Tuesday, February 2, 2021

If there is a god - so what? Why bother to pray? If I decide to pray, how do I go about it? How do we pray together?

On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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Is there a god? If there is a god, what difference does that make? 


All the pioneers of modern science in the second half of the second millennium declared all that they observed in the universe manifests the qualities and character of a careful designer, the Creator. 
Richard Dawkins and the "new atheists" - some of whom have their own TV "science shows" - declare that science provides no evidence of god and that science has no need of a god or of such a "hypothesis". 

As one example, Neil deGrasse Tyson in his many appearances on Science "shows" on TV and YouTube points to the as yet unexplainable "mysteries" of science as the grounds for belief in God by some people. However, he doesn't seem to address the real science by real scientists who do find scientific grounds in their scientific observations and experiments for belief in a Creator God who is the "Intelligent Designer".

Watch this excellent lecture by scientist Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute to better understand how the worldwide scientific community developed over the centuries, turned away from God, and by more carefully following the science, is now coming back to the "God Hypothesis". CLICK THE LINK 

So what?  

Either the existence and significance of God is of interest, or it's not, and "He" isn't.

If it's "No!" 


If God doesn't exist; then the only choice I have is to live my life until I die and then it's all over, in which case I will have gained or lost nothing. However, if God does exist; then it would be wise to take interest and get to know a lot more about 
God so as to enter into a significant relationship with the Creator of the Universe 
before the end of my life. Otherwise, once my immortal soul or spirit leaves my body behind in death and I come "face to face" with God; it could be embarrassing. At the very least, I would not be able to claim having shown any interest whatsoever in the Creator of the Universe. 

If it's "Yes!"


If on the other hand I believe that God exists, or could exist; then it's like any other human experience. Before I "nail" the interview and get the job I seek, I may know something about that position, but clearly I have a lot more to learn. We learn primarily in two ways: from other people's knowledge and experience - taking courses, reading, studying, listening to live and video conferences and podcasts, and so on - and from our own experience. 

This also applies to our human relationships and "getting to know" someone. Initially, I may know "a little" about someone from conversations with others as well as from my initial observations. As I take interest in the other and spend more time with them; I get to learn a lot more about them from what they share with me, but also from continuing observation and personal experience. I learn a lot about others from what I think about them and from how I feel about them and when I am with them. Well, it is much the same with God. 

Relating to / with God


Just about every people, tribe, nation, and culture of humanity on Planet Earth has its own "religious paradigm" or religion or "experience of God". What they all have in common is that over time there stand out certain individuals who "have an experience" relating to "the divine" and they then try to express that experience in testimony, teaching, art, or writing. As certain "religious practices" arise in relation to "the divinity"; a new religion is born. 

About religions and gods

Depiction of Druid human sacrifices at Stonehenge

In all the "great" and "lesser" religions of humankind, the god or gods are all seen to have similar characteristics: they are "far above" humanity, they are "aloof" of human concerns, they are generally "disinterested" in being involved with human beings, if they show interest it is usually to enhance their own honor and worship, and at worst, they "lord it over" humanity with harsh demands of human sacrifice, that is, that live people should be put to death in their honour and as acts of worship. The motivating factor is universally to "appease the gods' wrath against humans" and to "obtain their favour" with regards to life, health, prosperity, protection from enemies and harsh climate, bountiful crops and children. Even in Islam, which claims to believe in only one God, and that this Allah is benevolent; nevertheless this religious tradition also teaches that their Allah is quick to punish and is "far removed" from humanity and can never be approached. No intimacy is possible with Allah.

Depiction of Mayan human sacrifices

God interferes in human history to "choose" the Jewish People


Unlike any other "religion", the faith of the Jewish People is based on the experience of God which their ancestors had and which every Jew, male and female, in every generation can verify in their own personal experience and relationship with the God of their ancestors. 

For the first time in human history, God - the Creator of the Universe - interferes in human history be choosing to "reveal Himself" to a concrete individual and to offer to enter into a "covenant" with him. Since this people were a patriarchal culture, it is primarily with men, with the patriarchs of their "tribe", that God chose to relate. In time God revealed to them the history of our human origins in the stories told about Adam and Eve and then Noah.


Book of Genesis: God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob
ca 1,850 B.C.


The initial religious history of humanity in relation to God the Creator tells a story about "gradually forgetting all about God", let alone having any significant relationship with God. After the time of Noah and his family's survival of the great flood, people forgot all about God; until He began to "reveal Himself" to Abram whose people lived in Ur of the Chaldees which was around 225 km southeast of where Baghdad is today, where Babylon once stood millennia ago, and about 16 km west of the present bed of the Euphrates River. This is the region which "origin stories" identified as the "original garden" in which humanity came to exist. Abram's people practiced human sacrifice in their tradition, and this was the man to whom God chose to "reveal Himself" and offer a covenant which would last "forever". This is the "story of the patriarchs" through the next 3 generations through Abram's sons Isaac and Ishmael and Isaac's son Jacob and his 12 sons who became the "12 tribes of Israel".

Book of Exodus: God of Moses: the "Torah / Law" ca 1,250 B.C.


Because of famine throughout the Middle East and by divine providence through the treachery of the sons of Jacob who sold their brother Joseph into slavery, all of Jacob's sons ended up taking their father and their whole family to Egypt. Unknown to them, their brother Joseph rose to prosperity as the Pharaoh's "right hand man" through the action of divine providence. In this way, God took care of his "Chosen People" who prospered in Egypt for generations until they became so numerous that after four centuries the new Pharaoh took fright at their growing numbers and began to oppress them. The people cried out to God and He sent them one of their own, Moses, to deliver them. God had to employ drastic and dramatic shows of power to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites, and Moses led them through the desert towards the "Promised Land" promised by God to Abraham as his heritage. While in the desert, God continued to "reveal Himself" to Moses and entrusted Moses with the "Law" or "Torah" enshrining God's Covenant with his People.

Time of the Judges, Prophets, and Kings ca 1,200 to 1 B.C.


Human nature being what it is, we are inclined to "want to go our own way". As a result, God's "Chosen People" 
generation after generationwere constantly turning away from God. Some of them continued to "cry out to God"; so He sent them judges to govern them and protect them from their enemies. In time He sent them prophets; then the people wanted to be governed by a king like all the other nations around them. In effect, the people didn't like being governed by "God Himself", but He granted their request and gave them a king. 


The first king given by God to his People was Saul, but he was too full of himself to obey God's will with care; so God rejected him. His successor 
David was the greatest King of Israel; son of Jesse and great grandson of Boaz and Ruth, the Moabitess widow who followed her mother-in-law the widow Ruth back to her home in Israel. David was "a man after the Lord's own heart" and the ancestor of Joseph, husband of Mary, Mother of Jesus. 


That was not the end of their troubles; on the contrary, the kings often behaved as "rivals" against God and his authority over his People. The time of the prophets continued simultaneously with that of the kings. As they again turned away from God, He allowed them to be taken into captivity in Babylon. After 70 years God raised up a benevolent emperor who allowed them to return to Israel and rebuild their Temple. Like other nations they were overrun by Alexander the Great, and his successors oppressed Israel. Then for a few centuries they had no prophet or king, and God was preparing them for the coming of the promised "Messiah".

God as revealed by Jesus of Nazareth also called "the Christ"


Uniquely though, God - the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - is a "divine being" and not a human being. This single divine being is not a solitary individual but an intimate communion or community of three divine persons. This means that in all that God says and does, all three divine Persons are involved, because "they" do everything together; each divine Person having its unique "place" and "role" within the Trinity. 


Whereas in the past, God "played hide and seek" with humanity: He "hid" and they had to "seek" Him. Now the Son of God became human and took on a genuine human life as a man, as the son of Mary, Myriam of Nazareth, daughter of Joachim and Anna. She was married to Joseph son of Jacob, and He helped Mary raise Jesus to manhood. Jesus lived an ordinary life as "son of the Carpenter Joseph" and a carpenter Himself. Then in his final 3 years on Earth, He preached and revealed much about God, whom He called "Papa", and his love for humanity. Then, consistenly with all of human history, the "good guy" Jesus was rejected, falsely accused and condemned, tortured, and executed. True to his prediction, He then rose from the dead and revealed God's plan to give us resurrection after we die. 


The life we have within us, containing all that we have ever said, thought, and done, will not be lost when we die. Our immortal soul "contains" all that we are - not unlike the "hard drive" on a pc - and when it is time, God will "raise up our mortal bodies to be like his own in glory", and we will be given to share in God's immortal 
community life and love. 

So, why would we not want to "relate" to God?


However much "progress" humanity may experience, it is up to each and every human being to appropriate for themselves the fullness of life. No one can "get it for us". The wisdom and experience of others cannot be "injected" into us. There is no shortcut "to God" or to wisdom and understanding. It is up to each of us to "make the journey" in spite of the pressures, temptations, and allurements which we face every day of our lives. We must each decide how 
important God is, and to invest our time and energy in making ourselves open and available to this mysterious "divine Being" who is the Creator of the Universe. 


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On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.
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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC 
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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Bill of Rights for Church Workers

On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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 PDF file     


A Bill of Rights for Church Workers

(Taken from a city hospice-training program)

1.       Coworkers – Workers have the right to be treated fairly as coworkers, to know as much about the Church and its policies and procedures as possible.

2.      Dignity and Respect – Workers have the right to an orderly, designated place conducive to work and the worth of the job to be done; regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religions or physical ability.

3.       Suitable Assignments – Workers have the right to suitable assignments that take into consideration personal preference, temperament, life experience, education, and employment background, and with a proper job description.

4.      Training – Workers have the right to training for the job as well as the right to continuing education, even at times during work hours.

5.      Guidance and Feedback – Workers have the right to sound guidance, direction, and feedback on their performance, with regular performance reviews.

6.      Variety of Assignments – Workers have the right to a variety of experiences through advancements to assignments with more responsibility, and through the transfer from one activity to another; with reference to performance.

7.      Free Speech – Workers have the right to be heard, to feel free to make suggestions, to have respect shown for an honest opinion, and to have a part in planning.

8.      Recognition – Workers have the right to recognition in the form of promotion, awards, and day-to-day expressions of appreciation.

          “Some may protest that it is a legal misnomer to use the word “right” to describe the claims of workers.  No church authority has granted these rights to parishioners.  There are no sanctions if these so-called rights are curtailed or infringed.  But I think they deserve to be called rights.  Why?  Because these statements describe what a Christian community owes its workers.  If a parish is to be faithful to what the Church teaches about human dignity, and faithful to St. Paul’s doctrine of the many members and the one body; then every parish worker should claim these rights.  

          Ultimately, however, it is not a question of workers demanding concessions from the parish.  Nor is it a question of the church owing something to workers (members).  All of us are the church.  We should freely give to one another the courtesy, respect, support, honesty, opportunity, freedom, and appreciation that we want for ourselves.  When we acknowledge the rights of workers, we empower ourselves and build up a fuller communion.”

Adapted Nov. 7, 2001 from the piece on Volunteers by Bridget Lynch Fischer, in “Today’s Parish”, Sept. 2001, pgs. 16-19.

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On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Bill of Rights for Church Volunteers

On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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 PDF file     


A Bill of Rights for Church Volunteers

(Taken from a city hospice-training program)

1.       Coworkers – Volunteers have the right to be treated fairly as coworkers, to know as much about the Church and its policies and procedures as possible.

2.       Dignity and Respect – Workers have the right to an orderly, designated place conducive to work and the worth of the job to be done; regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religions or physical ability. 

3.      Suitable Assignments – Volunteers have the right to suitable assignments that take into consideration personal preference, temperament, life experience, education, and employment background, and with a proper job description.

4.      Training – Volunteers have the right to training for the job as well as the right to continuing education.

5.      Guidance and Feedback – Volunteers have the right to sound guidance, direction, and feedback on their performance, with regular performance reviews.

6.      Variety of Assignments – Volunteers have the right to a variety of experiences through advancements to assignments with more responsibility, and through the transfer from one activity to another; with reference to performance.

7.      Free Speech – Volunteers have the right to be heard, to feel free to make suggestions, to have respect shown for an honest opinion, and to have a part in planning.

8.      Recognition – Volunteers have the right to recognition in the form of promotion, awards, and day-to-day expressions of appreciation.

          “Some may protest that it is a legal misnomer to use the word “right” to describe the claims of volunteers.  No church authority has granted these rights to parishioners.  There are no sanctions if these so-called rights are curtailed or infringed.  But I think they deserve to be called rights.  Why?  Because these statements describe what a Christian community owes its volunteers.  If a parish is to be faithful to what the Church teaches about human dignity, and faithful to St. Paul’s doctrine of the many members and the one body; then every parish volunteer should claim these rights.

          Ultimately, however, it is not a question of volunteers demanding concessions from the parish.  Nor is it a question of the church owing something to volunteer parishioners.  All of us are the church.  We should freely give to one another the courtesy, respect, support, honesty, opportunity, freedom, and appreciation that we want for ourselves.  When we acknowledge the rights of volunteers, we empower ourselves and build up a fuller communion.”       

Taken Nov. 6, 2001 from the piece By Bridget Lynch Fischer, in “Today’s Parish”, September 2001, pages 16-19.

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On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

PARENTING - Affective & Sexuality Formation, Couple & Parent Daily Devotions, Introducing children to Jesus, Rules of Life, Teen Speak, Training of Children

On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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10 Practical Ways to Introduce a Child to Jesus – 140729

Asseoir son autorité sans fessée – 181130

Couple & Parent Devotion Ideas EXCEL – PDF – 201117

Couple & Parent Devotion Moments EXCEL – PDF – 201117


1. Job, 2. Education: Why Your Teenager Needs a Job – 170511

Harry Potter? What Does God Have to Say? – 2000

L’intimidation: fléau à combattre tous ensemble – OCVF – 2013

Little Kids Horarium – Excel – 190218



Parent Management Strategies at Home – 140810

Parents - éducation affective et sexuelle de vos enfants – 170424

Parents Form Hearts Minds of Children - Love & Example – 180803

Parents, Children, Rules of Life By Rev. C Burke (1980) – 170225


Parents, will your children be happy? Formation of conscience – 2015

Positive Talk with Teens - “13 Reasons Why” on suicide – 170511

Reinventing Dad. By Dennis Helming (1995) – Scepter – 170225

Resilience – 10 Ways to Increase Your Child’s – 170511

Safeguarding children online – Fr H Zollner & LINKS – 200624

Secrets for Student Success – Family – 140810

Sharing the Faith with Your Teens – 151124


Spiritual Development & Religious Education - Early Years – 180628

Study after study - kids do best with married parents – 151029

Teach Your Child to Love God – 151222

Teen Speak: Have Important Chats with Teenagers – 170511


 “Training of Children” – 3 Positive parenting tips - Fulton Sheen
 piece by Fr. Michael Rennier – Aleteia dot org – 170806

The Transformative Power of Fatherhood – 140614 


Why RC's leave faith by 10 – What Parents Can Do – 160913

World Meeting Families 2015 – Lesson Plans Pre-K to 8 – 140917

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On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

FAMILY - Blessing, Conscience, Forgiveness, Immortal Soul, Mass, New Age

On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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A School of Forgiveness - by the KofC - May 23, 2020 

Blessing of a House - June 22, 2019 

Blessing of a New HomeJune 22, 2019 

Conscience - Where Does It Come From? - June 17, 2017 

An Immortal Soul Separates Man from Animals - March 23, 2017 

New Age - A Christian Reflection - September 18, 2013 

Reflection before Sunday Mass - December 3, 2018 

"Training of Children" by Archbishop Fulton Sheen
He spoke in a different time to a different audience. Though society has changed;
human nature and the deep character of children have not changed.
That is why this short talk continues to be very relevant today.
If these links no longer work, search for "Training of Children"

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3  

What Happens during Holy Mass? Life? - September 9, 2018 

Why God Made Families - November 7, 2014 


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On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

FAMILY LIFE - children, development, culture war, digital age, family life, handicaps, home liturgy, the Lord's Day, love, media, sabbath, world peace

On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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A child gives life to love and love to life – COLF – 2000

AMother’s Story of Down Syndrome – 160322

At Home: Celebrating the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life – 200324

Avoirdes sœurs aide à devenir une meilleure personne – 180316

Building Catholic Character: 5 Things Parents Can Do – 120418

Catholic Q & A – Info on R.C. doctrines – 100209

Eachchild needs a mother and father united in marital love – 170608

ChildrenLearn What They Live – 111230

Comelet us pray! A Prayerful Home – A Prayerful Life – COLF – 2001

Confession Preparation – Fr. Thomas Dowd Montreal 2003 – 170304

Confession Se Préparer – Abbé Thomas Dowd Montreal 2003 – 170304

Confronting the New Age – in The Bread of Life – May / June 2008

The dark side of living ‘childfree’ – 150625

Delegate even if it takes more time – 160923

Developmental Stages from 0 to 20 – 141125

Discerning Fruits of the Digital Age VS Face-to-Face – KofC – 140301

Early Catholic Family Life 0 to 5 – Forming Family Faith – 170806

L’Évangile de la vie quotidienne – OCVF – 121002

Exorcist says a demon targets the family – 160924 

FAMILIES

Christ calls us to sow joy and hope! – COLF – 2014

Did you know? Love is calling your children – COLF – 2011

Let’s Build a Better World Together! – COLF – 2009

Messengers of the Compassionate Love of Christ – COLF – 2003

Where are the saints of the third millennium? – COLF – 2007

Source of joy and hope! Unwrap your gifts… – COLF – 1998

Choose Life: Choose Jesus Christ (New Age) – COLF – 2013

Family Life – Living It Together – 150220

Handicaps, Children, Family, Matrimony, Vocation – 160924

Human & Personal Development – 181030

The Lord’s Day of Rest for a Young Catholic Family – 150223

The Lord’s Day – Rest, Work, & Hospitality – 141126

Love must be core of family life – Pope Francis – 170330

Mai 2011! Le mois de la famille! – Paroisse – 110413

Mai 2011! Le mois de la famille! – Famille – 110413

Maternal Fetal Attachment – Bioethics – 140124

The Media: A Fascinating Challenge for the Family – 161019

The Next Culture War (to rebuild society) – 150630

Public Crisis – Doing Our Best Is a Good Start – 181028

Reflection before Participating in Sunday Mass – 181203

Sabbath – The Liberating Gift – 141126

Sabbath Resources – 141125

Serving the Divorced and Remarried Well – 161016

What happens during Mass & life in parallel? – 190130

Why God Made Families – poem – 141107

World Peace: a family recipe! – COLF – 2005

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On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to humanity the Good News of the Father's love manifested and given in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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If there is a god - so what? Why bother to pray? If I decide to pray, how do I go about it? How do we pray together?

On these Blogger pages we explore TOPICS in our desire to respond to Jesus' call to walk with Him in our world as his missionary discipl...