Rotating Header Image

family

A Catholic Conference For Moms!

 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak will discuss anxiety at the 2016 Catholic Conference For Moms

Catholic Moms, Are you looking for something special to do this Lent?

Imagine thousands of moms gathering together online or in their parishes to pray, to learn, to support one another, and to be challenged to live the message of mercy with their spouses, children, families, friends, and neighbors.

On February 20, 2016, that dream will become a reality!

The CatholicConference4Moms began last year as a ministry to busy moms who often are at home with their children or just too busy to attend a regular conference. Over 4000 moms registered for the pilot conference and a combined 10,000 presentations were viewed during the first weekend of the conference. During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, many graces are available. The “Faces of Mercy” 2016 CatholicConference4Moms.com hopes to be that channel for many moms.

I am blessed to be included as one of the speakers for this fantastic online conference. My talk will be “Jesus, I Trust In You: Overcoming Anxiety with the Help of the Lord” and you can view a preview of it below:

To find out more information or to register for the 2016 CatholicConference4 Moms, click on the image below. This is a great opportunity for Catholic Moms to grow closer to Jesus. Please share the news with your friends. I look forward to seeing you on February 20!

Popular Catholic speaker Gary Zimak will be speaking about overcoming anxiety at Catholic Mothers Conference

With God, All Things Are Possible! Here’s Proof…


 

Catholic speaker, author and homeschooling Dad Gary Zimak discusses the miracles that God has performed in his life.

“Don’t Look Back!”

How many times have you heard that advice? While it makes sense in some cases, looking back can also be beneficial at times. When I look back through the years, I’m amazed at the many miracles that the Lord has worked in my life. He has done the “impossible” more times than I can count. And yet, like many of you, I sometimes forget and begin to panic when faced with a frightening situation.

In this month’s issue of Seton Magazine, our friends at Seton Home Study School were kind enough to let me tell the story of some of the miracles God has performed in the life of the Zimak family. While the article centers on our experience with homeschooling (something my wife and definitely thought was impossible before we tried it), I list many other examples of God’s miraculous intervention in our life.

I hope that reading the article will inspire you to reflect on the many times that He has done the impossible in your life. Furthermore, I hope that you’ll be encouraged to give Him a chance to work future miracles in your life. Whenever you’re tempted to say that something isn’t possible, remember the words of Jesus…

“With God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

How To Stop Worrying About Your Children


 

Catholic author Gary Zimak offers advice on how to stop worrying about our children

If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance that you spend a great deal of time worrying about your children. After all, isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Although you might feel like it’s impossible to stop worrying, it really is quite possible. I know, I know…it’s very difficult. As a father of two teenage girls, I can relate. As someone who’s been a chronic worrier for most of his life, I can relate. As someone who makes a living speaking about overcoming anxiety, however, I can assure you that you can do it. With God, ALL things are possible!

Let’s look at some steps you can take to stop worrying about your children:

Take Action – This one is so simple that it often gets overlooked. If there is something that you can do to help or protect your children, do it! A trip to the doctor, a visit with the teacher or a discussion with bully’s parent can often be enough to correct the problem and eliminate a great deal of stress.

Let Go – Whether we like it or not, some things in life are beyond our control. This is a source of incredible frustration for those of us who tend to be anxious. Whether we’re talking about our children or other issues, we need to do what we can and then let God do the rest. Let’s face it, God loves our children even more than we do and He knows what’s best for them. Letting go and letting God do His job can bring us great peace!

Take One Day At A Time – In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly instructs us to “not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). Although it’s not an easy habit to break, we should take His words seriously and try to focus on today. While we may struggle at first, it gets easier. Trust me! If you find yourself worrying about what may happen in your child’s life tomorrow (or the day after that), say a quick prayer and try to focus on today’s issues. You can then deal with tomorrow’s issues tomorrow (if and when they become today’s issues).

Pray – As parents, we should be praying for our children every day. We often overlook the power of prayer, instead focusing on doing “more important” things. That is a big mistake. Jesus prayed often and, in fact, it was the last thing that He did before being taken into captivity. Prayer is always effective (Matthew 7:7-11), worrying is never effective!

Accept The Church’s Gifts – As Catholics, we are blessed to have the Sacraments, sacramentals, devotions and the Bible to help us gain grace and grow closer to the Lord. The closer we get to the Lord, the more peace we will feel. This peace can allow us to relax, even in the midst of the most serious problems.

Stop Trying So Hard – Sometimes we spend so much time trying to stop worrying that we become even more anxious. We worry about our children because we love them and want to protect them. As a result, it’s difficult not to worry about them…unless we have help. Instead of focusing all of your energy on “not worrying”, concentrate on Jesus. Prayer, reading the Bible and spending time with Him in the Sacraments or adoration can have an amazing effect. Before you know it, you’re worrying will decrease or disappear.

While it is easy for parents to fall into the worrying habit, it can be overcome. With a little work and lots of help from the Lord it is entirely possible. When it comes to your children, St. Padre Pio has some great advice:

“Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry!”

Congratulations, Mary And Elizabeth!


 

A few years ago, my wife Eileen and I got the “crazy” idea that we should homeschool our daughters. They were in the sixth grade at the time, but we felt that the Lord was telling us we should do what we previously thought to be impossible. We prayed for several months, attending a Catholic homeschool conference and talked to many people. Finally, we reached the decision to move forward, believing (kind of) that if God really was calling us to do this, He would provide the needed graces. In September of 2011, Mary and Elizabeth started the seventh grade with their teacher, Eileen. After a shaky start (lots of adjustment for all), things got even crazier a few months later when I was laid off from my job as a project manager. Eileen and I then reached the “even crazier than homeschooling” decision that I should try to “make it” as a full time Catholic Evangelist!

After two amazing years, Mary and Elizabeth graduated from the eighth grade this week. I couldn’t be prouder of them and their wonderful teacher(a.k.a. my lovely wife). They have all worked very hard and have done a FANTASTIC job. Since I’m working at home, I had the privilege of being their religion teacher this year and they both received an “A+”! This experience has drawn us closer together as a family and we’ve learned the meaning of the phrase “if God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it”.

Congratulations, Mary and Elizabeth. Your Mom and Dad are VERY proud of you. And, while I’m at it, I’d like all of you to know just how much I love and respect Eileen for sacrificing so much for the sake of our girls. She’s taught me the meaning of the word “selfless”. Thank you, Jesus, for providing us all with this great opportunity to do your will. Please guide us as we continue this amazing journey!

Happy 15th Birthday, Mary & Elizabeth!


 

On this day, 15 years ago, I got to witness a miracle. After being told for several months that our daughters would probably not be born alive, Eileen and I welcomed Mary and Elizabeth Zimak into the world. Although they weren’t due for another 3 months, the doctors felt that delivering them prematurely would give them the best chance for survival. They were right. Today, the girls celebrate their 15th birthday and are completely healthy!

Sometimes I forget the slim odds as the girls were afflicted with Twin-to-Twin transfusion syndrome (a very serious condition that affects identical twins), how Mary only weighed 1.5 pounds when she was born, how Elizabeth was born with congestive heart failure and how they both faced numerous medical issues related to their prematurity. On this day each year, however, I don’t forget. I remember all of the negative comments made by the doctors. I remember how the initial diagnosis shattered the joy of our first pregnancy. I also remember the prayers of many people and the peace that Eileen and I felt in the midst of a full blown crisis.

This Sunday’s Mass Readings feature the story of Bartimaeus the blind beggar. When he called out to Jesus, he was told by the crowd to be silent, but he ignored them. Instead, this desperate man called out again and was healed by the Lord. Two thousand years later, we still encounter many people who will tell us that our faith is unrealistic and that God can’t perform miracles. They’re wrong. He can AND DOES still perform miracles and I have two of them living in my house!

Happy Birthday, Mary and Elizabeth Zimak. Mom and I are so proud of the great young ladies you’ve become. Every person who has ever met you have told us how “sweet” you both are. I always believed that you would help many people if you were allowed to live and you’ve done just that. By being so kind to everyone, you’re imitating Jesus and that’s exactly what we’re all supposed to do. Thank you for bringing so much happiness to Mom and I.

WE LOVE YOU!!!

Want To Help Your Kids Learn About The Sacraments?


 

One of our main duties as Catholics parents is to teach our children about our wonderful Faith. I’ve always found it a challenge, however, to find good resources that truly represent the teachings of the Church in a way that can be understood by children. A little over a year ago, I discovered the Holy Heroes line of audio recordings. A obtained a few of their CDs and, not only did I love them, but my kids loved them! I am now proud to carry advertising for this great company on my website.

Now, here’s some exciting news. Holy Heroes in now offering their FIRST DVD series, Inside The Sacraments! Targeting children between the age of 4-12, this series explains the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, in a way that can be readily understood by children.

Here’s the best news of all…for a LIMITED time, you can order a pre-release version of Inside The Sacraments: The Holy Eucharist for only $10! After watching the DVD, you’ll be asked to complete a short online survey. Once you complete the survey…

You’ll get a $10 off coupon code for a future order when you complete the survey.

You’ll receive a deep discount on the final version of the DVD — which will incorporate your suggestions and have lots of bonus materials…including BLOOPERS which are very funny!

Your family name will appear in the credits because you’ll have helped us make it! Think of it: your family’s name up on the screen with the Adventure Guides!

If you’re interested, you have to act NOW! These DVDs are being offered while supplies last. In order to get your name in the credits, your survey must be completed by October 15. You can take advantage of this special offering by clicking here.

The Family That Prays Together…

 

…Stays Together!!!

Believe it or not, these pictures aren’t staged. Every night when Eileen, Mary, Elizabeth and I kneel down to say our evening prayers, Gracie comes running as soon as she hears the beginning of the Our Father! Now, if your pet doesn’t pray with you, don’t feel bad. Gracie hasn’t learned all of the words to the Lord’s prayer yet and her examination of conscience (prior to the Act of Contrition) leaves something to be desired, but…

we’re working on it!

A Story Of Courage And An Urgent Prayer Request

 

It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord works in my life. I often think that I’m doing something for one reason, only to realize that the Lord was attempting to accomplish something completely different by my actions. As many of you know, I’m a full time Catholic lay evangelist. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to earn a living in this line of work. It requires a great deal of trust in God’s Providence (I’m still working on that!) and a close relationship with the Lord (working on that too!). In order to earn some additional income, I’ve been exploring various affiliate programs, which will allow me to earn a percentage of all sales referred by my website. Yesterday, I signed up with ChristianShirts.net and put their link on my website.

I started browsing their site more closely (in order to make sure nothing conflicted with Catholic teaching) and I was startled to see the following message:

Due to the loss of our baby, orders placed recently, today, and in the near future will be delayed. I appreciate your patience. Please pray for us at this difficult time. -Rachelle

I said a prayer and then I followed a link which explained the entire story of Rachelle’s pregnancy and subsequent loss of her child. You can read the full story here (and I recommend that you do because it’s powerful), but in summary:

Rachelle had chemotherapy in her teens, which put her at risk for heart complications during pregnancy. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened during her pregnancy. She went to a high risk obstetrician, who informed Rachelle that there was a 50 percent chance of her dying if she continued on with the pregnancy. Devastated by the news, this young woman was not prepared for what she heard next. In her words…

She began by holding my hand and asking what religion I was. I replied Catholic, and she said “Let me tell you what I know about God. God is loving and forgiving, and He will understand if you have an abortion.” She added that she had worked in a cardiac clinic and had seen many Catholic women die for the decision to continue with a pregnancy. We had already mentioned that we did not want to terminate, yet she pressed on, even reminding me that I would not want to leave my 18-month-old son without a mother. She made it clear that I would most likely end up in the hospital for several weeks – maybe months – and we had to prepare for that. There was no compassion, no caring about my unborn child that was already loved and very much wanted. When we continued to explain to her that we were not going to have an abortion, she mocked our beliefs and told me that I had better start praying. I left that appointment distraught and beside myself. It was enough to take in that I had a 50% chance of survival, yet to be coerced to try to get me to have an abortion on top of that was just too much.

As if hearing this from her doctor wasn’t bad enough, Rachelle was also encouraged by some family members to abort her child. She refused, stating “I was willing to risk my life for my unborn child. In my eyes, it was no different than risking my life for my born child.” One week later, an ultrasound revealed that her baby had died. Rachelle is currently undergoing further testing on her heart to determine the prognosis for future pregnancies.

In the First Reading from today’s Mass, God used the unaware Assyrians to punish his disobedient people. In a similar way I think he used me as I searched for new funding sources for my work. I thought that I was simply entering into an agreement with a great Catholic company struggling to do the Lord’s work, but more importantly, I experienced a powerful witness of trust in God’s Providence (which I really needed!) and I discovered a woman desperately in need of prayer. I’d ask you to kindly keep Rachelle and her family in your prayers and please consider making a donation for travel and burial expenses. I’ll close with Rachelle’s powerful words…

We think of our business more as a ministry – spreading Pro-life and Christian messages through affordable clothing which will spark conversation – and we make barely enough to pay our bills. It is not about the money. However, we are planning on traveling out of state at some point to bury our baby in the same cemetery where all of our relatives are buried. This will leave us behind in a lot of ways, but we believe it is well worth it for our spiritual and emotional healing. If you find it in your heart to donate for travel and burial expenses, we greatly appreciate it. If you would prefer to donate to a pro-life organization in our baby’s name (which we will announce when we decide on a name), please let us know so we can send a thank you.

More than donations, please keep us in your prayers. I have a long road ahead of me with my heart condition, and we are still praying that testing might reveal that my heart is strong enough to withstand another pregnancy.

Parents…Are You Doing Your Job?

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family.  God values family life so highly that He willed that the Savior would be born into an ordinary family.  In fact, Jesus spent the vast majority of His life living an ordinary life with Mary and Joseph.  Rather than go with the obvious “feel good” message about family life, I’m choosing instead to use this opportunity to remind all parents of their responsibilities to their children.  In today’s society, the family is under constant attack and it’s all too easy to lose sight of the importance of the role of parents.  Long days at the office and endless after-school activities can pose a serious threat to the unity of the family when abused.  As parents, we need to remember that we are going to be judged for how we raise our children.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them. (CCC 2223)

Furthermore, educating our children about the Catholic Faith is not only a privilege, but is a serious responsibility:

Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the “first heralds” for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.  A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents. (CCC 2225-2226)

My wife is a religious education teacher at our parish and the majority of her students DO NOT attend Mass on Sundays!  This is a serious problem and will cause many parents to answer some difficult questions on their day of judgment.  Aside from the obvious duty to ensure that we take our children to Mass, we also need to be aware of the example that we’re setting for them at home.

Do we gossip about others?

Are we negative?

Do we use offensive language?

Do we speak about our relationship with Christ?

Do we pray with our families?

Do we constantly lose our temper?

Do we watch immoral TV shows?

As a father, I need to reflect on these questions daily.  Sadly, many times I fall short of the mark, but I have to keep trying.  Calling on the grace received in the sacrament of marriage, I constantly ask the Lord to help me be a better father.  How about you?  Could you do a better job with your children?  On this feast of the Holy Family, ask Mary and Joseph to help you to better live up to your responsibilities as a parent.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe [in me] to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42)

Happy Birthday To My Miracle Girls!

Fourteen years ago, on this day, my wife Eileen and I were at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital (in Camden, NJ), getting ready to become parents for the first time.  After several months of hearing that it would be unlikely that our twins would be born alive, the doctors felt that delivering them 3 months early would give them the best odds for survival.  On October 27, 1997, Mary (1.5 lbs) and Elizabeth (2.5 lbs) entered the world!

For those of you who don’t believe in miracles, Eileen and I can tell you that they DO happen.  As evidence, I offer the above picture of 2 healthy young ladies who weren’t supposed to live.  Although it’s easy to panic when we encounter life’s difficulties, it’s important to remember that “with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).  As we celebrate the fourteenth anniversary of their birth, we are grateful to Almighty God for allowing Mary and Elizabeth to be a part of our life.  They are a blessing, not only to us, but also to everyone who knows them! 

Happy 14th Birthday, Mary and Elizabeth…WE LOVE YOU!!!