Category Archives: Columns

Kids’ Connection: Saint Blaise

Click to download and print out the Kids’ Connection on Saint Blaise!

Vocations View: Want to Change a Life? Support Catholic Education

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by Lisa Cooper

Catholic vocations in all forms, from religious and priestly to living and working faithfully as a layperson all have to start somewhere. Oftentimes that place is in Catholic schools. In 2015, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) put together a Catholic Schools Fact Sheet highlighting the numerous benefits of a Catholic education. The results were astounding.  Their findings indicate that a Catholic education impacts the lives of students far beyond graduation, possibly even for a lifetime. Among the many advantages of graduating from a Catholic school, here are a few of the most notable:

• Catholic school students are more likely to pray daily, attend church more often, retain a Catholic identity as an adult and donate more to the Church.

• Catholic schools tend to operate as communities rather than bureaucracies, which links to higher levels of teacher commitment, student engagement and student achievement.

• Students in Catholic schools demonstrate higher academic achievement than their public school peers from similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

• Currently, 5 of the 8 Supreme Court Justices went to Catholic school

• Catholic school graduates enjoy higher earning potential than public school graduates.

Evan Cooper

While it’s exciting to see statistical evidence that favors Catholic education, what’s more telling is a glimpse inside the life of a student who has had experience in both non-Catholic and Catholic school environments. Evan Cooper, a non-Catholic and sophomore at Loyola, transferred from another Shreveport private school. He says being at Loyola has certainly made a difference in his life. When asked about specific differences between his experience at Loyola compared to that of his previous school, Cooper says, “The faith aspect has been a big difference. Learning about Catholicism has taught me things I have never heard before. It has given me a real sense of truth.”  When asked about how being part of a Catholic school has affected his faith, he says, “[Learning about the Catholic faith] has made me look more deeply into it.  There are lots of things that are in the Catholic Bible that aren’t in my Bible, and it makes me wonder what else is out there that I’ve never been taught.”

Changing schools has certainly come with its share of challenges. Cooper echoes this statement as he points out, “I was not used to the effort I had to make academically.  It has taken a while to get used to the time I have to put into completing homework and learning material.”  He also notes that the faculty at Loyola has played an important part in making the transition easier. “The faculty seems like they are doing more than trying to get you through high school. They really care about you, so they’re trying to make you better for life and stronger in your faith.”
He continues with advice he would give any other student making that transfer, “Loyola may not push you as hard physically, but they will definitely push you harder both in academics and in your character.”

How often do we drive by our Catholic schools without stopping to think about what’s happening inside?  We have something very special in our backyards. We have parents, faculty, students and partners working together to make something spectacular happen. We have our Catholic schools, which not only provide our children with a fantastic education, but also which sow in our children the seeds of outstanding character and strong faith that will bear fruit they need to carry them for a lifetime.

Interested in learning more about our diocesan Catholic Schools? Visit www.dioshpt.org/catholic-schools for resources.

Second Collections: Second Collections for February & March

COLLECTION FOR AID TO THE CHURCH IN CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
Announcement Dates:  February 19 & 26   
Collection Date:  Ash Wednesday, March 1  

The poster for the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe once again features an image dear to people of every race, language and culture. The sight of a mother sharing a tender moment and nurturing faith in her child resonates at the core of our being.  This image brings into sharp focus the call of St. Pope John Paul II, our Pope Emeritus Benedict, XVI, and our current Holy Father Francis to “Restore the Church, Build the Future.” This collection supports the Church in over 20 countries, many of which are still struggling to recover in the aftermath of Soviet rule.  Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Central and Eastern European countries have been working to rebuild political structures, social welfare and their economies. The funds collected are used to support seminaries, youth ministry, social service programs, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and Catholic communications projects. Please be generous in your sacrificial gift to “Restore the Church, Build the Future” in Central and Eastern Europe.  Thank you for participating in this work of mercy.

 

OPERATION RICE BOWL: A Program of Corporal & Spiritual Mercy
Announcement Dates:  February 19th & 26th   
Participation Dates:  March 1st – April 16th 

Operation Rice Bowl is a project of Catholic Relief Services (CRS).  This is not the CRS collection which will be taken up on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This is a Lenten devotion of each day intentionally pausing in this season of spiritual renewal to re-connect with our crucified and risen Lord.  Catholic Relief Services is our uniquely Catholic local, national and international disaster relief agency.  The Rice Bowl program extends from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, each day praying, fasting and offering alms to the Lord for the good of the least of His people. This year’s Rice Bowl program is titled, “A Time to Encounter Lent: Encounter ourselves, Encounter our neighbor, Encounter our God.”
Our daily sacrifice placed in the Rice Bowl during Lent helps us to consciously connect with our God, our neighbor and our very self.  Look for the Rice Bowl in our Catholic schools and parishes prior to Ash Wednesday.  Enhance your Easter joy; present your CRS Rice Bowl to our Risen Lord on Easter Sunday.  Check out the downloadable CRS Bowl Apps on the bottom of the Rice Bowl.  Thank you for participating in the program of corporal and spiritual mercy.

Navigating the Faith: St. Blaise & the Blessing of Throats

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by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship

The feast day of St. Blaise is celebrated on February 3 with the unique ritual of blessing the throats of those with throat disorders and anyone who wishes to avoid getting such a malady.

The blessing of throats is usually done by priests, though deacons may also serve, and it is considered a sacramental of the Church.
Unfortunately, very few facts are known about St. Blaise, and much of what is known about the life of St. Blaise comes from various traditions through the ages.  All sources agree that St. Blaise was the Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia who suffered martyrdom under Licinius about A.D. 316.  Even though the Emperor Constantine had granted freedom of worship in the Roman Empire with the Edict of Toleration in A.D. 311 five years earlier, persecution of Christians still raged in Armenia.

The legendary Acts of St. Blaise were written 400 years after his death.  According to the Acts, St. Blaise was a good bishop, working hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people.

Legends
From here on, we rely on the traditions which have been associated with our liturgical celebrations over the centuries.  In accord with various traditions, St. Blaise was born to rich and noble parents, and received a Christian education.  He was a physician before being consecrated a bishop at a young age.

Due to the persecution of Licinius, St. Blaise received a divine command to move from the town and live as a hermit in a cave.  There he lived in solitude and prayer, and he made friends with the wild animals, healing any that were sick or wounded.  One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for the game in the amphitheater stumbled upon St. Blaise’s cave.  They were surprised to find the bishop kneeling in prayer surrounded by wolves, lions and bears.

Legend has it that hunters hauled St. Blaise off to Agricolaus, the governor of Cappadocia, who imprisoned him. On his way there, St. Blaise encountered a woman whose pig was being seized by a wolf.  He commanded the wolf to release the pig, and the pig was freed unhurt. The woman brought St. Blaise candles in prison so that his cell would have light and he could read the sacred Scriptures.

While St. Blaise was in prison, a mother came with her young son who was choking to death on a fish bone lodged in his throat. St. Blaise miraculously cured the small boy by commanding him to cough up the bone.

Agricolaus tried to persuade St. Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blaise refused, he was beaten. Eventually Agricolaus condemned St. Blaise for upholding his Christian faith rather than apostatizing (denying the faith). St. Blaise was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with an iron comb (an instrument designed for combing wool, but used here for shredding the skin).  Finally, St. Blaise was beheaded.

Intercession of St. Blaise
By the sixth century, St. Blaise’s intercession was invoked for diseases of the throat in the East. As early as the eighth century records attest to the veneration of St. Blaise in Europe, and he became one of the most popular saints in the spiritual life of the Middle Ages. One reason for St. Blaise’s popularity arose from the fact he was a physician who cured, even performing miraculous cures.  Thereby, those who were sick, especially with throat ailments, invoked his intercession.  Eventually the custom of the blessing of throats arose, whereby the priest held two crossed candles over the heads of the faithful or touched their throats with the candles while he invoked the prayer of the saint and imparted God’s blessing.

The Blessing of the Throat
The feast of St. Blaise is celebrated on February 3.  The blessing of the throat is carried out using two white taper candles that were blessed on the previous day, February 2, Candlemas Day, the Feast of the Presentation.  The white color of the candles symbolizes purity.  Often a red ribbon will be draped over the base of the candles, the red symbolizing the martyrdom of St. Blaise.  The candles are grasped in an X-shape and held up to the throat of the person receiving the blessing:

“Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

St. Blaise is the patron of physicians, sick cattle, wax-chandlers, wool combers, wild animals and those with throat maladies.

From an article by Fr. William Saunders in the Arlington Catholic Herald, 1/3/2013.

Domestic Church: Prayer Turns Burdens to Blessings

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by Katie Sciba

Andrew has been waking me early every morning. A little nudge and a “Were you going to pray?” I croak “Mm hmm.” He goes to a corner of our room and spends time with the Lord before the kids get up.

We’ve been talking about this – how we should “parallel pray” before we start the day.And because there’s zero pretense here, I’ll tell you my response has been underwhelming. I mumble half a Hail Mary before I convince myself that what Jesus really wants for me is sleep, right? I’m tired, in-demand and pregnant.

Twenty minutes of dozing later, there’s a stampede of small feet headed for our bedroom door. Jesushelpme. Amen. I’m up!

“Mooooooom! Where are my undies?”

“Mama I need bweakfast. Do we have cookies?”

“Can we watch a show?!”

Spills. Tears. Tantrums. And the kids are worse.

After a blur of daytime hours, we get the kids down and I’m ready to cry from the emotional exhaustion.

“You know,” Andrew prodded me, “Jesus told me to sit up when I pray in the morning because I kept going back to sleep.”

So I really fought for it, the peaceful start I’ve been dreaming of. The alarm went off. Andrew prompted, “Do you want to pray?” but unlike mornings prior, I bolted up and reached for my prayer books. I rested in Jesus, who I knew at once had been waiting for me. I went over the forthcoming hours in my head, asking God to help me be generous to my children, encouraging to Andrew and charitable in all circumstances.

I have been finding all of the above challenging. Downright impossible in some cases. But the effects of this one morning of prayer were transformative. Throughout the day I was sweeter with the kids. I surprised Andrew with a cinnamon roll and coffee, leaving them next to a jotted note of encouragement. I was productive and cheerful around the house.

I felt unburdened by life. Unburdened. Most of the time I feel dry, taxed, weighed upon. But I see clearly that juggling the stress, to-dos, babies and marriage without solid time with the Lord greys the brightness of each blessing. It turns them into burdens and makes us feel like they suck our life away instead of us joyfully giving ourselves to them.

Jesus had been waiting to relieve me of this – I just had to draw near. And if, as sons and daughters made in the Image and Likeness, we’re supposed to imitate the Lord in His responses to life and people, then being intentional and vulnerable in conversation with Him will sharpen that imitation. In prayer, I give my burdens and ask for the grace to see blessings.

So here’s to the start of something new – the start of being made new. I have every intention of keeping up with Andrew’s prompting, which is absolutely the Holy Spirit working through my husband; and I can’t wait for how a build-up of days of Jesus in the morning will change our world.

Katie Sciba is married to Andrew and together they have four children (with another one on the way). She is the author of thecatholicwife.net.

Faithful Food: Letting Go and Letting God

by Kim Long

Growing up in northeast Louisiana, Mardi Gras was something a few of our classmates went to every year. Dutifully their mothers made sure there were enough beads for each of their children’s classmates. This was followed by Ash Wednesday when the same select few came in late to class with smudges proudly displayed on their foreheads. This was some club I thought, beads, a leisurely school schedule and a secret shared with a select few.

My worldview has widened beyond the borders of good ol’ Tensas parish, and in our area, Carnival season has something to offer for just about everyone. For several years I have hosted a Twelfth Night party for my godchildren, an event with lots of food and ceremony.

This year I awoke early on the Saturday of Twelfth Night and drove to St. Pius X Church for my first ever Mardi Gras Mass. I was mesmerized by the Krewes and their regalia, each with their own symbols. The bling was amazing and I felt as though I was being let in on a secret, no longer the third grade outsider, but part of the Catholic family. Bishop Duca spoke of letting go of what prevents us from embracing even more of God’s goodness.

By this time of the season, many of us are on Christmas overload, already having jettisoned the tree and the decorations, and excitedly looking forward to life returning to normal. Not me. Instead this beautiful Mass helped me transition into the season of Carnival. The homily gave me food for thought on ways to carry the message of love incarnate forward, to enlarge the possibilities of that love in the world around me, whether in the kitchen, at a parade, working, or raking the endless pine straw the February winds are busy redistributing.

Now my kitchen is humming. Crawfish, beignets, jambalaya, and bell pepper dressing are in various stages of readiness. This year I tried some new things including Galette de Rois, a puff pastry king cake from France.

Everyone arrived and, after much food and music, we bid Father Christmas farewell, chalked the doorways and asked God to bless us in our comings and goings and to keep us strong as a family.

As Christmas gives way to Carnival I hope we are able to find some time to relax, enjoy a season of fun and let go of anything that gets in the way of embracing God’s love for us.

I hope you enjoy this easy recipe for Carnival that looks fantastic!

Galette des Rois

Ingredients:
• 1 box frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to directions
• 1/3 roll of almond paste (marzipan)
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:
1) When pastry is thawed, place on top of a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Use a plate as a template to trace a circle, then with a sharp paring knife cut away the excess.
2) In a food processor combine almond paste, sugar, cream cheese and flavorings. Process until smooth.
3) Place filling in the center of your circle keeping the filling toward the middle.
4) Make another circle of second sheet of puff pastry dough and place on top of almond filling. Pinch the two circles closed.
5)  Using a sharp knife cut a criss cross design on top and use knife to make slits in top of dough (about six).
6) Brush with beaten egg and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and DO NOT OPEN OVEN as this will cause pastry not to puff!
7)  Check pastry and if needed bake for another 10 to 12 minutes.
8) Cool on wire rack and when cool enough to handle insert baby through bottom.

NOTE: We insert cake pulls (charms tied to ribbons)  in the side of cake and each person pulls one to see what their fortune will be in the New Year.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

In Review: Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?

Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu
reviewed by Kim Long

I hate to admit it but it took me a long time to embrace my Louisiana roots and I was terrified of Cajun cooking. A lot of that fear was brought on because none of the women in my family cooked Cajun dishes. Our across-the-street neighbors, however, were from South Louisiana. On many a Saturday afternoon I would knock on their screen door and Miss Myrtle would tell me to, “Come on in,” as the heavenly aroma of crawfish, onions, butter and spices wafted to greet me.

Years later I prayed and battled the roux dragon, and while mine won’t ever be the same as someone whose first language includes words like gumbo, etoufee, cha’ and roux, it was more than passable.

My mother bragged on the cookbook Are You Catholic, Who’s Your Mama, and Can You Make a Roux? She called it a must read. “This food is wonderful,” she said, “Oh yeah, and it’s all about being Catholic.” My mom got full marks; this book is about all of those things and more.
This book begins with spring and continues on its way to winter. Marcelle chronicles her childhood as well as some of her adult memories, all of which center around her Catholic faith, her family and good cooking.

We are brought into her life with a vivid description of spring’s arrival, “Spring arrives quickly in Louisiana. One day the landscape along the highways and country roads is pale and lonely. Limp strands of Spanish moss hang on barren tree limbs. Then suddenly, in March, the purple, pink and lavender of Japanese magnolias and redbud trees burst into the leafless countryside.” I for one could follow Marcelle into the kitchen without hesitation after that description.

The recipes are coupled with descriptions of her family adventures in and out of the kitchen, all of it revolving around the Catholic year. Here is another description found between recipes for Lois’ Vegetable Casserole and Crawfish Stew-Fay, “Once Lent is over and we are into Eastertide it is like being released from bindings. With winter behind us I look forward to outdoor activities and all the food treats that go with it.”

Along with these jaunty memories are wonderful family photographs of times gone by. Ladies in cocktail and evening dresses and men in suits jostle for position along with photos of children in their Sunday best and everyone fishing.

The recipes are great and offer something for everyone and every cooking skill level. From pound cake and seafood dishes to Mardi Gras Pasta Salad (which is very good and very easy), you will find something to your taste.

Marcelle Bienvenu was born and raised in St. Martinville. Among her many hats in life she wrote a regular feature for the Times-Picayune, was a researcher and consultant for Time-Life books, and owned and operated her own restaurant near Lafayette. She has worked for several restaurants including Commander’s Palace and K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans.

Reading this book is like chatting with a good friend. Using this book is like cooking with a trusted companion. The memories are thought provoking, the pictures evocative of earlier times, the recipes are tasty and the overall feel of her (and our) Catholic faith is comforting and familiar.

This book is a dream, a trinity, part memoir, part catechism and part cookbook! With these universal themes there is something for everyone. On a Sunday afternoon when the parade from the day before has exhausted you, curl up with a piece of king cake, a cup of café au lait, and Marcelle’s wonderful book.

Mike’s Meditations: Who Do You See?

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by Mike Van Vranken

If the man in this picture came to our country claiming to be a displaced refugee fleeing persecution, would you vote to allow him to stay?  I read that the Louvre Museum in Paris has offered to protect art treasures rescued from conflict-ridden countries such as Syria and Iraq. This is a great cultural service, but it causes me to ask:  “What is more important to us than human beings?”  How do we protect art and worldly artifacts, but not protect the treasure of the gift of life?

We say we don’t want to accept more refugees because it might allow terrorists to show up in our cities and towns. We do have a responsibility to protect our families, right? We fear that people that look like the man in the picture above might be suspect – they may harm us.  What are we to do?

“If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?  Children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and truth” 1 John 3:17-18.  It’s pretty straight forward, isn’t it?  No love for others means God’s love is not in us.  And all the flowery talk of love means nothing if we don’t love others.  Jesus himself gave us the story of the Good Samaritan; the hated Samaritan helped his enemy, the Jew. And of course, Jesus’ bottom line statement on such matters was: “whatever you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me” Matthew 25:45.  Not much ambiguity there.

Of course it may be hard to see Jesus in the man in the picture above. In my role as a Spiritual Director, I often ask people how they imagine Jesus. Very few of them portray him as the Middle Eastern man that he was. We all seem to see him as resembling ourselves. It’s easier for us to love someone who looks like we do. But, how can we protect art and worldly treasures and not people?  How do we ignore human beings in trouble?

Maybe it’s not a lack of love and compassion. We all want to help others, don’t we?  Perhaps it’s fear that restrains us from demanding that our country, and all other countries as well, welcome these 60 million refugees and offer them food, lodging and an atmosphere of Christian love. After all, this is a pro-life issue, isn’t it?  But, we’re afraid we may give help to a terrorist. Or, we fear that too many refugees will destroy our ability to help the people who are already here. We even fear that this influx of humanity will hurt our economy.  “But God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather of power and love and self control” 2 Timothy 1:7.  No, the fear does not come from God. But he does have a remedy. “Perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18.

When we act in love, fear goes away. Then, we are free to believe, in faith, that God will protect us; that God will provide for us. Can we step out in faith and lovingly see Jesus in every human being to such an extent that we provide help to the needy and do it with no fear whatsoever? I believe God has promised us that we can.

I also believe when we act out of love, our eyes are opened so wide that we see Jesus in the ones we are loving. We become free to live the Gospel we preach. We destroy the shackles that hold us back.  The Holy Spirit who lives within us can then go to work. We release his power, his anointing and his love on the world. Only then can our focus move from taking no action out of fear, to seeing and encountering the risen Jesus in ourselves and in everyone else.

The man in the picture above was my great, great uncle. He was a monk and a priest in Lebanon for almost 50 years. His name was Father Bechara Abou-Mourad, and he has been given the title “Servant of God,” which means that the cause for him to be canonized as a saint by the Church has been opened.

So, again, I ask: If the man in the picture came to our country claiming to be a displaced refugee fleeing persecution, would you vote to allow him to stay?

Mike is a writer, teacher, and co-author of the book, Faith Positive in a Negative World. You can contact him at  www.mikevanvrankenministries.org

Kids’ Connection: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

This month we learn about Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first person born in the United States to be canonized a saint!

Click to download and print this page.

The Harm of Pornography and Hope Beyond Addiction

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A New Series for the Catholic Connection
by Katie Sciba under guidance of Fr. Sean Kilcawley, STL

This piece is the beginning of a long sought-after series by the Catholic Connection on the subject of pornography and the influence this industry has upon our society, particularly the foundational unit of the family.  It is a sensitive subject, but those bound to Christ are called to label this sinful practice for what it truly is. Future articles will cover the dynamic of pornographic material to the public at large, the negative effect it has on the family, and recovery opportunities for consumers, spouses and children.

“Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties…it perverts the conjugal act. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public)…It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2354)

Pornography is perhaps the most subtle, most widely accepted toxin to society. As an industry, it’s a giant, an addiction that brings harm to both brain and heart by altering neurological responses and decreasing a consumer’s satisfaction with reality. It traumatizes children and brings shame to addicts and spouses.

And at last, the world is fighting back.

Armed with the Sacraments, several anti-porn non-profits, neuroscientific evidence and personal accounts, the Church is publicly addressing that which has remained secret.

Despite being mostly free of charge and easily accessible, consumption costs in matters of the heart. Covenant Eyes, an Internet filtering and accountability program, cites that 56% of divorces “involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites,” and 70% of wives of husbands with sexual addiction could be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from betrayal trauma. Dr. Jill Manning is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) whose research has uncovered the harmful relational problems with pornography. Her reports conclude that the number one effect of porn consumption is “increased marital distress and risk of separation and divorce;” number two is “decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction.”

It’s not just marriages that are in danger. Research reveals that the average age of initial exposure to pornography is eight, which means children even younger are being exposed. Regardless of age, pornography can be traumatic and confusing. Repeat exposure can alter brain chemistry, making it as addictive as narcotics and alcohol in a short period of time.

Despite research, addiction and dangers to the family, society struggles to pinpoint why pornography is wrong. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently responded to this epidemic in the document Create in Me a Clean Heart, which states, “Pornography objectifies people and brings hurt and pain. It is an illusory substitute for real relationships and intimacy, which in the end bring true joy.”

Repeat users give reasons of anxiety, depression, discontent, loneliness and anger for engaging in pornography — which can be audio and literary as well as visual.

Matt, a 28-year-old husband and father in Maryland, shared his story of early exposure, young addiction and eventual freedom with FighttheNewDrug.com. While his tone was heavy, he laughed with relief when he mentioned an unintended break from pornography: “[After] porn…I could think clearer. I was less anxious…I wake up and life is good.” Matt continued saying that sobriety from his addiction helped him enjoy people and regain confidence. He had hope.

So what now? Whether seeking addiction help or looking for healing as the spouse of an addict, you’ll find the greatest aid in a therapist specializing in sexual addiction (CSAT), especially one with training from the Sexual Addiction Treatment Provider Institute (SATP). IITAP.com has a therapist directory in the upper right corner of the site, easily used to find CSATs in our diocese. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) can be of help in areas of marital and parental communication as well as healing. Though there are few Catholic CSATs or LMFTs in the area, many will respect Catholic values, so be sure to inform them of your faith. Look also for a spiritual director and a safe group or trusted confidant to listen and discuss progress in recovery, as this support is invaluable and sometimes more readily available when the need is immediate.

IntegrityRestored.com is a fantastic resource for addicts, spouses, parents and clergy. Wives of addicts can find help at BloomforWomen.org with a monthly subscription to classes and live sessions with therapists. For children, check out Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen Jenson and Dr. Gail Poyner for advice on how to address pornography with children. Install software from CovenantEyes.com on all computers and devices, which both filters inappropriate content and sends accountability reports to recipients of the user’s choosing, keeping children safe and adults accountable.

There is hope beyond addiction and, by God’s grace, addicts and loved ones alike can find validation and healing through healthy connections with God and others to bring real healing and satisfaction.