If you liked Aunt Gene’s 1955 Chevy, you’ll love her parish church!

sjgio

Photos from the St. John of God Church Golden Jubilee Magazine
1957 – Chicago, Illinois

by Doug Lawrence

In a recent post, I mentioned my Aunt Genevieve, the 1955 Chevy Bel Air that she won in the church raffle, and my feelings about Pope Francis. Today, I want to share with you some details about Aunt Gene’s extraordinary parish church.

Chicago’s St. John of God Church was richly and beautiful constructed in order to suitably host the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God – and to truly inspire the faithful (predominantly Polish Stock Yard workers, at that time) to lift their hearts and minds to God. (How’s that for a novel idea?) I was baptized there, in 1953.

The proverbial “little slice of Heaven on Earth”, it became immediately clear to all who entered that this was no ordinary venue. Of course, “they” don’t build beautiful churches like this anymore – nor does St. John of God Church exist anymore – except for the bell towers, which were salvaged and incorporated into the newly constructed St. Raphael the Archangel Church, located about 50 miles northwest of the city.

Built in 1907, St. John of God Church stood for slightly more than a century before it was demolished – a victim of changing neighborhood dynamics. This short video provides a look at the magnificent interior furnishing and design elements. The church was a real “jewel”!

This thirty-one second video shows the demolition site, which sadly, looks like a “war zone”.  Today, due to rampant and largely uncontrolled street gang activity, it IS a war zone! 

St. John of God Church to me, seems like a metaphor for the post-Vatican II era. Once upon a time, we Catholics had beautiful churches, close-knit communities and firm, universally accepted beliefs and practices, in accord with almost 2,000 years of sacred and apostolic Tradition and nearly two millennia of the finest theology, philosophy and scholarship the world had ever known.

Catholics around the globe shared a common faith, a common language and a common liturgy – which was, at the time, a most uncommon thing! There was a certainty which accompanied our Catholic faith that was at once, both reassuring and challenging. Things weren’t perfect, but they were very good!

Then – everything changed – and for no particularly good reason!

Now, many of our churches look more like gymnasiums; belief in the Real Presence is waning; it’s tough to get a straight answer about matters of faith from our priests and bishops; Catholic schools and universities tend to be Catholic in name only; we’ve squandered more than two billion dollars paying for the misdeeds of scores of wayward clerics; Catholic religious orders are no longer willing to follow orders; a caricature of The Simpson’s,”Crusty the Clown” runs the U.S. Bishop’s Conference (USCCB); our new pope often sounds more like a certain Chicago politician (POTUS) than the Vicar of Christ; and things in general, seem to be crumbling to dust, before our very eyes!

But to close this essay on a high note, watch the four-minute video about the new St. Raphael the Archangel Church, located in Antioch, Illinois, which is an amazing resurrection story, in itself! (Video link 4:41) 

With God, all things are possible!

SketchFull

Sketch of the new St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church
in Antioch, Illinois which incorporates the bell towers from
Saint John of God Catholic Church, formerly located in Chicago, IL
and more…

Sacred Heart, Holy Eucharist, Miracle and Mystery … all Jesus … all the time.

Christ our Lord is really, truly, substantially and sacramentally present in the Eucharist. This Presence is confirmed in a most astonishing way in those Eucharistic miracles where the Host and/or Precious Blood physically and visibly change shape so as to become (in sensible form) flesh and blood.

A question arises, however: Since, in some of these Eucharistic miracles, the Host changes into heart tissue, are we right to say that the Sacred Host is the flesh of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
Read about the Eucharist and the Miracle of Lanciano

The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying:
How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (John 6:52)

Andy P/Doria2’s Final Lenten Catechesis Installment

Mt 26:26ff (Mk 14:22ff., Lk 22:17ff.) – Eucharist instituted – Look them up.

Mt 16:5-12 – Jesus talking symbolically about food – 5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Jn 1:29 – Jesus called “Lamb of God”- 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Jn 4:31-34 – Jesus talking symbolically about food – 31 Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.

Jn 6:35-71 – Eucharist promised – 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um. 60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.

1 Cor 5:7 – Jesus called “paschal lamb who has been sacrificed – 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.

1Cor 10:16 – Eucharist = participation in Christ’s body & blood – 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

1 Cor 11:23-29 – receiving unworthily his body & blood – 23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

Could St. Paul have said this any clearer than he did here? Where did he say the “symbolic” sharing or the “symbolic” partaking? This verse is absolutely to the point, and there is not a hint of symbolism anywhere. Did you notice the BLESSING THAT WE BLESS, and the BREAD THAT WE BREAK? Here, Saint Paul clearly stated that he and the other Apostles have the authority and the power (Acts 1:8,2:2-4) to call down “THE WORD” with their word, and the cup (of wine) is no longer wine, but the Blood of Christ, and the bread is no longer bread, but the Body of Christ.

All of the above, along with the constant testimony of the Catholic Church, from the earliest days,  proves that actually consuming our Lord’s Body and Blood is literally and precisely what He meant. No where does scripture indicate this is merely symbolic.

A Brief History of Devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this I seek:
To dwell in the House of the Lord
all the days of my life…
to gaze on the Lord’s beauty”
  (Psalm 27)

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an ancient practice and is the logical result of faith in the Real Presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.  Yet, it is believed this devotional ceremony of giving Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was not observed during the early ages of Christianity for fear of profanity and persecution.  Historical evidence, however, shows that even during this early period, in times of great difficulty and serious trials, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on private altars for the veneration of the faithful so that they might obtain peace, light, consolation and strength.

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Submitted by Doria2

Faith and reason vs. emotions and feelings

by Doug Lawrence

After answering literally thousands of questions about the Catholic faith, on-line and via email, at least one thing has become perfectly clear to me: Religious belief is based on both emotion (feelings) and intellect (reason) … but emotion trumps intellect, just about every time.

A case in point:

A non-Catholic reader asked: Why do Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, when the scriptures are clear that Holy Communion is nothing more than a symbolic commemoration?

I responded with a dozen Old Testament and New Testament Bible verses, some of them quoting none other than Jesus Christ, proving that scripture not only anticipates the Real Presence, but proves beyond a doubt that Jesus and the Holy Eucharist is the divine New Testament fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies.

I followed that up with numerous citations from the writings of the early church fathers, all of whom are in unanimous agreement that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

I mentioned the decrees of various church councils, the practices and beliefs of all the various Orthodox churches, and the fact that until the 15th century, every Christian on earth believed in the Real Presence.

Then I dealt with the various scientific and metaphysical aspects of the issue, followed by a definition of the word “sacrament”, along with some good examples of the most well known Eucharistic miracles.

Next, I explained the purpose and order of the Mass, and the central role of Jesus Christ and the Holy Eucharist in the everyday life of the world-wide church.

Finally, I pointed to the unanimity and consistency of belief, over a span of some 2000 years, on the Catholic side, vs. the many, varying, and often widely diverging opinions of the Protestant reformers.

Having responded in a clear, well organized, thorough, historical, theological, scholarly, polite, sensitive, charitable and forthright Christian manner, I clicked “send”.

A few days passed, and a reply to my original email had indeed arrived. It read:

Why do Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, when the scriptures are clear that Holy Communion is nothing more than a symbolic commemoration?

Since I could clearly see the full text of my earlier response incorporated into this email reply, I assumed that the reader had also seen it.

Once again,  I responded … but this time, on a more emotional level:

Catholics understand, based on all available evidence, that anyone who refuses to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist is almost certainly destined to spend an eternity in hell. Thanks for writing!

The True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

The Council of Trent…
Convened on December 4, 1545 and closed on December 4, 1563.

About 25 years after the Protestant reformation, the Catholic Church convened the Council of Trent as a counter to the reformation, and for the refutation of the heresies created by it. Here are the decrees of this council regarding the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist…

The Thirteenth Session: Decreed on March 8, 1547.
ON THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST…
CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema*.

* Anathema means, accursed, (let him be) cursed, excluded from the Kingdom of GOD, banned, or excommunicated. The phrase “Let him be Anathema”, is used many times in Church Council decrees, and in so doing, makes that statement in which it is contained an “Infallible Statement”.
See 1Chron 2:7, Judith 16:23, Isa 65:20, Rom 9:3, 1Cor 12:3,16:22, and especially Gal 1:8-9.

CANON II.-If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one denieth, that, in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that, after the consecration is completed, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not in the admirable sacrament of the Eucharist, but (are there) only during the use, whilst it is being taken, and not either before or after; and that, in the hosts, or consecrated particles, which are reserved or which remain after communion, the true Body of the Lord remaineth not; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, either that the principal fruit of the most holy Eucharist is the remission of sins, or, that other effects do not result therefrom; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that, in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is not to be adored with the worship, even external of latria; and is, consequently, neither to be venerated with a special festive solemnity, nor to be solemnly borne about in processions, according to the laudable and universal rite and custom of holy church; or, is not to be proposed publicly to the people to be adored, and that the adorers thereof are idolators; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that it is not lawful for the sacred Eucharist to be reserved in the sacrarium, but that, immediately after consecration, it must necessarily be distributed amongst those present; or, that it is not lawful that it be carried with honour to the sick; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that Christ, given in the Eucharist, is eaten spiritually only, and not also sacramentally and really; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one denieth, that all and each of Christ’s faithful of both sexes are bound, when they have attained to years of discretion, to communicate every year, at least at Easter, in accordance with the precept of holy Mother Church; let him be anathema.

CANON X.-If any one saith, that it is not lawful for the celebrating priest to communicate himself; let him be anathema.

CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burthened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.

Read more at The Catholic Treasure Chest

Former Protestant writes about how and why he became Catholic

When I got into R.C.I.A., I then realized what had been calling me to the Catholic Church ever since I was a little boy; John 1:14 “…and the Word became Flesh and made His Dwelling among us…”. The Eucharist; the TRUE Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It was not just ‘communion’, it was not just bread, or a cracker, or a wafer and wine, it was the TRUE BODY of Jesus and it was and IS the TRUE BLOOD of Jesus!

This knowledge transformed my life, my ways of thinking, living and what I was going to do in the future. I often tell people, I fell in love with my Catholic Faith so much that I wound up marrying my R.C.I.A. instructor! I came into Full Communion with the Church on Holy Saturday, April 19, 2003, and for the next several years I had prayed that God would send me a Beautiful Woman, a Holy woman, a Spiritual Woman; a woman I could continue to grow and learn my Faith from. I thought the Lord was going to have to let me marry a Nun! He gave me my beautiful Bride, Donna L. (Grant) Lane, and we were wed in St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Church on May 27, 2006.

Jesus said, in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…”, and the Church has given me the Vision of how Jesus has and continues to make a Way out of no way for me in my life; how Jesus has shown me Truth in His Church and in my own personal life; How Jesus gives us eternal life, if we continue to do His Will and Follow His Church; He gives us the ‘fullness of the means of Salvation’ within His Church. The Eucharist! The Body of Jesus; the Blood of Jesus; the Soul of Jesus; the UNENDING Divinity of Jesus is all contained within the Eucharist! Why am I Catholic? I will give you one guess; it starts with an E and ends with a T!

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