Recent News

Recent news and musings by the Catholic Center


Why Retreat?

Posted by on Feb 21, 2016 at 3:28 am

Retreat is a common word in Christian language. It is used to describe pulling back from the world and examining our life in the light of the Gospel. Are you uncomfortable with words like “retreat?”


March 18-20 we are hosting our first ever “Inheritance: Learning the Love of the Lord,” retreat.

Maybe retreat is seen as defeat? We don’t like to think of ourselves as defeated. We might like to think of advancing. Why can’t I go forward? Why do I have to go backward?


It was St. Ignatius of Loyola who most purposefully used the word “retreat.” St. Ignatius, before his conversion, was consumed with stories of knightly glory and worldly valor. After his conversion St. Ignatius took terminology and ideas into his life of Christian service. In military terms, retreat is not about defeat but rather pulling back from the fight in order to go back into the battle.

When out of the battle on retreat the goal is four fold.

  1. to be rested.
  2. to be healed of any wounds from battle.
  3. to receive intelligence on what the enemy is doing.
  4. to receive new information on what your commander wishes you to do.

Join us by contacting Monica, our campus minister catholicjacks [at]




The Spirit of Hobo Day

Posted by on Oct 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm

It is getting near Halloween and once again our culture displays its obsession with spirits, ghosts, and unseen powers. All sorts of new movies none of us needed. Television shows– both documentaries and series– about violence and evil.

One thing we can say about this obsession is that our reaction to it is illogical. Think about it for a moment. In these movies and other shows there is a concern over what happens when unseen spirits or powers attack unwitting victims. Yet, every week people deliberately expose themselves to evil spirits. This is illogical.

Let’s think about drunkenness for a moment.

When one deliberately gets drunk, then she is deliberately exposing herself to a couple of spirits: first,oblivion– he doesn’t want to know what he’s doing, second, rebellion– she knows it is a mortal sin and she does it anyway. Most importantly, when deliberately drunk your guard is down so any spirit that proposes itself to you is often welcomed. Destruction. Hatred. Lust. Depression. Sacrilege. And more.

Scary, isn’t it.

Drinking is not a sin. I will have a beer after my marathon. I will have a beer or two tailgating with people at Hobo Day. I will not get drunk.

Drunkenness is mortal sin that jeopardizes our salvation. Drunkenness exposes us to further evil spirits that could fill up a horror flick.

Let us pursue the sober intoxication of the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Love that flows within the Holy and Blessed Trinity.”



When a Kiss isn’t just a Kiss.

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 at 9:55 pm


Imagine a husband and wife who get into an argument:


“You told me this at the Jenson’s.”

“No, it was at the Larson’s.”

“I’m pretty sure I remember us talking about it at the Jenson’s.”

“Nope. Larson’s. Because Steve was curious about the details.”

“Why do you always contradict me?”

“Contradict you? I thought you wanted to talk more on things like this? Am I supposed to know what you’re thinking ALL the time?”

“You have no sense of what makes me upset? You have no sense.”

“A, c’mon, it wasn’t that bad.” <<leans in and gives a kiss>>

<<stone cold stare in return>>


Such an interaction is easily imagined, and it is useful to illustrate a point. A sign of communion when we haven’t reconciled is a false sign that is hurtful. A spouse who receives affection when there is lingering tension and unresolved conflict isn’t likely to receive such affection with any joy or gladness whatsoever. A spouse who gives that affection knows that it is a false sign and hopes the other spouse will gloss over the indiscretion in favor of the kiss.


Now imagine, instead of husband and wife, it is a Catholic soul going to Holy Communion when they haven’t sought confession for mortal sins.


When we go to Holy Communion with unconfessed mortal sins, we are making a mockery of this intimate gift our Lord offers. We abuse His Divine generosity and presume that this action of devotion is good enough to cover up our offense against Him and His Church. It is not enough. When we are aware of mortal sin or grave matter, we have a responsibility to our own soul and to our relationship with God to seek confession.


If it has been a while, prepare and go to confession before Christmas. If you are aware of mortal sin (serious violation of the 10 Commandments), prepare and go to confession before Christmas. Father has plenty of times available in your area.


And then come back to Holy Communion. Merry Christmas.



At the school of Mary, Disciple of Jesus

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm

What would it be like to live when Jesus lived?

In the Scriptures we often hear of sinners, tax collectors, lepers and others who encountered Jesus. They were forgiven and healed and then gratefully followed after Him. Can you imagine what that was like?

maryHeartImagine Mary of Magdalene, “from whom seven demons had gone out” (Luke 8:2) and how tentative she was in this company. What were the questions in her head and heart? “How do I fit in? What do I do NOW? I never thought I’d be free, but now I am! So what now?”

You could also imagine other figures: the blind man of Jericho, Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). What about Levi/Matthew, the tax collector who cooperate with the occupying Roman government(Matthew 9:9-13)- did he feel awkward living with the people he used to oppress?

Now imagine yourself in that company. Aware of your own sins. Knowing you’ve been forgiven but not knowing how to live in that forgiveness. What happens?

Think of the Blessed Virgin Mary, disciple of Jesus. Think of how she would love the various and motley company who followed after her Son and Lord. Think of she delighted in helping hearts learn what it meant to abide in the love of her Son. Ask her to do the same for you now.

Mary, teach me to learn from you what it is like to live in the love of your Son, Jesus. Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our Joy, pray for us.



Old Ideas for Lent

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Many of us get stuck in a rut for our Lenten disciplines. We do the same things every year. We give up pop, chocolate, tv or some other comfort. Instead of the same old thing, what about a NEW old thing? In the Gospel of Ash Wednesday, St. Matthew 6:1-21, Jesus gives us three things for Lent: prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. The spiritual masters of the Church have encapsulated the commands of our Lord in an easy to follow way.

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are 14 classical ways to imitate Jesus Christ. They are easy to memorize and easy to do. Except for the courage and self-sacrifice they require- but that’s the point.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are:

  1. To feed the hungryCorporal_Works_of_Mercy
  2. To give drink to the thirsty
  3. To clothe the naked
  4. To house the homeless
  5. To visit the sick
  6. To ransom the captive
  7. To bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

  1. To instruct the ignorant
  2. To counsel the doubtful
  3. To admonish sinners
  4. To bear wrongs patiently
  5. To forgive others willingly
  6. To comfort the afflicted
  7. To pray for the living and the dead

A work of mercy is a work of love that imitates Jesus own love for us. Whether it is “corporal,” meaning having to do with bodily life, or “spiritual,” having to do with our spiritual life, these works of love not only help others but they increase our own capacity to love. The works of mercy also open our own hearts to better receive the grace of God by making us co-operators in His mission.

The works of mercy also supply an opportunity for an increase of merit. Merit is the Catholic doctrine (CCC 2006-2016) that emphasizes that God allows us to co-operate with His saving work- much as a father or mother allows their children to help with the work of the home. It is the power of the parent which supplies the action but child is allowed to work beside them. The work of the Christian soul is small and totally dependent upon the Grace of God yet it has the real effect of increasing the soul’s capacity to receive love and to return love.

This Lent, don’t just give up the same old thing. Memorize the works of mercy and then commit to performing one spiritual and one corporal work each day. Your mind and heart will be formed after the mind and heart of Jesus. You will live out the mercy of God and fulfill your baptismal promises.



Football Lessons for your Prayer Life

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 at 7:43 pm

You can learn about your prayer life from football. Actually, a lot. But here is one lesson.

This past Saturday I caught the last 20 minutes of our SDSU Jackrabbit football team’s loss to Missouri State. It wasn’t pretty. As I watched the Jacks- students I love as sons- struggle back from a 27-7 deficit, I could hear the criticisms mounting. I sometimes sit in the season ticket section, thanks to generous people, and I know there are chat sites where people criticize and Jackrabbit football. “Sumner is going to get ripped in the chat rooms for this!”

Now, when teams lose, do they need criticism? Yes! Do they need internal criticism and self-scouting? Yes! Do they need an outsider’s opinion too? Yes! But a team and players need to learn which criticisms to accept.

On a team, you need to learn how to filter those ON YOUR OWN TEAM who give criticism. On a team you need to learn how to filter those OUTSIDE YOUR OWN TEAM who give criticism.

You find those voices that are true AND encouraging- those are trustworthy voices.

It is the same in the spiritual life. St. Ignatius of Loyola describes this very well in his Spiritual Exercises, especially his Rules for Discernment of spirits.

Second Rule: In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, it is the method contrary to that in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing.

Notice how St. Ignatius doesn’t debate whether inspirations are true or not. The evil spirit may speak something that is real but does so in a way as to prevent your growth. The Lord, when He inspires, always does so in a way to encourage you in rising to better life.

So, how do we apply this?

  • If we are living the moral life (rising from good to better in service of God our Lord) then we can discern between the good and evil spirits from how they move us. 
  • When a particular spirit prevents or discourages us from the Christian life, it isn’t from our Lord.
  • When a particular spirit encourages us then it is from the Lord.
The great news about the Christian faith is that REAL guidance exists for the Christian life. It isn’t just trusting your feelings (like Star Wars) but real guidance for real life. 



Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm

One of my favorite books about St. Francis of Assisi, “The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi,” by Eloi Leclerc, has a beautiful description of the spirit of poverty.

“It is not in struggling that you succeed but in adoring. The person who adores God knows that there is only one All-Powerful One. Such a person acknowledges it and accepts it deeply, heartily, and rejoices that God is God. God is. That is enough and makes a person free. Do you understand? If you knew how to adore, then nothing could truly disturb your peace. We would travel through the world with the tranquility of the great rivers.”

St. Francis of Assisi- pray for us to strip ourselves of worldliness and cling to only to Christ and Him crucified.



Solemn Blessing of Crucifix

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 at 3:30 am

This solemn blessing was used to bless over 200 crucifixes handed out to Catholic students at SDSU this Sunday. It comes from the Rituale Romanum #15 and is a beautiful and forceful prayer.

 P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.

Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, bless + this cross by which you snatched the world from Satan’s grasp, and overcame by your suffering the tempter to sin, who rejoiced in the first man’s fall in eating of the forbidden tree. We ask this of you who live and reign with God the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.
All: Amen.

Let us pray.
Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, be pleased, we beg you, to bless + this cross, so that it may be a saving help to mankind. Let it be the support of faith, an encouragement to good works, the redemption of souls; and let it be consolation, protection, and a shield against the cruel darts of the enemy; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.
Then with hands outstretched before his breast he says the following preface in a moderately loud voice:
P: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
P: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Lord.
P: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All: It is right and just.

It is indeed right and just, worthy and salutary that we should always and everywhere give thanks to you, O holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God; for among your visible creatures even fruitful trees never cease to praise and bless your holy and awesome name. In figure of your only-begotten Wisdom you beautified in the beginning the Garden of Eden with the tree of life, and by its fruit, as by a holy sign, you admonished our first parents to beware of death and to seek everlasting life. Condemned as we were to a just death by the touch of the forbidden tree, you mercifully recalled us from death to life by the selfsame co-eternal Wisdom, Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. Therefore, we your suppliants pray that you may hallow with a blessing + from on high this singular sign, wrought and raised up for the faithful’s devotion in remembrance of that first holy standard on which you conquered by the precious blood of your Son. May all who kneel before it, imploring your sovereignty, experience true compunction and obtain forgiveness of their transgressions; and by the merits of the victorious suffering and death of your only-begotten Son may they seek only what pleases you, and speedily obtain what they request. Grant, we pray, O most loving Father in whom we live, and move, and have our being, that as often as we gaze upon and call to mind the triumphant sign of your divine humility, which crushed the pride of our foe, we may be filled with hope and be strengthened against the wiles of that same foe, and receive greater grace to live humbly and devoutly in your sight. And on that dreadful judgment day, when you will appear in majesty, when the elements shall quake and the powers of heaven be moved, and this glorified sign of our redemption shall appear in the heavens, may we pass from death to life, and deserve to see the everlasting joys of a blessed resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
All: Amen.

Let us pray.
God, who by the gibbet of the holy cross, a onetime instrument of punishment for criminals, restored life to the redeemed, grant that your faithful people may find in it a strong support, who see in it their standard of battle. Let the cross be for them a foundation of faith, a pillar of hope, a safeguard in adversity, an aid in prosperity; let it be victory amid enemies, a guard in cities, a shield in the country, a prop in their homes. By it may the Good Shepherd keep His flock unharmed, for on it did the Lamb + who has conquered win our salvation; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.
Then incense in a boat is brought before the priest, who blesses it saying:

Let us pray.
Lord God almighty, before whom the host of angels stands in awe, and renders you a spiritual service glowing with love, be pleased to look with favor on this creature, incense, to bless+ and to hallow +  it. May all weakness, all infirmity, and all assaults of the enemy, sensing its fragrance, flee and be kept far from your creature, man, that he, whom you redeemed by the precious blood of your Son, may never again suffer from the sting of the ancient serpent; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.
After this the priest puts incense into the thurible, and then sprinkles the cross with holy water and incenses it.
 May this wood be sanctified, in the name of the Father, + and of the Son, + and of the Holy + Spirit. And may the blessing of this wood, on which were hung the sacred members of our Savior, remain ever in it, so that all who kneel in prayer before this cross in God’s honor may have health in body and soul; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.



A Necessary Bit of Sanity

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 at 9:25 pm

From a letter of St. Therese of Lisieux:

“Since He has granted it to me to understand the love of the Heart of Jesus, I confess that He has chased all fear out of my heart. The memory of my faults humiliates me, leads me never to rely on my own strength, which is nothing but weakness; but even more this memory speaks to me of mercy and love. When we throw our faults, with a completely filial confidence into the devouring furnace of love, how could they not be totally consumed?”

Have you been to confession lately?



9 Days before Pentecost!

Posted by on May 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm

It’s 9 days until Pentecost, do you know where your Holy Spirit Novena is?

Here is one I prefer and am encouraging my parishioners to pray it. You could pray it at any time for as long as you like to pray it.

Dearest Holy Spirit, confiding in Your deep, personal love for me, I am making this novena for the following request, if it be Your Holy Will to grant it:(mention your request together with prayers for the renewal of your parish). 

Teach me, Divine Spirit, to know and seek my last end; grant me the holy fear of God; grant me true contrition and patience. Do not let me fall into sin. Give me an increase of faith, hope, and charity, and bring forth in my soul all the virtues proper to my state in life. 

Make me a faithful disciple of Jesus and an obedient child of the Church. Give me efficacious grace sufficient to keep the Commandments and to receive the Sacraments worthily. Give me the four Cardinal Virtues, Your Seven Gifts, Your Twelve Fruits. Raise me to perfection in the state of life to which You have called me and lead me through a happy death to everlasting life. 

I ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

God bless you all.


Older Posts »