“Now that I am old and grey-headed…”

Psalm 71 contains this phrase: “Now that I am old and grey-headed, do not forsake me, O God.”
The psalm is the voice of suffering and oppression.
The voice of old age and diminished capacity.
The voice of a lifetime of experiences.
The voice of acknowledging God’s acts of grace throughout life.
It is the lament of an old person who seeks asylum in the temple.
Apparently persecuted by some enemies who say that the afflictions of old age are a sign of some sort of divine judgement. The writer turns to the God of righteousness whose praise he has been singing since he was a small child. He sings now a passionate cry to God, his immovable rock of refuge.
Will God allow this voice of pleading and praise to go silent under the attack of the man’s enemies? The writer/singer knows his voice will be heard and vows to continue the song of praise begun in his youth.
The world sometimes looks at our older generation as being weak, and feeble, and not worth spending time with or on. I beg to differ. My experience with older folks has been quite the opposite. I believe that we can become more faithful and faith-filled as we age.
I wish to acknowledge our retired priests as one great example. I have witnessed priests in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s come to the nursing homes to celebrate the Eucharist with the residents who are hungry for it. They come to bring Jesus to the sick and the lame but also for staff members, family members as well as to the healthier residents in the apartments.
These priests are so dedicated to their ordinations that occurred 40, 50, 60 years or more ago. And they treat everyone with the Love of Christ.
I thank God that we have these wonderful men, “Still green, still full of sap.”
DEACON STEVE YANISH Deacon Steve is a husband, father, grandfather and retired nursing home chaplain who is currently serving as deacon at St. Francis Xavier Church in Sartell.
DEACON STEVE YANISH
Deacon Steve is a husband, father, grandfather and retired nursing home chaplain who is currently serving as deacon at St. Francis Xavier Church in Sartell.

Matrimonios Duraderos/Long Lasting Marriages

Vivimos en una sociedad donde las bodas de plata o de oro se están convirtiendo en cosa del pasado y van siendo parte de la historia, debido a la falta de compromiso en los nuevos matrimonios.

Algunas estadísticas muestran que más del 50% de los nuevos matrimonios terminan en divorcio o separación. Esto viene a demostrar que el matrimonio es solamente visto como un acuerdo contractual entre dos personas que puede ser fácilmente eliminado.

Poco es el tiempo que usamos en reflexionar sobre el hecho de que el matrimonio no es entre dos personas sino más bien tres, esposo, esposa y Jesucristo.

Por lo tanto, aprender a ver nuestro matrimonio que esta compuesto de tres, seguramente ayudara a que nuestros matrimonios se enriqueceran y se hagan mas fuertes.

Hay muchas maneras de enriquecer nuestros matrimonios en orden de que nuestra Unión se llene del amor y la gracia de Dios; solo tenemos que permitir que Dios entre en nuestros matrimonios.

Es muy importante que las decisiones que tomemos en nuestros matrimonios esten estimulados por el amor–y que por ese amor siempre estamos dispuestos a perdonarnos el uno con el otro. También es importante compartir en la fe, en la confianza y respeto entre la pareja y buscar amigos que de ningún modo puedan dañar el matrimonio.

Tampoco, es suficiente amar en silencio, El amor debe de expresarse entre la parejas.   También debemos orar juntos y luchar por los mismos valores, y prestar atención a las necesidades de otro.

Estas no son recetas mágicas, sino prácticas comprobadas que durante años han sido utilizadas por ésos que han celebrado aniversarios de plata o de oro.

Te invitamos a dar testimonio del amor de Dios y su misericordia a través de tu sagrada union y mirando el ejemplo de la Sagrada Familia como guia en nuestras vidas.

 

Long Lasting Marriages

We live in a society where silver or gold wedding celebrations are becoming a thing of the past and becoming a history as a result of the lack of commitment in new marriages. Statistics show that more than 50 percent of those new marriages end in divorce or separation. This goes to show that marriage is viewed as a contractual agreement between two people that can be easily disposed of. Little thought is given to the fact that marriage is not between two people but rather three — husband, wife and Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as we learn to view our marriage as being composed of three, we will begin to see our marriages become enriched and stronger.

There are many ways to enrich our marriages in order for the union to be filled with love and the grace of God; we just have to allow God into our marriages.

It is very important that the decisions we make in marriages stem from love — and that from that love, we are always willing to forgive one another.

It is also important to share in the faith, to trust and respect one another, and seek out friends that will in no way harm the marriage. It is not enough to love in silence — love must be expressed between couples.

We must also pray together and fight for the same values, to pay attention to the needs of one another. These are not magic recipes, but proven practices that for years have been utilized by those celebrating silver or gold anniversaries.

We invite you to give testimony of God’s love and mercy through your marriage and look to the Holy Family for guidance and encouragement.

God bless you all.

Adela Hernandez has worked in the convalidation marriage program, working with unmarried couples who live together to receive a sacramental marriage. She is pictured here with her husband, David. Read more about Adela on the "Meet Our Bloggers" page.
Adela Hernandez has worked in the convalidation marriage program, working with unmarried couples who live together to receive a sacramental marriage. She is pictured here with her husband, David. Read more about Adela on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.


 

 

Feasting Through The Church Year

Having grown up in the Catholic Church, I learned at a young age that it is such a treasure trove of tradition, full of wonderful reasons and seasons to celebrate. With so many saints and martyrs to honor and feasts on nearly every calendar day, there’s hardly a day we couldn’t be feasting on fine foods. Well, except for the season of Lent which is a penitential season, but that lends itself to 40 days of much needed prayer and penance that our body and soul also need.

Sure, most of us aren’t going to know off the top of our head what day the church celebrates Sts. Cosmas and Damian. We may also arrive at Mass on the Sunday after Easter and know that it’s Divine Mercy Sunday, but find ourselves at a loss knowing how to observe the day with our family.

Maybe you aren’t quite sure how to dive into the liturgical seasons, so perhaps choosing a certain feast would suffice.

Do you have a favorite saint or maybe a saint whose feast day has always been special to you for a reason? Start with that and go from there. How about baptismal dates? Do you know the date that you or your child were baptized? If you do, an easy way to honor that special day would be to light your baptism candle and say a short prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of your faith.

We started out with simple, but memorable ways to draw attention to days that are significant and special to our family.  We have found that they’ve left a lasting imprint on our children. When our two older kids were younger, we chose to celebrate Mary’s days (Immaculate Conception, Assumption, her birthday, etc.) by declaring them as ‘Blue Day’. Since Mary is generally associated with the color blue, on those days the kids would try to wear as much blue colored clothing as they could to remember Mary’s day. In recent years we’ve latched on to our tradition of making pretzels (from a bag mix, of course) as a family on Good Friday. Keeping with the simplicity of meals and observance of abstinence on that day, we eat the pretzels as our lunch.

 I’d have to say that the favorite days to feast in our house is for each member’s name day. We started this one young.  Those days are on our calendar and remain as special as their birthdays.  These are the days that commemorate the saint they are named after, either first or middle name if their first name does not have a saint. Depending on your name, sometimes this means you get be creative. Our firstborn, Lily, celebrates on the feast of St. Kateri of Tekakwitha, because Kateri is known as the ‘Lily of the Mohawks’. My husband who bears no saint name, has chosen to declare his name day on the feast of Pope St. John Paul, one of his favorite saints.  My saint day is based on my confirmation name, Philomena. We’ve made these days unique in many ways, but mainly in that the member whose name day it is gets to chose what type of treat we’ll all share after supper that evening. Sometimes it’s homemade cupcakes or a cake, and other times it’s a stop at an ice cream shop or treat that can be picked up at a drive thru. Whatever it is, it’s special to them and it’s their choice. Much like their birthday, that child knows that day is very special and occasionally their day may even include an outing as a family.

Don’t feel bound by what our family does. Do what’s right for you and your family and don’t be afraid to dive into the liturgical seasons. Remember, keep it simple. There’s no need for grand plans that are difficult to execute. You don’t need to start off by baking a cake from scratch and decorating it to look like a dragon on the feast of St. George (but you could if you were really ambitious!). You may start by obtaining a simple book of the saints and reading their story on their feast day with your children or grandchildren. You may find that making a particular feast special with ice cream and simple prayers is how your family learns more about their rich faith and makes a lasting memory.

Just in case you’re still wondering, you can commemorate martyrs Cosmas and Damian next year on September 26. And Divine Mercy Sunday? How about praying the Divine Mercy chaplet and afterward making Divine Mercy Sundaes topped with whipped cream and red and blue sugar sprinkles to imitate the rays coming from Jesus’ heart depicted in the Divine Mercy image.

Whatever you choose to do, Happy Feasting!

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the "Meet Our Bloggers" page.
Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

What’s in a name: October 15 prayers

I spent years laughing at the episode. The episode of “Friends” in which Chandler’s co-worker calls him “Toby” and has for years, because once he started it was too awkward to correct the error, so Chandler just kept allowing it…until it got complicated.

I spent years laughing at it, that is until it actually happened to me.  That’s right, the owner and primary worker at the Curves where I work out regularly started calling me “Katrina.” I thought I’d corrected her but she kept at it; and though I made sure that the other employees there knew my real name in the hopes that when they left notes or talked about me, she’d catch on. But no. I remained “Katrina” for years!  Finally, when she looked at the computer and announced to me that she’d spelled my name wrong, and then proceeded to spell it out loud, correctly, I finally told her that “K-a-t-e-r-i” is actually my name.  Then in front of the whole group of women also exercising at that time, we practiced its pronunciation.  I think she may have it down now…hopefully.

But it really got me thinking about what is in a name.  Why did it bother me so much to be called something different?  Why did I want so badly to be called by my name, a name that is truly me?

My name is important to me, and always has been.  Growing up I was “Kati,” a name which still has a lot of family value for me.  But as I got into my late teens, and especially in college, I really started identifying myself more with my full name, “Kateri” – a name with a lot of value of its own, value I wanted to be mine.  I loved that my name meant something to me and called me to something more.  Every time I hear or say my name, I am think of my patron St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and am reminded to be a saint, to live for something bigger than myself.

That, in a very brief nutshell, is what my name means to me.  So when it came time to name our soon-to-be-born children, I really struggled.  I knew how valuable the right name could be (and being called “Katrina” for years has reminded me of how frustrating the wrong name can be).  I knew how important it was that the name we give our children be names that fit them and their unique selves, but also that form them and call them into something.  Hopefully something beautiful.

It’s too soon to tell for sure if we did our children’s naming well, though I’d like to think that so far at least our little ones certainly fit their names (Adrian Donald the “gentle leader,” Lilly Elizabeth the “strong woman, promise of GOD,” and Layla Josephine the “dark beauty, increase of GOD”).  I’d like to think we named all of our children well – all five of them.

Our first baby was the easiest to name.  We had a name all picked out for her.  But then came May of 2009, when we found out that our 12 week in-utero baby no longer had a heartbeat.  And for a while, my heart stopped too.  It is hard to describe how much it hurts, missing someone you never knew.  And yet, as a mother, somehow I already did know my little one.  I knew in my heart, though no ultrasounds had shown us yet, that it was a little girl.  I knew in my heart that she was going to be sweet and beautiful.  I knew in my heart that she would be daddy’s little girl.  I knew in my heart that she would be loved.  And it broke me that I never got to prove my heart right, by sharing her with the world!  And so, my heart stopped.  It stopped being joyful, it stopped being happy, it stopped being hopeful….until it came time to give our baby a name.

And in this first naming experience, I did not struggle.  Somehow, along with all I knew in my heart about her, we both knew in our hearts what our daughter’s name was:

Esperanza.4-25-10-014

Esperanza is the Spanish word for “hope.”  And though it was not the name we had picked out for her originally, this name fit her.  And this name has made her into something so much greater than just herself.  Through her name, my daughter helped me find hope again, and eventually along with it joy and happiness after that very dark period in my life.  Through her name, my little angel has helped me remain hopeful in so many other areas, including future dark periods, of my life – and especially in my motherhood.  Through her name, my daughter is hope and brings hope and makes me want to be hope. She is, in my heart and in how she lives on in my life, something beautiful.  And so with her, I know we did her naming very well.

It’s amazing all that can be in a name – the right name at least.

October 1pregnancy_infant_loss_awareness_sticker5 is a day very near and dear to my heart.  Unlike Christmas, Halloween or my husband’s birthday, this one is not a holiday I look forward to, yet one that since that difficult May of 2009 has become a day always marked on my calendar…and more permanently, on my heart.  October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Honored in multiple countries, including the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Italy, the day strives to raise awareness as well as lift up those who have suffered this loss.  It is marked by an “international wave of light,” in which all are invited to light a candle in honor of the precious lives lost at 7:00pm local time – allowing the light to flow across the time zones, nation and world.

Since losing Esperanza, my husband and I have had three beautiful, healthy children; three lives bookmarked by yet another miscarriage, suffered just a few months ago.  Many of my dear family and friends have also lost their babies, along with countless more acquaintances and strangers (an estimated one in four), who have lost their children to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or other far too early ends to their precious little ones’ lives in this world.  For all you women and men out there who have lost your babies, at any stage too early, please know that my prayers are with you on this special day.

Prayers for Hope!

Kateri Mancini is the coordinator of mission education for the St. Cloud Mission Office, where she has ministered for the past 11 years. She has spent that same amount of time sharing life with her best friend and partner in parenting. As both a minister and mother, Kateri spends her days grappling with the intersection of Church and family, theology and potty training.
Kateri Mancini is the coordinator of mission education for the St. Cloud Mission Office, where she has ministered for the past 11 years. She has spent that same amount of time sharing life with her best friend and partner in parenting. As both a minister and mother, Kateri spends her days grappling with the intersection of Church and family, theology and potty training.

On the lessons that come from traveling alone

We are doing something a little different today! Our latest post comes from guest blogger Molly Minnerath, parishioner of St. Mary Church in Alexandria. Molly is a spending a year as a missioner in Bolivia through Maryknoll. She has her own blog and has agreed to let us share it with you.

Stay tuned for more about Molly and about mission in the Oct. 21 issue of The Visitor.

Click here to read Molly’s most recent blog post:

On the lessons that come from traveling alone

Christ Has No Online Presence But Yours

Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.

~St. Teresa of Avila

I recently ran across St. Teresa’s prayer as I was reviewing the Diocesan Confirmation materials, in particular the guide for Confirmation candidates and their sponsors. It struck me again how beautifully Teresa’s prayer reminds us of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

It also reminded me of Meredith Gould’s adaptation (video by my friend Cheryl Smith of the Diocese of Syracuse) which calls us to bring our faith and love to that virtual online world which engages so many of us… while at the same time scaring many of us…. or maybe both:

Have you noticed that the online world is not always a gentle, loving place? I become increasingly depressed as I hear news about shootings, terrorism, racial tensions, political ad hominem arguments… and religious polarization. Where is Christ in all of this? As comments abound after an online statement, there are few examples of good listening skills, benefits of the doubt, or affirmations of people who post even if their is disagreement with the content of the post.

One way to side-step the hubbub and keep the Story of Christ’s love in the forefront is the use of graphic images, often with pithy text embedded in or with them.

bigquestion

Besides doing an end-run around paralyzing arguments and conflicts, we can keep asserting the beauty of God’s Reign in proactive, easy to consume images.

  • The first question is, “What part of God’s Story do I want to share?”
  • Secondly, “What is the best way to share it?”

I was recently participating in the weekend liturgy at a nursing home. The chapel was filled with mostly seniors who appeared well past retirement age. Many of them were residents in their wheelchairs. The priest offered a statement that struck me in a new way. “The question isn’t what I will live on, it is what I will live for.” It took on a new meaning for me because I was surrounded by people staring in the face of end of life issues… and yet the homilist posed a question that assumed we all had a life that was intrinsically valuable in spite of any infirmity. We still had a call from God to live for God’s Reign, regardless of our present state of health, or perceived ability (or lack thereof). I can hear God saying, “Okay, you are not as young or robust as you were, but you are still my child… my disciple. I have an idea of what you are living for, do you?” One may even add …”who you are living for? This is the story about God I wanted to pose.

So with two photos taken by my friend and colleague, Julie Tschida, I juxtaposed them into one, using Apple’s Keynote (you can also use Microsoft PowerPoint) because it is so easy to combine photos on one slide and the export it as a single graphic (jpg in this case).

I then went to one of my favorite free tools, the Motivator at Big Huge Labs, and created the motivational poster. When uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, or other online environment, you can tell a story, create a ponderment, or assert an opinion that can be consumed by the careful reader or casual scanner alike. The point is to creative a positive culture online, a culture into which we bring the compassion, good and blessings of Christ because “Christ Has No Online Presence But Yours.”

Tim Welch is the Consultant for Educational Technology at Catholic Education Ministries, Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN. With more that 35 years of experience at the parish and diocesan levels, he is continually searching for ways of journeying with others to implement proven technologies that can serve ministry (especially catechesis).
Tim Welch is the Consultant for Educational Technology at Catholic Education Ministries, Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN. With more that 35 years of experience at the parish and diocesan levels, he is continually searching for ways of journeying with others to implement proven technologies that can serve ministry (especially catechesis).