Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Immaculate Conception and God's Presence


Hail Mary, full of grace!
the Lord is with you
...
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus!
Holy Mary, mother of God,
Pray for us
now and at the hour of death. Amen!

Monday, November 30, 2015

How will we prepare the way...?

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!!!
 
Happy Advent! 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"The Merciful Family" Student Contest during the Jubilee of Mercy

From September 15, 2015  to February 15, 2016

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:
- Contest Bilingual Flyer

Send in entries between September 15, 2015 and February 15, 2016 to be eligible for a number of great prizes.

Mail to: National Student Contest, Diocese of Kalamazoo,
215 N. Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Questions? visit the Diocese of Kalamazoo website link here:
the-merciful-family-student-contest

Friday, August 28, 2015

Like Mother...like son...

Today, we celebrate a man who became a saint as his mother's prayers never ceased for his conversion.

St. Monica (who we celebrated yesterday) prayed incessantly for the conversion of her son, (St.) Augustine.
In God's time, he did turn his life around, and became a powerful witness to the good.

Like mother...like son... Two saints in heaven who can intercede for us on earth!!!

St. Augustine and St. Monica...Pray for us! Amen!

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Family Fully Alive in Faith

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).
God bless our domestic churches!
 
 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Celebrate and reverence God's vision of human sexuality

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).
To find out more:
 

-          Visit the Diocese of Kalamazoo website here: http://www.diokzoo.org/natural-family-planning


"Celebrate and reverence God's vision of human sexuality."
Discover Natural Family Planning

Friday, June 26, 2015

Statement from Michigan's Catholic Bishops

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

http://www.micatholic.org/advocacy/news-room/news-releases/2015/bishops-respond-to-decision-to-redefine-marriage/

Friday, June 19, 2015

How great thou art!


O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Refrain
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:
Refrain
And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
Refrain
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Diocese of Kalamazoo announces student contest winners

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
 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Marriage Gives Strength to Handle Life’s Changes


 
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
 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Do you have a New Year's Resolution?

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. 

For Your Marriage - Por Tu Matrimonio

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