GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Penance, fried into a celebration of God’s forgiveness

Lent is a time for prayer, penance, and mounds of spaghetti on fried fish.

Look, I'm as surprised to have written that sentence as you may be to have read it. The Lenten fish fry is a cultural phenomena, and the Catholic fish fries in St. Louis are without compare. When I first encountered this curiosity, I quickly realized I was out of my depth. Sure, I have a Master of Divinity and can read Greek, but at a fish fry I'm surrounded by expert-level Catholics who continue to school me on the art of how to do Lent right.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Forgiveness and love are keys to defeating Satan

The readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time speak healing words to the heart of the racial divide in our society. Our reaction to the phrase "Black Lives Matter" often depends very much on the color of our skin. However, what we may not realize is that the evil one is using human divisions to win converts for his kingdom of evil.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Christians aren’t greater than God, must forgive as He does

Pope Francis holds a baby as he visits the neonatal unit at San Giovanni Hospital in Rome Sept. 16. The visit was part of the pope's series of Friday works of mercy during the Holy Year.

VATICAN CITY — God wants people to be merciful, which means forgiving others and giving freely with love, Pope Francis said.

"We don't have the power to condemn our brother who makes a mistake, we are not above him. Rather we have a duty to return him to the dignity of a son of the father and to accompany him on his path of conversion," the pope said Sept. 21 at his weekly general audience.

In his talk, the pope focused on a reading from the Gospel of Luke (6:36-38) in which Jesus tells the disciples to stop judging others and be merciful just as God is.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Sharing of the heart and forgiviness

After Fontbonne President Michael Pressimone opened the "Take Your Summer Seriously: gathering June 29, Margaret-Mary Moore played guitar and offered a musical rendition of "Open the eyes of my heart," and I followed with a prayer of thanksgiving for allowing this gathering for sharing of the hearts and minds.

God's mercy knows 'no limits,' frees people from despair

VATICAN CITY -- God's ability to forgive "knows no limits" as His mercy frees people from bitterness and despair, Pope Francis said.

"The Church's forgiveness must be every bit as broad as that offered by Jesus on the cross and by Mary at His feet. There is no other way," he said after opening the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. Mary Major Jan. 1, the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and the World Day of Prayer for Peace.

On the first day of the new year, Pope Francis opened the last holy door in Rome as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Families must forgive and not ‘end the day in war’

Pope Francis greeted the crowd Nov. 4 at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The pope said that families are like “a great gym where one trains in giving and in mutual forgiveness.”

VATICAN CITY — The secret to healing wounds among family members is to "not end the day in war" and to forgive one another, Pope Francis said.

"One cannot live without forgiving, or at least one cannot live well, especially in the family," the pope said Nov. 4 at his weekly general audience.

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