May 19, 2024 – Pentecost Sunday

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Our Great Journey

 

This week our theme is “Spirit of Truth/ Espiritu de Verdad” based on John 15:26-27, 16:12-15/ Juan 15:26-27, 16:12-15

All pray the Sign of the Cross

Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

Things to talk about:

  • What is the liturgical color for Pentecost?
  • How has the Holy Spirit inspired you or given you courage?
  • What’s the difference between the peace that Jesus gives and the peace the world gives?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • What is different about someone who allows the Holy Spirit to work in their life?

Things to do:

  • Pentecost is the Birthday of the Church. To celebrate make a strawberry short cake, click HERE for recipe ideas.
  • Complete this crossword puzzle as a family about Pentecost and the early Church.
  • Begin every prayer this week by saying, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
  • The Monday after Pentecost is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, which Pope Francis declared in 2018. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us! As a family pray the Hail Mary on Monday.
  • The Holy Spirit is described in many different ways throughout the Scriptures. Find Isaiah 42:1-3, Isaiah 61:1-3 and Joel 3:1-3. Discuss which one best describes the Spirit and why. What qualities of the Spirit do you relate to in each of these passages?

Closing Prayer

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

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in your life personally with 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, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.

Name those who need our prayers. All the prayers for Monsignor Pat who celebrates his 50th Anniversary of Ordination on May 18. Thanking God for the gift of his ministry. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

Catholic Insights

Amazing news! God lives in each and every one of us. On the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit. God who created the universe dwells within us. The Spirit is our Advocate and our guide throughout our lives. The Holy Spirit transforms us, makes all people one and renews us if we follow where he leads.

Jesus uses two titles for the Holy Spirit, the “Advocate” and the “Spirit of truth.” (In a court of law, an advocate is the lawyer who pleads on behalf of a defendant before the judge. An advocate is also someone who is always in the other person’s corner, looking after them, defending and bringing out the best in them.

By referring to the Holy Spirit as the Advocate, Jesus is telling us that it is the Holy Spirit who is always working within us, guiding and uplifting us. We pray to the Holy Spirit whenever we need help making a difficult decision. The Holy Spirit is a “Spirit of truth” because God is pure truth. Come Holy Spirit, come.

Did you know?… that Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church? Having received the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ disciples could begin the work of bringing the Good News to all the nations?


May 12, 2024 – 7th Sunday of Easter, Ascension of our Lord, Mother’s Day

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Our Great Journey

 

This week our theme is “Go Ye Out/ Sal fuera” based on Mark 16:15-20/ Marco 16:15-20

All pray the Sign of the Cross

Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

Things to talk about:

  • What does Jesus command us to do in this Gospel?
  • How can we “go and proclaim the Gospel to every creature”?
  • Jesus said that great signs will accompany those who proclaim the Gospel. Where does that power come from?

    Things to do:

    • Decide on one way your family can proclaim the Gospel to your neighbors and friends.
    • As a family decide on an area of the world to research: learn about their economy, politics, what sports are played, schools, special holidays, food and culture. Is this an area of the world that needs help and if you could travel there, how could you help? CRS.org is an excellent place to start.

    Closing Prayer

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

    Prayer Over Family Members

    Jesus, our Lord, we worship you. You are our brother and our Savior. We look forward to the glory of Heaven, but until that time, you have commissioned us to proclaim the Gospel.

    Bless us, Lord, and help us be a blessing to others.

    [Pray the following prayer individually over each family member. Invite everyone else to place their hand on the person’s shoulder.]

    Bless [name of family member] and give [name] the grace and wisdom he/she needs for this day and strength for carrying out your will. Help [name] proclaim the Good News of Jesus in word and deed today and always.

    Help us to always seek you, Lord. We look to you for guidance, strength, and all that we need. Amen.

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    This art print is the end of our art gallery in the classroom hallway, depicting the stories of our faith and salvation. At the Ascension, Jesus commands the apostles and us, “Go and make disciples.” That is the call of our faith, to witness and share the good news of God’s love.

    The Ascension does not celebrate Jesus’ leaving but His ability to be present to all people in all places at all times. When Jesus of Nazareth was on earth in his human nature, he experienced life in a limited way. It is part of the human condition that we can be fully present in one place at one time. We’ve all had the experience though of being physically present in one place, but our heart and mind were somewhere else. Jesus’ Ascension affirms that he is no longer bound by time and space.

    The Risen Christ is present to us wherever we are and we experience that glorified body most fully within the community that is the Church. The essence of the Great Commission is that for those baptized into Christ, death is not the end but a magnificent beginning.

    At the end of Mass, we hear those parting words, telling us that our celebration of Mass has ended but that we are to go forth to live the Gospel by our lives. Go Ye Out!


    May 5, 2024 – 6th Sunday of Easter

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    Our Great Journey

    This is our last week of gathering for Family Faith at Church until August 25. We will continue to post weekly on Friday evenings. Please read the post and share with your family. We appreciate any feedback or ideas/suggestions that you share with your family or adult small groups. Thank you and God’s continued blessings on you and your family.

     

    This week our theme is “Greatest Love of All/ El Amor más grande” based on John 15:9-17/ Juan 15:9-17

    All pray the Sign of the Cross

    Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

    Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

    Things to talk about:

    • How do you define love?
    • Jesus encourages us to keep his commandments. Is it hard or easy to keep God’s commandments? Explain your answer.
    • The words we hear in this Gospel are some of the last words Jesus gives his followers. What do you think your last spoken words might be to those you love?

    Things to do:

    • Chalk Art -Take some time today to decorate the sidewalk or driveway with messages of faith and encouragement to help your neighbors see the joy you have in Jesus. You can also include an activity to do as they walk by your house such as a hopscotch game, a maze, or another activity.
    • Jesus commands us to love one another. Try to be the MOST loving person in your family this week. Invite your family to vote on who was the most loving at the end of the week.
    • Ten Commandments and Greatest Commandment – as a family write or draw the Ten Commandments and the Greatest Commandment. Discuss and review each commandment. How can you turn “Thou shall not…. into Thou Shall to live that commandment?

    Closing Prayer

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

    Prayer for Friends

    In this Gospel, Jesus calls us friends. Offer this prayer for the friends in your life.

    Lord, please help us to know your friendship in and through the people in our lives. Thank you for blessing us with friends who love us, share our sorrows, laugh with us, encourage us, stand by us in times of need. Bless our friends with health, wholeness, life, and love. We pray especially for (have each person who would like name a situation, particular friend, or relationship for which they would like to pray). Amen.

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    The theme of relationship continues in this Gospel. It is extremely important to Jesus that he communicate the essential things he needs his Apostles to understand. We also are invited to think about his words. As was true of his entire life, Jesus’ final words to his disciples are all about love. He reminds us how much we are loved by God the Father and by him, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jesus wants us to know beyond any doubt that God does not love us because we do good things. It is because of God’s unconditional love for us that we are able to do good things. God’s love has no strings attached.

    Jesus taught many lessons and reaffirmed all of the commandments of his Jewish faith, but he makes it clear to the Apostles that being in relationship with him comes down to one thing — to extend that unconditional love Jesus shows to us to one another, aided by the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit. As followers of Christ, we are called to share “The greatest love of all.”

    Do you know …a beautiful way to think about who God is comes from the First Letter of John? “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” 1John 4:16 The original Greek word used for this type of love is agape, which refers to a love that is complete self-gift to another.


    The Greatest Commandment

    When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law]* tested him by asking, Teacher,* which commandment in the law is the greatest? ”He said to him,* “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it:* You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

    Matthew 22:34-40

    April 28, 2024 – 5th Sunday of Easter

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    Our Great Journey

    This week our theme is “Remain in Me/ Permanece en Mi” based on John 15:1-8/ Juan 15:1-8

    All pray the Sign of the Cross

    Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

    In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for April  is The Prayer to the Holy Spirit.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. 

    Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

    Things to talk about:

    • What happens to a branch when it is cut off a vine? What is Jesus trying to teach us through this analogy?
    • In what way does the story of the vine and the branches describe your relationship with Jesus?
    • Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” What would you ask of Jesus today?
    • Each of us is precious in God’s eyes.  So is the person who is unpopular, ignored or treated badly. From this Gospel teaching, what would Jesus think if we were to exclude or not welcome others?

    Things to do:

    • Where do you see the images of the vine and the branches around our Church?
    • Plan a family planting day. Think about the Gospel as you plant. All of the flowers, leaves are connected to the stem of the plant. As your plant grows, remember the theme “Remain in Me,” Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, we always want to Remain in Him and stay connected and nourished by His great love.
    • Invite someone who has stopped going to church to come to Mass with you next week.

    Closing Prayer

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

    ACTS Prayer

    This prayer will help you to stay close to Jesus. It has a simple formula using the acronym, ACTS. Spend time reflecting and sharing on the following prayer prompts.

    • A—Adoration—I praise You, God, for…
    • C—Confession—I am sorry for…
    • T—Thanksgiving—I am thankful for…
    • S—Supplication—I ask You for…

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    John’s Gospel is noted for the seven “I am” statements that Jesus proclaims before the passion account. Each statement offers us the deep truth about Jesus’ divinity and, therefore about God. Recall when Moses asked God his name in Exodus 3:14. “I am the vine, you are the branches,” is the 7th statement and theme of this Gospel.

                 In a vine plant, water, and nutrients flow from the roots of the plant through the stem and into the branches. The more the vine grows, the more branches sprout. We are like the branches on the vine. Jesus gives us “living water” — God’s love and grace so we grow and bear fruit. Just as the branches are connected to the main stem, so our lives are connected deeply with the Risen Christ. We are called as Jesus’ disciples to extend the love and peace of Christ to all we meet because we are all connected. Jesus is working in our lives.

    Just like a branch that is severed from the stem or trunk will die and be unable to produce fruit, if we are disconnected from Jesus, we cannot grow or bear fruit. We must Remain in Him. The realization that we are only the branches and sustained by the vine should fill us with deep humility. Life is not about just us but living and witnessing God’s love to all.

    Do you know …the image of a vine would be familiar in Jesus’ time. Grapes were harvested to eat and used to make wine. Wine was part of Jesus’ table fellowship, including his first             miracle at Cana. At the Last Supper, the grape becomes the wine, the Blood of Christ.


    April 21, 2024 – 4th Sunday of Easter

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    Our Great Journey

    This week our theme is “Good Shepherd/ El Bueno Pastor” based on John 10:11-18/ Juan 10:11-18

    All pray the Sign of the Cross

    Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

    In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for April  is The Prayer to the Holy Spirit.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. 

    Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

    Things to talk about:

    • Compare and contrast the behaviors of the good shepherd and the hired man in today’s Gospel story.
    • Sheep rely on their shepherd for everything they need. How do you trust in Jesus and depend on him to give you what you need?
    • Why is this image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd such an important one?
    • Think about who you can extend the love of the Good Shepherd to this week.

    Things to do:

    • · The image of sheep reminds us the lambs’ wool is used to make warm clothing. One of the corporal works of mercy is to clothe the naked. Even though the weather is turning warmer, many still have a need for clothing. What donations can your family make to the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store? Each morning this week, as you dress for school or work, pray for those who are in need of good clothing.
    • Have Shepherd’s Pie with Roasted Potatoes for dinner one night this week, www.kevinandamanda.com/easier-shepherds-pie-with-roasted-potatoes/print-recipe/35342/

    Closing Prayer

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

    Psalm 23 Meditation

    Invite everyone to close their eyes and imagine themselves sitting on the grass in a beautiful meadow by a stream gurgling with cool, clear water. Imagine they feel the warm sun with a gentle breeze blowing. Can they hear the birds signing? Read Psalm 23 slowly. Spend a few minutes in quiet and then ask each person how they felt during the meditation.

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    Jesus uses the image of the Good Shepherd in this Gospel to comfort the Apostles and remind them that he will always be with them.

     The people to whom Jesus ministered implicitly understood how all encompassing the shepherd’s care was. Sheep are incapable of protecting themselves from predators. They also have no sense of direction, if they lose sight of the shepherd, they are lost. The shepherd watches over the flock and leads them to water and grass. He tends to the sheep who get hurt or sick.

    When we look at the words Jesus speaks about the “other sheep,” we understand the Church’s emphasis on ecumenism (harmony and unity among all Christians). Jesus became human to save all human beings. We, as disciples, are called to extend the love we have experienced in our hearts to all, no matter who they are.

    Do you know That the first people to whom the birth of Jesus was announced by an angel were shepherds? They responded to this good news and joyfully paid homage to the newborn king, Jesus.


    Some sheep facts:

    • Sheep have a thick coat of wool on their body which is called a fleece.   The fleece can be made into a fiber called yarn.     
    • Other parts of the sheep are used to make things such as insulation, baseballs, upholstery, crochet needles, and tennis balls.
    • Oil from the wool of sheep is called lanolin and is used to make beauty products such as lotions and creams.
    • There are many words to learn when talking about sheep:
    • The female sheep is called a ewe.
    • A male sheep is called a ram. Rams, which are larger than ewes, and sometimes fight with each other to prove who is the strongest.
    • The young sheep are called lambs.
    • Sheep eat facing the same direction, always keeping the wind blowing toward them. Each sheep usually keeps two other sheep in sight when feeding.
    • Sheep move around in large groups called flocks.
    • Sheep farms may have little flocks of 50 to 200 sheep.
    •  Larger operations may have 1,000 to 5,000 sheep.
    • Little flocks of 10 or fewer sheep may belong to people who like to dye and knit yarn that is made from the sheep’s wool.

    Our Great Journey Registration is OPEN for 2024-25

    Our Great Journey is for EVERYONE!

    Please join us on Our Great Journey. Registration is required for children 3 years – Grade 12 and children interested in becoming Catholic through the Order of Christian Initiation for Children (OCI-C) or Teens (OCI-Teen).Click HERE to register.

    Adults, without school-age children, joining us for Family Faith Adult Sessions, please email Cindy, cmcfadden@transfiguration.com.

    April 14, 2024 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

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    Our Great Journey

    This week our theme is “Testify/ Testificar” based on Luke 24:35-48/ Lucas 14:35-48

    All pray the Sign of the Cross

    Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

    In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for April  is The Prayer to the Holy Spirit.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. 

    Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

    Things to talk about:

    • Does Jesus’ greeting, “Peace be with you,” sound familiar? Where have you heard this greeting?
    • Why did Jesus ask the disciples to look at his hands and his feet?
    • What point is Luke trying to make be describing in detail Jesus eating the fish among his disciples?
    • How have you experienced a feeling of community in your parish?
    • What does receiving the Eucharist mean to you?
    • How can you testify to the love and peace of Christ in the ways you speak and act toward others at home? At school? At your activities? At work?

    Things to do:

    • In this Gospel, the disciples were “incredulous for joy.” Playgrounds bring great joy to children. Celebrate the joy of the season at a playground in your favorite park or a new park, trail or waterfall that you’ve always wanted to visit.
    • Outside the Easter season, the first reading is typically from the Old Testament. During the Easter season, the first reading is from which book in the New Testament? (Click the link for Luke above)
    • Jesus was made known to them in “the breaking of the bread.” As a family make bread and read the Gospel at your family meal.

    Closing Prayer

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

    Listen and pray for strength, courage and creativity to Testify to Love.

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    In this Gospel, the disciples were initially startled and terrified at Jesus’ appearance, but became “incredulous for joy” as they discovered it was Jesus really with them.  Jesus’ resurrected body was different from his earthly body  — he appeared and vanished instantly, yet he had flesh and bones and he ate food. When we speak of our own resurrection, we don’t know what our glorified bodies will look like but the Gospel reminds us that all that makes us truly ourselves in this world will live on into eternal life.

    The scene in this Gospel also reminds us that the sharing of a meal is crucial in building any community, especially the Church. We gather each Sunday to share the Eucharist and it is an opportunity to grown in love for one another and Christ.

    At the end of the Gospel, Jesus tells his Apostles that they are witnesses, they have an understanding of the events; they have been with Jesus and heard his preaching, teaching and seen him healing others. The Apostles understand, as we do, that his death was the final act in a life devoted completely to love and obedience to his Father’s will. Jesus has transformed all of creation, delivered us from evil and established the kingdom of God. Jesus wants the Apostles and us to testify to love.

    Do you know …throughout the Easter season, The Great 50 Days, we rejoice in our Baptism and our membership in the Church? At Mass, we may celebrate a Sprinkling Rite instead of the  Penitential Rite. We are sprinkled with holy water as a reminder of our Baptism.

    Resources adapted from 52Sundays.com, Celebrating the Lectionary, At Home with the Word, Celebrating Families, Sunday Connection



     

    Easy Artisan Bread

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour (one may be whole wheat white)
    • 1/2 tsp. yeast
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1.5 cups warm water (100-110 F)

    In a bowl, stir all ingredients until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and form a ball by pulling the dough from the sides to the top. Rest for 30 minutes as you preheat oven to 450 F. Place baking dish with high sides into the oven while preheating. Slash a cross on top of the bread and carefully place into baking dish.

    Cover and bake 30 minutes; uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more until golden brown. Cool before slicing.

    April 7, 2024 – Divine Mercy Sunday

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    Our Great Journey

    This week our theme is “Peace be with you!/ La Paz sea contigo” based on John 20:19-31/ Juan 20:19-31

    Opening Prayer: 

    All pray the Sign of the Cross

    Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

    In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for April  is The Prayer to the Holy Spirit.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. 

    Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

    Things to talk about:

    • Sometimes, people call Thomas, “Doubting Thomas.” Why do you think he got that nickname?
    • What would it be like to see Jesus alive, after he died on the cross?
    • Why do you think it’s hard for some people today to believe in Jesus?
    • What do we say after the priest says, “Let us offer each other the sign of peace”?  How does that remind you of today’s Gospel?

    Things to do:

    • Build a Fort—After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. Build a fort with blankets, pillows, cardboard boxes, etc. Hang out and play games, tell stories, or imagine what it was like for the disciples in the Gospel today.
    • St. John Paul II declared the Second Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000 when St. Faustina Kowalska, to whom Jesus revealed the Divine Mercy image, was beatified. Jesus told Sr. Faustina, “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy.” This day is a chance to reflect on the mercy of God in our lives. Many people pray The Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00pm every day. You are encouraged to pray it today, on the feast of Divine Mercy. See the closing prayer. 
    • At 3:00pm each day this week (the hour of mercy), say “Jesus, I trust in you” and pray for an increase in trust in God. Set a reminder on your phone to help you remember.
    • The Easter Season lasts for 50 Days. Check out these resources to continue celebrating the Great 50 Days. Divine Mercy Sunday is a great day for Ice Cream Sundaes. (Recipe in the resources)

    Closing Prayer

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

    Chaplet of Divine Mercy

    Sign of the Cross

    Our Father

    Hail Mary

    Apostles’ Creed

    On the Our Father beads:

    Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

    On the Hail Mary Beads:

    For the sake of his sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    After five decades, conclude by reciting three times:

    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    Jesus’ first words after his resurrection are “Peace be with you.” When Jesus says “Peace, he has in mind the Jewish idea of shalom. The Hebrew word suggests the peace that existed at the beginning of creation, when everything God created was good and in perfect harmony. Jesus’ greeting assures the Apostles that all the damages of sin have been reversed.

    We also hear about “doubting Thomas,” who demanded proof. According to Church tradition, Thomas became a great missionary and died a martyr’s death. Rather than looking at Thomas’ question from disbelief, we can look at it from a point of integrity. He refused to go along with the crowd until he had an encounter with Christ. As it was with Thomas, questioning led to an even deeper faith. We are those who have not seen but believed, but the Gospel leads our unseeing eyes to believe. Peace be with YOU.

    Do you know …Someone who has stopped going to Church or started to question their beliefs? Reach out  and invite them to be part of the community again and come with you to Mass or Family Faith.

    Resources adapted from 52Sundays.com, Celebrating the Lectionary, At Home with the Word, Celebrating Families, Sunday Connection



     

    March 31, 2024 – Easter Sunday

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    Our Great Journey

    This week our theme is “Arise” based on John 20:1-9/ Juan 20:1-9

     

    Opening Prayer: 

    All pray the Sign of the Cross

    Lord, Jesus Christ, we rejoice with all of creation because you have risen from the dead. As we celebrate the Great 50 Days of Easter, help us to understand the meaning of your empty tomb: death does not have the last word; light will triumph over darkness; sadness will be conquered by hope. Make us people of life, light and hope and help us to show and share our Christian joy with all. Amen. Alleluia.

    In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for March is The Rosary.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. If your children are too young to pray the entire Rosary, at least start with a decade.

    Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

    .

    Things to talk about:

    • Have you ever received news that was so good that it was at first, unbelievable?
    • Imagine you are at the empty tomb with Mary of Magdala. How would you have felt? What would you have said to Mary?
    • Why do you think the description of the burial cloths are described in such detail?
    • How does the Resurrection of Jesus Christ change the meaning of your life?

    Things to do:

    • Holy Saturday – On this day, we hold vigil and, in the evening, we welcome the light (fire) that dispels the darkness and proclaim “Alleluia!” and “Glory to God!” for the first time in 40 days to begin the celebration of the Resurrection. We celebrate new life in Baptism and renew our baptismal promises.
    • Pull out pictures, videos, and mementos of your children’s Baptisms, and tell stories and share memories of the events. As a family, renew your baptismal promises
    • Color Resurrection eggs, and explain how the egg is a symbol of the Resurrection (life emerging from the tomb). Decorate the eggs with religious symbols. 
    • Easter Sunday – He is not here, he is risen from the dead. Matthew 28:6
    • Make Resurrection rolls to eat on Easter morning
    • Chalk your driveway or use chalk paint to paint an Easter symbol on a window. Lots of good ideas if you search the web.
    • The Paschal Candle – look at the markings on the Paschal candle. The numbers indicate the calendar year, the cross reminds us of Jesus’ passion and death. The alpha and omega remind us that Christ is the beginning and the end of all things. The five pieces of incense inserted into the cross represent the five wounds of Jesus. 
    • Make an Alleluia banner for your Easter decorations
    • This month’s prayer is The Rosary, to remember the important events in Jesus’ life. Gather as a family to pray the Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. Read more about the Rosary….

    Closing Prayer

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

    Pray with music. As a family, listen to the song Build My Life. Reflect on the lyrics and share what Easter means to you

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    Alleluia! Easter is a joyous celebration. With God all things are truly possible.

    In all 4 Gospels, Mary Magdalene is among the women who are the first to bear witness to Jesus’s resurrection. In John’s Gospel she finds Peter and John to tell them about the empty tomb. They rush to see.

    None of the Gospels report anyone seeing Jesus leave the tomb. In this Gospel detail is provided about the burial cloths left in the tomb. The head cloth is rolled up neatly and separately from the larger cloth that wrapped Jesus’ body. No one engaged in grave robbery would have taken the time to organize the burial garments.

    Arise! Arise in each of us God’s unfathomable love and the desire to share His love in words and actions. Amen.

    Did you know? …The site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is identified as the place of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Visitors can enter the cave (which is preserved inside the church) and see the actual place where Jesus rose from the dead. Visitors generally wait in line for 3 or 4 hours to visit the tomb.

    Resources adapted from 52Sundays.com, Celebrating the Lectionary, At Home with the Word, Celebrating Families, Sunday Connection



     

    March 24, 2024 – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

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    Our Great Journey

    This week our theme is “Hosanna ” based on Mark 14:1-15:47/ Marcos 14:1-15:47

     

    Opening Prayer: 

    All pray the Sign of the Cross

    Lord, our God, renew in us the grace of our Baptism. May we realize we are your sons and daughters and that just as Jesus lived a life obedient to your will, we are also called to a life of holiness, love and service. May our Lent prayers, fasting and works of mercy transform our hearts and renew our hearts. Amen.

    In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for March is The Rosary.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. If your children are too young to pray the entire Rosary, at least start with a decade.

    Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

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    Things to talk about:

    • Have each family member share what makes the biggest impression on them from the story of the Lord’s Passion.
    • The soldiers beat Jesus and made fun of him. How do you think that made Jesus feel?
    • What would it have been like to be Simon of Cyrene?
    • This week, how can you show that you honor Jesus as the Christ and Son of God?

    Things to do:

    • Red is the liturgical color for Palm Sunday. Where do you see red at Mass today?
    • Make a palm cross. Check out this website for more elaborate options, https://www.mercyhome.org/blog/sunday-mass/how-to-weave-palms/
    • Place palm branches behind all the crucifixes in your home.
    • The Triduum – The summit of the Liturgical Year is the Easter Triduum—from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday. Though chronologically three days, they are liturgically one day unfolding for us the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. Plan on attending as many of the Holy Day liturgies as you can. Click HERE for schedule.
    • Holy Thursday – On this day, we recall the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and the agony in the garden. 
    • To recall the institution of the Eucharist, the Bread of Life, consider baking a loaf of bread as a family. It can be a favorite recipe, or you can make unleavened bread, . As part of the experience, have a family member read Exodus 12 about the first Passover meal. Recipe included. 
    • Good Friday – On this day, we recall Jesus’ suffering and Death and venerate the Cross. 
    • Have a meaningful and simple Good Friday lunch, read more here,
    • Invite the family to turn off all devices between noon and 3 p.m., to recall the time that Jesus suffered on the Cross. Use the time to bake hot cross buns or, if the weather permits, to go outside and plant seeds, explaining how a seed must “die” if it is to give life. 
    • Holy Saturday – On this day, we hold vigil and, in the evening, we welcome the light (fire) that dispels the darkness and proclaim “Alleluia!” and “Glory to God!” for the first time in 40 days to begin the celebration of the Resurrection. We celebrate new life in Baptism and renew our baptismal promises.
    • Pull out pictures, videos, and mementos of your children’s Baptisms, and tell stories and share memories of the events. As a family, renew your baptismal promises
    • Color Resurrection eggs, and explain how the egg is a symbol of the Resurrection (life emerging from the tomb). Decorate the eggs with religious symbols. 
    • Make Resurrection rolls to eat on Easter morning
    • This month’s prayer is The Rosary, to remember the important events in Jesus’ life. Gather as a family to pray the rosary, even if it’s just one decade/mystery. Read more about the Rosary….

    Closing Prayer

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

    Prayer before a Crucifix (adapted)

    Listen and reflect on the African Spiritual, Were You There. You should be able to find the song on YouTube or wherever you stream music. When you are done, pray this prayer in front of a crucifix in your home:

    Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before your face I humbly kneel and with burning soul, pray and beg you, to fix deep in my heart, the gifts of faith, hope and charity, true contrition/sorrow for my sins and a promise to do better. While I think and pray with great love and tender pity, about your five most precious wounds, thinking about what you suffered, and calling to mind the words that David, your prophet, said of you, my Jesus, “They have pierced My hands and feet, They have numbered all my bones.” Amen.

    Name those who need our prayers. Close with the Sign of the Cross.

    Catholic Insights

    On Palm Sunday, we receive a palm branch and remember how the people welcomed Jesus when he entered Jerusalem just days before he died. So many people were happy to see Jesus, but not everyone. These people did not believe his words and thought his teaching was wrong. They asked the Romans to put him to death. Since Jesus knew what he had to do, he didn’t argue with them. As the Son of God, he knew he needed to die so that God could raise him. Then all of us would have everlasting life in heaven. Our bodies one day would die, just like Jesus’ body, but our souls would rise and go to live with God in heaven forever. We have the gift of eternal life; happiness with God in heaven forever. THIS IS HOW MUCH GOD LOVES US.

    Jesus obeys his Father to the very end. The passion account is the most difficult to hear.

    In the years that Jesus was on earth, teaching his Apostles and walking with his many followers, he taught how important forgiveness is and how to respond to God and others in loving ways. Jesus knew he needed to teach the people about forgiveness in a way we could understand.

    Before we get to the happy ending, we have to take the time to think about what Jesus did for us. If Jesus had not died on the cross, he couldn’t have risen from the dead and we would not have eternal life through him. Hosannah, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who gave his life that we can have eternal life with him in heaven.

    Did you know? …When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowd spreads cloaks on the road before him. To spread cloaks on the road was an ancient gesture of homage before a newly crowned king.

    Resources adapted from 52Sundays.com, Celebrating the Lectionary, At Home with the Word, Celebrating Families, Sunday Connection



     

    Transfiguration