Archive for the 'Feast Days' Category

Our Mantle Adorned with Traditions of Lent

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Our Lenten Traditions (from left to right): In the trunk, our “Alleluia” banner is buried until Easter morning, where it will adorn our mantle proclaiming Christ’s Resurrection and the Great Feast of the Church. (During Lent the “alleluia” is no longer proclaimed during the Mass. How great it is on Easter Morning to hear it thundered through the church!!!)

On top of the trunk is a vase for Alms. The children earn this money by doing Charity Chores that are jobs not included in their regular responsibilities but which they can choose to do in order to earn money for the poor.

Next to the trunk is a blessed candle that we light during our family prayer time reminding us of our prayers raising to the throne of God.

Beside that is a vase labeled Works of Mercy with a bowl of beans next to it. When the children perform a Work of Mercy or a good deed, they may place a bean in the jar. On Easter this vase will be filled to the brim with jelly beans symbolizing how Jesus can take what good works we offer him and transform them by His grace into something even sweeter and more beautiful than we can imagine!

In the center is a shadow box with a crucifix and some other mementos. This was a gift I made for my husband’s birthday. It has a great story behind it (which I might share another time).

Wrapped in the purple cloth is our Easter candle with has a holy card with an Agnus Dei sealed to it. It will remain wrapped in this shroud taking on the symbolism of our Lord’s body lying in the tomb until Easter morning when the children wake discovering it unshrouded and blazing with light.

Below the Our Lady of Grace statue (which is always holding a place of honor on the mantle) is a Crown of Thorns made from a grapevine wreath and toothpicks that were dyed with coffee. (If I were to dye these again I would use tea.) This is labeled with the word Penance. As we place the thorns ( toothpicks) in the crown (wreath), we discuss how each one represents our sins and the sins of the whole world. We discuss ways we can make reparation to God for these sins and the sins of others through sacrifice, prayer and by offering the Holy Mass for this purpose. An exceptional book to read to go along with this activity is The Weight of a Mass; A Tale of Faith.

Here is a peek into our home last Easter morning:

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The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

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Yesterday, in honor of Our Lady appearing to St. Bernadette 150 years ago, we visited the Lourdes Marian Center to pray in the grotto and to receive miraculous water from the spring where Our Lady told Bernadette to dig.

After receiving a tour of the center we headed over to the John Paul II Center for a Lourdes storytime and craft. The younger children made these shrines:1dscf1156.jpg

and the older children made these:

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This was a great way to conclude last weeks pilgrimage to Our Lady Lourdes Parish to pray the jubilee prayers after receiving the Sacrament of Confession and attending Mass at Holy Ghost Parish.

Lent is upon Us

You know Lent is upon you when the highlight of your day is going down to the local IHOP to fill up on a short stack of free pancakes, you make a special trip to Starbucks and get extra caramel on that Macchiato, and you have seconds on dessert which, by the way, were incredibly delicious Starbucks Coffee Mud Pie ice cream bars. (In my defense, a couple of hours have past since my 1st one and isn’t that why it’s called Fat Tuesday anyway?!?)

So now that my stomach has been sufficiently filled in preparation for the fast tomorrow on Ash Wednesday, it seems it would be a good time to reflect with you on my plans for Lent. You know those plans that are suppose to aid us on our path to holiness. Those things that we resolve to do every year (somewhat like a  Catholic version of New Year’s resolutions.) Those things that most of us eventually fail at atleast once during Lent. Well, here are mine:

  • Give up Starbucks.  I have such a weakness for Starbucks and now with the drive-thru windows and the shops in almost every grocery or discount store, it is becoming more difficult to resist the gravitational pull it seems to have on me. This really sunk in the other day as I drove past an add for cigarettes priced at $4.20 a pack. Who would pay $4.20 for a pack of smokes? How absurd! And then came the Quiet Voice with conviction, “A Cinnamon Dulce latte is $4.20. How many have you bought this week?” Ouch! Okay, no more Starbucks.
  • Keep an accurate expense record. Be accountable for every penny spent and see how it is spent. This is so intimidating to me but I feel it’s a sacrifice that must be done. It’s a little way I can make a gift of myself to my dear husband who is willing to work a paper route (in addition to his regular 50 hours a week) so we can pay off debt we have accumulated due to medical bills and other big things that have come up. So if he’s willing to sacrifice sleep, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure it’s for as short of time as possible.
  • Exercise, eat well & take care of my body. It is a gift that I’ve been neglecting for too long.
  • Question for quiet time with the Lord in the morning: Lord, what gift do you have for me to receive today? How can I make myself a gift to you, my husband, & the children today?
  • Question for the Lord at night: Did I receive you today? Did I receive my husband and the children today as gifts?
  • Pray the Liturgy of the Hours with my spouse and children everyday.
  • Try to get back to praying Divine Mercy every afternoon.

 So there it is. My list. Will I execute this perfectly this Lent or will I fall short of what I have set out to do? I already know the answer. I will fall short because we all fall short of the Glory of God but it is in the falling & failing that we are weak enough to rely on His Mercy to make us holy, not on our own strength.

Have a blessed Lent and let us not forget-His joy comes in the Morning! 

St. Agatha-Pray for Us!

Today we honor St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, who for love of Christ remained pure and chaste even in the face of horrendous torture.

Click on the link to read what Catholic Culture tells us about this holy women.

We plan to honor this couragous Saint by making a bread wreath, as bread is one of her symbols. We will attach prayers written on paper to the wreath, with a special intention for our dear neighbor who has been fighting breast cancer for the past 4 years. We will take the bread to mass tomorrow to have it blessed by a priest and then hang it in our kitchen near the window which faces our friends home. It will serve as a sacramental, reminding us to pray for St. Agatha’s intercession for the healing of our neighbor’s body.

For dinner we will be serving Pasta e Fagioli which is a red wine & tomato based soup with white northern beans & shell pasta. The red is symbolic of St. Agatha’s martyrdom and the white beans, of her purity. The seashell of course is an ancient symbol of baptism and reminds us to pray for the grace to live out our baptismal promises even in the face of difficulties and tribulations.  Our martyr candles will be lit as well to illuminate this picture which has a prominent place in our home, as well as in our hearts.

St. Agatha, pray for us!

A Feast for a King

This year Epiphany fell on Gandalf’s birthday. He had the birthday honor of choosing the menu for the feast which included: Melt in your Mouth Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts in Butter, Salad, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Spanish King’s Bread. The brussels sprouts were a real treat for Our King and quite the surprise–the last time they were prepared in our home was over a decade ago when I was expecting our 1st child. The smell made me so nauseous that I banished them from our home! Somehow the smell didn’t assault me like it did so many years ago.

The King’s Bread turned out to be my nemesis– distracted by the recipe calling for cooled scalded milk, I had to throw out the 1st batch because I forgot a minute detail– adding the yeast! For the 2nd attempt, I threw out the part of the recipe that called for scalding the milk, adapted it to what we had in the house, hid the three beans (to represent the Wise Men) and baked it to perfection!

The table was set, the food was hot, the company was great. It was proclaimed to all in attendance, that all the beans had been found. As I was praising myself as being, truly, a Proverbs 31 wife, tragedy struck– My dear husband yelped out in pain as he bit into a bean! He quickly left the table and returned holding his mouth where he tried to determine if his tooth was cracked! Well, thankfully, the pain subsided and all was well–my family requests that not only do we omit scalding the milk from the King’s Bread but the beans too!

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Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educator’s Conference

June 21-23, 2007 http://www.rmchec.org/

The Glory of God is man fully alive! -St. Irenaus

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