What’s up with the purple coverings?

Posted March 24, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

You may have noticed something different at Mass last weekend.


I’ve had a few questions on the “whys” so I did a little research to satisfy our curiosity.

“Why purple?” is easy since it’s the liturgical color of the season and is always associated with the somber, penitential character of Lent.

unveilingIn answer to “Why do it at all?,” I always thought of it as just one more form of fasting that we take on as Holy Week draws near and our efforts at penance naturally intensify, but I did find another answer which connects this practice to Good Friday.  The simple version is that part of the Good Friday service involves the unveiling of a crucifix and it just makes more sense to unveil something that has been veiled.

EWTN adds an answer to the “Why now?” question:

The custom of veiling the images during the last two weeks of Lent hails from the former liturgical calendar in which the Passion was read on the Fifth Sunday of Lent (hence called “Passion Sunday”) as well as on Palm Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, and Good Friday.

For this reason the period following the Fifth Sunday of Lent was called Passiontide.

If you would like to read a more in-depth article on this topic, I recommend this one.

Support our diocesan priests by attending the Chrism Mass

Posted March 24, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

This Thursday at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, at 7 p.m.

The priests from our diocese will all be there to renew their vows and the Archbishop will bless the sacramental oils used by the entire archdiocese for the upcoming year.  Your entire family is invited to this beautiful liturgy but plan to get there early if you want a seat!

Read about this year’s event in this week’s edition of the Catholic Spirit.

And you can read more about what happens at a Chrism Mass in this 2013 article from the Catholic Spirit archives.

Lesson Notes: Easter Activity Packet

Posted March 22, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Parent's Perspective, Sue's Suggestions

Easter Activities

I’m posting these lesson notes early because I hope you’ll spend Holy Week actually doing some of this stuff, so this is your official reminder to go to the craft store or the grocery store to get what you need to make these activities happen.   Planning is the key here!

As you page through this month’s Holy Week and Easter lessons, you’ll notice lots of fun activities to decorate your house or feed your guests, but we challenge you to look at the same pages as suggestions for evangelization.

If you’re planning to spend Easter with family or friends, be sure to do all you can to keep the focus on the true meaning of Easter.  For example, your kids can use the information on pages 1-3 to make the banner or decorations for your (or Grandma’s) Easter table.  Relatives who may never be interested in hearing about your faith, might gladly listen to your children describe the details of their artwork.

Are you giving Easter baskets or having an Easter egg hunt?  You can also use these symbols or the ideas on page 9 to make these traditions about more than candy and eggs.

And most important – even the least committed Catholics are willing to attend Mass on Easter Sunday.  Be sure to invite someone to go to Mass with you.  This is a great time to be a bold witness for Christ!

Lesson Notes: Holy Week

Posted March 21, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions

Holy Week

Holy Week is arguably the most important time in the entire liturgical year.  Each of the principal days has it’s own unique character and the activities in this lesson will help your family understand and celebrate them more fully.

To begin with, let’s start with the big picture.  For your younger kids, the My Holy Week Story Wheel is a simple, hand’s-on activity that tells the events of Holy Week in pictures.  After you’ve gone over it with them a couple times, they’ll easily be able to tell the story on their own.  For your older kids, “tell” the big picture by coming up with your plan for the week.  Are you going to church extra days?  (Thursday, Friday, Easter Vigil)  Are you going to confession this week?  Are you celebrating a Seder Meal for dinner sometime this week?  What are your other family traditions?  (Preparing special foods for Friday or Sunday, stations of the cross at 3 p.m. on Friday, reading each day’s events from a Bible or Bible storybook, etc.)  Get your entire family on board by making the plan clear up front.

This week’s lesson has explanations for each of the days and is, therefore, a little more extensive than an Activity Packet, but my typical advice still stands:

  1. Read through ahead of time to see which activities are going to make your Holy Week better than ever.
  2. Come up with a plan
  3. and make sure everyone is on your team this week to help make it happen!

First Friday and First Saturday devotions

Posted March 19, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions

First Friday and Saturday devotions are two popular, enduring practices that also happen to fall under this week’s topic of having an indulgence attached.

First Friday Devotions were derived from revelations made by Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and include the practice of receiving Holy Communion on nine consecutive First Fridays of the month in reparation to “the Heart that has loved men so and is loved so little in return” (Words of Christ to Margaret Mary).  Among the graces Christ is said to have promised to those faithful to this devotion are: final perseverance in the Catholic Faith, reception of the last sacraments, death in the state of grace, and the consolation of the love of Christ’s Sacred Heart at the time of death.

First Saturday Devotions is the practice of receiving Holy Communion on five consecutive first Saturdays, receiving the Sacrament of Penance within 8 days before or after this reception, reciting five decades of the Rosary, and making a 15 minute meditation on one of these mysteries.

You can learn more about each devotion from the ever-helpful Wikipedia.  (Friday, Saturday)

It has been my experience that kids who have just received their first Holy Communion are particularly interested in coming to Mass again to receive their “second Holy Communion” and their “third Holy Communion” and so on.  I know of kids who keep counting their times of receiving Communion to quite a high number.  Why not take advantage of that enthusiasm by adding as many Masses as possible into your weekly routine?

One of our Family Formation families has had the same experience with their children and created an easy (and beautiful) way for them to keep track of the requirements of this devotion.  You can print your own copies from the link at the bottom of this page.

first saturday

first friday

First Friday and Saturday

Tomorrow’s Assignment

Posted March 18, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions

Tomorrow we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and guardian of Jesus.   He is the patron of families, fathers, pregnant women, travelers, immigrants, house sellers, working people and, having died in the presence of Jesus and Mary, is the patron of a happy death.

You can scroll down to about the middle of this page to see lots of ideas for celebrating this feast day, and we hope one of the things you do to celebrate is listen to the audio CD of The Life of Saint Joseph that was part of this month’s Home Lesson packet.

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph’s intercession your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Posted March 17, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Parent's Perspective

This week’s lesson on sacramentals mentions the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  In order to wear the scapular and be eligible for its promises, you should be enrolled.  This involves a very simple ceremony which only needs to be done once with your first scapular (and doesn’t have to be redone when it wears out and you need a new one), and can be done by any priest who is familiar with the prayers.  The words for the blessing are below and are also often packaged with the scapular.

Priest – Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.

Respondent – And grant us Thy salvation.

Priest – Lord, hear my prayer.

Respondent – And let my cry come unto Thee.

Priest – The Lord be with you.

Respondent – And also with you.

Priest – Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, sanctify by Thy power these scapulars, which for love of Thee and for love of Our lady of Mount Carmel, Thy servants will wear devoutly, so that through the intercession of the same Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and protected against the evil spirit, they persevere until death in Thy grace. Thou who lives and reigns world without  end.  Amen.


Receive this blessed Scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through Her merits, you may  wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life. Amen.


I, by the power vested in me, admit you to participate in all the spiritual benefits obtained through the mercy of Jesus Christ by the Religious Order of Mount Carmel.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth, bless you, He who has deigned to join you to the confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Of Mount Carmel; we beseech Her to crush the head of the ancient serpent so that you my enter into possession of your eternal heritage, through Christ our Lord.

Respondent – Amen.

The first Scapular must be blessed and imposed by a Priest using the (above) formula contained in the Roman ritual for reception into the Confraternity of the Scapular.


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