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From the category archives: Columns

Kathleen Giffin

Family's struggle a reminder of call to hope

Kathleen Giffin
May 2, 2016
Ascension
May 8, 2016

These last days I have spent a lot of my time thinking about and praying for a young family in our parish who are in great difficulty and uncertainty. Two weeks ago the father of two young children was in an accident which has resulted in a coma that is expected to continue for some time. While many signs point to a good recovery, there is also uncertainty and suffering, especially for his wife as she stays with him, day after day, praying for his healing.

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Receiving God's mercy, we pass it to others

Kathleen Giffin
March 21, 2016
Divine Mercy Sunday
April 3, 2016

The Second Sunday of Easter is a special day for all Catholics; in this Jubilee Year of Mercy we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. We have not long had this feast on our Church calendar; in 2000, our most recent year of jubilee, Pope John Paul II proclaimed this to be Divine Mercy Sunday. This jubilee year, it carries a greater significance for we celebrate it in the midst of a year set apart for us to reflect deeply on God's call to mercy and for us to become signs of mercy to the world.

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Jesus is the gardener of our souls

Kathleen Giffin
February 22, 2016
Sunday
February 28, 2016

The rhubarb patch in my garden began as a transplant from the one at my previous house; I dug up a piece when I moved and got it started in a part of the yard where I thought it would do well. Rhubarb can be slow to get established, so I was patient the first couple of years, knowing it needed time to spread and strengthen. But then I began to notice it simply wasn't doing what I had expected.

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Anxiety rampant due to society's confusion

Kathleen Giffin
January 11, 2016
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 24, 2016

We live in interesting and difficult times. I spoke to a young man today who told me how life is harder for young people now because things are more "open"; the imperative to find one's own truth, to determine one's own course and meaning in life has been broadened to include all possibilities. The result is bewilderment and anxiety in the face of infinite choices and parameters. Truth has been declared relative, biological sex has been declared irrelevant, ultimate meaning is denied and the power to define has been conferred upon the individual. No wonder anxiety is rampant.

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Fresh eyes needed to see age-old truths

Kathleen Giffin
December 7, 2015
Third Sunday in Advent
December 13, 2015

I live in a remarkably beautiful part of the world; every day I see spectacular Rocky Mountains, peaks with glistening snow caps. Often I catch sight of nature that people come from all over the world hoping to see: grizzly bears, caribou, bighorn sheep and moose.

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Simplicity clears the path to forgiveness

Kathleen Giffin
October 26, 2015
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 8, 2015

Richard Rohr tells the story of meeting a group of women in a refugee camp in Guatemala in the early 1980's. They had been displaced from their homes in El Salvador as a result of the civil war, and all had lost family members, mostly husbands and sons. He recounted their weekly practice of walking and praying the Stations of the Cross that they had created in the camp.

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Marriage demands a mother release her son

Kathleen Giffin
September 28, 2015
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 4, 2015

Thirty years ago when I married, I don't think I considered that I was not only taking on a new role as a wife, I was also taking on the role of being a daughter-in-law. In our culture, jokes about mother-in-laws abound: They are caricatured as being interfering, snoopy, critical and demanding.

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Keep the poor ever in your heart and actions

Kathleen Giffin
August 17, 2015
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 30, 2015

I recently heard of a practice that has purportedly risen in Naples in response to the poor in their midst. People will buy a coffee or sandwich in the shops and pay for an extra one "pending." The people on the street know they can go to certain shops and ask if there are any coffees or lunches pending. If someone has paid ahead for one, they get what they need. It is a lovely idea.

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Demands to serve come at awkward times

Kathleen Giffin
July 13, 2015
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 19, 2015

My life is busy, too busy perhaps. So it was a welcome rest to have the opportunity last month to go on a train trip with my husband to a quiet place for a few days. It was about as leisurely and relaxed as a holiday can be; extra time for prayer, for walks, for rest and reconnection. On our way home on the train, sitting in our seats reading, a young man approached and asked my husband if he was a pastor, as he saw that Gary was reading a small book that looked like a Bible.

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We plant seeds and God makes them grow

Kathleen Giffin
June 1, 2015
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2015

We planted some seeds in the garden a few days ago, my granddaughter and I. She carefully laid the pea seeds one after another in a row all by herself. Together we scattered the tiny carrot and lettuce seeds. She has been over to the vegetable patch a few times since then to check on their progress; the spinach peeked through yesterday but still no sign of the peas, which of course she is most interested in.

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