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Oct 1, 2019

Ministering to Coworkers, Ember Days, and Revering Saint Relics

Fr. Josh Johnson

Fr. Josh answers questions about ministering to a coworker who looks at horoscopes and practices “white” witchcraft, what’s the deal with ember days (periods of fasting for vocations throughout the year), and why Catholics venerate saint relics and images.


“Vatican II invites lay people to go out into the work environment (a place where clergy can’t go) and be the image of the body of Jesus Christ.”


SHOWNOTES

Glory Story (2:14)

Listener Feedback (6:00)

Ministering to Coworkers (8:15)

Hi Fr. Josh, I‘ve been wondering whether I should keep up a friendship with a coworker whose lifestyle and beliefs are pretty opposite of mine. This coworker puts a lot of faith in horoscopes and said something about how people would be surprised if they knew that a big part of witchcraft is about natural remedies like herbs and essential oils. We don’t agree about sex or that marriage should be between a man and woman. I just listen when she talks about all of this because I don’t know if it’s my place to correct her — and honestly I‘m scared to.

I don’t want to condemn her or make her think she wouldn’t be welcome in the Church. Plus, I think of Jesus eating with tax collectors. She grew up Christian and stopped practicing at some point. She says she prays, and she actually expressed an interest in joining a nondenominational church, which I think may be the result of her spending time with me and a Christian coworker. So part of me wants to be that influence who points her closer to Christ.

But I really have a problem with her openness to witchcraft and horoscopes. It makes me uncomfortable and I don’t want to subject myself to any kind of occult influence. And I want friends who are pursuing holiness. So, part of me wants to distance myself, at least outside of work.

We are both pretty new to our jobs and our city, and both of our social lives are mostly with coworkers. And maybe my reluctance to correct her or defend what I believe comes from a fear that it would make work awkward. Or a fear that she’d turn other coworkers against me. Besides these differences, we really do click and have bonded over a couple of interests. Plus, I know she could use a friend and use Jesus even more. I’m just struggling with knowing whether I should be that friend. Any advice is very welcome. Praying for you! 

– Mary

Ember Days (16:04)

Hi Father Josh, I am seeing on social media people talking about something in the Catholic Church called ember days. From what I can tell, ember days are a penitential season that take place 4 times a year (Lent, June, September and December) and these are a  time of fasting for vocations and for good and holy priests. Will you explain in more detail how this tradition got started, and why it’s not commonly practiced? Thank you so much for your wonderful podcast and for the work you are doing for the Catholic Church.

– Elaine

Revering Saint Relics (20:55)

Hello Father Josh. Thank you for all your podcasts. I have just started listening to them last weekend but I’ve been watching Ascension Presents for a year now. I have a question about my Catholic faith. I love it with a passion. I love the Eucharist and I love God, my goal every day is to make Him the center of my everything. I have a devotion to Mother Mary and Saint Francis of Assisi (my patron saint). I’ve been considering and discerning priesthood since 2016. I’m in college right now (I’m a freshman). I’ll wait for God to take His time. However, my question is: Why do we look at relics, images, and statues of saints with so much reverence? 

– Humberto

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  • Dear Fr. Josh,

    I believe you said the devil couldn’t know our thoughts. Can saints know our thoughts? I have been praying in silence to them. Do I need to pray out loud to the saints?

    Thanks,
    Angela

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