Sunday, Sept 21: Back to Basics, Part 5

•  All the readings together
 Isaiah 55:6-9
•  Psalm 145
•  Philippians 1:20-27
•  Matthew 20:1-16


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Recorded Sunday, September 21, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014

Good Fridays: Coming Soon!


  • 7:30 AM Daily Mass
  • 8:00 AM to Noon: Confessions
  • 12:05 to 12:35 PM: Daily Mass
  • 12:35 to 8:00 PM: Confessions
  1. October 24, 2014
  2. October 31, 2014
  3. November 7, 2014
  4. November 14, 2014
  5. November 21, 2014
  6. December 5, 2014
  7. December 12, 2014
  8. December 19, 2014

Examination of Conscience


Taken from Go in Peace: Your Guide to the Purpose and Power of Confession; 101 Questions and Answers, by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. and Sean Brown. Ascension Press.

First Commandment: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:1-2) Also, see Matthew 4:10, 22:36-38; Mark 7:14-23
  • Have I doubted or denied the existence of God?
  • Have I lost hope of salvation or despaired of God's mercy?
  • Have I refused to believe those things God has revealed in Scripture and Tradition?
  • Have I engaged or believed in fortune telling, horoscopes, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, séances, or reincarnation?
  • Have I denied my Catholicism or refused to defend the Catholic Faith?
  • Have I spent time in prayer on a daily basis?
  • Have I ever received Communion in a state of mortal sin?
  • Have I ever deliberately told a lie in Confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the Priest in Confession?
  • Am I addicted to any sort of chemical substance or any sort of self-indulgent behavior that alters my ability to be a free-thinking and free-choosing individual?
  • Have I let hobbies or forms of leisure and entertainment become the most important aspects of my life?

Second Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (Exodus 20:7) Also, see Matthew 5:33-37,22:36-38; Acts of the Apostles 19:13-17; Colossians 3
  • Have I blasphemed or insulted God?
  • Have I used God's name in vain, that is, in a careless or frivolous manner?
  • Have I cursed someone by wishing evil upon them?
  • Have I broken an oath or a vow, such as perjuring myself in a legal trial?
  • Have I gotten angry at God?
  • Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?
  • Do I hesitate to mention God's name in appropriate situations, in conversations with friends and family members, such as social and political discussions which have a religious dimension to them?
  • Have I neglected learning more about God through study and reflection?

Third Commandment: Keep the Sabbath Day holy. (Exodus 20:8) Also, see Matthew 22:36-38; Mark 2:27-28; Hebrews 4:9
  • Do I remember to attend Mass and make the effort to go every Sunday?
  • Have I missed attending Mass on any Holy Day of obligation?
  • Do I arrive at Mass on time? Do I leave early?
  • When I participate in the Mass, do I focus on the liturgy and my prayers, or do I let my mind wander and dwell on unrelated subjects?
  • Do I choose to work on Sundays when I am not obligated to?
  • Do I disregard the religious observance of the Sabbath in general?

Fourth Commandment: Honor your father and mother. (Exodus 20:12) Also, see Matthew 15:4-6, 19:19, 22:39-40; Romans 13:9; 1st Corinthians  4:14-17; Ephesians 6:1-3
  • Have I disobeyed authority, be it that of my parents, employer, government laws, or Church teaching?
  • Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?
  • Did I neglect to give good religious example to my family?
  • Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and moral formation of my children?
  • Do I set legitimate moral norms for my children and do I enforce the consequences of bad behavior?
  • Did I cause tension and fights in my family? Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives? Have I disrespected or belittled the elderly?

Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. (Exodus 20:13) Also, see Matthew 19:18, 22:39-40; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:31
  • Have I killed or physically injured anyone?
  • Have I had an abortion, or have I encouraged or assisted someone else to get one?
  • Have I attempted to commit suicide?
  • Do I support the right to suicide?
  • Did I use or cause my spouse to use birth control pills (whether or not realizing that birth control pills do abort the fetus if and when conceived)?
  • Have I taken part in or given my approval to a "mercy killing" (euthanasia)?
  • Did I become angry, impatient, envious, unkind, proud, vengeful, jealous or hateful toward another?
  • Have I engaged in unjustifiable physical violence toward others?
  • Have I abused my children by violent or other means?

Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14) Also, see Matthew 19:18, 22:39-40; Mark 7:22; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 5:3-4)
  • Do I look at pornography or read romance novels for the purpose of enhancing my own self-indulgent fantasies?
  • Did I use impure or suggestive words? Tell impure stories? Listen to them?
  • Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)?
  • Did I commit impure acts with another- fornication (premarital sex), adultery (sex with a married person)?
  • Have I engaged in homosexual activity?
  • Do I treat my own spouse as an object of my personal sexual gratification?
  • Have I practiced artificial birth control (by any means, including pills, devices, withdrawal)?
  • Have I or has my spouse voluntarily been sterilized?
  • Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Church?

Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15) Also, see Matthew 19:18, 22:39-40; Mark 7:21; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28
  • Have I stolen other people's property?
  • Have I helped or encouraged other persons to steal or keep stolen goods?
  • Have I knowingly bought or kept goods that I knew were stolen by someone else?
  • Have I made restitution for any goods that I have stolen, or returned goods that I knew were stolen by another?
  • Have I failed to keep any contracts I have entered?
  • When making a purchase, have I remained silent when recognizing a monetary mistake in my favor?
  • Have I given or accepted bribes or kickbacks, especially to increase my influence in government or business matters?
  • Have I paid my bills responsibly?
  • Have I incurred unnecessary debt?
  • Have I gambled money in such a way as to deprive myself or my family of the necessities of life?
  • Have I neglected my duties while on the clock, failing to put in an honest day's work for the wages that I earn?
  • Do I pay my employees a fair wage by which they are able to adequately support themselves and their families?
  • Do I take advantage of the religious beliefs of my employees by telling them that their work is a ministry, so as to justify the low wages I pay them, when I could easily pay them more?
  • Do I share my goods with the poor and needy, showing generosity to them?

Eighth Commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16) Also, see Matthew 5:33, 19:18, 22:39-40; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:25
  • Have I told any lies?
  • Have I deliberately deceived any persons who had the right to know the truth of a matter?
  • Have I injured the reputation or effectiveness of other persons by spreading falsehoods about them?
  • Have I given a false testimony in court or in a legal procedure, thereby committing perjury?
  • Do I deal with other persons in a sincere and honest manner?
  • Did I fail to keep secret what I should have kept confidential?
  • Have I gossiped about friends or enemies, revealing personal private information that is detrimental in nature? Have I done so without even knowing with certainty the truth of the matter?
  • Do I criticize others or hold negative and uncharitable thoughts about them?
  • Has my reluctance to speak in defense of truth or the faith because of my own fear or laziness led others to sin, or made them susceptible to it? Has my own taste for immoral actions or events encouraged others to follow suit and deny God's will?

Ninth Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. (Exodus 20:17) Also, see Matthew 5:27-28, 19:18, 22:39-40; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 5:3-4
  • Since this commandment treats the issues of one's interior desires rather than overtly sinful deeds, one must examine mental attitudes and choices one makes about thoughts one dwells on.
  • Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
  • Have there been times in which I chose to dwell on lust, even if I have not acted on it?
  • Have I reflected on past sexual sins for the purpose of indulging in the reminiscence of the gratification those recollections offer?
  • Have I instigated or actively engaged in impure thoughts by reading books, seeing movies, or listening to conversations which are sexually stimulating?
  • Do I try to steer my imagination from lustful thoughts that treat other persons as objects for my use rather than as objects of pure love? Do I pray when I am tempted by impure thoughts? Do I direct my thoughts to other things so as to resist the temptation to lust?

Tenth Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. (Exodus 20:17) Also, see Matthew 6:21, 19:18; Mark 7:22
  • This commandment also concerns internal attitudes rather than overt actions, though here it concerns the neighbor's property.
  • Have I envied other people's families or possessions?
  • Have I made it a primary goal in life to acquire as many material possessions as possible?
  • Have I felt compelled to "keep up with the Jones"?
  • Do I always want more than I have?
  • Am I greedy or selfish in regard to my possessions?
  • Do I place my trust in God's providence, entrusting my material and spiritual needs to His care?
  • Do we thank God for all He has given us and are we satisfied with these gifts?


Sunday, Sept 14: Back to Basics, Part 4

•  All the readings together
•  Numbers 21:4-9
•  Psalm 78
•  Philippians 2:6-11
•  John 3:13-17


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Video: How to Make a Good Holy Hour


Here you ... click the video below ... help on how to make a good holy hour.

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Tips on How to Make a Good Holy Hour


Ever try to pray only to soon find out you don’t know what to do? Ever visit the Adoration Chapel only to leave frustrated because you didn’t know how to pray? Here are a few suggestions as to how to make a good holy hour.

Minutes 0-5: Meditate on the following quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response.” (no. 2567)

Minutes 5-10: Look in your heart, look at your life. What do you want? What do you really want from God? Tell God right now what you need from Him during this time of prayer.

Minutes 10-15: Find a passage from the Bible. Maybe it’s a Psalm; maybe it’s the readings from daily Mass; maybe it’s the readings at the upcoming Sunday Mass. Simply find a passage from Scripture. Read the passage slowly. Get familiar with the text. Read the passage a second time, this time read it even slower. Very, very slowly read the passage a third time. Pay attention to which word, words, or phrases “tug” at your heart or get your attention.

Minutes 15-25: Think about your life; think about the reality of your life. What are the word, words, or phrases from the Bible speakng to in your life? How does the Bible passage connect to your life? Think. Look deep within.

Minutes 25-35: Talk to God. Talk to God as if He were a real person. Talk to God like Moses did: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another.” (Exodus 33:11)

Minutes 35-45: Listen. God will speak to you. Maybe God will speak to you through a thought in your head ... or a song in your heart ... or a memory ... or a feeling in your body. Listen with all your senses.

Minutes 45-50: Return to the Scripture passage again. Read it slowly one more time. Is there any word, words, or phrases that speak to you again?

Minutes 50-55: What can you do today, this week, to act on what God has revealed to you? Practically speaking, in your real life, what can you do?

Minutes 55-60: Thank the Lord. Blessings are specific and so should our gratitude. Tell God specifically what you’re thankful for.


Sunday, August 31: Back to Basics, Part 3

•  All the readings together
•  Jeremiah 20:7-9
•  Psalm 63
•  Romans 12:1-2
•  Matthew 16:21-27


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  • Quick welcome to visitors and guests
  • Spent the week with our staff. We have a great staff … we a few new people joining our team … I’m excited about our growth as a parish family, about the quality of our team + new team, about our future. It was a great week.
  • God was exceptionally near to me when we were in Diamondhead on retreat.
  • Then, I came home and I noticed a flatness.
  • Great things happening in the office … great conversations with y’all … great being home … I’m so very happy.
  • However, it’s like the air sailed out the balloon, things were dry the last few days.
  • Struggled to rest in prayer … trying what I know to do, but struggled.
  • Discouraged in prayer led to other discouragements.
  • I think we all share this in common
  • I think we all know what it’s like to want more … to have great hope … to hear and see others thriving … and then to struggle > to not know what to do > to leave disappointed > to not get what we wanted >>> to be discouraged
  • I get discouraged … a lot of get discouraged
  • I want more … I think a lot of us want more 
  • I think a lot of us are searching in life.
  • I think we all want more from God; however, sometimes it just seems hard and we get discouraged.
  • So what if … what if God could speak directly to you and the discouragement today?
  • What if God could give you hope?
  • What if you and Him were easier?
  • What if prayer were easy? … or easier?
  • Today's first reading: from Jeremiah 30
  • Jeremiah is discouraged. Listen to his discouragement:
  1. “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”
  2. “All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.”
  3. “Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.”
  4. “I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more.”
  5. “I grow weary”
          • Can you hear his discouragement?
          • Ever feel like that?
          • This Sunday is the 3rd week of this “Back to Basics” series. Perhaps you’ve tried the first two challenges … and things went great.
          • Perhaps you tried … and nothing happened.
          • Maybe feeling great … maybe discouraged.
          • Taking it one step further … prayer can be difficult because I think for a lot of us we want to pray, but don’t know what to do.
          • We learned how to “say our prayers;” however, what we learned as a kid doesn’t suffice for what we face as adults.
          • Reach crisis in life > and you pray
          • Worried … or in love … or care for other > and you pray
          • Get hungry for more … take a shot for growth > and you pray
          CORE MESSAGE
          • The third thing we can do to help our spiritual life is to learn how manage discouragements, and learn how to pray
          • Prayer is different from “saying your prayers” and some of us need to learn how to pray.
          YOU (What is the one thing you can do this week?)
          • We can prepare for Sunday Mass + we can go to daily Mass + we can spend an hour a week in the Adoration chapel.
          • However, you might say: “Fr. Mark, I don’t know what to do.” 
          • I made a handout + plus I’m gonna offer an hour teaching this week at three different times!
          • I believe in you. I believe in God. I believe in His desire.
          • I am convinced that this can be the best year of your spiritual life!
          • This week, make one holy hour. Commit praying at home, or in the Adoration chapel, or somewhere.
          • “But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart … (Jeremiah 20:9) … 
          • But listen to what follows! “But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not prevail. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, For he has rescued the life of the poor” 
          • What if we all did that?
          • What if discouragement weren’t the end?
          • What if you could pray better this year?
          • What would life look if prayer were easier?
          • What would you life look like if this were the best year of your spiritual life?
          • Let’s pray right now …

          Recorded Sunday, August 31, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014


          Daily Mass in Thibodaux: By Time


          6:30 AM > Monday thru Friday, Saint Joseph Co-Cathedral
          7:00 AM > Monday thru Friday, Saint Genevieve
          7:30 AM > Monday thru Saturday, Christ the Redeemer
          8:00 AM > Thursdays only, Saint Thomas
          9:00 AM > Fridays only, Saint Genevieve
          12:05 PM > Monday thru Friday, Christ the Redeemer
          12:15 PM > Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Saint Thomas
          5:30 PM > Monday thru Friday, Saint Joseph’s Co-Cathedral
          7:00 PM > Tuesdays only, Saint Thomas

          Daily Mass in Thibodaux: By Church

          720 Talbot Avenue
          Mondays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Tuesdays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Wednesdays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Thursdays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Fridays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Saturday: Mass at 7:30 AM

          815 Barbier Avenue
          Mondays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Tuesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Wednesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Thursdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Fridays: Masses at 7:00 AM & 9:00 AM (School Mass)

          721 Canal Boulevard
          Mondays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Tuesdays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Wednesdays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Thursdays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Fridays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM

          Nicholls State University
          Mondays: Mass at 12:15 PM
          Tuesdays: Masses at 12:15 PM & 7:00 PM
          Wednesdays: Mass at 12:15 PM
          Thursdays: Mass at 8:00 AM

          2085 Saint Mary’s Street
          Tuesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Wednesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Thursdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Fridays: Mass at 7:00 AM

          Sunday, August 24: Back to Basics, Part 2

          •  All the readings together
          •  Isaiah 22:19-23
          •  Psalm 138
          •  Romans 11:33-36
          •  Matthew 16:13-20


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          • Quick welcome to visitors and guests
          • After I graduated from Nicholls I moved to Washington DC and worked for a management consulting firm
          • My experience of Nicholls was great … track ... fraternity … youth ministry
          • God was near. I could touch him. It was one of the best “seasons” in my life
          • On the other hand, living in DC was different … hours … stress … transition.
          • I don’t handle transition well, so it took me a long time to adjust
          • God seemed far away. I still prayed … kinda. I still went to Mass. However, the nearness was gone. 
          • Nicholls … DC 
          • Near … far
          • I think we all share this in common
          • I think we’ve all felt God close … then felt Him far away … near … far … personal … invisible.
          • How many times have you and I “repeated” the same pattern? 
          • I think a lot of us are searching in life.
          • I think deep within ever human being is the desire for something bigger than them … to know that something out there can help me 
          • However, we also want to know that God is thinking of me … my life … my questions
          • What if God were there … and what if you could experience more easily?
          • Often God seems mysterious, transcendent, completely other:
          • “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34)
          • On the other hand, God seems to want to be known:
          • “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
          • “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Matthew 16:17)
          • What we know about God is that He is mysterious – He is mystery – but He is also near; He is in Heaven, but He is also on earth; He is everywhere, but He wants to be immediately close to you.
          • How can we now – here on earth – in the midst of our lives in Thibodaux easily experience both God’s mystery and His nearness? Mass
          • Sunday Mass … and … daily Mass
          • Last week we started a journey together, a journey called “Back to Basics”
          • There are seven basic things that you can do to make this year the best year of your spiritual life
          • Last week: No. 1 ... we can prepare for Sunday Mass
          • This week: No. 2 ... we can go to daily Mass
          CORE MESSAGE
          • Going to daily Mass can dramatically impact your spiritual life
          • Back to Nicholls … it was daily Mass …
          YOU (What is the one thing you can do this week?)
          • As I offer the invitation … the opportunity … the challenge today, I also want to say I’m proud of you.
          • Last August 2013: 20 people at only one daily Mass
          • This August 2014: 100 people at now two daily Masses
          • If you’re already going to Mass daily ... I’m proud of you … and I challenge you to share your experience of what daily Mass has meant to you
          • If you usually go during Lent … or if you used to go during Lent … if it worked then, it can work again … try it again
          • If you’ve never been to daily Mass ... try it once
          • This week ... I challenge everyone of us to go to 1 daily Mass
          • What if we all did that?
          • What if you had the best spiritual year ever?
          • What if we all had the best year ever?
          • Let’s pray right now …

          Recorded Sunday, August 24, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014


          Sunday, August 17: Back to Basics, Part 1

          •  All the readings together
          •  Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
          •  Psalm 67
          •  Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
          •  Matthew 15:21-28


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          • Quick welcome to visitors and guests
          • I just got back from vacation …
          • 10 of us total … 2 sisters … 5 nieces and nephews.
          • Why I go on dates: if I’m not intentional about spending quality time with them, then life will pass me by and I won’t really know them and they won’t really know me
          • As I was driving home, I realized that the same is true in our relationship with God: if I’m not intentional about spending quality time with God, then life will pass by and I won’t really know God … my relationship will simply be a series of quick, surficial conversations … kinda like with family during the holidays.
          • I want more … I don’t want that with God
          • I think we all share this in common
          • I think we all know how busy life can be
          • I think we all know what it’s like to have life  pass us by with our relationship with God somewhat like simply be a series of quick, surficial conversations … kinda like with family during the holidays.
          • I want more … I think a lot of us want more
          • I think a lot of us are searching in life.
          • As I listen to you I hear many of you share your desire to hear God speak to you. I think a lot of people are searching for in life.
          • Some are searching for peace … or meaning … or direction … some of us know that that’s God … others are just  hungry.
          • But, what if there was more > if it were easier?
          • No one wants this more than God.
          • God wants to be intentional about spending time with us. He has stamped his desire in the very story of creation … the very story of the Bible … the very rhythm of life >> Sabbath.
          • Build up Genesis 1 >>> Genesis 2:3: “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” >>>  in the other days what God made is holy, but on the 7th day the day itself is holy
          • 10 commandments = the first three are about God Himself (no other gods + no idols + don’t take His name in vain >>> the last six are about how to live >>> so the fourth serves as a bridge
          • Exodus 3:18: “Then you and the elders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. So now, let us go a three days’ journey in the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord, our God.”
          • Exodus 14 >>> Exodus 19 = the great theophany
          • At the very beginning of the story of God’s own people God spends 22 chapters teaching His people how to live and how to worship
          • Today’s first reading from Isaiah 56:6 “all who keep the sabbath free from profanation”
          • Today we’ll start a journey together, a journey called “Back to Basics”
          • It’s what people do at this time of year
          • Saints: pre-season football
          • Teachers: starting a new school year
          • There are seven basic things necessary for a healthy spiritual life
          • Seven easy things you can do and this year can be the best year of your spiritual life
          CORE MESSAGE
          • The first thing we can do to help our spiritual life is to prepare for Sunday Mass
          YOU (What is the one thing you can do this week?)
          • We have to choose to choose
          • God has already chosen to spend quality time with you at Mass … we have to choose to spend quality time with Him
          • Because of my father’s love for us as a family, I really long for us all to prepare for Sunday’s Mass
          • The danger of becoming too familiar
          • How to prepare?
          1. Read the readings ahead of time
          2. Be intentional about knowing what you want/need from God as we place gifts on the Altar
          3. Don't leave Mass unless you know one thing you can do during the week
          • What if we all did that?
          • What if we all felt really plugged in at Mass?
          • What kind of marriage would you have if both of you heard God, listened to God more?
          • What kind of family …
          • What if this year were the best year of your spiritual life?
          • Let’s pray right now …
          Recorded Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014