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This Sunday, Sept 16, is Catechetical Sunday and we celebrate the important contributions made to our parishes by all those who serve as teachers, aides, and support staff in our Religious Education programs, and our schools and adult programs. We thank all those who teach our children, teens, and adults, formally and informally, for all that they do to bring the message of Jesus and his Gospel to the people of God. Each of us has a role to play within the Church as this story illustrates:

A teacher had students take scissors and cut a piece from a poster that was covered over with paper. “Take your piece home, but don’t peek,” she said. “Bring it back next week.” When the class met the next time, the students returned to assemble the poster. To their dismay, it had a big hole in it. One little girl had forgotten her piece. The teacher hugged the tearful girl who forgot her piece and said, “Amy, I am glad you forgot, because it teaches better than I had expected how important each of us is in God’s plan. Each of us is called to witness to Jesus in some unique way, and if we forget, God’s plan loses some of its beauty, just like this poster.”

What is unique about my service to Jesus and his people—at home, in my place of work, in my parish and community, in my associations with those whom he sends into my life?

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“Shepherd me, O God,

beyond my wants, beyond my fears,

from death into life.”

These words from the beautiful song by Marty Haugen remind me of the challenge each of us faces in readying ourselves and others for the final journey…we move from our earthly life through death to eternal life! Our entire purpose in living now is to LIVE eternally! During our earthly journey, we experience the joys, sorrows, dreams, and disappointments common to all human beings. We laugh, we cry, we question, we learn, over and over again. We prefer to think of the NOW as something that will last and last…but we know that there is only one entrance into FOREVER….We may spend hours and hours preparing for a special family event, give days for a wonderful vacation “away from it all,” but neglect to plan for the ultimate vacation! We spend so much time worrying about our financial situation, our health, the success of our children, the cares of the world, but Jesus tells us that no hair on our head goes unnumbered because our Father in heaven cares for us like he cares for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. We know that there is so much “out of our control”—but that is not a bad thing if we believe that GOD NEVER LOSES CONTROL, that everything and everyone is in his loving hands. We are called to trust. We are called to know and love our God….Do these words sound familiar? ”Why did God make you?” “God made me to know him, to love him and to serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in heaven.” (Baltimore Catechism). Our current Catholic Catechism says the same in similar words: “God…created man to share in his own blessed life….He calls us to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. (1) The desire for God is written in the human heart because we are created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw us to himself”

 

A pastor asked a young boy, “Who made you?”

The youngster replied, “God made part of me.”

Puzzled, the pastor asked, “What do you mean, God made part of you?”

“Well,” answered the young boy, “God made me little. I grew the rest myself.”

Our journey of growth never ends, and we are responsible for it (with God’s help, of course). We are always growing; we are always trying to do a better job of being Jesus’ followers. Life is God’s gift to me; what I make of it is my gift to God! As we celebrate this Labor Day weekend, let us remember God’s creative energy is at work within us—we continue to co-create with our good God by making of ourselves the best we can be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to share some simple thoughts I received via email:

 

Every day be thankful for what you have and who you are.

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, Thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising. Thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, tempers are short, and my children are so loud. Thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the picture in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced. Thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job often is monotonous, Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work.  There are many who have no job. 

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were different.  Thank you, Lord, for life. 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

 

 

 

 

We have just celebrated a feast of Mary!  As a baby, I was baptized “Rosaria” in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, and I entered the convent on a feast of Our Lady.  As a Sister of Notre Dame, my ring is engraved with the French translation of “All for Jesus, through Mary.”  All of this, and so much more, has brought me to a great love for Mary.

 

I am certain that when we have a deep relationship with Mary, one that invites us to meditate on her Son’s life, we grow in our love for Jesus—and after all, that is the whole purpose of devotion to Mary! Mary teaches so much about how to “raise a child” and live our lives! Henri Nouwen, a great spiritual writer says this about the relationship between parents and children:  “It may sound strange to speak of the relationship between parents and children in terms of hospitality.

But it belongs to the center of the Christian message that children are not properties to own and rule, but gifts to cherish and care for.  Our children are our most important guests, who enter our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while, and then leave to follow their own way.”  Was this not true for Mary?  Jesus came as a guest, needed to be cared for lovingly, grew in ”wisdom and grace,” and eventually had to leave her to fulfill his Father’s mission.  Mary teaches us how to listen to the Lord, to say yes to the Father’s will for her, and to let go of whatever we need to when it is time.  May we strive to follow her example in our daily living!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

 

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I am sure many of us are familiar with the song “What a wonderful world,” made popular by Louis Armstrong.  The song extols the beauties of nature and the human spirit, and calls us to rejoice in the goodness all around us.  Our good and gracious God gives us so much…and God’s many gifts of nature and grace and life call us also to a profound sense of awe and gratitude.

So, the next time you see the “trees of green, red roses too,” remember to thank our God for the lushness of his creation.

When you experience the “bright blessed day and the dark sacred night”, remember that our days and nights provide many opportunities to celebrate life in all its fullness.

Every time we “see friends shaking hands, saying, ‘How do you do,’” let’s remember how much love is shown in the simple gestures of friendship and sharing.

And every time we are privileged to see or spend time with children of any age, knowing that “they’ll learn much more than [we’ll] ever know,” let us rejoice in the goodness and bounty of God who continues to show love for humankind in creating new life!
Let us, each day, in a spirit of genuine thanksgiving, think to ourselves: “What a wonderful world!”

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

Are you a caring person? Consider the following CARING TEST. The following questions can be used to measure your caring ability over the past week:    Did you…

  • Lend an ear?
  • Share a joy?
  • Give encouragement?
  • Show a troubled friend you cared?
  • Ask for forgiveness?
  • –And give some?
  • Cool an anger?
  • Go out of your way to help someone?
  • Give up a grudge?
  • Discover a good point in someone?
  • –Or in yourself?
  • Open your circle of friends?
  • Enjoy a rival’s success and tell him/her so?
  • Phone to inquire about a sick neighbor?
  • Check an impulse to gossip?
  • Exchange a kindness for sarcasm?
  • Show patience?
  • Put up with someone else’s faults?
  • Pray for those in need?

Well, nobody’s perfect, but St. Paul encourages us when he says, “Love never gives up!” ( I Cor. 13:7)

Written By Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.