Building a Family of Faith

Posted on May 25, 2018 by - Everyday Stewardship

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My wife and I have used the same baptismal gown for all 3 of our children.

It is a very long traditional gown made with fabric taken from my wife’s first communion dress and my mother-in-law’s wedding gown. It is a symbol not just of each child being washed clean by the sacrament, but also of family and how faith has been passed down through generations. Faith is a gift and that gown shows how this family has taken seriously the cultivation of that faith and the sharing of it with those we love the most.

By our baptism we are called to a discipleship that compels us to share our faith with others. It is not always easy, but it would be wrong to horde that faith and not let it shine for others to see.

When we think about a stewardship way of life, we sometimes focus on material goods, our talents and skills, or our time. But faith is a gift that needs to be treated in a similar way. We are heirs with Jesus Christ to this rich tapestry of faith and the Church. If all of us were to hide that faith and not seek to share it with others, that lineage would end with us.

We live during a time in history where in some lands people are finding Jesus in huge numbers, while in other places the numbers of people in the pews is declining sharply. We can spend all our time talking about these realities or we can choose to respond to our baptismal call. Jesus commanded us to go forth and make disciples of all nations. Maybe we can begin with our neighbor.

–Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

Mystery in an Age of Fact-Finding

Posted on May 23, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Mystery in an Age of Fact-FindingFor Sunday, May 27, 2018
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
Romans 8:14-17
Matthew 28:16-20

“Do you want to cut straight to the facts?” This helpful pop-up window appeared after I’d scrolled through a handful of news articles on a major network’s website. It offered an opportunity to sign up for a morning news debrief. My immediate, internal answer was “no.” Not that I don’t find facts valuable or didn’t want to stay up-to-date with the latest news, but I wanted context. I wanted anticipated impact. I wanted the story.
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Moving in The Spirit of Pentecost

Posted on May 19, 2018 by - Everyday Stewardship

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On this Pentecost Sunday, if you come to Mass at my parish you will see a sea of red all around. The choir, the lectors, the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the people in the pews, and of course the celebrant and our deacon, will all be wearing red. We are one of those parishes that strive to reflect the color of the liturgy in our dress. It can be a sight to see.

What we put on our bodies serves only as a reminder of what is really important during these liturgical celebrations. At Pentecost, it was the Spirit of God that filled those in the first Christian community. We wear red to call to mind that very Spirit, often depicted as a fire or flame. However, if we just use red as a reminder of the power of the Spirit without letting it change us, then our actions become merely sentimental.

We are filled with the Holy Spirit through the sacraments of the Church. God touches us and enters into us in a profound way, just like in that upper room at Pentecost. That first powerful movement of the Spirit led to a Church that grew and flourished and remains alive today. What is the movement of the Spirit within calling you to do today? Do we allow God to move us and do great things through us? Red is a bold color to wear at any time. But our actions should be even bolder.

–Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

4 Tips for a Smart Summer

Posted on May 17, 2018 by - Catholic Tech Talk

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In the coming weeks, school is out, relaxing is in, and vacation is on everyone’s mind. As the school year programming winds down, the rhythm will change at your vibrant parish. The hustle and bustle of spring sacraments has peacefully subsided. Youth and children’s ministry have a few major events, but weekly sessions are at a standstill. Staff takes vacations, and the parish office might close early on Fridays. With summer right around the corner, how can your parish make the most of it?

 

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An Era of Change

Posted on May 16, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Rediscovering NatureFor Sunday, May 20, 2018
Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11
1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Gal 5:16-25
Jn 20:19-23 or Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15

It is amazing to consider how dramatically life changed for Jesus’ disciples and other followers and for witnesses of his resurrection. Pentecost brought about huge transformations: fear into courage, disbelief into belief, apathy into zeal, and maintenance into mission! Traveling outward into the world of the unfamiliar and sometimes hostile, the disciples set sail to proclaim the Good News to new people and new places. Their lives gave witness to many things, but one in particular became a huge game changer.
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Living Out the Good News

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - Everyday Stewardship

We are told in Scripture that in the early Church, as the first disciples went about preaching the Good News, their words were confirmed by “accompanying signs.”

Miracles such as healings, prophecies, and the like occurred so that others might see and believe. Jesus’ disciples now continued the ministry that Jesus had begun while he walked the earth in the flesh.
We certainly do believe that miracles still occur in our world, but few of us see amazing healings and works of wonder with our own eyes. We read of a time of frequent miracles, and we wonder what it must have been like to be there during those events. We can easily fall into the trap of seeing biblical times as something far removed from ourselves and in the distant past.
However, in the places we go and to the people we meet in this world, we are the signs. We give testimony to the power of the Good News, and we serve as living examples of God’s work in the world. When others hear about how God has changed your life and they see the evidence of a profound love that many around them do not exhibit, they can find themselves wondering what made you this way.

What made you that way is the power of Jesus Christ and that is as real now as it was 2,000 years ago.

 
–Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

Live in God’s Promise

Posted on May 9, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Rediscovering NatureFor Sunday, May 13, 2018
The Ascension of the Lord

Acts 1:1-11
Ephesians 1:17-23 or 4:1-13 or 4:1-7, 11-13
Mark 16:15-20

As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

In her novel, Gilead, Marilyn Robinson shares the story of Rev. John Ames who, looking back on a life of pastoral service, love, loss, faith, and hope, tells his young son:

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Tech Tips: Using Your Online Communications for Divine Communication

Posted on May 3, 2018 by - Catholic Tech Talk, Vibrant Parish Toolkit

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Today throughout the United States, children will gather at assemblies and flagpoles. Clergy and community leaders will come together at breakfasts, luncheons, and prayer services. May 3rd is the National Day of Prayer! The country’s attention turns to the heavens, and prayer is front and center. As a Catholic church, you know it’s your responsibility to keep the focus there long after this day is over. Eyes will drift back to computer screens and smartphones, but the opportunity is not lost! Read on to discover tech tips for using your online communications to promote divine communication!

 

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