Alive And Well

Fr. Michael Guastello’s Easter Sunday Homily April 21, 2019

“Well, the tomb is empty.  He is alive and he is well.  This is something that the Holy Father has talked a lot about in recent talks and in some of his writings that Jesus was not just another historic figure who passed through time but he is alive and well today. This is what we celebrate today, the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ, the victory of his resurrection and people who do not have faith sometimes struggle with this.  They struggle to recognize it, they struggle to come to grips with this reality that this is an actual true story that happened. It is not something that is fictional that Jesus Christ conquered death by dying himself and it is a paradox for sure, but it is the essence of what Christianity is and so this is what we celebrate today.  For those of us who call ourselves Christians, today is the greatest most happiest day of the year. It is a day to rejoice and a day for us to celebrate because death no longer has power over us. St. Paul writes about this a lot. He says, ‘where o death is your Victory? Where o death is your sting?’ and that is so true with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and you know this is something for us to keep in mind often because there is a lot of darkness in our world.  There can be a lot of pain and suffering in our country and even in our own lives we experience physical pain, emotional pain, sickness, loss, disappointment, abandonment, betrayal, the list can go on and on and on and sometimes our sufferings are minor. You know we have minor little aches and pains and sometimes our suffering is not so minor. Sometimes our suffering is pretty heavy, but in our pain and suffering our God is with us because he experienced pain and suffering first hand in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ who was fully God was also remember fully human and he took that human nature to a cross.

A few days ago on Good Friday we commemorated Jesus death on the cross.  He died on the cross. He was willing to be mistaken for a sinner and a Criminal by being crucified in between two other criminals.  Why? So that he can experience things as we do and so our God has experienced all those little and sometimes not so little aches and pains that we do.  He’s experience pain, sickness, loss, disappointment, certainly betrayal, abandonment and not in some theoretical or hypothetical sense but really, personally, from the inside out and so we cannot say to our God, ‘oh God you just don’t understand.  You don’t understand my pain. You don’t understand my suffering.’ Our God understands our pain and suffering perfectly because he has been there and he has done that and he chose to do it on a cross. He chose a cross. This was not some unfortunate accident that happened to Jesus 2,000 years ago.  Remember Jesus in John’s Gospel also says, ‘no one takes my life from me but I have the power to lay it down. I willingly lay it down. I willfully lay it down and I have the power to take it up again’ and he chose the cross in order to draw all men and women to himself because he loves us and he wants us to be with him in heaven at the end of our Earthly lives.  We can say to someone ‘I love you’ and that’s nice but to show others just how much we love them it is what we are willing to do for them and so Jesus was willing to hang on a cross for us to show us the height and breadth and depth of his sacrificial love. This is the same Jesus who gives himself to us every time we attend Mass on Sunday when we receive him in the Eucharist.  We receive Grace when we receive the Eucharist to help us on our journey toward heaven in this life so that we might be with him for all eternity in the next. Friends this is what our lives are all about or should be about, not our possessions, not the things that we have. I mean these things are good things, but they are meant to help us on our journey toward Heaven. This day is a day of hope.  The catechism of the Catholic Church defines the theological virtue of hope as the virtue by which we desire the kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness placing trust in Christ’s promise and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. I’m gonna read that first part of that definition again. ‘Hope is the virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness.  So when we say hope as a Christian, as a Catholic, that’s what we’re talkin about, so a question to ask ourselves in light of this definition of Hope, do we desire heaven? At the end of my life do I want to be with Jesus in heaven? Here’s a question to reflect upon, so your life on Earth here is finished and you’re standing in front of the gate and Jesus is behind the gate and he asked you one simple question, ‘why do you want to come in here?’  What would your answer be? Do we strive for Holiness? Do we strive for perfection and charity? Do we strive to live out our baptism in our discipleship in Christ well and in a way that is pleasing to God or we just content with getting by? We are all friends, not to just get by but we are called to holiness. We are called to perfection and charity that’s what all the Saints have in common. Holiness isn’t going around saying a lot of prayers and prayer is certainly good don’t misunderstand me but holiness is perfection and charity perfection in love heroic virtue and that’s what we are called to.  As my mother likes to say, ‘You know none of us are getting out of this alive.’ and so we are people of hope our hope is in the Lord and as baptized persons we have assured and certain hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus. When we were baptized we became a new creation and we were made members of the mystical Body of Christ, so Christ is head of his mystical body The Church and we are all members of that mystical body so when we say church we’re not just talking about this building although it is a church it is God’s house, but when we talk about The Church we’re talking about all of the members all of us who are members of The Church all of us who are members of the body of Christ and so when we are baptized we are made a new creation.  Original sin has been washed away and we share in Christ’s very being and we read this very beautifully last night in St Paul’s letter to the Romans where he talks about ‘we have life in Christ we share in his very being in his very essence’ and that was Paul’s belief and the belief of the early Christians that we are just not part of an organization or community but we are members of Jesus’ sacred body and self, and so his life, the life of Jesus is our life. His death, his human death is our death so that his rising might become our rising. This is our faith. This is our hope. The tomb is empty. He is alive and well. His victory is our victory today and this is what we celebrate today.”

NFP – Resources

If you and your fiance or spouse are considering using Natural Family Planning, congratulations and welcome to the journey!

Below you will find a few favorite resources. If you have questions, or are in need of resources that are not easily found, contact Sarah Streitwieser in the church office at sstreitwieser@kcascension.org; 913-681-3348 x151

Natural Family Planning Written Resources


A short testimony about the efficacy and beauty of the Church’s teaching on Natural Family Planning.


The Benefits of NFP as stated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).


For information, contacts, and resources if you or your spouse/fiance are struggling with pornography or sexual addictions.


Find an NFP class nearby.


Compelling articles for couples considering Natural Family Planning.


Helpful informational web pages for couples considering Natural Family Planning.


Natural Family Planning Videos:

Contraception: The Real Story
Contraception: Why Not?

NFP’s Impact on Relationship and Sexual Satisfaction 

NFP Links


Return to Family Life Page

Natural Family Planning

If you are interested in practicing or learning more about Natural Family Planning, congratulations! We hope that you find beauty and joy in the journey.

Our Church affirms marital love that is free, total, faithful, and fruitful. Fully accepting and embracing this teaching, in the context of our current culture, can feel difficult at times. But ultimately, what our Church offers us is beautiful and life-giving.

Natural Family Planning is a life-style, an extension of a couple’s faith and mutual love. Beyond the spiritual component, NFP is both practical and effective.

We understand that it is not always easy to find answers and solutions to questions or problems that present themselves along the way. The NFP links below should offer some helpful information. If you have questions that you would prefer to speak with someone about, do not hesitate to use the contacts link.


NFP Links

If you are new to the world of Natural Family Planning, read this explanation first.

Looking for digital Natural Family Planning Resources? Start here.

Which NFP Method is right for you? Begin your journey here.

Trying to find a local NFP class? Search here.
Looking for a NFP-friendly doctor in our Diocese? Find one here.

You have explored the available NFP resources, but still have questions. Ask here.

Return to the Family Life page

Fathers of St. Joseph 5-Part Miniseries

Starting April 28th at 6:30 in the Adoration Chapel

Just like Jason Bourne, each of us was born into conflict.  And just like the Bourne movies we need to know who our enemies are and how to defend and defeat them. Father’s of St. Joseph provides the road map complete with specific instructions for each man in order to not just fight the conflict but win.

To achieve happiness men need to be respected for their strength, intimacy, protection, risk & leadership. Trouble is its usually done by chasing pleasure, focusing on self and ignoring problems perpetuated by bad decisions. What is God’s plan for me? What does it mean to be a father? A husband? Why are relationships so hard especially with the ones I love?  Maybe you suffer but do you sacrifice?

Answers to these cosmic issues are specific to each man. Come learn to make the theological, practical as we present a 5 part miniseries beginning Apri1 28th at 6:30pm. The meeting will begin with prayer in the Adoration Chapel at 6:30, then it will transition into a meeting room (103, school side) at 6:45.

New men are welcome!

For questions contact James Moburg at 913-981-3906, jmoburg@gmail.com OR Phil Hernandez at 913-302-7530, phernandez@trinitykc.com.

What is a father suppose to be?

What is a father suppose to be?

Posted by Fathersofstjosephkc on Thursday, April 11, 2019

50 Ways to Celebrate 50 Days of Easter

For 40 days your family has fasted, prayed, and given generously.  These labors prepare our hearts to taste and see the goodness of our risen Lord.  Remember that Easter is not just one day or even one week.  Easter is a season of 50 days, celebrated until Pentecost.  Pope John Paul II once said, “We are a resurrection people, and Alleluia is our song.” 

Find ways to continue celebrating Easter beyond this week and beyond baskets of candy.  How have your Lenten practices prepared you to experience Jesus anew?  How might you continue living some of the positive faith practices you prioritized during Lent?  What would your Family Life look like if you practiced living in the joy of the Resurrection with the same vigor that you practiced living the penances of Lent?

50 Days of Easter: Ideas for Living the Resurrection as a family

The ideas in this list will not fit every family situation or schedule, nor are they meant to be practiced in entirety. Pick and choose what works best for your family. These practices are intended to be fun and enjoyable — so only choose what brings joy and life into your family. Most of the ideas in this list are not specific to the day or order listed (except as indicated in bold, pertaining to feast days). Happy Easter!

Be inspired to try something new. Prayerfully consider how Christ may be calling you into newness of life — individually and as a family unit. Live the Easter Resurrection!

50 Days of Easter

  1. April 21: Easter Sunday: Attend Mass together with your family (Ascension Easter Mass times: 8am, 10am. and Noon). Enjoy the sweets and bunny, but emphasize the Lamb!
  2. April 22: Make homemade dessert. For busy families, don’t overdo! A basic cookie recipe or rice crispy treats will suffice!
  3. April 23: Make something creative with all of those left-over, hard-boiled Easter Eggs.
  4. April 24: Try this simple Easter Cross Craft.
  5. April 25: Create a Resurrection Garden
  6. April 26: Go for a family bike ride on the trails.
  7. April 27: Pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet with your family.
  8. April 28: Divine Mercy Sunday: Celebrate with a Holy Hour here at Ascension.
  9. April 29: Have you signed your kids up for Vacation Bible School yet?
  10. April 30: Register for Family Day at Prairie Star Ranch (May 5th)
  11. May 1: May Day: Celebrate May Day by leaving a small bunch of flowers or a sweet treat on a neighbor’s porch.
  12. May 2: Kansas planting weather is in full swing! Plant something with your family. If you don’t have a particularly green thumb, start simple. Try potting fresh herbs (basil and mint grow easily) or plant a row of impatiens. For more adventurous growers, check out these ideas for a Marian Garden.
  13. May 3: Take a tour of the Brookside Art Fair
  14. May 4: Ribs for Kids at McGonigles
  15. May 5: Family Day at Prairie Star Ranch: If you like Trail Hiking, Fishing, Rosary Walks, Yard Games, Giant Inflatables, Gaga Ball, Tower Power, Pole Corral Rides, or Horseback Riding, then try Family Day at Prairie Star Ranch. Gates open at 9:00 am.
  16. May 6: See a family Movie together
  17. May 7: Fly a kite
  18. May 8: Plan a May Crowning
  19. May 9: Ride The Ferris Wheel at Scheels
  20. May 10: Hold a family brainstorming session for summer fun. Find ideas here.
  21. May 11: Try the Lenexa Art Fair (enjoy music, festivities, and a family friendly atmosphere)
  22. May 12: Mother’s Day
  23. May 13: Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
  24. May 14: Go out for ice cream with your family (Quicktrip has $0.59 soft serve cones!)
  25. May 15: Find new ways to emphasize and experience faith as a family during the coming summer.
  26. May 16: Visit Deanna Rose Children’s Farm (free after 2 pm, M-Th)
  27. May 17: Choose Summer reading at your local library or at Trinity House
  28. May 18: Do something Free!
  29. May 19: Church Hop (visit a historic Catholic church in KC Metro).
  30. May 20: Take a family break from screen time
  31. May 21: Make time for yourself
  32. May 22: Plan a summer splurge
  33. May 23: Go to Reconciliation as a family
  34. May 24: Go the Extra Mile with a Day Trip
  35. May 25: Ascension Couples Golf
  36. May 26: Arbor Day in Overland Park OR take your family to the Symphony (in an atmosphere any family can handle)
  37. May 27: Find more ways to keep your summer faith filled
  38. May 28: Spring clean and donate your extras to Catholic Charities or another charity.
  39. May 29: Take your child on a “Date”
  40. May 30: Feast of the Ascension Start a Family Novena to prepare for Pentecost (Join yourselves with Jesus’s Apostles and followers who prayed for the 9 days between the Ascension and Pentecost). Or, pray one decade of the Rosary as a family.
  41. May 31: Feast of the Visitation Share a guided family prayer/discussion or pray a decade of the Rosary together.
  42. June 1: Enjoy Rose Day at Jacob Loose Park OR Pick berries at the Vaile Mansion Strawberry Festival
  43. June 2: Plan a family movie night at home.
  44. June 3: Vacation Bible School Starts today!
  45. June 4: Stay Close to Home
  46. June 5: Reset your outlook to take more positive notice of your child.
  47. June 6: Take your family to Old Shawnee Days
  48. June 7: Compose a thoughtful handwritten note for your child or spouse. Place it under their pillow or in a place they will find on their own.
  49. June 8: Reconnect with a friend of family member that you have not seen in a while.
  50. June 9: Pentecost

Purity Vs. Pornography

Resources for Parents (to help children avoid or turn away from pornography):

7 Steps to Protect your Family

Proactive Parents

The Smart Plan for Parents

How to talk to your kids about Porn

The impact of Pornography on Children

Book Recommendation: Good Pictures, Bad Pictures

Diocesan Resources:

Our House

7 Steps to Freedom

Questions?

Apps and Software:

Catholic App-titude

Covenant Eyes

Most importantly, know that our priests are available to talk if you or one of your family members is affected by the destructive influence of pornography addiction or exposure.

Final Notes

Parent-Child “Dates”

Find time to spend time with your children one on one.  Dedicated parent/child time does not need to involve elaborate activities or extensive amounts of time. Take one child with you on a trip to the grocery store, or take one child out for ice cream or coffee.  Challenge yourself to ask questions and give affirmations rather than direction. Give your child time and space to express thoughts that the busyness of daily life might crowd out. Listen attentively; what can you learn about your child? 

Put Yourself in Timeout

For parents with children in the home, summer can offer its own set of challenges.  Give yourself permission to take “timeouts.”  Nurture meaningful friendships, find ways to prioritize your own spiritual growth, or plan a date with your spouse.  You will ultimately be a more effective (and happier!) parent if you consider your own needs too.  A few ideas: go on a coffee date with a friend; attend early morning Mass or Eucharistic Adoration by yourself; go for evening walks; spend time on enjoyable hobbies (i.e. gardening, baking, golfing, exercise — whatever fills you with life!)

Close to Home

Summer in your Home and Neighborhood

Indian Creek Trail: You are probably already aware that this 26-mile trail weaves through most of Johnson county.  Find new ways to use this resource with your family.  Parents might run together with teens, with younger siblings on bikes or scooters, or with littles in strollers.  Explore nature along the trail; make interesting stops; count bunny sightings or flower varieties.

Geocaching: first, get the app.  Second, enjoy the excitement of finding geocached treasure!

Game Night: Sometimes the classics are the best.  Share a game that you played as a child.

Crafts: Craft ideas can be simple, quick, and inexpensive … or elaborate and involved! For older kids, venture beyond glue and paper.  Make slime, jewelry, bath bombs, complicated origami, or a canvas painting.  Checkout online tutorials or library books to gather ideas and information. 

Staycation Splurges

When You are Looking for Something “Extra”

Note: The ideas listed below are not necessarily appropriate for family members of all ages. Some ideas work best for toddlers; others are only suitable for young-adults and older. Use your own parental discretion!

Tip: In some situations, buying a membership to a particular attraction is not much more expensive than visiting just once. Try rotating your memberships (Zoo, Science City, etc.) annually.  Taking a year “off” of a family favorite will make “on” years more enjoyable (and easier on your budget!).