In the know with Father Joe

I feel so distracted at Mass

Dear Father Joe: Sometimes, there are so many distractions at Mass that I can’t concentrate. It’s really frustrating – what can I do?

I love this question because I assure you, that as I am the poster child for ADD, I may be able to offer some help here. Let’s get to it.

First, I want to look at the idea of distractions as normal. After that, I’m going to look at some of the common reasons we are distracted and offer some advice as to how to deal with them.

When we see design, we assume a designer

Q: Some of my Protestant friends insist the Genesis account is to be taken literally – the Adam and Eve story is a factual account and evolution is a fairy tale. There seems to be a lot of scientific evidence for evolution – do I have to disavow that?

Thanks for sending in this question – it’s a good opportunity for us to take a look at how Catholics read Scripture and what we understand about creation.

Why is it still Easter?

Dear Father Joe – I’ve never understood why it’s June and we’re still celebrating Easter at church. Why isn’t Easter over at the end of Easter Sunday?

I think if we take a few minutes to really look at Easter, we’ll understand why it encompasses a whole season in the Church, not just a day. At Easter, we look not just at what Jesus did for us in the resurrection, but also what he did to us.

Should we baptize our grandchildren in the kitchen sink?

Dear Fr. Joe: My wife wants to baptize our grandkids in the kitchen sink. I think we should not interfere with our children’s parenting. What do we do?

Greetings in Christ! I’m glad you asked this question – in every parish I’ve been assigned to, I’ve run into this. It seems to be something many people are really struggling with.

I’d like to walk us through some of the teachings of the Church on baptism in order to help you.

What does it really mean to be blessed?

Dear Father Joe:

After a disaster, I hear people who were saved talking about how they were ‘blessed.’ Does that mean the people who died were not? Should we be using that word that way?

This is a tough question, because the answer more or less depends on the person's intent when they say it. Let me share with you an incorrect way to use the word “blessed” and then an understanding of it.

Apologetics or Apologizing?

Dear Fr. Joe: Whenever I hear people talking about apologetics, I get confused. It sounds like apologizing, and I don’t think we need to apologize for our faith! What am I misunderstanding?

First, let’s define apologetics. It’s a tougher thing to do than you would think, because the word is flexible enough to be used in a few ways.

These days, when we say we are apologizing, what we are usually doing is asking someone’s forgiveness in an informal way: “I apologize for laughing when your team fumbled and my team scored.”

How can I invite my family and friends back to church?

What a great question – it can be such a difficult thing to invite someone into practicing the faith without coming across as self-righteous or as somehow a bit “off.” A big part of the process of bringing someone back is to start with the recognition of a couple of points.

First, remember that what you are desiring is holy; it’s good. Sometimes, what we desire isn’t so good, isn’t so holy. You have in your heart a hunger to bring someone back into a communal practice of the faith and that is a blessing. You desire something good.

Why is there so much violence in the world?

I write this article with a heavy heart.

We live in violent times. Some will say that things have always been this violent, and that may or may not be true. What is objectively true is that we’ve never been able to observe and process the present violence in the way we can now. Social media have, for better or worse, revealed our interconnectedness in a way that has never been possible before.

If you are like me, each event of great violence prompts feelings of sadness, fear and powerlessness.

Sadness, because people were killed.

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