Thursday, October 1, 2015

New video series on VOCATIONS from the Augustine Institute

A new video series on Vocations from the Augustine Institute
CALLED: Discover Your Vocation

Finally. Vocations As It Should Be Taught.

From the Augustine Institute, producers of Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained and YDisciple, comes a new video series about Vocations.
CALLED: Discover Your Vocation

A Relational Approach to God's Intimate Desire for Young People

CALLED: Discover Your Vocation was commissioned by the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors as a fresh approach to catechesis on discernment and vocations for parishes and schools.
Fr. Jim Crisman

What Makes CALLED Different from Other Programs?

  • Explores Vocations as an integral part of knowing, loving, and serving God – not as something we merely do.
  • Unveils the importance and power of aligning our hearts with God’s desire.
  • Offers practical advice on how teens can discern God’s call in their lives.
  • Answers the tough questions with solid answers from presenters who specialize in talking to youth.
  • Includes five compelling sessions with study guides that draw out penetrating insights.
  • Fulfills USCCB Catechetical Requirements for Adolescents.
CALLED is also available on demand to stream for every parishioner through a remarkably affordable subscription to FORMED. Learn more

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Professional Football Veteran Now Strives for Excellence in the Catholic Faith

Posted by TRENT BEATTIE on Monday Sep 14th, 2015 at 5:33 PM

Longtime quarterback Chris Greisen, now a teacher, is passing on what he has learned.
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Chris Greisen’s extensive professional football experience includes the National Football League (NFL), NFL Europe, the Arena Football League (AFL), the Arena Football League’s developmental division (AF2) and the United Football League (UFL).
Greisen was drafted out of Northwest Missouri State in 1999 by the Arizona Cardinals, a team he stayed with until 2001. It was in the middle of his professional playing career that the Sturgeon Bay, Wis., native found his stride, setting touchdown and completion percentage records for the AFL’s Georgia Force in 2007.
It was around this same time that Greisen was motivated to commit himself completely to his faith. Although he had converted to Catholicism before marrying his wife, Shannon, in 1999, he says it wasn’t until he started listening to Lighthouse Catholic Media CDs that he realized the need to dedicate his entire life to God.
Greisen still gives private lessons to aspiring quarterbacks, but his main focus now is teaching theology and mathematics at Notre Dame de la Baie Academy in Green Bay, Wis. He recently spoke of his classroom and gridiron experiences with Register correspondent Trent Beattie.

You’ve played in five professional football leagues. What is the best part of pro football, and what is the worst?
I’ve played in every pro football league there is, except for the Canadian Football League, and I can say that the best and worst parts are the same for each of the leagues.
The best part is the camaraderie and being paid to play a game you love. I enjoyed constantly striving to improve as a player, whether that was in games or in practices. Like any player, I enjoyed playing, but I even enjoyed the things that are generally considered mundane, like watching film on future opponents.
What I didn’t like, which is the case for anyone in any profession, is the politics. At times you’d get a clash of egos, and there would be fighting about what needs to be done and who needs to do it. You’d also get a lot of people who would tell you what you want to hear but would do something completely opposite.
When I was first drafted into the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals, I thought, “Wow, I had a great experience with outstanding coaches in college, and now that I’m in the NFL, it’s going to be even better.” Well, that’s not how it turned out.
Generally, professional coaches tend to treat you like a can of beer. They pop you open, see how you taste, and when they’re done with you, they toss you to the ground and crush you. It’s the same with a Chris Greisen as it is with a Brett Favre — you’re only valued for what the coaches think you can bring to the table, and once they stop thinking you have something to offer, you’re done. My NFL experience was much shorter and less impressive than Favre’s, but the general concept is the same for any player: You’re a commodity, not a person.

After your first NFL experience from 1999 to 2001, you played in the high-scoring Arena Football League. Did that help you throw better when you returned to the NFL in 2010 with the Dallas Cowboys?
The Arena League has different rules and a smaller field, so it’s easier to score touchdowns. It’s basically like playing on a turf-covered hockey rink. The fans are right up close, and you’re expected to throw the ball a lot more than in the NFL.
When I was with the Georgia Force in 2007, I was blessed to be with great teammates and great coaches. Everything around me just clicked, so it was like being given the keys to a Ferrari. All I had to do was jump in and go. That’s when I set the AFL single-season record for touchdown passes and completion percentage.
In the NFL, on fourth down and one yard to go, the offensive coordinator is probably going to call a running play. In the AFL, you’re far more likely going to throw the ball. [This offensive mindset] brought that feeling of confidence and wanting the ball in my hand at critical times of the game. 

Have you always taken the faith seriously or was there a specific time that you started to do so?
I don’t think there was one watershed moment; it’s been more of a gradual thing. I actually grew up Lutheran and was taken to church every weekend by my mother. My dad, who was a great dad in many ways, did not go to church with my mom, my brother [former NFL linebacker Nick Greisen] and me.
When I got to college, I basically became a pagan. I said I believed in Jesus, but for the most part didn’t show it by following his word and his church. However, when I was about to marry my high-school sweetheart, Shannon, I wanted to make sure our future children would have their dad with them at church, so I became Catholic. 
Then we were asked to join a couples Bible study. We thought it would be fun, considering the people who were in it. That experience got me listening to Lighthouse Catholic Media CDs that started answering some questions I had and even some I didn’t have yet. As my football career progressed, I’d drive or fly around the country for games, and I’d take stacks of CDs to listen to along the way. After hearing from speakers like Father Larry Richards, it dawned on me that I was a “cafeteria Catholic” who picked and chose what he wanted to believe.
The more CDs I listened to and books I read, the more convinced I became of the need to let go of my own opinions and become a more complete disciple of Christ. One of the most striking ways this took place was with contraception. In a world where contraception is a given, the Catholic Church is the only Christian church that doesn’t budge on the issue [which had been agreed upon by all major denominations until 1930]. I was totally amazed at the Church’s ingenious teachings on being open to life, and I couldn’t believe I had never heard them before.
As Catholics, we’re blessed beyond belief to be in the Church that Christ started, because we have the fullness of the faith and the sacraments. We have every gift Christ wanted to give us. Now the trick is to be totally open to receive all that he wants to give us.

Is it easy to convey that to your students or are they tougher than any defense you encountered on the field?
Sometimes I do think they’re tougher than any defense I’ve encountered, but other times, they are very open to the truth. I can’t make anyone believe anything, but I can plant seeds. Whether or not those seeds grow is up to the Holy Spirit, but I’m doing what’s called of me in order to fulfill my mission of building the Kingdom. I cherish the opportunity to partner with parents, whether they know it or not, to help their children get to heaven.
It is a joy to work at Notre Dame de la Baie Academy because of the students and because of the overall atmosphere. I get to attend Mass every single day in our chapel. After receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, I try to live out that sacramental grace by attempting to be Jesus to my students. 

At Notre Dame, our students have the opportunity, unlike their public-school counterparts, to discuss what is true about the issues that they deal with every day. I can’t imagine going through those formidable years as a student and not being able to ask or hear about the issues at hand. One example is, after hearing Jason Evert speak on the virtue of chastity, I had a young man ask me to help him understand some of the things Jason said. The great thing about this was that it was in geometry class, and I postponed my lesson by one day since this young man started a barrage of questions on how to live a pure life. It was awesome!

Questions like those the students had are great ways to talk about what love (or charity) really is. If I love someone, my goal is not to use them for my own pleasure, but to will what is best for them. What is that “best”? That “best” is heaven. We then talk about how real love (or charity) requires self-sacrifice, not self-indulgence. A lot of times when people use the word “love,” they really mean “lust.”
The theological virtue of charity is loving God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. This is why my wife and I have the acronym “JOY” written on our mirror: Jesus first, others second and yourself third.
That runs counter to the worldly model of happiness.
Yes, it does. Everywhere in our society we are taught that we need to look out for ourselves, then others, and if we have time left, we give it to Jesus or whatever our faith is. We as Christians often forget that we are called to die to ourselves so that we can be raised to new life in Jesus — and if we do that, we will, like all the saints before us, find true peace and joy.
It is unfortunate that so many people, like I did for many years, try to find our own way to happiness. Now I just try to always remember that Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life …” In trying to live these words, I heard a quote the other day that really makes me think about what kind of teacher/coach I am. It comes from Pope Paul VI: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. May all of us be witnesses [like that] to the “Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Register correspondent Trent Beattie writes from Seattle.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Professional Tennis Player Tim Smyczek credit's Lighthouse CDs


A Gentleman’s Guide to Pro Tennis (and Life)
Wisconsin native Tim Smyczek places his faith, fairness and sportsmanship before wins.
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After battling 14-time Grand Slam singles champion Rafael Nadal for more than four hours in the second round of this year’s Australian Open, Tim Smyczek did something no one expected him to do. He was down 5-6, 0-30, in the fifth set, when Nadal missed a first serve badly during a verbal outburst from the crowd. This prompted Smyzek to allow Nadal to take his first serve over, and Nadal soon won the set 7-5, and along with it, the match.
Smyczek’s sportsmanship drew praise from the crowd and attention from the media, but he isn’t as impressed at his move as so many others have been. He considers it routine, since his parents only allowed him to pursue a professional tennis career on the condition that he conduct himself as a gentleman on court.
Smyczek, who has been ranked as high as No. 68 in the world in singles (he is currently ranked 95), spoke with Register correspondent Trent Beattie before the U.S. Open, which runs Aug. 31-Sept. 13 in New York City.

You got a lot of credit for being a good sport earlier this year during an intense match with Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. What are your thoughts on that?

We had been going toe-to-toe for four hours in a tough, second-round match. Rafa was ahead 6-5, 30-0, when someone in the stands yelled during his serve. He missed it by a few feet — something he hadn’t done all match. I let him do it over, and then he won the match.
I would have loved to have beaten Rafa, but the do-over was the fair thing to do. This would have been true whether the match was starting or ending and whether I was ahead or behind. It’s just part of something my parents required from me before I started to play tennis seriously. No matter what else happened, they wanted me to be a gentleman on the court.
Lots of people cheered for me, and the do-over got a lot of attention in the press. It might be a good thing for younger athletes to see that sportsmanship is possible even in tight situations like that, but I think getting so much attention for what I did is a sad commentary on where sports are today. People are amazed when someone does something like that with a lot on the line.

You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into your tennis career, even in your teenage years. Was it tough to move away from your family in Wisconsin in order to play more tennis in Florida?

It might sound terrible, but it wasn’t tough to do that at the time. I loved playing tennis, and at 16 or 17, you get a kick out of having more freedom and branching out in to the world. It’s not that I didn’t like my family, but at that age, you’re not really concerned about being able to see them every day when you can talk on the phone.
My main concern was not having a car, which sometimes made it difficult to get to places. I always made the effort to go to Sunday Mass, though. That was ingrained in me from childhood, so it was kind of automatic, even 1,300 miles away from home. It’s something that has stayed with me through the years. It’s been a constant in a fast-paced, ever-changing life of tennis.
Today, as I travel all over the world, I miss my family more than when I first moved out. My parents do get to see some of my matches, but most of the time, I’m on my own or with my coach, Billy Heiser. He’s only one year older than I am, and we actually competed against each other many years ago in junior tournaments, so he is kind of like family.

Even though you’ve always attended Mass, was there a specific time that your faith deepened?

About four years ago, I had a pretty serious girlfriend. We were considering marriage, but the problem was that she didn’t practice her faith. She was a fallen-away Catholic, which would have made our married life together complicated. We would have had conflicting beliefs and practices, which wouldn’t have been an ideal environment for raising kids.
It was a tough thing to do, but I made it clear to her that if we were going to be married, she would have to take her faith seriously. She didn’t accept the challenge, so we broke up. What made that unpleasant experience easier was hearing Scott Hahn’s conversion story, which I had picked up at a Lighthouse Catholic Media kiosk.
Even though Scott was a convert and already married, the parallels in our lives were similar enough that I could see how being a practicing Catholic was an unsurpassed blessing. Even if it meant I would lose a friend or potential spouse, I just had to remember that a Christ-centered, Church-empowered life should be my top priority.

What do you think is the most empowering aspect of the Church?

It’s probably something that Scott Hahn has spoken about in a CD called The Healing Power of Confession. As Catholics, we can take this sacrament for granted, but we really shouldn’t. It’s a hugely empowering thing, because we’re made right with God and given the grace to avoid sin in the future.
If we didn’t have confession, we would probably go from bad to worse, because the guilt and sinful momentum would build. Confession removes the guilt, stops the sinful momentum and pushes us in the other direction of virtue. It’s truly a healing sacrament, so I make an effort to go at regular intervals, even when I don’t feel like going.
It’s funny how some people might think that if you go to confession regularly you must have tons of serious sins to confess. The opposite is actually true. The more you go, the less you usually have to say; but the less you go, the more you usually have to say. The closer you are to a source of grace, the more you get, and the further you are, the less you get, so it makes sense.
What’s really encouraging, though, is that no matter how bad off you are spiritually, you always have the mercy of God nearby in confession, where any sin can be forgiven. The whole point is forgiveness, so you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for it.

Do you have a favorite Catholic book?

I carry around little books like The Way and The Forge from St. Josemaría Escrivá. They are very handy while traveling, because they don’t take up much space at all. What they lack in size, they more than make up for in wisdom from St. Josemaría, who wanted people to treasure, share and live out their religious beliefs rather than hide them.
One way to make this happen is by praying the Rosary, which I try to do every day. The Rosary is a very effective means of making the mysteries of the life of Christ more real to the individual. You see things through an incarnational lens, because you’re calling on the Blessed Mother for help. She knows the Incarnation better than anyone, so she’s in a unique position to help others understand it.
The Rosary helps me in a very real-life, tennis-specific way. When I was competing on the Challenger’s Tour, which is the equivalent of the minor leagues in pro baseball, I had almost constant anxiety about whether I’d make it to the main ATP [Association of Tennis Professionals] tour. When I stated praying the Rosary regularly, it helped to give a sense of routine and structure, which lessened the anxiety. Then I could approach tennis with a healthier mindset.
Speaking of the Rosary reminds me of a story from earlier this year. I was invited on a Protestant radio program to talk about being a Christian in pro tennis. The interview went okay, and at the end, the host asked me to lead the audience in prayer. I’m not used to leading spontaneous public prayer, so the first thing I thought of was a Hail Mary, the most-recited prayer of the Rosary. I think the host was shocked when I prayed it, but the Hail Mary is very biblical, as seen in Luke, Chapter 2, so maybe that one Hail Mary will get some people to consider being Catholic.

What are your personal expectations going into the U.S. Open, and which players do you think have the best shot at winning it?

One of my top memories so far in tennis was at the 2012 U.S. Open. I made it to the third round, and I was the last American male left in the singles draw. That got the New York crowd heavily on my side, and they almost pushed me to a victory. It was a close, five-set match at night on the Grandstand [Court].
This year, I’m just going to try to peak at the U.S. Open, after a tough series of hard-court matches in the summer heat. I hope to win some matches and do some damage, but as far as a favorite to win, that status goes to Novak Djokovic. It’s hard to bet against him. He’s ranked No. 1, was victorious at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, and won the U.S. Open in 2011.
Aside from Djokovic, it would be fun to see Roger Federer win, who, even at 34, is still playing great tennis. Others have a shot at it, but those are clearly the top two guys, so we’ll see what takes place.
Whatever happens in New York, I’m looking forward to getting married in November. After my tough but faith-building experience related earlier, I did find a good Catholic woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. She’s the daughter of a tournament sponsor I had known for years. I’m very happy I met her, especially because she helps me to be a better Catholic. That’s what matters most.
Register correspondent Trent Beattie writes from Seattle.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Prepare for Pope Francis to come to the United Sates

Would you like to better understand the teachings on Marriage and Family!

Featured Book for August

Love Is Our Mission
Just in time for the Eighth World Meeting of Families in September!
Love Is Our Mission
The Family Fully Alive
This book explains how all Catholic teaching about sex, marriage, and the family flows from our basic beliefs about Jesus. It starts by offering a narrative of our creation, then soberly continues with the fall of humanity, and finishes by emphasizing the family's role in God's plan for our salvation. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is the preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families written by Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Also in Spanish - El Amor Es Nuestra Mision

Esta catequesis explica como toda la ensenanza catolica acerca del sexo, el matrimonio y la familia se deriva de nuestras creencias basicas sobre Jesus. Esta catequesis ofrece un relato que comienza con nuestra creacion, que observa con sobriedad nuestra caida y los desafios que enfrentamos, pero que enfatiza el plan de Dios y los unos a los otros que estaremos plenamente vivos.
Pages: 127
Book Dimensions: 5.5'' x 8.5''

Parishes, order book in bulk by contacting
Julie Musselman

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bless-it-Forward Project Gives away 500 Bibles in Illinois

Gabriel's Messenger Ministries, Inc.(GMM) is a ministry devoted completely to its goal of saving souls and changing lives through it's efforts to evangelize. "Preach the gospel to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to set free those who are oppressed"-Luke 4:18

It's founder Nicole Abisinio had the great idea to raise funds through Indiegogo in order to give away Bibles. Through this online crowd fundraiser, GMM was able to purchase 500 bibles for St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church in Chicago, IL.The New Testament bible purchase was coordinated through Lighthouse Catholic Media who offers some of the lowest bulk parish prices for bibles to help parishes evangelize.

Here are some awesome words in feedback from Roberta Cheong, who organized the distribution of the bibles:
"Giving away the bibles really helped to initiate conversations with people about their faith, so it was a very useful evangelization tool. I wish you and your team were there at the Summer Fair to see people's reactions when they receive their bible. It is one of joyful surprise and tremendous gratitude! Many of them purchase food and sit around us reading their bibles as they eat! It is one of the most beautiful things to see!"

If you'd like to join us in evangelizing through a bible give away, please contact Julie Musselman 727-709-8649

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Apologetics without Apology!

Learn how to answer the tough questions about the Catholic Church...

Ever Find Yourself Tongue-Tied When You're Defending The Catholic Church?

 Questions You Have. Answers You Need.

Learn how to answer the tough questions about your Catholic Faith.


Featured Title in "Apologetics"

Answering Common Objections
Answering Common Objections - 6-CD Set

Listen as former Protestant pastor Dr. Scott Hahn covers the Biblical evidence for the authority of the Pope, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the sacraments of both Confession and Holy Eucharist. Learn more
"Dr. Scott Hahn is so enthusiastic! He's a brilliant theologian and yet, he has a way of using scripture to reach us, no matter our background."
— Julie in Mechanicsburg, PA

Talks that Debunk the Myths of Atheism

Check out our full list of titles dealing with Apologetics!

Answering Atheism
Answering Atheism
by Ken Hensley

In this empowering talk, Ken Hensley uses simple, effective logic to show how the atheistic worldview inevitably leads to contradictions that can’t hold up to sound reasoning. Learn more

The Big Question
The Big Question
God Are You There?

Matt Fradd is a gifted evangelist who speaks to over fifty thousand people every year. In this passionate talk, Matt relays how God's existence can be grasped by reason and how everyone must wrestle with the big question:
God, are you there? Learn more

Proofs for the Existence of God
Proofs for the
Existence of God

In this eye-opening talk, Fr. Robert Spitzer - an expert in physics, philosophy, and theology - explains how modern scientific findings and recent medical studies support what is clearly understood through Christian Faith. Learn more

Powerful Stories of Real-Life Conversions

Why a Protestant pastor became Catholic
Why A Protestant
Pastor Became Catholic

One of the most popular Catholic presentations ever! This is the legendary testimony of Dr. Scott Hahn and how he was militantly anti-Catholic but ultimately entered into the Catholic Church and soon became one of her most passionate defenders. Learn more

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic
Born Fundamentalist,
 Born Again Catholic

"David Currie has written what may turn out to be the work on this nettlesome topic of Evangelicals being received into the Catholic Church." -Thomas Howard, author ofEvangelical is Not Enough

This book gives a detailed discussion of the important theological and doctrinal beliefs Catholics and evangelicals hold in common, as well as the key doctrines that separate us.
Learn more

Crossing the Tiber

Crossing the Tiber
by Stephen Ray

This book is the exhilarating conversion story of Stephen Ray, a devout Baptist who relates how he overcame his hostility to the Catholic Church by a combination of serious Bible study and vast research of the writings of the early Church Fathers.
Learn more

Thursday, July 23, 2015


What if EVERYTHING a parish needs for Faith Formation was all in one place at one low price where EVERYONE in the parish could access it, at the parish, at home, on their tablets and smart phones??

That dream is soon becoming a reality~ will bring together resources from the top Catholic Apostolates in the US today including: Lighthouse Catholic Media, The Augustine Institute, Word on Fire, The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, Ignatius Press, St Paul Center and more!

Symbolon, YDisciple, Beloved, Lectio, Catholicism, 33 Days to Morning Glory and MORE all in one place?? YES coming soon

Check out this Video that shows just some of what will include:
CLICK HERE for short video brings together the best Catholic content from Augustine Institute, St. Paul Center, Marian Fathers, Lighthouse Catholic Media, Ignatius and Word on Fire and more. Think of it as amazon or netflix for an entire parish!

The challenges parishes face are as varied as the parishioners. You wish you had more time for each of them. Now there’s a new online tool that helps you do more with the time you have—from improving youth, marriage and adult faith programs to growing your base of volunteers. includes ALL of this, and more to come!:

Contact Julie Musselman to bring this to your parish.