Saturday, November 28, 2015

Advent Newsletter

The Advent Newsletter is out. Click here to see it online.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pope Francis is in Africa

"For their sake, and for the good of society, our faith in God’s word calls us to support families in their mission in society, to accept children as a blessing for our world, and to defend the dignity of each man and woman, for all of us are brothers and sisters in the one human family.”
Pope Francis

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Feast

Like the Pilgrims and the Indians, the kindergarten students at St. Columbkille Catholic School gathered to give thanks and enjoy a feast together.

A Litany of Thanksgiving

When I walk two dogs first thing in the morning, I have to brace myself.

Beginning when they were puppies, I've tried to get them outside as soon as I get up to avoid any accidents after a long night. And now they've become accustomed to going outside almost as soon as my feet hit the floor.

That can mean opening the front door with my eyes half closed and stumbling into the wind or rain or snow or ice. Often I'm still in pajamas, or without socks or combed hair, grabbing whatever shoes and coat happen to be close at hand.

That is how I wake up almost every day. It's a less than ideal for someone who is not a morning person and who can be wimpy when it comes to adverse weather.

But I've been trying to turn lemons into lemonade, moving from grumbling to gratitude.

I've noticed that the world at 6 a.m. can be a beautiful place. Darkened skies begin to take on shades of blue and gray, orange and rose. Leaves are rustling, birds begin chirping.

As I walk, I thank God for the quiet and beauty that surrounds me and am reminded of the many things I should be thankful for: a warm home, an abundance of food, a wonderful family.

The walk I've dreaded each morning is gradually becoming my litany of thanksgiving as I praise and thank God for everything I can think of: the cool, fall air; the glorious sunrise; the swirling brown leaves, including the one that seems to pause in midair and wave at me; for patient, tolerant neighbors, whose homes I pass by; for each individual member of my family, including my husband, children, brothers, sisters, parents and in-laws; for the good health we enjoy, for our creation and salvation, for the fresh start of a new day . . . the list goes on and on and often carries into the rest of my day.

Appreciating God's gifts and thanking Him for them is a joyful, positive way to start the day, instead of my usual grumbling. One of the prefaces for Mass reminds me that even my meager thank-yous are His gift:

"You have no need of our praise, yet our desire to thank You is itself Your gift. Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to Your greatness, but makes us grow in Your grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Indeed, God can turn anything into a blessing. He is a master at turning our lemons into lemonade.
 As St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans:

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose."

Thank You, Lord!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, today and every day!

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.

Harvest Litany

Once you begin to do something a certain way once, it becomes a tradition for a child. "We ALWAYS put up the Christmas tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving!" or "We ALWAYS have hot chocolate after midnight Mass." These ALWAYS traditions might have only been started last year, but for a child, we always do it this way.

Thanksgiving as a national holiday is similar. Began as a way to give thanks for the previous year's harvest, today we might not have that practice since most of us are not cutting harvest from the field.

What other "harvests" can we give thanks for? Perhaps this thanksgiving litany will assist you in always giving thanks!

Harvest Litany of Thanks

For human life, both those given and those received, We Thank you Lord.

For the opportunity to labor for you, We Thank you Lord.

For loved ones both near and far, We Thank you Lord.

For the young who teach us wonder, We Thank you Lord.

For the old who teach us wisdom, We Thank you Lord.

For times of joy to balance times of sorrow, We Thank you Lord.

For You, We Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Reader's Theater

Yesterday, before the break, the Second Grade students at St. Columbkille Catholic School put on the Thanksgiving Reader's Theater as they demonstrated their skills to some fellow students and parents.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blessed Miguel Pro, Pray for Religious Liberty

The 1917 Mexican Constitution created laws that attacked the Catholic Church: seizing church property, outlawing religious orders, taking control of church matters—and went even further. The Constitution also prohibited priests from voting, the Church from even commenting on any public policy, and would not allow priests to wear their clericals or vestments outside their churches. President Calles, who was virulently anti-Catholic (and a Freemason), enforced these restrictions vigorously after his election in 1924. He also required state licensing of priests; thus the state could limit the number of priests by not licensing them. When priests continued to serve the Catholics of Mexico without being licensed, they were forced underground. The results of this persecution were war and martyrdom.

The most famous martyr is Blessed Miguel Pro, the Jesuit priest executed on November 23, 1927 -- 88 years ago today. Father Pro entered Mexico illegally and had to wear disguises and hide to celebrate the Sacraments. He would come in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar to baptize infants, bless marriages and celebrate Mass. He would appear in jail dressed as a police officer to bring Holy Viaticum to condemned Catholics. When going to fashionable neighborhoods to procure for the poor, he would show up at the doorstep dressed as a fashionable businessman with a fresh flower on his lapel. His many exploits could rival those of the most daring spies.

When captured, he was accused of plotting against the government and condemned without trial. President Calle ordered his execution photographed in great detail, hoping to incite fear in the Cristeros army. But the photographs had the opposite effect and Catholics began to show great devotion to the martyr—soon the government forbade the distribution of the very photos it had publicized!

Pope Pius XI wrote three encyclicals denouncing this persecution. The persecution finally ended when a Catholic president, Manuel Avila Camacho, was elected in 1940. When Blessed John Paul II visited Mexico in 1979 it was still illegal for him to celebrate Mass in public. In 1992, a new Constitution amended the anti-Catholic provisions of the 1917 version.

Pope John Paul II beatified Miguel Pro in 1998; he also canonized 25 Martyrs of this period on May 21, 2000. Thirteen more martyrs were beatified in 2005 in Mexico.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Delivering Thanksgiving

Working with various groups 350 families from Bellevue to Gretna and La Vist to Springfield were identified that might not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving without a little help this year. Boxes were prepared so the family would have everything they needed to celebrate including a turkey, a loaf of bread, and even cereal for breakfast.

When our families arrived, they found an envelope containing the addresses of those receiving the meas. Thanks to the generosity of our parishioners, each family also received a $5 gift certificate.

So the items were all loaded up and sent out.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Railings for our Steps

The railings are up for the steps
 in our new parking lot. 


Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Birthday Fr. Vogel

Today is Fr. Vogel's birthday. Since he is spending it at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), it only seems appropriate to show a picture from his trip trip two years ago when we had this glowing collar.

We pray that this is a day filled with joy and celebration!

Praying for France with French Saints

People throughout the world have been praying for France and the victims of terrorism there.

As Catholics, we can turn to the saints, especially the many French saints, for intercession as we pray. And we can look to them for timeless words of wisdom and inspiration.

Here are just a few thoughts from some great French saints:

Our Lady of Lourdes:
"Pray for sinners."
"Go drink at the spring and wash yourself in it."
"Penance! Penance! Penance!"

St. Therese of Lisieux:
"I know of one means only by which to attain to perfection: LOVE. Let us love, since our heart is made for nothing else."

St. Joan of Arc:
"I fear nothing for God is with me!"

St. Martin of Tours:
"With the Sign of the Cross I shall more certainly break through the ranks of the enemy than if armed with shield and sword."

St. John Vianney:
"I tell you that you have less to suffer in following the cross than in serving the world and its pleasures."

St. Jeanne Jugan:
“He is so good ... love God very much. All for Him, do everything through love.”

St. Genevieve:
"We must keep vigil in prayer and fasting so that the Lord will find us ready when He comes."

St. Bernard of Clairvaux:
“What we love we shall grow to resemble.”

St. Peter Julian Eymard:
“Hear Mass daily; it will prosper the whole day. All your duties will be performed the better for it, and your soul will be stronger to bear its daily cross. The Mass is the most holy act of religion; you can do nothing that can give greater glory to God or be more profitable for your soul than to hear Mass both frequently and devoutly. It is the favorite devotion of the saints.”

St. Louis:
"Therefore, dear son, the first thing I advise is that you fix your whole heart upon God, and love Him with all your strength, for without this no one can be saved or be of any worth."

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:
"Hope in His goodness and redouble your confidence in proportion as your troubles increase."

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat:
"We can only save souls if we are founded in charity, the bond of hearts. If charity grows weak, all the means we employ will fail. The Heart of Jesus recognizes as His own those who put in practice His chosen commandment."

St. Jane Frances de Chantal:
"Remain in Him or near Him, in peace of mind and utter trust ..."

St. Catherine Laboure:
"One must see God in everyone."

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne:
"I am where God wills me to be, and so I have found rest and security. His wisdom governs me, His power defends me, His grace sanctifies me, His mercy encompasses me, His joy sustains me, and all will go well with me."

St. John Eudes:
"He belongs to you, but more than that, He longs to be in you, living and ruling in you, as the head lives and rules in the body. He wants His breath to be in your breath, His heart in your heart, and His soul in your soul."

St. Vincent de Paul:
"Lord, help me to make time today to serve You in those who are most in need of encouragement or assistance."

St. Hilary of Poitiers:
"Servants of the truth ought speak the truth."

St. Isaac Jogues:
“Well must we use the time that is accorded us that we must do that in our life which we would have wished that we did at the moment of our death.”

St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle:
"I will often consider myself as an instrument which is of no use except in the hands of the Workman. Hence I must await the orders of Providence before acting and be careful to accomplish them when unknown."

Saints of France, pray for us. Help us find true peace.

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.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Catholic Principal Appreciation

Every year, St. Columbkille Catholic School honors it's principal. Since this is the 100th year of our school, today was extra special as we had some former principals with us, as Sr. Delores Dolezal visiting to represent the Benedictine Sisters who supplied out first eleven principals.

During Mass we had a candle lit for each of the principals who have passed away.. We also included Mrs. Dorothy Cubrich in our prayers as her health prevented her from attending. She was our rpincipal from 1993 to 1996.

In addition to Principal Makey and Assistant Princial Redburn, who currently serve the school, we welcomed our other visitors. We had Mr. Bob Voboril (1980-1990), Mrs. Sue Martin (1991-1993), Mrs. Christine Overkamp (1996-2010) and Mrs. Mary McGuire (2013).

The students thanked the teachers for setting the standards for education.

We also had a student speaker.

Sr. Delores presented Mr. Makey a gift from the Benedictine Sisters.

This is a picture of our first principal, Sr. Celestine who was outr principal from 1916 until 1931.

Afterwards there was a reception
 for our honored guests.

They also received a tour of the school -- though they seemed to most enjoy reminiscing about the school and visitingteachers form their time at the school.

We were honored that they were willing to come back and visit. We look forward to telling more about some things we learned from them about the school's past. We'll be sharing that sometime in the future.