This small piece of cloth hung around your neck really does mean something. It’s a call to remember who you are, a child of God and much loved, a disciple of Jesus and the need to pray.
This is a long-standing Marian devotion. Long ago, Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock and gave him a ‘scapular.’ St. Simon was a Carmelite. Men went to the well of Elijah on the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. They were called hermits and lived in community. People saw their devotion and wanted to be like them. They received scapulars from the Carmelites to wear, too. Over time, they became smaller. In a ceremony, our Pastor blessed the scapulars and put them over the heads of students and their teachers. They promised to try to be a disciple like Mary, follow Jesus and ask Mary for help. They would say the Morning Prayer and at least 1 Hail Mary a day with the approval of our priest. The challenge would be for the kids to say 3 Hail Marys a day! Of course, adults can pray a rosary every day.
Our Lady said to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite
“Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire,” and, “Wear it devoutly and perseveringly. It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
1) Wear the scapular at all times
2) Be chaste according to your state of life (married or single)
3) Do an action showing devotion to Our Lady
a)Pray the Hail Mary
b)Pray the Morning Offering
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. I offer them for the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: Reparation for sin,
the salvation of souls, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and especially those of our Holy Father this month.
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. I 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
Fr. Leopold is the world’s smallest priest!
Have you heard that you can get a Legos Mass set? You can even change Fr. Leopold’s vestments for the liturgical seasons! This is a fun way to ‘practice’ Mass. Too simple for you? Are you to ‘big’ for a set with only 174 pieces?
Last year, a priest displayed a pretty impressive Lego project at the Franklin Institute in Pennsylvania.
About 500,000 Legos later, Fr. Bob Simon had created a replica of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in honor of Pope Francis’ visit. It is 14’ x 6’ feet and took more than 10 months to create. He said it was a prayerful experience to build.
Another fun fact: He tried to create St. Peter’s Basilica when he was 7 years old and was sure he wanted to be a priest then, too!
According to Fortune and Wired, it would cost about $50,000 to make!
How many Legos do you have? Can you ‘build’ your faith? What would it look like?
“I believe in perseverance.” Jesus tells us time and time again to persevere in our prayer, as do Scriptures. Persevering in faith is often hard, but it deepens our love for God and teaches us patience. Our perseverance allows us to follow in Jesus’ steps more closely and teaches us discipline which means that we can’t do whatever we want, whenever we want. It allows us to overcome problems and work through whatever holds us back. – David