Church Calendar O’the Day: The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle (25 Jan)

Please download and share this presentation – PDF

It’s a special day on the calendar for the Paulist Fathers, so I share a beautiful prayer appearing on their Paulist Evangelical Ministries site.


Prayer and Reflection Resources – Advent 2016

Last year , I posted a list of resources for prayer and reflection during this holy season of Advent. It’s time to share what I’ll be looking at this Advent 2016 (or is it 2017 as it’s the new Church Year now?)

Busted Halo is back with their virtual advent calendar  They are also hosting an “InstaPhoto Challenge” with the invitation to post Advent related photos each day. And I’m a big fan of their “Two Minute” videos:

One of my very favorite sites, Creighton U’s On-line Ministry has an outstanding set of resources for Advent including reflections, prayers, excellent audio retreats and talks and much more.

EWTN, USCCB, Crux, Franciscan Media, Loyola Press, and Word on Fire  all have free and paid resources for Advent.

Fr. Felix Just, S.J., known for amazing lists of hyperlinks, has a wide ranging one for Advent which includes a list of Advent carols.

And stepping outside of the Catholic community, let me share an excellent Advent calendar and resources from the good Episcopal brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. 

And check back here daily as I continue to post the Saint O’the Day as well as an “Advent Journey Journal” which I’m inviting my Sophomores to use each day during our meditation and contemplation time.

Happy Church New Year and may your Advent be blessed and bright!

Tuesday FaithPost – Powerful Stations of the Cross by Busted Halo

Is it Friday already? No, sadly it is not yet. I’m sharing a FaithPost a couple of days early as I want to offer this wonderful resource now, so that you could possibly use it before or during Holy Week.

The good Paulist Fathers who create the awesome, newly redesigned, young-adult site Busted Halo, have put together a quite powerful set of videos following the Stations of the Cross. Each video uses just text and music to tell the story and interpret the meaning of each of the fourteen traditional moments in Christ’s Passion. Here’s the fourth station, which I find particularly moving and insightful:

There’s a lot I like about these videos. But two aspects are particularly meaningful. First, the overarching theme of this version of the Way of the Cross is the Kingdom of God. This central vision of Jesus’ ministry is at the heart of the gospel and thus something which we must emphasize time and again to those to whom we minister.

I also find the simple music accompanying the words on the screen provocative, compelling and deeply moving. The piano melody used with the stations in which Jesus Meets His Mother, Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus and Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem is one I find haunting and well-matched to the emotions of these encounters.

I’m using these videos in our chapel as a prayer service with all five of my classes today. It has worked better with my one sophomore class than my two freshmen ones. I think the greater maturity and developing wisdom in the older students is the main difference.

I’ve created this presentation to use with the videos. It should be pretty self-explanatory – show the slide introducing a station, play the video and then prayerfully read the supporting slide while giving the viewers/participants a few moments to reflect.

A couple of things you may wonder about the presentation: The photos of the crosses were ones that I took while visiting Christ in the Desert Monastery in northern New Mexico a few years ago.  And the colors of the background of the slides is meant to represent the transition and transformation of this time in Lent, to Holy Week and then to Easter.

I hope you find this Busted Halo Stations of the Cross as meaningful and useful as I do. The video below will link you to the playlist of  all the fourteen stations.

May you have a blessed Fifth Tuesday of Lent and a good rest of the week.

Resources for Lent 2016

It’s hard to believe that Lent is upon us so quickly this year. Next year, Ash Wednesday will be nearly three weeks later – March 1, 2017! How will you Fast, Pray & Give this year.

Here’s a few resources I’m looking at this year:

USCCB – “Lent 2016: 40 Days of Mercy

Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl – I especially like their weekly, meatless recipes from around the world. Hopefully they will again have videos of Fr. Leo demonstrating each one.

Loyola Press Lenten Resources especially their Online Lenten Retreats & Prayers

Creighton University On-Line Ministries: Praying Lent – I highly recommend this audio retreat presented by the wise Fr. Larry Gillick, S.J.

Other Jesuit Lenten resources can be found at Thinking Faith and the audio-focused Pray As You Go – both from the U.K.

Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Lenten Resources  (includes a link to sign up for his daily Lenten reflection emails.)

As of today (Monday), Busted Halo hasn’t posted their popular Lent calendar yet. They have a few Lenten themed articles as well as this excellent Ash Wednesday in Two Minutes video:

Last year for both Lent and Advent I found the resources offered by the Society of St. John the Evangelist to be faith and thought provoking.  This year’s theme, which encompasses daily videos, emails and a workbook is entitled: Growing a Rule of Life. It begins with this introductory video by one of the wise brothers:

And it even has a component for use with youth.

In light of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking celebration of God’s Creation, “Laudato Si” how about connecting your Lenten fasting to activities which care for creation. A number of faith organizations offer Lenten calendars with suggestions for each day:

Sisters of St. Joseph Carbon Fast

Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Carbon Fast – Anglican Communion

St. Francis Cabrini Community

More extensive “carbon fast” programs, including daily emails and message boards, are offered by MACUCC and EcoChurch Southwest (U.K.)

Shifting gears to focus on apps, Give Us This Day is offering a free trial of their app featuring the day’s morning & evening prayers as well as the daily mass.

Finally, props to a great blog site – Catholic Apptitude and their listing of apps and related resources for Lent.



#amcathalm – Twitter Hashtag for Learning About American Catholics

This isn’t a post to do self-promotion of the Twitter feed that I use for school related items. But, just in case you’re wondering, it’s @hartleyrkrelig .

No, it’s to invite you to follow a hashtag on which I post interesting info each day – #amcathalm . While I can’t claim credit for the source material – that belongs to Emily Stimpson and Brian Burch – I do add images and boil it down to all of the characters that fit.

Why, here’s the post for Sunday the 8th of November:

Amcathalm Image

Oh yeah, I HIGHLY recommend you purchase it either in print or ebook.

It’s the first thing I read each morning (after my prayer materials of course)!

Short, Engaging Videos About History of Halloween, All Saints and All Souls

So it’s Friday, October 30th – the day after the Beggar’s Night celebration in my area. What, in your neck of the woods they don’t trick or treat two days before October 31st? And Friday is the day before Halloween and two days before All Saints Day. Thinking your students will be hyped up on already solicited candy or the anticipation of collecting candy? Desiring a video-based lesson upon which they are more likely to focus than just you talking?

Well, here’s what I’m showing to my Religion 9 and Religion 10 students:

This first video offers a quick and interesting overview of Halloween and the origin of some of the customs.

I’ll show this one next. While it covers some of the same ground as the first one, I like the movie clips that it shows. I wonder if the Great Pumpkin will come this year?

I think students will enjoy the astonishing story of this saint and the engaging animation. It offers a good transition between the first two secular videos and the much more religious fourth one.

This is the longest one of the set at over 12 min (the first three are each about 3 minutes long). The art is beautiful, the narration is pretty good and it offers a solid, scriptural and tradition-based explanation of the three feast days. And it explains the Catholic teaching on Purgatory in an accessible and compassionate manner.

I won’t have time on Friday for this last video from the good people of Busted Halo. I’ll likely show it next week when our school celebrates the Feast of All Saints on Tuesday.

I hope it is a good teaching day for us on the 30th and a blessed celebration this weekend of those whom have gone before us in faith – our extended family in heaven!

Interesting Catholic Essays – Deeply Discounted Kindle eBook (for a limited time!)

Every day I get an email from BookBub listing (in categories I selected) free and discounted ebooks from major sources such as Amazon Kindle. Although I’ve occasionally discovered interesting titles, I usually skim it and then delete.

Today, one title and corresponding description caught my eye enough that I checked it out on Amazon. Then the reviews and description were intriguing enough that I purchased it for $1.99 and downloaded it. I’ve only skimmed it so far, but it excites me so much that I thought to post and share it here.

Not Less Than Everything: Catholic Writers on Heroes of Conscience From Joan of Arc to Oscar Romero, edited by Catherine Wolff. The summary reads:

In Not Less Than Everything, Catherine Wolff gathers the world’s best contemporary Catholic writers, including Alice McDermott, Tobias Wolff, and Ann Patchett, to share their thoughts on brave men and women such as Joan of Arc and Oscar Romero—heroes who’ve challenged the dogma while holding steadfastly to their faith.

In each of these thought-provoking essays, these greatly respected writers and thinkers engage personally with his or her favorite heretic, exploring the tensions that arise from conflicting demands of conscience and authority, of inspiration and orthodoxy, and from the challenge of living one’s faith in the real world.

US Catholic printed a favorable review. TLC Book Tours,  Read the Spirit and the Deseret News also have reviews.

The table of contents excites me and invites me to get off the computer and to start reading it. Some of the essays include (with the essay author):

  • Ignatius of Loyola (Tom Beaudoin)
  • Isaac Hecker (James Carroll)
  • Hildegard Von Bingen (Joan Chittister, O.S.B.)
  • Bartolome de las Casas (Robert Ellsberg)
  • Dorothy Day (Patrick Jordan)
  • Fr. Horace McKenna, S.J. (Alice McDermott)
  • Oscar Romero (Jim Shepard)
  • Gerald Manley Hopkins (Colm Toibin)
  • Franz Jagerstatter (Tobias Wolff)

If it interests you as much as me, check it out and purchase it soon as it’s impossible to predict how long it will stay at this deeply discounted price.

Easter Octave .GIFs

It’s another season in the Church and Busted Halo must be celebrating.  To follow their annual “Fast, Pray, Give” Lenten Calendar, this engaging and always relevant website sponsored by the Paulist Fathers is now offering a .GIF a day for the Octave of Easter.  Just as with their Advent Calendar, the post for the day doesn’t unlock until the day itself arrives.

Here’s the three posted thus far:

Easter Sunday:


 Easter Monday:


Easter Tuesday:




Stations of the Cross – Busted Halo Videos

I’m a huge fan of the Paulist Fathers and especially their ministry through Busted Halo.

Yesterday, I continued a tradition of mine by using the fourteen Busted Halo “Stations of the Cross” videos for a prayer service with my students.  I really like the Kingdom of God theme which runs through the various stations.  The music is evocative and the art, created by Virgil Cantini, is engaging and passionate.

I’ve created a Powerpoint into which you can link the 14 videos.

Here’s the direct YouTube links to each video:

I. Jesus is Condemned

II. Jesus Carries His Cross

III. Jesus Falls for the First Time

IV. Jesus Meets His Mother

V. Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

VI. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

VII. Jesus Falls for the Second Time

VIII. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

IX. Jesus Falls for the Third Time

X. Jesus is Stripped of His Clothes

XI. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

XII. Jesus Dies on the Cross

XIII. Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

XIV. Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

In addition to the slides from which you can link the videos, I’ve created a slide for each station.  These contain pertinent quotes from the video for the station and images from Christ in the Desert Monastery in New Mexico.

Aviary Photo_130722907884144901

For the background, I wanted to convey the transition in colors and themes as we move through the end of Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week and then Easter.

On final resource: From “Patheos” a devotional guide to the Stations of the Cross.  This includes a comparison of the Catholic and the ‘biblical’ stations as well as the art that I used in the first slides of my Powerpoint.