E-Flame Newsletter March 2017
We warmly welcome you and thank you for subscribing to receive the  Ignite Your Faith  E-Flame newsletter. Each month, you will find information on current and past events, articles to cultivate your faith life, and a calendar of upcoming study and prayer opportunities. We invite you to use this email as a one-stop resource center in Igniting Your Faith. 
Second Sign- STUDY
The second sign of a dynamic Catholic is STUDY. Every day dynamic Catholics find or make time to study their faith. We will be breaking down the ways Catholics study their faith and learning the how's and why's to making study a part of our own everyday lives. 

LENT IS THE PERFECT TIME TO STUDY OUR FAITH THROUGH PERSONAL REFLECTION.

REFLECTION: This third form of study might be the most important. Reflection takes us inside ourselves. Listening to the inner voice of God reveals so much. Matthew Kelly suggests that we can learn more in one hour of reflective silence then we can in a year of reading books. 

STUDY is all about continuous learning and it will look different for each of us, as we are all at different places on our faith journeys. Make this part of Ignite Your Faith a time to open your mind, open your heart, be curious, and let God teach you something new.

STUDY OPPORTUNITIES-MARK YOUR CALENDARS



Sunday, April 9th 
2:00 PM
Gospel of Mark Reading

We invite you to the 3rd annual communal reflection of the Gospel of Mark. St. Bart's lectors will read the Gospel from the beginning where we hear God's gift to the world, His son Jesus. We also will hear Jesus calling his disciples, teaching and healing sinners as he traveled, and be able to walk with Jesus on the road to Calvary. This is a beautiful way to start Holy Week as we all study and reflect on the most important gift we have; LIFE through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.   




Wednesday, May 17
6:30 - 8:30 PM
Intro to the Catechism:
Discover the Genius of Catholicism 

In a time with so many questions and so much confusion for Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the church has given us a great gift in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Join Andrew Allen, Director of Faith Formation, and Connor Flanagan , Director of Youth Ministry at St. Bart's, for a special presentation that introduces the Catechism, shows you how to use it, but also covers the inspiring message of God's plan for us. No registration needed.





ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!
Study Your Faith 
Ignite Your Faith- 
Free Prayer and Study Ideas
By Teresa Litfin-Wertz


Each new day gives us an opportunity to hone or develop our Prayer and Study skills. Here are some easy possibilities that are available to use on your smart phone or computer. So you can pray and study whenever you have a few minutes no matter where you are during the day.
 
Do you want to be part of The Best Lent Ever? This is not an oxymoron statement and you will soon find out why. Matthew Kelly's Dynamic Catholic Institute has a daily email that you can sign up to receive for FREE which includes a brief video along with a statement to focus and pray about. And here is what is great for busy folks, the whole thing is about five minutes or less! Super easy and meaningful. You can join by going to: dynamiccatholic.com and click on Sign Up.
 
If one of your prayer and study aspirations is to read the daily scriptures but don't always have your Bible handy, you can get a free app from the Apple Store called Laudate.  It has a plethora of prayer and study options, however, the third one down is 'Daily Readings' and once you click it, it takes you right to the scripture readings for the day. So simple and quick...right at your finger tips.
 
Then if you would like to go one step further after reading the daily Gospel you can read a short, but powerful Gospel reflection from Bishop Robert Barron. You may be familiar with Bishop Barron, he has a ministry called Word on Fire, a global media ministry. You can sign up to receive his FREE daily email by going to: lentreflections.com.
 
Let's have our Best Lent Ever... as a faith community.
 
Study Your Faith 
Reflective Study- Getting Started
Reflection-
One Way We Study Our Faith
By Victoria Siedlecki


Prayer: IGNATIUS SPIRITUALITY
St. Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish  priest in the 1500's who is known for the spiritual experiences  he encountered with God that led him to become one of the most influential  spiritual directors that ever lived. The practices that he taught were based on self-awareness, examen  of consciousness , and discernment.The foundation of these teachings encourage us to grow our spiritual lives by actively  working in union with God to fulfill  His will. To learn more about St. Ignatius and the practices of Ignatius Spiritually, CLICK HERE.

"Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me."
-Ignatius of Loyola


Adoration: EUCHARISTIC ADORATION 
Eucharistic adoration is such a sacred space, filled with needed silence and the greatest love we will ever know, Christ Jesus. I have only been continuously attending adoration at St. Bart's for a couple of months, but even in that short period of time, my relationship with Jesus has grown stronger. With being a busy stay at home mother and volunteering most of my free time here at St. Bart's, I don't have time to put "time with God" on my to do list, or so I thought I didn't have the time. Once I started asking my friends questions about when, where, and WHY they go to adoration, I was prompted to answer those questions for myself. Most of the time with faith topics, it's the WHY that trips us up, and with a self-proclaimed perfectionist way of doing things, I had to push away what I thought adoration should be, and just be still and know God will take care of the rest. I highly encourage you, yes you!, to meet with Jesus in our St. Bart's chapel on any Wednesday that there is faith formation from 4:30 to 7:30 pm or the first Friday of the month from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Note that we have regular Adorers scheduled for April 7 and May 5 so that you can stop into the chapel at your convenience. For more information about Eucharisic Adoration or to find resource articles written by Father Mike Van Sloun, CLICK HERE.  

"Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him, 'Lord, I am here.  Tell me what you would have me to do' . . . And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart.  I tell him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen.  If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.  God always speaks to you when you approach him plainly and simply."
-St. Catherine Laboure
 
Study The Saints

Study The Saints
By Graeme Braithwaite

Do you know any saints? I am confident I do. My mother who passed away several years ago is surely a saint. Saints are human beings that had physical bodies, lived in a specific time and place, and have died and gone to heaven. They are examples of holiness, and their virtuous lives teach us how to live in a virtuous manner.



The saints:
  • were heroic, some were martyrs
  • show us how to live with courage and conviction
  • offer hope.
  • are proof that it is possible to live a good and holy life; if they can do it, we can do it.
  • show us that heaven is reachable and that we can follow them there.
  • are in heaven, near God, and enjoy God's favor.
  • are intercessors in an excellent position to present our prayers to God on our behalf.
  • can inspire and motivate us, but we should be careful about how we imitate them, doing so in a balanced and reasonable way.
*The Communion of Saints of the Living are those who are alive, baptized, believe in God, practice their faith, and do their best to live a good and holy life.
*The  Communion of Saints of the Faithful Departed are those who have completed their human journey on earth and have died, having fulfilled their calling, been redeemed by Jesus, and are in heaven.

Many saints are honored as patron saints. A patron saint is a special intercessor before God for a special concern.  For example, the patron saint of our parish is St. Bartholomew.

To learn more about the lives of the saints, try the resources listed below.  Or better yet, try attending a daily Mass. Fr. Mike's homily often highlights a saint's life on their feast day.


Additional Saint Resources:
  • Bangley, B. (2005). Butler's lives of the saints: Concise, modernized edition. Brewster MA: Paraclete Press.
  • McBrien, R. (2001). Lives of the Saints. San Francisco, CA: Harper.
  • Lodi, E. (2012). Saints of the Roman Calendar. New York : Society of St. Paul/Alba House.
  • Catholic Online - Saints at http://www.catholic.org/saints/
Study Through RCIA 

RCIA Sponsorship Offers A Unique Opportunity For Study 
By Victoria Siedlecki

It's hard to believe that it was 10 years ago this  Easter that I became a full member  of the church  by  receiving  Baptism, Eucharist,and Confirmation.
While a part of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program for 8 months, I was learning the faith for the first time and fully embraced all that the church was and is. However, after the Easter vigil was completed and while our group reflected on all we had learned, I couldn't help but hear voice after voice of RCIA sponsors agree in unison that even though they all were life long Catholics, they had journeyed on their own conversion of sorts. 

Even my husband Bob, who was my sponsor, shared that for many years he would just go through the actions because that's "just what you did". It wasn't until we all came to the question of why, why do Catholic's believe what they believe, did he and many sponsors grow stronger in their faith. Throughout the years when I have shared my conversion story with other Catholics, there is always a past sponsor who will share their own story of how, by supporting the candidate and what the RCIA program provides, it all challenged them to study and embrace their faith more fully. 

As we get closer to the miracle of Easter,  let us all share in the joy of our candidates  in the RCIA program here at St. Bart's.  We pray for their full conversion and  a life long love of the Catholic faith.  We also pray for their sponsors,  that they embrace the conversion journey  that God has placed them on,  and supporting not only their candidate,  but also their own study of our Catholic faith. 

For another look at RCIA sponsorship, please check out this article from Our Sunday Visitor. 

To find out more information on the RCIA process for someone you know who is not Catholic, or if you feel you are being called to become a sponsor and grow more in your faith, please contact St. Bart's Faith Formation Director, Andrew Allen. 
Recap of Nic Davidson Presentation 
Can You Answer The Question, 
Why Be Catholic?
By Victoria Siedlecki

Why be Catholic? Hiding in this one simple question is a unique and beautiful journey that is incredibly personal and sacred to all of us and at the same time holds us all together in the body of Christ. St. Bart's welcomed Catholic speaker and missionary, Nic Davidson to share his unique and beautiful journey as a once Assemblies of God believer and now a Catholic Church convert. Nic shared his path to finding truth and how he found it through the gifts of the church.
 
The three reasons Nic chooses to believe his faith every day are, 1.) The authority of the church and the apostolic succession. Many times in faith conversations we hear the statement "Well, I think it's this or I believe it's that" when we should really challenge ourselves to ask whose authority am I following. Ask yourself "who says?" when studying your Catholic faith and you will find yourself in the loving arms of Jesus every time. 2.) Following the truths of Pope John Paul ll and Theology of The Body. This was a God-send game changer for Nic and his marriage. Pope John Paul ll calls us to understand that, "The human body includes right from the beginning...the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift- and by means of this gift- fulfills the meaning of his being and existence." 3.) The sacraments and the gift God gives us through those sacraments.  During the consecration at mass, the world, for only a moment, stops. We are transformed through time and are actively participating in the greatest gift God has given the world, the gift of his Son. These three reasons are foundational to what it means to be Catholic. With humor and touching examples, listeners of Nic's presentation felt a call to strengthen our commitment to our faith.
 
Nic Davidson, a convert like myself, chose the faith as the foundation for all of life's purposes to rest upon. I pray that through this STUDY phase, we all recommit ourselves to the church and be able to start answering the question, why be Catholic?


***STUDY RESOURCE-HIGHLY RECOMMENDED***

Nic Davidson Presentation: Audio
1 hour and 27 minutes of humor and beautiful TRUTH
CLICK BELOW
 
Nic Davidson




Want more from Nic? Check out his website HERE.
 
**Stories! Stories! 
We Need Your Stories!**

Sometimes God speaks and calls us through the people around us. It would be an honor to hear YOUR story! We are looking for insights that you have gained from  Ignite Your Faith or any resources that you rely on that help support learning about the faith. If you would like to be a blessing to our faith community and would like to share, please let us know. You can email me, Victoria Siedlecki, at siedlecki0906@msn.com.

 *BE PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOURSELF*
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