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Author Archive: Joel and Lisa Schmidt

Joel and Lisa Schmidt co-founded The Practicing Catholic, an antidote to the perception that piety is boring or that the Church is filled with “sour-faced saints”. In their writings, the Schmidts provide witness to the adventure of living an integrated Catholic life ... not just on Sundays. For more about the Schmidts, please see their individual bios (Joel's bio; Lisa's bio).

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What is a Holy Family?

December 19, AD2014 5 Comments
What is a Holy Family?

Not even ten minutes pass after Mass, and you find yourself sitting in the parish hall breaking up an argument between the kids who are fighting over a donut. So much for that peace we offered one another during Mass. Ah, peace. We want peace in our homes; we want to be holy families. But […]

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Buckle Up! Riding the Marriage Roller Coaster

July 5, AD2014 4 Comments
Buckle Up! Riding the Marriage Roller Coaster

Roller coasters are a centerpiece of the amusement park, a common summer vacation destination for many families including ours. While there is some danger involved in riding them, roller coasters can be safe when properly designed and tested. Engineers understand what forces a body can comfortably withstand. Proper measures are taken to ensure the cars […]

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What Every Catholic Marriage Prep Program Ought to Include

June 7, AD2014 19 Comments
What Every Catholic Marriage Prep Program Ought to Include

Joel recently completed a sacramental theology course for his diaconate studies. One of the questions on the final exam was: Outline a marriage preparation program for your parish. Explain what components you would like to include and why. Not only do we think this is an imminently practical question for any deacon-to-be, we think the topic […]

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Viewing the Passion Through the Eyes of St. Gemma Galgani

April 14, AD2014 2 Comments
Viewing the Passion Through the Eyes of St. Gemma Galgani

Sometimes, it’s good to get a fresh perspective. When we’ve seen the same thing, the same way, over and over again, it can get stale and lose its impact on us. I’ve heard priests say that the best-known passages from Sacred Scripture are the most difficult ones about which to preach for precisely this reason. […]

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Social Media: Are We Excarnating Ourselves Online?

February 18, AD2014 3 Comments
Social Media: Are We Excarnating Ourselves Online?

Mystery: from Latin mysterium or Greek mystērion. Various definitions suggest something secret, private, or not easily understood. We all probably know someone whose life seems to be lived completely online. Always at the top of our Facebook news feed: pics of my new haircut, what’s for dinner tonight, my weight loss updates, before and after […]

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Can Miscarriage and Abortion Grief Coexist Peacefully?

January 18, AD2014 13 Comments
Can Miscarriage and Abortion Grief Coexist Peacefully?

To be perfectly honest, we were feeling pretty good about things. As part of the diaconate formation in our diocese, each candidate is required to develop an Icon of Christ the Servant ministry project.  Essentially, each man or couple is to ascertain a genuine need in the community and undertake a personal outreach ministry to […]

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The Churching of Women: Postpartum Support Catholic Style

November 23, AD2013 11 Comments
The Churching of Women: Postpartum Support Catholic Style

Once upon a time in colonial America, there was something called a “lying in” period. This was the time, typically a month or so, following childbirth when a community would rally in support of a new mother. She would rest, regain her strength, and bond with her baby while the community kept up the household. […]

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Holy Distraction: The Case for Sacred Art and Architecture

October 26, AD2013 5 Comments
Holy Distraction: The Case for Sacred Art and Architecture

We were traveling for Thanksgiving, visiting Joel’s family. It was the feast of Christ the King, and we were looking for a Saturday vigil Mass. There were two options. The first one was just a few minutes from our hotel; the second was across town. Knowing nothing about the first, we chose the second. We […]

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Why Didn\’t Someone Share the Truth with Us?

August 4, AD2013 22 Comments
Why Didn\’t Someone Share the Truth with Us?

It was an interesting NFP Awareness week at our blog The Practicing Catholic. We wrote a week-long series about natural family planning, and we lost a few followers. Are we disappointed? Sure, a bit. We felt called to share the beauty of the Church’s teaching about human sexuality through the lens of natural family planning, […]

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5 Things Parishes Can Do To Stop Losing Young Families

July 6, AD2013 73 Comments
5 Things Parishes Can Do To Stop Losing Young Families

Matthew Warner recently discontinued his blog at the National Catholic Register. In his second-to-last blog post, Why the World Doesn’t Take Catholicism Seriously, he charged that the Church has gotten bad at making saints. “We Catholics don\’t look or act any different than non-Catholics. It\’s that simple.” How many of us really lead lives so […]

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Why Godparents Matter

June 8, AD2013 12 Comments
Why Godparents Matter

A few months ago we wrote about the Catholic Church’s teaching on infant baptism, specifically the Church’s command to have infants baptized as soon as possible after they are born. Not surprisingly, we encountered a diversity of strong opinions in the comment box. One frustrated commenter defined the godparent selection process as a “minefield.” No […]

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So You Want to be a Deaconess?

May 11, AD2013 10 Comments
So You Want to be a Deaconess?

Women deacons, why not? Ever since the Second Vatican Council implemented the vision of the Council of Trent to restore the permanent diaconate, the question has lingered. Now with recent statements on the matter by Walter Cardinal Kasper at the spring assembly of the German Bishops Conference, the topic has gained new traction … not […]

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Can Catholics Be Cremated?

April 13, AD2013 18 Comments
Can Catholics Be Cremated?

One component of our diaconate formation this year has focused on ministries related to death and dying. To that end, our class watched the movie “Departures,” 2009 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film. The main character is Daigo Kobayashi, an unemployed concert cellist who accidentally becomes an encoffiner, essentially an Japanese undertaker. Although […]

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What Does the Church Teach about Infant Baptism

February 16, AD2013 19 Comments
What Does the Church Teach about Infant Baptism

We’re those people. In our families and social circles, we are usually considered to be the über-Catholics. We pray before meals, even when we’re dining out. We plan our weekend schedule around going to Mass, even if we’re traveling. We strictly observe all Holy Days of Obligation. In discussing issues of moral significance, we first ask, “What does […]

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