National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Saints Costumes and Love Tips

The Sunday Guide

BY Tom & April Hoopes

October 19-25, 2008 Issue | Posted 10/14/08 at 4:27 PM


Sunday, Oct. 26, is the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Pope Benedict will conclude the Synod of Bishops on Scripture with 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Parish offers “Best Practices” for parishes.

“I’ve seen great things from Core Ministries,” says Father Michael Izen, pastor of St. Timothy’s Church in Maple Lake, Minn. “Marriages have been renewed, people have been brought back to the Church, and many of the volunteers working in CCD are associated with the program.”

Core starts with the 10-week Alpha program (, an ecumenical course on the basics of Christianity. About 3/4 of the way through the course, the parishioners attend a weekend retreat that covers topics such as the Holy Spirit, the Church and the sense of mission. The next stage offers options: apologetics programs such as Catholicism 201 (a video series), ChristLife materials, Jeff Cavins’ Bible study program, or Father Raneiro Cantalamessa’s “Drinking from the Wells of the Church” program. Find more information at the EPriest website.

Family is offering Faith & Family articles for free for a limited time. Scroll down to the bottom to find them.

Oct. 31, of course, is Halloween. Our parish has always had a party for kids with games and candy that night. The kids dress up as saints, and the priests try to guess who is who.

This year, we have extra help from Faith & Family magazine. An article by Susie Lloyd explains how to “sanctify” ordinary costumes. Find it at Faith & Family Live! Scroll down to the bottom and choose “Calling All Saints.”


Exodus 22:20-26; Psalms 18:2-3-4, 47, 51; First Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40. offers free homily packs for priests.

Our Take is the website of the Register’s sister publisher, Circle Press.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus delivers his great summing up of the commandments: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Here are some practical tips on how to keep them:

Love God above all things.

1. Know God better. It’s hard to love God if you don’t know him. The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are a great introduction. They show Christ acting in the world and interacting with people. The Better Part, by Legionary Father John Bartunek, available at the Circle Press website (above), is a great way to get to know God through the Gospels. April loved the book so much she bought lots of copies (despite the cost) for Christmas gifts last year. Now, Tom is reading it daily, too.

2. Spend more time with him. To prove you love him above all things, set apart time to pray. The Better Part can be a great help in meditative prayer. So can the Rosary. We really don’t mean for this to be all about Circle Press, but we truly love the way the National Catholic Register’s Guide to the Rosary, with its artwork, Scripture and points for meditation, makes the Rosary come alive.

3. The service habit. Love isn’t an emotion; the Lord could command it because it’s something you can choose to do. Find a way to choose God over other things daily: Offer a sacrifice during meals; listen to spiritual audio books instead of the radio in the car; give up gossip in your conversations with you-know-who.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

1. Remember the “as yourself” part. Think of the words “I love you, God, above all things, and for your sake, I love my neighbor as myself” when you are tempted to judge those you meet. Emphasize their strengths and downplay their weaknesses — just as you do with yourself!

2. Remember the needy. Always include the needs of others in your prayers, and make a point of doing something for charity every month: Donate time, money or items.

3. The service habit. Love others in your daily life, too: Pour coffee; call that loved one every Wednesday night; bring a treat back for your spouse whenever you go to the store.