Incredible Growth From A Mustard Seed

We are all familiar with the parable from Matthew’s Gospel wherein Jesus tells us “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field.” This seed is often used as an analogy for the work we undertake with faith that God will help a good thing grow.

And indeed, here at Paradisus Dei, we have witnessed increasing faith bearing great fruit. This fall, we will reach a milestone: 100,000 men who have taken part in TMIY! Think of the population of a healthy-sized city where every single person had grown in their relationship with the Lord!

The growth of the mustard seed is not the end of the story, you know. Christ goes on to tell us “it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” In other words, the seed does not stay the same – it becomes a tree that is a home for others.

Similarly, the many men, women, and young people who have been transformed by Paradisus Dei programs are changing the world around them. Men are becoming better leaders, resulting in healthier relationships with God, their wives, and their families. Marriages are becoming more joyful, thus strengthening the family and their wider community. Young people are finding the answer to tough questions, entering adulthood with the seeds of faith.

Paradisus Dei is not only concerned with learning about the faith—though that’s important too. It is about helping people around the country discover the superabundance of God. 100,000 is a great start, but it doesn’t begin to reflect the number of people who have been touched by loved ones who have attended our programs.

We hope and pray that 100,000 is just the beginning!

If you are ready to start your parish’s journey with one of our programs please let us know by email at info@paradisusdei.org.

Paradisus Dei Ventures into New Space(s)

With a sense of profound gratitude, Paradisus Dei fully embraced the blessings and benefits of two new spaces this May – digital and physical.  Digital refers to the launch of a completely redesigned website, and physical refers to the official blessing of the brand new Paradisus Dei offices.  These new spaces greatly increase the ministry’s capacity and effectiveness.

Simplicity. Engagement. Action.

Those three words define the intended user experience at www.paradisusdei.org.  This approach originates from Paradisus Dei’s mission: to help couples and families discover the superabundance of God.  This discovery happens through experience. The website’s design quickly funnels users to the type of experience they want to have. And past participants in Paradisus Dei programs have proven that experience ultimately leads to action!

A new platform underpins this website, bringing with it all of the latest technology.  That translates into a more enjoyable user experience, more ways for the ministry to stay in relationship with our website community and easy expansion over time.  Website users will appreciate such conveniences as videos that play on-page instead of linking to outside pages, multiple on-page options for asking questions or requesting information, easy-to-download resources and fluid site navigation. The new platform supports an interactive, step-by-step program overview, including how to get started, downloadable program samples and FAQs for each ministry and program.

All of these features come into play through four primary categories: Experience It, Live It, Share It, and Fund It.  These categories represent the options for engaging with Paradisus Dei and form the foundation for the website.

  • Experience It – provides information on how users can experience Paradisus Dei. Ministries, programs, events and other options are presented.  The Choice Wine, That Man is You!, Hope Undimmed and the Mother Daughter Retreat are explored in great detail.
  • Live It – provides information on how users can continue to live their faith. The 7 Steps are presented, along with video reinforcement and practical suggestions for how to live each step daily.  A weekly video reflection series is offered. And partnerships to help users live their faith are highlighted.
  • Share It – provides options for users to share their experience. Downloadable resources provide a starting point for sharing with Friends and Family, Church and Diocese and Local Conferences.  Users can also share their story with us, join the Mission Outreach team or hear others’ stories.
  • Fund It – provides information for users on how to financially support the mission and work of Paradisus Dei. No donation is too small, and options for monthly giving and Paradisus Dei’s giving levels are explored.  Contact information for the development team is provided for further conversation.

This new website allows Paradisus Dei to engage the online community in support of actual communities – families, churches and dioceses.  But the work doesn’t stop here.  Phase 2 of the website project – conversion and improvement to the parish implementation web tools – will launch in June with completion expected in October 2017.

 

Giving Elbows More Room to Work

Earlier this year, Paradisus Dei moved into new offices off of Richmond Avenue in the Westchase area of Houston.  These offices were custom designed to meet the needs of the growing ministry.  Final work was completed this spring, allowing for the official office blessing to take place earlier this month.

As an international Catholic lay ministry dedicated to helping families discover the superabundance of God, it was critical to start the time in the new space the right way.  Cardinal DiNardo graciously accepted the invitation to preside at Mass and officially bless the new space.  The significance of this event mirrors the significance of the space for the ministry.

The reason for referring to it as “the space” is due to the fact that it contains more than just offices.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Chapel – this beautiful space provides the appropriate atmosphere for the Paradisus Dei team to “give God some of their time,” throughout the day, where the Paradisus Dei family, past and present, is remembered in prayer.
  • Collaborative spaces – a large conference room, small conference room and casual meeting room provide the spaces for creative collaboration, where various teams can meet separately, but at the same time.
  • Professional workspaces – meeting the diverse needs of the growing team, these spaces include deluxe cubicles, offices and a dedicated workroom. Elbows with appropriate room to work get more done!
  • Studio – connected to the office space, having an onsite studio is an incredible blessing for the ministry. As this is being read, Steve Bollman and the team are filming a new year of TMIY, literally feet from their offices.
  • Editing Suite – connected to the studio and boasting the space needed for group viewing of content, the Editing Suite will the production process more collaborative, creative and effective as a result.
  • Storage – dedicated, onsite, but closed off storage keeps the clutter away from the other purpose-driven spaces. The staff is especially grateful not to share their knee-room with boxes, and that makes a difference!
  • Room to grow – the icing on the cake is that all of the above was done with an eye toward continued growth. Whether it be people, projects, processes or technology, the new space will serve the ministry well for years to come.

These new spaces, and the blessings and benefits that accompany them, allow Paradisus Dei to better fulfill its mission to help families discover the superabundance of God, to better serve couples and families.  You are invited to continue to be a part of this essential mission.  Contact us to learn more, or visit www.paradisusdei.org.

Paradisus Dei Announces a Brand New Year of TMIY!

Steve Bollman is back in the studio preparing an entirely new year of That Man is You! This new program year will dive right to the heart of the spiritual struggles of our modern day and soar to the heights of mystical theology. This new program year promises to be a special edition to an already excellent line up of program years for the participants.
 
“I’m more excited than I’ve been in many years. The new year of TMIY can truly be a game changer – both for men in TMIY and the larger culture,“ said Steve Bollman. 
 
Here is how the new program year will look semester to semester:
 
Fall Semester
The fall semester will tackle head-on the issue that most separates the Church from modern society – the issue of love. Did you know that only 17% of millennials list “getting married” as one of their top three goals in life? Many alternatives in modern society successfully compete for the attention of today’s youth. This is just one of many possible examples. The good news is that the Church was founded by God, who IS love. Further, the Church has been contemplating this mystery for over 2,000 years. It is time for us to tell our story.
 
Only the Church has a vision so vast that it embraces the latest neurological findings, while soaring to Marriage Feast of the Lamb. It is a vision that encompasses our modern society and gives hope. Steve will look at the 7 critical moments within the Nuptial Mass to answer the question, “What is Love?”
 
Spring Semester
In the Spring, men will have the opportunity to personally experience it. Using the incredibly successful TMIY National Retreat as a model, the Spring semester will help men dissect their spiritual life as never before. They will learn to identify the issues that are truly keeping them from “becoming a man after God’s own heart” and receive practical advice about how to take the next step in their spiritual life. Above all, they will have the opportunity to encounter Our Lady in a very special and personal way.
 
Due to the order in which parishes rotate through program years, not every parish will experience this new program year in the fall.
 
“Each and every program year has its own unique and powerful content. This new program year is no different. I am excited for men to experience it. It will be well worth the wait for those who have to!” offered Brian Topping, Director of Marketing.
 
Paradisus Dei’s program coordination team will be in touch with all TMIY Core Team Leaders about their upcoming program year beginning this fall. For more information about TMIY, please visit the website or email info@paradisusdei.org.

Pope Francis Says Every Married Couple Must Know These 3 Words

During his papacy, Pope Francis has given practical advice for married couples to avoid struggles in their marriage. Whether in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, or in addresses, the Holy Father has made marriage a key area of teaching.

In one speech, Pope Francis shared three words he says are key to a successful marriage.

“Sometimes they ask me how to make it so that the family always goes forward and overcomes difficulties, I suggest to them to practice three words. These words can help to live married life because in married life there are difficulties,” adding that marriage is something we have to take care of, “because it’s forever.”


The three words are “permission, gratitude, and forgiveness.”


 On the topic of permission, the Pope said to “always ask your spouse, the wife to the husband and the husband to the wife, ‘what do you think, what do you think if we do this?’” rather than just “running over” the other without getting their opinion.

He also stressed the need to be grateful, “because it’s the spouses who confer the sacrament of marriage, one to the other. And this sacramental relationship is maintained with this sentiment of gratitude, of thanks.”

The third word, he noted, is forgiveness, which is “a very hard word to say.” In marriage, mistakes are always made, he said, noting that the important thing is to know how to recognize one’s mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

This “does a lot of good,” Francis continued, urging families and engaged couples to “remember these three words, which will help you a lot in married life: permission, thank you, and forgiveness.”

8 Traditional Irish Prayers For Your Marriage

The Emerald Isle, Ireland, has a deep faith that runs back to the time of Saint Patrick himself. Out of this long tradition of faith, coupled with a unique Irish perspective, have come some of the most beautiful and elegantly simple prayers.

One particular prayer tradition from Ireland is wedding blessings meant to be prayed on wedding days and by spouses throughout their marriage.

Here are a few traditional Irish wedding blessings:

“May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow

May the soft winds freshen your spirit

May the sunshine brighten your heart

May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you

And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.”

~ Irish Marriage Prayer

“May you have love that never ends,

lots of money, and lots of friends.

Health be yours, whatever you do,

and may God send many blessings to you!”

~ Irish Words of Wisdom for Weddings

“May you always walk in sunshine.

May you never want for more.

May Irish angels rest their wings Right beside your door.”

 “May your troubles be less,

And your blessings be more.

And nothing but happiness,

Come through your door.”

~ Traditional Irish Wedding Blessing

“With the first light of sun- Bless you.

When the long day is done- Bless you.

In your smiles and your tears- Bless you.

Through each day of your years- Bless you.”

~ Traditional Irish Wedding Blessing

“May you enjoy the four greatest blessings:

Honest work to occupy you.

A hearty appetite to sustain you.

A good woman to love you.

And a wink from the God above.”

~ Irish Words of Encouragement for the Groom

“May the embers from the open hearth warm your hands,

 May the sun’s rays from the Irish sky warm your face,

May the children’s bright smiles warm your heart,

May the everlasting love I give you warm your soul.”

~ Irish Wedding Vow

“May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.

May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.

May the saddest day of your future

Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May your hands be forever clasped in friendship

And your hearts joined forever in love.

Your lives are very special,

God has touched you in many ways.

May his blessings rest upon you

And fill all your coming days.”

~ Wedding Wishes From Ireland

“Happy is the bride that rain falls on

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.

May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.

May the saddest day of your future

Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May your hands be forever clasped in friendship

And your hearts joined forever in love.

Your lives are very special,

God has touched you in many ways.

May his blessings rest upon you

And fill all your coming days.

We swear by peace and love to stand,

Heart to heart and hand to hand.

Hark, O Spirit, and hear us now,

Confirming this our Sacred Vow.”

~Traditional Irish Marriage Prayer

These simple prayers truly capture the spirit of prayer in marriage. They capture the spirit of two people, praying that God bless their days and keep their marriage. A marriage rooted in God, where spouses that pray these simple prayers, are the kind of marriages that last.

How To Get A Papal Blessing For Your Marriage

Official Papal Blessings make an absolutely perfect wedding gift or an anniversary gift to your spouse. They can be received upon one’s wedding, or on the 10th, 25th, 40th, 50th, and 60th wedding anniversaries. The blessings come in the form of a beautifully ornate parchment with meticulous calligraphic text and an image of the current pontiff on the top.

These are two ways to obtain a blessing; by directly visiting The Office of Papal Charities, or by mail (they don’t accept email or phone requests).

Requests for Papal Blessings on parchment can be sent to the Office of Papal Charities only by regular post. The address is:

Elemosineria Apostolica
Parchment Office
00120 Vatican City

The request should include:
 
  • the name, surname and address of the person making the request
  • the name and surname of the person(s) for whom the blessing is being requested
  • the reason or occasion prompting the request
  • the date, the name of the Church and the address are required when the blessing is requested for the celebration of a sacrament, a religious profession or an anniversary
  • the address of where to send the parchment and payment details.
It typically takes about one month from the date when the request is received for the Apostolic Blessing parchment to be delivered. The typical cost ranges from €13-€25 plus €10-€30 for shipping. The payment should be made after you receive the Papal Blessing and can be made via a bank transfer (the banking coordinates will be sent to you in the same parcel as the parchment) or by online credit card payment via their website.
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