Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist

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Reading 1 1 Pt 5:5b-14

Beloved:    
Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:

God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.

Be sober and vigilant.
Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, steadfast in faith,
knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world
undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace
who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
after you have suffered a little.
To him be dominion forever.  Amen.

I write you this briefly through Silvanus,
whom I consider a faithful brother,
exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.
Remain firm in it.
The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Responsorial Psalm 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17

R.    (2)  For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The heavens proclaim your wonders, O LORD,
and your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can rank with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the sons of God?
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia 1 Cor 1:23a-24b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We proclaim Christ crucified;
he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:15-20

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Encouragement at Work in the World / La Motivación Obrando en el Mundo

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It’s great to see some results for the work you put in. 

For example, if you are trying to get to a healthier weight, it’s quite rewarding to know that your efforts to improve diet and increase exercise are working. If you’re trying to make a certain grade in school and get the “A”, it’s rewarding to know you put the work in to study and know the material. If you ace a presentation at work and are rewarded with a hard-earned raise, it’s great to know that the hours you put in were worth it. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus commands the Apostles to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world and to baptize new followers of Christ. Then Jesus gives an outline for how to know it’s being done correctly: demons will be cast out in his name, and many will be healed. If their hands fall upon a serpent or a poison, it won’t kill them. 

Jesus knew the work of spreading the Gospel would be difficult. He knew it would cost all the Apostles, except John, their lives, and while some are still asked to give up their life for the sake of the Gospel today, it’s much fewer and far between, especially in the developed world. Still, the world finds plenty of ways for us to “pay” for spreading the Gospel: the loss of job and professional prospects, political persecution, loss of freedom of speech in some countries. 

We know we are doing good things for the Kingdom of God, even when persecuted, but it’s still great to experience those “mountaintop” events in which we have confirmation we are doing great things for God. For example, when someone new joins the RCIA program, a child receives First Holy Communion, or someone surrenders their life to God after horrific pain. 

As humans, we often need some encouragement to keep going. Jesus laid it all out for us, and even today, we still see not-quite-as-literal signs taking place. How are you spreading the Gospel? What signs do you see even today that God is still at work in the world? Let’s carry Jesus’ Great Commission forward, and be encouraged by the signs that God is at work even in a world of wars, famine, pain and sorrow. 

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Es fantástico ver algunos resultados de un trabajo realizado.

Por ejemplo, si estás intentando alcanzar un peso más saludable, es muy gratificante saber que tus esfuerzos por mejorar la dieta y aumentar el ejercicio están funcionando. Si estás tratando de obtener una determinada calificación en la escuela y obtener una “A”, es gratificante saber que te esfuerzas por estudiar y conoces el material. Si realizas una presentación excelente en el trabajo y eres recompensado con un aumento por haber hecho tanto esfuerzo, es fantástico saber que las horas que dedicaste valieron la pena.

En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús manda a los Apóstoles a proclamar el Evangelio al mundo entero y bautizar a nuevos seguidores de Cristo. Luego Jesús da un esquema de cómo saber que se está haciendo correctamente: los demonios serán expulsados en su nombre y muchos serán sanados. Si sus manos caen sobre una serpiente o un veneno, no los matará.

Jesús sabía que la obra de difundir el Evangelio sería difícil. Sabía que les costaría la vida a todos los Apóstoles, menos a Juan, y aunque a algunos todavía se les pide que entreguen su vida por el Evangelio hoy, es mucho menos común, especialmente en el mundo desarrollado. Aun así, el mundo encuentra muchas maneras de “pagar” por la difusión del Evangelio: la pérdida de empleo y perspectivas profesionales, la persecución política, la pérdida de la libertad de expresión en algunos países.

Sabemos que estamos haciendo cosas buenas para el Reino de Dios, incluso cuando somos perseguidos, pero aún así es maravilloso experimentar esos eventos excepcionales en los que tenemos la confirmación de que estamos haciendo grandes cosas para Dios. Por ejemplo, cuando alguien nuevo se une al programa RICA, un niño recibe la Primera Comunión o alguien entrega su vida a Dios después de un dolor terrible.

Como seres humanos, a menudo necesitamos un poco de motivación para seguir adelante. Jesús nos lo explicó todo, e incluso hoy en día todavía vemos señales que no son tan literales. ¿Cómo estás difundiendo el Evangelio? ¿Qué señales ves hoy en día de que Dios todavía está obrando en el mundo? Llevemos adelante la Gran Comisión de Jesús y seamos animados por las señales de que Dios está obrando incluso en un mundo de guerras, hambruna, dolor y tristeza.

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Mary Thissen is a St. Louis native living in East Central Illinois with her husband and children. She is blessed with twin boys Earthside and four children now living in Heaven. When she is not working as a healthcare data analyst or caring for her boys, she enjoys studying and writing about the Catholic faith and ministering to women who are suffering through miscarriage or infertility. You can connect with Mary on Instagram @waitingonmiracles. 

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Prayer for Policemen: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, April 25, 2024

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O Almighty God,
Whose great power and eternal
Wisdom embraces the universe,
Watch over all policemen and
Law enforcement officers everywhere.

Protect them from harm
In the performance of their duty
To stop crime, robbery,
Riots and violence.

We pray, help them keep our streets
And homes safe, day and night.

We commend them to your loving care
Because their duty is dangerous.

Grant them strength and courage
In their daily assignments.
Dear God, protect these brave men …

St. Mark: Saint of the Day for Thursday, April 25, 2024

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Much of what we know about St. Mark, the author of the Second Gospel, comes largely from the New Testament and early Christian traditions. Mark the Evangelist is believed to be the ‘John Mark’ referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, the history of the early Church found in the Canon of the New Testament.

He was the son of Mary of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) whose home became a meeting place for the apostles. He is also the cousin of St. Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), a Levite and a Cypriot.

Mark …

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

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Reading I Acts 12:24—13:5a

The word of God continued to spread and grow.

After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission,
they returned to Jerusalem,
taking with them John, who is called Mark.

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them.”
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.

So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit,
went down to Seleucia
and from there sailed to Cyprus.
When they arrived in Salamis,
they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.
 

Responsorial Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6 and 8

R.        (4)  O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.        Alleluia.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
            may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
            among all nations, your salvation.
R.        O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.        Alleluia.
May the nations be glad and exult
            because you rule the peoples in equity;
            the nations on the earth you guide.
R.        O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.        Alleluia.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
            may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
            and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R.        O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.        Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 12:44-50

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Live in the Light / Vivir en la Luz

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Today Jesus tells us about Himself and his Father in heaven. The word that seems to jump out is “light”. He tells us that He and the Father are one, and that if we know the Father we know Him, and if we know Him we know the Father. If you can totally understand that then you deserve a special place on this earth. When you think of the word light, what comes to mind? We may not think about God at first. Why? As human beings, we like to put a face on every name that we hear. So it’s natural for us to try and put a face on God. As a young boy I would see lots of pictures of Jesus. Then I would be told about his Father. But, there were no pictures of the Father, so I would conjure up images in my mind of an old man sitting on a cloud looking down on earth and helping his son Jesus. 

Back to Jesus telling us that he is Light. What is light? If we had to choose between light and darkness, we would most likely choose the light. There is a lot to be said about light. First of all, it takes away the darkness. Taking away the darkness makes us feel better. Where would we be without light? For one thing we would not eat. Crops need light to grow and to be harvested. We would not be able to walk or drive because we couldn’t see where we are going. When we think of God as being Light it takes on a whole new dimension!

Have you ever met someone whose face radiates light? Chances are they are full of God’s Spirit. My wife and I witnessed this when our daughters became missionaries. We would visit their mother houses and the young ladies there were beaming with light. It was a sight to behold. It shouldn’t surprise us if we believe that God is light, then a person of God would also be full of light. I often pray that the Lord would allow me to be light to those people he places before me.

Have you ever noticed that in religious art that has a saint painted on it, the saint’s face is usually flooded with light? So, keep your eyes open and perhaps you will meet a person of light. Is that possible for us? Of course it is! All we have to do is give ourselves totally to God! We will have to get rid of a lot of stuff and dismiss distractions for that to happen. Of course, there is more. But, by the time you get to that point you will already know what you need to do. Happy journey!

Serving with joy!

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Hoy Jesús nos habla de sí mismo y de su Padre celestial. La palabra que parece resaltar es “luz”. Nos dice que Él y el Padre son uno, y que si conocemos al Padre, lo conocemos a Él, y si conocemos a Él, conocemos al Padre. Si puedes entender eso totalmente, entonces mereces un lugar especial en esta tierra. Cuando piensas en la palabra luz, ¿qué se te viene a la mente? Puede que al principio no pensemos en Dios. ¿Por qué? Como seres humanos, nos gusta ponerle una cara a cada nombre que escuchamos. Por eso es natural que intentemos ponerle un rostro a Dios. Cuando era niño veía muchas imágenes de Jesús. Y luego me hablaron de su Padre. Pero no había imágenes del Padre, así que evocaba imágenes en mi mente de un anciano sentado en una nube mirando hacia la tierra y ayudando a su hijo Jesús.

Volvamos a Jesús diciéndonos que Él es la Luz. ¿Qué es la luz? Si tuviéramos que elegir entre la luz y la oscuridad, lo más probable es que elegiríamos la luz. Hay mucho que decir sobre la luz. En primer lugar, elimina la oscuridad. Quitar la oscuridad nos hace sentir mejor. ¿Dónde estaríamos sin la luz? Por un lado, no comeríamos. Los cultivos necesitan luz para crecer y ser cosechados. No podríamos caminar ni conducir porque no podríamos ver hacia dónde vamos. Cuando pensamos en Dios como Luz, ¡adquiere una dimensión completamente nueva!

¿Alguna vez has conocido a alguien cuyo rostro irradia luz? Lo más probable es que estén llenos del Espíritu de Dios. Mi esposa y yo fuimos testigos de esto cuando nuestras hijas se hicieron misioneras. Visitábamos las casas de formación y las jóvenes estaban radiantes de luz. Fue increíble verlo. No debería sorprendernos si creemos que Dios es luz, que una persona de Dios también estaría llena de luz. A menudo le pido al Señor que me permita ser luz las personas que encuentre a lo largo del día.

¿Alguna vez has notado que en el arte religioso donde viene un santo pintado, el rostro del santo suele estar iluminado? Así que mantén los ojos abiertos y tal vez te encuentres con una persona de luz. ¿Es eso posible para nosotros? ¡Por supuesto que sí! ¡Lo único que tenemos que hacer es entregarnos totalmente a Dios! Tendremos que deshacernos de muchas cosas y descartar distracciones para que eso suceda. Por supuesto implica más que eso, pero cuando llegues a ese punto, ya sabrás lo que debes hacer. ¡Feliz viaje!

¡Sirviendo con alegría!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

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A Prayer for Special Intentions: Prayer of the Day for Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Almighty and loving Father,
I thank you for giving St. Gerard to us
as a most appealing model and powerful friend.
By his example,
he showed us how to love and trust You.
You have showered many blessings
on those who call upon him.
For Your greater glory and my welfare,
please grant me the favours
which I ask in his name.

(Mention your needs here…)

And you, my powerful patron,
intercede for me before the throne of God.
Draw near to that throne
and …

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, Germany, in 1577. A practicing lawyer, he traveled across Europe as a tutor to aristocrats but then started defending the poor. In 1612, he became a Franciscan Capuchin monk, taking the name of Fidelis. A missionary to Grisons, Switzerland, Fidelis was so successful that local Protestants claimed that he was a spy for the Austrian Emperor. Fidelis was stabbed to death in a church id Seewis. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV. …

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

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Reading 1 Acts 11:19-26

Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Responsorial Psalm 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.    (117:1a)  All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those who know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 10:22-30

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Do You Recognize Jesus When He Calls Your Name? / ¿Reconoces a Jesús Cuando te Llama por tu Nombre?

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“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

In the time of Jesus, the families of a village often kept their herds of sheep together in a common pen. In the morning the shepherds would come and call their own sheep by name. The shepherd had such an intimate knowledge of his sheep and a genuine love for them, that he would call them individually to follow him to green pastures and streams of running water.

Following the shepherd, then, is a matter of love and being cared for. It is a relationship of trust and belonging. When Jesus speaks of his followers he refers often to shepherding, because he wants us to know how much he longs for us to willingly adhere to him with all our being and to trust him to provide for us. Sheep know they belong to a shepherd. They are named, known, and counted at the end of every single day before settling down for the night.

There are two ways a shepherd can lead his flock. Most often we see the shepherd walking in front of the sheep. There the shepherd can recognize danger and lead the sheep along the safest path. At other times, a shepherd leads his flock from behind. In this case the shepherd is driving the sheep toward the destination and making sure that they don’t dilly-dally along the way, wandering off after some distraction or other. 

In what area of your life is Jesus desiring to shepherd you more closely? Is there a destination or goal on the horizon to which he is drawing your heart? Have you found patterns of distraction in your life which keep you dilly-dallying along the way? Can you hear your Shepherd’s voice? Do you recognize Him when he calls your name?

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“Mis ovejas escuchan mi voz; yo las conozco y ellas me siguen. Yo les doy la vida eterna y no perecerán jamás”.

En tiempos de Jesús, las familias de una aldea solían mantener juntos sus rebaños de ovejas en un corral común. Por la mañana venían los pastores y llamaban a sus propias ovejas por su nombre. El pastor tenía un conocimiento tan íntimo de sus ovejas y un amor genuino por ellas, que las llamaba individualmente para que lo siguieran a verdes pastos y arroyos de agua corriente.

Seguir al pastor, entonces, es cuestión de amor y de ser cuidados. Es una relación de confianza y pertenencia. Cuando Jesús habla de sus seguidores, a menudo se refiere a pastorear, porque quiere que sepamos cuánto anhela que nos adhiramos voluntariamente a él con todo nuestro ser y confiemos en que él nos proveerá. Las ovejas saben que pertenecen a un pastor. Se les nombra, se les conoce y se cuentan al final de cada día antes de descansar para pasar la noche.

Hay dos maneras en que un pastor puede guiar a su rebaño. Muy a menudo vemos al pastor caminando delante de las ovejas. Allí el pastor puede reconocer el peligro y guiar a las ovejas por el camino más seguro. En otras ocasiones, un pastor conduce su rebaño por detrás. En este caso, el pastor conduce a las ovejas hacia el destino y se asegura de que no se entretengan en el camino, desviándose tras alguna distracción u otra.

¿En qué área de tu vida Jesús desea pastorearte más de cerca? ¿Hay algún destino o meta en el horizonte hacia el cual él está atrayendo tu corazón? ¿Has encontrado patrones de distracción en tu vida que te mantienen perdiendo el tiempo en el camino? ¿Puedes oír la voz de tu Pastor? ¿Lo reconoces cuando llama tu nombre?

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Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes

Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP, is an author and offers online evangelization as well as spiritual formation for people on their journey of spiritual transformation and inner healing. Website: www.touchingthesunrise.com My Books: https://touchingthesunrise.com/books/
Public Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/srkathrynhermes/ HeartWork Spiritual Formation Group: https://touchingthesunrise.com/heartwork/

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