Tag Archives: Sacraments

Staying true to our Ultimate Leader

When many of us come to the mature realization that prioritizing our Catholic faith and God’s will for our lives is paramount, we don’t envision the pending fallout.

But the quiet seeds of opposition and pushback await – even among our ranks. As spiritual

Christine Valentine-Owsik

reading expands and prayer life deepens, we naively feel we’re ready for anything. The excitement and intrigue of learning more about God and the faith begun by Christ – perhaps accurately for the first time in our adult lives – blind us to certain potholes that can puncture our resolve.

Life is still comfortable – we’ve got businesses and careers humming along, enjoyable friends professionally and locally, plenty of hometown involvements, and a busy family – even a few grandkids. Heck, life is good.

Why not help more at the parish? RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) – for those converting to Catholicism – had sounded good. Our parish advertised for additional teachers, and the deacon running the program accepted my offer straightaway.

And then…

On the night of my overview of Catholic sacraments and what each means, one of the catechumens asked why the Church doesn’t sanction cohabitation before marriage. “I lived with my husband before marriage, and I don’t feel guilty about it. We just need our marriage blessed in the church,” she decreed. I began to explain, until I was sawed off mid-sentence by the sputtering deacon.

“Oh we don’t worry about that so much these days,” he chattered. “We see all kinds of couples in all kinds of situations.” He chuckled and told her not to sweat it, and said “we’ll get ya through, God embraces all,” and nervously motioned for me to continue on. Say what? 

I sensed he didn’t want me to explain why Catholics should approach marriage in the state of grace – to receive the intended benefit of the sacrament. I studied his expression, now contorted and disturbing. Since I’d just introduced Confession previously, I pulled a fast one and went back to it – reviewing the importance of receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony worthily. Now he was red-faced and scowling. Was this guy for real? 

And then I got it … this class wasn’t about imparting full truth of Catholicism. It was the bring-‘em-on-in-to-the-parish-in-numbers game. Make hard truths softer so they don’t prick sensitivities. And keep things moving. 

But I hung in for years. Every time I presented a provocative topic for which the Church had settled teaching – homosexuality, same-sex ‘marriage,’ gender identity, etc. – the deacon drove a tank through it. He was in greater opposition to Catholic doctrine than those attempting to learn it. One evening, one of the catechumens, a Lutheran attorney, stopped me afterward and said, “What you’re putting forth is interesting and astonishing, yet he won’t let you finish your sentences.” So I distributed detailed multi-page handouts to every person for each lecture, with full text as insurance (including a reading and reference list).

It was tempting to try and get along with him. But I opted for staying on the thinning team of Truth instead.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

Meet the Chaplain: Father Scott Adams – Jupiter-Palm Beach Chapter

As a young man, Father Scott Adams was close to being engaged to marry a couple of times, but those relationships never panned out.

“I had always wondered why those relationships weren’t working out. It was one of those things you don’t find out until later and you realize, ‘Oh, that’s why. The Lord had a different plan for me all along.”

After a business career in accounting and as a hotel general manager, Father Adams, 51, heeded the advice of friends to discern a calling to the priesthood. After a seven year process of discernment and seminary formation, Father Adams was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida in May 2016.

Father Adams is currently assigned to the Cathedral Parish of St. Ignatius Loyola. He is also the chaplain of Legatus’ Jupiter/Palm Beach Chapter, which chartered on Dec. 11, 2018. Father Adams, a convert to the Catholic faith, recently spoke with Legatus magazine.

When did you first enter the Catholic Church?

I was around 25 years old. I was raised Baptist and later went to a Presbyterian church for a while. It was when I went out on my own and started looking for a church, that one day I went to a Catholic Church, and realized that it was what I had been seeking.

What was it about the Catholic faith that you found convincing?

One of biggest things for me were the sacraments, the supernatural breaking into the natural. The Eucharist, in particular, that it’s no longer bread and wine but the body of Christ. We can clearly see how Jesus instituted that sacrament. It’s really hard to get around John Chapter 6.

When did you first begin to think about the priesthood?

After I went through the RCIA program and became Catholic, I was involved in various parish ministries. Along the way, people, priests included, would ask me, “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?” I never paid it much attention until I pretty much had to. When you hear it over and over again, you need to take it to prayer and take it seriously.

What was your discernment like?

I always thought I would be left off the hook. I thought, “Oh, I’m too old, they won’t take me.” But they accepted my application and I entered seminary. You do a lot of your discernment in seminary, but think I knew pretty early on in the seminary that this is what the Lord wanted me to do.

What have been some of your initial impressions of Legatus?

I think it holds an important place, particularly for the folks who are involved in it. Important is that notion of not only growing in your faith personally, but being able to share that and live it and spread it in all that you do. So many times in business, the deck is stacked against you. If you’re trying to lead a good Christian, Catholic, moral life, you’re often feeling compromised, and asking yourself, “In order to get ahead, what do I need to do?”

I think it’s also important for the Legatus members to recognize, which is so important in all aspects of our faith, that we are not alone. They can get together, support one another and recognize that there are other people who are struggling with the same things as they are.

Do you feel your business background helps you relate to Legatus members?

I think so. I’ve been in the same positions, where you have to sometimes make hard decisions, whether it’s employer-employee relations and you have to let someone go, or whether it’s in sales and you’re tempted to push the envelope when it comes to the truth. I think I can relate to them on certain levels, in a real way, where they can say, “Oh yeah, you know what I’m talking about.”

Priests – necessary for life

Despite faults, sins, and scandals, problems of perseverance, and crises that have afflicted the priesthood over 2,000 years, the Catholic Church would have no life without Her faithful priests. We cannot lose sight of the beauty and graces that come through our priests, not to mention their irreplaceable support and loyalty when we need them so.

Beginning with His apostles, Christ instituted the priesthood for three reasons: so that His Presence through the Holy Eucharist would be continually accessible to us; and for the sacraments of forgiveness – Confession, and final cleansing and preparation for eternity – Anointing of the Sick. Only Catholic priests can confer those three sacraments in particular, no one else

Many today forget the value of the Anointing of the Sick. But it enables forgiveness of serious sin when a person cannot make a final Confession, and can spare him eternal punishment. It’s critical that a gravely ill Catholic have access to it – his spiritual wellbeing should be prioritized to the end.

Catholic priests are our palpable connection to heaven. Through offering the Mass, bringing
us the essential sacraments, and authoritative counsel and guidance, they are our lifeline to God.

At so many critical junctures in my life – from childhood to middle age – I can point to life- changing priests who kept me on track with God’s presence and will. At my First Holy Communion in 1969, the celestial hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” thundered on the pipe organ as our second-grade class processed forward and knelt along the Communion rail of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Rockville, CT. Boys were in gelled crew cuts, white suits, and dress shoes, and girls in miniature ‘wedding dresses’ and veils, long pipe curls, white patent Mary Janes, and elbow-length white gloves – awaiting our eternal Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Our pastor stopped slowly before each child, flanked by two solemn altar boys in a fog of incense, and suspended the Blessed Host before placing it on our tongue. I had never heard the glorious hymn before, and associated it since with that heavenly day. I later learned the organ, and playing that hymn still brings tears.

In high school, I remember asking our priest questions in Confession I wouldn’t broach in religion class. His authority and inspiration on Catholic teaching, along with his approachability, set me on my way with explanations that were clarifying and calming. He helped me navigate a tumultuous time as a teen and young adult. I’ll never forget him.

When caring for my dad in his final years, I called our parish priest in a panic early one morning as my father was being put on a respirator, in a medically induced coma, and the intensive-care team hurried me on making life-or-death decisions for him. Our priest explained what I could and couldn’t agree to, and as soon as dad was awake, gave him the Anointing. A devout Catholic, dad recognized the rite and prayed each prayer in tandem with him, as medical staff surrounded his bed and joined in.

Let us pray for and support always our faithful priests. As Catholics, we owe them our very lives.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK  is Legatus magazine’s Editor.

The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order

Dr. Scott Hahn
Emmaus Press
208 pages

Is there hope for the state of marriage in our culture today? Scott Hahn believes so. “If Catholics would simply live the Sacrament of Matrimony for one generation,” he writes, “we would witness a transformation of society and have a Christian culture.” Despite the prevalence of divorce, infidelity, and a myriad of aberrant ideas of what marriage and family life means, Catholics can indeed change hearts and minds if only they commit to living as they should and reap the fruits of the sacramental life of the Church. Grace, Hahn reminds, is a powerful thing; with God’s help, Catholics can keep to His plan and inspire others to do likewise.

Order: Amazon , St. Paul Center