Lesson Notes: God’s Call to Us

Posted January 24, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions, Uncategorized

God's call to us

Saint John Paul II taught that “the family is the primary and most excellent seed-bed of vocations to a life of consecration to the Kingdom of God,”* and that philosophy is a major reason why we covered this topic of vocations in both the Classroom and Home Lessons this month.

Continuing a theme from the first two Home Lessons, we’re going to learn more about the idea of listening for God’s voice.  This time though, there will be a little twist as we label that “listening” as “discerning.” (Which, in this usage, includes things like asking God about His plan for your life, being open to His answer, learning more about vocational options, listening to the advice of others who know and love you, etc.)

So often that process is beginning for your kids right now, while they’re living at home, so this is a good opportunity to open up that conversation.  We’ll talk about the differences and similarities between the different vocations, but this time with an eye to picturing themselves in these roles.  To help them do that, we have lots of new activities!

coloring book My Vocation Friends Coloring Book offers a good chance for your younger kids to realize that everyone they know has a vocation and it’s interesting to start to sort all of that out.

The Vocations Saint Search is an easy research project for your older kids which will teach that Saints come from all sorts of vocational backgrounds.  Simply choose two saints from the list and use the worksheet on the back to write what you know, what you want to know, and after doing your research, what you learned.  You may have Saint books at your house to help with this research, but we’d also recommend  SQPN (Star Quest Production Network) which offers information on almost 11,000 Saints that can be sorted by name, feast day, vocation, patronage, country, etc.  There are no unexpected ads or pop-ups here, but we still recommend your children’s time on the internet be supervised.

And for your hand’s on learners, be sure to make the Wheel of Vocations.  You’ll need a little photo of your child and an exacto knife or sharp scissors to cut out a few small circles.  There is a version for boys and one for girls, and as your child turns the wheel, he/she can picture themselves in a variety of vocational choices.

 

*Familiaris Consortio, 53

Praise and Adoration night tomorrow

Posted January 22, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

Join us tomorrow at 7:00 in the chapel for the monthly Praise and Adoration Night.  Families are welcome, and your bishop will be happy that you’ve come!

The power of a personal testimony!

Posted January 20, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

We were very blessed to be included in the email Justin Stroh from Divine Mercy Catholic Church sent to his Family Formation families this week and immediately got his permission to share it with you.  We love the reminder that no matter what the topic, adding your own personal twist will make it more meaningful and memorable for your kids.

justinDear Parents,

Have you ever heard God’s voice call you? I mean, really say your name? I have! It was in high school, I was walking though our student center and there were hundreds of people eating lunch and passing from one class to the next.

I recall making a short prayer asking God for some grace and then it happened. I was filled with a sense that God was close to me by experiencing joy and then in my mind and ears I heard God say my name. I responded! Speak Lord, your servant is listening. Nothing else was said, it was as if God was getting my attention to then pay attention to what he was saying to me through my surroundings. This “attention getter” stirred up in my heart the knowledge that I am a son of the Father in heaven who loves me. Jesus came to share this with me, with all of us!

So, how did I know it was God and not just my mind? Because the heart of this weeks lesson had been part of my childhood reading. THIS LESSON IS ESSENTIAL to aiding our children to hear God’s voice in their prayer life. Children are capable of great spiritual lives!

YOU are the essential link to God and his Church for your child.

Peace be with you!

Justin

speak lord

 

 

This is also a good place to remind everyone that we love to hear your testimonies, see your lesson or event photos, and share your creative ideas.  Share them with us and a couple things happen:

  1. Everyone here in the Family Formation office is inspired and edified by your work.  (Thank you very much!)
  2. If you give permission, we will try to share them on our blog and facebook page so a wider audience is inspired and edified.

Everyone’s programs are stronger when we share ideas!

sue@familyformation.com

 

Vocations Month: What’s it Really Like to be Married to Jesus

Posted January 19, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Uncategorized

Today we have another great discernment story, this time from Sister Helena Burns who is a great mixture of funny and profound and is just the kind of nun sister you want to have over for dinner.

This may help you get the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or her blog entitled Hell Burns. :-) (Don’t miss the movie reviews!)

But back to her thoughts about vocations:

MARRIAGE WHEN ONE SPOUSE IS PERFECT
Being married to the Perfect Guy is epic. He is forgiving, understanding, exciting, a good listener, omniscient, omnipresent, comforting and challenging at the same time, infinitely tender, wise, a great provider, keeps me entertained, keeps me laughing, keeps me growing, makes me fruitful.

It’s a real back-and-forth, give-and-take relationship. But whenever we fight, only one of us gets upset, and only one of us is always wrong. Jesus gets me. He never cheats and He never leaves. Bad boys are overrated.

And this:

WHAT CAN MARRIED COUPLES LEARN FROM MY MARRIAGE?
What can married couples learn from my marriage? The same thing I can learn from their marriage: what God’s spousal love looks like. Our complementary vocations are two sides of the same coin. We should be a mutual admiration society. In fact, nuns’ biggest fans are young married couples who get so excited when they see us because they want their kids to meet a nun (and hope their daughters will consider a religious vocation someday).

When you see a nun, are you supposed to think: “There she goes. One of God’s special, chosen ones. *Sob.* He didn’t choose me, but He chose her. *Sob.* She’s so unique. She must have been so good and holy for Him to choose her. And not me. *Sob.*”??? 

Of course not!

This is what you’re supposed to think when you see a nun: “Yup! God is the Spouse of every soul, the Spouse of my soul. Every time I see a nun, I’m reminded of that truth! It’s so great to remember that God is so close to us, so real that He calls some to be exclusively His. God can be enough for us, truly fill our needs and make us happy. He can be trusted with our entire lives. Oh, and she reminds me that this isn’t all there is — we’re all headed to the wedding feast of heaven!” And then you are obliged to make a monetary donation to that Sister who reminded you of so many good things, pray for her, take her out for coffee, etc.

Read the rest here.  (And if you ever get a chance to hear Sr. Helena speak in person, DO IT!  She’s great!)

Lesson Notes: The Call of Samuel

Posted January 17, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions

samuel

This week’s lesson is about Samuel, someone who was very good at the skills of listening and obeying.  Start this lesson by reviewing part of his story and, just for fun, add some dramatic flair.  We’ve included a four-part script (Narrator, Samuel, Eli, and God) and suggest you use costumes, dramatic gestures, and your best “God voice” to make this a memorable story!

From there, move on to others who heard, and responded to, God’s call to them.  This brief section starts with a few other Old Testament stories, then moves on to the New Testament, and ends with some examples your kids will be familiar with from today.  As you’re reading this lesson ahead of time, take a few moments to consider some other personal examples to illustrate that we (you) hear and obey every single day!

The activities for this lesson focus on listening to God (aka: prayer) and translating what you hear into action.  The first one (page 4) is a simple prayer card reminding us of a really great way to start any prayer time by simply saying, “Speak, Lord.  I’m listening,”  and the second one gives some concrete ideas of just what it may sound like to hear God speaking to you.

Vocations Month: N.E.T Lifeline Event – Is God Calling Me?

Posted January 16, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions

If you’ve never been to a Lifeline Mass before, you’re really missing out!  High-energy and reverent; a building full of teens worshiping God, participating in the Mass, and loving it; a talk about vocations that your kids will want to hear.  All of the above!

We’ve done this several times as a family and I would highly recommend it.  Older Family Formation aged kids can definitely attend but get there early – it’ll be a packed house!  And if you have some extra seats in your car, be sure to have your kids bring some friends.

N.E.T. Lifeline – ”Is God Calling Me?” – 2/7/2015
Offered by N.E.T. Ministries and the Vocation Office

N.E.T. Ministries hosts Catholic teens Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, for a high-energy event. With us for this great evening is our very special guest, Archbishop Nienstedt. He will be joined by Fr. Troy Przybilla from the Archdiocesan Vocation Office. We especially welcome a great team of priests, religious Brothers and Sisters from various Religious Orders around the country.

The time is now as the modern world awaits the emergence of a handful of spiritual heroes and heroines who will serve the Church as Priests, Religious Sisters and Religious Brothers. Those specially called as witnesses of hope to a world in desperate need of the Good News. The question is not, Will God raise up great men and women for the Church’s mission? The question is, Who will God raise up?
And the answer is, Those you least expect. Is God calling you?

Mass is at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 and event ends at 9:30. NET Center, 110 Crusader Ave. W., West St. Paul; 651-450-6833. Check out http://www.netusa.org.

A free-will offering is suggested.

Leading With Beauty: The Sacrament of the Sick

Posted January 14, 2015 by Sue Klejeski
Categories: Sue's Suggestions

Tags:

This month’s topic is the Sacrament of the Sick, and while we no longer associate the reception of this sacrament only with imminent death, these two pieces, both entitled The Death of Saint Joseph, teach some profound truths about the sacrament.

This first one, by Giuseppe Maria Crespi, shows the Holy Family in their final tender moments together on earth.  St Joseph’s tools are laid down signifying that his work is finished, and his ever-present staff is still blossoming with three white lilies as a symbol of his purity.  Notice the heavenly realities as well: the background filled with angels ready to lead him into paradise.  I’d like to think that’s his own guardian angel nearby, wiping his brow.

On this one, Joseph’s lack of color is a striking contrast to the rest of the window, but look at the peaceful expression on his face!  The Blessed Mother is by his side as we always pray she will be for us (“now and at the hour of our death”).

In both of these works, we see Christ at the bedside, holding Joseph’s hand and imparting a blessing.  That is exactly what happens to those who receive the Sacrament of the Sick – you see the priest there, blessing and anointing, but it is really Jesus right there by your side, blessing and anointing.  That is the wondrous thing about the Sacraments – they promise the grace you need at the moment you ask.  In this case, the special graces include strength, peace, courage, forgiveness of sins, and uniting the person with the suffering of Christ.

 

If you want a reminder of what this Leading with Beauty thing is all about, click over here for an explanation.


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