Misplaced Passions

“Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.” John 12: 1-2

In reflecting on this week’s readings, the Gospel from Monday really stood out to me, but not for reasons that I expected. I had to stop for a second, out of complete shock, at the nonchalant way that Lazarus is spoken about in John. You may have even missed it. Read the above verse again, did you catch it? Lazarus, WHO WAS DEAD, is now eating at table with his friends. What an incredible witness to the power of Jesus. It is easily missed and so casually mentioned.

Have you ever had something you were really passionate about and then someone mentions it casually as if it has no real significance? This happens to me when people bring up the TV show, ‘The Office’, around me. Hey, have you seen that one show ‘The Office’? Um…. the one that literally changed comedy for an entire generation, the one that introduced us to the human experience of a band of friends that stands the test of time, the show that makes us all teary eyed at the season finale? That show, yeah I’ve seen The Office.

It hurts when someone is not as passionate about something as we are. It almost feels like a personal blow. The most passionate person in all of human history revealed the object of His Passion. His passion, in both meanings of the word, is for us. And yet, we fly by Holy Week, with causal acceptance. At least I know I have in the past.

I think one of the biggest problems in our society is that our passion and desire is misplaced. It is not bad to like a TV show, or sports team, or hobby, but how often do we have the same enthusiasm for Our Lord and God? How often do we actually believe what is happening in Scriptures, believe that it’s not just a story we read in a picture bible as kids but believe that it has actual power in our lives.

One of my favorite quotes from C. S. Lewis is when he says this about Passion and desire,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We go to Palm Sunday Mass and celebrate the coming of Christ, because that’s what Catholics do. But shouldn’t it change at some point from something we just do to that which we are? We should be people who believe the words we read, who realize the power of the Lord we say we love. I have to tell you, I’m done with the mud. For too many years I have gone through Holy Week and it’s been just another week. Same Holy Thursday service here, same reflections on the Passion there.

Could you imagine what would happen if we tried to put the same amount of passion into this week as Christ did? That kind of power is scary and yet, it’s just what our world needs. If we cared just as much about what He has done for us as He does then we could have a real impact on the world around us. He gave up His life out of His passion for His Beloved. This Holy Week, I want to enter deeply into the Liturgy and not just let it pass by. I want to really use these great liturgical moments as offerings to the same God who offered so much for me. What are you willing to do during this Holy Week?

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday

Today is a special day in the Easter Season. The Church has granted a plenary indulgence today to the faithful who meet the conditions. Information to obtain the plenary indulgence is below. Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

The following is from EWTN. Click the link to learn more about plenary indulgences.

Plenary Indulgence

To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, as will be explained below, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbour, and after they have obtained God’s pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters.

Pardon of others who sin against us

Thus the faithful will more closely conform to the spirit of the Gospel, receiving in their hearts the renewal that the Second Vatican Council explained and introduced: “Mindful of the words of the Lord: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ (Jn 13,35), Christians can yearn for nothing more ardently than to serve the men of this age with an ever growing generosity and success…. It is the Father’s will that we should recognize Christ our brother in the persons of all men and love them with an effective love, in word and in deed (Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et spes, n. 93).

Three conditions for the plenary indulgence

And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, in the Audience granted on 13 June 2002, to those Responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted the following Indulgences:

a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”);

A partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation.

Divine Mercy Novena (Day 9)

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with this prayer for the souls who have become lukewarm.

Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.” 

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

CLICK HERE for previous days of the novena.

Happy Easter

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death! Come awake! Come awake! Come and rise up from the grave.

Happy Easter from all of us here at Diocesan!

For we are an Easter people, and hallelujah is our song!


Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with this prayer for all devout and faithful souls.

Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.” 

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Waiting in Hopeful Anticipation

It’s been almost a year since I asked the love of my life to marry me. Not to spoil it, but she said yes. Neither of us wanted a long engagement, but due to a few factors that were out of our control we had to push the wedding back a bit. This ended up being beautiful because we got engaged on May 13th (Feast of Fatima) and will now get married on October 13th (Feast of Fatima). God had a plan, but that sure does not make waiting for marriage any easier.

We always joke that we are going to be so prepared by the time the date actually rolls around. It’s gotten to the point where every time we see a priest we want to call him over and just have a ceremony right then and there. Waiting is not easy, waiting to be able to share a house and not have to drive to separate places every night, waiting to give ourselves fully to the other, waiting to be able to put our groceries on the counter at Trader Joe’s and say these are together.

There is a pain that comes with waiting, but there is also a hope. That’s what makes waiting so beautiful. Imagine Our Blessed Mother after Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. She knew that this was not the end for her son, but she didn’t know specifically what was to happen next. She waited in hopeful anticipation for the fulfillment of Christ’s ministry, and she trusted in Her Son.

St. John Paul II made this point in a general audience to the faithful,

“After Jesus had been laid in the tomb, Mary alone remains to keep alive the flame of faith, preparing to receive the joyful and astonishing announcement of the Resurrection. The expectation felt on Holy Saturday is one of the loftiest moments of faith for the Mother of the Lord: in the darkness that envelops the world, she entrusts herself fully to the God of life, and thinking back to the words of her Son, she hopes in the fulfillment of the divine promises.” General Audience May 21, 1997

Let us ask today for the grace to have faith and hope just as Mary did. As she is the icon of the Church, let us petition Our Blessed Mother that she would help us to trust and draw ever closer to the heart of her son.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, our mother; to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us.


Day 2

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with this prayer for the souls of Priests and Religious.

Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious,

and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Entering into the Passion


As the wood digs into my shoulder, I fall on the cold concrete with the weight of the cross crashing down on my back.

Sorrow, for the things I have done and the things I know we all do. Sorrow knowing how many times I have rejected the most sincere and complete love.


Taking on the mindset of reparation for all the sins of the world, participating in the smallest of ways with the sorrow Jesus felt for those who will not accept salvation.


Such immense love for the people I serve with, the people God has put in my life, my family, my friends, those I barely know.

I have had the opportunity to play the part of Jesus over 5 times in the living stations on Good Friday. For some of them I got pulled in at the last second and all of a sudden found myself on stage half naked with actual whip marks on my back. Others were actually planned and I had time to put myself into a proper mindset. I was called to play these roles not so much out of holiness, but mostly because I had a beard.

Now, I am not going to even begin to compare myself to Jesus, but in the very smallest of ways I have been able to enter into the Passion. We all get this chance on Good Friday. As much as we should be focusing on our lives and how we can love better, it’s also important to focus on what Christ did for us and enter into it in a unique way.

I came to a realization the other day while driving to work. When reading the words of Christ, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” I have always wondered if in this moment God the Father abandoned Jesus. This of course is not the case. I have heard the explanation that Jesus cried out in this way because He was so united with all of us that He yelled out from the cross in our place. This is our cry, and Jesus asks the question while simultaneously providing the answer.

If the God of the universe can humble himself so much to intimately participate in our very nature, shouldn’t we flip that on this Good Friday and seek to intimately participate in His? Reflecting through His Passion and putting myself into His very mindset helps me to know in a small way the reality of the sacrifice of the cross.

This Good Friday, let’s all try to focus on the Passion of Christ in a way that not only allows God to enter into our fallen nature (Human Nature), but also allows us, through His power, to start to enter into His (Divine Nature).

I want to share this video of the Stations of the Cross with you. This is one of my favorite reflections on the Passion of Christ, it is through the eyes of Mary. It was written by one of my dear friends from a Mission Trip we did, performed by my mission team. I hope it is beneficial to your faith life. God bless you all on this Good Friday!



Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with this prayer for all mankind, especially sinners.

Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Divine Mercy Novena

The Divine Novena starts tomorrow on Good Friday. I will be including every day of the Novena along with the daily reflections so we can all pray it together. Here is some basic information on the Novena from EWTN.


Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday.  He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:

“These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.’ The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy.”

In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:

“On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”


The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:

DAY 1 (Good Friday)  – All mankind, especially sinners

DAY  2 (Holy Saturday) – The souls of priests and religious

DAY 3 (Easter Sunday)  – All devout and faithful souls

DAY 4 (Easter Monday) – Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him

DAY  5 (Easter Tuesday) – The souls of separated brethren

DAY  6 (Easter Wednesday) – The meek and humble souls and the souls of children

DAY  7 (Easter Thursday) – The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ mercy

DAY  8 (Easter Friday) – The souls who are detained in purgatory; 

DAY  9 (Easter Saturday) – The souls who have become lukewarm.

During the Solemn Novena leading to Divine Mercy Sunday,
the Chaplet of Divine Mercy should be offered each day for the
day’s intentions.

The Paschal Lamb

“That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” Exodus 12:8

Have you ever been so hungry that you just couldn’t stand it? I remember a backpacking trip I took in my Boy Scout days. We hiked 30 miles over the course of a weekend on Manitou Island. My little 12 year old body wanted to die and if I had to eat one more handful of trail mix instead of an actual lunch, I probably would have swam home. I remember when we got back to the mainland, my friends and I ate about 10 hamburgers each at McDonalds. It became a challenge, as most things do at that age.

Why am I focusing so much on food in this post? Well, this week I started the Keto diet. I have been trying to get in shape, because I want to be healthy for my future family once I get married in October. Those who know me well will tell you that I love food. I love cooking, I love eating, I love the social aspect of conversation around a table, I love it all. So naturally, when I stop eating as much, I start thinking about it more.

It’s in the context of food that I reflect on the readings of the day. I don’t think it is a mistake that the Church puts the readings of the Jewish Passover and of the Last Supper on the same day. Jesus is the Paschal lamb. Just as the blood of a male lamb was sacrificed and smeared on the doorposts to prevent death in Egypt, so too, Jesus’ blood was smeared on the cross to prevent the death of us all. Even the hyssop branch that the Israelites used to put the blood on the doorpost is the same type of branch that was used to give Jesus wine before he breathed his last. The similarities are too great for it to be coincidence.

This gives a whole new light to the readings of the Passover that we will hear tonight at Holy Thursday Mass. Scott Hahn points out in his CD, ‘The Fourth Cup’, it is not enough that we know that Jesus is our Paschal lamb. Just as it would not have been enough for the Israelites to slaughter the lamb and prepare it. They had to eat the lamb, and so do we in the Eucharist.

How often do we make food into a god in our lives? I know I do this way too much. It’s a vice I am really trying to work on. We eat those things that are most delicious, most fattening, most satisfying, and we never want to stop. We would do anything for a good steak, or deep fried twinkie, or a klondike bar. Food has become a god and yet the food that actually is God takes a secondary role in our lives.

Sure, the wafers at Mass are not as delicious as a beef wellington, but the Eucharist truly gives us all the things we look for when we cling to food, nourishment, energy, life, comfort, communion. As much as I have realized in the past few months that I need to start denying my passion for food, I challenge myself and you to ignite our passions for the true food that will give us eternal life. May God Bless you during this Holy Thursday!

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Resist the Fear

Today’s Gospel reading begins by telling us that Jesus was deeply troubled. And so, too, is anyone reading or hearing this passage: it is, in fact, one of the most difficult parts of the journey from Palm Sunday to Good Friday that we can read.  

That’s because it’s about us.

This is the night when humanity comes face to face with its self-centeredness. This is the night when Jesus identifies those who will betray him: Judas and Simon Peter. Two of his Apostles. Two of the people who followed him believed in him, traveled with him, ate meals with him. Two of those who had offered up their entire lives in the service of the Lord.

We read this, and it’s troubling. We want to believe that, going into this dark time, Jesus had, at the very least, the comfort of his friends. We want to believe that the Apostles were 100% behind Our Lord, that they “had his back,” as the expression would have it. We’ve followed along as they entered Jerusalem with him, we’ve seen them go up the stairs to the room where they would share the Last Supper. We don’t want any of them to betray him because that makes them as fallible as the rest of us.

And the truth is, if it could happen to them, it could happen to anybody.

This is the night that resonates with all our own betrayals of God. This is the night we come face to face with the fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from doing the right thing. The fear of getting hurt, the fear of the unknown, the fear of the dark.

Fear is the primary weapon of evil in the world. And the Apostles had more than their share of it. Only days before, they’d entered into Jerusalem as part of a parade! After three years of travel, of privation, of doors being slammed in their faces, of doubt and wonder and probably many sleepless nights, they were entering Jerusalem in triumph. Only Jesus knew what lay ahead; the Apostles were probably beside themselves with joy.

And then the joy turned to fear. A night like any other that suddenly wasn’t like any other. Judas, turning away from the light.

There’s speculation about his motives, and we’ll probably never really understand them clearly. Peter, on the other hand, we understand perfectly: he was afraid. When it came down to it, when he had his moment, his opportunity to live what he believed, he couldn’t do it. He was paralyzed by his fear and he did what he’d sworn never to do.

We’d all like to believe that in moments of crisis we’d rise to the occasion. And many of us would: just as human history is the story of fear and weakness and betrayal, it’s also the story of bravery and generosity and faithfulness. Two of the Apostles betrayed Christ that night; the others didn’t. The others were there.

But there’s probably in each of us a voice that wonders if we would be. If we could resist the fear. If we could stay steadfast. Because we know that if it can happen to Jesus’ Apostles, men of strength and fortitude, then it could happen to any of us.

Jesus’ question to Judas was, “Friend, what are you here for?” Imagine for a moment that you’re there with them, that night and that he’s asking you the same question: What are you here for?

The answer is what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life.

Jeannette de Beauvoir works in the digital department of Pauline Books & Media as marketing copywriter and editor. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, where she studied with Adian Kavanagh, OSB, she is particularly interested in liturgics and Church history.

Come to Jesus and Live!

Holy Week has begun. The Holy Triduum is just days away. Our hearts and minds attempt to wrap around emotions of both sorrow and joy. Why does He have to die? In order to rise again, we answer ourselves. But why do they have to be so cruel to Him? Because that is the result of our horrible sin, our monologue continues.  And before our thoughts go a single step further, an overwhelming sense of gratitude takes over. We are saddened and then joy filled because Holy Week shows us, like no other time of the year, the depth of God’s love for us.

A Christian hymn written by Chris Rice sums it up beautifully:

Weak and wounded sinner

Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burdens lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we fall, so
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

As Lent gives way to Easter, this is what it’s all about. Seeing love pass by, realizing that His precious blood has washed away our sin, feeling him there with us when we fall, are lonely and in pain, celebrating with him when we are overjoyed, and ultimately spending eternity with Him.

During this final week of preparation for Easter, may you learn to come to, sing to, fall on, cry to, dance with and fly to Jesus, our Precious Lord and Savior.

Tami Urcia spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, while simultaneously studying Theology and Philosophy in Spanish. She has worked in Family Life Ministry at both the diocesan and parish levels. She currently works for Diocesan, is a freelance translator and blogger. She and her Peruvian husband are raising their children bilingual and love sharing reflections of life, love and everything in between. Find out more about her here: https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com