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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.

How can We Celebrate the Easter Season More Fully?

April 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Easter, FEATURED, Fr. Bartunek

Dear Father John, The wonderful season of Easter is upon us. Lent has been a great time to prepare for the victory of the cross over death. Thank-you Jesus Christ, Holy Redeemer. What are appropriate things we can do to celebrate Easter, especially for the entire season?   I love this question! Ever since I was ordained, I have been struck every year by the decrease in daily Mass attendance as soon... Read More

285. Bearing Fruit for Christ’s Kingdom (John 15:1-8)

April 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Meditations, The Better Part

“Others may have their wealth, may drink out of jeweled cups, be clad in silks, enjoy popular applause, find it impossible to exhaust their wealth by dissipating it in pleasures of all kinds, but our delight is to meditate on the Law of the Lord day and night…” – St. Jerome John 15:1-8: ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts... Read More

271. One Flock, One Shepherd (John 10:11-18)

April 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Meditations, The Better Part

“Death is certain, and life is short and vanishes like smoke. Therefore you must fix your minds on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ who so burned with love for us that he came down from heaven to redeem us.” – St. Francis of Paola John 10:11-18: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the... Read More

237. Amazing Peace (Luke 24:36-48)

April 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Meditations, The Better Part

“He submitted to death and endured it of his own free will, in order to destroy death against death’s will.” – St. Ephraem Luke 24:36-48: They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts... Read More

Teacher and Lord – Lenten Retreat Guide on the Last Supper

March 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Lent, Prayer, Retreat Guides

Teacher and Lord: A Lenten Retreat Guide on the Last Supper Father John Bartunek introduces us to his latest Lenten Retreat Guide on the Last Supper: Teacher and Lord Dear Friends in Christ, During the first centuries of Christianity, the forty days leading up to Holy Week took on a special significance. Those forty days are called Lent, a name taken from the Old English word meaning “spring.”... Read More

Should I Still Go to Confession if I Have Nothing to Confess?

Dear Father John, I recently heard someone mention the term “devotional confession.” I think this is what I need, but I am not sure what it really is. Is this the kind of confession we do when we are no longer living with habitual mortal or venial sins? Is this where we re-confess old sins to gain the benefit of the sacrament? But if it is, isn’t that scrupulosity? Any guidance will be appreciated. Your... Read More

The Litany of Humility: How Can I be Freed From the Desire to be Loved?

March 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Humility, Prayer, Spiritual Direction

Dear Father John, I am trying to pray the Litany of Humility [by Servant of God Cardinal Merry del Val] with special reverence and attentiveness during this Lent, and in doing so the following question keeps recurring to me: In the Litany of Humility, the second request is: “From the desire of being loved, Lord Jesus, free me!” How am I to understand this request? I had thought that to... Read More

How do Penance and Mortification Differ?

Dear Father John, OK, now I have a better grasp of what we mean by “mortification,” but that has raised another question. Is there a difference between mortification and penance or penitence. This is a very interesting question. The distinction between mortification (synonymous in most spiritual writers with self-denial, abnegation, self-renunciation, dying to self) and penance (synonymous with... Read More

What is Mortification?

Dear Father John, What is “mortification” and how does it relate to Lent? What does Saint Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 9 where he says, “I pummel my body and subdue it…”? Is he talking about mortification? The root word for “mortification” comes from the Latin, mors and mortis, and it translates as “death.” In the spiritual life, therefore, mortification... Read More

The Christmas Apostle – Advent Retreat Guide on St John the Evangelist

December 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Advent, Fr. Bartunek, Prayer, Retreat Guides

The Christmas Apostle: A Retreat Guide on St. John the Evangelist Written and presented by Fr. John Bartunek, LC, SThD Father John Bartunek introduces us to his latest Advent Retreat Guide on Saint John the Evangelist! St. John the Evangelist, more than any other of the eleven Apostles, was wonderfully fascinated by the amazing, marvelous event of God becoming man and living among us. His writings... Read More