New Things at OLPH

09-27-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

God is doing a new thing at Our Lady of Perpetual Help!

Many parish families are actively learning and practicing how to pass our Catholic faith on to their children.

It’s exciting to see parents on campus Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. They bring their Bibles and Catechisms and hearts open to learn.

Returning parents participate in Zoom meetings with their children and a catechist who checks in to see how they are doing.

Parents with children just beginning preparation for sacraments are learning a new program called A Family of Faith.

If you look closely you will see past the masks covering their smiles to the joy of the Lord shining out from their eyes!

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We are Works in Progress

09-27-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

What prompts you to make the decisions you make? When confronted with a decision, whether one that is more trivial and mundane or one that is more significant and profound, we rely on guidance. That guidance can be the result of impulse and passion or the fruit of the interior voice of conscience. Decisions made on impulse and passion can be misguided and erroneous. Decisions based on conscience, or the moral voice within, will reflect the depth and maturity of our soul work. A more contemplative soul will make more contemplative decisions. A less developed conscience will make decisions based on the individual’s level of development.

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Catechetical Sunday

09-20-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Today is Catechetical Sunday when our parish catechists are commissioned and blessed by the pastor to catechize the children in our community. This year because of Covid-19, all parents of children in our Religious Education program and a few grandparents have assumed responsibility as the primary catechists for their own children in a new way. They are, with the guidance and accompaniment of a few trained catechists, teaching the faith to their children at home and helping them prepare for sacraments.

Our youth minister is also a catechist along with her core team and they work via virtual meetings with those parish teens who are preparing for sacraments. She also plans and implements youth group, which are in-person-but-social-distanced-meetings for junior high and high school students. All parish teens are welcome at youth group whether or not they have their sacraments.

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Is Your Love for God Real?

09-20-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

If I work for five hours, I expect to get paid for five hours. If I work for two, I expect to get paid for two. What if we worked for a company that paid everyone the same amount regardless of how long they worked? How would we feel going home with the same pay for working eight hours as my co-worker did for working only two hours? Secular wisdom would have a huge problem with this and a visit to the Labor Board would quickly pursue. But this is God’s wisdom and God’s ways.

We sometimes think that if we pray more, better, or more fervently and go over and above with the practice of our faith, God will somehow reward us and present us with some kind of merit badge. We are so wrong. Spiritual practices have only one true purpose: to deepen our love for God. In deepening our love for God, we also increase our ability to see God’s presence around us, living life more purposefully and contemplatively. What if God chooses to treat someone who has come on the scene of faith later in life the same as someone who has devoted their whole lives to it? Does it really matter? If we have the merit badge notion of faith, we can find ourselves feeling a little arrogant and even jealous of folks who have not followed the same path that we have. We can even see ourselves as the privileged few who have a corner on the faith and fully possess it.

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The Prayer After Communion, The Final Blessing, and the Dismissal

09-13-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Our series on the Mass concludes with three final parts: the PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION, the FINAL BLESSING, and the DISMISSAL.

The PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION prayed by the priest asks that the graces of Holy Communion fill our lives. Our part is to think of a specific change we can make to cooperate more fully with these graces.

Next comes the FINAL BLESSING in which our Lord, present in the person of the priest, blesses us. This sometimes also includes a special blessing for the day, like a blessing for moms on Mother’s Day or a blessing of Catechists on Catechetical Sunday. Our part is to receive the blessing of Christ to strengthen us in living as His Body.

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Forgiveness is an Act of Freedom

09-13-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

What right do we have to limit the amount and degree of forgiveness we show to others when we are so desperately in need of it ourselves? In not wanting someone who hurt us to downplay or forget the gravity of their wrong, we cling to anger, resentment, and wrath as a way of maintaining control. It is a way to acknowledge and express our deep hurt. We fail to realize that in doing so we hold ourselves hostage to these destructive feelings and actually become mired in the bondage of sin. All we gain is further alienation from ourselves, others, and especially God. We are no longer free but tethered to all of this unresolved negativity. Don’t we really want to let it go? The fact is that we need to.

A good self-reflective posture will quickly show us that when the shoe is on the other foot and we are the ones in need of forgiveness, we desire it above anything else. This is especially true with our relationship with God. It is hypocritical to want one thing for ourselves and something else for another. Yet, many act in precisely this way.

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Purification of the Vessels

09-06-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

COMMUNION was the theme last week in our series on the Mass. Because COMMUNION is a sign of complete union with our Lord and each other, we are welcome to receive HOLY COMMUNION only if we are in the state of grace.

Before we receive HOLY COMMUNION, we fast from all food for at least one hour. We must also confess and receive absolution for any mortal sins, arrive to Mass in time to hear the Proclamation of the Gospel, and approach the altar with reverence.

After COMMUNION comes the PURIFICATION OF THE VESSELS. The priest or deacon cleanses the vessels reverently and thoroughly to ensure that even the tiniest particles of the Blessed Sacrament are consumed.

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Friendship are Wonderful Gifts

09-06-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

It’s all about reconciliation and conversion, not punishment. Relationships are not static adventures but wonderful gifts that continue to develop, grow, change, and mature. We are meant to be social beings, so isolating ourselves from others is rarely helpful. But, because human beings are on the one hand tremendously gifted, talented, and blessed creations, they are on the other also flawed, broken, and sinful. We all need to humbly admit that we are works in progress and not only capable of enriching each other’s lives but causing deep hurts and wounds as well. Hence, we always need to be reconciled. We are always growing, changing, and expanding our knowledge of who we are and how we are meant to share life together.

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