Easter blessings and joy!
Entering the Easter season is always an exciting and busy time in the parish! It quickly becomes Sacrament season - baptisms abound, weddings are celebrated, our Confirmation Candidates receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and your child prepares to receive the Eucharist for the first time in Holy Communion!
Such incredible blessings at the parish can occasionally intersect – as is the case for next Saturday – we are blessed to be celebrating a wedding, baptism, and your child’s First Communion retreat. Clearly these celebrations cannot take place at the same time in the same location. As originally hoped, we plan take our children offsite for their retreat and God has provided the opportunity! The retreat will go on with our generous host, St. Anthony’s in Milan. Arrival time will be 11:00 am and the retreat will conclude at 2:30 pm.
To conclude our retreat, we will create First Communion banners. The parish is providing kits and a materials list of what is included is attached to this letter. Please feel free to bring anything your child would like to add to their banner! We also ask that you bring a pair of scissors with you as well. We do have many pairs but having your own will cut down on sharing. We will provide plenty of glue, glitter, templates to use etc. Finally, we ask that only one parent attend per child, due to reduced capacity guidelines.
You may have noticed that in ending the retreat with the banner creation we are not ending the retreat with First Reconciliation. It is important to me that our students have ample time to receive the sacrament, that the sacrament be received in our parish, and that as many family members as you would like can attend with your child. With that in mind our final session (which you may remember was to be a “pick up and take-home session”) on May 26th will be our First Reconciliation. We will meet at 6:00 pm in the church and families will be free to leave when they are finished. We will have your take home project for you to pick up as well.
I am very much looking forward to welcoming Dr. John Wood and his family to present our retreat next Saturday! As always please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns, my contact information is below.
Pastoral Associate of Evangelization and Faith Formation
Phone: 419-668-6044 ext. 232
Happy Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday! I can think of no better way to celebrate then to burn calories while sledding, snowman building or making snow angels - then feasting on hot chocolate and pancakes! While I'm not usually a fan of the snow AND I am disappointed that our pancake dinner has to be moved, I'm more than ok for an impromptu snow day for the kids!
Speaking of pancake dinners - while we did have to cancel ours for today don't fret! We have a Solemnity this Lent! Due to the Feast of St. Joseph falling on a Friday, in this the YEAR of St. Joseph we get a Solemnity on Friday March 19th! With that comes the ability to eat meat, eat treats and otherwise celebrate during the otherwise penitential season of Lent - so we too will celebrate and have our take-out pancake dinner on Friday March 19th!
So what to do now that you are stuck at home today??
First - Snow Ice Cream - my kids advised there is no better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than with ice cream and they are right! Snow ice cream is a favorite here, and with no shortage of freshly fallen white stuff you too can make it with some simple pantry ingredients. Check out this recipe to make your own: https://www.blessthismessplease.com/quick-and-easy-snow-ice-cream/
Second - Make fun masks - I know, I know, you're thinking - making masks, during covid - no thanks! But trust me, your kids will enjoy creating a lively and festive Mardi Gras mask. This is the time to use what you have, paper plates, card stock, cardboard, construction paper - create a fun shape to cover the eyes and then decorate away!
Finally - Bury the Alleluia! Feel free to use the image below or to create your own.
Why bury the Alleluia?
Throughout the liturgical year, the Catholic Church makes certain changes to the Mass to reflect the liturgical season. Next to the change in the color of the priest’s vestments, the absence of the Alleluia during Lent is probably the most obvious. There is a long-standing tradition for suspending the use of Alleluia from Shrove Tuesday which is the day before Ash Wednesday until Easter Vigil.
The practice of burying the Alleluia enriches and shapes prayer and the sense of discipline as we anticipate Easter. It is a kind of fasting— letting the “Alleluia” lie dormant before the burst of joyful affirmation of the Resurrection.
Consider burying the Alleluia as your family’s Lenten tradition. Before you bury it spend quiet time in reflection— adorning the Alleluia and adding your prayer intention on the reverse side. Incorporate the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in your intention. Put it in a box or bury it some other way. Prepare to rejoice emphatically on the night of Holy Saturday at Easter Vigil when the Alleluia is intoned and repeated three times, in joyful glory of the Resurrection of Christ.
Blessings on this snow day! Stay safe and warm!
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
The second reading just tells us the way it is today - not a suggestion from St. Paul but a command. Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks. What a timely reminder for us all, especially as we bear witness to our children and those around us during these stressful times. If you're like me you struggle with that. The whole idea of choosing joy. It's hard. Sometimes we just don't feel joyful, we struggle to find any joy at all in our day, week, or month. My grandma used to have a philosophy that while not necessarily biblical I think would be appreciated. She said, "you can wallow, you can feel sorry for yourself, you can be unhappy for a time, just don't LIVE there". That's what I remind my children. The command to Rejoice, pray and give thanks is necessary, but there will be times we are just having a rough go of things. That's ok. God understands! As long as we don't change our address from a place of joy to a place of doom and gloom we can lead others on the path to finding joy in all things, even when, especially when, it's hard!
No Gospel video this week - but in consolation check out this song by For King and Country - my kids love the video and the song - and wow does it ring true today!
This weekend also bring us great JOY in the celebration of 2 church feast days! The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and of St. Lucy! There is a great Formed.org movie on Our Lady and Juan Diego (Movie night anyone!)
Some things were sent home in the Domestic Church bags to help you celebrate both of these feast days - let me know what you decided to do as a family!
Advent is here! A time of preparation - and while yes it is a time to prepare for Christmas, it's more importantly a time to prepare our hearts for Christ. There is so much beauty in the season of Advent that if we can truly simplify this time we can focus on that much needed preparation.
Did you pick up an Advent Domestic Church bag at the back of church this weekend? If not stop in any time to grab one! There are such great resources for you to celebrate this time! I'll share my Advent checklist below. One tradition that is so simple to bring into your home is an Advent wreath - it is such a simple and easy way to remember we are journeying closer to the Christmas season. We light our Advent wreath at the dinner table, dinner by candlelight has become tradition here during Advent and there would be a mutiny in the Sanders home if I dared skip a day! Candlelight dinner has a few advantages:
1. It makes everything seem "fancy" - chicken nuggets or hot dogs for dinner served on paper plates? No worries! Fancy!
2. It helps your kids feel "fancy" - the loud rowdiness of dinner at our house diminishes as they discuss how "fancy" people act at "fancy" dinners. Quiet"er" dinner - Fancy!
3. It helps you not notice any mess in the house that needs cleaned while you are eating - it's to dark to see it (as a mom this is FANCY!)
4. Each week as you add a lighted candle and then finally the Christ candle and the small light of a single candle grows in brightness as more are added, we truly see the light that Christ brought in the world with is birth - nothing fancier than that?!?!
I hope that in this unusual 2020 we are able to slow down, enjoy our family traditions and maybe create some new ones. This year has offered us much time for reflection - and Advent will be no different!
Here is a my Advent Checklist (hint hint it's also in the Domestic Church bags with more info on each day and some resources to make your Advent easier!)
Be Blessed and Filled with Hope this week!
November 30th - First Sunday of Advent - The Feast of St. Andrew
Advent Wreath and candles
Something fishy - Gold Fish Crackers, Swedish Fish, Fish for dinner
December 6th - Feast of St. Nicholas
Your kids shoes
Chocolate Gold Coins (Dollar tree usually has them, Walmart party section)
Simple treats or gift
As a bonus the parish is offering a walkthrough St. Nick event on the 6th from 10-12:30 at the Shrine on
West Main St. Everything you need as a parent to help you celebrate will be handed out while your
kids visit St. Nick (from a safe distance!) .
December 8th - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Coloring page (Included in this bag!)
December 12th - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dinner plans! Tacos, Enchiladas, something to represent Mexico
Roses - and the cards enclosed!
December 13th - Feast of St. Lucy
Something sweet for breakfast (donuts, cinnamon rolls, pancakes)
A sweet treat to GIVE (store bought, homemade, your choice!)
The gift tags in this bag
December 16-24 - Las Posadas
Mary and Joseph from your Nativity
No I didn't sneak this one in here - but this is a GREAT tradition to start with your family! Our Hispanic community gather to pray and sing (in normal times) at a different persons house each evening, journeying as Mary and Joseph would have until they found a place to stay and to celebrate (on the 24th). In our home this is the time we move Mary and Joseph throughout our home as they journey toward the Nativity. You can simply use your existing figures from your home Nativity set. Our kids enjoy trying to find them each morning.
When I joined the staff at St. Paul last year one thing that weighed heavy on my heart was bringing families in front of the Eucharist. I have had my share of experiences taking my own children to traditional adoration and wasn't always met with the most welcoming environment. I GET it, when I have time in adoration I find solace in the quiet, contemplative time in prayer. When I ran across a Pew Research study in the summer of 2019 that outlined what Catholics believe about the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, I was stunned. Only 60% of weekly Mass attendees believe, and only 25% of monthly Mass goers share the same belief (source below). Mission accepted - the desire to spread the message of not only Christ FULLY present in the Eucharist was solidified, but also the necessity for us to spend time in adoration was made abundantly clear!
And so last year as our parish began the annual 40 hours, a few brave families processed up, sat their wiggly children at the feet of Christ and in a leap of faith began a tradition. The numbers of families have been steady and growing. Since returning from COVID the number of parishioners praying along side our families from the pews has grown, and if you are one of them thank you, the support and encouragement our families feel is such a gift!
So tonight, as once again our parish begins our annual 40 hours of Eucharistic Devotion, we will once again begin with family adoration. If you have a wiggly, giggly, little one, an unsure teen, or a young adult at home, please join us! We look forward to praying in thanksgiving and gratitude with you!
Family Adoration - Tonight 10/18/2020 - Meet in the gathering space between 6 and 6:15pm.
Trunk or Treat - Next Sunday 10/25/2020 - 5:30-6:30pm - Sign up here to decorate your trunk to pass out goodies! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050b44aaac22a1fb6-2ndannual
,When I was an exhausted new mom of 2 handling the night shift of a colicky baby alone while my husband worked midnights I struggled to fit in a shower, let alone prayer time. It just wasn't working. I felt guilty, but I often fell asleep in our daughters room while rocking her baby brother in the rocking chair. Out of this sleep deprived season of life "rocking rosaries" were born. There were nights I made it through 2 or 3 rosaries rocking ....... patting and praying - and nights I barely made it through 2 decades - but a habit was born and a love for the rosary was started in my own children.
This is the part where I inspire you and tell you that we pray a family rosary every night, and even the littlest follows along - but I'd be lying! The rosary as beautiful as it is can be so hard for families - add in a few rambunctious boys and no 2 efforts to pray it are the same! I've built this devotion into our morning commute - contained children are much easier to lead in the rosary and we've found a few favorite rosaries to stream in the car. With October being the month of the rosary there is no time like the present to introduce your family to it, and find a way that it can fit into your day or week.
Check out this adorable (and informative) video from Brother Francis on Formed!
Have a great week!
Are you outside enjoying the beautiful weekend - if the weather forecast is any indicator this looks to be our last of the "summer like" temps for a while. I'm ok with that because Fall is MY favorite season - and it's also chock full of great saints and feasts to celebrate.
It kicks off on Tuesday with the Feast of the Archangels! Such a fun feast day - my boys especially LOVE St. Michael - defender of the faith, sword wielding angel who fights Satan himself! We celebrate this day by having - what else- Angel Food Cake! So many ways to customize it for your celebration!
Celebrate with cake, learn the St. Michael prayer, and enjoy these last few warm hours of the year!
See you soon!
This week as much as I wanted to write the usual Sunday musings - my heart was pulled in another direction. By now you have likely heard the news of a parish priest being arrested on devastating charges. It's hard to put into words the range of emotions not only I felt but that I heard from others that day and in the following days. Why does such evil exist? And why despite all of the good work the Church has done to protect children did this happen?
A few weeks ago we heard the following Gospel:
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.” Matthew 13:24-26
Now - imagine if this story were true and you were the farmer who worked very hard at sowing the seed throughout your field. Upon watching your crop grow you realize the weeds have been sown in with your crop. What would you feel? Anger? Disappointment? Frustration? Defeat? All of the above?
This parable really focuses on Jesus, sowing the good seed of His love and His Word, which was further cultivated with the spilling of His Precious Blood. But we know that Satan has always been trying to undermine the work of Jesus - a weed among the bountiful harvest.
How much does this parable remind us of where we currently are? The great evil that we see is trying to overshadow what Christ has grown in St. Michael Findlay - the largest parish of our diocese, a thriving school, a brand new convent soon to be full of young faithful Dominican sisters and the new assignment of our own Fr. Peter Grodi - Jesus has sown much good seed in His Church. It's hard to refrain from anger and despair in this case. It's hard to remember the truth that Jesus does not allow Satan to steal His peace, and that we are called to continue to grow in the midst of the weeds. This parable continues:
“The servants asked the farmer, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:27-30
It isn't easy but we may have to endure evil on a regular basis. In those moments we are called to look to Jesus even more to help us to grow in virtue so that we can push past the weeds to seek our place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Despite the great despair that evil causes us, and Satan's attacks, we know he will ultimately be defeated. That brings us hope and helps us to begin to rest in the peace of Christ who will see us through this dark time.
As a mother, pastoral associate and social worker I would be remiss if I didn't take this time to talk about the importance of having age appropriate conversations with your children about abuse of any kind. These are conversations we might not be comfortable with, but it is our responsibility as parents to keep our children safe and for them to know that they can come to us, or another trusted adult, if something doesn't seem right. The statistics are staggering. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused before turning 18 in the United States. The link below has some resources you might find helpful:
If you are in need of someone to talk to regarding the most recent allegations please feel free to reach out, I am happy to listen and to pray with you and for you.
Finally I ask you to pray for our good and holy priests, victims of abuse, our brothers and sister at St. Michael's in Findlay, and as hard as it may be to pray for Fr. Michael Zacharias.
Prayers and Blessings this Sunday!
To report any sexual abuse of a minor by Diocesan personnel (priest, deacon, consecrated religious brother/sister, or lay person), immediate contact should be made with local civil authorities, and with the Diocese of Toledo’s Victim Assistance Coordinator who can be reached at 419-244-6711, ext. 4880 in the Toledo calling area, or 1-800-926-8277, ext. 4880 (Outside Toledo, Within Ohio).
In this week's Gospel we hear the familiar passage - the disciples have gone ahead of Jesus to cross the sea in the rough waters they see Jesus approaching them, walking across the water. He asks Peter to join him, and he does, stepping out at first with no issue but then as doubt creeps in he begins to sink. As Christ reaches out to pull him up from the water he's asks "why did you doubt?"
Sunday Gospel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVy9HGr3Qig
As adults we can see the depth of this Gospel in many ways - but this week I challenge you to ask the children in your life how they picture this reading. What stands out to them, ask them to retell it to you in their own words.
When I did this with my own this week a few things stood out to me. First was my 10 year old - why did the disciples go ahead of Jesus in the boat, how was he supposed to meet them if the place they were going was so far they had to sail to get there? Never have I looked at that part of this reading as an act of such faith - not only on the part of Peter who is clearly the main figure here but on all of the disciples.
Our 7 and 5 year old discussed Jesus letting Peter sink. Would he really have let anything happen to Peter? No - they decided, comparing it to us showing them how to swim, they sink - we help them up, and they keep trying.
Such profound wisdom to be offered from the youth in our lives!
This weekend we are on a dessert hiatus in our house - though you could find many to celebrate this Sunday with (blue jello with Swedish fish and cool whip on top perhaps?!?) Due to the anticipated HOT Sunday we are planning instead water based "trust" games - It's in the hands of the kids this weekend and I'm sure they will come up with something fabulous - I hear rumblings of "walking a course blindfolded while being shot at with squirt guns" ours is not a dull faith!