mother

Aha! Do I get it? Did I see it? Hmmm

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Happy new year! We just celebrated some awesome days in the Church: The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas), New Year’s Day/Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Listen to Fr. DiTomo’s homily for the Feast of the Epiphany by clicking here: http://tinyurl.com/zuu9tro. Become a follower on Sound Cloud!

It’s officially Ordinary Time, but there is nothing ordinary about it! This is the time of regular watering of our faith as we journey toward Lent and the Resurrection.

Our Faith Formation students have been asked to decide on their faith projects, keep coming to classes, complete their lessons, serve at the Family Mass and Dinner, challenged to pray every day during Advent and now look for the ‘sign’ or ‘Epiphany’ in their lives like the star that the Magi followed to find Jesus. Opening the Word has been about the gifts we bring to Jesus and offer the Church community as well as the ‘ordinary’ gifts we bring to the altar during Mass. I used my Morning Prayer to discuss what my ‘offerings’ are every day regardless of the season. I had a gift bag with ‘signs and sayings’ as props.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

 I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. 3-kings-dmdoherty-2017-jpgI offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and especially those of the Holy Father this month. Amen.

Donna’s Morning Prayer
(adapted from the Daily Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer)

We talked about what we can offer Jesus as a gift even if we don’t have gold (king), frankincense (God) or myrrh (man). We offer our big and little prayers, works, joys and even our sufferings and tears to Jesus. Just like the bread and wine we bring to the altar during Mass, Jesus takes them and transforms them into something good, better, beautiful and extraordinary. We ask the Holy Spirit to transform US. I ask that you remind your children that we come bearing gifts following the Light of the World who came to save us. We find him in the Mass!

We talked about the difference between the baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. How we may have gone swimming and tried to see how long we could hold our breath. The people who came to John the Baptist to be baptized were only baptized with water. They went under and came back up breathing in new life. They made confessions of their sins and shortcomings and committed to do better and be better.

John the Baptist warned them that someone was coming ‘greater than I’. Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. There was a sign of the dove who descended upon Jesus and the words of God, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” And this is echoed during the Transfiguration when God adds, “Listen to Him.”

During the past season and through these Feasts and Solemnities, we ‘see’ there were many signs: Angels, dreams, stars, and then the dove. How does God appear or reveal (epiphany) Himself in our lives? It’s a great discussion and can change the way you see others and the world.

Every week during Opening the Word in Church at the beginning of class they are asked to practice the 4-step prayer. (Say hi, talk about your day, ask for help and say thank you!) Ask them if they remember it! Prayer is a conversation. A student asked why we would tell Jesus about our day or week if he already knows. I said that we often talk to our friends about something that we were both at. Our friends already know what we did and what happened but we talk about it anyway. Reminisce about the meaningful parts, laugh at the silly parts and tear up at the sad ones. Jesus wants us to talk with him and help us carry our burdens. That’s what friends are for. That’s what a Savior is for. Jesus said he would make our burdens light!

Many blessings in the new year, Donna

My little dove…

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The dove of peace I hold in my hands…doves-free-1250932

Today, on the Feast of the Mother of God and the World Day of Peace, Fr. Browning read the first Eucharistic Prayer as I knelt during Mass.  In it, he said, “he took it in his holy and venerable hands.”  Jesus blessed and broke the bread.  Jesus took the bread in his holy and venerable hands.  I could see him.  I could see his hands.  I was captivated by his holy and venerable hands as he raised the bread and gave it to those around him.
We receive Christ in our hands not long after this.  I thought how precious is this faith that I would hold in my hands.  I thought of this faith and saw a little bird in my hands.  Later when I reflected on this moment which seemed outside of time, I realized that this reminds me of my favorite Scripture and the song that I sang to my children:  Isaiah 49.  “Would a mother forget her baby or a woman the child within her womb, yet even if these forget, yes, even if these forget, I will never forget my own.”  God promised he would never forget me.  And I have the image of Mary holding her precious little baby in a lowly stable delighting in this miracle of life.
Parents hold there child’s heart and spirit in their hands like a little bird.
We hold our faith like that little bird, like a baby swaddled, tender and mild.
This year, why not have mercy on yourself and others.
Look to each person and even yourself as that little bird that needs food, a nest, and protection until it’s ready to fly.  This is faith.  It is trust in someone greater than ourselves.
We hold Christ in in our hands
He holds us in his hands
We hold others in our hands
And peace takes flight.
We all could use a little benefit of the doubt and another chance (maybe a hundred) to become the person we know we could be.
On this day, the World Day of Peace, in the wake of a baby born to change the world, resolve to think peace and be peace. This is a resolution you can keep!
Peace and good will to everyone!  Happy new year!