Why does Eucharistic Prayer II say

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  01/29/2023  |  Why do we do that?

This phrase comes in the context of the epiclesis, which is the part of the Eucharistic Prayer which calls down the Holy Spirit to initiate the process of transubstantiation – that is, transforming the simple gifts of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.


What is a scapular? Why do people wear them?

01/22/2023  |  From Andy Arvayo

The scapular, which derives its name from scapulae, the Latin word for “shoulders,” was originally a long, rectangular apron which hung from the shoulders (rather than being tied at the waste). This garment had the practical function of protecting the monks’ habits from the dirt and grime of their daily work, but over time became a visual symbol of their devotion and piety.


Leadership: Calling Others to Become Faithful Stewards

by International Catholic Stewardship Council  |  01/15/2023  |  From Andy Arvayo

“Leadership is about setting a direction. It’s about creating a vision, empowering and inspiring people to want to achieve the vision, and enabling them to do so with energy and speed through an effective strategy. In its most basic sense, leadership is about mobilizing a group of people to jump into a better future.”


Following Jesus

by International Catholic Stewardship Council  |  01/08/2023  |  From Andy Arvayo

We follow all sorts of people and organizations on social media. Friends. Celebrities. A favorite author, athlete, charity, or business. At times, we may think before following: do we want the additional postings or emails? Typically, following a business or celebrity does not require much of a commitment. We may or may not read every post that comes through on our feed. We might respond, or we may not. Even when we do, our response is often as simple as hitting the “like” button. Following Jesus is a very different sort of thing.


Why We Do That - January edition

01/01/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Why is January 1st a holy day of obligation?

From the earliest days of the Church, January 1st has been set aside as a feast day, but we haven’t always agreed on what we’re celebrating.  For all major feasts, the Church celebrates the “octave” – the eight days or full week after the holy day itself.  January 1st completes the octave of Christmas, and was initially celebrated for this reason alone.

During the 4th century, the role of Mary in process of salvation was hotly debated.  At the Council of Ephesus (AD 431), the title Theotokos, or “Bearer of God” was agreed upon, which both affirms Mary’s unique dignity among women, while distinguishing that she herself is not divine.  To proclaim this theological truth, the Church created a special feast day for Mary, Mother of God on January 1st.  By the 7th century, however, other Marian feasts, especially the Annunciation (March 25th) and the Assumption (August 15th), surpassed the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in popularity, and gradually the feast day fell out of favor.


A New Year, New Beginnings for the Christian Steward

by International Catholic Stewardship Council  |  01/01/2023  |  From Andy Arvayo

The practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3000 years. The start of a New Year gives us the feeling of a fresh start, a new beginning, and new opportunities. It is a time when people feel that they can begin anew with their lives. Common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more and eat healthier; or to spend more time with family. Still others include managing money better and being more organized.


The Nativity of the Lord

12/25/2022  |  From Andy Arvayo

Amidst the beautiful Christmas readings at today’s Masses is a reading from a small New Testament letter from Saint Paul to his protégé, Titus, read at Midnight Mass. Saint Paul reminds Titus that God has given us a gift in the person of Jesus Christ.


Keeping Christ in Christmas By Feeding the Littlest Ones

by International Catholic Stewardship Council  |  12/18/2022  |  From Andy Arvayo

The wonderful joy we feel in December as we await the coming of the Christ child is not so joyful for the millions of children in the United States who will go hungry this Christmas.


Advent-A Season of Hope

by International Catholic Stewardship Council  |  12/11/2022  |  From Andy Arvayo

Advent is a time of waiting and expectation; a season of quiet anticipation and preparation. We are waiting for our Lord to come into the world as the baby Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. We are also preparing for His return, His second coming as the shepherd-king, to restore harmony and right relationship to all creation.


A Gospel Reflection

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  12/04/2022  |  From Fr. Teodoro

Today’s reading from Isaiah gives us a poetic glimpse of the true meaning of shalom. Shalom, in Hebrew, is not merely peace in the sense of absence of conflict. It is a greeting and a wish – peace be with you.

It is a peace that arises from true reconciliation and cooperation, not just a chilly détente where we agree not to talk about the things that divide us.


Why We Do That - December edition

12/01/2022  |  Why do we do that?

Why does the priest wash his hands before the Eucharistic Prayer?

Like many parts of our liturgical tradition, the washing of hands has its roots in Jewish temple tradition, but also has a practical function. In Jewish custom, the priests would ritually wash themselves before offering sacrifice at the temple as prescribed in the Torah (Ex 30:19). This was to symbolize the need to come before the Lord with pure intent on behalf of the people. This tradition was incorporated into the Christian Eucharistic rite from the earliest centuries.

Over time, however, the washing of hands took on a practical function as well. In the Middle Ages, at the time of the offertory, most people didn’t donate coins. Instead, they gave what they had: eggs, wheat, wool, vegetables, or other products of the land. The priest would receive these gifts on behalf of the Church – but in doing so, would be handling the raw produce. So the washing hands became an essential need before going to handle the sacred species.


Why We Do That - Advent edition

11/27/2022  |  Why do we do that?

Why do we have Advent wreathes at our dinner tables and at our church?

The Advent wreath has a rather mysterious origin. The tradition has taken many different forms over the years. The ring of lights originates in northern Europe, and likely began with the simple need to light the family dinner table during the long nights of winter. In Scandinavia, they had the tradition of arranging candles in a wheel, representing the changing of seasons from one year to the next. Separately, the tradition of wreath-making goes back to pre-Christian Greece and Rome, where circles of leaves and flowers were used to crown the victors in competitions and brides on their wedding day.


First Sunday of Advent

11/27/2022  |  Gospel Reflection

On this first Sunday of Advent Jesus urges his disciples to stay awake and prepare themselves for the Lord’s coming. Good stewards prepare themselves and await Christ’s judgment in joyous expectation. This attitude requires genuine spiritual maturity, of course; the kind that is cultivated by prayer, participation in the sacraments, loving attention to family and one’s communion of faith, and love for one’s neighbor.


A Reflection from Deacon Tom Klein

by Deacon Tom Klein  |  11/20/2022  |  From Deacon Tom Klein

Many of you may be remember the old hymn (written in 1851), “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” Apparently, here at St. Francis Xavier, we took this quite literally, because we have at least 45 crowns of Christ on the inside of our church building. See if you can find them- there are at least 31 crowns of thorns, 12 crowns of gold, and 2 marble crowns.


Giving Thanks For Our Parish Communions

by International Catholic Stewardship Council  |  11/13/2022  |  News

For most of us, the ultimate way we experience Christ’s active presence is in our parishes. It is there that we hear the Word of God and are nourished by the Eucharist. So, this Thanksgiving let us offer prayers of gratitude for our parishes, pastors, pastoral teams, parish leaders and all the faithful who gather together to give witness to Christ’s presence.


November: A Month to Reflect on Gratitude

by International Catholic Stewardship Council  |  11/06/2022  |  From Andy Arvayo

“It is gratitude that ultimately asks one thing, but at a great price: fall extravagantly in love with what is given.”

Those words were penned by a Jesuit priest, Pat Malone, a man who volunteered for service at Ground Zero after the 9/11 World Trade Center bombings, and who struggled with leukemia and associated complications before succumbing to the disease in his early fifties. A mystic, Father Malone endured, or as he described it, “was given” much suffering. He was also given love, as he was beloved by his parishioners at Creighton University’s parish, St. John’s, who put together a book of his homilies and writings following his death.