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!
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity! The trinity is a hard concept for adults to grasp, so we definitely understand why it is hard for our children to grasp the concept. Most people, especially kids, are visual learners. That's why I tend to use an apple to teach the concept of the Trinity.
The three parts of an apple relate to the different Persons in the Trinity in this way: The skin is like God the Father, because He protects us. The flesh is like God the Son, because Jesus Christ took on human flesh. The seeds are like God the Holy Spirit, because He helps us to grow.
The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity is yet another day we get to celebrate!! How can you celebrate at home?
* Dinner made with tricolor pasta
*Neapolitan ice cream (3 flavors in 1)
*Triple Chocolate brownies
*Three cheese macaroni and cheese
I think you get the idea - the possibilities are endless!
Check out this video for the readings this weekend for kid:
And this one that is a reflection on the Gospel:
Enjoy the beautiful Sunday!
The feast of Pentecost is one of our favorite! Did you know that Pentecost is also referred to as the birthday of the church? Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter and also marks the very beginning of the church - when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and they were filled with the gifts of the spirit and left to begin preaching Jesus message!
How can you celebrate at home?
One way is like you would any other birthday - have cake and ice cream - a favorite in our house is to make Pentecost Sundaes to go with cake - you can find the recipe and symbolism here:
What else can you do?
Wear RED - as the official color of Pentecost it's the perfect choice.
Have a fire in your backyard - you might even decide to roast Smores or marshmallows.
Whatever you do be sure to include a prayer asking for the gifts of the Holy Spirit - one of our favorites at home is the prayer from St. Augustine:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
Check out this video on Pentecost:
Enjoy this beautiful weekend!
Happy Ascension Sunday! Today we celebrate Jesus ascending into heaven, and what a beautiful weekend to celebrate! Spring and maybe summer has arrived in full force, the sunshine and warm weather sure are a nice break from the rain!
If you've been following along you know that we celebrate Easter season in our house with a dessert every Sunday - Ascension Sunday provides a very special treat - Cotton Candy!! Cotton candy reminds us of the clouds in our first reading today
"When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight." (Acts 1:9)
What other treats can you use to remind you of clouds? Marshmallows, popcorn, jello with cool whip - the possibilities are endless! If you have an Ascension Sunday tradition I would love to hear about it!
Check out the video below for a Lego version of today's readings:
The Great Commission (Gospel Reading):
Instead of coloring pages today - get outside!! Just a reminder that our youth "Finding Beauty in God's creation" contest ends this week! This weekend would be a great time to enter! Check out details at this link:
Have a GREAT weekend!
May 18, 2020
Dear Parents of First Communicants:
We hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the spring weather that has finally decided to arrive! You may have heard that we have been given permission for public Masses to begin again on May 25th. This is fantastic news as we can now move forward with First Communion! Please know that these decisions were made after prayer and thoughtful consideration of the sanctity of the sacraments, as well as the safety of your child and in compliance with the directives of the local health department.
First Reconciliation will take place on Friday, June 5 from 5-6:30 pm and Saturday June 6 from 7-8:30 pm. You will need to sign up for one of these times to ensure social distancing. Sign-up information is at the bottom of this letter. These will take place in the church. We ask that you enter through the Gathering Space to check in. Face coverings are required. We anticipate having three priests so the evening should move smoothly. We do ask that only parents accompany the child for this sacrament. Included with this letter are some things to refresh your child before their First Reconciliation.
Sadly, we have decided to not move forward with our First Communion retreat this year in order to meet all guidelines. We have instead opted for a “retreat in a box” that you and your child can experience together! One of the blessings we’ve seen abundantly during this time is the opportunity for growth in the domestic church, and this will be no exception! The box will be available when you arrive for First Reconciliation.
Individual First Communion practice and pictures will take place on Wednesday, June 10th from 5:30 – 7:30. You will be given a time when you come to First Reconciliation. These will be staggered so that all 55 children are not present at the same time.
First Communion will be celebrated at one of the following Masses in St. Paul Church:
Saturday, June 13: 10 am or Noon
Saturday, June 20: 10 am
Spanish Mass, June 14: 1 pm
Sign-ups for Mass preference will be taken at First Reconciliation. Please note we will be limited to 15 children per Mass time. Further guidelines will be given to you when you sign up for your Mass time.
To sign up for First Reconciliation, please use this link:
You may also call the parish office between 9 am – Noon or email Jen Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org Times are available in 15-minute increments.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me as Jim Tokarsky, who has so wonderfully lead us this year, will be taking a position at St. Mary’s Vermillion beginning in June.
Thank you for your patience and prayers through this time. We look forward to making this a wonderful celebration for your child and family!
P.S. Check out the First Communion tab above on our page! Lots of resources as you continue to prepare!
Pastoral Associate of Evangelization and Faith Formation
This weeks Gospel begins with Jesus telling the disciples "If you love me you will keep my commandments". What does that mean?