Friday, January 5, 2018

ARCHDIOCESE FAMILY MINISTRIES NEWSLETTER

For a printable PDF of this newsletter, click HERE
Better Days . . .
by Deacon Stephen Bowling 

I hope you won't think me too weird here, but I have a silly little ritual I always perform every New Year's Eve. 

It's something that forces me to look both backwards and forwards at the same time and spiritually reflect upon my life, and just how well I am fulfilling God's plan - or not, as the case may be.

On New Year's Eve, sometime before the ball drops at midnight, I go off to a quiet place and I play the song Better Days by the Goo-Goo Dolls, several times, over and over. 

I am mesmerized by those words from the song that say, "Tonight's the night the world begins again." It reminds me that once again, we get another new start, or maybe a fresh perspective, or at least a renewed way of "doing better" in the coming year.

"Better" is really the operative word here . . . hence my love of the song.
 
Continue Reading Here
Teaching Our Children The Sanctity Of Life
by Martine Bacci-Siegel 
 
As we prepare to celebrate Sanctity of Life Sunday on January 22 now might be a good time to find ways to talk with your children about the sanctity of life. Here are some helpful ideas to get you started.
  • For pre-school children
Using bubble solution, blow bubbles into the air while encouraging your children to clap them, pinch them or catch them in their hands. Ask how the bubbles feel against their skin. Ask what is inside the bubbles. Air? No, breath. Let them take a turn blowing the bubbles. Now share this truth: Just as we can fill a bubble with our breath, that's how God filled man with his breath when he created us. Since it is easy for a bubble to pop or burst, it must be treated with care. In the same way, human life is fragile and must be protected because it is so valuable.
For older kids, conversation is a great starting point. Here are some excellent ideas for starters:
  • For "tween age" kids (between 8 and 12)
How do you know if something is alive?   Where does life come from? What is the difference between human and animal life?
  • For teenagers
Do not let culture be the one to shape your teens concept of "Who am I?" Make sure your teen knows that their human dignity is inherent, not earned. This may one day mean the difference between life and death. What does sacred mean? What gives your life value?

Having conversations now will pay dividends for both you and your children in the future! 
Beginning Anew . . .
by Michelle Herberger

If you have had an abortion or love someone who has, the following message is for you . . .

Perhaps you thought you had no choice.

No matter how you looked at your pregnancy, it seemed impossible to continue.

After the abortion, there may have been some regret, even sadness. You remind yourself, though, that you did the only thing you could do  under the circumstances.

However, time has passed and the nagging pain deepens.

Perhaps no one knows you've had an abortion and you feel as though you are locked into this pain forever. Please know there is help. There is hope. There is healing.

Project Rachel is a ministry to those who have experienced abortion. It is one-to-one, non-judgmental, and confidential. It helps you to fully realize that you need healing. It helps you to truly acknowledge your abortion and the fact that you did indeed experience it. It is a safe place where you can allow yourself to grieve. God's forgiveness is yours and Project Rachel can help you to accept that loving forgiveness.

Maybe you blame others for your abortion and are stuck in a pattern of blame. However, many times the most difficult person to forgive is you. You may sense God's forgiveness, but simply cannot forgive yourself.

Project Rachel can help you to forgive others and yourself in order to experience healing. It's possible that you have grieved silently for a long time. This ministry is one where you can talk about the child you have mourned and perhaps name and memorialize him/her.

Finally, Project Rachel seeks to help restore your hope. Your life is precious in the sight of God and you can know joy again.

Let this New Year be the beginning of a new you. Your life is precious in the sight of God and you can know joy again.

Please call the Family Ministries Office to speak confidentially to someone at (502) 471-2149) or Project Rachel (502) 471-2155/
Sharing Testimonies About the Sanctity Of Life
by Ed Harpring

Wounded Women & Men share their Pro-Life Testimonies at the Annual March for Life as
Hundreds from Archdiocese of Louisville prepare for the pilgrimage!

 "Roe v. Wade made it too easy for me to make the fateful and fatal decision to abort my child. The doctor advised that the procedure would hurt no more than 'having a tooth removed,' However, the procedures damaged my cervix and forced her to miscarry another baby months later. The physical toll on her body and the emotional strain of the abortions led to the demise of my first marriage."
      
 - Dr. Alveda King - niece of Dr. Martin Luther King

Today, King is a proud mother of six and grandmother of six. As a Christian pro-life leader, she works with Priests for Life and Silent No More to stop abortion. Following in her uncle's footsteps, she is fighting for the rights of the voiceless and inspiring students to do the same.

Despite the tragic results of legalizing abortion on demand (over 60 million children's lives lost) many courageous women and men speak about their abortion experiences in an effort to keep others from making the mistake and to affirm the sanctity of Life. . . .

March For Life Events - both LOCAL and NATIONAL!  

It's not too late to join with hundreds of local pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Louisville for the 45th annual March for Life on January 19 in Washington DC or to participate in events here in the Louisville area!

Check out our list of events HERE for more information on how you can help stand up for the cause of LIFE this new year!

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The attached newsletter is published by the Archdiocese of Louisville's Family Ministries Office and is made possible through your generous donations to the Catholic Services Appeal
 



Archdiocese of Louisville, Family Ministries Office, 1200 South Shelby Street, Louisville, KY 40203

CHALKING THE DOOR AN EPIPHANY TRADITION



If you’re a Catholic, you’ve probably seen it: a mysterious series of letters and numbers, looking for all the world like an equation, inscribed in chalk over a doorway at your parish, or at the home of a friend. Maybe you thought you could figure it out. Maybe you were too embarrassed to ask, “What the heck is that?”

If you don’t know what the chalk is all about, don’t be ashamed. You’re certainly not alone.

Epiphany (also known as Twelfth Night, Theophany, or Three Kings Day) marks the occasion of a time-honored Christian tradition of “chalking the doors.” The formula for the ritual — adapted for 2018 — is simple: take chalk of any color and write the following above the entrance of your home: 20 + C + M + B + 18. The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi — Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar — who came to visit Jesus in His first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “18” at the end mark the year. Taken together, this inscription is performed as a request for Christ to bless those homes so marked and that He stay with those who dwell therein throughout the entire year.

The chalking of the doors is a centuries-old practice throughout the world, though it appears to be somewhat less well-known in the United Sates. It is, however, an easy tradition to adopt, and a great practice whereby we dedicate our year to God from its very outset, asking His blessing on our homes and on all who live, work, or visit them there.

The timing for the chalking of the doors varies somewhat in practice. In some places, it is done on New Year’s Day. More commonly, it is performed this Saturday — the traditional Feast of the Epiphany — the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Most often the chalking takes place after Epiphany Mass, and can be done at any church, home, or dwelling. Traditionally the blessing is done by either a priest or the father of the family. This blessing can be performed simply by just writing the inscription and offering a short prayer, or more elaborately, including songs, prayers, processions, the burning of incense, and the sprinkling of holy water.

After many Epiphany Masses, satchels of blessed chalk, incense, and containers of Epiphany water (holy water blessed with special blessings for Ephiphany) are distributed. These can then be brought home and used to perform the ritual. Another common practice is to save a few grains of the Epiphany incense until Easter, so that it can be burned along with the Easter candle.

Practicing traditions like the chalking of the doors helps us to live our Faith more concretely and serve as an outward sign of our dedication to Our Lord. Our homes are also the place where many of us will make the greatest strides in our spiritual growth, through observance of daily prayer, spiritual reading, and work offered as an oblation to God.

The chalking of the doors of a home encourages Christians to dedicate their life at home to God and to others. Seeing the symbols over our doors can help to remind us, while passing in and out on our daily routines, that our homes and all those who dwell there belong to Christ. It also serves as a reminder of welcoming the Magi gave to Jesus. We should strive to be as welcoming to all who come to our homes to visit us!

Below, we’ve provided some examples of how this ceremony can be performed.

This ceremony of the blessing of the home and inscription of the initials of the three Magi above each door can be performed either by a priest or the father of the family. The following prayer is taken from the book, The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Elsa Chaney.

The feast of manifestation, or Epiphany, is traditionally celebrated the 12th day after Christmas, January 6th. In the dioceses of the United States this feast has been moved to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8.

Liturgy & Prayers for Chalking the Door

Leader: Peace be to this house, and to all who enter here.
People: Amen.

One or more of the following prayers maybe said:
May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is your incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.

God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten One to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Savior. Amen.
Loving God, bless this household. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and abiding in your will. We ask this through Christ our Savior. Amen.

As participants take turns making the inscription, the leader says:
The three Wise Men, [C] Caspar, [M] Melchior, [B] and Balthasar followed the star to Bethlehem and the child Jesus [20] two thousand, [18] and eighteen years ago. [+ +] May Christ bless our home [+ +], and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.

All say the Lord’s Prayer


Monday, December 4, 2017

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY FEAST DAY!


Just a reminder! Friday, December 8th is a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses at Saint Francis Xavier in Mount Washington, KY will be celebrated at 8:30am and 7pm.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is universally celebrated in the Church on December 8, nine months prior to the Feast of the Nativity of Mary on September 8. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States, Ireland, and the Philipines. It is the Patronal Feast Day of United States of America, Spain, Korea, Portugal, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the Philippines.

The Immaculate Conception was venerated by St. Ephrem the Syrian (d. AD 373), St. Ambrose (d. AD 397), St. John of Damascus (d. AD 755), Blessed John Duns Scotus (d. 1308), The Council of Basle in 1439, Pope Sixtus IV in 1476, Pope Clement XI in 1708, Pius IX in 1847. It was made an infallible teaching of the Church by Pius IX on December 8, 1854.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

TRAIN YOUR BRAIN


Great article written by Angie Ferguson, a triathlon coach, but it could be applied to any endeavor in life...

Some people think the body is the strongest asset an athlete has, but I beg to differ. You can have the strongest body, healthiest heart or biggest biceps, but if you don’t have a strong mind, you will be beaten every time. If you really want to make positive changes in your fitness and/or take your training to the next level, you need to think about training your brain.

Training the brain does not involve any Jedi mind tricks. It just requires a desire to change and a plan of action. First, decide what’s holding you back. Decide what needs to change. What about your subconscious is holding you back? The idea of success? Selfworth or a lack of belief that you deserve to be successful? Lack of skills? Do you need to learn a new skill to compete at a higher level?

Determine exactly what needs to be changed and set a new course of brainpower action. Next, make note of your mental negatives and reframe your thinking and self-talk. The messages we send ourselves have a far greater impact on our performance than any amount of training. For example, if you tell yourself, “I can’t run, I’m not fast enough, and it hurts too much,” this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

However, the opposite is true as well. Once you recognize these negative statements, train your brain to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones like, “I can do this, I am a runner, and I am strong.” These too become self fulfilling prophecies but with a much more positive outcome. Make a conscious effort to review your new thoughts daily. Write them down and post them somewhere you’ll see them each day.

It takes time and effort to re-pattern our thought processes. Making your goal more than just a onetime declaration will help keep you accountable and force your brain to take on this new thought. You will constantly be thinking about it and repeating it. The more you engage the brain in this new patterned thinking, the more you go over these new positive messages, the more your subconscious will believe them to be true and therefore your plan of action will be different.

 The steps you take toward your goal will be driven by the fact that you have begun to see and know that you will continue to see success. Finally, don’t be afraid to embrace failure. So what if you had a setback and missed your mark or posted a slower time? No big deal. What’s going to bring you success is getting back up, reevaluating what happened, learning from the experience and resetting a new thought process designed to achieve your goals.

It is never shortcomings or failures that keep people from realizing their dreams. It’s what they decide to do after they fall. Never let what you think you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.

Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist from Fort Myers, Florida. She is a USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach and has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

THE CLOSED DOOR


Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus likes to talk about weddings. Today He tells us about waiting for the bridegroom to arrive so that the wedding feast could begin. Even though the groom was delayed, they were to be ready for his arrival and escort him into the wedding feast.

Five of them, however, are not ready. They had time to get ready! But they didn't feel the sense of urgency to do it the right away and were locked out of the feast. They begged to be let in. A voice replies. "Certainly not! I don’t know you." What a disturbing end to Jesus’ story! Those who thought they had it all worked out thinking that the others were just too serious and neurotic, in the end were the foolish ones locked out. What can we learn from this story of Jesus?

 Jesus, the bridegroom, is coming. We don’t know precisely when, but He is definitely returning. It's clear that Jesus’ return has been delayed. The Apostles thought Jesus would come back during their lifetime. This parable of Jesus is all about waiting, being ready!

Jesus is telling us that God has graciously given this time of waiting so that everyone has a chance to get ready. He is delaying his return to give the church, you and I, time... to give every person in our Mass of the Air community a chance to hear about Jesus and to respond to the Good News.  If you are a lapsed Christian or you don’t know Jesus and what He is offering then now is the time to do something about it.

For all sorts of reasons people stop going to church until eventually God has stopped being part of life. Faith is forgotten and children grow up without anyone showing them who God is. The words of Jesus in this parable shout at us saying that leaving everything to one day in the future may be just too late. "Watch out because you do not know when I will return," he says.

We will always be a lot like those foolish women and be less committed and prepared than Jesus requires. We are sinners and can’t help ourselves. So we turn to Jesus, we ask for His help, His forgiveness for our failure to be a committed disciple waiting for his return. And it is only because of Jesus that we will end up on the right side of the closed door.

It is written no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him.

We ask Jesus to keep us alert to living as members of His family, to forgive the times when we say "Someday I’ll get around to it".

Preached by Deacon Gerry Mattingly on the Mass of the Air to be broadcast on November 12, 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

PRAY ~ HOPE ~ AND DON'T WORRY!




Phillipians 4:6-9

Collectively and individually as a nation we seem to be in a constant state of worry. And to be honest there is a lot for us to worry about as a nation.

But you know... How many of you here this morning believe that life would be improved if you spent more time worrying? How many people here would like to be free from everything that causes you to worry? Whether worry is a constant part of your everyday life; whether you experience worry as only a slight distraction or something that completely paralyzes you, I feel confident in saying that we would all like to worry less.

  Perhaps the only exceptions are those who seem to be happy when they’re miserable. We worry if we don’t have a job; if we have a job we worry about keeping it. We worry if we are sick; If we are healthy, we worry about getting sick. We worry that our children are never going to leave home; When they do leave home, we worry about them. Someone said, "I have so many worries that if anything happens to me today it will be two weeks before I can get around to worrying about it."

The amazing thing about worry, and we know this from experience, that only a fraction of the things we worry about ever turn out to be real concerns. Most of the time, we worry about things that will never happen or about things in the past that we can never change.

What is this emotion we call worry, anyway? To put it simply... worry is a lack of peace. That’s why we toss and turn in bed at night when something is worrying us. We lack peace because from where we stand it seems that things are beyond our control. We are anxious because we feel helpless and powerless to help ourselves and change things. In Paul's letter to the Philippians today. He gives them and us... this piece of advice. Don’t worry..Pray to God. God’s peace will fill your life.

Let’s face it, we will struggle with worry and anxiety for the rest of our lives. And God knows it!! He knows that we often got all uptight over things that we should simply place into His hands and be at peace. He sent Jesus into the world for exactly those times when we worry instead of looking to God for help.

Jesus came to forgive worriers and to assure them that even their lack of trust in God is forgivable. God’s attitude toward us and His love for us doesn’t change. He holding us tightly, especially in those times when we are worried. Let us praise and thank God that there is no problem too big or too difficult for God to handle. What is there to be anxious about? God's in control. Peace in the face of our problems' is just a prayer away.

I do Communion Services at the Seneca Place Nursing Facility on Dutchman's Lane in Louisville on Wednesdays I was in a lady's room this past Wednesday I saw this bumper sticker laying on her table. I said Ms. Kaufman this is the exact message of my homily this weekend can I borrow it, I'll bring it back. I guess she could see I really wanted it She said... no Honey that's OK you can have it.

It's a saying from Saint Padre Pio PRAY, HOPE AND DON'T WORRY!

It's Padre Pio's message It's St. Paul's message It's God's message and it's my message to you today! PRAY, HOPE AND DON'T WORRY!

Preached at Saint Francis Xavier Parish, Mount Washington, Kentucky on October 8, 2017