Monday, March 13, 2017

Hearts for Hope

At our Family Gathering Event on February 12, our students and families helped to decorate ceramic hearts and write cards of inspiration to those in need of hope.  The hearts were then distributed to our home-bound parishioners, patients going through cancer treatment, those who mourning the loss of a loved one, and those who have lost homes because of fires and natural disasters.  These hearts for hope serve as a reminder to those that receive them that they are not alone and that they have people who care for them and a God who loves them.  Let us continue to pray for those who struggle with accepting the hope and love that God offers and for all those who may feel alone or abandoned in this world.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Operation Rice Bowl

A 7-minute Prayer Service

Leader: Forty days before Jesus died on the cross, He went into the desert and prayed.
He didn’t eat or do much other than pray; He used this time to focus on His relationship with God. Today, we too are called to focus on our relationship with God during the 40 days before Easter, a time known as Lent. Catholics do three traditional activities to grow closer to God during Lent: Pray, Fast and Give to those in need.

We pray to ask God how He wants us to serve. How does God want us to help other people? What kind of person is He calling us to be? In our prayer, we also thank Him for the gifts He has given us and we pray for the poor and vulnerable. During the season of Lent, we make an extra effort to talk to God and to listen to Him.
Find the Lenten prayer on the side of your Rice Bowls and pray aloud together.  (Read prayer together.)

Leader: Fasting means we give something up. We do this to help us recognize the difference between wants and needs, and to remove the things that may distract us from our relationship with God. Some people give up sweets or choose to drink only water during Lent. Choosing to live without these things reminds us that everything we have is a gift from God. Fasting also allows us to share in a small way the experience of people who are poor and hungry: people who often do not have luxuries to enjoy, clean water to drink or enough food to eat each day.
Consider for a moment: what do you want to fast from this Lent? Maybe your family wants to fast from something together. Write what you will give up on the panel on your Rice Bowl.
Another aspect of our Lenten fasting is not eating meat on Fridays. On your Lenten Calendars again there are meatless recipes from around the world. Ask your family to make one or more of these at home and taste the type of meals people from other countries enjoy.

Leader: During Lent, we give sacrificial donations to those in need. When we give to people less fortunate than we are, we honor Jesus’ call to serve our neighbors and to share the gifts we have been given.
·       Look at your Lenten Calendars again and find the pictures and stories from countries around the world. Each week of Lent, you will learn about someone whose life is better because of the money you put in your Rice Bowl.
·       Look at the panel on your Rice Bowl that says “Your Lenten gifts make a big difference.” These are examples of how your Lenten gifts really do make a difference in the world.

Leader: We pray that the stories, recipes and prayers on our Rice Bowls will help us to grow spiritually during this season of Lent. As we begin our 40 days of prayer, fasting and giving, let us ask God to bless these Rice Bowls and to strengthen us on our journey.  
Leader: Gracious God, as we begin our Lenten journeys today, fill us with Your spirit of renewal, humility and grace. Help us this Lent to let go of those things that weigh us down. May our prayers and sacrifices bring us closer to Your Son, Jesus. May our prayers and gifts bring life to our brothers and sisters who struggle with hunger and poverty. May we proclaim the dignity of life, and celebrate the witness of Your love each day. Bless these Rice Bowls as concrete symbols of our solidarity with all of Your children around the world.                                         Amen.