For the next few weeks, you will find here an outline for your family to use to bring the liturgical season of Advent to your domestic church.
1st WEEK OF ADVENT
Lighting candles in an Advent Wreath is a simple way to start a tradition of family worship in the home. Gather your family around the Advent wreath the time of day that works best for your family; maybe just before the smallest child goes to bed.
Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: W ho made heaven and earth.READ MORE
You are at the eye doctor and it’s time for the peripheral vision test. You know the one. It’s where you put your head up to a contraption and have to click a switch every time you see a squiggly line. If you don’t concentrate and maintain optimal focus, you will miss them and skew the outcome of the test. You can easily find yourself with a diagnosis that really isn’t accurate! Concentration and focus are key to succeeding with this evaluation. They are also key to developing a healthy, vibrant spiritual life. If we do not bring our full consciousness to the task, concentrate with all our might, be watchful and vigilant, we are not going to see God’s loving presence flashing before our eyes!READ MORE
Parents fulfill at least in part, the demands of the Gospel when they provide food and clothing for their children who without exception, come into this world naked and hungry.
Mothers stay up at night to soothe and comfort sick children.
Daughters, sons and grandchildren make it a priority to visit their elderly parents who are “imprisoned” in nursing homes during this pandemic.
I wonder how many parents will visit over the holidays with their adult sons and daughters who are imprisoned in another way; enslaved by false ideas of freedom or by alcohol or drugs?READ MORE
Many Americans are fascinated with England’s monarchy. For many different reasons, we are drawn to the regal pageantry and all of the protocols associated with royal lifestyles. What’s most amazing is that for all of the media attention focused on the comings and goings of English royalty, they really have very little effect on the day to day dealings of their country. Thoughts and images of kings and queens are often centered on this story book understanding of who and what they are. We associate protocols, etiquette, and proper words and actions to how we approach members of a royal family. These tools serve the necessary purpose of keeping them isolated, enthroned, and at a distance. There is something attractive about being an observer of ritual, pomp, and circumstance. It’s almost theatrical.READ MORE
God gives us the gift of His very self and asks us to invest it. Investing God’s greatest gift of Himself wisely, allows God’s kingdom to grow and flourish. God trusts us with this pearl of great price in hopes that it will produce abundant fruit. While God’s gift of self is realized in the gifts of faith, hope, and love, they are not meant to be solely for personal benefit. They are intended to be shared and are at the heart of Jesus’ blueprint for happiness, the Beatitudes.
When we properly invest God’s greatest gift, His most treasured possession, we invest in the wellbeing of all of our brothers and sisters and the world in which we live. We take up most seriously our call to be stewards and properly manage, not only our own affairs, but the affairs of those around and before us. God has put tremendous confidence in us. Do we have that same confidence in God?READ MORE
It is my joy to share with you our greatest news of the year. By the grace of God and the care of our beloved Lady, we officially have started on the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, last Monday the 9th, the internal beautification of the church. That day, the three readings talked about the beauty of the temple; the transcendental temple as well as the physical temple. After 47 years of not having a major change in the entrance of the temple, now the time has arrived. The beautification will cover the vestibule, women’s restroom, men’s restroom, the cry room, the janitor’s room and the storage room.READ MORE
The past three weeks we focused on the domestic church and how we can, as families, become Living Catechisms. This week we finish our series as we zero in on the fourth and final pillar of the Catechism, Prayer.
As Catholics we have the richest tradition of prayer in the whole world. Each family can incorporate their own favorite prayer traditions into daily life.
Help children understand that prayer is not mere recitation of memorized words, but an intimate conversation with God who knows us through and through and wants us to know him too.READ MORE
In this third of four parts about living as a domestic church let’s consider the third pillar of the Catechism, Life in Christ.
Families can truly live this pillar by making their homes schools of virtue and by helping each member of the family better form their consciences according to the teachings of the Church.
First, we emphasize the good, the true and the beautiful. When we know and love the good, evil’s appeal is diminished. If we focus on a “virtue of the week” and try to “catch” each practicing a particular virtue, our children can make the connection between how a life of virtue leads to increasing levels of responsibility as they grow older. This can also help them grasp the true meaning of human freedom, which is not doing whatever we want, but being free from anything that would hinder our doing good.READ MORE
When doing student report cards, there was a comment the teacher could choose that read: inattentive and easily distracted. Could that comment describe your spiritual life? We can become so consumed with myriad distractions and preoccupations and lose our connection to what is really significant and important. We can become dull. This happens in our human relationships, too. We can easily take the love of others for granted, whether it be a parent, spouse, friend, or a child. We assume and presume that their love will always be there and do very little to cultivate, rejuvenate, and deepen it. Presumption can become a great sin.READ MORE
Last week we discussed how each family as a domestic church can become a living catechism by living in visible and true ways the first pillar of the Catechism – the Profession of Faith.
The second pillar of the Catechism is the Celebration of the Christian Mystery. By it we learn to live the Sacraments of the Church. Families can enter into the rhythm of the liturgical year by making sure Sunday is the center of our week. We do this by making our family plans around being at Mass rather than fitting Mass in as an afterthought.
Sunday ought to be a day of rest and enjoyment for our families. Planning ahead so that chores and homework are done before Sunday can help a great deal with this.READ MORE
I remember as a child the meticulousness my father would bring to a task. Whether it be tending to a chore in the yard, repairing something, or painting a room, the tiniest of every detail demanded his attention. He had great patience. I benefited greatly by his example and remember these lessons well. We all need examples to follow. It is important to identity folks who excel at simple things and show us how to do things well. There are those among us and those who have gone before us who serve as these models and witnesses. They are ordinary people who in their “extraordinary ordinariness” capture our attention and allow us to see things more clearly.READ MORE
For some reason, it is easier to genuflect in reverence to the presence of Christ in the tabernacle of a church, than to genuflect in reverence to the same presence of Christ in another person’s soul. We wrongly believe that God divides himself, placing himself in one place in preference to another. It doesn’t work that way. Love of God and love of neighbor are intimately and inseparably connected because the essence and spark of God’s very presence is in all creation. God’s presence is just as real in the one who is good, as in the one who is bad, and the one who is just, and the one who is unjust.
Our brains get in the way of truly contemplating the awesomeness of this truth. We like to separate things into boxes, the sheep from the goats and the deserving from the undeserving. But, with God there are no distinctions such as this. Our human classifications, subdivisions, and definitions hold no power or have any weight in God’s eyes. Sadly, we relate to God and to each other as if they do.READ MORE
Last week we introduced the topic of the domestic church which each Catholic home is called to be. We are to be a microcosm of the Church.
Each domestic church is also to become a living catechism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is made up of four parts or pillars and Catholic families are called to give life to the Church’s teachings found in each part of the Catechism by putting them into practice, first at home and then in the parish and the larger community.
The first pillar is The Profession of Faith. Parents help children learn the faith we believe by teaching them to say the words of the Creed and by sharing with them the great story of God’s love for us which is found in Sacred Scripture. As they help each child find his/her own place in the great love story between God and his people, their children will be able to answer the questions, “Who am I?” and “What am I called to do?” They will know how to answer, “I am a child of God, called to love God above all things and love my neighbor as myself.”READ MORE
Maybe you have heard that the Catholic family is the domestic church. But what does this mean? It literally means household or home church. It is the place where each member is welcomed with great joy, just like each new member in the parish Church is welcomed with the Sacrament of Baptism. Each one belongs and is loved not for what they can produce, but for the unique and irreplaceable person they are. It’s the place where God is honored and praised, where meals are shared, just like the Eucharist is shared and we worship God at Mass.
Just like at Mass, it is from the domestic church that each family member is strengthened to share the love they have received at home with the whole world.READ MORE
Nobody enjoys paying taxes. Despite our displeasure in being forced to do so, we also realize that the monies generated from taxes allows governments to provide essential services for its people. Corruption really gets our goat, however. When we witness malfeasance, overspending, irresponsibility, and dishonesty in governmental spending, the grave injustices make an already unpleasant and arduous task even more difficult. The inappropriate distribution and use of hardearned monies can leave a person quite angry and disconnected. It’s bad enough the government wants something from me, now God does, too? God is not concerned necessarily with our money, although its proper use does factor into our faith life. As the payment of secular taxes speaks of our allegiance to the government, our return to God speaks of our allegiance to God. All of creation, even the entire universe, is fashioned in the image and likeness of God. What speaks to God and has meaning and relevance to him? All of creation and indeed our very selves! God delights in us and when we present ourselves back to him, he delights even more! As the payment of secular taxes is designed to secure the equitable distribution of goods and services to all people, so is our return of ourselves to God in gratitude meant to advance God’s kingdom here on earth.READ MORE
God gives us an invitation to have an abundant life. The banquet is ready, and the tables are set. Come! There is so much to attend to in the everydayness of our lives. We have plans, after all. There is never enough time and so much that needs to be done. There is work, children, and grandchildren, paying the bills, planning for retirement, figuring out the details of our next vacation, making sure we are on top of our game with work, planning social engagements, answering emails, texts, and getting our latest pictures on Facebook. There is always something. What is this about some banquet?
I need another party and commitment like a hole in the head. I can’t manage what I already have, and someone is asking me to do more! Seriously? I saw the invitation; I think it came in the mail the other day. Did I leave it on the table? Oh wait, it may have gotten thrown away. I can’t remember. In any case, I’m managing things pretty well on my own, I think. Thanks for thinking of me, but no thanks. My life is only as good as I make it and I have to be sure that all is in order! Oh, another invitation came today! This guy’s being persistent. Now, I’m getting angry. I wish he would just leave me alone and stop with this invitation nonsense.READ MORE
Some time ago, after leaving a church parking lot and stopping at a light, a complete stranger pulled his car alongside mine and motioned for me to open the window. Thinking he had something important to tell me about my vehicle, I complied.
The man began ranting about how he knew I thought I was better than everyone else because I went to church, then cursed and swore at me, calling me names and telling me that I had endangered his life with my bad driving. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. My brain was so busy trying to process the angry barrage of words that I had no response except, “I’m sorry”. The light changed and we went our separate ways. But I have thought of that man a few times since, and when I remember, I pray for him and the woman who was in the truck with him, that God would deliver him from anger and heal any wounds caused by people who were Christian in name only, that God will keep the woman safe.READ MORE
One thing that helps parents pass on their faith and values to their children is eating meals together.
Children who eat family dinner with their parents each day are much more likely to continue practicing their faith when they are grown. Eating meals together also helps establish human connection, which is crucial to maintaining happiness and a sense of belonging.
As you gather, all phones, tablets and screens ought to be turned off and/or put away in another room to show respect for each other.
Here are a few ideas for conversing with your kids when you’re gathered around the table. Pick just one and try it out next time you have a meal together.
1. Parent(s) can share a story about the kids when they were babies or toddlers.READ MORE
May the peace of Christ be with you.
It is my prayer that you are doing great. I would like to begin this update by thanking you for your commitment to the parish, your support and contributions. Your commitment to our parish has encouraged us to bring hope to our parishioners. As I am aware that many of us cannot come back yet, allow me to update you on our ongoing projects.
For the second straight year, we haven’t stopped making necessary improvements to our parish. Can you imagine what our parish will look like 20 years from now? Just to give you an example. Please thank our maintenance team because they have been working diligently to continue with the beautification of the church. As you can see in the picture below, you can identify refinished pews. They look like new. The beautification of the restrooms and vestibule, will most likely begin the first two weeks of November. We’ll keep you updated.READ MORE