E-Flame Newsletter May 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. 
Reflect On Your Faith 

"The age of casual Catholicism is over, the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident but instead we must be Catholics by conviction."
-Fr. Terrence Henry, TOR.
Study Wrap Up/ Fall Preview
Where Have We Been And Where Are We Going

We are half way through the Ignite Your Faith program and now is a great time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. First, we learned about having a personal relationship with Jesus through prayer. There was a prayer presentation led by Father Michael Joncas which was deeply rooted in a few cornerstones of prayer (especially in music), and about 100 parishioners completed the prayer phase with the prayer retreat. Next, we learned different ways to study our faith that included reading to grow in knowledge, investigation to answer the basic questions, and reflection to listen and ask the deep questions. We were treated to a amazing talk from Nic Davidson asking the question, "Why Be Catholic?" and through both phases we have attended the book discussion groups led by Dr. Tod Warner.  

If you have missed any of the past resources or want to share past E-Flame newsletters with your friends, please visit HERE.

The second half of the program will have us actively showing our love for Jesus as we engage with our neighbors and greater community. 

*The GENEROSITY phase kick-off weekend will be Sept. 9-10* 

IYF and E-Flame newsletters will be taking a break for the summer. Look below for a book discussion group opportunity and many other faith-filled ideas for a blessed summer!!!

IYF Summer Book Group 

Are you looking for a new book to read to help you learn about the Christian life? Look no further than St. Bart's IYF summer book group. It's pretty simple to participate. 

1.) Attain a copy of C.S. Lewis's classic "The Screwtape Letters".

2.) Read the book.

3.) Attend the two scheduled book discussion group dates led by Dr. Tod Warner.

Book discussion nights
  Tuesday July 18th and Tuesday August 8th
 7-8 pm, at St. Bart's 

Faith Filled Summer

How To Keep Jesus In Your
Heart All Summer Long
By Victoria Siedlecki

-Commit to reading one Christian novel during the month.
-Read 1 Psalm each day this month. Highlight 1 verse each day. After reading 30 Psalms, go back and reread each verse. Pick one to memorize. 
-Visit a Catholic Shrine.
-Watch a Christian movie (Pureflix movies).
-Commit to going to mass every weekend.
-Commit to going to a daily mass once a week.

-Visit a different parish. Get your kids excited and go on a scavenger hunt. What saints are present, stained glass windows, etc.
-Find God in nature.
-Listen to a Christian radio station while on vacation (KTIS, KLOVE).
-Try a new spiritual disciple-day of silence, weekend spiritual retreat.
-Serve in your church or volunteer in your community.
-Don't forget about confession.

-Over a 10-day period, pray daily for 1 or 2 non-Christian friends, asking God to show you how you can reach out to them.
-Commit to read the Gospel of Mark. When you complete a chapter, ask yourself what does this chapter show me about Jesus? What can I learn, how can I apply this to my life?
-Take an online course- St.Paul Center For Biblical Theology.
-Create a "War Room" at home- Prayer room (War Room movie).
-Get involved with one of the 7 Catholic social teachings. To learn more and get involved CLICK HERE. 

-Attend Vacation Bible School at St. Bart's. CLICK HERE to register by May 31st. 
-Start your kids with The Magnifikid prayer/mass companion.
-Youth Ministry activities at St. Bart's. CLICK HERE to find out more.
Reflective Study
Father Mike Schmitz- The Value of Silence
Father Mike Schmitz 
The Value of Silence

Matthew Kelly How Does God Speak To Us
Matthew Kelly
How Does God Speak To Us

Reflective Listener  
Spiritual Pilgrimage: 
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
By Victoria Siedlecki 

Inspiration can be found anywhere. As I finished watching the movie The Way, starring Martin Sheen, I found myself staying up late that night researching what a spiritual pilgrimage was. The movie about the unexpected places that God leads us and the longing to search for meaning was God's way of moving me to travel and go on my own spiritual pilgrimage. By definition, a pilgrimage is a journey to a significant place of faith like the Holy Land or a Catholic shrine. 

From the moment the movie ended, I found myself giving God complete control of this trip. From the financial means, the location, the spiritual friend I shared every joy and fear with, to what happened while I was there, and even my fear of flying for the first time, God was there holding my hand and leading the way, all I had to do was say yes, and yes I said!

God led my heart to travel to Washington D.C. to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the biggest church in America and the 8th biggest church in the world. With my heart wide open, I searched the Basilica with its 90 or so chapels dedicated to the Blessed Mother. I silently listened while Jesus and Mary welcome me with loving arms and loving words. Every day of my 5 day stay, I would search with a more open heart than the day before, until I finally knew what I was searching for, for what God wanted me to know. 

My participation in trusting God blessed me with many graces and I'd be willing to move again for Jesus in a heart beat. It was all about Him, for Him, by Him, through Him, and because I was brave enough to listen and willing to learn, my relationships with Jesus and His mother are the strongest they have ever been... and this is only the beginning. 
Book Review 
Consoling the Heart of Jesus: 
A Do-It-Yourself Retreat
Reviewed by Kara Landon
Do you want to be closer to Christ? Do you yearn to be holier, but feel you don't have the time or money for a retreat? If you answered yes, this is for you!
Relying primarily on Marian devotion, based on St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary, and St. Faustina's Diary, Fr. Michael Gaitley weaves together several spiritual traditions into an approachable and informative path to holiness.   Utilizing sound theology, reflective meditations, and inspirational quotes of saints while applying the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (a 30 day prayer intensive retreat) as a blueprint, he guides the reader to Jesus' Divine Mercy and Sacred Heart.
Intended as a weekend retreat, this book is easily digested over a longer period.  Despite only having snippets of time each day, the clear theology and two appendices, made my month long spiritual journey effortless while teaching me how to overcome several common obstacles.  Everyday Fr. Gaitley invited me into a friendly, encouraging conversation.  Our daily dialogues continue to reverberate deep within me supporting the small steps needed to become a saint through my vocations of wife, mother, and member of the body of Christ. 
Here is a petite paraphrased teaser. "Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul.  I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me."  (St. Faustina's Diary, 1485)  Can you feel his mother lifting you up to his sorrowful and exhausted face on the cross? Do you ache to comfort the one who gave his life to pay all your debts? Do you kiss his cheek and gently wipe away the sweat, blood, and tears? Can you hear Jesus lovingly thanking you for this kind friendship?
Will you answer our Lord's call for comfort?  I did and it is transforming my little soul daily.  Why not give it a try?!
Intro To The Catechism Recap
Searching For Happiness
By Graeme Braithwaite

Everyone desires happiness.  Does it really exist?  Since we have this longing for happiness it must exist. The question remains, however, is happiness possible to attain?

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself.  Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for ( CCC 27).

Recently, Andrew Allen and Connor Flanagan facilitated a discussion about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and how the greatest love story ever told, that of God's love, we received from the Church.  It is passed on to us through the three-legged stool of revelation: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the church. The Catechism is a summary of the whole of Scripture through the Magisterium, and is to be viewed side by side with scripture.

The Catechism can look like an intimidating book to read, but it can be broken down into smaller, more digestible chunks.  It contains four pillars.  I sum these up as a way of life in which "I believe, I celebrate, I live, and I pray!

Pillar 1 is our belief, the profession of faith, the Creed, and the story of God.

Pillar 2 is the celebration of the Christian mystery through the liturgy and the sacraments.  It is how we enter the story.

Pillar 3 is how we live, our life in Christ, and is about our part in the story.

Pillar 4 is Christian prayer, our life of prayer, and our friendship with God.

So that's what it's about, but you still may be asking "how do I go about reading it?"  Or, "what do all those numbers mean?"  Here are some practical tips for reading the Catechism.

  • Read slowly, meditate on what you read, and internalize it.
  • The Catechism is broken down into paragraphs.  Each paragraph has a bold number.
  • The non-bold numbers in the margins refer to other related paragraphs.
  • Take advantage of the index.  Note that of the 904 pages of the big green Catechism, 215 are index pages.  This may also make it a little less intimidating.
  • One approach is to read a passage from scripture, then find it in the Index of Citations in the Catechism.  That index will then direct you to the paragraphs that relate to that scripture passage.
  • Another approach is to use the subject index to search for paragraphs related to a particular subject, like forgiveness, for example.
  • There is also an index of abbreviations and a glossary to aid you.
One participant at the discussion said,
"the Catechism, then, is a way to sort of decode what was written in scripture."  P.P. 
And finally, another participant brought us back to a bit of the happiness that we can attain through the truth that the Catechism reveals,
"It (the Catechism) helps me understand the 'whys' and strengthens my relationship with God."  K. L.

Online Catechism 
Catechism online at USCCB website- CLICK HERE
Catechism online at Vatican website- CLICK 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.