would embark on pilgrimages to visit her grave.

St. Elizabeth is usually portrayed in art as holding a basket of bread or other forms of food and drink, a symbol of her devotion to the poor. Other art works also depict her as a princess giving alms to the poor or holding roses in her lap.

Prayers to Saint Gertrude

Saint Gertrude rejected a marriage to a noble man in pursuit of a religious life. She was renowned for her aid to travelers, and built a monastery with her mother, Blessed Ida, at Nivelles. She is the patroness of accommodations and cats.

Saint Gertrude's Prayer

Eternal Father, I offer You the most
precious Blood of Your Divine Son,
Jesus, in union with the Masses
said throughout the world today,
for all theHoly Souls in Purgatory,
for sinners in the Universal
Church, those in my own home,
and within my family.
Amen.

This Prayer was given to
Saint Gertrude and Jesus promised
that every time it was said,
1,000 souls would be released
from Purgatory and allowed
into God's Presence.


Prayer of Saint Gertrude the Great

Our Lord told St. Gertrude the GREAT
that the following prayer would release
1000 souls from Purgatory each time it
is said. The prayer was extended to
include living sinners as well:

"Eternal Father, I offer thee
the most precious blood of thy
Divine Son, Jesus, in union
With the Masses said throughout
the world today, for all the
Holy Souls in Purgatory,
for sinners everywhere, for
sinners in the universal church,
those in my own home and
within my family. Amen."

Saint Gertrude

Prayers to Saint Andrew

Saint Andrew the Apostle is the patron saint of Fishermen and Scotland. Andrew is known as the first Apostle. He was killed by being crucified on a saltire, or x-shaped cross, for baptizing Maximilla, the wife of the Roman governor of Patras. His symbol, the saltire, is featured on the flag of Scotland, where he established the Church of Saint Andrew.

Prayer to St. Andrew

O Glorious St. Andrew, you
were the first to recognize and
follow the Lamb of God.
With your friend St. John you
remained with Jesus for that first
day, for your entire life, and
now throughout eternity.
As you led your brother St. Peter
to Christ, and many others after
him, draw us also to Him.
Teach us to lead others to Christ
solely out of love for Him, and
dedication in His service.
Help us to learn the lesson of
the Cross and to carry our daily
crosses without complaint so
that they may carry us to Jesus.
Amen.

If you like this prayer, you'll love these prayer cards!

Saint Andrew

Prayers to Saint Andrew

We humbly beseech Thy Majesty. O
Lord, that as the blessed Apostle
Andrew was once a teacher and ruler
of Thy Church, so he may ever be
our advocate with Thee. Through our
Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

O CHRIST, our Lord, Who didst
beautify the most blessed Andrew
with the grace of apostleship, and the
crown of martyrdom, by granting to
him this special gift, that by preaching
the mystery of the cross, he should
merit death on the cross; grant us to
become most true lovers of Thy holy
cross, and, denying ourselves, to take
up our cross and follow Thee; that by
sharing Thy sufferings in this life, we
may deserve the happiness of
obtaining life everlasting.
Amen.

Keep your faith close with this beautiful devotional!

Saint Andrew

Share the GOOD NEWS! Catholic Evangelization in the Modern World

Catholic Evangelization in the Modern World | Catholic Faith Store

Pope John Paul VI describes catholic evangelization as “Bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new, 'Now I am making the whole of creation new' (Revelation 21:5). But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by baptism, and by lives lived according to the Gospel.”

Catholic Evangelization in the Modern World | Catholic Faith Store

​​​​“Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace.” - Acts 20:24

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Catholic evangelization is one of the main responsibilities of the church and it is as relevant today as it was in the formative years of the early Christian church. The Catholic Church is not just an evangelizer, she is a community made up of believers. As members of the Catholic Church, we all share the responsibility to spread the good news to others.

What is Catholic Evangelization?

The Catholic Dictionary defines evangelization as the zealous proclamation of the gospel in order to bring others to Christ and His Church. It must include three distinctive elements:

  1. Interior conversion to Christ and His Church
  2. The individual and the whole culture becoming affected by the conversion
  3. Transformation of the culture and its institutions to make them more Catholic

Evangelization is perpetually linked to Jesus Christ who died to save humankind. Evangelization cannot be possible if we do not proclaim the name, teachings, life, promises, Kingdom and mystery of Jesus.

Why Should We Evangelize?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." — John 3:16

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We are called to practice Catholic evangelization because it is a command of God. He tasked His beloved church to evangelize until all nations have heard the good news of salvation and every person has become a disciple.

Salvation is made possible through the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. Jesus came to earth in order to become like us and share our human nature. By becoming human, he knows us inside out. He feels our struggles, our limitations and our weaknesses. 

Jesus understands us deeply and knows we cannot save ourselves. He died on the cross in order to save us from the wages of sin which is eternal death. This is the beautiful gift of salvation and it is given freely to each person on earth. This makes evangelization important because it is up to God’s family to share the news of this gift. Without us and our genuine desire to spread the news of salvation, this gift would not reach the farthest corners of the world. Some people would not be able to hear and accept this gift.

We all have the responsibility of evangelizing and this does not simply mean reading the gospels out loud. It is zealously proclaiming the good news of salvation for the purpose of leading others to Christ.

Catholic Evangelization in the Modern World

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

When we first hear Catholic evangelization, we probably think of missionaries journeying to far off places in order to spread the Word of God. Mission work is indeed a beautiful example of how we can bring others to know God but this is not the only way that we can practice evangelization. 

In the book, “Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States,” we are encouraged to evangelize through our day to day life. This is possible if we manifest God’s love in our actions, thoughts and words. By acknowledging that Jesus is our savior, we choose to be transformed into the likeness of our Heavenly Father. We become changed people living by faith and following the teachings of Christ.

In this way, we can practice Catholic evangelization by sharing love, being a good example and supporting the people around us. Parents can do to his by teaching their faith to their children, can teachers do this by encouraging students to be honest, managers can do this by being fair, healthcare professionals do this by giving heartfelt service and the list goes on.

Two things must always be at work when we evangelize. First, we live by faith and follow the example of Christ and, second, we share the good news. Regardless of what method we use to share the news of salvation, we must put love at the center of all our words and actions just as Jesus put love at the heart of everything He did for humanity.

We live in an increasingly complex world but the message of evangelization remains simple: God loves us and He offers us the gift of salvation through His son Jesus Christ.


In your own simple ways, how can you share this message to the world?

The Catholic View on Marriage and the Sacrament of Matrimony

Sacrament of Matrimony | Catholic Faith Store
Sacrament of Matrimony | Catholic Faith Store

The Catholic Church teaches us to hold marriage as sacred. It is a gift from the hand of God, who created male and female in his image so that they may become one body. The vision of marriage for the Catholic Church is deeply rooted in the Scripture.

In marriage, the love between a man and a woman is blessed by God. Marriage is a union in faith and a response to God’s call to holiness. The couple becomes the symbol of God’s love on earth.

What is Matrimony?

Matrimony comes from the Latin word maritare, meaning, “to wed, marry, give in marriage.” It refers to the contract made by the couple­ – a mutual alliance they enter into when they made the vow to support each other and be together for life.

According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, ”marriage is a conjugal union between a man and a woman, both in legal status, in which they establish a perpetual and indissoluble union of lives. There are two goals in this union – procreation and education of the offspring and the mutual support of the spouses."

This definition applies to two types of marriages, the one between non-baptized person and the one between two baptized persons. There former is made according to Natural Law while the latter is the marriage according to the Catholic Church.

The Biblical Roots of Matrimony

As stated in the Sacred Scripture, God instituted marriage as the pinnacle of creation. Marriage was instituted when He created Eve and gave her as a companion to Adam. 

“It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a like unto himself.” 

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After the original sin was committed, He blessed them, saying, “Be fertile and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1: 27-28). The Scripture teaches that marriage is not simply a human institution. It is also something God established from the foundation of the world.

When Jesus Christ healed the people of sin and its effects, marriage is also recreated and made new in Christ. Jesus tells us that in the Kingdom of God, the original intention of God in the permanent union of husband and wife can be realized once more.

What is the Sacrament of Matrimony?

Our Lord Jesus Christ has elevated marriage to the level of a Sacrament because of the deviations and disparities that marriage suffered under the Natural Law. Disparities such as the introduction of polygamy and remarriage. The Sacrament of matrimony confers a grace to the natural marriage. 

“The sacrament improves natural love by giving spouses a supernatural model for their union. They should love each other as Christ and the Church love each other.” (Eph 5:22)

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As a sacrament, the conjugal union is binding. Committing adultery is a grave offence. Its indissolubility involves more than a natural or legal obligation. Violating the sanctity of the Sacrament of Matrimony is a sin that cuts the guilty spouse from the state of grace. 

Family arises from marriage. In turn, they form the community. Parents, children, and family members form what is called the domestic church or church of the home – the primary unit of the Church. There is also a new perspective when it comes to the Sacrament of Matrimony. One spouse is meant to sanctify the other. Their offspring is not seen only as a means to populate the earth but, principally, Heaven.

Like the water that our Lord Jesus turned into wine during the wedding of Canaan, His act of raising marriage to the level of a Sacrament transformed it into a different reality.

The Catholic View on Marriage

Sacrament of Matrimony | Catholic Faith Store

Since spirituality is a way to live out one’s religious beliefs, then a spirituality of marriage is a way to help husbands and wives live out the vocation of marriage in light of faith. A Catholic marriage holds a distinctive spirituality that is sacramental, communitarian, and missionary.

Marriage is sacramental because it is Christ’s unbreakable love for his people. In marriage, the couple’s life, love, and witness can make Christ visible to others. All couples who took the Sacrament of Matrimony are invited to reveal God’s loving presence and generous action in the world.

It is communitarian. Married couples form a permanent, life-giving community. They live as communities that spread God’s blessings, reach out to heal the brokenness of the family and the world, and share their gifts with those around them.

Marriage is also missionary. Happily married couples show the others what it means to be in a loving relationship where Christ is the center. They also let others know the gift of faithful married life and love. They have the potential to show others what it means to embody the life of the Holy Spirit within them.

Do Catholic Parents Have to Name Their Babies After Saints?

Catholic Baby Names | Catholic Faith Store
Catholic Baby Names | Catholic Faith Store


Naming a child after a saint is one of the popular traditions parents follow when choosing Catholic baby names. Picking a name for your baby is an exciting and maybe even challenging responsibility so careful thought must be put into it.

As Catholics, do we have any special considerations to keep in mind when naming our child? Are we required to name our child after a saint or can we name them with anything we want? What are the reasons why parents choose the name of saints as Catholic baby names?

Here are some of things you need to know about the naming conventions in the Catholic Faith. 

What Canon Law Says About Catholic Baby Names

Catholic Baby Names | Catholic Faith Store

The issue of picking a child’s name should be examined in light of the sacrament of baptism. For this reason, we need to look back to the rules and regulations associated with the administration of this sacrament if we want to understand naming conventions in the Catholic Faith. 

According to the Code of Canon Law of the Vatican, “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given.” This canon does not specifically require that a child be named after a saint. In fact, the canon does not specify that a child be given a particular name at all during baptism.

Canon Law only restricts us from choosing names that are “foreign to Christian sensibility.” These names are those that are charged with negative connotations and which go against our faith and Catholic convictions, for example, “Satan,” “Death,” “Lucifer,” and so on.

If a parent picks a questionable name, the priest who is to baptize the child not only has the right but the responsibility to intervene. The priest a well as the child’s godparents will need to object to the choice of name and ask the parents to select another name instead. The baptism cannot take place if the parents insist on their offensive choice of name. 

Why Parents Choose to Name Their Baby After Saints

Many parents choose to name their baby after saints even though it is not a requirement of the Catholic Faith. The following are some of the reasons why they do this: 

Personal Expression o​f Faith

When we recite the Apostle’s Creed, we say that we believe in the “communion of the saints.” This means that we acknowledge being united spiritually to those who have passed on and are in heaven. Naming our child after a saint is one way of reaffirming our faith in this said communion of saints. We proclaim to the world that we believe in the saints and their power enough to let them become a part of the lives of our children. 

​I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered​ under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


An Example for Your Child

One of the most common reasons why parents name their children after saints is that they want to help their child grow in their faith. Saints are known for leading exemplary lives and their extraordinary faith. When we name our child after a saint, we are giving them the opportunity to learn more about the saints and their inspiring stories. 

In today’s world, it can be difficult to find good role models for our children and the lives of saints are an excellent source of insight into how we can practice our Catholic Faith. Through their namesake saints, our children can find inspiration in the way they behave, make choices and live as Christians. 

Inspiration for Difficult Times

The saints lived lives that were far from easy. Many of them faced seemingly insurmountable hardships and had their faith tested numerous times. Ultimately, their stories teach us that we can endure great odds as long we put our faith in God.

Naming our children after saints is a good way to remind them to pray when they encounter something difficult in their life. Also, we must remember that the saints are our intercessors and so we can teach our children to invoke them for help whenever they experience challenging obstacles. 

Opportunity to Evangelize

Giving our children the name of a saint is not just personally significant. We could use this naming convention to reach out to others and lead them to a life in Christ. For example, some people might ask us why we picked the name Jude Thaddeus for our child. From there, we could share the inspiring story of St. Jude Thaddeus and why he is considered the patron saint of desperate situations. 

Keep in mind that evangelization is one of our duties as members of the Catholic Faith and reaffirming our faith in our day to day choices is one way of practicing this.

Popular Catholic Baby Names 

Boys include: Jacob, Michael, James, Daniel, Elijah, Benjamin, Matthew, David, and Joseph. 

Girls include: Sophia, Elizabeth, Mary, Grace, Evelyn, Abigail, Zoe, Anna, Leah, Sarah, Naomi and Faith.


Are you named after a saint? What is the story behind your name? 

Prayers to Saint Jude

Saint Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of desperate situations. He was one of the chosen Twelve Apostles, the brother of Saint James the Lesser and a cousin of Jesus Christ, whom he greatly resembles. Saint Jude made missionary journeys, during which he preached and dispensed the Sacraments.

Prayer to Saint Jude

St. Jude, glorious Apostle,
faithful servant and friend
of Jesus, the name of the traitor 
has caused you to be forgotten 
by many, but the true Church 
invokes you universally as the 
Patron of things despaired of; 
pray for me, who am so
miserable; pray for me, that
finally I may receive the
consolations and the succor of
Heaven in all my necessities,
tribulations and sufferings,
particularly (here make your
request), and that I may bless
God with the Elect throughout
Eternity. Amen.

If you like this prayer, you'll love this prayer!

Saint Jude
Saint Jude

Saint Jude, Don't Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow —
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out —
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how closer you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit —
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.


This prayer serves as a daily reminder to never quit.

Saint Jude

Part of Being a Good Catholic Parent Involves Nurturing Your Child’s Faith

5 Ways to Nurture Your Child’s Faith | Catholic Faith Store
5 Ways to Nurture Your Child’s Faith - Catholic Faith Store
quote-left

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14

As Christian parents, how do we develop our child’s faith? We have a responsibility to train our children in the ways of God and one of the first steps is to cultivate their faith.

Faith is an important part of our spiritual journey here on earth so how do we share this with the younger generation?

What is Faith?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines faith as our response to God who reveals himself and gives himself to us, at the same time bringing us a superabundant light as we search for the ultimate meaning of our life.

Faith is not simply believing that God is our creator, master and king, it is manifesting that belief in our daily choices and using our Heavenly Father as a light to guide our everyday lives. Our faith, therefore, is an important part of who we are as Christians.

How to nurture your child's faith?

5 Ways to Nurture Your Child’s Faith | Catholic Faith Store
quote-left

Train the young in the way they should go;
even when old, they will not swerve from it.
Proverbs 22:6

As Christian adults, we have a responsibility to share our faith to our children. How do we do this?

1. Read Stories from the Bible

The Word of God is a good source of wisdom for deepening your child’s understanding of faith. Make Bible reading a part of your activities with your son or daughter. There are countless of stories in the Bible about men and women whose faith were tested and strengthened. Aside from the Bible, there are also books and devotionals with colorful illustrations that captivate young readers.

Here are some stories about God’s people overcoming great trials by faith:

  • The story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 shows how David, the champion of God, defeated Goliath, a gigantic man who was the champion of the Philistines. The young boy overcame Goliath with a sling, stone and, more importantly, his unwavering faith in God.
  • Matthew 8:23-27 shows how Jesus calmed a raging storm while on a boat with his disciples. This story is a wonderful reminder of how nothing is impossible with God and that He is master over everything, even natural forces.
  • Matthew 9:20-22 tells the story of a woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for 12 years and her miraculous healing. She was healed from her ailment simply by touching Jesus’ cloak and for her strong faith in God.

2. Share Personal Testimon​ies

Parents can best teach their children by example. Do not just stop at reading stories about faith, share personal experiences in which your faith was tested and strengthened. We need to be living examples of our faith for the younger generation and one way to do this is by living faithfully by God’s commands.

3. Pray Everyday

Prayer is an important part of our walk of faith. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing.” We need to teach our children that prayer is not just about asking God to give us what we want. It is opening our hearts to Him, having gratitude for all the blessings we received and pouring our deepest concerns to our Heavenly Father.

Teach your son or daughter that our God is a living God. He cares for us and wants us to grow closer to Him. We can only do this if we spend enough time to pray. Just as we need to regularly keep in touch with our loved ones, we also need to regularly communicate with God.

4. Support your Child's Dreams

Every child has a dream and as parents and guardians it is our responsibility to support that dream. When we encourage our child’s dreams, we are giving them a simple demonstration of what it means to believe. But we must not forget to remind them that blessings and opportunities come from God. We need to help our children become self-confident but still humble and grateful.

5. Meditate on Bible verses

You can nurture your child’s faith by encouraging them to meditate on Bible verses. The Bible is filled with inspiring stories and words of wisdom that can be used for navigating difficult situations. If your son or daughter is going through tough times, give them a passage from Scripture that you can reflect on together.

Even if your child is not going through a tricky circumstance, you can still encourage them to meditate on the Bible. Encourage your child to make it a habit to read and reflect on Bible verses even for at least 10 minutes every day before going out of bed or before sleeping.

Here are some verses about faith to get you started:

“Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” - Mark 11:24

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13

“But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.” - James 1:6

As a child, what are your earliest experience of your faith being tested? How do you cultivate your personal faith?


Here are a few of our favorite books to share with your little one.  

Click images to learn more about each book.

Demonic Oppression and How to Deal with It

​Struggling with Demonic Oppression?

Are you struggling in your spiritual life? Do you find yourself feeling indifferent toward your religious convictions? If so, you might be experiencing demonic oppression.

Demonic oppression may sound like the stuff that horror movies are made of but it is a very real concern for us Catholics.

What is Demonic Oppression?

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. — Ephesians 6:12

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To better understand demonic oppression, we need to first acknowledge that there is a spiritual war taking place between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. The forces of the Devil were formerly angels who resisted God and they will do all that they can to tempt people into turning away from the path of righteousness.

Demonic oppression happens when we fall into the temptation of evil spiritual forces. Demons cloud our judgement and cause us to stay in bondage to our sinful nature. It is different from possession because when someone is possessed, demons assume control of their body. This usually results in the person displaying unusual physical attributes like extraordinary strength.

In Mark 5, we can read an example of a man possessed by an unclean spirit and he could not be chained because of how strong he was:

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They came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes.

When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.

The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.

In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him.

Mark 5:1-5


On the other hand, when someone experiences demonic oppression he becomes beset with difficulties. He experiences many troubles and temptations and may feel weighed down emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. If he is unable to resist, he will eventually fall under the influence of the evil spirit that is wreaking havoc upon his life.

The story of Job in the Bible is one example of a man who experienced demonic oppression. Job went through tremendous hardship in his life. His family was killed, he lost his wealth and he got physically sick. Although Job was not possessed, he was oppressed spiritually.

My spirit is broken, my days finished, my burial at hand. Surely mockers surround me, at their provocation, my eyes grow dim. — Job 17:1-2

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Signs that You Might Be Under Demonic Oppression

We become vulnerable to demonic oppression when we do things that open us to the influence of the Devil. Some examples of these activities include abusing substances and drugs that alter our state of mind, dabbling in occult activities like divination, astrology, Ouija boards and tarot cards and exposing ourselves to media like books and movies that are depressing, dark and demonic.

The bottom line is when we allow ourselves to be influenced by things that are contrary to the ways of God, we become oppressed spiritually.

Demonic oppression may seem subtle at first but if we do not pay attention to the red flags and do something, it becomes insidious and devastating. The following are some of the signs that we should look out for:

  • ​Physical symptoms like sleeplessness, addictions, inexplicable ailments, sexual perversions, over-eating, abusing substances and self-mutilation
  • ​Spiritual deadness which will manifest in an inability to pray, apathy or anger toward God, becoming interested in false religions and lack of guilt when doing something wrong
  • ​Emotional turmoil like uncontrollable anger, fluctuating moods and emotions, low self confidence, a feeling of hopelessness and lack of purpose
  • Financial troubles like constant and unusual financial problems

How to Overcome Demonic Oppression

Demonic oppression | Catholic Faith Store

Demonic oppression is not like a physical illness that can be cured with medication or treatment and this makes it a complex problem to address. However, we must remember that our God is powerful and faithful and through Him we can overcome any hardship even demonic oppression.

Here are the things you can do if you are experiencing demonic oppression and want to break free from it:

1. Admit that you have sinned and evaluate your situation.

Spend time to evaluate your life and how you got to the present situation. What decisions and behavioral patterns caused you to be ensnared in the sinful act? Awareness of your thoughts and actions will help keep you from falling into the same problem in the future.

2. Confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness.

Go to your parish priest and confess your sins. Sincerely ask God for forgiveness and renounce your sin. You must resolve not to fall into the same sinful patterns again by identifying your triggers and vulnerabilities.

3. Claim God’s promises.

Renouncing your sin requires daily commitment and there will be days in which you will feel vulnerable and weak. This is where God’s Word will come in. The Bible has many words of wisdom and promises that we can claim during difficult times.

Whenever you feel like you are experiencing demonic oppression once again, cling to these passages from Scripture and use these to rebuke the evil spirit that is tempting you:

  • You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. - 1 John 4:4
  • ​​He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. - Colossians 1:13-14
  • Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. - 1 John 3:8
  • They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. - Revelation 12:11

4. Pray constantly.

Make prayer a daily habit. Spend time first thing in the morning to pray to God. Pour out your heart to Him and let Him know your deepest struggles. Ask Him for guidance and wisdom that you can use for your day.

At a minimum we suggest you should pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Nicene Creed.

5. Find a spiritual accountability person.

Your spiritual accountability person is someone who will be praying for you and helping you in your journey out of demonic oppression. This person should be more spiritually mature than you and who is willing to help you in your struggles by giving you sound advice and guidance. You may ask your parish priest to be your accountability person. 

What hardships are you experiencing in your life right now?

Could this be demonic oppression?

How are you dealing with your struggles?

Role of the Papal Conclave; Electing a New Pope

Papal conclave | Catholic Faith Store
Papal conclave | Catholic Faith Store

A papal conclave is important to us members of the Catholic Faith on so many levels. To better understand the historical, cultural and personal significance of a papal conclave we need to know what this process is about.

What is a Papal Conclave

A papal conclave is a meeting of the College of the Cardinals that is held to elect a new Bishop of Rome or pope. In the Catholic Faith, the pope is the considered to be the apostolic successor of Saint Peter and the head of the Catholic Church so papal conclaves are an important process not just for the church as a whole but for individual Catholics. The papal conclave is the oldest method for selecting a leader of an institution that is still in practice.

The papal conclave was developed over several centuries to address certain issues that take place during papal succession. The electoral body is made up of the College of Cardinals, or the group made up of all cardinals in the church. In 1274, Pope Gregory X made additional policies such as keeping the bishops in a secluded conclave in the Sistine Chapel until they had all agreed upon a successor. In 1970, Pope Paul VI made changes to the electoral body, limiting members to those under 80 years old. Two-thirds of the conclave’s vote is required for the election of a new pope.

Papal conclaves take place during “Tempe Sede Vacante,” a Latin phrase that translates to “with the seat being vacant,” and the seat refers to the bishop’s throne. This is the time when the episcopal see of a particular church has become vacant following the death or resignation of the pope. In the case of the papacy, the church is the Diocese of Rome while the vacant seat is the Cathedral of Saint John Lateran, the church of the Bishop of Rome.

The Voting Process

The cardinals electing a new pope cast their vote through a secret ballot. These cardinals are known as cardinal electors and their number is limited to 120. During the conclave, the cardinal electors proceed to the Sistine Chapel and take an oath of secrecy before the doors are sealed.

On the afternoon of the first day, one ballot may be held but it is not required. If no ballot takes place or nobody is elected, a maximum of four ballots are held on each successive day. Two ballots are held in the morning and the remaining two in the afternoon.

The electors take an oath affirming their obedience to the rules of the conclave before they cast their vote in the morning and in the afternoon. If there is no result after three days of balloting, the voting process is suspended for at most one day. Prayer is observed during this time and the senior cardinal deacon or Camerlengo gives an address.

If no result is achieved after another seven ballots, voting is once again suspended and the senior cardinal bishop gives another address. After a further seven ballots, a day shall be set aside for prayer, reflection and dialogue. During this ballot, only the names of the two bishops who received the two highest votes shall be eligible in a runoff election. These two people will not be eligible to join the voting process at this point.

Until a new pope is elected, the Camerlengo becomes church administrator.

Smoke Colors

Papal conclave | Catholic Faith Store

The ballots casted are burned together to relay the results of the conclave to the outside world. The results are indicated through the color of the smoke. Dark smoke or fumata nera means that the ballot did not result in an election while white smoke or fumata bianca means that a new pope has been chosen.

The original practice was to add damp straw to the fire in order to create dark smoke. If a new pope has been elected, the ballots were burned on their own to create white smoke. Since 1963, chemicals have been used in the burning procedure.

In addition to the smoke colors, ringing bells are also used to announce the success of the election process.

The New Pope

Once a cardinal receives the required two-thirds vote, the dean of the College of Cardinals asks him if he accepts his election. If the pope elect is not a bishop, he will be consecrated as one before succeeding as pope. He will then choose a papal name, usually the name of a previous pope whose example he hopes to emulate. The new pope is then taken to the Room of Tears where he is dressed in papal vestments.

When a new pope has been chosen, the Camerlengo walks onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and announces “Habemus Papam” which means “We have a new pope” to the crowd waiting in St. Peter’s Square. The new pope then processes out and gives his blessing to the city of Rome and the whole world. 

Prayer to Saint Luke

Saint Luke

We often turn to the saints for intercession to God on our behalf. Saint Luke, the Evangelist, is the patron saint of physicians, surgeons and artists. A person who asks St. Luke for intercession may use one of the following prayers.

Prayer to Saint Luke

Most wonderful St. Luke
you are animated by
the Heavenly Spirit of Love.
In faithfully detailing
the humanity of Jesus,
you also showed His Divinity
and His genuine compassion
for all human beings.

May the Holy Spirit,
instructor of the faithful,
help me to understand
Christ's words
and faithfully apply them
in my life.
Amen.

If you like this prayer, you'll love this prayer card!

Saint Luke Prayer Card
Saint Luke Prayer Card Button

Saint Luke

O St. Luke, you were
chosen to reveal in preaching
and writing God's love for the
poor.  Moved by the heavenly
Spirit of Love, you detailed the
life of Jesus, showing His
divinity and His genuine
compassion for all human beings.
Help those who already
glory in God's name to
persevere in one heart and
one mind, and inspire all
people that they may hear the
Good News of Salvation.
Amen.


This prayer card comes included with a stunning Saint Luke Medal. 

Saint Luke Prayer Card with Medal
Saint Luke Prayer Card with Medal button

Physician's Prayer to Saint Luke

Most charming
and saintly Physician,
you were animated
by the heavenly Spirit of love.
In faithfully detailing
the humanity of Jesus,
you also showed his divinity
and his genuine compassion
for all human beings.
Inspire our physicians
with your professionalism
and with the divine compassion
for their patients.
Enable them to cure the ills
of both body and spirit
that afflict so many in our day.
Amen.

This beautiful bifold prayer card and medal combo is perfect for any physician.

Saint Luke Physician's Bifold Prayer Card with Medal
Saint Luke Physician's Bifold Prayer Card with Medal Button

Prayers to Saint Gerard

Saint Gerard Majella is the patron of expectant mothers. He was born in 1726 in Muro, Italy to a family of seven. Majella grew up in a poverty with a great respect for the poor.

In life and since his death, he has helped so many women who have prayed to him during labor that he earned the nickname: The "Saint of Happy Deliveries."

Saint Gerard Majella
Prayer for a Safe Delivery

 O Great St. Gerard, beloved servant of
Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of thy meek
and humble Saviour, and devoted Child of
the Mother of God: enkindle within my
heart one spark of that Heavenly fire of
charity which glowed in thee and made
thee a seraph of love. O glorious St.
Gerard, because when falsely accused of
crime, thou didst bear, like thy Divine
Master, without murmur or complaint, the
columnies of wicked men thou hast been
raised up by God as the Patron and
Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve
me from danger and from the excessive
pains accompanying childbirth, and shield
the child which I now carry, that it may
see the light of day and receive the lustrial
waters of baptism, through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen. 
(Nine Hail Marys)

Do you know anyone expecting a newborn? Gift them a prayer card with this beautiful safe delivery prayer!

Saint Gerard

Prayer for Motherhood

O good St. Gerard, powerful
intercessor before God and
Wonder worker of our day,
I call upon thee and seek thy
aid. Thou who on earth didst
always fulfill God's design
help me to do the Holy Will
of God. Beseech the Master of
Life, from Whom all paternity
proceedeth to render me
fruitful in offspring, that I
may raise up children to God
in this life and heirs to the
Kingdom of His glory in the
world to come. Amen

These prayer cards are specifically for all mothers and the joys and challenges of motherhood.

Saint Gerard
Saint Gerard

Prayer to Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa

Saint Teresa of Avila is the patron saint of Headache and Loss of Parents. She was a Carmelite nun who from early childhood was devoted to Christ.

She was born in Ávila, Spain. Towards the end of her life, She wrote an autobiography in which she evaluated her own life and gave descriptions of her parents. ​

She is known as a great mystic and her writings are a testament to Her devotion to Christ and the importance of contemplative prayer.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Let nothing disturb you;
Nothing frighten you. 
All things are passing.
God never changes. 
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him
who possesses God. 
God alone suffices.

If you love this prayer, you'll love these prayer cards!

Saint Teresa

Should Catholics Celebrate Halloween?

​Catholics and Halloween

Christians and Halloween | Catholic Faith Store

The topic of Catholics and Halloween is a controversial one. Many people around the world celebrate Halloween with costume parties, scary decorations and trick-or-treating from one house to the next. Should Catholics participate in these traditions? Should we celebrate ​it at all? 

As members of a society that embraces this occasion, we need to know where we stand in light of our Catholic faith. 

A Brief History of Halloween

To better understand the relationship between Catholics and Halloween we must first trace the roots of this holiday. Halloween is a contraction of the phrase “All Hallows’ Evening.” Many countries celebrate it on October 31, the eve of All Hallow’s Day.

The exact origins of Halloween is not clear. It is commonly believed to have Pagan roots and many of its traditions are influenced by Celtic harvest festivals. More typically, Halloween is associated with the Celtic festival of Samhain, which means “summer’s end” in Old Irish.


Samhain is an ancient Gaelic festival that celebrates the harvest and marks the beginning of winter. The harsh season of winter brought with it an unshakeable feeling of death. The popular Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating or going door to door asking for treats was said to have originated from a belief that the souls of the dead came to the mortal world during Samhain. The only way to appease these spirits was to give them offerings of food and drink. In exchange for these offerings, the spirits would grant people good fortune.

Trick-or-treating evolved from a practice in which people impersonated the spirits of the dead and thus received food or drinks on their behalf. Today, many people, both young and old, celebrate Halloween by wearing costumes and going trick-or-treating.

Halloween is also said to be influenced by Christian beliefs and traditions. The name of the holiday itself references All Hallow’s Day, the Christian festival that honors all the saints. 

All Hallow’s Day was first celebrated in the month of May but Pope Gregory IV later moved it to November 1 thus making October 31 All Hallow’s Eve. Some historians speculate that this change of date was done to “Christianize” Samhain. However, others contend that this decision may have been because the Germanic church was already observing All Hallow’s Day on November 1. 

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

To answer the question of whether we as Catholics can celebrate Halloween we will need to discover our reason for wanting to practice it in the first place. Halloween is not bad per se. In fact, looking back to its history we can see its Christian influences.

In modern times, however, the holiday has become increasingly associated with the sinister and even the debauched. Many people no longer associate Halloween with the more religious All Hallow’s Eve but as a secular holiday that glorifies evil and the supernatural.

To have a faith-based perspective about these things we must keep in mind what the Bible says about practices that are related to magic or the supernatural. 

quote-left

“Let there not be found among you anyone who causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire, or practices divination, or is a soothsayer, augur, or sorcerer, or who casts spells, consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, and because of such abominations the LORD, your God, is dispossessing them before you.”

-Deuteronomy 18:10 -12

Chapter 18 in Deuteronomy clearly stops us from dabbling in the occult, consulting with spirits and practicing divination. Even if we do these questionable things out of fun, we are going against the commands of God and He views these activities as “abominations.”

The bottom line is if we are to join in the festivities we need to bring back the Christian aspect of Halloween into the celebration. 

Christians and Halloween

There are plenty of ways that we can celebrate this occasion without violating any of the teachings of the Catholic Faith. Here are three practical ways to do this.

Remember the saints

Instead of focusing on just fun and merriment, let us emphasize the significance of All Hallow’s Day to the celebration of Halloween. All Hallow’s Day or All Saints Day is a meaningful celebration of the lives of all the saints and these saints include our loved ones who are now in heaven. Halloween is an opportune time to remember the saints with our family and friends.

Talk about spiritual warfare

Halloween is full of references of evil spirits and dark forces. The occasion is an opportune time to evangelize others about the reality of these evil elements. We can talk to our friends and family about spiritual warfare. More importantly, we can share to them that God is powerful and He will faithfully protect us from harm.

Dress appropriately

Christians and Halloween | Catholic Faith Store

There is nothing wrong with wearing a costume to join in on the merriment but we need to keep in mind what the Bible says about dressing modestly. We can still participate in the fun without having to wear something that is shameful in the eyes of God. Similarly, we must be careful about costumes that glorify supernatural evil. 

It is unnecessary to completely shun Halloween. We just need to shift our focus back to what is pleasing before God and not offensive to our Catholic sensibilities. 

How do you plan to celebrate Halloween this year?

How does your faith come into play in the activities and traditions of the occasion?

Is IVF Immoral in the Eyes of the Catholic Church?

Is IVF Immoral in the Eyes of the Catholic Church? - Catholic Faith Store

​Infertility affects many couples around the world and, as a result, many couples are turning to assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a solution. In the United States alone, about 6% of married women between the age of 15 to 44 are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying.


Infertility isn’t just a woman’s problem, though. In about 8% of couples having infertility issues, the identifiable cause is a male factor.

IVF is one of the many methods used to overcome infertility but this procedure has stirred up many moral and religious debates. What is IVF and what are the views of the Catholic Church on it?

What is IVF?

In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is an assisted reproductive technology in which a woman’s eggs are extracted and a sperm sample is retrieved. These two are then manually combined in a laboratory dish and the resulting embryo is transferred to the uterus.

Couples turn to IVF to treat infertility when they have the following conditions:

  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm motility
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Various genetic disorders
  • Unexplained infertility

Stories of Infertility in the Bible

There are many accounts of women who suffered from infertility in the Bible. One of them is Hannah who became so distraught with her condition that her husband, Elkanah, cried to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart so sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, also struggled to conceive. The stories of these women reveal the amazing power of God and that there is no limit to what He can do to our lives.

What the Church Says About Fertility Procedures

In 1987, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life) which examined the different fertility procedures of the modern day in the context of morality and the Catholic Faith. The document did not condemn the use of technology as a cure for infertility as wrong in itself. It made clear that while some fertility methods are moral, the procedures that do violence to the dignity of a person and the institution of marriage should be considered immoral.

Donum Vitae also emphasized our responsibility to protect all human life when using technology and methods to have children. It pointed out that people can do harm to themselves and others even when their goal of overcoming infertility is good.

According to Donum Vitae, if a medical intervention helps the marriage act to achieve pregnancy then it is to be considered moral. On the other hand, if the intervention replaces the marriage act in order to engender life, it is not moral.

How the Church Views In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Is IVF Immoral in the Eyes of the Catholic Church? - Catholic Faith Store

The Church is very clear and unequivocal in its view that Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is immoral. It can be difficult to understand and accept the church’s stand against IVF since this method is used as a solution for couples who are trying to overcome a “medical” problem.

So why is IVF immoral? First we must take into consideration how IVF is carried out which is by extracting eggs from a woman’s ovary and then joining it with sperm in a petri dish. The new life is allowed to develop for several days before the embryos are transferred to the woman’s womb. This procedure apparently eliminates the marriage act as a means to achieve pregnancy. It replaces the act of love that should take place between a couple with a laboratory procedure.

In IVF the husband and wife become mere sources of raw materials of egg and sperm. Also, the procedure will involve several embryos but only the one which shows the greatest chance of survival is implanted in the womb. The others are discarded or used later on for experiments.

Another factor that should be considered is something known as “fetal reduction” or “selective reduction” which is sometimes performed during an IVF procedure. Here, doctors monitor babies in utero to see if they have defects and they will usually eliminate those that are deemed unhealthy. These methods are dehumanizing and a great act of violence against life.

Last but not the least, it is not uncommon for couples to seek out donors for eggs and sperm and this means that the biological parent of the child may well be someone outside the marriage. These circumstances could create complications later on. For example, the child may be confused when he or she learns that one parent is not actually biologically related to him or her. Or it could also result in half siblings marrying one another because they do not know who their biological parent is.

He is the image of the invisible God,the firstborn of all creation.  - Colossians 1:15

Technologies Compatible with Catholic Teachings:

  • Observation of the naturally occurring sign(s) of fertility (Natural Family Planning). Time intercourse on the days of presumed (potential) fertility for at least six months before proceeding to medical interventions.
  • General medical evaluation of both spouses for infertility. 
  • Post‐coital test to assess sperm number and viability in "fertile type" mucus. These tests are undertaken after normal intercourse. 
  • Appropriate evaluation and treatment of male factor deficiency. Seminal fluid samples can be obtained from a non‐lubricated, perforated condom after normal intercourse. 
  • Assessment of uterine and tubal structural competence by imaging techniques (e.g., ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram, etc.). 
  • Appropriate medical treatment of ovulatory dysfunction.
  • Appropriate (usually surgical) correction of mechanical blocks to tubal patency (the state of  being open).


Reproductive Technologies under Discussion (neither "approved" nor "disapproved"):

  • Gamete intra‐fallopian transfer (GIFT).  (The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not yet pronounced on the subject.)
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) of "licitly obtained" (normal intercourse) but technologically prepared semen sample (washed, etc.).

Reproductive Technologies in Disagreement with Catholic Teachings:

  • Obtaining a sample of seminal fluid by masturbation. 
  • Artificial insemination by a non‐spouse (AID), or even by the husband (AIH) if the sample is obtained and handled by non‐licit means (masturbated specimen).  
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF), zygote intra‐fallopian transfer (ZIFT), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), ovum donation, "surrogate" uterus. 

Although IVF is considered immoral by the church, we must understand that children who are conceived through this method are still to be considered children of God and part of His family. We as human beings are created in the image and likeness of God so we must honor and treat each and every human life with respect. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conception, these children should be loved, respected and cared for.


What are your thoughts on infertility and the Church's view?


Reproductive-Technology-Evaluation-Treatment-of-Infertility-Guidelines.pdf
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/reproductive-technology/upload/Reproductive-Technology-Evaluation-Treatment-of-Infertility-Guidelines.pdf

Donum Vitae (Instruction on Respect for Human
Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation)
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1987.
USCCB: Call 800-235-8722 

Prayers to Saint Maria Faustina

Saint Maria Faustina is also known as the Apostle of the Divine Mercy. She was canonized as a saint on April 30, 2000. Saint Maria Faustina received a message of Divine Mercy from Our Lord that she was told to spread throughout the world.

Jesus said to her, 'Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust You.' It wasn't until 3 years later that Eugene Kazimierowski painted the first image of the Divine Mercy. 

Saint Maria Faustina

Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances,
but look for what is beautiful in my neighbor's soul.
Help me, O Lord, that my ears may be merciful,
so that I may give heed to my neighbor's needs. 
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful,
so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor.
Help me, O lord, that my hands may
be merciful and filled with good deeds,
so that I may do only good to my neighbor. 
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful,
so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. 
May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me. 
Amen.

This prayer to be merciful gives us a true measure of our mercy.

Saint Maria Faustina

Prayers to Saint Francis of Assisi

Legend has it that St. Francis of Assisi preached to the birds and other creatures as well as to humans. He is known today as the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Saint Francis of Assisi - Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love. 
Where there is injury -- pardon.
Where there is doubt -- faith.
Where there is despair -- hope.
Where there is sadness -- joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be
consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

If you like this prayer, you'll love these prayer cards!

Saint Francis of Assisi

Prayer for my Pet

In Your infinite wisdom, Lord God, when You created the Universe You blessed us with all
living creatures. We especially thank You for giving us our pets who are our friends and who bring us so much joy in life. Their presence very often helps us get through trying times. Kindly bless my pet. May my pet continue giving me joy and remind me of Your power.

May we realize that as our pets trust us to take care of them, so we should trust You to take care of us, and in taking care of them we share in Your love for all Your creatures. Enlighten our minds to preserve all endangered species so that we may continue to appreciate all of Your creations.

Grant this through Christ our
Lord. Amen.

Protect your pet with this beautiful prayer!

Saint Francis of Assisi

Prayers to Saint Therese

Saint Therese

Saint Therese of Lisieux is one of the most popular and well known saints, having been canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925. From Normandy in France, Therese was a Carmelite nun, answering the call at only fifteen and followed a simple and practical spiritual life. She contracted tuberculosis at the age of 24 and passed away.

Saint Therese is commonly known as "The Little Flower of Jesus" who lived her life quietly but became well known posthumously because of her spiritual autobiography.

Saint Therese the Little Flower

St. Therese,
The Little Flower,
please pick me a rose
from the Heavenly garden
and send it to me
with a message of love.
Ask God to grant me
the favor I thee implore
and tell Him I will love Him
each day more and more.

(The above prayer, plus 5 Our Father's, 5 Hail Mary's, and 5 Glory Be's, must be said on 5 successive days, before 11 A.M. On the 5th day, the 5th set of prayers having been completed, offer one more set - 5 Our Father's, 5 Hail Mary's and 5 Glory Be's.)

If you like this prayer, you'll love this beautiful prayer card.

Saint Therese

Prayer to Her

Your servant of God,
St. Therese of the Child 
Jesus, who in her dying moments did say:
I will spend my heaven in doing good upon earth, hasten to let fall upon me a shower of
roses that I too may be
inflamed with that fire of love 
which burned so brilliantly in 
your heart and which 
brought you so gloriously to 
the arms of Jesus, my lord 
and my God. Amen.

If you like this prayer, you'll love this beautiful prayer card.

Saint Therese

How Are Catholics to View Asylum Seekers and Migrants

Asylum Seekers - Catholic Faith Store
Asylum Seekers - Catholic Faith Store

​There are about 65.6 million refugees, asylum seekers and migrants around the world according to the UN Refugee Agency. Beyond this unprecedented figure are stories of people who have been forced away from the security of their own homes and have to find their way in strange, unfamiliar countries.

Who Are Asylum Seekers

An asylum seeker is a person who has fled from their home country because of dangerous circumstances such as war or political unrest. They move to another country seeking protection and the possibility of living there.

Living in a new country can be a frightening experience especially for refugees who have no place that they can call home. They went through indescribable trauma and violence in their homelands, becoming separated from their family, losing loved ones and seeing their homes destroyed.

Most refugees undergo thorough screening depending on the country they are trying to move to. Some of them end up moving through various countries and have to go through rigid evaluation.

Asylum Seekers - Catholic Faith Store

Once they arrive in a new country, they face a new set of challenges like adjusting to an unfamiliar culture, language barriers, financial constraints, health problems, and, in worse cases, hate crimes and discrimination.

Countries experiencing an influx of asylum seekers are often put in a tight spot when it comes to deciding whether to grant asylum or not. On one hand, it is understandable that these immigrants are in a desperate need of a safe place to resettle with their families and they cannot be left alone to look after themselves.

On the other hand, there are many risks involved in admitting foreigners, some of them threatening to the lives of the citizens of the country. For example, terrorists may take advantage of the situation and cross borders disguised as a refugee. This legitimate threat has made it challenging for some countries to allow asylum seekers easy entry.

The refugee crisis is complex and may be can be viewed through many perspectives. In a faith perspective, what role do we play in the global refugee crisis? How do we view this predicament in the context of the teachings of the Catholic Church?

What the Catholic Church Says

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.”  Matthew 25:35

According to the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church,” Christians have an obligation to the common good and must help provide social conditions vital “for people, either in groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.

He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.This is the greatest and the first commandment.The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”   Matthew 37:40

The concept of the common good is built on solidarity which requires that all individuals work to make life livable for all. Each person has a part to play in promoting the common good more so if he or she is a Christian.

The Bible teaches us that humans are created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore we must treat one another with respect and reverence regardless of their race or religion. We also have a responsibility to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, a command which is said to be the foundation of all other commandments and laws.

The Catholic Church emphasizes that the demands of human dignity must always come before national interest. It teaches us to protect and help innocent victims and those who are fleeing for their lives. Prolonged immigration detention or refusing asylum fail to uphold the Catholic virtues of justice and mercy.

What We Can Do

The refugee crisis is an overwhelming problem and there is no easy and instant solution for it. Our Catholic Faith teaches us to play our individual parts and do what we can even on a personal level.

Here are three simple ways we can do this:

Donate

There are many parishes, Catholic groups and foundations focused on providing assistance to refugees. Share your blessings to these groups so that they can better function and help those who are in need.

Volunteer

If you have the time and skills, you may do volunteer work in organizations supporting asylum seekers. Many charitable organizations are built on the selfless efforts of volunteers so every little contribution can go a long way.

Be Kind

When you seem someone who looks like they are from a foreign country, be kind. It’s not easy to be a stranger in a foreign land so smile, greet them and make them feel welcome.

Prayers to Saint Michael

We ask Saint Michael for his intercession for his protection to guide and watch over our family members.

Saint Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against
the wickedness and
snares of the devil. 
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray.
And do thou, O Prince 
of the heavenly host, 
by the power of God, 
thrust into hell Satan 
and all evil spirits 
who wander through
the world for the
ruin of souls.
Amen. 

Saint Michael

A Police Officer's Prayer

Dear Lord, be with me
when I am on duty this day
and every day.
Let me be kindly to the
old, and to the young be
strong; but let me triumph
over those whose acts are
cruel or wrong.
Lord, when my own last
summons comes and I stand
in your court, may my rest
with you be long and my
punishment be short. Amen. 

Saint Michael

Prayer for Those in the Service

Almighty God, we 
stand before You asking 
for Your divine mercy 
and protection 

Embrace with Your 
invincible armour our 
loved ones in all 
branches of the service.

Give them courage and 
strength against all 
enemies both spiritual 
and physical and hasten 
their safe journey back 
to their homes and 
families. Amen. 

Saint Michael
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