Top 10 Posts of 2017

Now that we have entered a New Year, 2018, a year that will bring many awesome changes to my personal life, I thought I would share with you the data as well as the Top 10 Posts from my blog and website from 2017. Some of the personal life information has already been revealed in other articles and will continue to be released in the months ahead. Stay tuned for some exciting news.

On this website, in 2017, there were – 192,731 views; 137,436 visitors, 1.40 views per visitor, and I wrote 87 articles. Although I wrote less than the preceding years, my views and visitors increased.116 people started following my blog either through WordPress or by Email. If you are interested in receiving emails when I wrote, feel free to sign-up on the Home Page below my picture where it says “Click here to Follow Me.”

At this point, I am around 5700 views from 1,000,000. That’s exciting but also very humbling. I should hit that milestone this month. I hit a rather big milestone during this year when I wrote my 800th post.

Out of the 87 articles I wrote, 15 of them appeared on NewAdvent.org. Thanks to Kevin Knight for posting my articles on that site. Also, a thanks goes out to Tito Edwards and Big Pulpit for posting a few of my articles as well.

Below are the Top 10 Posts from 2017. They begin with the most viewed, however, each one had over 1000 views.

1. 12 Quotes from the Great Saint of Pietrelcina

2. 12 Quotes from Edith Stein – Jewish convert, Carmelite Sister, Martyr and Catholic Saint 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – St. Teresa of Calcutta and The Miraculous Medal 

4. Sacred Art is Inspiring and Flourishing…in Scottsdale, Arizona 

5. Solidarity HealthShare: The Catholic Answer to the Healthcare Dilemma 

6. Remembering Father Michael Scanlan, TOR

7. “Mondays with Mary” – 54 Days of Rosary Quotes 

8. The Knights of Columbus: A Band of Brothers Going into the Breach  

9. “Mondays with Mary” – Asking for the Intercession of Saint Joseph 

10. It’s Time to Tell the Mainstream Media #WhyWeMarch 

Thank you to all my family members, friends, and followers that follow me on here and/or through Facebook and Twitter. I appreciate your support. My 6th anniversary of writing on here is coming up soon. Watch for that post around the end of January.  Happy New Year! 

My Catholic Office at the Parish

As I promised way back on February 27, 2014, in my blog post, My Catholic Corner Office, at some point when we were in the new parish office building, I would post pictures of my office. At the time of the above blog post, I was sharing an office with one of my co-workers because we didn’t have the space to have our own offices. Now in the new building, which also holds the St. Michael the Archangel Adoration Chapel, we each have our own office. Our supportive staff uses cubicles and many have really made those their own space as well.

As I said in the above blog post, “I love working at Saint Mary Magdalene because I can be the on-fire, papist loving, unapologetic, evangelical Catholic that I am. See my blog post from last year – Characteristics of a Papist.” Working at the parish and having an office of my own makes going to work so much fun each day, well my co-workers and superiors help this out a lot too.

Although my office is essentially where I want it to be, the one thing I will continue to add are statues of the saints and icons. Below you will see where the statues and icons are in my office. They are a great reminder to me what it is to strive for holiness. A reminder I need everyday! 

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IMG_1169IMG_1170IMG_1171The last picture is the view from my desk to remind that the life of a Catholic Christian, the life of a evangelist, the life of a Catholic lay minister, is always the Cross. It’s meant to be hard and if we die with Him and we certainly rise with Him. There have been many times over the past 6 months that this has been proven true.

All Praise and Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ…Now and Forever. Amen.  

TomPerna.org 2014 Annual Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 170,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I would personally like to thank all my followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and everyone that follows my blog through the actual blog itself. Please continue to share my blog with your family and friends. It’s because of you that I write more and more each year.

I would also like to thank Kevin Knight, the editor at NewAdvent.org, who posts my blogs at least once a month. Also want to thank Tito Edwards of Bigpulpit.com who publishes my blog posts as well. Without you two gentlemen, TomPerna.org would not reach as many people as it does.

Here is to a very blessed 2015, and the publishing of my first books in print.

Happy New Year!

Four Saints That Will Change Your Life

Today, I had the opportunity to speak to my parish, Saint Mary Magdalene Roman Catholic Church, on Four Saints That Will Change Your Life. This was a last minute change to our Saturday Morning Speaker Series which we began on February 1.

Although I have given talks for the Family Faith Formation sessions, this was the first time as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis that I spoke to a wide-range of parishioners.

The four saints that I chose to speak on this morning were: Saint Teresa of Avila, St. John Bosco, Blessed Karl of Austria, and St. Gianna Beretta Molla. I have written on three of these saints in the past on here, so even though today’s talk was short notice do to a speaker not being able to make it, I was somewhat prepared in the end.

All praise and thanksgiving to Jesus, the Blessed Mother, and Angels and Saints for helping me get this talk completed.

To listen to the 45 minute talk on the above saints, click on the player below – 

I hope you enjoy it.

Giving Praise and Thanksgiving for the New Position

St. Mary Magdalene IconThis past week, I am began my new position as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona. To say the least, and yes it’s only been one week; I have not been this joyful in a job for sometime. Out of the last three positions I have held, this one feels like a natural fit for me. A friend of mine said that between my education and experience, this position at the parish could be the dream job. It synthesizes my love for Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church, my innate ability to engage people in a relationship (this is evangelization!), my writing skills, as well as my teaching and public speaking experience.

Since the day I told Rev. Will Schimd, Pastor of Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, I would accept the position, I have been giving praise and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for answering my prayer of petition. I went to Daily Mass 4 out of 5 days this week. After walking back to my seat having just received Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity in His Precious and Holy Eucharist, I would kneel down in prayer offering again praise and thanksgiving.

For four months, I prayed for busyness. On Monday, November 4, busyness took on a whole new meaning for me. It was a Baptism by Fire that grabbed me from the moment I walked into the parish office and into my “own” (sharing the space for the time being with Gretchen) office. The “good” kind of stress was upon me again and I loved every minute of it.

Between getting my computer set-up, setting up my email, coming up with passwords, learning the procedures of the office, designing and ordering my business cards (this tested my patience!), laughing at Fr. Chris and his #hashtag remarks, leading RCIA on the first day (at night), and teaching the last class for Adult Confirmation this semester, it has begun to already feel like home.

The staff at St. Mary Magdalene is one of the most joyful (just as Pope Francis has been proclaiming) groups of individuals I have met in a long time. Trust me, in my years of work experience; I have worked with some rather joyless individuals. You couldn’t turn their frowns upside down with all the Pixie Dust and happy thoughts in Never Never Land.

It’s hard to even explain in writing what my first days have been like. It’s been a real culture shock for me. It’s not perfect, I am not saying that at all and nothing we do as humans is perfect, but there is a special grace, a movement of the Holy Spirit that is really impacting the parish.

Along with my co-workers, the parishioners I have met carry that same zeal. Daily Mass is packed (as are the weekend Masses)! The positive comments and excitement that comes through their lips when I was introduced or would introduce myself is beyond words. This week, and yes it’s the first week (I know!), has been a week of fresh air (maybe it’s the same “wind” that the Apostles heard and felt at Pentecost). I was told even before I stepped foot on the parish grounds that the Holy Spirit is very active in the Southeast Valley of Metropolitan Phoenix.

Mary is the Mother of the Church on Pentecost

I offer up this prayer: Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Queen Mother and Advocate, All the Angels and Saints, I give all Praise and Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior, and personal friend, for hearing my prayers and the prayers of those who were praying for me during the past four months. Thank You Jesus for getting me a position that I am going to truly love, and with your assistance, brings souls closer to you. It’s only through you that I will work as an instrument. In the words of St. Francis de Sales, “Bring me souls, away with the rest.” Amen!

10 Favorite Quotes from Catechesi Tradendae

As my new position begins next week at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona, my mind is racing in a thousand different directions on how a Christocentric parish-wide adult faith formation program will look. Although this program won’t be fully operational for some time, my extrovert, detail-orientated, perfectionist personality is already moving and shaking, and yes, I have a plethora of ideas. Much of what I will be doing full-time is already planned out very well; I just have to make sure I don’t mess it up. 🙂

Praying that Jesus, Our Blessed Mother, Her divine spouse – the Holy Spirit, and the Saints guide me in my new position.

Please also pray for the 5-week Diaconate Course I begin teaching next Tuesday! Life went from the desert to the wedding banquet in a matter of days.

Official JP 2 Papal PhotoI am already throwing myself into re-reading some important papal documents from none other than, Blessed John Paul II. The two already in my hands are: Catechesi Tradendae (Catechesis In Our Time) and Ecclesia in America (The Church in America). After those texts, I am going to read and re-read some of his other texts on Evangelization, the Role of the Laity, and a few of the documents from the Second Vatican Council that hit on these subjects as well. Once those are read, I will find myself reading through Sherry Waddell’s, Forming Intentional Disciples and re-reading, George Weigel’s, Evangelical Catholicism – which is fantastic!

For today’s blog post, I want to share with you my 10 favorite quotes from Catechesi Tradendae (Catechesis In Our Time). I first read this document when I was working at Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church as the Coordinator of Junior High Catechesis from 2003-2007. The master of evangelization and catechesis, the soon-to-be, Saint Pope John Paul II eloquently and passionately defines, explains, and professes the importance of catechesis in our time. It’s a must read for anyone doing catechesis in the Catholic Church with children, teenagers, college students, or adults.

My 10 favorite quotes are:

1. “The primary and essential object of catechesis is, to us an expression dear to St. Paul and also to contemporary theology, “the mystery of Christ.” Catechizing is in a way to lead a person to study this mystery in all its dimensions: “to make men see what is the plan of the mystery…comprehend with all the saints what is the breath and length and height and depth…know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…(and be filled)…with the fullness of God” (#5).

2. “Christocentricity in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one’s own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that He communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that He is…Christ alone who teaches – anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ’s spokesman…Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus…My teaching is not mine!” (#6).

3. “To begin with, it is clear that the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right…from the theological point of view every baptized person, precisely by reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to on a truly Christian life…” (#14).

4. “Let us first all recall that there is no separation or opposition between catechesis and evangelization. Nor can the two be simply identified with each other. Instead, they have close links whereby they integrate and complement each other” (#18).

5. “Nevertheless, the specific aim of catechesis is to develop, with God’s help, an as yet initial faith, and to advance in fullness and to nourish day by day the Christian life of the faithful young and old…Catechesis aims therefore at developing understanding of the mystery of Christ in the light of God’s word, so that the whole of a persons humanity is impregnated by that word” (#20).

6. “Finally, catechesis will have an ecumenical dimension if it tries to prepare Catholic children and young people, as well as adults, for living in contact with non-Catholics, affirming their Catholic identity while respecting the faith of others” (#32).

7. “A catechesis capable of leading the adolescent to reexamine his or her life and to engage in dialogue, a catechesis that does not ignore the adolescent’s great questions – self-giving, belief, love and the means of expressing it constituted by sexuality – such a catechesis can be decisive” (#38).

8. “The Christian community cannot carry out a permanent catechesis without the direct and skilled participation of adults, whether as receivers or as promoters of catechetical activity” (#43).

9. “We can say of catechesis, as well as of evangelization in general, that it is called to bring the power of the Gospel into the very heart of culture and cultures. For this purpose, catechesis will seek to know these cultures and their essential components; it will learn their most significant expressions; it will respect their particular values and riches” (#53).

10. “It is true that catechesis can be given anywhere, but I wish to stress, in accordance with the desire of many Bishops, that the parish community must continue to be the prime mover and pre-eminent place for catechesis” (#67).

Source:

Pope John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae. Pauline Books & Media, 1979.

For more information on and the writings of Blessed Pope John Paul II, go here.

I Have A NEW JOB!

After nearly four months of unemployment and the enduring the most difficult period of my life without a job, I give all praise and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for finding me the ideal job. The intercessory prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints and Angels have surely helped as well.

This position potentially is the dream job for me, since it focuses heavily on the work I am already doing on this blog.  Although I loved being a high school teacher, the work I have been doing through this blog has brought me great satisfaction since I have been told that my writing has helped adult Catholics deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and come to understand the importance their Catholic faith plays in their daily lives.

My new position, beginning November 4, will be as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona. I will oversee the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), Adult Confirmation, Adult Faith Formation (parish-wide), and be the parish staff contact between the Pastor and the faith formation ministries. Although I will be very busy, my writing will continue on this blog.

I would like to thank Fr. Will Schmid, Pastor of St. Mary Magdalene, for offering this position and giving me the opportunity to serve the parish. It’s going to be a great experience to work daily with Fr. Will. I have known him before he was a seminarian. As a seminarian, Fr. Will and others would come into my classroom at Saint Mary’s Catholic High School, when I taught theology, to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

There are already so many good things happening at St. Mary Magdalene. I hope that I can bring even a small contribution to the work the Holy Spirit is already doing in the young parish. I look forward to meeting a staff I hear many great things about as well as meet the many parishioners that call St. Mary Magdalene their home.

As Pope Francis often says to us, I say to you, please PRAY for me as I begin this new endeavor.

Thank you to everyone that offered up countless prayers for my job search and life in general. There are way too many people to list here, but I would like to say thank you specifically to my parents – Tom and Joyce Perna, without their continued support, life would be much more difficult; my sister, Carla and her family who seem to always have my back; and my extended family here (The Perna’s and Warner’s) and the Perna family in New Jersey.

I would also like to thank The Most Rev. James S. Wall, Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico; Fr. Robert Clements of the ASU Newman Center, Fr. Thaddeus McGuire of St. Daniel the Prophet Catholic Church, Bill Minton, Pat Ryan, Christina Strafaci, Michael Garibaldi, Jon Ciani, Sean Yeager, Debbie Georgianni, Ron and Kathy Klemme, and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

ALL GLORY, PRAISE, AND THANSKGIVING TO JESUS CHRIST, FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN.

“BE NOT AFRAID!” – Jesus Christ and Blessed John Paul II

Today’s “Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the New Testament, Part 2