February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014: Address


•  All the readings together
•  James 5:91-12
•  Psalm 103
•  Mark 10:1-12

Video above not working?
•   Click here to listen to the homily on YouTube

Christ the Redeemer's Ash Wednesday schedule:
•   7:30 AM: Mass and ashes
•   12:05 PM: Mass and ashes
•   5:30 PM: Mass and ashes

Pope Francis: Friday, February 28, 2014

Click here for Pope Francis' daily Mass homily

"The Eucharist is essential for us: it is Christ who wishes to enter our lives and fill us with his grace."

February 25, 2014

Pope Francis: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"All of us who are baptized are missionary disciples. We are called to become a living Gospel in the world."

Pope Francis: Letter to Families

Pope Francis issued a letter to families today in which he asks for prayers for the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is being convened to discuss the theme of “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization”.

Below is the Pope's letter in English. Enjoy.

Dear Families:

With this letter, I wish, as it were, to come into your homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this coming October. It is the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is being convened to discuss the theme of “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization”. Indeed, in our day the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs facing the family.

This important meeting will involve all the People of God – bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the particular Churches of the entire world – all of whom are actively participating in preparations for the meeting through practical suggestions and the crucial support of prayer. Such support on your part, dear families, is especially significant and more necessary than ever. This Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church. I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task. As you know, this Extraordinary Synodal Assembly will be followed a year later by the Ordinary Assembly, which will also have the family as its theme. In that context, there will also be the World Meeting of Families due to take place in Philadelphia in September 2015. May we all, then, pray together so that through these events the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.

I am writing this letter to you on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. The evangelist Luke tells us that the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph, in keeping with the Law of Moses, took the Baby Jesus to the temple to offer him to the Lord, and that an elderly man and woman, Simeon and Anna, moved by the Holy Spirit, went to meet them and acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah (cf. Lk 2:22-38). Simeon took him in his arms and thanked God that he had finally “seen” salvation. Anna, despite her advanced age, found new vigour and began to speak to everyone about the Baby. It is a beautiful image: two young parents and two elderly people, brought together by Jesus. He is the one who brings together and unites generations! He is the inexhaustible font of that love which overcomes every occasion of self-absorption, solitude, and sadness. In your journey as a family, you share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, trips and pilgrimages, and times of mutual support… Nevertheless, if there is no love then there is no joy, and authentic love comes to us from Jesus. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey.

Dear families, your prayer for the Synod of Bishops will be a precious treasure which enriches the Church. I thank you, and I ask you to pray also for me, so that I may serve the People of God in truth and in love. May the protection of the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph always accompany all of you and help you to walk united in love and in caring for one another. I willingly invoke on every family the blessing of the Lord.

February 24, 2014

Looking for a Lenten Penance?


Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1438: "The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for:
  • spiritual exercises,
  • penitential liturgies, 
  • pilgrimages as signs of penance,
  • voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, 
  • and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works)."


Still giving up the three C's for Lent? (coke, coffee, and chocolate) Let me guess: great for your waistline, but never really helps you in your relationship with Christ. Most adult Catholics still pilgrim through the sacred season of Lent with the penances they adopted as children. They fast from their indulgences, only to return to them at Easter (and eventually add the weight they lost during Lent).

Well ... "if you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you always got." Don't you want more?

Lent is a time of renewal. It's a time for deepened relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. It's a time where you as an adult are able to look in the mirror as an adult and adopt spiritual exercises for adults.

However, many Catholics need help discerning what to do for Lent. Here are ten things to think about. Pick one ... and ask God to make this the Lent your best ever.

  1. Daily Mass. It would great to make daily Mass everyday, Monday through Friday. Let's shoot for that. However, if everyday can't work, shoot for three days a week for starters. There are tons of Masses in the Thibodaux area this Lent. Click here to find a daily Mass in the Thibodaux area. If you live outside of Thibodaux, call you parish and ask them for a list of daily Masses your area. You may be thinking that you don't have time for daily Mass. However, re-think your time. Maybe it's time to start leaving work on time. Maybe it's time to get up early. Maybe it's the year to "fast" from lunch a few days a week. You've got the time, it's time to ask God where and how to go to daily Mass.
  2. Daily Prayer. There are a ton of great Lenten resources and reflections that can help you pray through Lent. Click here to find out the one's I recommend. Whatever you choose, make a commitment to being committed: pray 20 minutes every day during Lent.
  3. Learn how to pray. One of the things that prevents most Catholics from sustaining a Lenten penance of daily prayer is the humble admitting that most adults don't know how to pray. When we were kids we learned how to "say our prayers." Well, that worked when you were a kid. But, adult-sized problems aren't solved with kid-sized prayers. If you're looking to learn how to pray, check our Oremus: A Guide to Catholic PrayerClick here for a few samples. Click here to order.
  4. The Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pope Francis' most recent teaching on Wednesday, February 19 focused on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you haven't read it, it's a gem: click here to read the text. This Lent, try going to Confession regularly ... maybe even once a week! Sounds crazy, I know. However, if we first learn "how" to really go to Confession then we'll grow leaps and bounds by adding the gift of Reconciliation to our spiritual exercise. Click here for resources that will you re-think the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Click here for an Examination of Conscience.
  5. Focus on one sin. None of us are perfect. In fact, when many of us look at our litany of habitual sin we can get overwhelmed and wonder: "Where do I start?" Here's my encouragement: let go of your pursuit of perfection. Focus on one sin. Focus on your most predominant sin. Focus on your most repetitive sin. Be an adult: focus on your biggest sin ... the one you don't like to admit or talk about. This is where weekly Confession is your best friend. Even if you keep reporting the same sin in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, keep going. The advice from your Confessor will help you learn more about the pattern. Plus, click here and scroll down to the talk I recording for IPF and the USCCB. The talk, and the accompanying handout underneath the talk, may help.
  6. Balance. This one might seem to be a surprise at number six on my top ten; however, for professional adults nothing will impact your life more than allowing God to order your life. Tell me if you've ever thought this: "I wish I had more time for my marriage." "I wish I had more time for my family." "I don't have enough time." If you've ever thought those thoughts join the rest of human race. This Lent make a commitment to read one of these two books: When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley or Off Balance by Matthew Kelly.
  7. Fast. Fasting is a gift. In dying to what our cravings crave we master our compulsions and grow in freedom. Click here for a great blog on the "how" and "why" of fasting. That being said ... I encourage you to really pray about fasting ... perhaps it's time to notch it up a bit.
  8. Almsgiving. Like fasting, almsgiving is one of those things that has really fallen into a surficial understanding. Luckily, Pope Francis has captured the world's imagination with his integrity and witness.  Click here for a great blog on the "how" and "why" of almsgiving. 
  9. Volunteer. I've heard it said that love is often spelled "T-I-M-E". Often times that's true. We in the West cherish nothing more than time. We spend to save time. We rush to save time. Yet, none of us have the time we long for. This is where the sprite of Lent hits us in the heart. Instead of clinging to ourselves and trying to save for us, spend some time serving others. Call your church parish. Call your favorite charity. Call somebody. Commit to serving others once a week this Lent.
  10. Pope Francis. Papa Francisco ... what a gift he is. This Lent, let the Holy Father be your pilgrimage director. Learn about him. Enter into his mind. Swim in his heart. Read what he says ... not what the media says he says. Click here for Pope Francis' 2014 Lenten Message. Click here to see what the Holy Father says each day. Click here for Pope Francis' daily Mass homilies.

Pope Francis: Monday, February 24, 2014

Click here for Pope Francis' homily from today's daily Mass


"Our Lady is always close to us, especially when we feel the weight of life with all its problems."

February 23, 2014

Homily: Sunday, February 23, 2014



Caught a little laryngitis virus this week ... feeling great, but out with laryngitis and no voice ... I guess that's the only way God figured I'd shut up! (-:

Didn't preach today; however, this one never gets old ... one of my favorites. Enjoy an encore version of "What's the purpose of religion?"

Can't see the TV screen above? Click here to listen to the homily on YouTube

Recorded Sunday, September 29, 2013 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2013


Christ the Redeemer Ash Wednesday schedule:
•   7:30 AM: Mass and ashes
•   12:05 PM: Mass and ashes
•   5:30 PM: Mass and ashes

Pope Francis: Sunday, February 23, 2014

Click here for Pope Francis' homily from today's Mass, the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time, celebrated at Saint Peter's Basilica, with the new Cardinals appointed yesterday.

February 22, 2014

Fr. Robert Barron: 7th Sunday of OT

Click here to listen to Fr. Barron's reflections for Mass this Sunday


•   7:30 AM: Mass and ashes
•   12:05 PM: Mass and ashes
•   5:30 PM: Mass and ashes

•   7:30 AM: Mass
•   12:05 PM: Mass

•   7:30 AM: Mass
•   12:05 PM: Mass

•   7:30 AM: Mass
•   12:05 PM: Mass

•   7:30 AM: Mass
•   12:05 PM: Mass

•   7:30 AM: Mass
•   12:05 PM Mass
•   5:30 PM Mass
•   Stations of the Cross after 5:30 PM Mass

•   7:30 AM: Mass
•   3:00 PM: Confessions
•   4:00 PM: Vigil Mass

•   7:30 AM: Mass
•   9:30 AM: Mass (Children's Liturgy provided)
•   11:00 AM: Mass (Children's Liturgy provided)
•   6:00 PM: Mass (Spanish)

Pope Francis: Saturday, February 22, 2014

Click here for Pope Francis' homily from today's special Mass at the Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals

"Let us never lose hope! God loves us always, even with our mistakes and sins."

February 21, 2014

Pope Francis: Confession

Funny how the media never quotes Pope Francis on these things ... below is the full text of his general audience from Wednesday, February 19, 2014:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Through the Sacraments of Christian Initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist — man receives new life in Christ. Now, we all know that we carry this life “in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7), we are still subject to temptation, suffering, and death and, because of sin, we may even lose this new life. That is why the Lord Jesus willed that the Church continue his saving work even to her own members, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick, which can be united under the heading of “Sacraments of Healing”.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a Sacrament of healing. When I go to confession, it is in order to be healed, to heal my soul, to heal my heart and to be healed of some wrongdoing. The biblical icon which best expresses them in their deep bond is the episode of the forgiving and healing of the paralytic, where the Lord Jesus is revealed at the same time as the physician of souls and of bodies (cf. Mk 2:1-12; Mt 9:1-8; Lk 5:17-26).

1. The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation flows directly from the Paschal Mystery. In fact, on the evening of Easter the Lord appeared to the disciples, who were locked in the Upper Room, and after addressing them with the greeting, “Peace be with you!”, he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (Jn 20:21-23). This passage reveals to us the most profound dynamic contained in this Sacrament.

First, the fact that the forgiveness of our sins is not something we can give ourselves. I cannot say: I forgive my sins. Forgiveness is asked for, is asked of another, and in Confession we ask for forgiveness from Jesus. Forgiveness is not the fruit of our own efforts but rather a gift, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the the wellspring of mercy and of grace that flows unceasingly from the open heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ. Secondly, it reminds us that we can truly be at peace only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled, in the Lord Jesus, with the Father and with the brethren. And we have all felt this in our hearts, when we have gone to confession with a soul weighed down and with a little sadness; and when we receive Jesus’ forgiveness we feel at peace, with that peace of soul which is so beautiful, and which only Jesus can give, only Him.

2. Over time, the celebration of this Sacrament has passed from a public form — because at first it was made publicly — to a personal one, to the confidential form of Confession. This however does not entail losing the ecclesial matrix that constitutes its vital context. In fact, the Christian community is the place where the Spirit is made present, who renews hearts in the love of God and makes all of the brethren one thing in Christ Jesus. That is why it is not enough to ask the Lord for forgiveness in one’s own mind and heart, but why instead it is necessary humbly and trustingly to confess one’s sins to a minister of the Church.

In the celebration of this Sacrament, the priest represents not only God but also the whole community, who sees itself in the weakness of each of its members, who listens and is moved by his repentance, and who is reconciled with him, which cheers him up and accompanies him on the path of conversion and human and Christian growth. One might say: I confess only to God. Yes, you can say to God “forgive me” and say your sins, but our sins are also committed against the brethren, and against the Church. That is why it is necessary to ask pardon of the Church, and of the brethren in the person of the priest.

“But Father, I am ashamed ...”. Shame is also good, it is healthy to feel a little shame, because being ashamed is salutary. In my country when a person feels no shame, we say that he is “shameless”; a “sin verguenza”. But shame too does good, because it makes us more humble, and the priest receives this confession with love and tenderness and forgives us on God’s behalf. Also from a human point of view, in order to unburden oneself, it is good to talk with a brother and tell the priest these things which are weighing so much on my heart. And one feels that one is unburdening oneself before God, with the Church, with his brother.

Do not be afraid of Confession! When one is in line to go to Confession, one feels all these things, even shame, but then when one finishes Confession one leaves free, grand, beautiful, forgiven, candid, happy. This is the beauty of Confession! I would like to ask you — but don’t say it aloud, everyone respond in his heart: when was the last time you made your confession? Everyone think about it ... Two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years? Everyone count, everyone say ‘when was the last time I went to confession?’. And if much time has passed, do not lose another day. Go, the priest will be good. Jesus is there, and Jesus is more benevolent than priests, Jesus receives you, he receives you with so much love. Be courageous and go to Confession!

3. Dear friends, celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation means being enfolded in a warm embrace: it is the embrace of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us recall that beautiful, beautiful parable of the son who left his home with the money of his inheritance. He wasted all the money and then, when he had nothing left, he decided to return home, not as a son but as a servant. His heart was filled with so much guilt and shame. The surprise came when he began to speak, to ask for forgiveness, his father did not let him speak, he embraced him, he kissed him, and he began to make merry. But I am telling you: each time we go to confession, God embraces us. God rejoices! Let us go forward on this road. May God bless you!

Pope Francis: Friday, February 21, 2014

Click here for Pope Francis' homily from today's daily Mass


"Confirmation is important for Christians; it strengthens us to defend the faith and to spread the Gospel courageously."

February 2, 2014