Catholic Graduation Gift

The How To Book of the Mass is also a great resource for inquirers and RCIA sessions.

You can find more information at this page. 

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In this complete guide you get:

  • step-by-step guidelines to walk you through the Mass
  • the Biblical roots of the various parts of the Mass and the very prayers themselves
  • helpful hints and insights from the Tradition of the Church
  • aids in overcoming distractions at Mass
  • ways to make every Mass a way to grow in your relationship with Jesus

If you want to learn what the Mass means to a truly Catholic life—and share this practice with others—you can’t be without The How-To Book of the Mass.

Discover how to:

  • Bless yourself
  • Make the Sign of the Cross
  • Genuflect
  • Pray before Mass
  • Join in Singing the Opening Hymn
  • Be penitential
  • Listen to the Scriptures
  • Hear a Great Homily Everytime
  • Intercede for others
  • Be a Good Steward
  • Give Thanks to God
  • Give the Sign of Peace
  • Receive the Eucharist
  • Receive a Blessing
  • Evangelize Others
  • Get something Out of Every Mass You Attend

“Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table ‘he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.”

1347, Catechism of the Catholic Church

St. Rita of Cascia – May 22

From The Church’s Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel:

Rita Lotti was born near Cascia in Italy in the fourteenth century, the only child of her parents, Antonio and Amata. Her parents were official peacemakers in a turbulent environment of feuding families.
At an early age Rita felt called to religious life; however, her parents arranged for her to be married to Paolo Mancini. Rita accepted this as God’s will for her, and the newlyweds were soon blessed with two sons.
One day while on his way home, Paolo was killed. Rita’s grief was compounded with the fear that her two sons would seek to avenge their father’s death, as was the custom of the time. She began praying and fasting that God would not allow this to happen. Both sons soon fell ill and died, which Rita saw as an answer to her prayers.
Now alone in the world, Rita sought to enter religious life, feeling that God had cleared the path for her to fulfill the vocation that she had felt was hers from childhood. Yet she found that the convent she so desired to enter was reluctant to accept her due to fears that the political rivals that had killed her husband would bring violence on them.
She finally brought peace between the rivals and was able to enter the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene of the Augustinian Nuns. In religious life, Rita was noted for her holiness. She spent her days not only in prayer and contemplation but also in service to the sick and the poor.
One day while kneeling in prayer and contemplating the passion of Jesus, she received the wound of one thorn from the crown of thorns that she bore until her death some fifteen years later.
Devotion to St. Rita was almost nonexistent for five hundred years, but with her canonization in 1900, all of that has changed. She is truly a saint for every state in life, having spent her life as a married woman, a mother, a widow, and a religious.

73 Steps to Communion with God

Here is the first posting of a series that Michael Dubruiel wrote entitled 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. These steps are drawn from Saint Benedict’s Rule, the reflections are his own. Originally published in 2003.

This is step one:

(1) In the first place to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole strength…

Benedict begins what will be a list of simple practices with one that is above all others, the practice of a complete love of God. A love that is one that desires only God, symbolized by the heart; a love that meditates only on God symbolized by the soul; and a love that focuses all of its energy on exhibiting this love of God symbolized by my strength.

If we are honest, this is exactly what we all fear the most, an unconditional surrender of all to God.

I remember when I taught high school theology at a Jesuit School the response that I would always receive from my students whenever I would present to them Saint Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation which teaches that the purpose of our lives is to know, love and serve God and that everything else is secondary and is here to help us attain that purpose. Most of the Catholic students would become outraged, usually a few non-Catholic students in some cases nonbelievers would say it made perfect sense to them.

The issue of acceptance of this foundational attitude in spirituality is one of trust. Do we trust that God wants what is best for us. In our fears is an agenda that thinks that God will only get in the way of our happiness. Unfortunately it takes a long time for most of us to realize that what we think we want changes almost hourly.

We need direction in our lives. Our lives need to be oriented in some direction. The question is where will we seek that guidance?

The map pocket of my car is full of maps. The maps are only helpful to me if I know what my ultimate destination is and if I know where I am at the present moment. Recently while driving in a strange city with the map opened to that city, I knew where I wanted to go but had no idea where I was. Someone in the neighborhood I was in had torn down all of the street signs. I continued to travel up the street until finally I was able to locate a street sign.

Our lives can be the same confused mess that I felt on that day driving aimlessly up and down a city street. Who are we? Why are we here?

The Baltimore Catechism gave us a simple answer. We are here because God loves us. That is the starting point of the spiritual quest is to believe wholeheartedly that we are loved. A subtle but key ingredient to the fear that we feel in surrendering to God is that we do not believe that we are loved but fear that we are hated.

I remember as a child whenever I would be on my way to confession on a Saturday afternoon secretly fearing that God would try to see to it that I was killed before I arrived there. Where this fear came from I do not know, but it was real and it was only much later that I finally realized that God was the redeemer not the enemy.

The attitude we have toward God is all-important if we are to love God with our whole being. We must believe that God loves us first and want what is best for us. It is hard to do anything but love God with our whole being if we believe that God loves us. In an older translation of the New American Bible the words of Jesus are applicable here, “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.” The words of the supplicant must be our words also, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief.”

It may seem obvious that the first step that anyone would make toward perfect communion with God is to place God at the very center, but how many times we look everywhere else for the way? If we wish to have communion with God we must enter into God’s presence and offer our entire being to God.

Most of us have given the allegiance of part of our being to God but not the whole. I can say that intellectually I have always believed in God and placed my soul in varying degrees to the love of God, but my heart well that is another story. There have been countless times that what my heart has desired has been anything but God. I have thought that this or that would make me truly happy and I have gone down many paths ignoring God in the process.

If I believe that God has created me and knows me best and what is in my ultimate interest, I will seek God above all things.

I still remember the first time I encountered the simple engraving over the entrance of the Monastery of Our Lady of Gethsemane in Kentucky. I stood there for some time looking at the simple words etched in stone that seemed bigger than life, “GOD ALONE.” There was something shocking about the simplicity of the statement, but at the same time a truth that touched me deeply.

In the end when our life is failing nothing else will matter. If we can acknowledge that at this point why not see the wisdom of putting God first in everything today? The message of Benedict’s first step is to put God first in all things and to do so lovingly.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

An article by Michael Dubruiel, here:

The icon features the child Jesus fleeing into his Mother’s protective arms as the Archangels Michael and Gabriel show Him the instruments of crucifixion. The Greek letters spell out the first letters of Mary and Jesus’ names.

The icon arrived in Rome in the 15th century after a merchant who had heard about a miraculous image on the island of Crete went to the island and stole it. When he arrived in Rome with the icon among his wares, he fell very ill. As he lay dying, he ordered that a friend place the icon in a church, perhaps hoping that it would alleviate his suffering. The friend took the icon to his own home, where his wife hung it in their bedroom.

The Virgin evidently was not pleased with this arrangement, and several times appeared to the man and told him that she wished for her image to be placed in a church. The man, despite the miraculous visitation, was not moved to relinquish control of the image. The Blessed Virgin next appeared to the man’s daughter and asked that the icon be enshrined in a church between the two very large churches of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. The daughter communicated this to her father and he relented, and so the icon was enshrined in 1499 in St. Matthew’s, the church that lies between the two larger edifices.

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How to go to Confession – by Michael Dubruiel

For a brief, pointed and helpful guide by Michael Dubruiel

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All of Michael Dubruiel’s books listed on Amazon.

The Power of the Cross free download and audio files.

The New Version of the Stations of the Cross link

The Prayer of St. Francis

St. Francis of Assisi taught his followers to reverence Christ and

his cross wherever they might find themselves. The prayer attributed

to St. Francis that begins, “Lord, make me a channel of your

peace,” was in fact not composed by St. Francis; it was misapplied

to him in a prayer book. The true prayer of St. Francis was one

he taught his friars to pray whenever they would pass a Church

or the sign of the cross made by two branches in a tree. They were

to prostrate themselves toward the church or the cross and pray,

“We adore you Christ and we praise you present here and in all

the Churches throughout the world, because by your holy cross

you have redeemed the world.”

The cross reminds us of the true Christ, the one in the

Gospels who was constantly misjudged by the religious figures

of his day. If we are not careful, he will be misjudged by us as well.

We need to worship him alone.

From The Power of the Cross , by Michael Dubruiel available as a free download by clicking the cover below:

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How to Pray

The letter to the Hebrews draws a strong connection

between the cross and prayer. Because every moment of our

earthly existence is threatened by death, and we know neither the

day nor the hour when that existence will come to an end, we,

too, need to cry out to the God who can save us. Like Moses, we

need the help of our fellow Christians to hold up our arms when

they grow tired. We, too, need the help of the Holy Spirit to

make up for what is lacking in our prayer. 

The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel

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