Re-Think Your Christmas Parking Lot

Posted on December 18, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

christmas parking lot

Christmas is a week away! As Catholic churches around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we remember that “the regulars” – Mary and Joseph – were not alone that Christmas night. While there was no room in the inn, there was space in the stable to welcome the shepherds.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Midnight Mass…tis the season for fuller pews. How can your parish best handle the influx and prepare an inviting celebration for all?

(more…)

Third Monday of Advent

Posted on December 18, 2017 by - Advent Reflections

third monday of advent

Readings
Jeremiah 23:5-8
Matthew 1:18-25

I love watching my daughter on the stage. She loves to act and drama has become her thing in school. She gets anxious before she goes on stage, but I wouldn’t say she is scared. She knows that God has given her a gift and will assist her in using it. I don’t think I am being biased to say I think she is pretty talented, but it’s okay if I am. She is a gift of God to me and watching her use her gifts makes me so happy that my judgment could be a little off. However, just a little.

(more…)

Third Sunday of Advent

Posted on December 17, 2017 by - Advent Reflections

third sunday of advent

Readings
Isaiah 61:1-2A, 10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

As Christians, we are called to a life of prayer. This is not just during seasons like Advent, but all year long. When we talk about being prayerful everyday stewards, we are speaking about cultivating an awareness of God being with us at all times. Each day we begin by offering God the entirety of our day. Each night we rest in him and hope that the hours that passed gave him glory.

(more…)

Second Saturday of Advent

Posted on December 16, 2017 by - Advent Reflections

second saturday of advent

Readings
Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Matthew 17:9a, 10-13

Prophets exist in every age. They are important in reminding us what really matters in life and how God is calling us all to life in Him. In simpler terms, we serve as prophets to one another, reminding each other about God’s love for us and his desire for a relationship with us. The Body of Christ functions best when we are willing to be held accountable for our actions and then support one another when we falter. Also, there are times when someone in need can benefit by a reminder that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves them.

(more…)

Second Friday of Advent

Posted on December 15, 2017 by - Advent Reflections

second friday of advent

Readings
Isaiah 48:17-19
Matthew 11:16-19

When you are a parent of teenagers, you pray that they will have integrity in all aspects of their lives: school, friends, work, and family. It is easy to say you are something or believe in something and then turn around and act in a manner contrary to that testimony. I remember one of my sons asking me about a covenant he was going to sign for something school-related. He asked, “How seriously do you think they take this?” I responded, “What matters is, how serious will you take it?”

(more…)

Leveraging Technology for Mission in the Catholic Church

Posted on December 14, 2017 by - Catholic Tech Talk

technology

This is a guest post from Fr. Nathan March, pastor of Parish of the Holy Savior in Mexico, ME.

I’ve always been sort of a paradox. Before becoming a priest, I studied Electrical Engineering and worked for about 5 years designing computer chips for companies like Texas Instruments and Motorola. As an engineer, when all my co-workers were rebuilding the pre-amp stage of their home stereo system, I was on a silent retreat in a monastery. In seminary studying to be a priest, while my classmates were visiting the monasteries I was installing Linux on my PC and writing a program to translate my Latin homework. In my life, technology and religion have always been integrated.

(more…)

Second Thursday of Advent

Posted on December 14, 2017 by - Advent Reflections

second thursday of advent

Readings
Isaiah 41:13-20
Matthew 11:11-15

People everywhere are getting caught up in the trappings of the season. You may have up your Christmas tree, a wreath on the door, and some stockings hung by a fireplace. If you haven’t gotten to all that yet, perhaps you have an Advent wreath on your table or you are halfway through the chocolate in your Advent calendar. All of this exists, or at least should exist, to give witness to the reality of Jesus being born over 2,000 years ago. We can discuss how secular the season has become, but there is no argument that, without Jesus, there is no season as we know it.

(more…)

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Posted on December 13, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Jesu, Joy of Man’s DesiringFor Sunday, December 17, 2017
Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 60:1-2A, 10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

No other season of the year has inspired as much music as the Christmas season has. From Thanksgiving Day on, travelers and shoppers are serenaded with carols both new and old in shopping centers, airports and restaurants. Many radio stations dedicate 24 hours of programming to Christmas music.

This loop of Christmas music includes not only classic holiday favorites such as Bing Crosby’s I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas or Burl Ives’ Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, but to more contemporary songs such as Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You and Wham’s Last Christmas. And younger musicians continue to release new holiday albums in hopes of scoring the next Christmas classic.
(more…)

Second Wednesday of Advent

Posted on December 13, 2017 by - Advent Reflections

second wednesday of adventReadings
Isaiah 40:25-31
Matthew 11:28-30

We are about halfway through Advent and it is a good time to pause to reflect on how it is going. Let’s use the 6 characteristics of Everyday Stewardship as lenses to help us see how it is going. Let’s take a look on the feast of St. Lucy. (If you don’t understand the allusions to sight in the previous sentences, time to Google St. Lucy!)

(more…)

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Posted on December 12, 2017 by - Advent Reflections

our lady of guadalupe

Readings
Zechariah 2:14-17 or Revelation 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB
Luke 1:26-36

In 1531, Our Lady appeared to a simple Aztec Indian who had converted to the Catholic faith, Juan Diego. Three days later, at Juan Diego’s request, Mary provided a sign in the form of roses and an image on his cloak so that all would believe that what he claimed to have seen was true. Today, Christians revere Our Lady of Guadalupe all throughout the world.

(more…)