National Bullying Prevention Month – By Mary A. DuQuaine

A common goal for parishes and schools is to create a healthy environment where children and families thrive. Preventing bullying is a key element to providing a safe and secure community. There are life-skills and patterns of behavior we can practice in order to strengthen our everyday commitment to healthy relating. When members know and agree to social norms of a loving Christian community, we provide an optimal environment for living, learning, and praying together.
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Misericordia por medio de la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud – By Cathy Becker

Lo que me encanta del Papa Francisco es que es tan accesible y práctico. Su sonrisa es contagiosa, su amor genuino, y no tiene miedo de hablar sobre sus propias experiencias y relaciones. Entonces, cuando el Papa Francisco anunció el Año Jubilar de la Misericordia y el tema para la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud 2016 en Cracovia, supimos que entendía y vivía la misericordia en su propia vida.

Mientras más recemos juntos, más viviremos la misericordia. Cuando se le pregunta cómo practicar la misericordia, el Papa Francisco dice: “Mira, lee las bienaventuranzas que te van a venir bien. Y si quieres saber qué cosa práctica tienes que hacer, lee Mateo 25, que es el protocolo con el cual nos van a juzgar. Con esas dos cosas tienen el programa de acción: Las bienaventuranzas y Mateo 25”.
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Mercy In World Youth Day – By Cathy Becker

What I love about Pope Francis is that he is so approachable and practical. His smile is infectious, his love genuine, and he is not afraid of talking about his own experiences and relationships. So, when Pope Francis announced the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the theme for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, we knew he understood and experienced mercy in his own life.

The best way to understand mercy is to experience it. When asked how to practice mercy Pope Francis says, “Look, reading the Beatitudes will do you some good. And if you want to know what practical things you must do, read Matthew 25, which is the protocol by which we will be judged. With these two things, you have a plan of action: the Beatitudes and Matthew 25.”
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Light in the Darkness – by Dobie Moser, D. Min

SupportingCatholicFamilies

We were that “Church family.” House decorated for liturgical seasons, seven children, family service projects, music lessons, chore charts, family meetings and retreats, on our third copy of Prayers for the Domestic Church.

We loved and celebrated the sacraments that nourished our family life. We imagined we could handle whatever came our way by transforming obstacles into achievements. We had the plan and followed it: Work and do our part. Hope for the best and share hope with others. Pray that God would guide and bless our efforts. Why did we think vulnerability and suffering would not be part of our life story?

We were slow to realize the extent of our son’s illness. Early-onset schizophrenia is rare. Yet the challenges presented by his escalating illness gradually took over our family life. We read books and sought help everywhere.

Despite all our efforts, our son’s condition worsened, and hospitalizations and medications were required. He was admitted to a juvenile residential facility for severe mental illness. We were happy for the respite but longed to have him home with us.

“He can’t come home,” stated his doctor. “You have to think of your other children and your little girl. She has grown up with this chaos.” At that moment, the contagious quality of his disease was laid bare. Indeed, three of our children have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of their brother’s psychotic episodes and expressions of paranoid delusions and hallucinations.

The plan we had long been using, “Work – Hope – Pray,” was not working. We were in a new and unexpected place, unsure of where to turn. The words of Simon Peter became our anchor: “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:68).

The surprising answer was a change in the order of our plan.

Pray – Take our joys, gratitude, fears, and pain to God and trust that God is in control in ways we are not. We now make time to read Scripture, reflect, listen, and share the deepest yearnings of our hearts with the Lord.

Hope – Our prayer helped us to have the courage to hope for that which is unseen and invisible. Hope is an act of imagination and courage, allowing us to see beyond what is and to see with our inner eye what might and what ought to be. Christian hope guided us into that place where we had not yet been, and into becoming the persons we have not yet become.

Work – Our prayer and hope informs and directs our work in a way it had not before. Moral clarity requires that when you have the tools available to lessen the suffering of others that you must take action to do so.

There are still tremendous needs for our son and all who suffer from mental illness. Rooted in prayer and anchored in hope, we work together to do God’s work on behalf of all who suffer.

Greg “Dobie” Moser, D. Min, is the Executive Director, Youth and Young Adult Ministry and CYO in the Diocese of Cleveland. He holds an MA in Family Systems Counseling and his doctoral work focused on leadership development within the family. He and his wife, Lisa, are proud parents of seven children.

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