Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Building Gingerbread Houses

During All-School Masses, a Kindergarten student is matched with each of the 7th grade students and they sit together each week. In addition they do some activities together throughout the year. One of these was having the 7th grade students help their Mass buddy build a Gingerbread House just before the Christmas break.

Well Done!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God

Wednesday is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. The collect prayer which begins our Masses is:

O God, who through the fruitful virginity of the Blessed Mary, bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation, grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.

The Masses for this Holy Day of Obligation are:

5:30 and 11 p.m.

7:30, 9, 10:30 & noon
(no 5 p.m. Mass)

The 11 p.m. Mass on Tuesday night will be followed by a New Year's toast and celebration in the Social Level.

State Champs

 The Knights of Columbus hold an annual Soccer Challenge.

The goal is divided by ropes into sections. The contestants take 25 shots. Each shot that makes it in the goal is awarded points by where in the goal it is hit.

We're delighted to say that two of our parishioners, Anna Hoffman and Megan Pokorny, were among the state champs.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Excuse Me, Thank You, Sorry

With today's Gospel about the Holy Family's flight to Egypt, Pope Francis spoke off the cuff:

"Let us remember the three key words to live well in the family: 'Excuse me, thank you, sorry.' When we do not want to be intrusive in our family, we say 'Excuse me!' When we are not selfish . . .  we say 'Thank you!' When we make a mistake, we say 'Sorry!' Therefore, let us say together, 'Excuse me, thank you, sorry.' (Which the crowd did.)

"I would also like to encourage families to become aware of the importance they have in the Church and in society. Preaching the Gospel, in fact, is done first inside the family, and then in the different spheres of everyday life. With fervor, let us invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother, and Saint Joseph, her husband. Let us ask them to enlighten, comfort, and guide every family in the world, so that they can fulfill with dignity and serenity the mission God has entrusted them."

Pope Francis also pointed the link the link the Holy Family has to many people today: 

 "Joseph, Mary and Jesus experience the tragic fate of refugees, full of fear, uncertainty, and discomfort (cf Matthew2,13-15, 19-23 ). Unfortunately, in this day and age, millions of families can identify with this sad reality. Nearly every day, television and newspapers provide news about refugees fleeing hunger, war, and other serious dangers - in search of security and a decent life for themselves and their families."

"In distant lands, even when they find work, refugees and immigrants do not always receive real welcome, or find respect and appreciation for the values ​​ they carry. Their legitimate expectations clash with complex situations and problems that at times seem insurmountable. Thus, as we look to the Holy Family of Nazareth when it was forced to seek refuge, let us think about the tragedy of those migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation."

"Let us also think about those who are exiled inside families," he added, "the elderly, for example, who are sometimes treated as a cumbersome presence. Many times I think a sign to know how a family is doing is to see how children and the elderly are treated."

"Jesus wanted to belong to a family that experienced these difficulties because no one is excluded from God's loving closeness. The flight into Egypt because of Herod's threats shows us that God is where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he escapes, where he experiences rejection and neglect. But he is also where man dreams, hopes to return to his homeland in freedom, plans and chooses for his life and dignity and that of his family."

Friday, December 27, 2013

All Aboard the 2nd grade Polar Express

There were train tracks on the school floor.

 They led to a 2nd grade celebration.

 The whole day was themed.

 The grand event was watching the movie 
The Polar Express followed by treats.

There were cookies, candy canes and hot chocolate for all.

 It was a very fun day!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Little Ones

"Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them." -- Isaiah 11:6 

If you have read any of my previous posts on the parish blog, you may have noticed that I rely heavily on the wisdom of a 6-year-old.

I have eight other children who inspire my faith daily. But when a small child says something profound -- even when he is unaware of what his words imply -- I'm awestruck. God speaks to us through everyone and everything around us, but in a particular way, He speaks through the littlest ones.

Recently, when our family set up our artificial Christmas tree, the aforementioned 6-year-old, David, had a special role. We got off to a bad start because we forgot to assemble the tree starting at the bottom, so it became increasingly awkward, as we worked our way down, trying to get those large branches into their slots. But David, with his agility and proximity to the ground, came to the rescue.

"It's good to be little," he said proudly.

I knew he meant little in the physical sense. But my first thought was of being small spiritually. And yes, in that sense, it is good to be little.

St. Therese of Lisieux, a doctor of the Church, taught us about being little and childlike, about not relying on our own strength but on God, our Heavenly Father. We get a glimpse of St. Therese's "Little Way" from a passage in her autobiography:

"You know, Mother, that I have always wanted to become a saint.

"Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passersby. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to Heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new. . . . It is Your arms, Jesus, which are the lift to carry me to Heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up. In fact, just the opposite: I must stay little and become less and less."

At Christmas we remember that our Lord came to us as a poor baby, in perfect submission to His Father's will. Perhaps it was Jesus' way of showing God's preference toward the small, poor and defenseless. And perhaps it was to give us an example, to show us the simplest way back to the Father.

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Children's Choir on Christmas Eve

Before the 5 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass, the Children's Choir got ready to tell the nativity story.