Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lent begins on Wednesday, March 1

                          
During Lent, we are called to pray, fast and give alms, so that we may prepare our hearts to receive full the joy of Easter.  Operation Rice Bowl is a great way to work on all three of those parts of Lent!  If you or your family decide that a good thing to fast from would be those stops at McDonald's and those quick dinners before everyone scatters to their own corners of the house, you could use that to benefit others too.  The fasting (or refraining from) that McD's run will save you some money and that money could be put into the Operation Rice Bowl box. Now of course you still need to eat, but maybe instead of a quick meal, everyone helps to make dinner.  When you sit down to eat, you could pray together to thank God and to pray for those who are in need. If you did that once a week for the 6 weeks of Lent, just think of how much different your Lent will be! You will grow closer as a family, pray together, and help others ($20 per meal for a family x 6 weeks = $120).  The money raised through Operation Rice Bowl will go to feed the hungry in the US and around the world.  Now that is a life changing Lent!

We will be handing out Operation Rice Bowl boxes to all of our students on Sunday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 7.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year!!!

Today in the gospel, Luke tells us about the shepherds who received a heavenly message about the birth of a child who would be there savior.  They quickly went off to see if the message that they received was true. When they found the child just as the angels had said, they gave glory to God and sang his praises.  We hear about Mary, who was probably exhausted and overwhelmed, taking time to reflect and treasure all that was happening.  Mary, Joseph, the shepherds all took time to be grateful for this truly blessed occasion. Their hearts were full of joy and gratitude for the ways that they were able to encounter God's love at this 1st Christmas.
We hope that your Christmas was a time of peace and joy!  As we celebrate the New Year, we hope that you can take a moment to reflect, treasure, and give praise and thanks for all the ways that you and your family have encountered the love of Jesus this past year.  We pray that your new year is blessed with the hope, peace, joy and love of the new born King.  
We have so much to look forward to in 2017, but before we look ahead, we took some time to look back at the past few months of the Religious Education year. Here are some of the highlights:

- We have welcomed 60 new families into our Religious Education Program and our program has grown to over 450 students
- Our Peer Leadership Team has grown to 23 high school students. The team meets each week to prepare to work with our Confirmation candidates and Religious Ed students, share their faith and to pray together
- Our Family Gathering Event at the TurtleBack Zoo, where Fr. Rich celebrated Mass, and then we had the chance to spend the day learning about animals
- Our 7th Graders came together to learn about how the saints are our truest superheroes
- We have 14 new youth altar servers (and more coming) to serve at our Liturgies 
- Our families came together to make Advent wreaths to remind us of God's hope, peace, joy and love and to help us prepare for Christmas
- 81 young people received the Sacrament of Penance for the first time on December 10th, and many of their parents were able to receive God's mercy and forgiveness through this wonderful sacrament too
- Santa visited our parish as our children and families enjoyed breakfast together 





Monday, December 19, 2016

God With Us

In today's First Reading from Isaiah, we hear the prophet tell us:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: 
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, 
and shall name him Emmanuel.

The name Emmanuel is one of my favorite titles for Jesus. It translates from Hebrew as "God is with us."  The Son of God, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, becomes like us in every way but sin to show us how to truly be alive.  He comes to offer us a true vision of who God the Father is and shares his own life with us. He offers us true hope, peace, joy and love.

In all that we do here at St. Mary's, we try to remember that our main goal is to be Emmanuel to others. Our hope is that our catechists, parents, students, and all of our parish families may experience God's hope, peace, joy and love in our classrooms, at our family gathering events, at our celebrations, at Mass, and in every encounter that we may have with them.  

We have been blessed with so many great opportunities to encounter Christ through one another so far this year. Here are just a few highlights from the past few months:

- We have welcomed 60 new families into our Religious Education Program and our program has grown to over 450 students
- Our Peer Leadership Team has grown to 23 high school students. The team meets each week to prepare to work with our Confirmation candidates and Religious Ed students, share their faith and to pray together
- Our Family Gathering Event at the TurtleBack Zoo, where Fr. Rich celebrated Mass, and then we had the chance to spend the day learning about animals
- Our 7th Graders came together to learn about how the saints are our truest superheroes
- We have 14 new youth altar servers (and more coming) to serve at our Liturgies 
- Our families came together to make Advent wreaths to remind us of God's hope, peace, joy and love and to help us prepare for Christmas
- 81 young people received the Sacrament of Penance for the first time on December 10th, and many of their parents were able to receive God's mercy and forgiveness through this wonderful sacrament too
- Santa visited our parish as our children and families enjoyed breakfast together