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Divine Mercy Sunday is approaching on April 23rd. How does your parish celebrate this blessed day? Does your priest place emphasis on it? Well, a friend of mine created a beautiful website to help our shepherds prepare for this amazing feast day, and I wanted to pass it on to all of you.
Rather than paraphrase, I'll let her explain since she does it so beautifully:
As you might know, Divine Mercy Sunday is quickly approaching--it's the Sunday after Easter. Anyone who has received the graces attached to Divine Mercy Sunday knows what a life-altering day it is each year. Jesus told Saint Faustina:
"Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment." (Diary, 300)
I learned about it through the Diary of Saint Faustina and Catholic radio, though had never heard about it from my priest. I don't blame him. Our priests are completely overburdened nowadays, it's no wonder that many are unable to keep up with the newer Feast Days when they're added to the liturgical calendar. But Jesus has powerful promises for priests who proclaim His mercy, saying in the Diary of St. Faustina:
"Hardened sinners will repent on hearing their words when they speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My Heart. To priests who proclaim and extol My mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak." (Diary, 1521)
So, wanting to help our priests out, I created a website that offers simple ways to help them bring Divine Mercy to their people. DivineMercyMessage.com offers homily aids that can help them plan their sermons, and fliers that can be printed and stuffed in bulletins or hung around the church.
The idea is that priests can explain Divine Mercy Sunday during their Easter Masses, hopefully enticing all of the "Easter-only" Catholics to come back the following week to have all of their sins and punishment forgiven! And perhaps after that they'll come back every Sunday!
Last year I visited nine neighboring parishes and dropped off letters explaining this website, as well as samples of the bulletin inserts and homily prompts. One priest kindly emailed me the following week, saying, "It helped me prepare my preaching. Very kind of you. Keep up the good work."
This year I'm hoping we can help even more priests proclaim Jesus' message of Divine Mercy:
"On that day, priests are to tell everyone about My great and unfathomable mercy.” (Diary, 570)
If you're able, could you mention DivineMercyMessage.com to your priest? I created a very simple "Letter for Priests" that you could print, sign, and give him, if you like. Just visit the Share the Message page of the website
I truly encourage you to approach your priest with this info...he may truly be grateful to have the help and encouragement, potentially providing great spiritual benefits to your parish.
And, if you haven't had much experience with the beauty of Divine Mercy Sunday, I highly encourage you to check out the website as well. This is a feast given to us by Our Lord, Himself, and it is a blessing to know His purpose and plan for all of us on this day!
Adult coloring pages are certainly all the rage anymore, but there are reasons for that. For some, coloring while reflecting has even helped to enhance their prayer lives. As they focus on a specific phrase of scripture, symbols of their faith, or pictures of favorite Bible or saint stories, their creative release opens up another window to hear God's voice.
As Holy Week draws closer, Justina will be presenting a short series of adult coloring pages - free to our readers. Click on the above example she has created for Good Friday or Stations of the Cross. Although perfect for adult and teen reflections, this would also make a great coloring page for younger ones participating in Stations of the Cross at home.
We hope you truly enjoy this beautiful way of entering in as we prepare our hearts for Resurrection Day!
Years ago, my sister and I were discussing Lenten observances. Our kids were young, and we were contemplating how we could help our kids (who were very young at the time) spiritually. Praying for them daily was wonderful, of course. However, we wanted to do something that would ensure that they would be covered in prayer their entire lives. It was then that she brought up a suggestion that would change my life, both during Lent and every day of the year.
Her suggestion wowed me with its simplicity and awed me in its demonstration of true love. Her idea was this:
Make the decision to offer something up for my children - not only for Lent, but every day for the rest of my life.
Wow!! What a concept!!
Yes, it would be tough, but that's why I loved it - it would be a beautiful, tangible expression of my love for them. Under the radar, I would be able to daily offer myself in prayer for my children knowing that God Himself would be applying the graces forward.
And the possibilities! It took days to come up with something that I felt would be challenging yet possible no matter my state in life. (To remain incognito, I won't be able to reveal my specific sacrifice since my kids sometimes read my posts.)
Some ideas, however, could be giving up a certain food, waking up during the night to recite a specific prayer, choosing to withhold from eating during the night or a specific time of day, etc.
Just as important to choosing my sacrifice was deciding exactly how I wanted to graces to be applied. After much thought, I decided to keep the decision fairly open to God's loving hand, only requesting that it would be offered up for the souls of each of my children and their future spouses and for extra strength and grace to stay the course on their journeys toward heaven.
Incredibly, although I have struggled with being consistent in fasting and sacrifice all of my life, I can honestly say (with and only with the help of God's grace!), that I have never succumbed to the temptation of this particular one for my children. The ability to maintain it has been a huge gift from God and one that has surprised me with its fruits.
One particular bonus reveals itself on those days when I feel that I have not done a very good job in being a mom. At the moment when I am offering my sacrifice, I sigh with relief, knowing that at least I have done one good thing for their souls that day!
For those who wish they could do more for their loved ones, or even would like to devote a life-long sacrifice to a specific cause, like the poor, this Spirit-led suggestion might be your answer. I can assure you, it is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
May God continue to use those around us to guide us towards a more intimate communion with Him, our families and the Body of Christ!
Photo attribution: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sunset-hands-love-woman-5390/ Common Domain
My son is so excited to receive his First Communion! He still has a couple of months, but he just can't wait. Every Mass he goes up with us for Communion, puts his finger over his lips and bows his head to receive a blessing. Lately, however, a growing smile has been playing around on his lips as he knows his big day is coming nearer. And, of course, I can't help but smile as well. His anticipation reminds me of what I should be experiencing.
St. Jean Vianney said, "If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy." How true this is!! Coming face to face with the Savior of the World should have that affect on us, honestly. The Eucharist is one of the deepest, most profound mysteries that our God has revealed to us. It is a gift like no other, a plan like that which has never been conceived, a portal of grace to which nothing can compare, and far more.
This desired anticipation for receiving the Eucharist also reminds me of Easter and the expectancy of the Resurrection. Sometimes I can't help but wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Jesus rose, or when the women and Apostles experienced the risen Lord.
But then it occurred to me: every Mass provides me a glimpse of their view!
Picture it: when Jesus is consecrated on the alter, Father's hands rise upward with the sacred host above the alter, the plain host species becoming the Body of Christ.
Sounds a bit like the Resurrection, doesn't it? Jesus arose from the stone "alter" upon which he had been lying, his human body changing into its new glorified state of perfection.
Try considering this image the next time you are at the table of the Lord. It may help you to feel more intimately involved with that moment when heaven touched earth and our salvation was won.
Thank you, Lord, for continuing to reveal the mysteries of Your great love for us!
"Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me." St. Patrick
Ah, St. Patrick. His is such a refreshing story of strength, immense trust, purpose and fulfillment. And what an inspiration!!!
Despite this, it is amazing how many people have foregone the reasons for this day of beautiful tribute to this great saint and have moved the focus from Christ-centered to leprechaun-centered. Considering that St. Patrick believed the words that he said above to his very core, I can't help but wonder how he feels when he witnesses the partying taking place around the world for reasons that completely ignore all that he fought for here on earth.
Today, our kids' unicycle team was involved in a major local St. Patrick's Day parade. The parade was fantastic, incorporating hundreds of acts in its forward march through the city. Despite the great festivity, though, it was impossible to miss the fact that except for our team logo - The Saint Helen Unicycle Team - I could not find anything actually referencing St. Patrick and his Christianity! People, animals and vehicles had turned more shades of green than I thought possible, and there were shamrocks everywhere. Leprechauns were easily located, as well as a huge balloon depicting a superman-looking creature covered in green. But where was St. Patrick? There was not a cross to be seen, not a reference to to his deep faith to be found.
Granted, being in the parade I was not able to view all of the acts, but I have a deep suspicion that my view of the parade was not much different than the rest of it.
Please don't get me wrong...I'm all for enjoying the festivities of this great celebration. I just wish that ALL people could remember and realize what they are actually celebrating.
Perhaps today we can stop and thank St. Patrick for his incredible contribution to humanity and for furthering our faith in this world.
If we all really understood his teachings and great love for his "adopted people," we would be filled with inspiration and admiration for this blessed bishop.
Thank you, St. Patrick.
I, for one, will be eating a corned beef sandwich in your honor tonight! :)
Top o' the mornin' to you! Here is a new take on the ever-so-fun puffy slime! Mixed with treasures inside to remind you of the story of St. Patrick, this fun craft is an educational toy, art project and science project all rolled up into one. The kids will DEFINITELY love this one!
Younger ones just can't get enough of it, but I wouldn't give it to anyone 3 and under due to small pieces. However, you could make a separate batch without the hidden treasures for those little ones that may be drooling over the fun that their older siblings are having!
Although it is not quite St. Patrick's Day, we just had to put out this video early to give time to create this fun project.
God bless and, as always, have fun creating!!
One of the many things I love about Lent is that it is packed full of opportunities to practice and grow in virtue. Not only does the Church factor this in when she lovingly sets us Lenten boundaries and limits via sacrifice and fasting, but somehow moments requiring virtuous responses seem to just come out of the woodwork.
Humility is definitely one of those that seems to show up regularly. And although I pray often to grow in this challenging virtue, my sister-in-law reminded me the other day that I should be sure to ask God to "be gentle" in His lessons when He helps me to grow in humility. For certain, with God we do have to be careful what we ask for! :)
St. Catherine of Bologna's feast day is today. And what a perfect example of humility she is!
Born wealthy, St. Catherine was the daughter of a diplomat and received a formidable education that included art, singing, writing and reading. She eventually became an excellent painter and was on her way to a lifestyle that the world would have considered great.
However, her own soul viewed greatness very differently, calling her to give up a life of ease and notoriety to become a Franciscan Tertiary. Eventually, she founded several monasteries of the Order of Poor Claires.
Although she did continue to use her gifts of painting and writing, including the Treatise on the 7 Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare, she purposely chose the "lower" roles in the convent, including caretaker of animals and laundress.
A truly inspiring saint, St. Catherine of Bologna's body was found incorrupt, a sign to the world that she is a loving disciple of Christ whom we should emulate and set as a beautiful example of Christ's love.
This Lent, as we work on those opportunities for virtue that keep popping up around us, let's remember the humility that St. Catherine exemplified daily. And, not to be cliche, but perhaps we can even ask the question, "What would St. Catherine do?" when the situation arises.
Even better yet, why don't we just ask her? If we listen well, we will very likely feel her tugging on our hearts, guiding us and showing us the way.
Photo attribution: Simon Vouet (1590-1649), Common Domain
I love listening to kids tell their version of Bible stories. An incredible combination of drama, scandal, and hilarity, sometimes I wonder if their tales would make better movies than many of those out there today!
As I was listening to my son's version of one lately, it reminded me of our Lenten and Easter video that we had made last year when we asked kids questions about this blessed season. I realized that I should probably put it on the blog, because, well, kids are timeless! :)
So here is that version, in case you haven't seen it in a while!
So, how hard is it to figure out challenging questions using emojies? Well, the Teen Take Team just had to find out. Watch as they attempt to give clues to questions about our faith using these tiny images and see if you can guess what they mean before the Team!!
Looking for our videos? Check out the Teen Take and Kid Korner tabs above!!
May your Lent be truly fruitful and fill you with longing for His Resurrection!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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