In my life, there were many people who played a role in handing on the Catholic faith to me. I had catechists on Wednesday evenings, I had college friends who lived their faith well, I met some good and holy priests. All of these had a role to play in my faith life, however, none were greater than my very own parents.
It was their work as parents that planted the seed of the faith in my heart that were of such importance. One way they shared the faith was through their witness of the faith through attending mass faithfully every weekend (and staying until the final verse, thus preventing me from getting the “good” donuts with the sprinkles). However, it was also through the conversations that we had as a family. I recall after mass that my parents would often “review” the homily with us in the car ride home. Also, my mother would teach me how to pray the rosary. My dad, raised Lutheran, would help me memorize Bible verses for religious education classes or review my homework from class. All of this has helped me to realize what the Church has taught from the very beginning: Parents are the primary teachers of the faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Blessed Pope Paul VI about parents and their role as saying, “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.” and that the right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable. (CCC 2221).
It is with this experience and teaching in mind that we will be implementing a new style of faith formation at Nativity of Mary. It will be called Family Catechesis. The idea behind this new way will be to help the family learn together as well as equip the parents to share the faith with their children. Often, parents can feel intimidated by the idea of sharing their faith with their children and this style of program works to not only alleviate that fear but to also equip the parents to plant seeds in the hearts of their children, and what we discover is that when we share with others, we inevitably learn as well...and this is the heart of catechesis.
But what do we mean by catechesis? Catechesis is a Greek word that means "echoing." The practical application of this word tells us that not only do we grow in faith by receiving information to one another, we do so by sharing our faith with one another.
Family catechesis refers to a program which involves children from preschool through those in eighth grade, with at least one parent or grandparent attending religious education sessions together with the children.
Intergenerational means mixing generations, including preschool children, elementary and intermediate-age children, preteens and teens, parents and/or grandparents; other adults in the parish can participate as well.
As we announced in last week's bulletin, we will be running a new religious education program this fall using this model. Families will meet twice a month. One meeting will take place on Wednesday night from 6:30 - 8:00 PM, the other from 9:00 - 10:20 AM before 10:30 Mass. Each meeting has a different purpose.
On Wednesday night, families start together. After prayer and an introduction into the evening's topic, the children will go with a trained catechist for their lesson while the parents learn more about the topic at an adult level as well as receive support to pass this knowledge on to their children and more deeply live out their faith life at home.
Special Sundays are program days where the family works together as a unit along with other families on some service project or social activity with the intent to serve our community or build deeper relationships with Christ in our families and community.
In the past, many churches had bell towers and the bells would ring every day before mass as well as at 6am, noon and 6pm. The ringing of the bells at these specific times was a reminder to all the people in the town to stop and pray the prayer called “The Angelus.” It is a short prayer that people could pray together, one leading and the others responding or it could be prayed all together.
The purpose of this action was to pause three times a day to remember the Incarnation which recalls when God became incarnate. This helps us to remember that God is very close to us throughout our lives, so much so, that he became one of us. It also would force us to pause as a family, as a group, as a Church and focus our minds on the greatest of goods that we have, namely, God.
The Angelus prayer can be prayed anytime throughout the day and so I would encourage all of you to pray this simple prayer three times throughout the day as a family to sanctify your day.
LEADER: The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
GROUP: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
ALL: Hail Mary, full of grace...
LEADER: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
GROUP: Be it done unto me according to Your Word.
ALL: Hail Mary, full of grace...
LEADER (all genuflect or bow at this verse): And the Word was made flesh,
GROUP: And dwelt among us. (all stand up)
ALL: Hail Mary, full of grace...
LEADER: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
GROUP: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LEADER: Let us pray,
ALL: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
You may have heard of the term “Examination of Conscience” as a preparation for going to confession. There is another form of the Examination of Conscience that can help our spiritual life. That is to do a shorter form of the examination of conscience at the end of each day. This becomes a spiritual tool to help us all review our day and do better the next. You can follow a simple formula before you say your night prays.
First, recall all of the blessings you received that day. We all have good days and bad days, but regardless of how the day went, God has always been giving us his love and blessings. It is important to recall how God was present and working in our lives each day.
Second, recall all of our sins from that day. None of us are perfect, and we should want to be better. As a result, we should recall our sins from the day and then create a plan as to how we will avoid those sins the next day. If we recall any mortal sins, we should make preparation to attend the sacrament of Confession.
Third, pick one way you will live out God’s call to love God and neighbor tomorrow. Make a resolution with the Holy Spirit to love better the next day. We can always do better and God wants us to be better. So with the grace of God, we can always get better: make that resolution.
By a daily examination of conscience that only takes a few minutes, we can continue to grow in holiness as Catholics. God bless you all.
In our Catholic faith, we are required to attend mass every weekend. However, these are not the only days that we are obliged to attend mass. We also have various days that are not on a weekend which we call “Holy Days of Obligation.” These are days of such great importance in our Catholic faith, that all of the faithful gather together in the greatest celebration: The celebration of the Eucharist (AKA holy mass).
A Holy Day of Obligation does not take the place of a Sunday mass, but rather, we attend mass on weekends AND the Holy Day of Obligation.
On these Holy Days of Obligation, we remember those events that are of the utmost importance in the history of our salvation. The most notable Holy Day of Obligation is Christmas (December 25) where we remember the birth of Jesus. No matter what day of the week that Christmas falls, Catholics are required to attend mass on Christmas.
In rare occurrences, the local bishop may give an exception to the obligation for a one-time occurrence. For example, it is common practice for the bishop to move the feast of Ascension (formerly called “Ascension Thursday”) to Monday, thus eliminating the obligation to attend on the sixth Thursday after Easter.
The following are a list of the Holy Days of Obligation in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis:
Come this September and October, Nativity of Mary will be hosting two delegates from Kitui, Kenya. I am going to write a three part series to get all of you, our parishioners, informed about the mission, why we partner with Africa, introduce you to our two delegates and our leadership team as well as inform you how you can get involved with building a relationship with our Kenyan delegates. Yes, that means some volunteer opportunities will be available too for you to take an active part in welcoming and supporting our two visiting delegates.
Back in 2001 the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) developed a mission (and document) titled Called to Solidarity with Africa. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) invited the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis to partner in Africa and the Office for the Center for Mission was established in 2003.
2003 – Southeast Deanery invited to begin
2004 – Father Nicholas Maanzo and Bishop Lele visited here; agreement to formalize partnership was made
2005 – Minnesota delegation went to Kitui; partnership formalized; Mission and Vision Statements written
2006 – Kitui, Kenyan delegation visited Minnesota
2007 – Food Security Project in Nuu Parish began
2008 – Minnesota delegation went to Kitui, Kenya
2009 – School-to-School partnership began
2010 – Bishop Anthony Muheria visited in February; Antony Mbandi, Director of Kitui-Caritas visited too
2011 – Bishop Piche` and Minnesota delegation went to Kitui; Bishop Piche` Ordained Deacon Jefferson Mutina and Confirmed hundreds of souls.
2012 – By this year, 5 earthen dams completed
2013 – Living Water program launched
2014 - Minnesota delegation of 23 people went to Kitui, Kenya to celebrate our 10 year partnership anniversary
2015 – Father Robert Mitui from Kitui, Kenya arrived for two years stay serving within the Archdiocese
2016 – 67 Water tanks built for schools and one more earthen dam completed
2017 – Father Charlie Lachowitzer represented Archbishop Hebda along with Minnesota delegation to Kitui
2018 – Kitui, Kenyan delegation to arrive in September for 10 day visit
Global Solidarity Partnership
Diocese of Kitui, Kenya &
Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis
To make Jesus Christ known and loved by choosing to live the Gospel in every moment of our lives.
The Global Partnership between the Catholic Diocese of Kitui and the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis exists in recognition of our communion in the Body of Christ for the mutual sharing of our faith, our experience, our culture and our resources – gifts to us from God.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte