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Being an “expert in humanity”… is for everyone!

UPDATE:  The Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada awarded Josephine Lombardi’s recent book, Experts in Humanity, First Place Standing in the Family Ministry Category.

This Sunday’s all-new episode of Subject Matters features a wonderful book that brings together Catholic spirituality and contemporary biology and psychology.  Theologian Josephine Lombardi takes us on a spiritual journey towards being our best selves in “Experts in Humanity: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing.”  Ahead of Sunday’s premiere, check out “My Take” on Professor Lombardi’s book and tune in Sunday night!

Your future depends on you knowing God and knowing yourself. This will bring you healing, and your own story of healing will inspire others to know God and to know themselves.
Experts in Humanity, p.127

Subject Matters: “Experts in Humanity: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing”
by Josephine Lombardi, PhD
Sunday, May 29 at 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT


A Day of Reflection for Women: Saturday, June 4, 2016

Dear Friends of the Institute of Theology,

St. Augustine’s Institute of Theology invites you to participate in A Day of Reflection for Women:

Date: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Topic: “Knowing God’s Perfect Love Is Knowing God’s Mercy with Dr. Josephine “

Dr. Lombardi will explore obstacles to loving God, oneself and others. There will be time for private reflection and small group sharing, lunch and Mass.

Read the flyer for more details. Registration for this Lay Formation event is open. You can pay and register here.

If you have questions regarding the event, please e-mail tat.mukhina@utoronto.ca or call 416-261-7207 ext. 235.

Bring your mothers, sisters, daughters and friends!

June-4-Lay-Formation-Program-A Day of Reflection

Cardinal Thomas Collins met with media Friday as Pope Francis releases papal document on the family

On Friday, April 8, 2016, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation (papal document to the global church), “Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family”, bringing together the results of two recent Synods on the family convoked by the Holy Father in 2014 and 2015. To help provide context to this important document and recognizing the many pastoral challenges facing the family today, Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, and a panel (including theologians and a married couple) met with the media to answer questions and offer brief reflections on Amoris Laetitia (WATCH VIDEO below):

Dr. Moira McQueen – Moral Theologian and Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, Dr. McQueen participated in the 2015 Synod on the Family in Rome.

Dr. Josephine Lombardi – Associate Professor of Pastoral and Systematic Theology at St. Augustine’s Seminary, Dr. Lombardi has many years of pastoral experience working in parishes and schools.

Randy & Anna Boyagoda – Dr. Randy Boyagoda is a professor at Ryerson University and writes frequently about religion, politics, and culture. Dr. Anna Boyagoda directs the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program for the Archdiocese of Toronto. Randy & Anna have four children, ages 3-10.

Additional resources can be found at: http://www.archtoronto.org/synod

Paschal Triduum: the three days of Passover

Source: Living with the Liturgical Year by Josephine Lombardi

The term “Paschal Triduum” means “the three days of Passover.” Passover commemorates God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery. These days are the heart of the liturgical year.

Holy Thursday: The Call to Serve
Holy Thursday is a special day when we recall

  • the Institution of the Holy Eucharist (the Last Supper),
  • Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and
  • the institution of the priesthood.

Holy ThursdayHoly Thursday establishes us as a eucharistic people and as people of service. Jesus came as one who serves. His humility was overflowing. After he washes the feet of his disciples, he says, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). Just as he did at his baptism, Jesus shows us how it’s done. God honours humility. God blesses humility. This is a radical idea! If everyone lived with humility, family life would change, the workplace would change, school would change, marriage would change, society would change. Those who are called to leadership or supervisory roles are called to acts of humble service and love of neighbour.

Like Passion (Palm) Sunday, however, Holy Thursday presents us with another bittersweet revelation: on the night that Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his friends, one of them betrays him.

Many of us can relate to this scenario:

  • The day we get a new job, we hear that a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer.
  • Two years into a marriage, a spouse passes away.
  • Three months into a pregnancy, a miscarriage occurs.
  • Fifteen years into a marriage, a spouse decides to leave.
  • Weeks after graduation, a beloved child dies in a car accident.

The list can go on and on. We may be living the paschal mystery in our daily lives without making the connections. As Jesus relates to our bittersweet seasons, we relate to his.

Good Friday: Spiritual Drought

Good FridayGood Friday is a painful day as we meditate on the events leading up to the death of our Lord. It is not unusual for Christians to place themselves at the scene. Do we relate to the crowd? To the women? To Mary, Jesus’ mother? To his apostles? To Jesus himself?

Many who have experienced the loss of a loved one find themselves relating to Mary and to the many others who loved Jesus. Grief can be lonely and isolating. The waves of grief come and go and can leave us paralyzed from time to time. The good news, however, is that Jesus conquered death: the loss of our loved ones is temporary. We have the promise that we will see them again. When Martha is grieving the passing of Lazarus, Jesus says: “Your brother will rise again …. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:23-26). Similarly, St. Paul discourages us from grieving, as those who have no hope do (1 Thess. 4:13). The separation we experience is not forever. Our pain is healed; our hope is restored.

While we honour Good Friday in the present, we live it within the reality of the paschal mystery: Jesus died, Jesus rose from the dead and Jesus will come again. This mystery consoles us in times of grief and reminds us that God can and will redeem our losses. We participate in the fullness of the paschal mystery.

Good Friday reminds us that Jesus was victorious in the end. Through his death, Jesus conquers death, darkness and sin. Sometimes God can use what we perceive as a setback or a disappointment to bring a greater good. God can redeem all of our losses and disappointments with renewed strength, insights and emotional healing. The key is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and his truth.

Holy Saturday: Light that Overcomes Darkness

Holy SaturdayThe early Church celebrated the night before Easter by illuminating the churches and even entire cities. Services started around three in the afternoon and ended with the Mass of the Resurrection on Easter morning. At the Easter Vigil we celebrate this ancient rite. On this day, we reflect on the time Christ remained in the tomb, his descent to the dead, and his resurrection. The Easter Vigil fills us with hope and expectation as it inspires us to stop and reflect on the great gift of the paschal mystery. We die and rise with Christ in the past, present and future as we wait at the empty tomb with wonder and awe. We are reminded that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Holy Saturday is a good time to reflect on how well we wait on the Lord. Are we too busy and distracted to see him among us? Do we place value on unimportant things rather than on our loved ones?

Holy Saturday challenges us to be like Mary, who chose the better part (Lk. 10:42). Waiting for prayers to be answered, lives and relationships to be restored, requires trust and rest in the Lord. Jesus waited for the resurrection. God’s timing is the best timing. Are we mindful of those times we are called to be still and wait?

Easter Season

Easter Sunday is the feast of feasts, the solemnity of solemnities. It is, writes St. Athanasius, the Great Sunday. Easter Season begins on Easter Sunday and ends with Evening Prayer on the Solemnity of Pentecost. The Church teaches “The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation as on a feast day, or better as on ‘Great Sunday.’” (General Norms for the Liturgical Year, #22)

Easter is the reason for the liturgical season and for the spiritual journey. Easter is a reminder that

  • the resurrection of Jesus really happened;
  • we, too, will be resurrected and receive a glorified body;
  • death, darkness and sin have been conquered once and for all;
  • we can be made new, despite our pain and loss;
  • truth prevails;
  • brokenness is healed;
  • creation is restored;
  • eternal life with God is possible.

Easter is the season of restoration, healing and reconciliation.

I hope God showers you and your family with graces this Holy Week,


Cardinal Collins presses for Protection of Conscience and the Vulnerable as Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Legislation Prepared

Cardinal Collins has also encouraged all those concerned about pending legislation to visit CanadiansforConsicence.ca to voice their concerns to their elected representatives.

Please watch and share this video.

Prayer and Fasting during Lent


In the Roman Rite, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for forty days, plus Sundays. Lent ends with the celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. By the year 325, forty days of fasting before Easter was customary. These forty days were associated with Jesus’ forty-day fast in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). The number forty, which is a symbol of a time of testing, is also associated with:

  • the forty-day fasts of Moses and Elijah,
  • forty days of rain during the Flood, and
  • the forty years that the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness.

The Sundays of this season are numbered: from the First Sunday of Lent to the Fifth Sunday of Lent. The following Sunday, called Passion (Palm) Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Lent prepares us for Easter. During Lent, therefore, we do the following things:

  • Fast (develops self-discipline and creates a sense of solidarity with those around the world who are struggling),
  • Give alms (gives us an opportunity to share material blessings),
  • Remember our baptism (gives us an opportunity to reconnect with our baptismal promises), and
  • Pray for ourselves and for all people (gives us the opportunity to grow in self-awareness through a good examination of conscience).

This is a special time for catechumens as they prepare to be baptized and received into the Church.

The combination of prayer and fasting is a powerful experience. Whenever we are faced with what may appear to be insurmountable troubles, we may notice a difference if we add fasting to our prayer lives. Jesus reminds us that some situations require the power that comes from prayer and fasting, as fasting helps us to develop self-discipline. This self-discipline can spill over into our thoughts and attitudes as well. We can fast from certain foods, or we may need to fast from negative thoughts and habits. Inner peace requires self-discipline. Fasting can help move us closer to that peace.


Jesus fasted and prayed

Jesus spent time in the desert fasting and preparing before his public ministry. His actions reveal something powerful to us: we need to prepare if we are to serve in his kingdom. If our spirit is not prepared to serve Christ, our ministry will suffer. Since Jesus prayed and fasted before his public mission, we are called to do the same.

Pray without ceasing! (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Ash Wednesday

Because the date of Easter changes from year to year, Ash Wednesday can occur on any day from February 4 to March 11. Ash Wednesday was originally intended for penitents, who were excluded for a time from the community of faith. (Covering oneself with ashes as a sign of repentance began before Christianity.) Now Lent begins on this day. We are called to make a commitment to “turn away from sin and turn toward the Gospel.” Ash Wednesday begins a lengthy process of self-examination where we look at different areas of our lives and ask questions about our thoughts, intentions, words and actions. As we repeat this process year after year, we should see growth in many areas as we move away from ignorance and towards understanding and healing. Our faith development should move us out of ignorance, into learning, and finally into a state of restoration.


Is It Ever OK to Lie? by Msgr. Charles Pope

As many of you know, Msgr. Charles Pope writes the Question and Answer Column for Our Sunday Visitor. He recently published an excellent blog post that is worthy of sharing with you here.

For those of you too busy to read the full article, here are some important take-aways (but we encourage you to read the whole blog post and share with others):

  • A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving … To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error … The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity (CCC 2482 – 2484).
  • Life sometimes presents us with difficulties that are not easily overcome. But to adjust moral principles to accommodate anomalies is to engage in a kind of casuistry that does harm to moral principles. Sometimes the best we can do is to shrug humbly and say, “Well it’s wrong to lie, but let’s trustingly leave the judgment on this one up to God, who knows our struggles and will surely factor in the fearsome circumstances.”

Living with the Rosary

In honour of the 150th Anniversary of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, we encourage you to watch this series of reflections on the Luminous Mysteries.

The Redemptorist order asked Dr. Josephine Lombardi to prepare these reflections and Villagers Media produced the series.

The series has aired on Salt and Light TV and Vision TV.

Now, they are available for viewing on demand.

Dr. Josephine Lombardi - Living with the Rosary

Click to watch

Gospel of Luke Reflection 7 Part Workshop Series: Registration Still Open

You are invited to this seven part workshop series for young adults and adults.

The First Session: “The Presence of Joy in the Gospel of Luke” took place on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 at St Pius X Parish, Brantford, facilitated by Dr. Josephine Lombardi.

Thank you to all that attended! Josephine reflected on the connection between mercy and joy using several accounts of healing and conversion in the Gospel of Luke.


To register for future sessions or for more information contact Monica Verin at (905)528-7988 ext 2238 or mverin@hamiltondiocese.com


Christmas Season Reflection

“A child is born for us, a son is given to us.” (Is. 9:6)

“To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”(Lk. 2:11)

Christmas season is celebrated from evening prayer of Christmas Eve until Sunday after the Epiphany, or after January 6. Christmas season celebrates:

  • Christ’s birth
  • Early Manifestations

Key feasts in this season include:

  • December 25 The Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord
  • Sunday within the octave is the Feast of the Holy Family
  • December 26 Feast of St. Stephen
  • December 27 Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist
  • December 28 Feast of the Holy Innocents
  • January 1, Solemnity of the Feast, Mary, Mother of God
  • January 6, Epiphany
  • Sunday after Epiphany is the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord

Christmas season moves us to consider the implications of the Incarnation. The incarnation meant that God had entered our understanding of time. Why would God choose to visit us in the flesh? The Church teaches that God became flesh for several reasons:

  • To save us by reconciling us with God
  • So that we might know God’s love
  • To be our model of holiness
  • So that we can be partakers, or share, in the divine nature

God came in the flesh because God loves us. This loves reveals something about the mercy of God. Whenever we are tempted to despair or to question God’s plan for us, it helps to recall Jesus among us. He came so that we might know God’s love.

Josephine Lombardi

Dating of Christmas

While the exact date of Jesus’ birth is not known, the Church came to celebrate his birth on December 25. Some early writers, like Hippolytus of Rome (ca. 204), was one of the first to note that Jesus was born on December 25. The feast of the dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem was celebrated on that day as well. The date given by Hippolytus, however, may have been inspired by a well-known Roman feast. The feast of Christmas developed in the 4th century when it replaced the Sol Invictus, or the Roman Feast of the invincible sun. Jesus, then, replaced this feast as he is the truth light that overcomes darkness and sin. Jesus is the light of the world.

During the Advent seasons of our lives, we work, pray and fast to prepare for the birth of Jesus in our lives. When we are ready and restored, Jesus takes over and is born in us: Christmas. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). The joy of the birth of Jesus, however, does not end here. We are called to show this mystery to others: Epiphany.

The Spirit of the Season:

The Spirit of the Season

This diagram shows the process that repeats itself in our lives. Reflection on the significance of the Christmas of Season makes Jesus present now. He desires to be made manifest in us. We, in turn, are asked to be awake so that we can hear his calling. Pope Benedict XVI once taught that “to wake up means to leave that private world of one’s own…and to develop a receptivity for God.” Self-awareness leads to an awakening of spirit so that we can be aware of where God is calling us to be and to learn.