Albion, New York 14411  
Parish Office: (585) 589-4243  
Fax: (585) 589-0734  

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WELCOME!!

You come to this Church not as a stranger, but as a friend: a friend of God and our parish community. Please let us know how we can serve you.

Mission Statement
Nourished by the Word, strengthened by the Eucharist, guided by the Spirit, we the People of the Holy Family Parish, in union with the whole People of God, will strive toward the uncondiƽonal love and service of all people.

CELEBRATING OUR 169TH YEAR
HOLY FAMILY PARISH FOUNDED 2007
MERGER OF
ST. JOSEPH'S [1852 - 2007]

Parish Office Hours:
Monday.Thursday: 9:00 AM.3:00pm and Friday: 9:00am.Noon

Daily Mass: Mon.Ï Fri. 8:00am Sat. Vigil: 5:00pm Sunday: 8:00am and 10:30am

Eucharistic Adoration: Every Friday 8:30am.6:00pm in the Chapel

Confessions: Saturday 4.4:30pm in Sacristy

Faith Formation: Sunday: 9:15.10:15am

Baptismal Preparation Classes: are conducted for parents individually. Call the Parish office to register. Baptisms are scheduled with the Pastor, during or after weekend Masses or at a time mutually agreed upon.

Care of the Sick: Please call the Parish Office to have Communion taken to the sick/ homebound. Notify us of those desiring the Sacrament of Anointing

Joining Our Parish: New members are warmly welcomed. Make an appointment to register with the Pastor or secretary by phoning the Parish Office.

RCIA: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program for those who wish to become Catholic or learn more about our faith. Christian Initiation of Youth program also available. Contact the Parish Office.

Marriages: Engaged couples are to make wedding arrangements at least six months in advance. When you wish to set a date, please call Farther Dick. Pre.marriage sessions are required.

REMINDER:
Please be mindful of the Presence of Jesus at 1st Saturday Adoration in Church. Conversation should be minimal and respectful of our Lord’s Presence. Lord God almighty, bless our grandparents with long life, happiness, and health. May they remain constant in your love and be living signs of your presence to their children and grandchildren. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

A message from our Pastor

 

2As I sat in my dentist’s office on Monday afternoon, after going through a horrendous rainstorm on the New York State Thruway in the morning as I headed to the Catholic Center in Buffalo for a Vicars Meeting with the Bishop at 11:30, I once again realized how weather can be so unpredictable. The forecast had included great winds and rain for the Buffalo Bills game on Monday evening, and 4 hours before game time it just seemed so summer like.

I thanked God for being with me the whole day. I thought of how important it is to allow God to be a part of our livesto then experience being protected, cared for, and to just feel blessed. It just takes some work on our partinviting God into our lives and leaving God to take care of us. It’s sometimes, in the little things in life, that God can truly contact our inner being.

By the way, I had no cavities and the Bills won over the Titans, 41 to 7. A nice end to an interesting day.

Love & Prayers, Father Dick

 

8ROAD TO RENEWAL UPDATE #1 The Pilot Parishes are now beginning the program of renewal in their Family of Families. This includes the parishes in Newfane, Wilson, Ransomville and Lockport, which have been in our Vicariate.

Parishes in Group 1 are beginning to commence their plan on October 1st.

Group 2, the parishes in Orleans County and Barker (which includes our parish) will begin developing a Family Council and Family Action Plan on May 1, 2023.

We are estimating to have our Family of Parishes to be inaugurated on November 1st, 2023.

The Road to Renewal website to visit is: www.RoadToRenewal.org

 

8FEAST OF ST VINCENT DePAUL SEPTEMBER 27TH The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded by a 20 year old student namedFrederic Ozanamin 1833. It was established by like minded individuals who wished to put their faith into action. The need to evangelize and assist was great so he founded the Ladies of Charity, a lay institute of woman, to help, as well as a religious institute of priests the Congregation of Priests of the Mission, commonly referred to now as the Vincentians. This compassionate outlook, enthusiasm and vision continues today. St. Vincent DePaul News: The St. Vincent DePaul building at 315 E. State St., Albion will be open on Monday Evenings 78 pm. Some medical equipment is also available for loan out. Closed on holidays.

 

To watch Mass via Livestream click on the image below.

live stream

PLEASE NOTE: Recorded Masses are now available on our parish YouTube channel. These Masses may be edited due to copyright restrictions. They can be accessed by going to YouTube.com and typing Holy Family Parish Albion NY in the search bar. Right now the image is a blue circle with an H in the center. If there are accessing issues, please send an email to holfampar@yahoo.com.

 

THE CATHOLIC FAITH, ON DEMAND

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You can sign up at Formed.org.  Log onto www.formed.org and set up an account under Holy Family Parish.  Click sign up/I belong to a parish/14411. In the box for selecting parish (Holy Family Parish) give your name and email.

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Interested in online giving? It is safe, simple and convenient. If you have questions or would like to sign up for onlinegiving please call Liturgical Publications at 800-950-9952 or click Here.

MASS INTENTIONS
10Now would be a good time to consider a Mass Intention for a loved one. We have many Masses available for booking at this time. Those wishing to honor a loved one during the celebration of Mass, living or deceased, or for prayerful remembrance of anniversaries, birthdays, and other special intentions, may request a Mass Intention. If you are interested please contact the Parish Office for a Mass Request form. A $15.00 stipend for each Mass should accompany your request.

Use this form to ask for a Mass Intention!

SANCTUARY LAMP INTENTIONS

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September 18 - October 1, 2022 Helen & Joseph Dibley, Wedding Anniv. by Family

September 25 - October 8, 2022 Elenor & Lewis Mikels by Joan & Jim Adduci

October 2-15, 2022 this candle is available

 

 

The practice of requesting a Sanctuary Light Candle to be offered for loved ones, living or deceased, is a beautiful and wonderful part of our Catholic tradition. You may request to have one of the Sanctuary Lamps lit by calling the Parish Office. Like our Mass Requests, the donation to light a Candle is $15. These candles burn for 14 days.

For your convenience

Our 10:30 Mass can be streamed at anytime in the McCabe Room. Please be sure to contact the office ahead of time so the equipment can be set up.

An elevator and nearby rest room make this an option for those who wish to attend Mass but have difficulty getting into the church.

Rather than miss Mass because of active little ones, parents may wish to bring their youngsters to the Resource Room where they can share in the service with them without the constraints of a pew. There is room to move around and a library of children's bible stories for them to enjoy.

All are welcome. Please suggest this to family and friends who may be looking for an opportunity, even temporarily, to attend Mass at Holy Family.

 

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Please pray for all our loved ones who have journeyed into the hands of God, remembering all our loved ones called home to God.

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PLEASE PRAY FOR:

David Albanese, Gary Armida, Ron Ayrault, Bonnie Bilicki, Bob Blackburn, Nicholas Bloom, Ann Boe, Amy Bowers, Carolyn Budynski, Michael Brune, Alexandria Renee Bush, Colin Carr, Chris Cioffi, Justin Cooper, Ryan Cunningham, Fran D’Agostino, Dr. Dominic DeVicenzo, Brittany Dodd, Nancy Donahue, Barbara A. Dunham, Bob Eade, Paul Fancher, Patty Foote, Brian Froman, Leah Gaddis, Robert Gadsby, Rita Galbreath, Joyce Gehl, Betty Geiger, Margaret Golden, Steve Karas, Adrienne Kirby, Sue Kirsch, Gloria Kuhn, Herman Lorenz, Debbie Magliocco, Mark & Susan Mazzatti, Janice McMullen, John McNall, Gert Metz, Jacoby Miller, Kevin Miller, Marian Moore, Byron Neal, Gloria Neilans, Elizabeth Aldaco Novak, Rita Lang Owens, Isabelle Parvis, Maddox Pearl, Alan Penna, Kim Peltz, Mary Ann Peterson, Carol and Fred Pilon, Linda Rebadowd, Danielle Ries, Ethan Rivard, Carol Riviere, Roberta, Wendy Sanders, Bill Sargent, Sr. Angela Senyszyn, OFOLPH, Ed Sidari, Carolyn Sisson, Gary Spitz, John Stirk, Mark Swindon, Lynn Tomasino, Betty Tower, Sue Toke, Lisa Vergiza, Maureen Watt, Pat Weber, Edgar Wilkins, Chris Wing, and Nancy Zambito.

What's Happening

Tues. Oct. 4 Knights of Columbus Mtg. , B6, 7pm

Wed. Oct 12 Catholic Daughters Mtg. , Lyceum, 7pm

PLEASE Be sure to complete the 2022-23 ROOM USE REQUEST FORM. Forms are available at the Parish Office for you to complete with all of your meeting information. Thank You.

REMINDER
Please come and join us every 1st Saturday of the Month to honor our Blessed Mother and her Son in Adoration by saying the Rosary at 4pm

 

4REMINDER: Please let the Parish Office know if you would like to attend the special Mass honoring those couples celebrating milestone Wedding Anniversaries at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Sunday September 23, 2022 at 10:30am. Registrations are due by Friday, September 30th.

 

1WALK FOR LIFE Saturday, October 8 @ Bullard Park 12792 NY Route 31, Albion Registration opens @ 9 a.m. under the north pavilion. Walk begins at 10 a.m., with short program from 9:45. Live music, fresh homemade pie, apples, beverages and great company! Join us, won't you!?!

 

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at the Kendall Fire Hall Kendall, NY Saturday, October 1st, 2022 9:30am3:30pm CHILI LUNCHEON CRAFTS & VENDORS THEME BASKET DRAWING Children’s Activities, Wagon Rides Sausage, Hotdogs, Popcorn, Nachos 50/50 Raffle Homegrown Produce and Wagon Rides, Homemade Pies Preorder Pies call 6598453

 

15To celebrate our 175th anniversary, we are having a diocesan wide day of service and are encouraging parishes to take part in the Day of Service on October 22nd or a date we choose. The 175thAnniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Buffalo is a reminder that we are all called to put our faith into action and to shape the communities in which we live to reflect the Kingdom of God. To serve each other, especially those in need, is to serve Christ. All are invited to participate in the Diocesan Day of Service. Opportunities are planned on the vicariate and parish levels to allow all to participate. Please be thinking of ideas for our HOLY FAMILY PARISH DAY OF SERVICE.

Ladies of Charity News We would like to welcome our two newest members:

8Dana Jessmer and Liz Marat and announce the Installation of our new Executive Board:

  • President Lisa Ettinger
  • VicePresident Michele Grabowski
  • Secretary Sandra Flugel
  • Treasurer Anna Flugel
  • Trustees Evelyn Krekic, Loraine Dibley, Liz Snyder, Sharon Collichio, Margaret Joy, Cory Pahura

Congratulations Ladies!

 

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Faith Formation at Holy Family Parish will again be family based. Two groups will be formed from registered families and will meet on alternate Sundays throughout the school year. Classes are centered around familiesbut are open to all parishioners. The focus for this year will be "Becoming Community." Topics will include a look at the major prophets and the ministry of Jesus. Classes will be held in the Lyceum from 9:15 10:15 am on Sunday mornings. Completed forms may be dropped off at the Parish Office during the week (Monday Thursday 9:00 am 3:00 pm and Friday 9:00 am 12:00 noon). Session One is filled, Session Two is open.

 

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BANNS OF MARRIAGE Announcing the Upcoming Marriage of Christina Mortellaro & Alex Frank Saturday, October 1, 2022

 

K of C 4th Degree Assembly Medina & Albion

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K of C 4th Degree Assembly Medina & Albion RAFFLE BUFFALO BILLS FOOTBALL PACKAGE 2

Pepsi Club Tickets & Highmark Stadium Game Day Parking Pass Buffalo Bills VS. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, October 9, 2022 OR 50 inch Color Smart Roku TV Winner’s Prize Choice 2 chances to win.

Cost: $5.00 each Tickets available from Cas Pruski 589-7376, Greg Dugan 5902145 & Dave Kusmierczak 813-4947 DRAWING Sun. Oct. 2, 2022

Benefits Cost of Fourth Degree New Uniforms

How To Choose Your Confirmation Saint

by Will Wright

What Is A Patron Saint?

0When you are baptized, the priest says the name chosen for you by your parents. However, when you are confirmed, in the Latin Rite of the Church, you get to choose a “Confirmation Saint.” This saint is a special patron saint which you have chosen to be a special protector and guardian over your life.

Patron Saints cover areas of our lives which are important to us: our own name, our job, churches, countries, causes, ailments, or hobbies. As early as the 300s A.D., churches and people were being named after the 12 Apostles and martyrs for Christ.

Why Do We Choose A Saint For Confirmation?

We choose a patron saint for ourselves in the Sacrament of Confirmation because the saints are our heroes. They accepted God’s tremendous love with great receptivity. They cooperated with God’s grace and helped bring the world more in line with Christ and the Gospel. In Confirmation, we are called to do likewise. We are called to be soldiers for Christ. In fact, the older form of the ritual had the bishop lightly slap the face of the newly confirmed saying, “You are a soldier for Christ.”

These chosen patron saints remind us of our own call to holiness. But as Catholics, we understand the reality that the saints are very much alive in God in Heaven. And, so, they are not merely role models or spectators; they can be our true intercessors. They pray for us, inspire us, guard us, guide us, and help us.

Confirmation Saint: 

“The name of a saint, chosen by the person to be confirmed and imposed by the bishop in Confirmation. Added to theChristian name, it gives the person confirmed a heavenly patron whom he should endeavor to imitate.”

NEW CATHOLIC DICTIONARY

How To Choose A Confirmation Saint?

So, how do we go about choosing a Confirmation Saint? The first step is prayer. We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to the Patron Saint who will be a particular good fit for us. Then, we can begin reading the lives of the saints and learning what these holy men and women did in their lives. This exercise can bear great spiritual fruit as we learn more about the heroes of the Church.

A way to narrow down our search might be to begin with our own namesake. Of course, these saints are already our personal patrons. For example, St. William is my patron saint by virtue of William being my first name, and St. John is also my patron by virtue of my middle name being John.

Next, we might look to our local Parish for inspiration, or we can see who is the patron of our home country? Who is the patron saint of our ideal job in the future? Who is the patron of our interests and hobbies? If we suffer from a particular illness, who is the patron saint of that ailment? There is no right answer: all the saints are great choices! However, we should do our due diligence to pick a patron saint to whom God leads us.

When I chose a saint, I did not do my due diligence, to be honest. I chose St. Francis of Assisi because I liked animals and because my elementary school was run by Franciscan brothers when I was younger. Perhaps there are worse reasons to choose a saint. Little did I know how amazing this holy and strong saint is. Nor did I know God’s plan that I would end up studying at Franciscan University.

After narrowing it down to a few saints and researching a bit about their lives, seek the guidance and counsel of those who know you best. Our parents, youth ministers, pastors, and teachers are often able to provide valuable insight beyond our own understanding based on what they know of us and what they know of the saints.

Do not stress too much about choosing the “right” saint. As I said, they are all wonderful. Studying the lives of the saints will reveal that to you. Simply do your due diligence: pray about it and think about it. When you think you’ve finally chosen a saint, begin asking for their intercession in your confirmation process and enjoy the journey together!

The Legacy Of Truth This Potential Saint Brought To The World Continues To Inspire FOCUS Missionaries

by Guest Post

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Bishop David Kagan, Diocese of Bismarck, N.D., announced the opening of the diocesan investigation which could lead to the beatification and canonization of North Dakota native Michelle Christine Duppong. Born in 1985, Duppong grew up in Haymarsh, N.D. She earned a degree in horticulture at North Dakota State University in 2006. While there, she encountered FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and was so inspired by the apostolate that after graduation she served as a FOCUS missionary for six years. At the age of 31, Duppong passed away from cancer on December 25, 2015. 

Bishop Kagan Begins Process for the Canonization for Michelle Duppong

 

My family and I are honored to be serving as FOCUS missionaries at North Dakota State University, the campus where the potential future saint Michelle Duppong attended college and encountered Christ and His Church in a deeper way.  

We earned our undergraduate degrees at Minnesota State University, Mankato, a large secular university, much like NDSU. During my college days, one of the FOCUS missionaries took me around campus and pointed to people that were passing by, saying to me with great conviction, “Aaron, just think that could be the next St. John Paul II or the next St. Mother Teresa, or the future saint of this city or state!” These words convicted me, but a seed of doubt often crept into my mind; that doubt said, “Aaron, there has been no saint on this campus, in this city, or from this part of America.” 

Now that narrative is changing. Future saints are being formed and reached on college campuses all across America. To be on the front lines and at the university of Michelle Duppong creates a buzz and a culture of wanting to follow in her footsteps.  

The Legacy Of Michelle Duppong

“Michelle was a radiant, joyful woman with the heart of a true servant,” said Monsignor James Shea, president of the University of Mary. “For the students on our campus, she was an inspiration and a treasured mentor, teaching them by her example the transformative power of friendship with God.”  

“Michelle’s daily ‘yes’ to Jesus and her obedience to the Lord’s will, even in the smallest things, has had a tremendous impact on so many lives,” said Curtis Martin, founder of FOCUS. “Michelle was a missionary of joy, and that joy is continuing to change lives. She lived everyday faithfulness extraordinarily well, and her authentic witness to the Gospel shows us all what it means to be transformed in, with, and through Christ.”   

“But through Jesus’ Passion, death, and resurrection, suffering has been changed; it has been redeemed allowing it to carry meaning. No matter what suffering we may be facing, we must know that God is permitting this to happen as an act of love and that He will bring about a greater good from it, for our own good and others’. If we choose to unite the pain we are experiencing to Christ, we can share in His work of salvation meriting graces for others and ourselves.”

– MICHELLE DUPPONG

Steps To Canonization For Michelle Duppong

  1. The diocesan investigation, which involves the gathering of evidence about Michelle’s life and deeds, will include witness testimonies and the compilation of private and public writings. 
  2. When this is completed, the next stage towards the Cause for Beatification and Canonization is for the evidence to be presented by the diocese to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican. If the documentation is accepted for consideration, Michelle would then be considered a “servant of God.” 
  3. From there, the cause could proceed at a steady pace, especially if there are no theological objections and Duppong enjoys what the Church calls “the fame of sanctity” — that she is venerated as a holy person — and there are one or more miracles attributed to her intercession.   

What Did Michelle Duppong Bring To The World?

Michelle brought to the world what it so desperately needs. The truth that we are made for a relationship with Jesus Christ, and that no amount of suffering, not even death can separate us from this relationship.  

 

It is a great joy that for our full-time work as FOCUS missionaries, my wife and I get to focus on raising up a generation of saints – men and women on fire for the love of Jesus Christ and His Church. These young adults will help bring to our great country what it so desperately needs – hope and an increase in virtuous living.  

Michelle helped pave the way to share a new message, that the Christian life is possible and it is beautiful in all places and in all generations – especially right here and right now for young people in America. Michelle Duppong…Pray for us! 

This article was written by Aaron and Shanna Filzen who serve as FOCUS missionaries at North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D. They both had life-changing encounters with Christ during college. Read more about their inspiring journeys on their FOCUS page HERE.

 

Two Catholic Artists Release New Marian Hymns Inspired By The Devotion Of Their Grandparents

by Fr. Edward Looney

31OCP released two Marian hymns by Catholic artists Steve Angrisano and Sarah Hart in July 2022. Angrisano’s song, Ave Maria: Mary Sing with Joyful Heart, was inspired by the musical lyrics of Fr. James Quinn, SJ, known for his many hymns in the breviary. Quinn, penned lyrics for each mystery of the rosary, and in Angrisano’s latest single, he has put those words to music, including the Ave Maria refrain. Angrisano has set to music the Joyful Mysteries and hopes to do the same for the other rosary mysteries. Sarah Hart’s Mother Mary, Pray for Us, is a beautiful Catholic hymn addressing Our Lady with different titles, then petitioning her, and asking her in her mercy, kindness, and wisdom to pray for us.

Steve Angrisano | Ave Maria | Catholic Music Spotlight

 

 

Angrisano traces his Marian devotion to when his grandfather was ill. While praying in a chapel, a lady approached him and asked him if there was anything she could pray for, to which he responded about his grandfather. He didn’t know how to pray the rosary, and the lady told him to ask Our Lady to help him love Jesus more. As Angrisano prayed the rosary in those early days, he remarked what he prayed for happened in those first few weeks and months. He believed the efficacy of Mary’s intercession at that time was to convince him that such devotion was worthwhile. 

 

Mother Mary, Pray For Us | Sarah Hart | Catholic Music Spotlight

 

 

Sarah Hart has a similar story of Marian devotion. Her grandmother brought her to the rosary when she was a child. As she grew older, she fell away from the faith, and so too a distanced relationship with the Blessed Mother. When her grandmother was dying, she and her family, sat on her grandmother’s bed, praying the rosary, and singing Marian songs. In this experience, she saw that Mary was a tower of strength, who raised a child, who said yes, who watched Him suffer and die, she was able to gain personal strength from the example of Mary.

Both Steve and Sarah hope their Marian hymns will become a part of Catholic music for Marian feast days. Steve’s song would be a great preface for the rosary when prayed individually or in common, and Sarah’s would make for a perfect closing song for the rosary. Catholic music is meant to lead us to worship and pray. These Catholic songs will help people pray and ask Mary’s intercession from her place in heaven.

You can find Steve Angrisano’s hymn on these platforms: https://orcd.co/angrisanoavemaria

You can find Sarah Hart’s hymn on these platforms: https://orcd.co/hartmothermary

Fr. Edward has interviewed both Steve and Sarah on his podcast How They Love Mary. https://howtheylovemary.fireside.fm/

5 Ways To Engage Children With Jesus | Part 3 Of A Guide To Children’s Adoration

 

This is the third installment of our series on bringing children to adoration as part of a response to the USCCB’s call for a Eucharistic Revival. In the first part of the series, we looked at why it is both appropriate and important for children to go to adoration. In the second, we looked at how you can prepare for taking your family to adoration from two angles. The first is how to approach the pastor or parishioners who may not be used to kids in adoration, and the second was some tips on how to prepare your children for the experience. In this third and final part of the series, we will offer some specific tips to help your children engage with the Lord during a time of adoration.

5 Ways To Engage Children With Jesus During Adoration

1) Guided imaginative prayer – Children have wonderful imaginations. You can play into those strengths by encouraging them to engage in imaginative prayer. Imaginative prayer is simply imagining yourself in a specific spiritual context and giving the Lord the opportunity to interact with you in that space. Some common ways of engaging in imaginative prayer are reading a gospel passage, such as a parable or healing story, and imagining yourself in that scene. What do you notice? What does is sound like, smell like, look like, etc.? Is there a character you can imagine yourself being? The Psalms are another great book for imaginative prayer. You can ask, How do you think he felt while writing this? When have you felt this way? For older children, they could even write their own psalms. A final thought on imaginative prayer is that you can simply have your child imagine that they are playing with Jesus, or that they are snuggled up in his arms listening to his heartbeat. It’s not a bad idea for adults either.

2) If your kids are old enough, reading is a great option. The Bible is always a good bet (here’s a good children’s bible), but there are also tons of good books out there on spiritual topics for kids of all ages. I always try to know something about what my kids are reading so that I can ask some good questions and converse with them about the book.

3)  Silent or whispered prayer. One of the suggestions in part two was to write a letter to God in preparation for coming to adoration. If your child can read, they can silently read their letter to Jesus. If not, you can always quietly read it for them. It’s a great way to pray together. You can also give them three categories of prayer that they can think about or whisper to God: thanksgiving, praise, and intercession. In our family we made a little sheet with pictures as prompts for those who can’t read.

4) Just listen. This may be a tough one for some kids, but I’ve seen others take to it like fish to water. One thing of particular note here is that listening may look very different from one kid to the next. For some, just sitting quietly works. Others will actually listen better if they have the chance to move. Some listen best while engaged in something else, like coloring. We never know what God is doing in someone’s heart, and so it’s usually best to give the benefit of the doubt.

5) This one is out there a bit, but if your child has a favorite stuffed animal or something quiet, you may even let them bring it and just play before the Lord. One of the most tender moments of parenting that I have experienced is watching the little ball of joy I helped create just play. I can’t help but imagine that the Lord feels the same way. It’s also a good reminder for us adults that adoration isn’t about doing, it’s about being. Being in the presence of our God who loves us. There is a story that St. John Vianney was once asked what he did in adoration. He replied, “Nothing. I just look at Him and He looks at me.” 

Hopefully these give you some ideas for helping your child or children get the most out of the sacrament of the Eucharist in adoration. One final note to leave you with. It was referenced in the 4thpoint above, but please do not ever try to judge the value of a period of time spent in adoration. You never know how the spirit is working. Trying to determine whether your children (or you) seem to have “gotten anything” from the experience is a fool’s errand. If you were before the Lord in adoration, it was good. Think of the Transfiguration and Peter’s declaration, “Lord, it is good that we are here,” (Mark 9:5). Peter hadn’t done anything; he was merely in the Lord’s presence. So too when we go to adoration, it is good that we are there.

What Parents Can Learn From The Saint Who Converted Her Son With Her Tears

by Roxane Beauclair Salonen

 

78As she traveled through life with her wayward son Augustine in the 4th Century, St. Monica came upon many road signs pointing the way forward.

Eventually, she came to a crossroad and needed heaven’s help to decide her next move. That turn of direction eventually helped lead her son home, and offers a profound witness to other parents whose children have left the treasure of the Catholic faith.

Monica had been pursuing her son for years, her purse filled with tissues—or perhaps it was a crying cloth in those days. If she were living now, she’d probably also be carrying an extra tube of water-free mascara in her purse.

But at that crossroad, Monica paused, sensing something had to change; the old way of chasing down her son wasn’t working.

Noticing Monica’s profuse weeping, a bishop whom she’d approached assured her that a mother with so many tears would surely be heard by heaven. This jolted her, but renewed her hope.

The divine nudge was God’s way of helping her redirect and surrender to his love and provision, encouraging her to leave things in his hands, and remember his promises and providence. Now, instead of lamenting each day over her son’s turn from the Lord, Monica began to trust God to do the hard work, believing he could steer him aright.

Instead of living in a time in which Christianity is new, and paganism dying, like in Monica’s day, we are living within the opposite scenario; in a post-Christian culture seeing a revival of paganistic and hedonistic thought. It can be a frightening time to be a parent of young-adult children especially. The world seems to have them in its grasp, as did the ancient world Augustine.

But the world then didn’t have the last say any more than ours today. Like Monica, who began to pour her worries into prayer, we have a constructive way through what can seem overwhelming.

The annals of Christian history tell how Monica’s oldest son eventually left his wild, Godless life to become one of the most influential theologians in Christendom. And that Monica died in peace, knowing he was fully back in the fold. Augustine went on to become a priest, bishop, and finally, a great saint, along with his praying mother.

In the new book, “What Would Monica Do?”, the topic of children and other loved ones away from the faith is examined from the perspective of cultural change, family dynamics, and stories of today’s parents carrying this cross. Rather than despair, the prevailing thrust is hope, held up through examples of saints and the promises of God in Scripture.

When my co-author, Patti Maguire Armstrong, and I began this project, we thought we were writing a book to help console other parents who had known this heartache. But as we dug deeper, we realized that in experiencing the suffering of our children walking away from the gift we’d tried to offer them—an enduring faith in Jesus and his Church—we still had room to grow more in our own relationship with Christ.

One key to hope is simply a change in perspective. In the chapter, “Not the Architect of Our Children’s Souls,” we explore our role in our children’s journey, noting that, as we walk alongside them, “we cannot take the approach we did when they were young and needed a sharp and bold warning about the dangers ahead. They must discover and internalize God’s path on their own.”

By God’s grace and provisions, we are freed from the weight. But we can still pray, fast, and work on healing our own brokenness. We can ask for forgiveness for our missteps, carving a path for trust and relationship. We can surrender, and let God take the reins.

Monica approached her cross with heartache and humility, ultimately relying on others to do the bidding for her. At some point, we came to realize, like her, that our children have free will, and we have to surrender their lives, as well as our worries, to the only One with any power to save them—and us—from the destruction of this world.

Ready to learn more about St. Monica? 

In What Would Monica Do?, two mothers, authors, and lovers of St. Monica offer guidance, practical advice, and prayers for navigating the difficulty of losing a loved one to the world through their reflections on St. Monica.


With this resource of inspiration and consolation, readers will learn:

  • The story of St. Monica’s faithfulness to God and selfless love for her child.
  • How to navigate the grief of watching a loved one leave the Faith.
  • Prayers to offer for the conversion of children and grandchildren living contrary to the Catholic Faith.
  • How to let go of anger and unforgiveness to allow your heart to be filled with peace and comfort.
  • How to set an example of faith that draws non-believers to Catholicism.
  • And more!

What Would Monica Do? is the friend and guide that you need to find peace and consolation in a relationship with your heavenly Father even while experiencing tremendous grief and disappointment.

St. Monica, pray for us!

Visit http://www.ascensionpress.com/monica.

 

 

September Is Devoted To The Seven Sorrows of Mary | Mark Your Calendar!

by Genevieve Perkins

 

We’ve already had a month devoted to Mary’s Immaculate Heart in which we looked at the symbols of her heart. These images include a sword, which represents her sorrows. Sorrow is a sadness full of love, and if you don’t know what her seven sorrows are, we have a post all about the for you!

The Seven Sorrows Of Mary: Why You Should Know Them And Pray Them

 

You’ll see that her sorrows are not tragedies. They certainly are difficult struggles, but because Mary was and is so close to God, anything that happened in her life could not be ruinous. Her son was crucified, died, and was buried. But! He rose again. 

Love of God sustained her through her sorrows as the love of God sustains those who trust and believe in Him. As Christians, we should remember that when we look at the crucifix we should never see it without remembering the Resurrection. When the world trips us up or sadness floods into your life, we should remember Noah’s rainbow and think of God’s promises. 

Look forward to eternal life in heaven with all your might, offering even the sorrows of this life to God!

September 15th is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, one of Mary’s many titles. Make a genuine effort to attend Mass, pray her Seven Sorrows, or both.

September Reflection Questions

1. What sorrows are in your life and how can you see God’s love sustaining you in them?

2. What title would you give to Mary in addition to the ones she already has?

3. How can you help people in your life who need help turning sadness and struggles into a love-filled sorrow and perhaps even an unexplainable joy?

4. Who can you share the Seven Sorrows of Mary prayer with?

5. How do you pray in times of sorrow?

September Catholic Challenge

Attend Mass and/or pray the seven sorrows on September 15. Throughout the month, intentionally bring the Good News to those who need to hear it, even if it’s not explicitly reading the Bible to them. Offer your efforts to Jesus through Our Lady of Sorrows.

September Catholic Feast Days

September 3: Memorial of St. Gregory the Great 

September 5: Memorial of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

September 8: Mary’s Birthday!

A Prayer To Honor Mary On Her Birthday (Or Any Day!)

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies, and against the enemy of the whole human race. Give me strength humbly to pray to thee. Give me strength to praise thee in prayer with all my powers, through the merits of thy most sacred nativity, which for the entire Christian world was a birth of joy, the hope, and solace of its life.

When thou wast born, O most holy Virgin, then was the world made light.

Happy is thy stock, holy thy root, and blessed thy fruit, for thou alone as a virgin, filled with the Holy Spirit, didst merit to conceive thy God, as a virgin to bear Thy God, as a virgin to bring Him forth, and after His birth to remain a virgin.

Have mercy therefore upon me a sinner, and give me aid, O Lady, so that just as thy nativity, glorious from the seed of Abraham, sprung from the tribe of Juda, illustrious from the stock of David, didst announce joy to the entire world, so may it fill me with true joy and cleanse me from every sin.

Pray for me, O Virgin most prudent, that the gladsome joys of thy most helpful nativity may put a cloak over all my sins.

O holy Mother of God, flowering as the lily, pray to thy sweet Son for me, a wretched sinner.

September 9: Memorial of St. Peter Claver

September 12: Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary

September 13: Memorial of St. John Chrysostom

September 14: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 15: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

September 16: Memorial of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian

September 20: Memorial of Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and companions

September 21: Feast of St. Matthew

September 23: Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina 

September 27: Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul

September 29: Feast of the Archangels Sts. Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel

7 Reasons Why Guardian Angels Are NOT Cute, Concocted, Chunky Cherubs that Float on Clouds

1. They are real.

2. We all have one.

3. They lead us to heaven (if we let them)

4. They never leave us.

5. Your guardian angel is not your great-grandfather. 

6. Name your pets, not your guardian angel. 

7. They are not cute chunky cherubs that float on clouds and play harps – they are powerful spiritual beings that battle for your soul.

September 30: Memorial of St. Jerome

 

5 Pillars Of The USCCB’s Eucharistic Revival Explained

by Guest Post

 

In response to a 2019 Pew Study that showed only 30 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a three-year long Eucharistic Revival, which started on the Feast of Corpus Christi June 19.

Welcome to the National Eucharistic Revival

5 Pillars Of The USCCB’s Eucharistic Revival Explained

There are five pillars that stand at the heart of the revival. They stand as calls to action for the faithful and are designed to foster deeper faith, proclaim the gospel, evangelize the masses, empower Christians, and embrace Christ.

Pillar One: Foster Encounters with Jesus through the Kerygma and Eucharist

The first pillar of the Revival is: Foster encounters with Jesus through kerygmatic proclamation and experiences of Eucharistic devotion.

Which leads to the questions: What is the kerygma and what does it have to do with the Eucharist?

The kerygma is the Gospel as proclaimed by Jesus. The word means “proclamation” in Greek. In a nutshell it is as follows: Because we are all sinners we will die an eternal death unless we are saved. Jesus died for our sins to save us from this eternal death. If we repent and give our lives to him we will receive eternal life. Are you ready to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

So the bookends of the kerygma are repentance and turning to Jesus to live your life for him. This is the foundation for evangelization. It has provided the impetus for centuries of missionary work, the conversion of civilizations, and the worldwide spread of Christianity. The kerygma is Christinianity’s turnkey standard operating procedure for expanding the Church and it has worked quite well since Jesus used it. There’s no need to change it now. 

The kerygma is not well-known today. For whatever reason, the Catholic Church is shying away from the bluntness of this message, favoring instead “dialogue” and ecumenism. This has contributed to confusion about what the gospel message really is. 

To remedy this, or perhaps evade it–or maybe a combination of the two–we’ve muddled the straightforward message of the kerygma by replacing it with catechesis. But trying to catechize before evangelizing is like trying to teach someone something they have no desire to learn.

“There is general imbalance in the Church (on the diocesan and parochial levels), which unfortunately tends to place a much greater emphasis on catechesis at the expense of initial proclamation, ” said Catholic apologist and speaker Hector Molina, adding, “Unfortunately, for many Catholics the kerygma remains an enigma.”

“All forms of missionary activity are directed to this proclamation,” said Pope St. John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio, regarding the kerygma. He says the kerygma “reveals and gives access to the mystery hidden for ages and made known in Christ (cf. Eph 3:3-9; Col 1:25-29), the mystery which lies at the heart of the Church’s mission and life, as the hinge on which all evangelization turns.”

But how do you really help someone believe in the gospel through the kerygma? You really have to dig deep, to get to know them as a person. This is what recent popes really mean by “encounter” being at the center of successful evangelization.

This is where the Eucharist comes in. The kerygma is about encountering others, and the Eucharist is about encountering Jesus. It is the means by which we connect people with Jesus because the Eucharist is Jesus himself. Without the Eucharist, there is no “encounter” in evangelization because there is no Jesus. The gospel is not about encountering one another. It’s about encountering the Lord. Only once we encounter him can we encounter him through others.

We can encounter Jesus in the Eucharist not only through Communion, but also in Eucharistic Adoration. Speaking about the new documentary on the Eucharist, called Alive, Lucia Gonzales, founder of Bosco Films, emphasized this form of encounter with the Lord.

“It’s a very special documentary,” Gonzales said, “because it’s just people speaking about something that happened to them … how their life was before and after this moment in adoration, without knowing what was happening there, that changed their life forever.”

This encounter with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is so meaningful that people have devoted their lives to getting to know Jesus more through Adoration. For example, for the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, a Franciscan order of Brothers in Lincoln, Nebraska, Adoration is central to their lifestyle.

“Adoring and encouraging others to adore the Most Blessed Sacrament is essential to the Knights of the Holy Eucharist,” reads their website. “Through Eucharistic adoration the Knights enjoy an intimate friendship with the Person of Jesus and profit from an increase of faith, hope, and charity.”

KNIGHTS OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST

 

The Franciscan brothers’ devotion to the Eucharist flows straight from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, “Let us, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, see and firmly believe that they are His most holy Body and Blood living and true. And in this way the Lord is always with His faithful, as He Himself says, ‘Behold, I am with you until the end of the age.’ [cf. Mt. 28:20]” (Admonition 1:21-22).

The kerygma and the Eucharist are connected in yet another way. The first step in the acceptance of the gospel is penance; accepting that we are sinners and in need of God. This leads us to the Eucharist, God in the flesh, whom we receive after we confess our sins. St. Francis says:

“In all your sermons you shall tell the people of the need to do penance, impressing on them that no one can be saved unless he receives the Body and Blood of our Lord.” (Letter to Superiors of the Order).

So the way to revive belief in the Real Presence is simple: Follow the example of saints like St. Francis of Assisi, who unabashedly preached the kerygma and the Real Presence together–barely missing a beat, barely even breathing a breath between the two teachings because they are inseparable. 

This is why the United States Bishops Conference makes the kerygma the focal point of their first pillar in the Eucharistic Revival; because devotion to the Eucharist starts with understanding and boldly proclaiming this gospel message: We are sinners, and because of this we will die an eternal death unless we are saved. Christ offers us salvation and eternal life if we believe in him. If we desire to be saved, we will desire Jesus and therefore we will desire the Eucharist. 

Pillar Two: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Eucharist

Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas taught that God is truth, goodness and beauty. To seek what is true, what is good, or what is beautiful is to search for God. Contrary to popular belief, as we search for truth, for goodness, and for beauty, God does not elude us. He leaves a trail of hints that lead to him if we are interested enough to seek him. He does this because he knows we love to explore and discover.

The truth is: Life is a game and God is the game designer. Francis Thompson, in his poem Hound of Heaven says he fled him . . . He fled God, that is, the Hound that chased him. Evidently, that’s how the game is played. We run after him, he runs after us–like hide and seek–and whether we admit it or not, we are often thrilled by the suspense of hiding and then seeking. We hide from God in some place we think he won’t find us (of course, he plays along). He finds us, and we’re startled when he does. Then he goes and hides, but only just enough to make it a little bit of a challenge for us, to keep the game interesting. Fools that we are, we pass right by him again and again not noticing he is so close to us.

He made us like himself. He is thrilled by the search. He knows us better than we know ourselves, but in his love for us–I would say–he is still moved by the adventure of playing the game with us. Truth, goodness, and beauty are the indicators that we found him. Since God is truth, he already knows everything there is to know about us. His enjoyment comes from us searching and learning about ourselves. Through Christ’s teaching, through worship, and through charity we discover the hints God gave us to help us find him. Even in learning more about ourselves, we learn more about him because he is our Maker. as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

“All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man . . . their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God” (CCC 41).

This teaching alludes to the Book of Wisdom, which says:

“For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wisdom 13:5).

In the Second Pillar of the USCCB Eucharistic Revival, the U.S. Bishops highlight the importance of this search–the search for truth, goodness, and beauty, that is. The Second Pillar of the Revival is:

Contemplate and proclaim the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist through the Truth of our teaching, Beauty of our worship, and Goodness of our accompaniment of persons in poverty and those who are vulnerable.


Truth of our Teaching

Jesus said “I am the Truth”, meaning the truth is a person. When we know this person, we recognize his voice. “My sheep know me and hear my voice,” Jesus said. When we seek the truth, we start to recognize it better and we start to gain the ability to distinguish it from its counterfeits. When we know the truth’s voice, upon hearing something that sounds off, or false, or wrong, we can decide for ourselves and say, “I know the truth, and he wouldn’t say something like that.”

Learning about God is just like learning about the truth: We learn what is true through a process of elimination. As Sherlock Holmes would say, “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” 

St. Thomas Aquinas would agree, and go further to say that the truth which you find is God. Or, in his words, “concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him.”

But I am contradicting myself, you might be thinking. First I say that we can know the truth and therefore can know God since he is the truth. Then I quote Aquinas who says we cannot grasp who he is. This leads to the exact point the U.S. bishops aim to make in this Second Pillar. We cannot know God the Father except through Christ the Son. Aquinas was clever enough to make this distinction. The Council of Chalcedon made it clear that we need to be careful not to confuse Jesus’ two natures. Jesus is not the Father, but Jesus is God. Don’t try to wrap your head around it. We weren’t made to do that. We were, however, given the Eucharist.

Could God have given us a better substance for our sojourn here on earth? Aquinas speaks of oneness being among the transcendentals along with truth, goodness, and beauty. What better way to become one with God than by consuming him? If we are to consume him, what better way than to do so as he is in the form of bread–the food that is the most staple sustenance in our daily diet? 

Should he have given himself to us in a way other than food? Sin came into the world by Adam and Eve eating something, the Forbidden Fruit. God reversed the curse by giving us heavenly food. 

St. Peter Julian Eymard said,

“Have a great love for Jesus in his divine Sacrament of Love; that is the divine oasis of the desert. It is the heavenly manna of the traveler. It is the Holy Ark. It is the life and Paradise of love on earth.” (To the Children of Mary, November 21, 1851)

So we can confidently proclaim the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist through the truth of our teaching because the Eucharist is Christ, Christ is the Truth, and that is what the Church teaches. More than simply being true, the Eucharist is the most perfect embodiment of truth because it is Truth himself.

Beauty of Our Worship

Beauty is also a person. This is why we ought to build beautiful churches and worship at beautiful Masses with beautiful music, beautiful prayers, and beautiful homilies. Truth and beauty are interchangeable. Where there is beauty there is Truth; where there is Truth there is beauty. If something is not true, it will not ring with beauty in our ears. If something is not beautiful it will not ring true.

We know this because when we hear a beautiful piece of music, we recognize some truth in it that transcends words. The way beauty leaves us speechless is not proof of its incohesion, but proof of its otherworldly profundity and truth. And this is why our worship ought to be beautiful, because through beauty the heavenly truths that transcend this world can descend to us.

Goodness of our accompaniment

“Whatever you have done to these the least of my brethren you have done unto me” (Matthew 25)

When I notice some selfless good that someone has done, the tug I feel on my heart is similar to what I feel when I hear a beautiful song or recognize some profound truth. All of these experiences are small encounters with God. I can also personally testify that this feeling has never been more potent than when I receive the Eucharist. I do not experience the same potency every time, but no experience reaches my heart more often than receiving the Eucharist has reached it. This is because God created our hearts, so he knows exactly how to reach it best. 

Receiving the Eucharist reaches my heart because I recognize his loving sacrifice when I receive. Jesus accompanies us in the Eucharist. The goodness in our accompaniment with others begins with Christ’s accompaniment with us in the Eucharist. Our goodness is the overflow of the love and goodness we receive when we consume the Blessed Sacrament and make goodness one with us.

Through truthful teaching, worship, and good deeds, Catholics proclaim the doctrine of the Real Presence, the source from which all of these things come. I commend the U.S. Bishops’ attempt to teach these profound truths in a unique way. Hopefully the Eucharistic Revival succeeds in showing Catholics that the Real Presence is not just another Church teaching. The Eucharist is the very embodiment of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty–and that is why the Church teaches the Real Presence so vigorously. 

Pillar Three: Empower Grassroots Creativity

The Third Pillar of the USCCB Eucharistic Revival is “Empower grassroots creativity by partnering with movements, apostolates, parishes, and educational institutions.”

The soul is the soil of a person–it is where life is nourished and cultivated. Just as the yield of a crop depends on the quality of the soil within which it was planted, the fruit a soul bears depends upon the condition of that soul. There is a reason why so many farmers have faith in God: working with the local soil is a way to work on your soul. The connections between the two are abundant. Jesus knew this, so he often connected the spiritual life to agrarian concepts. 

The U.S. bishops’ use of the term “grassroots” in the Third Pillar, therefore, is not just a colloquial way of supporting communities with local significance and roots. The bishops, I would argue, are being quite intentional–and I would even say somewhat poetic–in their use of the term. Since its inception, Christianity has been a grassroots movement. Jesus’ parables often referred to the soil, seeds, and things that grow as metaphors for the soul–because he knew that’s how his Church would have to grow: from the roots and soil of the local communities, the hearts and souls of the local people.


The best grassroots movements, apostolates, parishes, and educational institutions are those that bear good fruit in the souls of the local people. This idea is not foreign to the Church. In fact, for quite some time the Church has taught the need to implement both solidarity and subsidiarity when practicing social justice. The Second Pillar addressed solidarity in stating that we ought to accompany others, “especially those in poverty and the most vulnerable”. The term “grassroots”, and by extension the Third Pillar of the Eucharistic Revival, addresses the principle of subsidiarity by pointing out the importance of small communities. The Catechism defines the principle in this way:

“a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good” (CCC 1883).

Grassroots, local, lower order–these are all words for the same thing: the community that is most immediately around us. The gospel is lived out in the neighborhoods in which we live. This is where the Church grows, and this is where belief in the Real Presence has to take root. How do we ensure that this happens? By promoting the teachings in local movements, apostolates, parishes and educational institutions. But to do this we can’t just rely on the trickle-down effect by simply taking instruction from the higher order of U.S. bishops. We have to allow the teaching to take root and flourish in our own hearts and souls so we can share the truth with the people immediately around us. 

Movements

In today’s age, it’s tempting to think of movements as dangerous, revolutionist concepts. Some of the most popular movements in our society today have contentious reputations. I will refrain from being specific. 

However, there are some good movements these days. There’s the pro-life movement, the Traditional Latin Mass movement, the Catholic charismatic movement, and others. The Church is a well-built barque navigating through the culture to a destination: the Promised Land of heaven. Our sojourn on earth is a journey to this destination within that barque, and on that journey we ought to accompany others. So by its very nature, the Church is on the move. A good movement is directed toward that end: accompanying others in their journey toward heaven. This correlates well with the Second Pillar of the Eucharistic Revival, which is–in part–to:

Contemplate and proclaim the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist through the … Goodness of our accompaniment of persons in poverty and those who are vulnerable.

In order for a grassroots movement to remain grassroots, it needs to continue to accompany the people in every community it enters. The Church has been doing this for years with its missionary saints. The story of the Catholic Faith in America cannot be told without shining light on the missionary work of St. John Neumann, St. Mother Anne Seton, St. Katherine Drexel, St. Frances Cabrini, and others who devoted their lives to spreading the Gospel from one community to the next here in the States. When we talk about movements in the Catholic Faith here in America, these are the giant movers and shakers that should come to mind.

Apostolates

Apostolates of the Church, like movements, also accompany persons in poverty and those who are vulnerable by following the example of Jesus and the apostles. An apostolate can be made up of religious or lay people, as long as they dedicate themselves to serving others and spreading the gospel. When it comes to evangelization and accompanying others, few orders have more experience than the Franciscan Order. St. Francis of Assisi was so devoted to accompanying others that he would feast with a fellow brother who had trouble fasting as much as he did, just so the brother didn’t feel excluded. 

One grassroots apostolate that continues the mission of St. Francis is the Franciscan order of brothers known as the Knights of the Holy Eucharist based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Knights accompany persons in poverty by taking vows of poverty themselves. Founded by Mother Angelica, like many other Franciscan orders–and Catholic religious orders in general–the Knights “exist to serve the Church and the wider community”.

Parishes

Parishes are where the Church can proclaim the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist through the Beauty of its worship. This connection between the Second and Third Pillar of the Eucharistic Revival is vital, because without Beauty the gospel message can easily get lost in an arbitrary quest for knowledge and self-righteousness. It is Beauty that enables us to step outside ourselves and recognize how small we are in God’s magnificent design. The Mass, therefore, should reflect God’s beauty in parishes throughout the Church and across the nation. Of course, through its various ministries, a parish would do well to teach the truths of the Faith and serve others, especially the poor and vulnerable. But all of this should flow from the Beauty of the Mass, because Beauty moves us to do good and seek truth. 

Educational institutes

One effective way to empower creativity at educational institutes is to encourage all Catholic universities to implement Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Ex Corde Ecclesiae(From the Heart of the Church), where the pontiff states: 

“It is the honour and responsibility of a Catholic University to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth. This is its way of serving at one and the same time both the dignity of man and the good of the Church …”

St. John Paul II 

 
The Church ought to proclaim the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist through Catholic universities, because that is the proper place to share the truth of Church teaching.

By empowering grassroots creativity–and by partnering with movements, apostolates, parishes, and educational institutions–the U.S. bishops are aiming to go back to the Church’s roots. The small communities of the early Church are what made it flourish, like the planting of small seeds in good soil–and that process was repeated over and over again in civilizations throughout the Church’s 2,000 year history with great success. With these pillars of the Eucharistic Revival, the bishops are simply casting the seeds again in our culture, hoping they take root better this time. And the greatest seed to plant is the proclamation of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

Pillar Four – Reach the smallest unit: parish small groups and families


When the bishops say to reach out to small groups and families, they’re talking about people like you and me: readers of Catholic publications and blogs who are–more likely than not–involved in a Catholic community. Notice how the bishops’ focus is getting closer and closer to home with each pillar. The first two focus on what needs to be proclaimed, and Pillars Three and Four focus on who needs to proclaim it. Namely, parishes need to proclaim the Real Presence. But not just parishes in a general sense–those small groups we are probably all a part of the need to proclaim it. The bishops are not only reaching out to us. They’re also relying on us to reach out to others.

Parish small groups and families are often where a person’s faith is born and sustained. Before the age of multimedia, the religious customs of the family, parish missions and similar engagements helped build a culture where faith was a natural part of life. This was practical. Sometimes it seems we’ve become so caught up in trying to find innovative ways to evangelize that we often look past the tried and true way that has worked for centuries: interactions within natural relationships in our families and those we meet at our church. 

Customs and traditions that we hardly think twice about–like saying grace before meals and renewing our baptism in the holy water font–can be points of connection that foster familiarity among those who share those customs and traditions. Catholics haven’t just done these things for ages to help them remember what they believe, and sustain the graces of the sacraments. Our customs and traditions are also social icebreakers.

Families
If you can’t think of how to bring up the Faith in a family setting, take out a sacramental that a friend or relative gave you for your First Communion or Confirmation, or some other special occasion. Many of us have a rosary, a miraculous medal, a scapular, or something similar that brings back fond memories. These can be used not only to strengthen our own spiritual life, but to connect and share the Faith with those in our family as well. 

Sacramentals are effective ways to start meaningful spiritual conversations with loved ones. The Catholic religion is familiar, tangible, relatable and human. Our traditions are the most natural expression of man’s (and woman’s) religiosity and spirituality. If we practice our traditions, God’s grace will make his kingdom a reality. 

When it comes to living out the faith in family life, Pope St. John Paul II said:

“As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

If Catholics effectively teach the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist at the family level by implementing our traditions into our family life and conversations, the belief will spread throughout the nation and world like yeast spreads in bread. 

Parish Small Groups
There are plenty of faith formation programs produced by devoted Catholic companies, and the goal of these programs is to spark discussion about the Faith in a parish setting. During the pandemic, small group meetings were discouraged not just in parishes but in all areas of society. Now is the time to get back to our parish small groups, or form new ones, and rebuild our parish communities stronger than they ever were. Coupled with spreading the belief in our families, sharing faith in the Real Presence in parish small groups will help spread the belief in an organic, grassroots way–just as the bishops mentioned in the Third Pillar, which is to:

Empower grassroots creativity by partnering with movements, apostolates, parishes, and educational institutions.

They may not be seen as such, but parishes can be bastions of Catholic education if they have a comprehensive faith formation curriculum. A parish’s primary mission is to offer the sacraments, but it is also the ideal place to nurture faith in the Real Presence through good teaching, help Catholics build up their own personal faith, and build strong communities in the process. 

There are about 17,000 Catholic parishes in the U.S. Imagine what an impact we can have on the culture at large if each one of those parishes had small groups encouraging faith in not only the Real Presence, but in all Catholic teachings. The grassroots infrastructure is already in place. We just have to make use of it. 

While we’re talking about parish small groups, let’s not forget about other small groups in the Catholic Church, such as the 34 Franciscan Houses in the U.S. The Independent Franciscan Communities, also known as the Third Order Regular (or “TORs”) usually consist of no more than 40 members, and are superlative examples of how to thrive as a small Christian community. One of these communities, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, serve at Masses, healing services, Eucharitic Processions, and Benediction. The Knights also provide talks to groups and parishes and generously serve religious communities. By doing so, they help lead the way for parish small groups that are striving to be witnesses for Christ as well.

From Personal Experience

When I was involved in young adult ministry, we intentionally evangelized. By that I mean we formed groups that went out to public places to proclaim the gospel message in unique, authentic ways. We hosted theological talks in bars and taverns. We set up tables with Catholic literature in malls and transportation centers. It may sound like this approach deviates from the Fourth Pillar, because we were reaching out to the wider public and not specifically parishes and small groups. But the public places are where evangelization starts. We have to cast our nets wide in order to find the families and those interested in starting and joining our small groups. The bishops want to reach out to the smallest units, but we have to cast into the deep in order to find the people to join these small groups. 

When my friends and I went to public places to evangelize, we often met Catholics who went to a local parish, and were encouraged by the fact that we were stepping into deeper waters to spread our faith. They were looking for their parish community to do something like that, and seeing Catholics take that leap of faith was just the nudge they needed to get more involved. 

About 20 percent of the U.S. is Catholic, but only about 20 percent of Catholics attend Mass regularly. That means most of our Church is out there in the deep. Of the 20 percent who do attend church regularly, even fewer are actively involved in their parish. So when the bishops talk about reaching out to small groups, I hope their main message is to reach out to tell the small groups to cast wider nets. The healthy don’t need a doctor. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. These sayings of Christ and more should motivate us to use parish small groups as vessels to evangelize beyond our parish walls.

Also, we don’t need to be in a small group setting to reach out to other Catholics in the pews. We can just talk to people after Mass. Common customs like genuflecting before the altar can be excellent conversation starters, just like sacramentals. Try saying something like, “I saw how you reverently genuflected before the tabernacle. What sustains your faith in the Eucharist?” This could spark a conversation about prayer, or maybe their struggle to believe. Both are great ways to start a conversation about how you can help each other in your spiritual journeys.

When we see the faith being lived out by those who are already in our lives, it’s easier for us to follow them by example. We may enjoy watching videos about the Faith by our favorite presenters, or reading our favorite writers, but if we don’t evangelize in the small communities around us–such as our families and small groups, where the faith can be implemented into everyone’s lifestyle–it’s going to be very difficult to sustain our beliefs in this secular culture–and even more difficult to live the life that those beliefs suggest. 

Let’s acknowledge this incentive from the bishops and accept their challenge. They’re reaching out to us to be the beacons of light they need to spread faith in the Real Presence. Let’s not let them down then. 

Pillar 5: Embrace and learn from the various rich intercultural Eucharistic traditions

Catholics have formed many traditions over the centuries to express their love and adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist. As the source and summit of our faith, it is the sacrament of unity that brings all Catholics into communion with Christ and one another. Adoration and Holy Hours, Benediction, Eucharistic Processions, and the Feast of Corpus Christi are just a few of the many intercultural traditions that unite all Catholics through the Blessed Sacrament.

Some parish communities and religious orders have such a strong devotion to the Eucharist that they made it part of their name, such as Holy Eucharist Parish in Tabernacle, New Jersey, and the Knights of the Holy Eucharist in Lincoln, Nebraska. The examples can go on. Clearly, anyone who says Christ is not central to the Catholic Faith does not understand the devotion we have to him the Blessed Sacrament.

Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Hours
The tradition of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament dates back to the early Church. In our time, many churches set up Perpetual Adoration chapels and devise a schedule made of hourly slots, when adorers can come and worship Christ in the Eucharist reserved in the chapel. The organizers make sure all the slots are filled so someone is adoring Christ in the Eucharist 24/7. In part, the tradition of the Holy Hour springs from Jesus’ words in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he said to his disciples, “Could you not watch one hour?” (Mark 14:37). 

Religious orders have taken Jesus’ words to heart, and have taken up the challenge by making a Holy Hour part of their daily devotions. For example, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, a Franciscan order of brothers, have made a daily Holy Hour part of their order’s customs:

Seeking to foster devotion to Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Knights provide an example of reverence and devotion both in serving at the altar and in their daily hours of adoration. Although other pressing duties and scheduled activities may at times call him away from his allotted time of adoration, each Knight is asked to spend at least one complete hour before our Eucharistic King each day.

The Eucharist and the Tabernacle

The reverence for Christ in the Eucharist can be traced back to at least the 4th century. 

As early as the Council of Nicea (325) we know that the Eucharist began to be reserved in the churches of monasteries and convents…. naturally its sacred character was recognized and the place of reservation was set off from profane usage. 

(The History of Eucharistic Adoration: Development of Doctrine in the Catholic Church, John A. Hardon, S.J.)

From Apostolic times to the Early Middle Ages, “As far as we can tell, the Eucharist was originally kept in a special room, just off the sanctuary but separated from the church where Mass was offered,” Fr. Hardon added. 

Over time, this tradition changed as the Church noticed the importance of placing the tabernacle containing the Eucharist in the center of the Church or in “a distinguished place”. Code of Canon Law (1983) states:

The tabernacle in which the blessed Eucharist is reserved should be sited in a distinguished place in the church or oratory, a place which is conspicuous, suitably adorned and conducive to prayer (Can. 938).

In either case, the altar of a church or Eucharistic chapel are suitable places for a tabernacle containing our Lord, since both places are distinguished and set off from profane use. 

Benediction
In the Rite of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, the faithful sing and pray as a group as they worship the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The songs usually pertain to the liturgical season or the mystery of the Eucharist. Usually, Salutaris Hostia (“O Saving Victim”) and Tantum Ergo, both written by St. Thomas Aquinas, are sung. At the end of the Benediction, usually after the faithful have had some time to adore in silence, the presider and the faithful pray “The Divine Praises” (Blessed be God … his angels and saints). As the Sacrament is reposed, they usually sing “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”. 

The Rite was published in 1973, but the songs and prayers used go back much further. The hymns were written by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century for the Feast of Corpus Christi, and “The Divine Praises” was written in 1797. The song “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” was written by the German Catholic priest Ignaz Franz, who “wrote the original German lyrics in 1771 as a paraphrase of the Te Deum, a Christian hymn in Latin from the 4th century.” 

Communion

There are different ways to receive Communion, depending on personal preference and which Catholic church one goes to. While we may receive on the tongue, or in the hand, on an altar rail, or in a Communion line, all of these traditions are acceptable. Some may kneel or bow before receiving or kneel as they receive. This is an acceptable sign of reverence for our Lord. It is up to the Catholic communicant to decide how he or she wants to receive, but the communicant should always show some form of reverence when receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist.

Canon Law also states that a baptized person must not be admitted to Communion if they are aware of having committed a grave sin and have not gone to sacramental confession to confess it, or if they have not fasted for at least one hour beforehand (Canon 919). 

In some Catholic churches, such as in the Byzantine Rite, the Body is dipped into the Blood and then given to the communicant. This is called intinction. Some churches in the Roman Rite, such as the Anglican ordinariate, also distribute Communion in this way.

The Feast of Corpus Christi
The Feast of Corpus Christi originated in the 13th century in Belgium after St. Juliana,, prioress of Mont Cornillon, experienced a vision. In the vision, St. Juliana saw the moon with an opaque line running through it. The moon represented life on earth, and the line represented the lack of a feast in which the Eucharist was adored. Thomas Aquinas composed three hymns for the Feast of Corpus Christi. The Latin hymns typically sung at Benediction,  Salutoris Hostia and Tantum Ergo, are parts of those three hymns. 


Eucharistic Processions

On the Feast of Corpus Christi, it is common to see Eucharistic Processions, where a priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance walks down the streets from one sacred place to another–usually from a church to a chapel, cemetery, or another church. The priest is joined by other priests, deacons, altar servers, sacristans, acolytes, and laypeople. The Eucharistic Procession is a public display of their Faith in the Real Presence. It is a way of showing that they “Go with God” and will follow Christ wherever he goes, just as Peter followed Christ back to Rome. As they process through the streets, they often pray a Rosary or other prayers and sing hymns venerating the Eucharist. 

One Lord, One Church

While Eucharistic traditions may vary from rite to rite and from parish to parish, there is still only one son of God and one Catholic Church. As a universal Church, the Catholic Church has accommodated many different customs over the centuries. The important things to remember about these Eucharistic traditions is that they ought to show reverence for Our Lord, and they need to be imbued with the gospel truth that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. 

One local Eucharistic tradition that I love comes from a hymn written by Frederick William Faber (1814-1863), who converted from Anglicanism to the Roman Catholic Faith. After Communion at my parish, the cantor or priest sings these words from the English hymn writer:


Jesus! my Lord, my God, my all!

How can I love Thee as I ought?

And, how revere this wondrous gift,

So far surpassing hope or thought?

Sweet Sacrament! we Thee adore!

O, make us love Thee more and more!

Let that be our prayer for the three years of the Eucharistic Revival and beyond. 

 

This article is sponsored by the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, an order of Franciscan brothers in Lincoln, Nebraska. Learn more at knights.org.

This article was written by David Kilby a freelance writer from New Jersey and editor of Catholic World Report.

 

NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL

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