Faith and Family is a weekly column by Lani Bogart, in which she provides practical ways to connect the Sunday readings, especially the Gospel, to the lives of families. Lani oversees all things catechetical at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and co-leads the Committee to Serve Wives and Widows of Deacons for the Diocese of Phoenix.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

05-26-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

“And now I have told you this before it happens so that when it happens you may believe.”

Jesus makes a point of telling his disciples why he has told them about the gift of the Holy Spirit. He longs for them to understand that His Father has a good plan and that the gift of the Holy Spirit is a part of that plan. Recently 150 people were sealed with the same gift of the Holy Spirit at three separate Confirmation Masses.

Is this just a beautiful ceremony that we as Catholics celebrate, or do we believe the Holy Spirit empowers us to live in freedom and truth? How does the Holy Spirit living in us make a difference in the way we spend our time? Our money? In the way we love?

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Jesus' Love

05-19-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

The “glory” of God is that even in the human circumstances that seem empty of His presence and care, God is at work to reveal His love for sinners – to shine forth his love in all its brightness and power.

Jesus spoke about a “new” commandment of love. The Jews had already been taught to love their neighbors as themselves (see Lev 19:18). What is “new” in Jesus’ teaching?

Now God’s people are to love others as Jesus loved us—laying down His life for people who don’t deserve it. We are the people who don’t deserve it, yet he still loves us. The presence of Jesus’ love in us is how all will know that we are His disciples.

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He is Our Shepard

05-12-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Are we willing to think of ourselves as sheep? If we want the benefits of the Good Shepherd’s care, we must be like sheep who “hear” and “follow” the voice of their shepherd.

Sheep depend entirely on the shepherd’s care. They cannot meet their own needs. But they recognize their shepherd’s voice and follow where he leads. When they “hear” and “follow” all their needs are met and they are safe from predators.

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Are you like Peter?

05-05-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Are you like Peter? I know I am. I say “yes” without understanding what it really means. When following Jesus means I have to die to my own ideas or when I feel threatened, I wimp out.

Jesus knows Peter better than Peter knows himself. He doesn’t reprimand him for his denials. Mercifully, Jesus finds Peter and renews his relationship of love with him. He draws out from Peter three declarations of love rendering powerless his three former denials. Then he reminds him of his mission.

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Divine Mercy Sunday

04-28-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Divine Mercy Sunday

When the other apostles report to Thomas that they have seen Jesus, he doesn’t believe. He must see and touch the wounds of Jesus to be convinced. I wonder why Thomas doubted the men who closely followed Jesus with him for the last three years. His doubt does not seem like a good response, does it? Yet Jesus is not limited by Thomas’ lack of faith. He does not admonish him for his doubts but gives him exactly what he needs for faith. Mercy! And the good news for us is that this same mercy, like a river, is headed our way!READ MORE

ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!

04-21-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

If you do not normally come to Mass except on Easter and Christmas, we want you to feel especially welcome at Our Lady of Perpetual Help!

The Church's beautiful celebration of Easter is the perfect time to begin anew in your life of faith.

We, in the Religious Education Office want to extend a warm welcome to you and your family and to invite you to explore your Catholic Faith.

We offer classes for everybody, from Kindergarten through Adults. We will journey with you if you or your children of any age are unbaptized or if you wish to prepare for marriage in the Church.

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Hosanna in the Highest

04-14-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!

We pray these words at every Mass, but they are especially highlighted today when we reenact in a symbolic way the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

Yet, how quickly we turn from songs of Hosanna to Jesus our King to shouts of, "crucify him!" This reality ought to jolt us out of any complacency or comfortable routine.

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Upcoming Easter Triduum

04-07-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

For the first 40 years of my Christian life I knew nothing of the beauty and truth of the Church's Sacraments or the three holiest days of the year. Now, I have the joy of preparing children and adults for Baptism, Confirmation and 1st Communion and, though it can be hectic, it's my favorite time of year! There is so much grace!!!

On this 5th Sunday of Lent we ask for your prayers for more than 20 young people who are to be Baptized and make their Confirmation and 1 st Communion in our parish at the Easter Vigil. Please pray also for those who are journeying with them; family members, sponsors, and catechists.

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Pray for those being baptized at the Easter Vigil

03-31-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

On this 4th Sunday of Lent we pray even more fervently for those who are to be Baptized at the Easter Vigil. We remember those also, who will make their Confirmation and 1 st Holy Communion this year.

Here is a prayer your family can pray for them:

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Pray for our Catechumens

03-24-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

What a privilege it is to accompany those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion at the Easter Vigil! More than twenty men, women, and children will be initiated into the Church here during the Easter Vigil on April 20th at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Hundreds more throughout the Diocese are also preparing for Full Initiation into the Church.

Will your family pray for our catechumens as they live their first Lent? This is a time of intense testing for them. It's a time a time of purification for them to overcome doubts and choose the faith even when it is not easy. It's a time for them to see themselves as they are in the light of God's love.

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Special Graces

03-17-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

recently attended the funeral of a faithful priest who was given many special graces from God. He also suffered much, but only those closest to him knew of his intense suffering. Was he one of God's favorites? His life and even his death brought countless graces to all those he loved. God's favorites, like the "favored one" (Mary) are eager to share the graces they are given with all of us.

God allowed only three of the Apostles access to the special event on the mountain top. Does it seem unfair to you that God might have favorites? Only three of the twelve had the privileged experience of seeing Jesus transfigured and hearing a voice from heaven. But the glorious experience was never meant to last forever. It was to strengthen their faith and the faith of all who knew them.

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God's love for us never changes

03-10-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In today's readings, the Church offers us the same psalm the devil quoted to Jesus as he tempted Him in the desert. But the devil only quoted part of it to Jesus. He quoted the part about God's promise to send angels to protect and help those who love him. But the devil didn't quote the beginning of the psalm: "…say to the Lord, 'My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.'" The psalm promises help for those who call upon God, who "cling" to Him, who "acknowledge His Name." We first live a life of daily trust in God, like a child accepts the love of a father. When we live this life in him, he delivers us. It cannot be the other way around ("deliver me, Lord, then I will trust in You"), which is what the devil suggested to Jesus. When we habitually trust God, we can sing with the psalmist, "Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble."

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The Season of Lent

03-03-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In just three short days we begin the penitential season of Lent. Did you know more people go to Church on Ash Wednesday than any other day of the year? Perhaps it is because we sense our deep need for God's mercy, and we want to do something to invite his grace and forgiveness into our lives. We know that ashes on our foreheads does not really change anything, but we hope it can be a sign of change in our hearts.

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