Local Mass of Healing for Those Impacted by Addiction

Calix Atlanta

Our Lady of Assumption parish in the Chamblee/Brookhaven area offers a monthly Mass for those impacted by addiction, whether personally or that of a loved one. All are welcome to come and share in this Eucharistic celebration of healing and grace.

Saturday March 8t at 10am

For more information contact Mark at mdannenfelser@olachurch.org.

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Pope Paul VI Address to Calix Members in 1974

Catholic Alcoholic

We are happyto greet members of the Calix Society on the twenty-fifth anniversary of their foundation. As we welcome you on your pilgrimage to the See of Peter, we express our appreciation of your earnest commitment to working for the elimination of alcoholic abuse, including alcoholism itself.

In our apostolic ministry we are deeply aware of the gravity of this problem and how it is closely linked to the overall problem of drug abuse. We see the disastrous effects that these disorders have on so many people throughout the world: the effects on the individual, on families, on communities.

We know moreover the effects on society as a whole.

We see how widespread alcoholic abuse is and how it causes great human suffering, anguish and deterioration – even death. It produces marked disorientation of the whole person, especially when accompanied by grave lack of personal responsibility and by serious…

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Calix Atlanta and Resources for Parishes

Holding Hands with Elderly PatientEach month I host a Calix meeting at my Church and nobody comes. Tonight was no exception. And each month I’m actually glad nobody comes because I’m busy and can get home quicker to my family ha ha. Boy oh boy I still will keep at it though because there is something about Calix that draws me, seems important.

I’m thinking of playing off of a guy in West Palm Beach that inspired me. His name is Erik Veganius. He seems to have a history of helping addicted persons that goes back decades! He started and maintained a “substance abuse ministry” in Palm Beach diocese that is so commendable. It seems like of late though enthusiasm has waned for his proposals so there were cutbacks.

This is what I would like to implement here in Atlanta, starting I suppose with my own parish—which means I’d have to have the courage to approach the pastor about my ideas ha ha! And we all know my self-confidence in my own ideas is quite lacking.

Anyways, this is what I’d like to do:

  1. Create a parish based addiction ministry where recovering parishoners can minister to those still struggling
  2. Provide printed materials that priests can pass along to those they know are suffering from addictions–i’d pull from AA, Calix and Father Vogt’s materials to create an addiction packet
  3. Ensure parish literature centers have information for parishoners struggling with addiction or their loved ones –currently my parish has only one brochure “Is AA for Me?” that sits at the bottom of the shelf. I’d like to provide more resources. Since this is such a shame based thing–we need to provide as many written materials as possible. We will research these things alone long before we reach out for help within the community.
  4. Establish a monthly parish based group (Calix) that meets to pray for addictions and encourage the sacraments.
  5. Have announcements in EVERY weekly Church bulletin/newsletter to let parishoners know there is help.

Soooo… these are things I have in my head. Of course I am TOTALLY unworthy but since I’m called to this I have to do it.


April 2013 Issue of Calix Society’s “Chalice”

Antioch-Chalice-Byzantine-MetalworkMost of you are aware I am in the process of starting a Calix Society chapter here in Atlanta. I have this thing about me though that is afraid ha ha! I’m afraid to ask a Pastor or Priest to be our “spiritual advisor” which is necessary to establish a Chapter. And I’m afraid the Archbishop will say no.

Where do these fears come from?

First, I know how supportive the Catholic “leaders” are of AA. Believe me, I tried to get out of going to AA by trying to persuade my confessor it wasn’t Catholic enough.  But from every direction, I got pointed to AA from priests and others in my Faith.  Nobody pointed me to Celebrate Recovery. None pointed me to Rational Recovery. None pointed me to moderation management or any other “recovery” program.

And none of my Catholic trusted advisors (?) pointed me to blogging in isolation and prayer. Every thinking Catholic leader recommends the community and 12 Step aspects of AA–I guess that’s the best way for the wayward sinner, me, the Catholic alcoholic, to get on the road back to the Church.  You gotta start somewhere, right?  And AA has a way about her that works.

Anyways, I am afraid if I bring up Calix to a priest or Pastor here in Atlanta, they will think I’m trying to create a Catholic AA and they will discount my efforts.

Of course I could explain it to them. But, even though I have been in sales all my life I still have this fear of rejection. So, how dumb would that be if I pitched Calix to Catholic priests in Atlanta and they rejected my ideas–so I got depressed and then went out and drank! ha ha.

Anyways, Calix is awesome. It’s an extension of the 11th Step in AA–a great way for local Catholics in recovery to gather and grow spiritually with our Higher Power as we understand him. I have a big old fun web site for Calix Atlanta, and I have scheduled a May meeting–but will anybody come?  If not, oh well.  I’ll be there!

So, anyways, the latest Calix issue is out!  yay!   Here is a LINK to the current issue.  I encourage all Catholic alcoholics to join (only $25 per year–to support their basic administrative costs) and you will be privy to a lot of other Catholics in recovery across the country.

This issue introduces us to a fabulous recovery evangelization tool by a long-time Calix member, Ken Johnson. View the organizations new website (which I will write about soon!!!) here:  Not Saints Yet  As a marketer, I can’t help but add here that I LOVE THEIR LOGO.  Great stuff. Many people underestimate the power of a logo–so I’m so happy that this worthy endeavor has a modern wonderful logo.  🙂 I’m such a geek.

Philadelphia Calix Society Has It Goin’ On

cardinal rigaliWe’re only in the beginning stages of launching a Calix Society chapter here in Atlanta, but I’ve been so impressed with the Philadelphia “Philly”  Calix because of how active they are. Here is a link to their web site to learn more.

Below is an excerpt taken from the Philly Calix website. I was excited to read this as this is what I would love for to one day happen in Atlanta–a conference on addiction supported by our Archdiocese. But I can’t get ahead of myself, as here in Atlanta Calix is just a zygote.

The conference referenced below was actually held in the Fall of 2010, when Cardinal Rigali was still the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

Today, Cardinal Rigali is one of the Cardinals entering conclave on Tuesday to elect our next Pope!

Here is an article from last month where Cardinal Rigali talks about the qualities he would like to see in the next Pope.  I tend to agree wholeheartedly with him.

Here is a link to the book Cardinal Rigali wrote in 2010 about breaking free from addiction.

From the Philly Calix web site:

Cardinal Rigali’s Conference on Addictions

On Friday November 5th (2010) Cardinal Rigali, (the then) Archbishop of Philadelphia, held a one-day conference on addictions. The conference was titled the same as his book published this year on addictions, “Let the Oppressed Go Free: Breaking the Bonds of Addiction”. Approximately 375 people attended the conference including seven from the Philly Calix units. We had a table set up with a nice display of Calix information. Almost all of those that stopped by the table had never heard of Calix and were excited to learn about our society.

The conference was covered by the archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Standard & Times. The November 11th edition had a front page article on the conference. In the online version they included a link for addiction recovery resources and that contained a link to an article written by our own Amy N. about Calix. We also found a link to Cardinal Rigali’s homily at the closing Mass published in the print version of the CS&T.

The Philadelphia Calix Society chapter is a model for the rest of the country, with four different groups that meet more than once per month to practice the 11th Step with other Catholics in recovery.

Heading out now to host the first Calix Atlanta meeting. I’ll bring a few of these Sacred Heart Badges with me to hand out to anybody that would like one.

Calix Atlanta

sacred-heart-of-jesus-badge-tnThis excerpt was taken from Barefoot World’s History of AA.  

Sister Ignatia increasingly began to believe that alcoholics should not be sneaked into the hospital but brought through the front door just like other sick people.

This belief led to the first medical admission in 1935. Soon, she provided a ward for men to sober up and St. Thomas Hospital became the first religious institution to recognize the rights of alcoholics to receive hospital treatment. Today, many of AA’s practices — including the use of tokens to mark milestones in sobriety — find their origins with Sister Ignatia.

Sister lgnatia was the first person to use medallions in Alcoholics Anonymous. She gave the drunks who were leaving St. Thomas after a five day dry out a Sacred Heart Medallion and instructed them that the acceptance of the medallion signified a commitment to God, to A.A. and to recovery and…

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Calix Atlanta

chaliceWe’ve got a date for the first Calix Atlanta meeting and created a web site to give people information about Calix here in Atlanta.  Here is a link to the website–quick and easy template just like this blog.

Calix Atlanta members meet monthly to practice the 11th Step in community with other local Catholics in recovery.

Calix is not Catholic AA. Calix is a lay organization approved by the bishops in the various chapters’ respective dioceses. There are chapters in 21 states in the US. Here in Atlanta, we have just begun process of getting that approval. Calix doesn’t attempt to “sober anyone up.” An alcoholic who is not sober is not ready mentally or spiritually for Calix membership.

Why Calix?

The Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is generally accepted as the best remedy for we who are afflicted with the disease of alcoholism. The Calix Society, an organization of recovering alcoholics, their friends and family, shares this view.

Why is there a Calix Society? What does it do? Answers to these questions are vital to the Catholic recovering alcoholic attempting to achieve and maintain a sober life.

We have spent a long time, often many years, developing a physical dependence on alcohol. Finally by the grace of God, we reach the point where we must change – physically, mentally and spiritually. We manage to put together a short period of sobriety by attending AA meetings and working the 12 Steps.

For Catholic alcoholics; however, sometimes something more is desired to fulfill our spiritual program of recovery. We realize that the 12-Step program advocates recourse to a “higher power,” and is necessarily non-denominational. But having been raised in the Church, rich in tradition, dogma and ritual, we begin to yearn once again for the faith we may have neglected or abandoned when we were drinking.

Through Calix, we reintroduce ourselves to our Catholic Faith, in sobriety. Some important points to consider:

  • 12 Step Programs are necessarily non-denominational and need to remain that way
  • The 12 Steps are not opposed to Catholic teaching; and Calix is not divisive of 12 Step fellowships – it is a true symbiotic relationship.
  • Calix provides an opportunity for those with resentments about the Church to explore those issues by reintroducing Catholic alcoholics to their childhood faith.
  • While it is not a forum for airing grievances against the Church, Calix meetings are a safe place for fallen away Catholic alcoholics to grow in knowledge of their faith.
  • Calix provides Catholic in recovery an opportunity to openly discuss scripture and utilize the Sacraments to enhance their 11th Step work.
  • While Calix is not a forum for airing grievances about 12 Step programs, those skeptical about specific recovery programs are welcome and encouraged in sobriety.
  • Recovery literature suggests alcoholics in recovery might do well to return to the church of their youth.
  • Recovery literature also suggests we would do well to learn about prayer and spiritual matters from clergy. Calix provides Catholic alcoholics a forum to do so.
  • Fr. Ed Dowling convinced leaders in the Catholic Church that there is nothing about the 12 Steps that was contrary to the Church’s doctrines.
  • In a letter to the Calix Society, co-founder of AA Bill Wilson wrote that he found nothing about Calix that was in conflict with AA traditions.