Renew and recharge your faith and spirituality. Informative and inspirational CD's for your listening pleasure are available on the kiosk in the Parish Hall and on the display racks in the Church and Adoration Chapel vestibules.
In today’s fast-paced world, having quality time with others can be a real struggle, a real sacrifice. In light of this fact, Lent, a season of sacrifice and reflection, is the perfect time to circle the wagons and draw near to one another, to reconnect and to be renewed. Below are suggestions to get the most out of your family time this Lent:
Compare schedules, mark a time each day/week to gather as a family and commit to it!
Take turns reviewing the good, the bad, and the ugly of your day/week. In doing so, give thanks to God for the good moments, ask for God’s help and forgiveness for the bad ones and patience for when things get downright ugly.
Take stock of what you are thankful for. This is especially helpful for the times we find ourselves drifting through Mass on Sunday. Mass is a time of thanksgiving, a time when God and we express our gratitude to each other. Bring your list of “thanksgivings” to Mass, reflect on them, as a family, after communion. Don’t just sit together. Pray together.
Take turns praying from the heart. There is no better way to end your quality time together than with prayer. Prayer from the heart is exceptionally powerful, as we express faith in our own words which, in turn, confirms and strengthens us and those around us.
Ideas to enrich your celebration of Lent at home:
Lenten Family Mealtime: In addition to “Meatless Friday,” designate one evening a week to prepare a meal together. Assign a different dish or task to each family member. Before starting, discuss how each family member is giving to the others—giving time, effort, and care to nourish the entire family to go out and do God’s will. Begin with a prayer of thanks and petition.
Family Lenten Reading: Prominently display the Bible and other books that feature topics such as Lent, forgiveness, prayer, Scripture, generosity, social justice and service for others. Invite family members to choose books and discuss what you read.
Family Kindness and Sharing: On slips of paper, write random acts of kindness, such as give a compliment, say hi to an old friend, carry someone’s heavy load. Present each family member with a slip of paper as he or she leaves in the morning. Invite each family member to perform the kindness without seeking recognition. Afterward, talk together about what happened. Pray with one another that your kindnesses will be passed on throughout Lent and beyond.
Giving to Charities: Ask each family member to find three to five high-quality, useful items that would be appreciated by those who are less fortunate. Donate the items to a favorite charity. Pray together for those who will receive them.
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--Washington D.C., March 4, 1801
Abortion builds on the lie that the smallest and weakest among us have less value and can even be discarded. Teaching children about abortion is not as difficult as many think. Children are particularly receptive to the message of equality of all people, and to the truth that might does not make right. They have a keen sense of justice and fairness. They know what it means to need protection from dangers they can neither withstand nor understand. They know what a baby is, and they know it is wrong to kill a baby.
Furthermore, they have not been around long enough to practice the mental gymnastics of denial that are necessary for developing and maintaining a pro-choice position.
It is not necessary to teach children the details of reproduction before they learn that abortion is a bad thing. The basis for teaching about abortion is not the reproductive system, but the dignity and worth of every human person, whether that person is big or small, young or old, healthy or sick, wanted or unwanted, convenient or inconvenient.
The basis for teaching young people about abortion is the same basis on which we teach that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” applies to any other category of people . –Father Frank Pavone; full article from Priests for Life on our website .
Why not tie your faith to some of your New Year’s resolutions/goals? Below are more ideas (continued from last week) to implement doing just that.
A Catholic Smartphone?
Surprisingly, you’ll find plenty of smartphone apps to help you become a better Catholic. Simply type “Catholic” in your phone’s app store search index, and you’ll find a long list of apps including prayers, Catholic radio stations, Confession guides, Bibles, etc. Instead of texting or checking email during idle time, make use of those apps to learn more about your faith.
Find a Patron Saint
If you don’t have a patron saint, it’s time to find one! Saints are our heroes in faith and are powerful intercessors for us in heaven. You might want to learn more about the saint you were named after, your Confirmation saint, the patron saint of your profession or hobby or any saint who interests you.
Attend Daily Mass
Most parishes, including ours, offer daily Mass during the week in the morning or during lunch. Most daily Masses take only about 30 minutes of your day. The Eucharist nourishes and strengthens our faith!
With the New Year 2017 comes new hope for a new beginning. A new beginning is a perfect time to decide to strengthen your Catholic faith life. Why not tie your faith to some of your New Year’s resolutions/goals? Below are some ideas to implement doing just that. Prayer – Add more prayer to your daily life. Faith Formation – No matter how old you are (children and adults alike), there are religious education programs designed to deepen your faith knowledge and formation. Find out what our Parish offers and join a program designed to deepen your faith or a Bible Study group. Be Active and Get Involved – Going to Mass on Sunday is only part of being a Catholic Christian. There are so many ministries within the Catholic Church and all of them need volunteers to keep them running. What ministries are offered within our Parish? What interests you? Do you see an unmet need within our Parish? Attend Mass – Try to attend daily Mass as often as your schedule will allow. What better way to start the day?
Today's Catholic is called to take an intelligent, spiritual approach to God’s Word in the Bible. Below are pointers for more fruitful Scripture reading:
Bible reading is for Catholics. The Church encourages Catholics to make reading the Bible part of their daily prayer lives. Reading these inspired words, people grow deeper in their relationship with God and come to understand their place in the community God has called them to in himself. --Prayer is the beginning and the end. Reading the Bible is not like reading a novel or a history book. It should begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to the Word of God. Scripture reading should end with a prayer that this Word will bear fruit in our lives, helping us to become holier and more faithful people. (continued next week…)
Know what the Bible is – and what it isn't. The Bible is the story of God's relationship with the people he has called to himself. It is not intended to be read as history text, a science book, or a political manifesto. In the Bible, God teaches us the truths that we need for the sake of our salvation. The sum is greater than the parts. Read the Bible in context. What happens before and after – even in other books – helps us to understand the true meaning of the text. The old relates to the new. The Old Testament and the New Testament shed light on each other. While we read the Old Testament in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus, it has its own value as well. Together, these testaments help us to understand God's plan for human beings.
You do not read alone. By reading and reflecting on Sacred Scripture, Catholics join those faithful men and women who have taken God's Word to heart and put it into practice in their lives. We read the Bible within the tradition of the Church to benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful. What is God saying to me? The Bible is not addressed only to long-dead people in a faraway land. It is addressed to each of us in our own unique situations. When we read, we need to understand what the text says and how the faithful have understood its meaning in the past. In light of this understanding, we then ask: What is God saying to me? Reading isn't enough. If Scripture remains just words on a page, our work is not done. We need to meditate on the message and put it into action in our lives. Only then can the word be "living and effective."(Hebrews 4:12). www.usccb.org