Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Should I Support Businesses That Promote Things I Object To Morally?

Q - I was surfing the internet and came upon a commercial from a company that had an obvious homosexual scene, I then researched it a bit and found that this isn't the only ad that targets a "gay audience." I know that one has to choose their battles, and I know that if I were to stop patronizing every company that supports Planned Parenthood, Gay Rights, etc..., I wouldn't be able to shop at very many places. I have been a long time user of this product, and I am just curious as to what your take on this situation is. Thanks for your time, Marcel.

A - Thanks for the question.  I think this is a good thing to ask -should I patronize a business or buy a product of a company that is promoting something that I differ with morally?  The answer is somewhat nuanced.

First, you are under no moral obligation to stop shopping at businesses or stop buying products of businesses that support immoral actions.

Second, you should always follow your conscience.

Third, you would not be sinning if you continued to shop at such places or buy such products.
Why is this?

The principles are similar to a question I answered recently about paying taxes.
We can never directly support intrinsically evil actions. Abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning, fetal stem cell research, euthanasia are some of the actions a Catholic cannot support morally. Yet, there are times it seems we get "tangled up" in these issues despite our best efforts.  This is where the principle of material vs. formal cooperation with evil comes in handy. No matter how hard you might try, there are situations were good an evil are mixed up and sometimes we get caught being complicit in an evil act.

When we "cooperate" in an evil act our cooperation can be either "material" (meaning well-removed from it) or "formal" (close to the evil act). So, if you went shopping at a store because they had the best prices in town on books and while you were checking out you noticed that they also sell pornography, you could still licitly still shop at the store, if you don't intend to support the selling of porn. But, you are still in material support of the evil. A good rule to follow is that while material cooperation may be licit, we want to be as far-removed from formal cooperation as possible. So, if there is another option of shopping somewhere with similar prices and selection, which doesn't sell porn, we might shop there instead. Remote cooperation is licit because we don't intend to cooperate in the evil act and if we did intend to coooperate with evil it is no longer a licit act.

If the evil act is not intended by someone and the person is sufficiently remote from the act, then they are not complicit with it. This is called remote material cooperation. Things that might cause an act to be remote include (not in order and an incomplete list):
  • Time between the complicit act(s) - in some cases, time between events can cause distance. But, time is not a cure-all. For instance, using research gained from the Nazi death camps is still immoral.
  • Steps separating the complicit act(s) - For instance. If you buy a piece of clothing that was originally made in a child-labor sweatshop from another part of the world, then you are many steps from the original evil (sweatshops using child labor). If we intended to buy it because we support sweatshops, then we would be complicit.
  • On-going or one-time (or completed) complicit act(s) - The US supporting slavery is an example. We no longer allow it, but how are we now responsible as a people for once doing so? On the other hand, the sex-trade is still an on-going problem. We cannot participate in such evil.
  • Severity of the complicit act(s) - For instance, abortion. The act is an indescribably evil in and of itself. We cannot cooperate in acts that formally support such evil. On the other hand, there are lesser evils where it is not quite as clear.
  • Nature and Immediacy of the Goods - The most common example is a custodian at a hospital that performs abortions. As long as the person does not formally cooperate in them and disapproves of them, he is not complicit in them - if he is dependent on the job for his livelihood. If he is able to get a job elsewhere, then his cooperation could be formal and not material.
There are times when we are not remote from the evil at all.  If you were working on the advertising campaign you described above and helping to promote a lifestyle contrary to Catholic teaching, then you would be in formal cooperation with an evil.

The less remote the cooperation, the more we should seek to do something different. Once it is no longer remote from an evil, we ought never participate.

I hope this helps.

The Lives of Persecuted Catholics

Rome Reports gives insights into the persecution of Catholics in Iraq:

On a related subject, a new study shows that 1 in 10 Christians are persecuted - the most of any religion.

Pray for persecuted Christians!

Work of Human Hands Sale

One of our students, Danielle Davis, was on the local morning show to talk about the Work of Human Hands Sale we hold annually here at St. Mary's.
The Social Justice Committee of St. Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station is sponsoring a Work of Human Hands international handcrafts sale on the weekend of December 4 and 5. Work of Human Hands is a partnership between Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and SERRV International that buys and provides a market for high quality, fairly traded handcrafts and gourmet food items from low-income producers all over the world. This means that the people who produce them earn a fair price, get access to credit and training, and other forms of community support to improve their lives. By purchasing handmade items, you will help provide dignity, hope and income to poor families around the globe, and you get something beautiful in return!
Last year we were able to send almost $9,000 back to CRS from last year's sale.

Review of "Light of the World" by Benedict XVI

What a shame. Pope Benedict XVI has given us his thoughts on modern Western culture, Islam, Orthodoxy, Judaism, relativism, the priesthood, the burden of being Pope, the sex abuse crisis, infallibility, marriage, and much more and the average person will only think about one word that gets a brief mention - condoms.

Light of the World is the new book-length interview between German journalist, Peter Seewald and Pope Benedict XVI, who did two previous book-length interviews previous to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger being named to the papacy. This book is unprecedented, because never before has a Pope given such exclusive access with a no-holds-barred approach to a journalist. The book is just what you would expect it to be - an intelligent give-and-take between two men who respect one another. It certainly gives us an inside peek into the world of how the Pope lives and thinks.

I have been blessed to read most of Benedict's major works and his other interviews and Light of the World may be the best way to introduce a novice to Benedict's way of thinking. He clearly illuminates his understanding of the problems that face the Church, modernity, and culture. He is neither naive about the situation nor is he pessimistic. Rather, he has a good feel for what is ailing modern man and what will help turn us around - faith in Jesus Christ.

He understands that the proposal that the Church makes to the modern world is quite daunting - Jesus is the Lord of all of creation and died for our salvation. But, he also understands the urgent need our world has for this message, because if it is true, then there is nothing more important for the world to know.

Benedict is honest and direct in his answers. You won't find any dodging of the tough question as a politician might. Rather, Benedict is quite honest the the human side of the Catholic Church is full of sinners who mess up all the time and that he himself has made errors. He is critical of the Church's communication efforts, among other issues, and his compassion for the victims of the sex abuse crisis is quite clear. Yet this does not keep him from honestly analyzing the situation to notice innocent priests have to face consequences as well. He says:
Yes, it is a great crisis, we have to say that. It was upsetting for all of us. Suddenly so much filth. It was really almost like the crater of a volcano, out of which suddenly a tremendous cloud of filth came, darkening and soiling everything, so that above all the priesthood suddenly seemed to be a place of shame and every priest was under the suspicion of being one like that too.
Seewald is also to be commended. He asked questions that cut through the clutter and get to the heart of the matter. He isn't shy about asking tough questions, nor does he lack a sense of wit, which is evidenced by telling Benedict that he clearly lacks the personality of John Paul II. Benedict shrugs it off by saying he doesn't try to be anybody but himself.

If there is anything lacking in the book, it might be the translation. There are several times that phrases seem to be awkward and punctuation seems out of place. The book was originally done in German and translated to English, which is probably where the problems arise.

Light of the World helped me gain further insight into the Pope's thought process and understanding his opinions on a wide-range of topics. I highly recommend it for those interested in learning the same.

My Letter To The Editor

Printed in The Eagle today:
There is a clear disconnect between what the pope and the Vatican are saying about condoms and what the media are reporting. I don't expect the media to completely agree with the pope's stance, nor do I expect the media to understand theological nuance, but I do expect the media to refrain from sensationalized headlines that are inaccurate.

So, if you don't mind, I would like to clear up the inaccurate reporting The Eagle (via the AP) has had in the past few days:

* The pope has not said condoms are the "lesser of two evils" in regards to disease. This is a very rarely used moral principle that does not apply in this case.

* There is no "seismic shift" in the Church's teaching on the matter.

* The Church cannot change this teaching, even if it wanted to, because the Church is a caretaker of the teaching, not master of it.

What the Pope truly said -- and I have taken the time to read what he really said in addition to almost every other book by Benedict XVI -- was that a person who uses condoms in order to prevent the spread of disease has a "glimmer" of moral conduct -- not that the act is moral. They are at least attempting to do something good.

Of course the real headline wouldn't have gotten readers to buy the paper, because it would be a pretty boring sight to most: "Pope affirms church's stance on condom use."


Monday, November 29, 2010

What Happens When The Longhorns Lose To The Aggies

What normally happens is you have a number of happy Aggies. But, this year has something extra special.

While St. Mary's Catholic Center is known for putting out a great number of Aggie vocations to the priesthood and religious life (133 right now + another 42 in formation) the Diocese of Austin is also home to several other universities. One of these happens to be about 1 1/2 hours to the east of the Holy Land (aka - Aggieland) in Austin. This university has some vocations as well. In other words, we have some Longhorns who are also entering the priesthood and religious life.

One of the Longhorns who is currently in the seminary for the Austin Diocese, Kevin Jackson, happens to be working with us during his pastoral year. He decided to take up a little wager on the recent Thanksgiving football game in Austin.

He lost.

Thus, he gets to lead Aggie Yells on the outside steps of the church after the 11am Mass this Sunday. We are trying to get the current Yell Leaders (Governor Rick Perry. a former yell leader, isn't available) to join us and media to cover the event. At the very least we will have one Longhorn seminarian, dressed in Aggie gear, leading us in yells. WHOOP!

Join us!

We Hold These Tweets To Be Self-Evident [COMIC]

Very nicely played comic - Twitter + the American Revolution =
We Hold These Tweets To Be Self-Evident [COMIC]


Q - If the Church believes in transubstantiation, that the bread and wine become "entirely" Jesus, and that the "appearance" of the bread and wine only remains, why then do some people need gluten free host? If there is no more wheat present, then people should not become ill whether they truly believe or not....right? Does that mean some one could get drunk off of drinking too much of the Precious Blood? Gluten free host to me sends a conflicting message about the true Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

A - Thanks for the question. There are some misconceptions about what the Church teaches in your question. So, let me clear them up for you.

First of all, Christ is present in the Eucharist "body, blood, soul, and divinity". This means that all of Christ is present, as you have said.

But, the Eucharist still has all the properties of bread and wine. These are called the "accidents" of the Eucharist. While the Eucharist has changed completely - in its essence - it still has all the properties of bread and wine.

Thus, the effects of drinking the Blood of Christ or eating the Body of Christ will mean that that our bodies will experience it as if it were still bread and wine. If we drink two chalices of the Sacred Blood - we will feel the alcohol. If a person with celiac disease eats the Body of Christ - they will have an allergic reaction.

To be accurate with language, to say that the Eucharist has the "appearance" of bread and wine does not just mean they look like they are bread and wine, but retain the properties of bread and wine - though it is no longer bread and wine after the consecration. Thus, every time consecration of bread and wine happens in Mass, we have a true miracle - the properties of the natural world are no longer in control as the essence of what is on the altar changes, all while the physical properties appear the same.

I hope this helps.

What The Pope REALLY Said About Condoms

I will be posting a review of the entire book soon. Here is a good video from Jimmy at Catholic Answers.

Win a Trip To World Youth Day

Some info on how you can enter a film-making contest, to win a trip to World Youth Day, fromGoodness Reigns, which "is an outreach effort to help young adults express their faith with the art of film-making":
Goodness Reigns: Share the Story fuses the imagination of youth and young adults with the art of filmmaking to produce short films about the Catholic faith.... and did we mention that it's COMPLETELY FREE TO ENTER?!?

How it Works:
Nov. 19, 2009 Registration & Submission Begin
Dec. 1, 2010 Last day for registration in the 2011 contest
Jan. 10, 2011 Films due by 12:00 midnight EST; Judging begins
April 1, 2011 Winners announced; all entries posted online
April 1, 2011 Voting begins for the “People’s Choice Award”
May 1, 2011 Voting ends at 12:00 midnight EST
May 6, 2011 “People’s Choice Award” winner announced
Aug 14-23, 2011 Winners travel to Madrid for WDY

Categories and Awards:
Participants must choose to produce and submit films relating to one of these four contest categories:
Church History (including Bible stories and lives of the saints)
Sacraments of the Church
Church Teachings
Present-day Missionary Spirit of the Church
One winning entry will be selected from each category with the winner and one parent/guest receiving free travel packages to World Youth Day 2011.

Also, one high school youth group (up to 10 people) and one young adult group (up to four people) will be chosen from all entries to travel to World Youth Day for free. For more details on the awards, visit http://www.goodnessreigns.com/contest-rules.php

Fr. Barron - The Key To Being Happy

Great stuff - an exclusive look at fr. Barron's new CATHOLICISM project. I can't wait for it to be complete.
Thanks to Matt Warner, at Fallible Blogma for this clip.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Prayers

The USCCB has some Thanksgiving prayers for your family.  Here is the short prayer, for a longer one, click the link:
Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
When all have gathered at table, the following prayer and song may be used. An extended table blessing follows on the next page.

Lord, we thank you
for the goodness of our people
and for the spirit of justice
that fills this nation.
We thank you for the beauty and fullness of the
land and the challenge of the cities.
We thank you for our work and our rest,
for one another, and for our homes.
We thank you, Lord:
accept our thanksgiving on this day.
We pray and give thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Outside the Church There Is No Salvation"

Q - Isn't the teaching of the faith that outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation?

A - Thanks for the question. Does the Church teach that outside the Church there is no salvation? Yes. But, we have to understand what this means in context. Think of it this way. There is no salvation apart from Jesus. Jesus established His Body and Bride, The Church, as the instrument of that salvation. Therefore, there is no salvation outside of this instrument of his salvation - outside of Christ's Body/Bride. So, who belongs to this Church and how?

The Catechism teaches:
Who belongs to the Catholic Church?
836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God.... And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."
837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"
838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter." Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church." With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."

What about non-Christians? Can they be saved?
843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."
From this, we can understand the following better:
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."

I hope this helps explain better these questions. Peace.

Annointing of the Sick

Q - Can a Deacon perform Anointing of the Sick?
A -
Thanks for the question! The short answer is no. The reason why can be found in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

First, the bible. In James 5: 13-15:
Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.
Notice that when someone needs healing they should call on the presbyters (presbyter = priest), and the anointing of the priest will lead to healing and forgiveness. The two parts of this Sacrament are healing of body/mind and forgiveness of sin. Therefore, because the commission was only given to priests, only they can preside in the Sacrament.

The Catechism states in paragraph 1516:
Only priests (bishops and presbyters) are ministers of the Anointing of the Sick. It is the duty of pastors to instruct the faithful on the benefits of this sacrament. The faithful should encourage the sick to call for a priest to receive this sacrament. The sick should prepare themselves to receive it with good dispositions, assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Closing In On 1,000 Followers

Thanks for reading. We love having you along for the ride.

We currently have these numbers:

We have nearly 1,000 people subscribed or following the blog. THANKS!

This is in addition to:

As is usually the case, we are gentle and humble of heart. But, if you aren't subscribed or following us, then we might have to ask the following man to take care of getting you on board...

Georgetown Student Senate Advocates "Gender-Blind Housing" on-Campus

When you lose your Catholic identity and you have absorbed the culture, this kind of nonsense happens:
As formal discussion of gender-blind housing begins at Georgetown, some students have questioned its viability.

“Though I think gender-blind housing would potentially be a positive thing to consider, we have to remember that if significant others chose to live with each other then broke up, we would have a higher number of people needing to change rooms, thus creating a housing nightmare,” Moriah Lenhart-Wees (COL ’13) said.

For other students, the benefits of a change in housing policy would be widespread for the campus.

“Gender-blind housing would be very beneficial to the Georgetown community. It would be helpful to the many people on campus who have friends of the opposite sex and who have different sexual orientations,” Eric Bulakites (COL ’13) said.

The GUSA resolution, which garnered 17 votes in favor and four abstentions, also spurred debate among senators.

“GUSA is responsible for allocating funds to various clubs and organizations. However, when you get into the issue of gender-blind housing, its gets dangerously political, and I don’t think that is where GUSA belongs,” Senator Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) said.

Mogil said he considered the resolution a milestone.

“By passing this bill to even talk about such a controversial subject, GUSA is acknowledging to the school that we are concerned about these suicides and the security/access situation for some students for whom same-sex room assignments is inappropriate,” Mogil said.
So, they want to let women and men live together on-campus and they see it as a good thing.

A Haiku On Condoms and the Pope

A Haiku to sum up the Pope, the media, and condoms:
Pope speaks on condoms.
The press just doesn't get it.
I expect no less.
You are welcome to make up your own.

Fr. Barron on The Vatican and The New Media

Good stuff.
I will be sharing space in a new book on Catholics and the New Media with Fr. Barron. I bet his chapter is better than mine. :-)

Can Catholics Receive Communion in Non-Catholic Churches?

Q - Can/should a Catholic receive communion at a Protestant church?

A - Thanks for the question.

No, a Catholic should not receive communion in a Protestant church. Catholics believe that Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is present in the Eucharist during our Communion and that it is not just a mere symbol. This is not the case in non-Catholic churches/denominations that do not have valid Holy Orders - therefore, they do not have the Real Presence of Jesus when they go to communion. To have a valid Eucharist, you need valid priests and bishops - the only other churches that have valid orders are the Eastern Orthodox and even then we can only receive the Eucharist in their churches under very strict circumstances which I will explain at the end.

There are several reasons why a Catholic should never take Communion in a Protestant church, the first is that Communion is a sign that we are one in belief and practice. Since we are separated in our beliefs about what the Eucharist is, Church authority, holy orders, etc. We would be lying with our actions to receive communion in a non-Catholic church. It is as if we believe one thing (we are not united completely in faith and practice) and saying/doing another (we are one).

Catholics who lack access to Catholic Mass may receive communion from Orthodox churches, but most Orthodox will not allow it. Thus, we have to have permission from the Orthodox Bishop or patriarch. Also, if in danger of death, a Catholic can receive communion from another church with valid sacraments, which excludes the Protestant churches. Canon law has the following:
§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
I hope this helps.

The Catholic Church and Condoms


They don't have any clue about what the Church teaches in the fist place, nor do they have any care for telling us the full truth. They want to make money and create sensational headlines.

If you want to know what the Catholic Church really teaches, it is going to take a bit more work than reading one bad article.

So, here is the deal - the Pope is NOT saying that condoms are a moral choice.
Jimmy Akin has the best summation of the nuances that the Pope is talking about, so I highly recommend you read his post here.

As for other stories:
**Vatican clarifies statements on condoms
**Some call for Vatican newspaper editor to be fired for gaffe on condoms.
**Ed Peters argues that the problem is in the communication of the message, not the message itself.
**Amy Welborn has read the book and has a bunch of comments.
**Thomas Peters explains it all in this video:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Did The Pope Say That Condoms Are Acceptable Recently?

The quick answer is "no". But, the AP and other media outlets are reporting that he did.
Of course the media does not understand nuance, theology, or the Church.

This is an opportunity to teach, we should use it.

Here are some good articles about what is really going on:

Family and The Holidays

Friday, November 19, 2010

Archbishop Broglio To Celebrate Mass at St. Mary's TODAY!

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services will celebrate Mass with us today (Friday) at 5:30.
From the Archdiocese of Military Services website:
The Archdiocese for the Military Services was created by Pope John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church's full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. This includes more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 V.A. Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the USA in 134 countries. Numerically, the AMS is responsible for more than 1.5 million men, women, and children.
St. Mary's has been blessed to have numerous Bishops from around the USA (and a few international ones) visit us. We should take full advantage of such blessings. Archbishop Broglio has been assigned to various countries as apostolic nuncio and in positions within the Vatican before coming back to the USA as Archbishop of Military Services.

Where I Will Be This Weekend

I will be emceeing the Fullness of Truth Conference - Winning the Culture War, this weekend in Houston.
Come join us if you can. It will feature Dr. Ray Guarendi, Shawn Carney, Abby Johnson, and more.

Communion and Divorce

Q - Can a person receive communion at mass if they have been married outside of the church but are planning on getting married in the church in the future?

A - Thanks for your question! First off, the answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the issue that aren't provided.

I am assuming (forgive me if I am wrong) that you are speaking of a situation where someone has been married in a civil ceremony and then plans on having the marriage "blessed" in the Catholic Church. This process of having a marriage "blessed" is called convalidation. This is a statement by the Church that the marriage is in fact valid. If this is the case, then the Catholics involved in such a situation are not allowed to receive Communion until the marriage is convalidated. Now, this does not mean the Church wants to give them the boot or leave them out. She still invites them to participate as fully as possible. They are invited to come to Mass, but they are not able to receive Communion until the marriage is recognized by the Church.

The reason for these rules has to do with what the Church sees in the marriage bond. The Church has the greatest respect for marriage (as it does for all Sacraments). In maintaining this respect, she wants to make sure that we are respecting all marriage unions, which means that she must examine the situation of a marriage outside of the Church with great detail to see if it is valid.

If there are irregular circumstances which means the Church cannot recognize the marriage presently, she asks that the couple would refrain from partaking in Communion, because the bond of unity between members of the Body of Christ are in question. This is due to the fact that Catholics are bound to follow what is called "canonical form", which means the law of the Church regarding the circumstances of a marriage. Since form is under question, the Church asks that the couple refrain from receiving the Eucharist until it can be confirmed that their marriage is valid. This is because we want to make sure we are receiving the Eucharist with the proper reverance to Christ and in the state of grace.

I think the focus needs to be on the end, not the process. The end is getting everything straightened up with the Church. The process may not necessarily be fun, but it can also be a chance to grow closer to Christ.

To have a marriage convalidated it is a relatively simple process. First, the couple should approach a deacon or priest to work with them. He will help guide the couple through the process. Second, you will have to provide baptismal records and fill out forms providing the Church with information about the spouses. Third, if there was a previous marriage it is necessary to seek a declaration of nullity (commonly called an anullment). Fourth, the spouses will celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Fifth, there is a simple ceremony of recognition.

If this is not the situation that you are speaking of, please let me know.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Information about my sister, Simone's, memorial service:
Rosary: Led by Deacon Gene Thownsend;
7 p.m. Sunday Nov 21st, St Anthony de Padua Catholic Church - San Antonio, TX

Memorial Mass: Celebrated by Fr. Brian McMaster (an old Friend)
Concelebrant: Fr. Kevin Shanahan, our Pastor at St Anthony
10 a.m.Monday Nov 22nd: St Anthony de Padua (Simone's 46th Birthday)
Reception follows in the Parish Hall.
Since Simone chose to be cremated, our family will have a private ceremony of commital.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Matthew Mills education fund c/o Broadway Bank, San Antonio or a favorite charity.
Thank you for the prayers.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist To Appear on Oprah Winfrey Show For Second Time

From the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist:

Dear Friends,
The Dominican Sisters of Mary will be featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday, November 23rd.
This is a new show that includes interviews with Mother Assumpta, Sr. Joseph Andrew, Sr. Mary Samuel, Sr. John Dominic and other Sisters; as well as on-site filming of the First and Final Profession Masses and this year’s Entrance Day, during which we welcomed 22 Aspirants.
The show will feature the experience of a Sister entering religious life and the meaning of religious profession as being ‘married’ to Christ.
You may recall that Oprah first reached out to our community on February 9th of this year due to an interest in the hidden aspects of religious life. Click here to watch an excerpt from that program.  
The response from the first show was so positive that the Sisters were asked if we would be open to another opportunity to share our life. We have accepted this invitation in the hopes of reaching an audience we might not otherwise reach with the witness of our life and the Gospel. Please join us in praying that the show will be for the good of souls and the honor of God.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, let us give thanks to God for His bountiful goodness. May God bless you and your families during this holiday season.
In Jesus and Mary,

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist 

p.s. To learn more about supporting the Sisters’ ongoing formation and education, click here.

There are several sisters from this order in our Diocese. Please tune in!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Her, O Lord, And Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her

My sister, Simone LeJeune, died yesterday. Please pray for the repose of her soul and for our family.

Funeral details will not be known until tomorrow, but it is looking like next Monday.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.
She has been suffering from cancer for 5 years now. It was extremely aggresive and the cancer plus the treatments disabled her and caused her a great amount of pain. She is suffering no longer.

I especially ask prayers for my nephew, Matthew. He is 13 and has some special needs. Simone adopted him because she couldn't bare to see another minority child with special needs bounce from foster home to foster home. He doesn't understand what has happened and it will take him a good deal of time to realize that his mother isn't coming home from the hospital this time. He will be staying with my parents for the foreseeable future.

Thank you all for your prayers.

In addition, Gerry Hince (the Director of RCIA) lost her mother this week. Julia Agnes McGuire May, 89, passed away Sunday, and the funeral will be this Thursday, at St. Mary's at noon. You can read the obituary here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Islam and the Catholic Church

Q - What is the official Roman Catholic stance/view on Islam? I have read much about the religion, their holy book and prophet. The Quran is riddled with references to engaging in combat, whilst the prophet muhammad, from what I have read, is certainly no role model for society. Thanks for your insight!

A - Thanks for the question. If you want an official view, then we should go to primary sources. Here is a quote to get us started:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."
Islam is one of the great monotheistic religions (along with Judaism and Christianity). So, there is a respect that is due the beliefs of Muslims, because if there is only one God, then logically we all worship Him, even if our understanding of Him (Trinity, incarnation, etc) is very different than Muslims. But, as with any religious system, the beliefs can be distorted into the image of violence.

Christians should speak up against the radical Muslims who wish to promote terror, violence, and hatred. But, we should also speak up against those who want the same thing and call themselves Christian or any other name. It does seem there is a much bigger tendency in Islam for violence, but we cannot indict all of Islam for the violence of some.

As Pope Benedict XVI has said, we need to seek "sincere and respectful dialogue" with Muslims. Why this need? Because "The inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims is, in effect, a vital necessity, on which a large part of our future depends."

If we don't, the clash of civilizations will continue to the detriment of us all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Conductor

Some thoughts from Sarah:
This past weekend I had a choir concert. The concert was in conjunction with the local symphony, the university choir, a nearby children’s choir, and professional opera singers. We performed music from the opera Carmen. Oddly, I must confess my favorite part was not singing or listening . . . it was watching the conductor.

Previously sitting in the audience during symphony performances, I had never had the opportunity to watch a conductor at work. In the past, I had only seen his back with the flailing (or seemingly so) arms. But this time, being in a choir that he was also conducting, I had a front row seat to watch him at work.

Our first rehearsal with both the symphony and choirs together was in a high school band hall. The room was packed with a 200 person choir and the symphony. At the helm, on a raised platform, was the conductor. He was fascinating to watch. He knew every note of the music. “Horn two, you’re late!” he would shout. “Bassoon, give me more!” “French horn, I really need you to come in there!” “Don’t rush! Don’t rush!” “Play sweetly!”

When something was done to his liking, he would shout that out as well. “Awesome!” “That was perfect!” I think my favorite was when the triangle came in just right and he exclaimed with great delight, “I love the triangle here!” I could not help but smile that he had noticed and rejoiced in something so small.

Another time he turned to the string section and said, “Are you giving me all you have? If yes, great. But if you can, give me more!”

Given the large number of us and the acoustics of the room, it was rather difficult for us all to hear one another. At times this made it hard for us to stay in tempo together. This was particularly true for a few scenes where a trumpet section played from off stage as if they were in the distance at the stadium for the bullfight. The conductor would frequently say, “The only way this is going to work is if you watch me!” “You must look up!” “Stay with me!”

As a member of the chorus, there was a lot of downtime during the rehearsals to simply observe and take it all in, and also to reflect a bit. I could not help but see the ways in which God conducts our lives.

He indeed knows every note and notices the smallest effort, like the sound of the triangle. He notices when we are late and dragging our feet, when we are rushed and running ahead. He notices when our eyes are not on Him and when we get out of tempo. He calls out to us when we are off key or miss the notes. He shouts out with delight when we play the music He has set before us as He intended. And at times He asks us “Are you giving me all you have? If yes, great. But if you can, give me more!”

The conductor this weekend gave the rehearsals and the performance his all. Often dripping with sweat, he was far from simply keeping time or passively listening to us perform. He poured his whole self into the music. His arms were not flailing after all. Each movement had a purpose. Each gesture a mission: to get the best from each of us and to make the piece come alive.

Is this not what Christ does for us? He gave His all! He poured out His whole self. Every word and every action had (and has!) purpose and mission. Arms, not flailing, but spread wide on the Cross. And why? For our salvation, to enable the best in us. And for the thriving, glorious, melodious life of His Kingdom.

The only way this will work is if we watch Him! We must look up! Stay with Him!

Somehow today, I’m a little more willing to let God conduct my life. How about you?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fr. Robert Barron on the New Evangelization

Money Quote From Benedict XVI to Young Americans

Yup. I read documents that are issued from obscure Vatican dicasteries. I re-read Papal documents. I eat it all up.

Now that we are all up-to-date on my Catholic nerdiness. I offer you the following money quote from Pope Benedict XVI, who was talking to young people in America:
What purpose has a “freedom” which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong? How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life? Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others.
The entire speech is amazing and written in very approachable language. I highly recommend it.

A Little Person Can Teach Us How To Live Life Fully. Today.

This little guy is an inspiration. His name is Josiah and he suffers from Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome, a genetic condition frequently known as "early aging disease." This little guy has suffered a number of strokes and is 6 years old...

Pope Calls for a Vigil For Life

Details from the USCCB:
On Saturday, November 27th at St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” coinciding with first vespers of the First Sunday of Advent. The Holy Father has also requested that “all Diocesan Bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements.”
Continue Reading.
Here is what ZENIT added:
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, chairman of the episcopal conference's pro-life committee, highlighted the "unprecedented" nature of this request from the Pontiff.

In a statement written for Respect Life Month, which begins Friday, the prelate said, "I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer." (In the United States this year, the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.)

He noted that the purpose "according to the Holy See is to 'thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,' and to 'invoke the Lord's protection over every human being called into existence.'"

The statement also provided a reflection on the theme of this Respect Life Month, which is: "The Measure of Love Is to Love Without Measure."

"With over 1 million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture," Cardinal DiNardo stated.
Continue Reading.

Who Is Jesus Christ?

Eric Sammons, the author of the new book Who Is Jesus Christ? Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew, is in big trouble. Why? Because I have a bad habit of reading anywhere from 4-15 books at a time. I generally pick one up and read it for a while. The next time I read, I pick up a different book from the book pile. Once in a while, esp. when reading fiction, I read a book cover-to-cover and can't put it down. Eric's new book has been one that I can't put down and this means the stack of other books has been neglected since I starting reading Who Is Jesus Christ?

The book is a meditation on the different titles given to Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Matthew. It is evident that Sammons has been chewing on this Gospel for a long time, because the insights are enlightening, relevant, and personal. I have really enjoyed praying alongside Eric as I am reading his thoughts.

What you notice is a humble acknowledgement that any fruit that comes from his book, came first from the Holy Spirit who inspired St. Matthew to write his Gospel for us. This humility is the first step to being able to know Jesus Christ personally and draw others closer to him. Sammons is a friend to us all, because through this book he helps us to know Jesus better.

Benedict XVI said the following about our meditation on Sacred Scripture in 2005:
The conciliar Constitution Dei Verbum emphasized appreciation for the Word of God, which developed into a profound renewal for the life of the Ecclesial Community, especially in preaching, catechesis, theology, spirituality and ecumenical relations. Indeed, it is the Word of God which guides believers, through the action of the Holy Spirit, towards all truth (cf. Jn 16: 13).

Among the many fruits of this biblical springtime I would like to mention the spread of the ancient practice of Lectio divina or "spiritual reading" of Sacred Scripture. It consists in pouring over a biblical text for some time, reading it and rereading it, as it were, "ruminating" on it as the Fathers say and squeezing from it, so to speak, all its "juice", so that it may nourish meditation and contemplation and, like water, succeed in irrigating life itself.

One condition for Lectio divina is that the mind and heart be illumined by the Holy Spirit, that is, by the same Spirit who inspired the Scriptures, and that they be approached with an attitude of "reverential hearing".
If the goal of praying with Sacred Scripture is to irrigate our lives with the Holy Spirit, I could give no greater comment about a book on the Bible than to say it does just that - it is irrigating my life with the Holy Spirit.

Eric - thanks for sending me your book and thanks for writing it. I think it is a treasure the Church will be using for many years to come.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pope Issues Major New Document on Sacred Scripture

The document is a post-synodal apostolic exhortation called Verbum Domini is the most important document on Scripture since Dei Verbum from Vatican II, in 1965.

You can read the entire document here.

Good Reviews

Thanks to everyone who has been reviewing my new book, Set Free to Love: Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body. Here are a number of reviews from those that enjoyed the book. Lucky me, I haven't run across a negative one yet.

***Brandon Vogt:
Set Free to Love” introduces the major themes of John Paul’s teachings, but there aren’t many advanced explanations. This makes the book a good primer on this theology rather than a reference source. What sets the book apart is its unique examination not of the theology itself, but of the profound transformation it brings.

LeJeune’s book features good diversity, with priests, nuns, single and married people all represented. And each offers some story of healing. Many of the contributors were given an incomplete or distorted view of sexuality during their childhood, which led to all sorts of misunderstandings and abuses later in life. Again and again, the book conveys the relief people feel after stumbling upon John Paul’s wisdom. The contributors present living proof that the ‘theology of the body’ has explosive power.

If you are intrigued about the ‘theology of the body’ but are unsure whether to study it deeper , “Set Free to Love” will convince you of its power and provoke more exploration. As others unwrap this wonderful gift, you will want to experience its power yourself.
Read the rest of the review here.
**Karen from Karen's Adventures in Mommyland:
When I read the description of Marcel LeJeune's Set Free To Love: Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body I wasn't convinced it was a book I wanted to read. The description that I had read online and the back cover of the book didn't convince me that it would even remotely capture my attention, but after paging through it and picking a few pages to read I realized that my initial impressions were all wrong.

This book contrary to my first thoughts was a captivating and inspiring read. It was yet another book that I had the hardest time putting down once I had started it. The book is comprised of an introduction that explains what John Paul II's Theology of the Body (TOB) is and eleven stories of people from many different walks of life and how they were transformed by it's powerful teachings.
Read the rest of the review here.
**Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve':
It's a great collection of stories of real people whose lives have been changed for the better by TOB.
Read the rest of the review here.
**Amazon currently has 5 reviews, all of them 5 star.

Thanks again for all the positive reviews.

If you want to buy the book, I have signed copies from my website or if you are in town, you can buy them at the front desk of St. Mary's.

Thank You Vets!

To our veterans. Thank you.
To the families of veterans. Thank you.

Two Aggies Get Excited About St. Mary's and It Is Caught On Camera

Last spring St. Mary's welcomed Seth Demoor, a young man who biked from Orlando, Florida to Denver, Colorado. During his trip he talked to as many Catholics as he can - all while filming the stories of those he talked to. His website journaled the trip and continues to have new stories put up- OneBillionStories.com.

Here is a clip of two of our students who he filmed while he stopped in town:

This video has been featured on NewAdvent.org

The Freedom of Being Yourself

There is a great freedom in being yourself. This is a quality that small children have.
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
-Matt 18:3-4
Witness the freedom in this child - I dare you to not smile at the end.

Update on My Sister

I appreciate all of you who have responded that you are praying for my sister. I received this update from my dad:
Friends: Simone has been diagnosed with a "hockey puck size" tumor on the outside wall of her colon. Because of the location, and the probability of additional tumors, it is inoperable. Simone, as she usually is, has known that her life is a gift, and that the prayers of all of you are the only thing sustaining her. She has been unable to keep any solid food for about two months now, and has sustained herself with liquid nourishment. She tries to keep up her positive approach to the coming end.

She began chemo again (3rd time) in hopes that the current tumor can be reduced enough for her to digest solid food. She has not wanted to receive calls at this time, due to the inability to keep down food, which makes her very worn out and tired. Prayers and cards welcomed.

Thank you for your prayers in the past, and for those now. God Bless our Friends and relatives.
Your Brother in Christ!
Bob LeJeune
If you feel called to send her a message, you can send it here:
Simone LeJeune
7214 N Vandiver Rd
San Antonio, TX 78209

Christian Woman Sentenced to Death in Pakistan for Blasphemy

These kind of laws are a violation of basic human rights.
Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted for her faith in a country where Christians face routine harassment and discrimination.

Christian groups and human rights campaigners condemned the verdict and called for the blasphemy laws to be repealed.

Her supporters say she will now appeal against the sentence handed down in a local court in the town of Sheikhupura, near Lahore, Pakistan.

Ashiq Masih, her husband, said he had not had the heart to break the news to two of their children.

"I haven't told two of my younger daughters about the court's decision," he said. "They asked me many times about their mother but I can't get the courage to tell them that the judge has sentenced their mother to capital punishment for a crime she never committed." Mrs Bibi has been held in prison since June last year.
Continue Reading.
Pray for all Christians who are persecuted.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prayers Needed

My sister, Simone, has been suffering from cancer for the last 5 years.

My mom called today to give me some bad news.
Simone has a mass of cells growing in her abdomen that is causing the worst pain she has ever experienced. The doctors were hopeful they could operate, but now they say it won’t do any good. There is no hope of stopping the growth, but only slowing it down with chemo. But, even this is a temporary help.

The doctor told them that she was already well beyond the time of survival rate for what the doctor would expect. Therefore, she is already living on borrowed time and is starting to prepare herself for her inevitable death.

So, I ask for these prayers.

  1. Please pray that Simone’s pain may be relieved, if possible, in some way.
  2. Pray for Simone's son, Matthew (Simone adopted him because he was about to be put in foster care and Simone couldn't stand to see another kid get lost in the system), that he might be find some peace in his mother’s suffering and eventual death.
  3. Pray for my mom and dad, who have to watch their child suffer so terribly and cannot do anything about it.
  4. Pray for a happy death for my sister, that she might fly to God’s arms and be out of pain.
  5. Pray for my other siblings, that my sister’s suffering might be a cause of their return to the faith.

College Students Caught in Cheating Scandal

Cheating on a test. Some say "everybody does it". But, do they? Even if that is the case, does that make it a good thing to do? Even here at Texas A&M 75 % of students admit to cheating. So, what is the big deal? Well, the big deal it is immoral, unethical, and evil to cheat. Yes, it is evil and may be mortally sinful.

One professor, who caught hundreds of his students cheating, feels betrayed and I can understand why. The reaction of the student in the video below, who is defending the cheating, tells us about the decline in moral / ethical behavior and the brashness about it all.

The Orlando Sentinel has more about how good a man the prof is through all of this:
Quinn brokered a deal with the business dean that would allow students to clear their records if they owned up to cheating before the rewritten exam started being administered this morning.

An investigation is under way to determine how students got their hands on the exam key in advance. All faculty have been alerted about the apparent security breach, Quinn told students.

Someone anonymously dropped off a copy of the exam key at Quinn's office not long after the exam was given earlier this month. Some students also were starting to complain about classmates who were bragging about acing the exam because they had copies of the exam key.

Quinn reviewed exam scores and discovered it is likely that one-third of the students in the strategic management course cheated. He decided not to cancel the course because it would be unfair to students who did not cheat.

But he did toss the exam scores for everybody. Faculty has rewritten the mid-term – 200 questions — so the exam key for the original test is useless. The final exam still to be given has also been rewritten, Quinn told students.
I would have struggled to not kick them all out of school.

A few years ago Texas A&M had a cheating scandal in the Mays School of Business. Afterward, I wrote the following:
A culture that allows cheating as if it isn't a big deal is a sick culture. There is a disconnect between our idea of what honesty is and reality.

The person who wouldn't lie to a priest in confession has no problem cheating on a paper.
The person who wouldn't steal out of the collection basket, will download music or movies illegally.

It is a very big deal. Think of it this way:
*Stealing = taking what isn't your own. How would you feel if someone took something you own?
*Lying = purposefully telling an untruth to someone who has a right to the truth. How do you feel when you are lied to?
*Cheating = not playing by the rules established or agreements agreed to. How do you feel if someone cheated you?

The answer is found in Christ's call to us to " So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." - Matt 7:12 Christ defines truth as part of the nature of God - "I am the way, the truth and the life". We must be true and honest as Christians in every way.
We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. - Hebrews 13:18
Continue Reading.

If You Make The Jumbotron - DO THIS!

This is absolutely hilarious.

Tip o' the hat to Brandon.

Planned Parenthood Wants You To Give Abortion As a Christmas Present

This turned my stomach:
A number of Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana and Illinois are offering gift certificates for their services this Christmas.

Officials say the vouchers enable people to give their loved ones "the gift of life" — that would help pay for annual checkups and birth control — but also can be used for abortions.Chrystal Struben-Hall with Planned Parenthood of Indiana said the idea is a response to economic woes that have forced many women to put health care at the bottom of their to-do list.

"People are making really tough decisions about putting gas in their car and food on their table," Struben-Hall said.
The justification for abortion is that it is a "tough decision"? We can make it much easier by telling people not to kill innocent babies.

I think the following approach to Christmas in the womb is much better:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cool It - A New Movie On the Environment From a Different Perspective

Sounds very interesting. This movie, from the preview below, seems to take a unique view of the current issues we have in our environment. As Catholics, we are called to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us, including the environment. The Catechism states in paragraph 339:
"Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment."
The following message was sent to me by Sarah at the Maximus Group, who will be screening the movie in select cities soon, including Dallas and Houston on Nov 11:
Cool It is a bold, new approach to looking at the environmental issue that everyone is talking about. The film explores real solutions to our world’s environmental concerns and considers the fact that saving the planet is really about saving its people.

For Catholics, its exactly what the Church’s social teaching is all about – stewardship of one another. It looks at important issues such as poverty, world hunger, access to education, clean drinking water, as well as demonstrating how careful solutions to the climate change problems can save the planet.

The film comes out Nov 19th but there are a few special ADVANCE screenings and we have several free tickets available.

Click here for some sneak peeks, a chance to win in a sweepstakes, bible study and more:


Please pass this along to others in your area who would be passionate about the role of stewardship to people and planet.

Eucharist and our Bodies

Q - If our bodies are the temple of God, Christ must dwell within us, and if Christ dwells within us, why is it necessary to take him every week in the Eucharist?

A - Thank you very much for your question! What an important question you ask. Let us examine the distinction of how Christ is present to us first. Vatican II states (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7):

To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross" (20), but especially under the eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes (21). He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20) .
So, the Church teaches that Christ is truly present to us in several different ways. He is present in the following ways:

  • in Scripture
  • in the congregation
  • in the priest
  • in the Sacraments
  • in the Eucharist. 
But, in the Eucharist He is present to us in a special way that He is not in the other ways. He is present in "Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity" as the Council of Trent tells us.

So, from this the Church teaches that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is the "Source and Summit" (Lumen Gentium, 11) of the Christian life. Therefore, there is no greater way to pray, to live and to worship than to be receive the Eucharist. It is Christ.

While our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are united even more closely to Christ by celebrating the Eucharist. This is because we are sinners and our temples will be ever in need of renovation until we get to heaven.

Thus, John 6: 53-58 says:

I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.
Thus, by partaking of the Blessed Sacrament we are intimately united with Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in 1374 that:

The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."
For more on this topic, I highly recommend that you read CCC, 1322-1419.