Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 21, 1934 when Father James J. Kane offered Madison's first Mass in Madison's Memorial Town Hall.
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Our lives change when our habits change. It’s that simple.

In our research at Dynamic Catholic, we have found that the single most important spiritual habit is prayer. If you want to be a better version of yourself, your growth will begin with prayer. On the one hand, that doesn’t surprise you, does it? I mean, Jesus regularly took time away, often early in the morning or late at night, and went to a quiet place to pray. But on the other hand, our research also found that most of us do not have a daily routine of prayer.

Oh sure, we pray. We pray a little here. And we pray a little there. But we quickly get distracted, or fall out of the habit, or just turn to prayer when we are in need of something in a hurry. “Oh Lord, please help me find a parking space. I’ve got a lot to do today.”

But it’s the #1 Habit. A daily routine of prayer.

The more time you spend in the classroom of silence, the more clearly you will hear the voice of God in your life.

Ten minutes a day can make all the difference in the world. Having a daily routine of prayer means having a time, a place and a structure. You will pray and you will tend to do it each day at the same time, in the same place, and in a regular way that works for you. Spending time in silence, listening for the voice and the nudging of God. Sitting in God’s presence, giving him your full attention even when you are saying nothing at all yourself. Since the average American spends more than eight hours a day in front of a screen (TV, computer, smartphone, etc.), stepping away from the noise into the silence can be revolutionary.

As you do that each day, your relationship with God will build, and your life will begin to change. Prayer works on your soul much like waves coming in day after day and slowly changing the coastline. Consistent. Powerful.

Habit experts have discovered how one habit lived well begins to change everything in your life. They usually call this the keystone habit. For example, the decision to run a 10K race will lead to the decision to run each day to get ready. That daily habit of running soon may lead to the decision to quit smoking to be able to breathe and run better. That habit may slowly cause you to eat differently and to drink differently. You are caring for your body so that it can run each day, to get ready for the race. That habit may also force you to rethink how you sleep. Again, you are slowly adjusting to the habit of running each day.

Day by day, bit by bit, your one keystone habit has opened the way for other habits and decisions that have revolutionized your physical life.

God invites you to make prayer your keystone habit. A daily routine of prayer is the ultimate game-changer. As you begin to pray consistently, you will notice other areas of your life opening up in healthy ways you never anticipated.

That time with God will spill over into multiple areas of your life. You might have more peace, experience more patience, find relationships deepening or live with more confidence. As your prayer life goes, so goes your life.

Our Dynamic Catholic team has designed a simple, straightforward way to have a conversation with God each day during your quiet time. We call it the Prayer Process.

It goes like this:

hunt pg 8STEP 1. GRATITUDE. Begin by thanking God for whomever and
whatever you are most grateful for today.

STEP 2. AWARENESS. Think about yesterday. Talk to God about
the times you were and were not the best version of yourself.

STEP 3. SIGNIFICANT MOMENT. Ask God what he is trying to say
to you today. Talk to him about that.

STEP 4. PEACE. Ask God to forgive you for anything you have
done wrong and to fill your heart with peace.

STEP 5. FREEDOM. Talk to God about some way he is inviting
you to change and grow.

STEP 6. OTHERS. Pray for the other people in your life by
asking God to guide them and watch over them.

STEP 7. PRAY the Our Father.

If you can only do one thing in 2018, let it be this: a 10-minute daily habit of prayer. Our lives change when our habits change.

Allen R. Hunt is senior advisor for the Dynamic Catholic Institute.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.