Month of the Holy Souls
Welcome to November! This is the month the Church dedicates to the Holy Souls. It is a reminder for all of us that we will not be here on Earth forever and we must prepare for life after death. It is a month where we pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, who need our prayers to minimise their time of suffering while waiting to enter into their Heavenly reward. It is an important time to pray for lost loved ones. As the banner above indicates with the graphic of candles, it is a good practise to light a candle and pray specifically for the souls of family and friends who have died and for all those Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Bible Timeline Study in the Cathedral
Above: Some of the students were presented with a certificate of completion for the recent Bible Timeline study at Parramatta Cathedral Hall
At the end of last month, we completed another Bible Timeline study. This time, we were at the Parramatta Cathedral Hall, following the famous Bible Timeline Chart, designed by Jeff Cavins and referred to by Fr Mike Schmitz in his ‘Bible in a Year’ podcast. This study was held on Saturday evenings throughout the Term 3 period and into Term 4. We had so many great questions and even had some primary aged students join in for the whole study. It was special to be able to present a Certificate of Completion to all the participants as they have now grown in their knowledge of the big picture of scripture. If you would like to host a Bible Timeline study in your parish, please reach out to us.
Melbourne Trip a Success
I recently got back from a road trip with my family to Melbourne, via some of the country towns along the way. It was a very blessed trip in which I gave two talks while I was in Melbourne and both talks were very well attended. The first talk was at the Chaldean Church in Melbourne in front of hundreds of young adults, and it was exciting to see the enthusiasm that night.
Above: Charbel Raish sharing his testimony at the Chaldean Church in Melbourne
The second event was at ‘Theology at the Pub’, held in the European Bier Cafe in downtown Melbourne. This was a great night with an electric atmosphere. On both evenings, I shared my testimony on ‘How Islam Led Me Back to Christ‘ and, as a result, was able to launch my book for the first time in person since the lock downs. I was pleased to come across a couple of Muslims attending my talks, who spoke with me afterwards one-on-one. These were very fruitful conversations and I ask you to please pray for them, as I think there is a genuine openness to knowing the fullness of Truth. I’m looking forward to heading back there with other speakers in 2023. I’m also excited about the country towns of Shepperton, Albury, Tumut, and other towns between Sydney and Melbourne, where we plan to do more evangelisation work in the near future. Please pray for this work, that it may continue to grow and reach more souls in Australia and beyond.
Above: Charbel Raish giving a talk at the Theology at the Pub in Melbourne
Above: Michael Murphy from Freedom, John Canavan from Divine Mercy Publications, Fr Terence Naughtin & Fr Brendan Arthur with Charbel & Christine.
Whilst in Melbourne, I was able to visit some friends doing great work in their apostolates. I was able to catch up with Michael Murphy, the director of Freedom Publishing and John Canavan, the director of Divine Mercy Publications. I discussed with each of them some upcoming collaborative efforts for 2023. I was also able to catch up with Fr Brendon Arthur, who has hosted many Parousia events in the past down in Melbourne. It was also great, while passing through Albury, to see Fr Terence Naughtin, who features in my book as the first speaker at the young adults faith formation group Guardians, where I met my wife twenty years ago. It was a very fruitful trip and looking forward to more in 2023.
Last month, there was an excellent bonus episode of the Speakin’ with Deacon podcast, filmed in person at our Be Not Afraid Conference. We also had Chris Carstens from Adoremus about his important apostolate and a great show with director of St Raymond Naus Foundation, Anne De Santis, sharing her testimony.
Upcoming Online Events
There are some exciting online events coming up this Advent. On 6th-8th December this year, we are going to be a part of the Eucharistic Summit organised by the St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation, Patchwork Heart Ministry, and Fiat Ministry Network. This special virtual event will feature Catholic speakers and authors offering wisdom, hope, and catechesis on the Holy Eucharist. Visit St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation website to register. Also on 8th December, the third annual Jesus Centered Life Conference is on again. The keynote this year is John Beaulieu from Steubenville, who will be speaking on being Holy and Heroic: The Courage to be Catholic. To register for this event, visit www.jesus-centeredlife.org. Parousia has partnered with both events and it is free to register. Hope to see you there!
Divine Renovation In Person Conference!
This coming February, the founder of Divine Renovation, Fr James Malon, is coming to Australia. Join us in Sydney on 10th-12th February 2023 for a weekend of inspiring keynotes, impactful workshops, and uplifting liturgy, prayer, and worship — together with parish leaders from Australia and New Zealand who are on fire for the Church’s mission.
This wraps up another very busy month at Parousia. Please pray for this mission. As we approach Advent, I want to wish you on behalf of the team at Parousia a blessed and holy season, as we prepare for the coming of the Messiah as a baby – our Lord Jesus Christ.
Devil’s Advocate: Facing My Inner Anti-Catholic
– Trent Horn (Paperback)
He has debated Protestants, skeptics, and socialists. He has refuted countless atheist arguments and debunked a thousand anti-Catholic myths—without breaking a sweat. But now Trent Horn has met his match . . . himself.
What if the voice of your deepest doubts and difficulties about Catholicism rose up in the form of a human being and challenged you to a defend your most foundational beliefs? That’s the task Trent faces in Devil’s Advocate: a dialogue with his own best objections against the faith he professes and defends.
In this engaging series of conversations with his anti-Catholic alter-ego, Trent battles challenges on topics such as:
- God: You can’t believe that God is a person when most philosophers say that—at best—God is just a force. The problem of evil won’t allow it!
- The Resurrection: Why say that Jesus truly rose from the dead when simpler explanations suffice? Why believe in this miraculous story but reject those in other religions?
- Abortion: Would you really tell a pregnant woman she must keep the baby even if doing so will kill both of them?
- The Bible vs. the Pope: Doesn’t it make more sense to put your faith in the unchanging word of God over Catholic leaders who keep making new teachings?
- Hell: How can you believe that God tortures people in hell forever? What if it were your own child?
The voice of doubt does not mess around—not for Trent, and maybe not for you, either. But in Devil’s Advocate, you’ll find that there’s a better option than ignoring those doubts you can’t quite beat. You have what it takes to face them . . . and Trent will show you how.
What is God?
– Kevin Vost (Paperback)
Have you ever tried to have a close, loving relationship with someone you don’t know? It’s not easy. (And it’s probably not a good idea!)
Most would never dream of attempting such intimacy with a human stranger, yet many of us try to do just that with God! But just as with people, if we don’t know God, we can’t love him.
In What Is God?, Kevin Vost (Memorize the Reasons!) shows you how you can better know the most worthy object of our love, following the thought of the great theologian who first asked that question as a young boy: St. Thomas Aquinas.
That thirteenth-century Dominican friar later devoted much of his masterwork, the Summa Theologica, to exploring God in his deepest essence. But if you don’t have time to read a 1.8-million-word philosophical treatise translated from medieval Latin, Dr. Vost is here to break down the key parts for you. In clear and approachable fashion, What Is God examines God’s attributes and considers questions about him that have vexed mankind for centuries.
- What does it mean for God to be simple? To be perfect?
- Is God really knowable, after all?
- Can we say that he is happy?
- Is God able to change the past, or cause it not to have been?
- And the classic: Can God make a boulder so big that even he cannot lift it?
St. Thomas has an answer for all of these, and many more . . . and What Is God? is the first book to collect and explain those answers in one place for modern readers.
Athletic Spirituality: Life Lessons from the Field
– Talor Kemp (CD)
Being a professional athlete isn’t easy. And sometimes, having and keeping the faith can be just as difficult. Taylor Kemp, a retired professional soccer player for the DC United and US Men’s National teams, shares his story with us about how he came to learn and love God and how he navigated his faith in one of the toughest environments: sports. Taylor shares some of the lessons that he learned throughout his journey in hopes that it might help someone else’s spiritual life as well.
Twisted Unto Destruction
– Donald J. Johnson (Paperback)
“There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.”—2 Peter 3:16
Martin Luther and his fellow “Reformers” turned Christendom upside-down by rejecting the authority of the Church that Jesus founded and claiming instead that personal interpretation of Scripture is to be our rule of faith. This infamous principle of sola scriptura—the “Bible alone”—created 500 years of doctrinal chaos and sectarian division.
But that awful aftermath is not the only legacy of sola scriptura.
In Twisted Unto Destruction, Donald J. Johnson (Convinced, Unprotected) shows how ditching the Church in favor of private Bible interpretation has also enabled some of the modern world’s worst crimes and vices.
Once an Evangelical Protestant who took sola scriptura for granted, Johnson came to realize that setting ourselves up as little Magisteriums—whose opinions on the Bible’s meaning have to be as valid as anyone else’s—not only leads to endless splintering, but makes it possible to use Scripture to justify anything.
Like puppeteers, Christians could make the words of the Bible dance on command, inventing “biblical” endorsements of violence, greed, racism, abortion, sexual depravity, and more. Without an authoritative Church to hold the line, and long removed from a practical consensus, Protestantism has been unable to resist the tide of modern errors.
In fact, as Johnson shows, in many cases, it has endorsed and expanded those errors. Read Twisted Unto Destruction to learn how we can fight this abuse of the Bible and reverse the damage it has caused.
Truth, Freedom, and the Human Person: Understanding Our Life in Christ
– Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers (Parousia On Demand)
The God of Love sent his Son into the world to remind us of the unchangeable principles of reason and faith, which the Church professes in her teaching and lives out by her example. Inspirational Catholic speaker Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers will explore the relationship between truth and freedom in society and in the Church, drawing a connection between God’s holy will and the obedience of faith. In the midst of anxious and turbulent times, Deacon Harold explains how you can bear witness to the faith with courage, decisiveness, and fidelity!