The Advent season has begun for 2015... Does this mean that we rush to buy, buy, buy...for all those on our 'list' in time for Christmas? Or, does it mean that we are entering a special time of the year when we can actually "slow-down", and ponder on the truly important aspects of our lives? Especially, after having just celebrated Thanksgiving?
I invite you to take a single moment each day, from today, until Christmas Day, to breathe-in some good while reflecting on the many blessings we receive...and slow down a bit in your journey home. After all, that day will come (on its own blessed time) when we will all be one family in Christ - celebrating an endless banquet of love, joy and peace!!!
The Diocese of Kalamazoo in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus, invite students grades 4th—12th to submit original art, prose, poetry, musical compositions and videos; all reflecting the theme “The Merciful Family ”.
The work should display their God-given talents and convey how we live our call to be merciful within our families and in our communities.
We will accept works from students in Catholic schools, public schools and home schools (who attend faith-formation catechetical classes). Following are the contest rules:
Family life today is both changing and being changed by the society in which it lives.
But nothing can be more satisfying and fulfilling than the love, respect, consideration and security found within a happy family.
A family is where we learn and grow and become the special people God created us to be. The family is called to live out this vocation in a “domestic church,” a community of life and love, with each member helping each other to get to heaven.
So, how can we do this? How do we become fully alive in the faith? We need to get back to just “being a family” and doing the simple, ordinary things, like blessing each other before leaving home in the morning and thanking God for the gift of each other.
Taking time to be present and listen with the heart is another way to acknowledge the dignity and value of each family member. When we are truly present to one another and celebrate who we are as a family in Christ — without letting schedules or timelines get in the way — there is a beautiful grace received in this little, but great, nest: the family.
I can still hear my father saying to me: “Tu vales mucho” (You are worth much). As a child, these words really affirmed me as I navigated the world around me. And, though there were times when I did not feel that I was worth much, my father’s words always echoed in my childhood memory and helped to bring me back to the reality of my value as a member of the body of Christ.
In my little “domestic church,” my husband and I bless each other and our children every single day.
Our youngest is now 19 years old. We have lived some very difficult and joy-filled moments in our marriage and in the lives of our children. Thankfully, our faith has been at the center of our home throughout the years; and because we’ve prayed together, we’ve stayed together.
How can we celebrate our families, our children and the God-given talents within our families? How can youth express themselves and show the world what it means to be a Christian family today?
The Diocese of Kalamazoo, Mich., recently sponsored a national contest, inviting students in grades four through 12 to share their family stories on the theme “The Family Fully Alive in the Faith” by using art, writing, music and video. Prizes included educational awards and scholarships sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. (Learn more at DioKZoo.org/domesticchurch.)
In order to share and celebrate more families as the “domestic church,” we also have created a monthly “Domestic Church” e-newsletter. It is simple in format and incorporates three important areas: marriage, family and prayer (see Newsletters).
I wanted to invite you to
continue to talk about NFP during this National NFP Awareness Week – from July
19th to July 25th – a wonderful opportunity to begin
to explore or continue to live out the NFP lifestyle as married couples.
We celebrate couples
who live the NFP lifestyle, and encourage all couples (engaged and
married) to learn more about Natural Family Planning (NFP).
Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to redefine marriage represents a profound legal turning point in the contemporary and cultural understanding of spouses and family. We continue to teach that every human person deserves respect and compassion. The experience of same-sex attraction is a reality that calls for attention, sensitivity and pastoral care. While every person is called to love and deserves to be loved, today’s momentous decision will not change the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage.
The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. This union brings two persons together and, because of their natural biological composition, each bring qualities to the marriage that differ from one another. Man and woman complement each other; they then become united as one in marriage and together are unique in their ability to create new life based on sexual and reproductive differences.
Every child has a mother and a father and even though each child deserves to be loved and raised by them together, we are conscious of and loving toward those circumstances in which this arrangement of a married mother and father in the home is not reality. Married couples unable to conceive children or family structures that differ – single parents, widowed parents, adopted children and those being raised by grandparents or other family members – merit compassion and support for their life situations, which at times can be difficult and challenging. The Church and her ministries must remain conscious of and respectful toward these differing dynamics, especially when support, counsel and love is sought.
Going forward, the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the first amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the Church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions. As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, this truth as what is good for society and our world.
Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron Archbishop of Detroit
Most Reverend Earl A Boyea Bishop of Lansing
Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley Bishop of Kalamazoo
Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone Bishop of Saginaw
Most Reverend John F. Doerfler Bishop of Marquette
Most Reverend Steven J. Raica Bishop of Gaylord
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak Bishop of Grand Rapids
Most Reverend Michael J. Byrnes Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit
Most Reverend Arturo Cepeda Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit
Most Reverend Donald F. Hanchon Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit
Most Reverend Francis R. Reiss Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit
Diocese of Kalamazoo announces student contest winners
“The Family Fully Alive”
Winners of the inaugural student contest, “The Family Fully Alive”, have been chosen by a panel of diocesan judges. The contest was launched last fall to encourage students in both Catholic schools and religious education programs to explore the topic, “how is my family fully alive in the faith” through a variety of art mediums from painting, drawing, writing, music or video. Entries were received both locally and nationally. St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, Coldwater; Holy Angels Parish (Religious Education Program), Sturgis; and Lake Michigan Catholic Elementary School, St. Joseph; were honored and will also receive awards for having submitted the most (local) entries.
Winners receive a monetary scholarship award donated by the Michigan Knights of Columbus and an official Diocese of Kalamazoo award signed by +Bishop Paul Bradley. Visit the diocesan website, diokzoo.org-student-contest winners, for a full list of winners.
Kalamazoo and National Student Contest Winners
ART Division 1 (Grades 4-8): 1st Place WINNER: “Alive and Filled with the Spirit” by Maxine Poage, 8th grade, St. Monica School, Kalamazoo, MI 1st Place WINNER: “Faith Collage” by Serena Fontecchio, 7th grade, St. Joseph Parish, Downingtown, PA HONORABLE MENTION: “My Family Fully Alive Praying the Rosary” by Isabelle Shea, 5th grade, St. Margaret Parish, Otsego, MI HONORABLE MENTION: “Faith” by Tania Lizzette Villegas, 6th grade, St. Basil Catholic School, South Haven, MI HONORABLE MENTION: “Mi Familia” by Joselin Yarel Reyes, 3rd-4th grades, Holy Angels Parish, Sturgis, MI HONORABLE MENTION: “Family Alive” by Fernanda Garcia, 4th grade, Holy Angels Parish, Sturgis, MI HONORABLE MENTION: “The Family Fully Alive: Actions Spread the Message” by Xin Wei Pei (Elva), 7th grade, The OLC School, Jersey City, NJ HONORABLE MENTION: “My Family Fully Alive” by Chanelle Jimenez, Mother Seton School, Union City, NJ HONORABLE MENTION: “Family that Prays Together…Stays Together” by Anita Damodar-Desloire, 5th grade, The OLC School, Jersey City, NJ
WRITING Division 1 (Grades 4-8): 1st Place WINNER: “My Family is Fully Alive in the Faith” by Kathryn Wertheimer, 7th grade, St. Basil Catholic School, South Haven, MI
1st Place WINNER: “My Faith Alive in the Arts” (poem) by Joshua Schutte, 8th grade, Emmanuel Parish, Beaver Creek, OH
HONORABLE MENTION: “The Family Fully Alive” (poem) by Ashleigh Cotter, 7th grade, St. Michael School, Cranford, NJ
MUSIC Division 1 (Grades 4-8): HONORABLE MENTION: “We’re All About the Mass” by Lucy Arbanas, 7th grade, St. Basil Catholic School, South Haven, MI HONORABLE MENTION: “The Christian Family Fully Alive” by Scarlett Caballero, 5th grade, Mother Seton School, Union City, NJ HONORABLE MENTION: “Family Time = Together Time” by Michelle Pichardo, Saint Peter’s School, Belleville, NJ
VIDEO Division 1 (Grades 4-8):
1st Place WINNER: "My Catholic Family" by Samantha Ochoa, 5th grade, Mother Seton School, Union City, NJ
HONORABLE MENTION: “Faith in My Family” by Daniel Sanchez, 5th grade, Mother Seton School, Union City, NJ
WRITING Division 2 (Grades 9-12): 1st Place WINNER: “My Family Fully Alive” by Amanda Lawrence, 11th grade, Hackett Catholic Prep, Kalamazoo, MI 1st Place WINNER: “In Faith and Family” by Molly Schutte, 12th grade, Emmanuel Catholic Church, Dayton, OH HONORABLE MENTION: “Fully Alive: Fighting for the Kingdom” by Ian Poage, 11th grade, Hackett Catholic Prep, Kalamazoo, MI HONORABLE MENTION: “My Family Fully Alive in the Faith” by Caroline Yapp, 11th grade, Hackett Catholic Prep, Kalamazoo, MI HONORABLE MENTION: “My Family Fully Alive” by Matt Mancuso, 11th grade, Hackett Catholic Prep, Kalamazoo, MI
For husbands and
wives, marriage is a reassurance that the couple will always be there for one
another, no matter what happens. Throughout all of the changes that have come
their way, Socorro and Tony have grown closer together and have found strength
through their marriage. To learn more about the importance of marriage, visit Michigan Celebrates Marriage
Though 2015 is already in its second week (as I write this)... I continue to ponder on what a proper "resolution" would be for me this year.
I guess 2015 arrived faster than I anticipated because of the many "things" going on in my life. Isn't this the way it happens every year? Many people take longer to prepare for the end-of-year celebrations, than they do to prepare for their own end-of-life...knowing that this moment can arrive unexpectedly at any time!
So, again I ask: do you have a New Year's Resolution? What do you consider most important in your life today that will affect this year's outcome?
To me, what is most important, is to be present in every situation. To be truly present is to focus my attention on what is going on at each moment of my life. To live life with its hardships, pains and joys, being totally present (mind, body and spirit) is my resolution this year. I choose not to waste any moment in idle conversations...I'd rather be silent and present in the quiet of my heart - where the Lord reigns everyday, and waits to grow my love for all.