Roman Catholic 
Diocese of Ogdensburg


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Joy-Filled, Intentional,
Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ
So that On Fire with the Holy Spirit
They will be witnesses that
transform the culture around them.

Advent Starts December 1... A Few Online Resources

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 (click HERE for the previous blogpost for reading suggestions for Advent) 


The Office of Family Life has an Advent Resource Page filled with link and ideas for bringing advent into the home with many age appropriate projects and prayers.

 Advent PowerPoint Sermon










The USCCB offers a downloadable Advent Calendar with an idea of for each day of Advent as well as other resources on their advent page

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The Catholic Apostolate Center has a page filled with Advent links, resources and videos

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Other resources:

Loyola Press:  A page filled with articles, projects, retreats and prayers.

Crossroads Initiative Advent Reflections Reflections on the coming of Christ

Catholic Relief Services offers reflections, activities and prayers

Formed offers daily reflections which will be sent to your email. Click the link to sign up.

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Advent Starts December 1 ...

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...Have you ordered your advent candles and calendars yet?


If you are like me, you have probably scrambled around the night before Advent starts to get a semblance of an advent wreath in the house. Usually I end up painting white candles purple and pink or otherwise end up with some minimalist version of an advent wreath:

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Yes, last year's "wreath" was a dessert plate with four (appropriately colored!) tea-lights.


As you prepare for advent this year, and check to see if last year's candle-stubs can be used one more year, I would like to suggest some resources for reading:


First,  check and see what your parish is offering this Advent.  Many parishes offer special programs during Advent or maybe distributing books or other resources such as:


Bishop Barron's Advent Gospel Reflections: This book contains the gospel reading for each day of Advent, a daily reflection by Bishop Barron, reflection questions and space for journaling.

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Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Mary:  This is a lovely way to enter into the season traveling with Mary.  For each day, there is a word, a reflection, a psalm, a reading and a prompt for journaling.  It is a beautiful book to help you prepare for the coming of Christ with his mother. 














Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph: is new this year and is similar in setup to the Advent Meditations with Mary, but this time seeing the story through Joseph's eyes and experience.  This book also comes with supplemental videos available for FREE HERE














With the canonization of now St. John Henry Newman, another set of beautiful Advent and Christmas Meditation can be found in Augustine Institute's Waiting for Christ

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Or encounter Christ anew and let Pope Francis be your guide for Advent with daily scripture, selection from homilies and speeches by the Holy Father and questions for reflection in Advent with Pope Francis



















Next week, we will post more Advent resources…


Last week (or was it two weeks ago …Time is flying so fast) I posted a couple of recently read books.  I thought I would follow it up with a couple of podcasts I have been enjoying on my commute to and from work:


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The Cordial Catholic is a interview style podcast covering a wide variety of Catholic topics hosted by K. Albert Little.  The host is a convert to Catholicism form non-denominational evangelicalism and the interviews are all expounding on why he is Catholic and what it means to be Catholic.  Recent topics (and interviewees) include: an interview with Pat Flyn about Do Catholics have a personal relationship with Christ; and interview with Dr. Stacy Trasancos about Debunking the   Science vs. Catholicism Conflict;  and interview with Marcus Grodi about Why Become Catholic.  The one with Marcus Grodi (Host of the Journey Home Show on EWTN) was very interesting since he is normally the one asking the questions. 

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St. Dymphna's Playbook: This is a podcast by Tommy Tighe (Author of the Catholic Hipster Handbook) is about the Catholicism and Mental Health. Tommy Tighe is a family councelor and the podcast covers things like therapy and answers questions from listeners about how to deal with family members and friends who suffer from mental illness and approaches to different treatments, about prayer, and about integrating Catholic faith with medical treatment of the illness. What I like about the podcast is that it opens the conversation about mental illness and how we can assist in de-stigmatizing the illness and assist people in getting the help they need.

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The John Allen Show: This is a brand new podcast and part of the Word on Fire Institute.  The show will air twice a week to discuss news from the Vatican. John Allen is a trusted Catholic Journalist and is the editor of Crux.  The first episode aired on September 18,  and covered the upcoming Synod for the Amazon.  He gives the basic details of the story and then explains various elements, expounding on details of the story.

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The Missionary Disciple Podcast This is a podcast by Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) a Canadian group whose mission is to evangelize students at university which produces great resources for evangelization such as the CCO Faith Studies Series.    CCO is somewhat equivalent to FOCUS in the US.  I started listening to the podcast in the summer, which means that they were on hiatus and re-running past talks from the Annual Rise-Up Conference.  These talks were by such people as Fr. John O'Brien, Michael Dopp, Christine LaBrosse on various topics such as overcoming challenges in the spiritual life, parish renewal.  I am looking forward to new episodes to learn more about evangelizing college students and young adults.

Additionally, there are quite a few podcasts available with Sunday Homilies. Most of you are probably familiar with Bishop Barron's homilies on the Word on Fire Podcast .  At least two of our local pastors podcast their homilies:  Fr. Bryan Stitt's homilies can be found on the Canton Catholics website and Msgr. Aucoin's homilies can be found on the Madrid-Waddington Catholics site



RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Dynamic Catholic Parish Champion program

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At the beginning of this week I received a call from a friend about a FREE resource that I had not yet heard about.  I am sure that everyone is familiar with Dynamic Catholic, the organization run by Matthew Kelly that works to re-energize the Church and Catholics through books, programs, retreat, and parish events.   I was familiar with all these, as well as many of the resources Dynamic Catholic offers.

What I had not heard about, and what I would like to share with all of you, is a program Dynamic Catholic offers called Parish Champion.  What is a parish champion you might ask.  It is a way to distribute FREE resources to people in your parish. Basically, every month, the Parish Champion receive a case (!) of free books or cd's in the mail, that you can then share with your pastor, your parish leadership team and fellow parishioners . In addition, you will receive materials and information about Dynamic Catholic Programs, as well as inside information about new programs and resources before they are released.  

There is an application process to become a Parish Champion.  Basically you have to fill out a form and the about you and the size of your parish. The application forms are reviewed at the end of each month after which Dynamic Catholic will contact you whether you have been accepted.

For more information see


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Resource for the Week: Recently Read Books

Here are a few books that I have been reading.


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Letter to a Suffering Church by Bishop Robert Barron

Many of our parishes are distributing this little book to all their parishioners. It is an essay written from the heart of Bishop Barron that does not pull any punches about the current scandal in the Church as well as putting it in a historical and scriptural perspective.  The essay acknowledges our pain and sadness and anger, but also encourages us to rise up and deepen our faith and commitment to holiness.  It is in times of trial that Saint arise.

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The Activated Disciple by Jeff Cavins

Yes, another book on discipleship.  As you would expect from Jeff Cavins, noted scripture scholar and teacher, this book relies heavily on scripture and on the idea of discipleship in the time of Jesus, with the disciple following, and learning to live like, the rabbi.  This is not an hour a week process, but rather and all encompassing, all-in, following of Christ that we are called to as disciples.  It is a lifelong process requiring prayer, scripture, liturgy, sacraments, the Saint ..

There is a second volume (the Activated Disciple Challenge Guide) which I still need to purchase and review, but if it is anything as thorough as the book, I am sure it will be worth the price.  

Of course, discipleship is more that reading about discipleship.  We need to put what we learn into practice!

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Unlocking Your Parish by Ron Huntley and Fr. James Mallon

I reviewed this book recently on this blog HERE.  Highly recommend, especially if your parish is considering running ALPHA.

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When Women Pray by Kathleen Beckman

This is a collection of essays from a variety of women about their own prayer lives. I is  wonderful little book allowing us a glimpse in someone else's interior life, and then to reflect how we ourselves pray, and inspiring us to try new ways of connecting with God. This book would make a great book for a women's group or book club.  Each essay ends with reflections to ponder, practice and pray and a wisdom from a woman saint.

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The Shattering of Loneliness, On Christian Remembrance

This is a dense book which needs to be read slowly, written by a monk who is comfortable in his own skin.  It is not so much a work where you want to take notes and use it to teach.  It is more of a reflection on memories, literature, poetry, writings from the Desert Fathers and scripture.  I found the book to bring to mind my own memories, ideas and see God's fingerprints in my own life's journey so far.  It also made me realize that I need to  re-read some of the classic literature that I haven't looked at since it was required reading in high school and college.

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Currently, I am reading The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean Baptiste Chatard, OCSO written in 1946 but oh so applicable to today's life. I will write a review of than in a future blog post. What are you reading these days?