Author Archive

This year’s theme (Cycle A/B)

August 20, 2014

It’s been three years since the implementation of the revised translation of the Roman Missal and we still see more than a few people pulling out the cards to help them remember the “new” Creed and Gloria during Mass.  If this is you, or if your family is just learning it for the very first time,this year’s challenge will be just right for you!  

To help you do memorize, each family will get a copy of flashcards containing the people’s part of the Mass.

Obviously, it’ll be helpful if you practice by bringing it to Mass each week, but this is a great chance for your family to work together to encourage each other toward the goal.  Like the Mass, the flashcards are designed to be a dialogue, and the nature of that will provide built in cues that will be a great help with your memorization.  There are brief explanations of each part to help us all gain a deeper appreciation of this prayer, followed by the cues we’re all used to hearing.

For example, the booklet begins by reminding us that the priest greets us in the name of the Trinity by saying,

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

We return the greeting by replying, “And with your spirit.”

What a great blessing we’ll have this year to focus on something so central to our lives and so familiar with fresh eyes.

The entire Church in the United States has been blessed with this opportunity to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, and to appreciate its meaning and importance in our lives.

 

From today’s Office of Readings:

August 15, 2014

O God, who, looking on the lowliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary, raised her to this grace, that your Only Begotten Son was born of her according to the flesh and that she was crowned this day with surpassing glory, grant through her prayers, that, saved by the mystery of your redemption, we may merit to be exalted by you on high.
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.

 

Hi Mom!

August 14, 2014

CABEZALERO, Juan Martín , Assumption of the Virgin

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and related to that topic there are a few things you need to know and a few extra things you may want to know.

First the important stuff:

  • On this day we celebrate the fact that at the end of her life on earth, God took Mary into heaven, body and soul.  She did not go into heaven on her own power as Christ did, but was assumed (taken up by God).
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Mary, “the new Eve, ‘full of grace’ of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death.”  
  • From the very first days of the Church, Christians have always venerated relics of holy men and women (typically their bones).  There are many stories of the importance placed on relics and how they were guarded and prized around the world.  (Scroll down to “Relics of St. Mark” for one such story.)   Having said that, isn’t it interesting to consider that no place on earth claims to have the bones of the Blessed Virgin Mary?  Surely those would be the greatest of all relics, yet they are nowhere to be found.  Catholics would argue that this is simply because there were no bones left on earth as she was completely taken up into heaven.
  • It’s also interesting to remember that there are Old Testament precedents to this phenomena:  both Enoch and Elijah were taken up into heaven in a similar way.  (See Genesis 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:1, 11)
  • The lessons of this feast are so important that the Church has declared it to be a Holy Day of Obligation and all Catholics are to attend Mass in celebration.  Mass times at Church of Saint Paul tomorrow are 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. 

Now for stuff that is way less important (but still fun):

  • Friday is typically a day to fast, but tomorrow is a day to celebrate!  If you combine that with the fact that people tend to misunderstand the meaning of this celebration and that the vocabulary may be little outside of your kids’ range, you may want to create some memorable experience to tie all these things together.  
  • Of course, we recommend food and humor – both very memorable experiences for kids.  If there’s one thing the internet is good at, it’s quickly pulling together ideas from a wide variety of sources.  I’ve done a little search and have a few ideas for you just below.

Sky … clouds … looks heavenly to me and you can hardly make an easier dessert than jell-o and cool-whip!

“I told the kiddos that the bread is rising, just like Mary did today. It is sweet, just like the love between Jesus and Mary and the two pieces joined together are just like them going up into heaven, when Jesus came to get His mother and take her to be in heaven with Him, body and soul.”

Any foods that are cloud related will help make the association with Mary being taken up to heaven.

Or any cake (cupcakes/brownies/pancakes) that you can dye a lovely shade of Marian blue.

Thanks to Catholic Cuisine and Catholic Icing for the ideas and Web Gallery of Art for the beautiful image!

Welcome!

August 12, 2014

Hello all and welcome to our new readers!  It’s been a busy summer in the Family Formation office and we are excited for all the blessings God has in store for the upcoming year!

The most notable change is that Matt Brounstein, our Director of Children’s Religious Education for the past seven years, has felt called to get back into teaching and has accepted a position at a local high school’s theology department. The school’s gain is definitely our loss, but we’re also very happy for Matt and his family as they move into this new chapter in their lives. 

For the most part, I will be taking his place (although in all fairness, what he did is really being divided between several people).  It has been great to see God’s timing in all this and I hope you will all stop by the office and say hi sometime!

catWe’re planning a new family focus for learning more about the role of Catholic Authority and Tradition in our faith lives – look for instruction on C.A.T. Stats for families coming this fall. This is also the year for our Mass Challenge and, if you’re in the Church of Saint Paul program, don’t pack your Hawaiian shirts away after the State Fair because we have a great tropical theme planned for our Kick-Off Extravaganza in September!

On the Family Formation distance front, we are thrilled with all the new parishes and families who have registered and there are many, many more who have ordered Parish Intro Kits to help with their discernment process.  We are praying for all of you as you work to lead the families under your care closer to Jesus! 

And last, but not least, this is the year when we can finally roll out our Home Lessons in Spanish! Again, this is something that has been in the works for years, but in God’s good timing (and the generous work of all sorts of qualified people) it is ready to go just in time for lots of interest from the diocese of San Antonio. 

Every day when we come to work, we are just overwhelmed with all the huge and minute ways we see the Holy Spirit working through Family Formation and we feel so privileged to be part of it!  Thank you for sharing your blessings and challenges and questions and answers with us and we look forward to working with you in the 2014-15 school year!

Something very cool for your Tuesday

July 29, 2014

This photo essay features two blacksmiths from Austria making armor for the Vatican’s Swiss Guard.

Share it with your kids!

 

“It gives our family a guide”

June 25, 2014

Thanks to Tisha Frost for featuring Family Formation in her article on Investing in Your Child’s Faith Formation for the Diocese of Winona’s Courier!  Not only are we thrilled to have made an impact on her own family’s faith formation, but we’re glad to be included on such an impressive list of other resources.

What I like best about this program is that it gives our family a guide for sitting and talking about our faith. It seems like that should be a natural thing, but it isn’t. It’s not natural for me to call a “family meeting” to pray or talk about a Saint or what we heard at Mass. But this program has really helped me, and my husband, to do just that.

While this is primarily meant to be a parish based program, families can order the program on their own and follow it in the home. The price might scare you a little bit at first, but I think it’s totally worth it. Each month they mail you a packet of materials. The lessons follow the liturgical calendar. What I like best about this program is that it gives our family a guide for sitting and talking about our faith. It seems like that should be a natural thing, but it isn’t. It’s not natural for me to call a “family meeting” to pray or talk about a Saint or what we heard at Mass. But this program has really helped me, and my husband, to do just that. – See more at: http://dowcourier.org/investing-in-your-childs-faith-formation-p348-168.htm#sthash.UuU9atwO.dpuf
While this is primarily meant to be a parish based program, families can order the program on their own and follow it in the home. The price might scare you a little bit at first, but I think it’s totally worth it. Each month they mail you a packet of materials. The lessons follow the liturgical calendar. What I like best about this program is that it gives our family a guide for sitting and talking about our faith. It seems like that should be a natural thing, but it isn’t. It’s not natural for me to call a “family meeting” to pray or talk about a Saint or what we heard at Mass. But this program has really helped me, and my husband, to do just that. – See more at: http://dowcourier.org/investing-in-your-childs-faith-formation-p348-168.htm#sthash.UuU9atwO.dpuf

courier

If you know a family or parish that is interested in joining the fun, learn more at our site or by contacting us directly.

 

“Be thankful then …”

June 20, 2014

St. Ephrem wrote this in relation to understanding Scripture, but I think it relates to just about any area of the spiritual life:

Be thankful then for what you have received, and do not be saddened at all that such an abundance still remains.  What you have received and attained is your present share, while what is left will be your heritage.  For what you could not take at one time because of your weakness, you will be able to grasp at another if you only persevere.  So do not foolishly try to drain in one draught what cannot be consumed all at once, and do not cease out of faintheartedness from what you will be able to absorb as time goes on.

 

Join us at the parish picnic on June 29

June 17, 2014
We hope you will join us on Sunday, June 29 at the parish picnic!  Family Formation will be sponsoring lots of fun and games to keep you all busy and help you to meet others in the parish.
4-10 year olds (along with a grown-up to help) can build a wood project at St. Joseph’s Workshop, teens and adults can play volleyball, and everyone can participate in gunny sack races, the W.O.G. beanbag toss, hula hoops, bubbles, wiffle ball, frisbees, and sidewalk chalk art.
The fun starts with a procession installing our new St. Peter and St. Paul statues immediately after 10:30 Mass and then on to a barbecue lunch!  The games will begin soon after.
Bring lawn chairs or blankets for the picnic if you can, and we look forward to seeing you there!
picnic

Prayers for the Family

June 12, 2014

There are two Church events coming up regarding the institution of the family which may merit a little place in your prayer life.  First is an event at the Vatican in October – an Extraordinary Assembly of the  Synod* of Bishops which will examine  “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”.  For this one the Holy Father is specifically asking for YOUR prayers, that the whole process be guided by the Holy Spirit:

Dear families …

This Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church. I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task.

 

The second event is a little more than a year away and will be more local.   Philadelphia is host to the upcoming World Meeting of Families on September 22-27, 2015.  The theme is LOVE IS OUR MISSION: THE FAMILY FULLY ALIVE and the goal is to strengthen the bond of family life around the world, especially through the support of the Church.

It’s a huge privilege to be hosting this meeting in America and we expect additional blessings to American families as this topic is sure to be a prominent news story next fall.  Please pray with us, that the Holy Spirit would unleash amazing graces to all who participate, both in person and in spirit!

 

* For more on just what a “synod of bishops” does, click here.

VBS Deadline is THIS SUNDAY

June 11, 2014
Just a reminder that the deadline for registration for 2014’s Vacation Bible School (Aug. 4-8, 2014) is this Sunday (June 15th).
If you haven’t registered yet, you can stop by the parish for print copies or print these forms and turn them into the Office by Sunday, June 15th:
Family Registration Form  (1 per family)
Child Registration Form  (1 per student)
We hope you can join us as we learn “All About Moses” this year!  We have lots of great things planned — and we just need YOU!
Please keep VBS in your prayers.  And don’t forget to turn in your registration and volunteer forms by THIS Sunday (June 15th).

 

Shawn and Jena 
God bless you,
 
 
Shawn & Jena Kolles
VBS Coordinators

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