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!
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”-Matthew 13:44-46
This weekend brings us another parable - and this one is another great visual! Imagine you're on a walk, and you stumble on a treasure, not just any treasure but one that you are sure is priceless. But there's a problem - you don't own the land you found the treasure on.... now what?!?! What would you do to buy the land that has the treasure on it? Are you willing to give up all that you own for it? Jesus uses this parable to show his disciples that relationship with Him both here and in heaven is priceless!
But how do we define "priceless" - when we think of something that has incredible value we might picture diamonds, piles of gemstones, or stacks of gold bars - those things, though do have value, it may be larger than we could imagine, but there is still a tangible value to those things. What are some things we can't put value on? The first warm snuggle from a newborn baby, or maybe the final squeeze of the hand of a loved one as they pass. Those are things that when we think of them we know they can't be bought, they are truly priceless. Do we treat our relationship with Christ with the same value? Do we value it? Nuture it with prayer and study? Share it with our friends and family? Long for everyone we meet to feel the joy it brings? It reminds me of what a Priest friend shared with me when I told him I just "didn't have time" to improve my personal prayer life - he reminded me that we make time for the things that are important to us. What an important reminder for this Sunday!
Here is a link to a great video of the Gospel reading this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXX3guJjaZY
Also how are you celebrating at home this Sunday? This is a fun Sunday to tie the Gospel into our home church - we typically have meatloaf for dinner - and I stuff it with something fun (ya know, treasure!). I've done mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese before. Last year we has a treasure hunt for the kids where each stop had them finding toppings for a Sundae bar - yummy treasure indeed! How are you spending this Sunday? Share below!
Happy Sunday!! During this Ordinary time we hear several parables from Jesus. These are my favorite way of teaching faith to my own children because the depth of the parables grows as both they and their faith mature.
The parable of the sower or farmer - is by far my favorite. Maybe because I have fond memories of summer farm life at my grandparents, or maybe because it is such a visual for us to see just how important nurturing our faith is! The farmer is diligent in planting the seed, but the birds eat it .... then it gets scattered on rocks and scorched by the sun ... then it gets smothered by the thorns .... finally it finds fertile ground where it can flourish. There is much to note here - not the least of which is the persistence of the farmer to keep pushing forward despite the obstacles.
The obstacles to our faith now are large - never did I imagine I would be raising 5 kids in the midst of a pandemic and such unrest in our country. There are many times discouragement creeps in like the thorns, or a bright promising attitude is scorched like the sun. When that happens I am reminded that the fertile soil of our faith first begins at home, that nurturing that is so critical. Then I look at the fertile soil that is our parish - slowly reopening, finding a new way to serve...... while I am impatient and would much rather flip the lights on and return to the "pre-Covid" St. Paul - I am reminded that fertile soil needs cultivated, tended to and it is a slow and painstaking process.
I remember standing at the edge of farm fields listening to my grandpa talk about the crops, wondering if we would have enough rain, wondering if it would get too hot, knowing there was never a guarantee of a bountiful harvest. Like the farmer we will continue to weather this time - we know that life is full of thorns, rocks in the road and other distractions - but there is always a space for the seeds of our faith to take root.
This week I encourage you to go for a drive in the country - check out the farm fields - pray for our farmers, and discuss with your family how you can work towards an abundant harvest by sharing the faith!
Gospel video for this week:
Following the Easter season and a few feast days we are back to "Ordinary" time - but there is nothing ordinary about the Gospel reading this weekend - In this weekends Gospel from Matthew we hear:
"Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
The line "even all of the hairs of your head are counted" is a stark reminder of God's love for us! As a new mom who cradles her child counts fingers and toes and memorizes every feature - God, our Father, knows and loves us unconditionally! How blessed we are!
On this Sunday we celebrate Father's day - here is a beautiful litany to pray as a family:
God of love,
Today we ask your blessing on all who give their lives with a father’s love.
Bless new fathers and wise grandfathers.
Bless loving uncles and caring godfathers.
Bless fathers who await the birth of their child with joy.
Bless men who did not expect or want to become fathers.
Bless men who embrace fatherhood through adoption or foster parenting,
remarriage or single parenthood.
Bless men still waiting and hoping to become fathers.
Bless fathers whose work takes them away from their children.
Bless fathers whose work is with their children.
Bless fathers whose lives are shaped by war, poverty, or violence.
Bless fathers who work for peace, freedom, and justice.
Bless teachers and mentors who serve as father figures.
Bless priests and ministers who lead as loving parents.
Bless men who are separated from their children, by force or choice.
Bless families without fathers and all who love in abundance in their absence.
Bless fathers who have lost a child.
Bless families who have lost their father.
Bless all whose fathers were loving.
Bless all whose fathers failed to meet their needs for love.
Bless all who celebrate today.
Bless all who struggle today.
In the name of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we pray.
Have a blessed week!
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi - which celebrates the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist - body, blood, soul and divinity. This weekend we started to celebrate the First Communions that were postponed due to Coronavirus - and in yesterdays homily the families heard the remarkable story of St. Anthony of Padua and the Mule - Never heard it before? Check out this video about it below:
Because it's a Solemnity - you guessed it - we will celebrate with a sweet treat! We also like to read about Eucharistic Miracles on this Solemnity!
Here is the Gospel reading for this Sunday:
Enjoy the BEAUTIFUL day!