Prayer Life

"I'm not Catholic Enough."

This was a core belief of mine for a long time.

I'd sit in church and look around me, and allow myself to be intimidated by those who seemed to know every nook and cranny of the catechism, every mystery of the rosary, and exactly where all the holy days of obligation landed on the calendar.

Not being "Catholic Enough" was quite a heavy chip on my shoulder. I felt I couldn't volunteer as a lector or teach a Sunday school class.

Four years ago when we were faced with the decision as to if we were going to take on as our own baby, this belief caused me to be scared of my customers.

Some well-intentioned woman would call in and very heatedly describe to me exactly how we were pushing satanic rosaries on our customers (we weren't). My immediate reaction was to take down whatever the offending product de jour was and lose a night of sleep worrying about how much I didn't know.

All of this insecurity and fear had backed me into a reactionary mode. The worst part was that I was completely cut off from reaching out to God to build a stronger relationship with Him.

So what did I do? I took a plunge into re-catechizing myself starting with the adult education classes offered at my parish. And on the first night, I stepped into class, looked around, and thought to myself "These are the Catholic-est of the Catholics. I'm the dumbest one in the room."

I swallowed my pride and asked every question that came into my head - no matter how stupid I thought the question. I needed the answers. I couldn't live in fear of the phone ringing and be unable to answer questions about why there are differences in pyx.

And you know what, some of my questions were dumb, but they led to further discussion and opened up doors and windows to topics I didn't even know I had questions about.

Do I know it all now? Oh heck no. And I never will - but I'm comfortable with that now. What I discovered is that the Catholic-est of the Catholics don't know everything either, and even better than that, they are warm, loving, beautiful people that are doing the same thing as me: reaching for heaven.

The feeling of not being "Catholic Enough" has nothing to do with the people who surround you in the pews. It's a level of confidence issue - an inability to articulate exactly why you believe what you believe.

If your parish doesn't have adult education, or you just want to get started NOW on boosting your Catholic Confidence, we can help you with that.

Step 1: Confession - because GRACE!! The grace you receive from confession will help you leaps and bounds in your faith journey.

Step 2: How can you still be Catholic? - This book addresses many of the social issues the Church is criticized for. I admit that I'm not 100% in lock-step with the Church on many issues, but I usually find that those are the areas where I'm not well educated on the Church's true teachings of the topic. This book can help start you down the path of understanding.

Step 3: Pick a devotion or new method of prayer and stick with it for a month. May I suggest a Marian consecration or learning about the Divine Mercy? Both are life-changing.

Confession - Its Fruitful Practice walks you through making a good confession and WHY. This very thorough but small book

How can you still be Catholic? Cradle Catholic Christopher Sparks takes the question head on, addressing an array of controversial issues and offering the same answer given by St. Peter 2,000 years ago: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life"

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Have you ever thought about your spiritual goals?

If you’re anything like me, you may have physical fitness goals, retirement goals, project goals… so many more goals.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you and I probably have the same Ultimate Goal: Get to Heaven. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.)

And, if you’re still a little like me, you may not ever thought of having a spiritual goal you wanted to work on… something you can attain in the next 30-90 days or so.

Why not? We’re taught goal-setting at work and at the gym and at school.

I think part of the issue is that it’s so easy NOT to think about. You don’t see your spiritual condition hanging over the top your jeans when you look in the mirror, it’s not there when you check your bank balance.

It’s deeply personal and easy to hide – even from yourself.

But really, have you ever paused to thing about setting a spiritual goal for yourself and what that would entail?

What is it that I would want to accomplish? Here’s the first 3 things that come to mind for my personal goals:

  1. Better Prayer Habits
  2. Make confession a regular habit, not just Christmas and Easter
  3. Attend Daily Mass at least once per week

In the coming weeks, our blog posts will be dedicated to sussing out the best spiritual goals, and making progress towards achieving them.


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100 years later, we can still learn from Our Lady of Fatima

The miracle that took place almost 100 years ago was the largest miracle since biblical times. Over 70,000 people witnessed the sun dancing. Newspapers – even anti-Catholic ones – reported on the event.

With that in mind, we have 3 challenges for you:

1. Learn the Rosary

Our Lady emphasized the importance of the rosary. I didn’t take up the practice until about a year ago.

If you fall into the camp of Catholics who don’t pray the rosary because it seems boring or unfruitful, try it again.

Just try it. Even a decade at a time while you’re stuck in traffic or taking a shower. Continue reading Our Fatima Challenge: 100 Years Later, Her Message is Still Relevant!

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Can we take a minute to talk about crucifixes and why Catholics use them so much more often than empty crosses?

A crucifix hanging on a living room wall immediately informs visitors that this is a CATHOLIC house. Why is that so important? What’s the big difference?

“He is risen! Get over it!”

“Why do you Catholics revel in Jesus being on the cross? It’s so negative.”

Do we? Do we really revel in it? Continue reading Why do you Catholics revel in Jesus being on the cross?

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They plague me all day, every day. They seep into my morning prayers, they delay progress on my to-do lists, and even steal time away from my family.

I’m convinced the proverbial good intentions that pave the road to hell are a product of distractions. Distractions are harmful. They take us away from bettering our prayer, family and work lives.

Sometimes distractions get so bad I’m distracted from doing something I love (like gardening) by something I really don’t enjoy (like washing dishes). It’s almost as if my brain just wants me to do whatever I’m NOT supposed to be doing at the time, just to be contrarian. Continue reading 5 Ways to Reduce Distraction in Prayer and Everyday Life

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Father’s Day is a time to remember the special bond shared between a father and his family. It should be a day of reflection and thanks.

Father’s Day also provides families with an opportunity to grow closer together in their faith. We’ve compiled a list of gifts to honor dad and continue to grow the special bond of faith shared between a father and his family.

Faith-Building Gifts for Dad

patron saint booklet

A patron saint booklet is an excellent and personal gift for dad this Father’s Day. Consider gifting him one on the saint he chose as his confirmation name.

This Father’s Day, consider getting your father something that deepens his devotion to his faith. Religious gifts for dad are the perfect way for you to show your love for your father, as well as to provide an opportunity for the two of you to pray and reflect together.

A rosary makes for a special gift for reflection. Gifting a rosary to your dad this Father’s Day is a gesture that can help you strengthen your bond united by your faith by praying together.

The Father’s Manual Book includes prayers, thoughts and reflections for fathers and even soon-to-be dads. This guide is dedicated to encouraging heartfelt contemplation through the eyes of a father.

A token or keychain is something that Dad will see every day. They are a small, portable and simple symbol of your love for your father. He’ll think of you every time he sees it. 

Give your dad a gift with special significance this year. A Patron Saint Booklet offers short biographies and prayers dedicated to saints.

Father’s Day is the perfect time to learn more about St. Joseph, the patron saint of fathers. Show your love for your father by helping him to grow closer to St. Joseph. Consider giving your father a guide on the saint matching his confirmation name for a truly personal and unforgettable gift.

Necklaces and Pendants for Dad

Trinity Crucifix pendant

A Trinity Crucifix pendant is a subtle and touching reminder of the Father’s role in the trinity.

A Catholic necklace is a great gift idea and one that allows your father to visibly show his devotion to his faith. Pendants can be simple or elegant, from a humble depiction of the crucifix to a detailed interpretation of Jesus Christ. Your father will always think of you when he wears it.

Giving your father a necklace or pendant of Christ is a simple way to show your love and appreciation for your father, as well as acknowledge his devotion. Pendants and necklaces often make excellent confirmation gifts. If your father gave you a special pendant on your confirmation day, why not get one for him this Father’s Day?

Pendants and necklaces can also be worn year-round, and are something that can be enjoyed and appreciated well beyond Father’s Day.

Give Dad the Gift of Scripture


If you give your father a Bible this Father’s Day, spend some time together reading and reflecting. Bibles can be personalized with heartfelt messages to show your appreciation for Dad.

A personalized Catholic Bible makes for an excellent and thoughtful Father’s Day gift. Having the Bible personalized with your Father’s name and a special, loving message will add to the heartfelt value and sentimentality of your gift.

For a truly memorable Father’s Day, read a passage together for a moment of quiet reflection. Whenever your father reads from his Bible, he will not only think of you but also reflect on the special bond you share together through your Catholic faith.

Spend Time with Dad this Father’s Day

The most important gift you can give Dad this Father’s Day is to express your love, appreciation and thanks for all that he has provided for you. Attend mass together on Father’s Day, or spend a relaxing afternoon together, reflecting and praying.

Father’s Day is an opportunity for you to grow closer to your father, count your blessings and grow in your faith. Take advantage of this opportunity by connecting with Dad and strengthening your bond by spending time together.

Final Thoughts

Demonstrate your love for your father by giving him a gift that strengthens his Christian faith. Rosaries and prayer books make for excellent small, practical gift options, while pendants and necklaces offer an attractive, thoughtful gift that Dad can wear all year long. Express your love for your father through a special message in a personalized Bible.

No matter what you give your father, tell him how much he means to you. Allow Father’s Day to be a day of prayer and thanksgiving for the blessings your father has provided. 

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Many people are veering toward meditative prayer to seek deeper meaning and grow closer to God. Rather than relying on the old tradition of simply reciting prayers, meditating on scripture has become increasingly popular.

Christian meditation is different from the meditation many are familiar with. In Eastern religions, meditation serves to empty the mind of thoughts and worries to allow for the development of a richer spirituality.

Catholics and Christians, however, meditate on a chosen passage of the Bible. They immerse themselves fully in the story and pray for a more in-depth understanding.

Meditative prayer is also a way of setting time aside for God, much like you would for a friend or family member. After all, if we are to follow Christ, if God is our father, we need to spend time in His presence. When we do, we should try to be attentive and listen, rather than continually seek favors.

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God Bible Scripture Art Typography Design Printable Card with Flower Accents

There are many ways in which we can engage in meditative prayer. Apart from choosing a passage from the Bible or reflecting on the Lectio Divina of the week, we may also use Catholic prayer cards for meditative prayer.

Most prayer cards depict an image of Christ, a Saint or of the Virgin Mary, and each card can serve to inspire a deeper and more meaningful kind of meditative prayer. The special prayer on each of the holy cards can act as a guide or pathway through our meditation.

When using a specific prayer card, you may also ask for the person depicted on the card to help and support you. You will soon experience a joyful sense of support and guidance and come to value the time spent in meditative prayer.

Choosing a Holy Card for Meditative Prayer

Many Catholics purchase prayer cards as a source of comfort and strength. Prayer cards become a part of their daily life. I have several prayer cards in my purse, and at this point, they have dog ears and look well-worn. However, they are very precious to me, and I would hate to lose any one of them.

The selection of prayer cards seems limitless, and most people choose a prayer card with their heart. Perhaps you feel a special connection to Our Lady, or perhaps you prefer choosing a prayer card depicting your favorite saint. Most importantly, choose a prayer card you love, because it will make your meditative prayer more meaningful.

How to Use a Prayer Card for Meditative Prayer

Before you begin, you need to prepare the space. Find a quiet place at home, or maybe even out in nature. If you are planning on meditating with a group, a church or community space may be most suitable. Remove any source of distraction and light some candles. Music and dimmed lighting can also make the space a little more spiritual.

You may also decorate your space with holy statues, flowers or meaningful pictures. Adding personal items can also be an excellent way to make the space special.

Many burning candles with shallow depth of field

Ensure you have a comfortable seat and simply sit down and rest for a little while.

Before you begin, choose the way in which you are going to use your prayer card. You have the following possibilities:

  • Recite the entire prayer once and simply reflect on it by imagining yourself in conversation with the person on the card.
  • Recite the prayer, line by line, pausing after each line and allowing time for reflection.
  • Gaze at the picture and allow it to inspire your meditation.
  • Recite the prayer or repeat the words on the card several times, seeking a better understanding each time you utter the words.

Choose whatever approach comes easiest to you. It’s important to make the meditation as simple and enjoyable as possible. Trying out all the different methods will eventually show you which one suits you best.

Simple Steps for Meditative Prayer

Before you begin, place yourself in God’s unending love and ask for guidance. Also, seek support from the person depicted on the prayer card. Rest and reflect for a while and continue by using one of the above methods.

prayer hands symbol old background

Once you feel fully immersed, simply remain in the space and try to be open to guidance and, most importantly, to God’s love. Breathe slowly, relax your entire body and express gratitude for this special time. If you find yourself getting distracted, read the words on the prayer card or bring your attention back to the image.

Be open and attentive and let God’s love envelop you.

Spending time in meditative prayer can be an enormous source of strength and comfort. All you need to do is give a little of your time and your heart. When you are ready to return to your daily chores, say thanks.

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catholic church cathedral window

Rosary rings are a great option for those who want to be able to pray the rosary when traveling or away from home. Because of their size, Rosary rings are ideal for those on the go.

Although technically a ring, and though some styles can be worn, a rosary ring is usually not meant to be worn continuously like a piece of jewelry. Instead, it is intended to be worn on either index finger when the user is ready to pray.

Rosary rings come in many styles – and because of their size – can easily be kept in a pocket, on a key ring, worn on a necklace or placed in a purse. You can easily keep them on your person, ready to be used whenever you want to pray.

Purpose of the Rosary

The purpose of the rosary is to help remember and observe certain Mysteries in the history of salvation. It is a type of mental prayer, made easier to remember through repetition. There are twenty Mysteries that the rosary was designed to help us reflect upon.

The Joyful Mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday. The Sorrowful Mysteries are said on Tuesday and Friday. The Glorious Mysteries are usually said on Wednesday and Sunday, and the Luminous Mysteries are recited on Thursday.

By design, the Rosary was meant to create a repetitious practice to harvest contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. Also, the Rosary can be said privately or with a group.

Often, people will pray the rosary with the assistance of rosary beads. Rosary beads come in a variety of sizes and designs, and they can be crafted of numerous materials.

However popular, Rosary beads are not the only option for praying the Rosary. Another popular choice for praying the Rosary is the convenient use of a rosary ring!

Catholic rosary ring

Types of Rosary Rings

Rosary rings come in numerous styles and sizes, meant to fit the needs of all individuals. Many choose a simple metal prayer ring. This Rosary prayer ring is very familiar to most. It can be used by anyone, and is usually rather inexpensive. Because of the metal, these are not usually worn on anyone’s fingers except when they pray.

If you would prefer or can afford something nicer, you may want to consider a higher-quality prayer ring. These Rosary rings are mostly made of gold or sterling silver. Unlike typical metal Rosary rings, these rings are created with a more slender design.

The 10 bumps are more discreet, but critically, still built into the ring. Because of the more streamlined design, these Rosary rings can be worn like regular jewelry rings and are intended for daily use.

Also, there are wooden rosary rings. Like metal rosary rings, wooden rosary rings are quite inexpensive. To some, they may offer a more traditional feel. However, the design and function are the same as their metal counterparts.

Rosary rings come in many designs and sizes. The bands can often be uniquely styled. The balls come in different sizes. Usually, rosary rings are topped by a crucifix shape, but not always.

To keep everyday wear convenient, higher-quality rosary rings usually do not have a protruding top, but rather a crucifix etched into the band. Since meant for use by all individuals, Rosary rings come in many sizes, including some designed specifically for men, women and children.

How to Pray the Rosary using a Rosary Ring

The Rosary ring is meant to be used just about anywhere, whenever someone wants to pray. The first step is to select a Rosary ring that appeals to you and that you are comfortable using.

You begin by wearing the Rosary ring on the index finger of your choosing. You count the beads using your thumb to turn the ring while it sits on your index finger.

Using the Rosary ring to pray the Rosary is simple. Kiss the crucifix and make the Sign of the Cross, touching your fingers to your forehead, then to the heart, then to the left shoulder and finally to the right shoulder.

Begin praying the initial prayers of the Rosary: The Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Marys and one Glory Be.

Next, announce the appropriate Mystery on which you’re reflecting. Once completed, then recite the Our Father prayer, touching the crucifix. Follow this with 10 Hail Marys and count using the 10 beads of your rosary ring. Remember to let your thumb comfortably turn the ring.

This is called a decade, due to the fact that it contains 10 Hail Marys. However, a decade also includes the Our Father and, usually, a Glory Be to the Father.

Repeat until you have completed all your decades, and then pray your closing prayers.

Rosary ring in palm

Rosary Rings May Be a Great Choice for You

If you want to explore a new option when praying the Rosary, a rosary ring may be the perfect choice for you. Its small size makes it simple to carry everywhere. Whenever and wherever you need to pray, you can easily take your rosary ring with you.

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At this time of year, I absolutely love to be outside in my prayer garden. I have a great little waterfall, some lovely peonies and pansies and lots of cool shade from my fruit trees. It’s a wonderful reminder of all the blessings God has given to my family and me, and it helps to ground me when I’m feeling stressed or simply disconnected from the world around me.

Are you considering a prayer garden? Do you already have a nice outdoor space that could use something more meaningful and spiritual? Even just a patch of grass can be a lot more with some simple touches.

St. Francis Catholic Statue

By choosing one or two saint statues for your sacred space, you can change the context and bring your faith and God’s love to light. However, the marketplace is packed with great options, and it can be tricky to choose the right one. Here’s how to sort through the myriad of choices.

Start with a Familiar Face

Remember, your space is yours. Even if you only recognize a saint because you saw him in church every Sunday, that’s enough reason to choose that statue. Anything or anyone that helps you feel connected to the Church is a good place to start.

Mary is an excellent choice for any indoor or outdoor space. Her soft face and comforting presence is a welcome sight in any home or garden.

I personally have a lovely granite and blue grotto with a small Mary statue in it that looks gorgeous under the trees. She and I have some beautiful, quiet moments together, and the kids have really taken to her as well because, well, she’s family.

Catholic yard statuary

Just Feel It

In addition to Mary, I also have a Saint Francis statue because I love animals and so do my children. His story was one of the first that truly inspired me. His conversion, dedicated to living as simply and humbly as possible and honoring nature, always struck a very deep chord with me. He’s a reminder that all of God’s creations are worthy of our love and care, and I often offer up my prayers to him.

Catholic statues serve a purpose; they connect us with a higher, invisible force. By surrounding ourselves with certain images and representations of our faith, we help it grow stronger.

So, if you have a particular angel or saint that calls to you, reach for his or her likeness when shopping for statues. You will be much happier to have it in your house and feel better about praying to it every day.

St. Francis Catholic Statue

Heighten Something You Cherish

What is something you celebrate in your home? Is it quiet meditation? Storytelling? Art? Whatever it is, you can almost always find a saint or two to represent it.

Saint Cecilia has a special place in our hallway because of her guardianship over singers. My little girl sings all day and holds St. Cecilia very near and dear to her heart. As a mom, this saint gives me a chance to talk to my daughter about how her love of music can see her through, but only if she honors her practice, stays diligent, focused and doesn’t let distractions get in her way.

She’s a little young for a talk about virginity right now, but St. Cecilia stayed a virgin even through marriage, because she held such a deep devotion to her faith. I feel the lesson there is that it’s important to honor the path that God has chosen for us and not disregard his plans. When it’s time for my little darling to date, then I can build on a pre-existing relationship even more and guide her away from bad choices.

Honor a Memory

After my father died, I purchased a Saint Christopher necklace to honor his memory. Dad always traveled – he went all over Asia and through most of South America. He believed meeting new people and having new experiences were an important part of being a devout Catholic.

St. Christopher’s constant watch over travelers helps me feel closer to my departed father, and I’m currently shopping for a small statue to keep in my room.

When we look to the same sources of inspiration that those around us use, it can deepen our bonds with them, even when they’re gone. My dad would be thrilled to know that I touch the Saint Christopher medallion that hangs from my neck anytime I miss him. It reminds me that he’s never too far away, and I always need to be open to new people and new experiences.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you have an outdoor space like a little garden or altar you enjoy, or if you simply want to see the faces of more saints and angels in your home, one or two statues can be a lovely addition and a great focal point for you and your family.

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patron saint of sports saint sebastian's important message for athletes

I’d imagine every Roman Catholic has a different favorite Saint to call upon whenever faced with a particularly difficult challenge or when a particular Saint can help them through a crisis. The vivid stories of all the Saints, most of whom bravely defended their faith in the face of adversity, serve to inspire and strengthen us all.

painting of saint sebastian shot with arrows tied to a tree

Remember, however, that praying for a Saint’s support is not only good practice during times of need, but is also there at any time to support and strengthen you.

Luckily, practically all our endeavors have been placed under the guardianship of a Saint. We pray to Saint Anthony when we’ve lost something, implore Saint Jude when all else has failed and call upon Saint Francis to bless our animals and pets. The intercession of Saints serves to strengthen our faith and add weight to our prayers.

Most Catholics have a special relationship with a small number of Saints, and whenever we need help, we pray to one of these, hoping to receive support. The Saint becomes our representative before God – rightly so – because after all, these Saints have all displayed a greater love and commitment to God than most men and women.

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The Most Popular Patron Saints and Angels

The Catholic Church has a long tradition of choosing patron Saints. Today, a simple internet search will quickly produce a list of hundreds of patron Saints, all of whom have a special area of expertise.

Patron Saints are often selected because of the life they lead. Saint Francis of Assisi loved animals and nature and is, therefore, the patron Saint of ecologists. Francis de Sales was a writer and has, consequently, become an advocate for journalists and authors. Whatever profession, art or situation, you can find a patron Saint and ask for her/his assistance.

Angels and archangels are also exceedingly popular. Thousands of people pray for the protection of Archangel Michael or the assistance of Angel Gabriel. Among the most popular patron Saints are Saint Anthony, Saint Jude, Saint Francis, Saint Sebastian, Saint Christopher, Saint Patrick, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Joseph, Saint Cecilia, Saint Valentine, Saint Therese of Lisieux, St Padre Pio and Saint Christopher. These Saints have become part of our everyday spiritual landscape and can be an enormous source of comfort and strength.

graphic - most popular patron saints list

To illustrate what a powerful role patron Saints can play in our daily activities, let’s look at the lives of two of the most popular Saints: Saint Sebastian, who is an advocate for athletes, and Saint Christopher, whose medal many of us have on our car key ring or pendant.

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Saint Sebastian – Patron Saints of Sports

Recently, Saint Sebastian has become very popular. He was even named Patron Saint of last year’s Olympic games in Rio. Athletes and sports people have sought inspiration and intercession from Saint Sebastian, and we have to take a look at his life story to understand why Saint Sebastian has become the patron Saint of athletes.

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Saint Sebastian’s Life Story

Saint Sebastian is believed to have come from France and was educated in Milan. In 283 AD, he joined the army, serving the Roman emperor Diocletian. Diocletian was particularly brutal in his treatment of Christians, arresting and executing them in large numbers. Many believe that Sebastian joined the army and became an undercover preacher so he could minister to the Christians in the army and those in custody.

Because he was a highly capable soldier, he moved up the ranks quickly and became a Praetorian Guard for the Emperor, Diocletian. Secretly, Sebastian spent much of his time preaching to soldiers and prisoners, and he soon became known as a powerful healer. Throughout his life in the army, he also converted many soldiers to Christianity.

However, after several years, he was caught and sentenced to death by Diocletian. Soldiers brought him to a field and tied him to a tree. He was used as an archery target and hit by countless arrows. The soldiers eventually left, believing he was dead.

saint sebastian's journeys quote

A woman, known as Irene of Rome, bravely recovered Sebastian. Her husband had been martyred by the same emperor and consequently, she wanted to help Sebastian. Within weeks, she nursed him back to full health.

Having regained all his strength and realizing what had happened, Sebastian decided to publicly denounce Diocletian. He knew a place where the emperor would pass, waited for him and publically admonished him for his treatment of Christians.

Surprised to see Sebastian alive, Diocletian quickly had him arrested and once again sentenced to death. This time, he ordered soldiers to beat him to death with clubs. Sebastian died, and his body was thrown into the local sewer.

In a vision, Sebastian asked a woman to recover his body. She obliged, and Sebastian was buried in the catacombs of Rome. Later, his remains were dispersed, and many relics from his remains are on display in churches throughout Europe.

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Prayer to Saint Sebastian

Because of Sebastian’s strength and tenacity, many athletes pray for his intercession. The following prayer is the most well-known prayer to Saint Sebastian.

Dear Commander at the Roman Emperors court,

You chose to be also a soldier of Christ and dared to spread

The faith in the King of Kings – for which you were condemned to die.

Your body, however, proved athletically strong, and the executing arrows extremely weak.

So, another means to kill you was chosen, and you gave your life to the Lord.

May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint clearly has been. Amen

Many athletes recite this prayer before competition and may also carry a Saint Sebastian medal.

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What We Can Learn from Saint Sebastian

When we reflect on the life of Saint Sebastian, there are several qualities we can aspire to attain:

aged painting of saint sebastian tied to a post
  • Work Ethic: Saint Sebastian was deeply dedicated to his work in the army, as well as to his service to Christ. His quick rise to higher ranks illustrates a strong work ethic, even in the face of great adversity. His dedication to Christ was even more pronounced. By joining the army to spread the word of God and support Christians in the army and in prison, he put his own life in danger.
  • Courage: Saint Sebastian displayed enormous courage, not just during his time as an undercover soldier, but especially after the first execution attempt. He risked his life to serve Christ and preach the gospel.
  • Endurance: Saint Sebastian bravely endured and survived the first execution attempt. This can be particularly inspiring for athletes who feel like giving up during an endurance test or competition.

It seems fitting that Saint Sebastian is the patron Saint of sports.

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Catholic Athletes

As Catholics with a public profile, athletes have a responsibility to live out their faith. Catholic athletes like Bonnie Blair (a speed skater) are involved in organizations such as the Catholic Relief Services. Some other notable Catholic athletes are:

  • Jordan Speith (Golf)
  • Brett Favre (Football)
  • Timothy Goebel (Figure Skater)
  • Joe DiMaggio (Baseball)
  • Kobe Bryant (Basketball)
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Saint Christopher – Patron Saint of Travelers and Motorists

Even though Saint Christopher was never canonized by the Catholic Church, he is one of the most popular Saints. The story of how he carried Christ across a ferocious river is well known, and many people pray for his protection before traveling.

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Saint Christopher’s Life Story

Finding Saint Christopher in history books is difficult. The name “Christopher” means “Christ-bearer” and is associated with the Egyptian Saint, Menas. Christopher may also have been a martyr by the name of Reprobus, who died in 251 AD. However, many legends and popular stories speak about the Saint Christopher we know and love today.

In these stories, he is described as a man of exceedingly tall stature. One day, he decided to serve the greatest king on earth and went to offer his services to the local ruler. who gladly accepted Christopher’s offer. When Christopher saw the king making the sign of the cross at the mention of the devil, he deemed the devil to be more powerful than the king and decided to serve the devil instead. He joined a band of thieves, the leader of which called himself the devil.

Believing he was now serving the most powerful king, Christopher was surprised to see the devil avoiding the sign of the cross and once again realized there was someone even mightier.

st christopher with baby painting patron saint of travellers

Wishing to find out about Christ, Christopher went to a local hermit to seek advice. The hermit educated him about Christ’s life and teachings and told Christopher to fast and pray.

But because Christopher was so tall and strong, he vehemently objected to fasting and asked if there was another way to serve the Lord. Following deep reflection, Christopher offered to help travelers across a nearby river, reassured by the hermit that doing so would please Christ.

The river was extremely dangerous, and many people had lost their lives trying to get to the other side. One day, a small child approached Christopher and asked to be taken across. Mid-stream, the waters suddenly rose, and the child became exceedingly heavy. Exerting himself completely, Christopher finally managed to bring the child to safety.

When Christopher inquired as to why he was so heavy, the child told him that he was Christ and that Christopher had indeed carried the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished from Christopher’s sight.

According to legends, Christopher left and started to evangelize people and eventually arrived in Lycia, Asia Minor. After several attempts to execute him, Christopher was eventually captured and beheaded.

Christopher only became popularized in the 7th century, when several churches were named after him. Even though he was never officially beatified, Saint Christopher is one of the most cherished Saints in the Catholic tradition.

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Prayer to Saint Christopher

Many people pray to Saint Christopher before setting off on a journey.

Saint Christopher “Motorist’s Prayer:

Grant me O Lord a steady hand and watchful eye.

That no one shall be hurt as I pass by.

Thou gravest life, I pray no act of mine

May take away or mar that gift of Thine.

Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear me company,

From the evils of fire and all calamity.

Teach me to use my car for others need;

Nor miss through love of undue speed

The beauty of the world; that thus I may

With joy and courtesy go on my way.

St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers,

Protect me and lead me safely to my destiny.

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What We Can Learn from Saint Christopher

Saint Christopher continues to inspire us with his strength and courage, and perhaps we can try to replicate some of his many qualities:

  • Humility: Throughout his life, Saint Christopher wanted to serve the greatest king, despite his own strength and power. He humbled himself to imitate Christ’s humility
  • Desire to Serve Others: Saint Christopher served and protected whomever he brought across the river. After carrying Christ, he went on to serve Christ by evangelizing thousands of people.
  • Endurance: Saint Christopher endured adversity throughout his life and remained dedicated to serving Christ.
  • Desire to Protect Others: Today, we pray to St. Christopher for protection, knowing of his desire to protect the people he carried across the river.

Saint Christopher displayed such strength and determination that it is apt for us to ask for his intercession whenever we travel. Despite the power of the river and the weight of Christ, Saint Christopher endured and brought each person across the river safely.

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Saints Inspire and Strengthen Us

Being a good Christian can be difficult, particularly when we are going through difficult times. Sometimes, we struggle to believe and often feel alone.

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During such times, reflecting on the Saints and asking for their intercession can be an enormous source of strength as well as inspiration. The special prayers to Saints can comfort and encourage us throughout our lives.

Perhaps Saints are positioned between Christ and us, because they were fully human but managed to dedicate their lives entirely to Christ. In that sense, they are human just like us, while also possessing strength and grace far greater than our own could ever be. Consequently, they inspire, guide and protect us.

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Patron Saints – A Source of Everyday Comfort

Patron Saints are undoubtedly a great source of comfort. Whatever activity we engage in, we can ask for the support of the relevant patron Saint. Saint Sebastian has undoubtedly inspired thousands of athletes, and Saint Christopher continues to offer protection on our journeys. It is immensely comforting to know there is a patron Saint for all occasions and activities.

Patron Saints can play a role in our everyday lives and in our most ordinary activities. By praying for their intercession and reflecting on their inspirational strengths we can perhaps grow in faith, love and courage.

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