Can you be both pro-life and pro-woman?

Can women stand against abortion and still call  themselves feminists? This is a question that has arisen before, but it is being brought to the surface again because of this Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington.

Even though they formerly were officially partnered with the march, New Wave Feminism has been officially removed as a partner just four days before the march.   The Women’s March official statement apologized for the mistake of including an “anti-choice” group in their march organization.

The Women’s March has established themselves on a platform that fights for a woman’s right to abortion.  New Wave Feminism has said they are unapologetically pro-life.

New Wave Feminism recently wrote on their blog:

When I imagine what the world would look like if our fertility were treated as the super power it is, and the life of the unborn human given the respect it deserves, I see a place that’s a whole hell of a lot more pro-woman than what we have now.

To break down the situation, women are telling women “You can’t march alongside me! You don’t stand for women because you want rights for all women! This march is inherently grounded in the fact that we stand for the right to abortion for women outside the womb at the expense of women and children inside the womb.”

Which begs the question – can you be pro-life and a feminist?

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What does the term ‘feminist’ mean?

Is there a set definition of the word, or has it succumb to the increasingly murky waters of relativism, where I define my own kind of feminism, which can differ from your type of feminism?

My undergraduate minor is in women and gender studies, which by no means makes me an expert on women or gender.  But the question on the label of feminism is something that I’ve wrestled with quite a bit during my time in the minor program and after graduation as well.

Watch this post for for updates as the story, as well as my thoughts on the subject of Catholic feminism, take shape.


Thoughts from a girl two weeks away from a wedding

I think I began planning my wedding around age seven.
I knew the colors and the cake – purple, and three tiers respectively.
By age ten, I knew the location and the time of that big day.
Saint Joseph Church on Van Buren Avenue, and noon.
By age sixteen, I’d chosen the wedding gown, four bridesmaids, and a maid of honor.
And by twenty, I was just waiting for the man.

Because I’d met a lot of Christian boys, but not a lot of Christian men.
I wanted a man who would fall to his knees in love of God and service of me.
And I wanted to do the same for him.
I wanted to love when I was ready, not when I was lonely.

Wherever he was when I was growing up, planning our wedding day,
I’m pretty sure he wasn’t thinking about the color and texture of his tuxedo.
Or how dashing the purple boutonniere would look against a suit jacket.

But now I’m two weeks, fourteen days, 336 hours away from saying “I do.”
And we have the colors, and the cake, the church, the time, the women surrounding me, and the dress.  And I’m preparing for a life-long love with a man who I love more than I thought was humanly possible.

And it is all happening in ways that I never imagined and better than I ever dreamed.  Because ‘love’ never happens the way you think it should – but then you find that reality is better than all of your dreams combined.

I used to struggle with the word “submission”.
It sounded archaic.
I didn’t understand it.
Then I found out that it meant ‘under the mission of’ – and it changed everything.
Because this man that I’m marrying?  I know his mission in life.
He wants to get to Heaven.  And he wants me by his side on the journey there.

When Father Zarse asks me in 2 weeks, fourteen days, 336 hours from now
to repeat: “I, Chloe, take you, Joseph, as my husband” I will probably start
repeating before he finishes the sentence.  And later I will apologize for my anxiousness.

Then I’ll explain how I’ve been wanting and waiting to say those words for so long.
Through a 10 month countdown that started on a mountaintop in the sunrise light.

And how excited I am to climb all of life’s mountains, valleys, and in-betweens by his side as his wife.

Because I’m excited.  I’m thinking about him and our life together all the time.
I’m lying away at night, staring at the ceiling fan praying for him.
Because in 2 weeks, 14 days, 336 hours I am marrying my best friend.

And I’m going to decorate a home with him and do everything with him.
Like watch weird YouTube videos, and be beside him right when he wakes up, and nudge him out of bed, bribing him with coffee and probably bacon.

We’ll laugh until our side hurts, and be there to hold each other when life happens and things get squishy and messy and we are reminded of how human we are.

He knows what I look like without makeup.  And how I smell after not showering for six days.  How I love the little things.  He’s going to find out how I wander around and sip coffee in the morning.  And how I dance horribly and have a very small amount of funny faces that I make.

And I know the face he makes when he is thinking.  How he drums the steering wheel along to the rhythm of songs.  How he can back into parking spaces like nobody’s business.  I’m going to find out how he eats cereal and what it sounds like when the door opens after a long day from work and he comes in exhausted.

We want to be saints together.  He’ll probably be the patron saint of engineering (move over Saint Patrick) and I’ll be the patron saint of coffee drinkers.  He’ll be up in Heaven helping those hard working engineer students with electromagnetic theory homework.  I’ll be recommending vanilla lattes over hazelnut.  It’ll be beautiful.

Please keep us in your prayers.

The next 2 weeks (not that anyone has a countdown going or anything) are going to fly by. Before we know it, we’ll be starting our new life
together as Mr. and Mrs. Langr…and it’s going to be beautiful.

“Young people are always searching for the beauty in love.  They want their love to be beautiful.”
Saint Pope John Paul II




How Firm a Foundation

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In a few short weeks, I’ll be moving out of my parents house for the first time ever. I’ve started the packing (and pitching) process…and I don’t think that I’ve ever been more sad and excited at once in my whole life.

These next four weeks bring with them an incredible amount of change.  In just one month, I will have graduated from college, celebrated the Christmas holiday season, rang in the New Year, moved to a new town, and changed my last name.  Joseph and I will find a new church, grocery store, doctor, gym, library and friends.  I’m moving from a home filled with loud littles and comfortable familiar chaos to a quiet, one-bedroom apartment with a man who I will have to get used to calling “my husband.”

I’m going to change from thinking of home as ten people to home as two people. I’m going to have to start cooking again, after a couple of years living out of the leftovers from the fridge.  I’ll say goodbye to friends who have lived in the same city with me for the past four years.  For the first time in nineteen years, I’ll share a bedroom with someone who isn’t my sister.  And I’ll realize very quickly how selfish I am and how much room I have to grow after I get married.

I would be lying if I told you that I was handling these changes gracefully. There have been many times when where I’ll stop in the middle of a moment and realize it’s temporariness.  My last Christmas as a Mooradian was a few days ago.  My last few weeks of having all of my family under the same roof are drawing to a close.  There are only a few days left in my engagement and time as a fiancee.

There have been a lot of tears.  There will be many more.  There have been a lot of laughs, smiles, and beauty. More will come. But in the midst of all this hectic, crazy change, the one thing that keeps me grounded is a foundation. My foundation is Christ.

I truly don’t know how people make it through life without faith and Christ as their foundation.  I am a shaking, quivering mess of a person with God’s help…I don’t want to think of who I would be without Him.

We can scramble to control, stabilize, and manipulate our lives, but nothing we produced will even compare to the peace that comes with finding our contentment in His plan.  When we find our firm foundation in God, our priorities began to align to His will.

People move, jobs change and our lives can be flipped around and upside down in an instant.  But God is a constant that cannot be shifted.  He is a firm, unmovable foundation that offers us shelter in the storm. His faithfulness is buckler and shield.

Our lives will always shift around us. Let’s place our hope in the one who is the firm foundation.

How Mary Taught Me to Embrace the Mess

A combined picture of two paintings, probably by the same artist, showing Mary holding Baby Jesus in her arms on one side and holding the dead body of Her beloved Son on the other side. Very powerful!: If there was ever a human being who had it all together, it was the Blessed Virgin Mary. Conceived without sin, immaculate, gentle, and kind, she had it all.  She dedicated her entire being, even her virginity to God.

And then He turned her world upside down. 

He sent an angel to her, which frightened her.  Then, the angel tells Mary that she will conceive and bear the Son of God. Mary answers with the infamous declaration of ultimate sacrifice and love: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to Thy word” (Luke 1:38).

And then her life was perfect, right? Actually, quite the opposite.  Soon after she proclaimed her Magnificat, her betrothed tried to quietly divorce her, threatening the life of her unborn child and herself, according to Jewish tradition.  After avoiding near death, she had to travel ninety long miles on a grueling journey to Bethlehem.  When they arrived at their destination, there was no room in the inn, so Mary gave birth in a stable. After her child was born, the only place to lay Him was a feeding trough for animals.  Not a romanticized, Christmas nativity manger, but an animal feeding trough made of clay and straw that was held together with mud.

As if her son’s entrance into the world wasn’t difficult enough, over the next thirty-three years Mary watched her child grow up to be an amazing teacher and healer. But despite His goodness, He was slaughtered by the Roman Empire on one of the cruelest torture devices of the day, a cross.

When Mary said ‘Yes’ to God’s will, the result wasn’t perfection. The result was a mess.

I think we have a false idea that when we give our lives over to God, everything is going to be picture perfect. Things will fall into place and everything will work out.  Yet the truth is that sometimes God will turn our worlds upside down, and we’ll find that only then are things right where they should be.

God never promises perfection when we give our lives to Him. In fact, He warns us explicitly that our lives will more than likely become harder, not easier, when we give ourselves completely to Him. He says we will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness because we know and follow Him.

Yet we expect picture perfect. We want the perfect manger scene with soft straw hay and gentle swaddling clothes.  We want to ignore the messy reality of our lives.

The past months, I’ve been searching for a job. After struggling to not tie my self-worth into every rejection and time I was passed over, I finally resolved to give the job search over to God. Weeks have passed, I still don’t hear back from interviews. Calls come, but no follow-ups. Interviews are scheduled, but no further contact.

If I had given my job search over to God, why hadn’t He fixed my problems? I became more and more frustrated, unable to sit still and quietly let Him lead me to the next step. I was demanding perfection, and resenting Him for the mess I had instead.

When I ask that God’s will be done, it doesn’t mean that everything will magically fix itself, and I will get a call from an employer the next day.  He doesn’t automatically fix things for me…instead, He gives me opportunities to trust Him. And that is one area of my life where I could use a lot of work – so He’s giving me lots of opportunities.

Look back at the story of the Virgin Mary. She’d pledged her virginity to God, and her gift was transformed into something that humans deem impossible: a virgin birth.  God honored Mary’s gift to Him – yet His plan for her life was different that she could have ever imagined. After all, it’s not often that you pledge your virginity to God and the result is a baby boy.

How often do we given God a gift of ourselves with a secret plan in the back of our mind on how He should use that gift? Sure, I said that God’s will can be done in my job search, but what I secretly hoped that God would come in triumphantly and open the door to a job opportunity before I could blink twice. I wasn’t prepared for the part where His answer was ‘sit here in the stillness and wait with me.’

God yearns for our trust more than anything. He desire to take the pen from our hand and write the most amazing, beautifully messy story with our lives – more beautiful than we could have ever written ourselves.  He doesn’t promise perfection. Yet he tells us that He will be right beside us, yes, even until the end of the world.

It won’t be perfect. But it will be holy. He is a good, good father. So let’s allow Him to turn our lives upside down…and embrace the beautiful mess that ensues.



Why I’m Doing My Own Wedding Makeup

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I never realized how much planning goes into a wedding until Joseph and I started planning our wedding together. There are so many little things to consider. Food, decorations, dresses, toasts, music, photography, readings….and that’s just the beginning. 

As the bride, there are so many fun conversations to have about wedding planning. I’ve shown countless people my wedding dress – from the girl who cuts my hair to students in classes I taught last semester.  Any time I mention that I’m getting married, strangers and friends alike love chatting about everything from wedding colors to Mass details.  But one question that I’ve gotten asked quite a bit lately is who is doing my make up on the big day.  

There are so many options. Hire a professional. Ask a friend. Comb through Pinterest and find the perfect, special occasion look. But despite all of the options, I’ve decided to do my own makeup on the big day. And I’m not doing anything different than what I wear on a regular day.  

To some, that may seem crazy. After all, marrying the love of my life is a pretty special occasion.  Shouldn’t I do something different and memorable? I thought about wedding makeup quite a bit – but it was only when I thought back on Joseph and I’s relationship that the answer to the makeup question became clear. 

When I met Joseph, I wasn’t wearing any makeup, and I had on a baggy t-shirt, and sports shorts. I spent the first week that we got to know each other covered in sweat, pancake batter, and paint chips as we worked on houses for the Prayer and Action summer mission trip.  We had a great conversation while picking up paint chips, sweating in the Kansas summer heat.  

Joseph proposed to me on top of a mountain nine months ago.  When he asked me to be his bride, I hadn’t showered in 6 days, my hair was greasy and stuffed under a baseball cap, and my eyes were bleary from waking up at 5:00 am that day.  And he thought I was beautiful.  

I don’t wear much makeup on a daily basis – but it seems to be on the days that I don’t wear much makeup that Joseph compliments me. So when I see Joseph on our wedding day, I want to look like that the girl he spent working alongside on a house two summers ago.  I want to look like the blissfully happy girl who said yes to climbing life’s highs and lows alongside my soon-to-be-husband.  (Granted, I’ll have showered that day.)

So often in today’s culture we focus on looks.  We filter our photos, airbrush our makeup and make sure our wardrobes are Pinterest worthy. But, despite all of our best efforts, our looks will change. Bodies stretch, smiles sink further into faces and set in as wrinkles, and what we consider beautiful shifts throughout the years.  

Audrey Hepburn said: “Happy girls are the prettiest.” What makes someone truly beautiful is joy. On the day of my wedding, I won’t look flawless. More than likely, I’ll have crinkly smiley eyes, a few (ok, let’s be honest, more than few) happy tears, and a huge smile that I can’t wipe off my face. I won’t look perfect or airbrushed. But I’ll look joyful…and that’s the most beautiful look of all.





The Girl in the Mirror


I have always struggled with seeing myself as beautiful.  It wasn’t that anyone had ever told me I was ugly.  I hadn’t been bullied when  I was younger, my parents complimented us kids regularly, and my friends told me all about the things they adored about my looks and personality.

It was just that I had a hard time believing it.

The thoughts of actual disgust with my physical appearance and personality escalated in college.  I didn’t look like the world’s standard of beauty, and it was tearing me up.  My hair was short, my chest was small.  I couldn’t get a decent tan, I hated the shape of my legs.  I spent time at parties and social events nitpicking everything that I did.  Why wasn’t I more extroverted? Why couldn’t I have jokes to keep the whole room laughing?

The list went on and on – to the point where I struggled to see even one good thing about myself.  I had no problem recognizing the beauty in other people.  I had friends who I considered drop dead gorgeous, and I could tell you exactly what I loved about them.  Their curly hair, their welcoming smile, their toned body shape, their sense of humor.  Ironically, the things that I loved the most in the women around me were the things I loathed about myself.  I couldn’t stand the way my face crinkled when I smiled. But when I saw that same trait in the face of another, I appreciated it and saw its beauty.

I spent time chatting about our relationship with ourselves with some friends lately.  One of the girls in the group pulled out pieces of paper and passed them around to everyone there.  On one side of the paper, we were told to write everything we hated about ourselves.  My paper filled up quickly, and I bemoaned the fact that I actually ran out of space.

Self-centered…prideful…unhealthy…awkward…introverted…over-thinker…selfish…my legs…my eyes…my hair…too emotional…scatter brained…

After the paper couldn’t possible fit one more self-bashing sentence on it, we were told to turn our pages over, and then have people in the group write what we thought of each other.  We were encouraged to write compliments we’d never said out loud and things we admired about the other.

Before long, my paper was returned to me.  But when I turned the paper over after everyone had written on it, I found that the things that I hated about myself were not things people noticed about me.  In fact, they complimented me on the opposite traits.

You’re selfless…you’re beautiful….you’re giving…you’re a role model…you’ve got it together…I’m so blessed by our friendship….I look up to you.

I  realized that the side of the paper I had written on was truly how I saw myself.  The imperfect, awkward girl who couldn’t seem to grow up and become beautiful.  But the side that my friends had written on was how they truly saw me…and more importantly the way that God sees me.  Beautiful. Whole. Worthy.

When I got into my car the next day, For the first time since early high school, I caught a glimpse of my reflection out of the corner of my eye – and my first reaction was Wow, she’s beautiful. Not in a self-centered, narcissistic way – it wasn’t my eyes or my legs that I noticed and saw in a different way.  For the first time in a long time, I was able to see the quirks of my personality and sincerely appreciate them.

I saw the girl who hated fish, had phenomenal friendships, and loved heart to heart conversations.  I saw the girl whose short haircut spelled confidence, and whose sense of style revealed her old soul.  And I didn’t hate her. I liked her. And I smiled the whole way home that night.

If you’ve ever struggled with seeing that you are good, you are not alone.

But by consistently selling ourselves short we essentially are hating what God has made good.  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10).

And if no one has ever told you this – you are beautiful.

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul. She is beautiful.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chapter Chats: Caring for Creation


There is nothing that I like more than a cup of coffee and a good book to curl up with.  This week’s Chapter Chat is Caring for Creation: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis.  The book is published by Franciscan media.

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Ever since the Pope’s inaugural Mass, he has lived out a mission to care for the earth that God has given us. From releasing Laudato Si to actively living a pro-life mission, Pope Francis truly aspires to his namesake.  The book is composed of the Pope’s personal writings, encyclicals, prayers, homilies and tweets that show his passion for God’s creation.

The introduction sets the tone for the book, saying, “Still, Pope Francis’s message is ultimately one of hope…Pope Francis’s words reveal that he believe we can move towards a new kind of conversion – a higher level of consciousness, action and advocacy that will spark a ‘bold cultural revolution'”. 

The book is divided into five chapters: God’s Loving Plan for Creation, Everything is Connected, The Roots of Consequences of the Current Crisis, Called to Protect God’s Handiwork, and Towards a Healthier Planet.

I’m definetly a Pope Saint John Paul II girl, as proven by my love for NFP, Theology of the Body and Babies.  However, when Pope Francis mentions the environment though, he is not diverging from the path that JPII showed the world.  Instead of viewing the environment as something that does not include human beings, Pope Francis examines the environment with a holistic approach that includes the humans that live on this earth.  He means to connect nature with society for a more appreciative view of the gifts God has given us.

We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full.
– Laudato Si’ 225-226. May 24, 2015

The book would make a great read for the New Year to accompany your New Year’s Resolutions.  We’re all called to a greater appreciation of the gifts that God gives us and Pope Francis’s words make a great companion on that journey.


Pick up a copy today and let me know what you think…and, can you pass the coffee?

Stop Thinking, Start Willing: The One Way to Improve Your Relationship Today

Disney movies, chick flicks and romance novels have led us to believe that true love doesn’t require much work.  You simply have to be in the right place at the right time, look attractive, smile nice and big, and everything will fall into place as if it were meant to be.  Yet the reality of romantic relationships prove that actually this isn’t anywhere close to what happens in the day to day interactions with the one you love.

Who we look to as a source for relationship advice can play a large role in what the goals, dreams and reality of our relationship looks like.  We’re are not called to relationships that are the mirrored images of Hallmark movies or the latest season of the Bachelorette.  Instead, we’re called to the relationship with the goal of becoming saints together.  So we have to take some advice from the saints themselves.

To love is to will the good of the other. (Thomas Aquinas).

The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; and so, do that which best stirs you to love. (Teresa of Avila).

So, the one way you can actively start improving your relationship is to began to will the good of the other.  Not to want the good of the other, but to will it.  Yes, that subtle word change makes an incredible difference in the outcome.

Wanting someone’s good doesn’t necessarily require action.  You can want someone’s good and be caught in what Teresa of Avila calls ‘thinking too much.’  Just because I want to order in Thai food, does not mean that I’m actually going to get up out of my chair, get into my car and drive down to the nearest take out place.  Simply because I want an ‘A’ in my senior history class does not result in an automatic good grade going on my transcript.  And if wanting our wedding day to get here sooner actually did anything, I’d have been married a long time ago simply because of all the times I’ve wanted it to be here right now.

The word want means to crave, to feel the need or desire for something, or to fall short by a specific sum (the Thai Food was left wanting for spice, for example).  It’s not necessarily an action word – it doesn’t require you to do anything but stay sedentary and wish for something better.  So when it comes to loving another person, wanting someone’s good may not get us very far.

On the other hand, willing someone’s good requires action. To will and to love are action words- and love is a decision that moves you.  This is what Teresa of Avila is talking about when she mentions being stirred to love.  Stirring things causes them move, it brings things into action.


So what exactly does it mean to really will the other’s good? This week has been a continual opportunity to love and will the good of the other in our relationship.  Joseph and I have both had rough weeks at school, and it feels like we’re constantly running from appointment to event to commitment.  Gone are the leisurely summer days of getting off from work and being able to have long phone calls or even meet each other during the week.

What would happen if I simply wanted his good this week? Sure, I want him to do well in school and I want him to not feel over-stressed.  That sounds great.  But that wanting does not require me to do anything about it.  Maybe I’ll think about him throughout the day, wonder how his classes are going and eventually, when he reaches out to me, I can mention how he’s been on my mind.

Yet willing his good calls me to action, despite the fact that we’re an hour away and living crazy lives right now.  Willing his good requires action and communication.   And when those communication methods don’t work as well as expected, willing the other’s good means intentionally asking each other for ways to improve communication throughout the time apart.

Willing the good means a morning phone call to make sure each of us were able to get up and start tackling the work load of the day together. Willing the good means constant prayer for each other – not just a passing ‘I’ll pray for you,’ but intentionally remembering each other throughout the day and offering the other’s frustrations and struggles up to the Blessed Mother (that’s what Marian Consecration is for, right?) Willing his good is sitting in adoration, bringing the challenges of the week to the feet of Christ, uniting them with His suffering, and surrounding Joseph in prayer – which is sometimes the only thing that we can do for each other, but it is also the most important thing we can do for each other.

If you want to see a radical difference in your love life, begin by delving into a love that moves you, a love that calls you into action.  It is not easy, in fact, willing the good of the other as other is one of the most challenging things you can do.  After all, the greater your capacity for a love that moves you, the greater your capacity for suffering.  Yet our love for each other is to reflect the love that Christ showed His Church when he lay splayed open on the cross.  His love required action, and we’re called to that kind of love (Ephesians 5 have some great things to say on that subject).

So today, challenge yourself.  Get out of your comfort zone and begin to truly love others in your life – will their good.  

Love that Moves You

My passport is not stamped with a Polish stamp.  I don’t have pictures with new international friends.  I have yet to taste a pierogi.   But my heart is moved and full from World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow.

When I look at those pictures on Facebook, read the tweets, talk to friend and hear about the amazing adventures God had in the hearts of His children, how can I not be inspired in my Catholic faith?

It’s common knowledge that Europe is not the safest place to be right now.  Terror attacks occur frequently and a large crowd of people may have drawn conflict.  Yet Catholic young adults still flocked to get a glimpse of the Pope.  They still hiked 10 miles to camp out for a candle-lit vigil. They still fell to their knees in the rain to worship Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Why? Because perfect love drives out fear.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has torment, and he that fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

Love creates, it moves, it acts.  When you’re in love you have to do something – love requires action.  Fear, on the other hand, immobilizes.  Paralyzes.  The founder and creator of World Youth Day, Saint Pope John Paul II once famous said, “Be Not Afraid.”  What does that look like? How do you not be afraid, and how can you tell that you’re living this beautiful JPII motto?

If you’re not afraid, you’re in love.  And people in love do crazy things.

Love tells 3 million people to pack up clothes and rain ponchos in a backpack and board flights that last 10 hours.  Love pushes people out of their comfort zones and connects them with others who don’t even speak the same language. Love emboldens some to fundraise for years, take time off of work or a summer vacation, and sleep on a gym floor.  Love gets them up at 3:00 AM and doesn’t let their mind rest even when they’re supposed to be sleeping.

Love widens eyes, but more importantly it widens hearts.  It widens hearts to mercy, compassion and action.  It demolishes comfort zones and calls us out of sin and into grace.

The world has no need of couch potatoes” (Pope Francis)

“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” (Pope Saint John Paul II)

Are you ready to fall in love with a God who loves you? Perhaps, more importantly, are you willing to let that love move you?