Tom Ponchak is a husband and father of five girls and one boy. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Carmel, IN. Tom has a degree in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
He and his wife, Lisa, left the Catholic Church for ten years and were pastors of a non-denominational, evangelical church before returning to Catholicism in 2007.
Tom enjoys reading, cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers, and spending time with his family.

Something Old, Something New…

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My wife, Lisa, and I are celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary this month and I’m in a reflective mood. Twenty-five years is a long time, it’s a quarter of a century. I’ve spent more than half of my time on this earth as a married man and father (our oldest is a twenty-four year old honeymoon baby). It’s amazing when I stop and think about the last twenty-five years. 

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Rethinking the Beatitudes

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I believe the beatitudes are a model or pattern for spiritual maturity with one building on another and ultimately looping back again in a continual path toward spiritual perfection. Rather than looking at them separately as if describing different types of people in the Kingdom of God, they lay down a blueprint for how to become a disciple. This seems to make sense within the greater context of the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7.

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Adoration and the Art of Waiting

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“Are we there yet?” Anyone who’s ever traveled anywhere with children knows firsthand how impatient they become on the journey, and the farther the journey the harder the wait for the little ones. This is especially true when they have an idea of where they’re headed. Tell the kids they're going to the dentist and they never ask when they’ll get there, but tell them you’re going to Disney World and you start getting “Are we there yet?” before you get to the end of the block.

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Who Are You?

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There is a great temptation to find our identity in what we do, rather than who we are. We are conditioned to do it nearly automatically, as if it’s just second nature. We tie our identity to our jobs or our majors.  Some people tie their identity to their sexuality. Others find their identity in their physical or intellectual abilities. Some people even find their identity in ministry, in the things they do for God. Within marriage we can find our identity in our spouse or children. Finally, many find their identity in what they have done or have had done to them. They can’t let go of past sins, addictions or wounds.

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From Humanae Vitae to Parkland

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life), the landmark document that upheld the Catholic Church’s rejection of artificial contraception as immoral. As modern papal documents go, Humanae Vitae is light reading; the printed booklet version is only fifteen pages long. Within its pages, Pope Paul VI explains the Catholic Church’s understanding about the nature of sex and of human dignity. He called for responsible parenthood and encouraged married couples to work with God’s grace in living out the call to holiness.

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Flying Blind

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In July, 1999, John Kennedy Jr., his wife, and sister-in-law, perished when the plane he was piloting plunged into the Atlantic Ocean. The investigation of the crash concluded that Kennedy had suffered from spatial disorientation when fog combined with low lighting made visual flight difficult. 

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Parenting with Grace

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“Dad! Isaac peed on the dog’s bed!”

“Dad! Lily punched me!”

“Dad! Tell Sarah to stop bothering me!”

“Dad, can you co-sign on my student loans (again)?”

I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about each of these real life situations.

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