Sunday, July 13, is the 15th Sunday in ordinary time (year A, cycle II). This week, Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Sydney, Australia, for World Youth Day.

World Youth Day Schedule is the Register’s site to follow along with World Youth Day events. Times are local; times in parentheses are U.S. Central Daylight Time.

July 15

4:30 p.m. (1:30 a.m. Tuesday): Opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal George Pell at Barangaroo

July 16

9 a.m. (6 p.m. Tuesday): Catechesis

July 17

9 a.m. (6 p.m. Wednesday): Catechesis

2:45 p.m. (11:45 p.m. Wednesday): Pope’s boat-a-cade at Sydney Harbor

3:30-4.30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Wednesday): Pope’s arrival at Barangaroo

4:30-5.30 p.m. (1:30 a.m. Wednesday): Pope’s motorcade through Sydney’s streets

July 18

9 a.m. (6 p.m. Thursday): Catechesis

3 p.m. (midnight Thursday): Stations of the Cross

Youth Festival

July 19

From 5:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. Friday): pilgrimage walk across the Sydney Harbor Bridge to Randwick Racecourse (for registered pilgrims only)

7-9 p.m. (4 a.m. Saturday): evening vigil with the Pope; sleeping under the stars at Southern Cross Precinct (Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park)

July 20

9 a.m. (6 p.m. Saturday): Papal flyover and motorcade through Southern Cross Precinct

10 a.m. (7 p.m. Saturday): Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict at Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park

12:30-5 p.m.: Youth Festival events at Southern Cross Precinct

Parish offers details on best practices in parishes.

The members of St. Matthew’s Parish in the Diocese of St. Augustine, Fla., have developed a novel way to help the sick in their parish: the prayer blanket ministry.

“Thanks to this ministry, our parish has seen healings from cancer, depression, kidney infections, difficult pregnancies, post-abortion trauma, family problems” and more, says parishioner Annie McCranie.

The project originated with the local St. Vincent de Paul Society.

A group of parishioners gets together each month to make blankets. The pastor blesses them at Mass. The blankets are given to parishioners who are ill, patients in nearby hospitals, babies at risk, military personnel overseas, pregnant women and others, along with a rosary and an explanation of the devotion.

Find details at the EPriest website, along with testimonies to the benefits the program brought not just to the sick but also to their families and the parish.

Family is the site of Blessed Kateri’s national shrine in Fonda, N.Y.

July 14 is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

Our family loves the Auriesville, N.Y., shrine where St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs served from 1642 until the last martyrdom in 1649. It can seem as if their effort was wasted, as they died at the hands of a people who never fully embraced the faith.

But many did, and their legacy continues to this day. Kateri was born in Auriesville in 1656.

Read her story online at her shrine’s website. In her honor, this week would be a good week to take a nature walk or hike with your family. She is a patroness of the environment, so bring along a bag and pick up as much trash as you can along the way.

Heads up: In this fall’s Faith & Family magazine, we feature a story about how kids today suffer from “nature deficit disorder” and what you can do about it.


Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65:10, 11-14, Romans 8:18-23, Matthew 13:1-23 or 13:1-9 offers free homily packs for priests.

Our Take

All the readings point together toward the Gospel and the Parable of the Sower, and Christ’s mini-homily about his own parable.

There are many ways to apply the parable. Since last week we spoke about understanding the readings at Mass, and since the first reading focuses on the Word of God, we’ll apply the parable to hearing the Liturgy of the Word at Mass.

“The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom without understanding it.”

Christ’s first piece of advice for Mass, therefore, is: Actually listen to the Scripture. Minds wander at Mass. We think about other things. We become distracted. Christ here gives the first remedy: Tune in. Don’t let the Word of God pass you by. Latch onto the words of the liturgy as your first lifeline to being more involved in Mass.

“The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time.”

Second: Apply the words to yourself. We all know that, in human relationships, if we only listen to a friend when he’s saying something funny or exciting, but not when he’s saying something sad or challenging, we won’t have that friend for very long. It’s the same at Mass. We all hear things at Mass that we decide we aren’t interested in them, they don’t apply to us or are too difficult. Make it a point to listen to these, too.

“The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.”

Third: Act on what you hear. Once you’ve actually heard the Word of God and admitted that it applies to you, it’s necessary to act on it, despite all obstacles. We will always have worries and attachments that have to be cleared away for the word to take root. Clear them away.

The Hoopeses are editorial directors of

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