Catholic Family Meeting {13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B}

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Alright, so you may have noticed I haven't posted a Catholic Family Meeting for a few weeks.  Or you may not have noticed.  Haha.  But things have been really busy around here, and obviously blogging for a hobby is not high on the priority list.  Our family is actually attempting to simplify our family meeting a little, after listening to Matthew Kelly's Raising Amazing Children and generally feeling like we are tight on time.  

We are opting for a less formal version with many of the same parts, but less technology (ie. slideshow) and structure.  

So what are we doing?

We set aside about 30 minutes one night during the week, preferably at the beginning of the week.  We open with a prayer.  Then we read the upcoming Sunday gospel (just like we've been doing).  But, as Kelly suggests, we ask each person in the family to share a word or phrase that stood out to him or her.  Then we read it again, and discuss again.  This makes for a more kid-driven discussion of the gospel and gently forces each person to be engaged.  If we want to go further with the "meeting", like a fun activity or something we can, but we don't have to, which is kind of liberating.  At the end, we finish with prayer.  

Now we still use some internet resources for our meeting or to plan feast days during the week, so the following may be helpful this week:

Catholic Family Meeting {Pentecost Sunday, Cycle B}

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This Sunday, with the celebration of Pentecost, completes the season of Easter.  Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit and the start of the Church.  What wonderful things to celebrate!

Imagine being present as the Holy Spirit was sent down to the apostles with a "noise like a strong driving wind" and "tongues as of fire which parted and came to rest on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues."  From there, the apostles went out and proclaimed the gospel.  (Acts 2:1-11).  

What would seem to be a terrifying event (what with wind and fire and all), leads to God providing His apostles with the only means of doing His will in the absence of Jesus - the Holy Spirit.  

Just as with the apostles, the Holy Spirit provides us with what we need in order to do God's will in our lives.  

I really love St. Augustine's Prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.  Speak in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.  Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.  Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.  Amen.

The Holy Spirit can be difficult to understand as adults, and therefore challenging to explain to children.  The Catechism thoroughly explains the Holy Spirit.  Obviously, Pentecost and the Holy Spirit are the focus of this week's family meeting.

Catholic Family Meeting {Seventh Sunday of Easter / Ascension, Cycle B}

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This Sunday is the Seventh Sunday of Easter, but many parishes (including mine) also celebrate the Ascension, which is 40 days into Easter.

Jesus ends His work on earth to take His place at the right hand of the Father.  Beforehand, He tells His disciples

He does not leave them to do His work on their own, as it says in Mark 16:20, "But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs".  

We too are not alone.  We do not have to do God's will all by ourselves.  Jesus is in heaven helping us.  All we have to do is to ask and be open to His grace.

When I am attentive to my relationship with Jesus, I am best able to do His work and live out His will.  

I hope to continue to grow in this area in my own life and pass this on to my children. 

Click here for the Our Catholic Family Meeting slideshow document.

Friday Five - 5 things from this week #1

Friday, May 8, 2015

I thought it would be fun to share a little about my week, so I'm going to attempt a (fairly) regular Friday Five post of 5 things from the week.  So here goes the first (hopefully not last) Friday Five...

I. A birthday!

This past Saturday, Grace turned 6!  For her birthday she wanted to go camping, so we headed out to Catoctin Mountain Park in Thurmont, MD for a 1 night campout.  

It was a little chilly at night (in the 50's), but otherwise absolutely gorgeous weather and such a needed break from everyday life.  There is nothing more humbling and refreshing than being out in nature.  

II. A little mass and a little Mary 

(Well, actually a gigantic Mary, but we will get to that.)

Sunday we went to mass, smelling like campfires of course.  But it wasn't a typical mass.  

One of our favorite places to visit that we just discovered this past year is the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg.  We went Labor Day weekend for the first time and then again in January for my birthday.  No matter the season, it is one of the most beautiful places.  So as I was planning our camping trip, I read that there would be a special May crowning of the 20 foot tall statue at the Grotto.  When we got there we found out the mass was going to take place outside at the Grotto.  Win!

These pictures really don't do it justice. 

The girls actually did great at mass, and then we processed down to the May crowning, which required a crane.  All around, an awesome Sunday.


III. My cute 3 year old...

When reading the gospel reading for Sunday, we asked Ada (3), what word stood out? (knowing that she has pretty much no idea what's going on)

Ada: "shepherd" (which, by the way, was not in the reading)
Matt:  "why?"
Ada:  "Because there is only one Mary" (while pointing her finger at me)
Me:  "Well, there are other Mary's..."
Ada:  "But deres only one Bwessed Modder"

Completely unrelated to the gospel reading, but I'd say she's getting something!

IV. How did we get here?

Two years ago, I was using this book to teach first graders.  Today, my kindergartener is reading this book.  How did my girl get so old?  

I have watched kids learn to read, which is always very cool, but when it's your own kid, it's like a miracle.  <sigh>

V.  This song.  

Cause it rocks.

Cool side note, Moriah Peters is newly married to one of the guys from For King and Country.  And apparently they had their first kiss at their wedding.  Pretty cute!

Catholic Family Meeting {Prep for Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B}

Monday, May 4, 2015

This week's readings seem to be about one thing: love.

In the gospel reading, we hear Jesus tell His disciples:

It sounds so simple, "love one another as I love you".  

For probably as long as I can remember, I have been struggling with my short-temper.  I like to say that I'm not that analytical, in that I don't spend a lot of time pondering and analyzing each word someone has said, what they meant or didn't mean, how I should interpret it, etc.  This also means that I don't think a whole lot before I say things myself....which often times means that my short-temper gets the words out before I've even had time to think enough to stop it.  It is something I pray about and struggle with everyday, especially with small children who tend to fight against control (which I tend to impose too much of) and who have their own God-given personalities and ideas that can sometimes run counter to mine.  Life doesn't fit into the perfect little box that I seem to be inclined to fit it into.

Needless to say, I want to live each moment of each day selflessly loving my children, my husband, my family and friends, my acquaintances, and strangers.  I know that to do this will take prayer and practice.  

Recently I heard Matthew Kelly speak, and he said that the saints didn't lead lives of complete holiness.  The saints lived many holy moments.  So from this, his idea for becoming holier was to aim to build moments of holiness.  First for 1 minute of holiness, then when you've got that, go for 2 minutes, 3 minutes, etc.   

So that's what I'm going to try to do.  Live moments of holiness in which I am loving all others as Jesus loves me.

Pray for me!   

Here is this week's Catholic Family Meeting slideshow:

Catholic Family Meeting {Prep for Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B}

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

This week we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter.  I really love how the Easter season coincides with the renewal of spring.  And what a perfect time to discuss this week's gospel reading (John 15:1-8), where Jesus instructs His disciples at the Last Supper:  

How true this is too.  There are so many examples in my life of how I was unable to "bear fruit" (solve a problem or achieve a desired result) simply because I remained in myself instead of Christ.  For most of my life, when difficulties arose, I simply turned inward to see if I could solve it, assuming that I should be able to figure out things on my own.  I was pretty smart and capable, I thought.  How proud I was.  In hindsight, I could have saved myself much difficulty throughout life by abiding in Christ.  Keeping Him close, as He keeps me close to Him.  

I realize now that the only way that anything I do or say can bear good fruit is by abiding in Christ.  

It is something I have to remind myself of daily:  To put Him first in my life.

Click here to view Our Catholic Family Meeting slideshow document

Catholic Family Meeting {Prep for Fourth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B}

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

If you didn't see it last week, I shared about the new and improved Catholic Family Meeting slideshows and how our family meets.  

This Fourth Sunday of Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday because the gospel reading always comes from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John on, you guessed it...the Good Shepherd.  

This year, Cycle B, the reading focuses on Jesus telling that He is the Good Shepherd, who "lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).  It is definitely worth reading up on the background of this gospel and how provocative of a statement it was.

As I read John 10:11-18 I thought of how thankful I am that Jesus is our Shepherd.  That He knows us, He laid down His life for us, and that He continues to speak to us.  He is the perfect example of selfless love.  We are also blessed as Catholics to have the shepherding of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church, that unites as one flock.  

On the other hand, there are many "shepherds" in our popular culture who are leading us and our children away from God.  I think it's imperative that we stay watchful of who we are allowing to shepherd us and whether he is a good shepherd or a "hired man" who "works for pay and has no concern for the sheep" (John 10:12-13).

Check out this week's Catholic Family Meeting slideshow:

To view the actual slideshow click here: Our Catholic Family Meeting {Fourth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B}

Celebrating St. Bernadette {April 16} and Our Lady of Lourdes {February 11}

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

So this is one of those posts that I started back in February and planned to post before the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, but apparently didn't have time.  But how convenient that I just found it and we are two days from celebrating St. Bernadette Soubirous!  So killing two birds with one stone. Or something like that...

My family actually did celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11, so I will share some of the things we did, as well as some other ideas.  


I've really been working to build our library of Catholic saints, so I have several good books with information about St. Bernadette. We read Our Lady of Lourdes by Father Lovasik. It's expensive on Amazon, but I got it from a local Catholic gift shop for $1.99.

We also have the Loyola Kids Book of Saints, which is an awesome compilation of well-known saints and their stories, including St. Bernadette.  You could buy the e-book version if you had to have it in time. 

A few other children's books about St. Bernadette and Lourdes, that might be worth checking out can be found herehere, and here.


Bernadette - The Princess of LourdesWe watch Bernadette, The Princess of Lourdes from CCC, which tells the story of Our Lady appearing to Bernadette.  It is a very cute 30 minute movie.  A friend from church lent us their copy, and my girls love it!  You might be able to find a copy in your church's library, or you can buy one from the CCC for the next couple days 50% off!

The Song of Bernadette (1943) Poster
Our family also watched The Song of Bernadette that we got on DVD from Netflix, which is a black and white telling of the story made in 1943.  It is very well done, and my girls both watched it with us and enjoyed it.  Plus Vincent Price plays the pompous, Atheist prosecutor who tries to break Bernadette's spirits.  You can't really beat that.  So good.


our lady of lourdes coloring page
Our Lady of Lourdes coloring page
Catholic Playground


Grace (5) made an Our Lady of Lourdes holy water font for her room.  It was pretty cute to see how excited she was to have her own holy water font.  Love it!  So we used this idea from Cottage Blessings as inspiration, and this is what Grace made.

I bought the wood plaque for $1 at the craft store, the brackets to nail into the back (which are found in the framing section), modge podge, a foam brush, and a bag of mosaic tiles (these were a little expensive, but I wanted something that would look nice, not junky).  The picture of Our Lady of Lourdes I found online, printed, and we modge-podged it to the wood.  I like the idea of using a clear plastic shot glass to hold the water, but I couldn't really find anything that would work at the craft store, so we went with half of a plastic Easter egg.  Warning, many plastic eggs have holes in them, so be sure to find one without a hole!  


This is a perfect feast day to pray a family rosary, just as St. Bernadette prayed the rosary with Mary.  Our Lady of Lourdes is also known for healing, so pray some intentions for those you know who are sick or in need of healing.  You could also pray the Our Lady of Lourdes novena.


Since Lourdes, where Bernadette lived and the apparitions took place, is in France, we listened to the traditional French Pandora music station as we ate a French dish called Chicken Chasseur.  There are lots of options though, like eating food that is white or blue, since Our Lady of Lourdes was wearing a white robe with a blue sash.  Maybe blueberry crepes with white whipped cream?  You know, I'd eat that for the sake of a feast day.  

Now I saved the best for last.  Because this is fantastic.  Wait for it....

Rice Crispy Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto
Catholic Cuisine

Yeah, you saw that right.  A rice crispy treat grotto.  With Mary.  This was by the far the easiest, most delicious, most kid-enthusiastic thing we did.  And no mine was not this fancy with colored leaves.  When the rice crispy and marshmallow delicious mix was still warm, I molded it into a grotto.  And then I placed the Mary from our play Nativity set into it.  Boom.

Now that we did all that for the Feast in February, I've got to come up with some quick ideas for St. Bernadette's feast day this week.

If you have any ideas, let me know in the comments below!