Time With God Shouldn’t Be a Chore

Posted on March 31, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

ChoreWhen I first came to faith in Jesus Christ, I struggled to focus during my prayer, worship, or devotional time. I knew I was supposed to spend time with God, but it became more of a “punch the clock” situation rather than a vibrant, connected relationship with my Creator.

As I read more of the Bible, I encountered prophets, priests, and kings who spoke of delighting in the Lord with all their heart. That’s what I wanted. And as I encountered more and more of Jesus in the Gospels, I saw that he did anything but punch the clock with the Father — he lived out his faith in every circumstance and brought God into every situation.

LakeSo I began to seek out ways to do that, to meet God in unexpected avenues and to invite him into areas of my life where I had been unintentionally leaving him out. I still prayed. I still went to church every week. But I widened my perception of what a relationship with God could be and delighted in the ways God would show himself everywhere if I opened my eyes and my heart to receive him.

Last week, I ran across an article from Relevant Magazine that spoke exactly to this issue – how we can get to know God in unexpected avenues and transform our regular time with the Lord so that our soul is set alive.

If this is something you struggle with or know someone who does, please feel free to read and share.

Easter Sunday is Concluded…Now What?

Posted on March 29, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

EasterIt is now the quiet time… The Triduum services are completed. The Easter Vigil (the “mother” of all vigils) has been concluded for another year — to varying degrees of liturgical success in each individual parish, I am sure.

The crowds that seem to magically appear and arrive for Easter Sunday Mass have come and gone. Candidates and catechumens have been received into the Church. Easter egg hunts are wrapped up as well as family Easter gatherings. Now what?

Click here to read the full post from Word on Fire

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March 27 – Easter Sunday

Posted on March 27, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

easterSundayToday’s Acclamation

“Christ, my hope, has risen: he goes before you into Galilee,” (Easter Sunday Sequence),

Daily Lent Reflection

This medieval liturgical hymn (‘Praises to the Paschal Victim’ or ‘Easter Sequence’) may be sung before the Gospels throughout the entire Easter Octave. It is a meditation on the Alleluia verse and it contains a powerful proclamation of Christ’s resurrection, even from Mary’s viewpoint. But why Galilee when the empty tomb and all the disciples are in Jerusalem?

Galilee is where it all began: the annunciation, origins, birth, growth, hidden life, hard labour, first proclamation, first ministry, first miracles, first following, effervescent zeal. We are invited to complete the circle and start again: at home, at work, called and captivated afresh by the One who leads the Way.

Daily Lent Challenge

Today I ask where is my Galilee, the place of my first encounter with Christ? How will my Alleluia be heard today?

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

March 26 – Holy Saturday

Posted on March 26, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

holySaturdayToday’s Scripture

“Then the LORD said to Moses: …Tell the Israelites to set out.” (Exodus 14:15 ).

Daily Lent Reflection

It is night. Persecutors are pressing behind the Israelites and the sea is swelling in front of them…and yet God is saying march on. When we find ourselves in such dead ends, it is hard to believe that the original destination, glimpsed in more peaceful moments, is more than an illusion. It is a scary place to be.

It is even easy to blame God for getting us into such troubles on the first place, dismissing the voice that urges us on… And yet persistence is a hallmark of any liberating exodus. The dawn sees both problems miraculously resolved: the crossing accomplished dry-shod and the enemies drowned. But just imagine the morning scene had the Israelites decided, instead, to give up their confidence in God over that one night…

Daily Lent Challenge

Today I ask where am I heading? What helps me not to give up?

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

March 25 – Good Friday

Posted on March 25, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

goodFridayToday’s Gospel

“’I thirst,’” (John 19:28 ).

Daily Lent Reflection

As with the Samaritan woman, the Son of God is once again asking for a drink, but now from the cross. And he is offered the drink of the poor people! In those days you would not quench your thirst with water infested with bacteria or parasites, but with fermented or boiled liquids. And if you happened to be poor, you could not afford nice wine, only the sour one comparable to vinegar.

Similarly, we may feel our efforts to quench the thirst of this world for justice, love and peace are just cheap vinegar, yet Jesus does not reject it. And his work is not completed until he has tasted what we have to offer.

Daily Lent Challenge

Today I ask where do I hold back because I do not consider my contribution worthy? Where do I offer the “drink of the poor” when I could offer more?

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

I’ll Miss Joe Garagiola

Posted on March 24, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Joe GaragiolaMany tributes have gone out today for Joe Garagiola, baseball’s famed catcher and announcer, and recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame Buck O’Neil Award for his achievements off the field.

What isn’t being mentioned much is that Joe was a practicing Catholic and his contributions to those he came into contact with. He likely didn’t realize the impressions he made on people through his celebration of faith.

As a young boy growing up in Cooperstown, my brothers and I were altar servers at St. Mary’s Church. Being a Catholic – and a Polish/Irish Catholic – in Cooperstown in the 1960’s was not what you’d call “cool” by any stretch of the imagination. It was pretty routine, though, every summer to wander down to the Otesaga Hotel with our friends and scout the lobby for baseball heroes to see if they’d sign a baseball. 

These guys were superstars, and we didn’t often see famous people in our daily lives.

Joe CardOne of my earliest recollections as an altar boy was seeing Joe at Mass one Sunday morning during the summer. Here was one of our heroes, praying on his knees, in our little church. And when he received Holy Communion, I got to hold the paten under his chin. 

I was amazed to see a guy like this – who had everything – still coming to church.  What could he possibly need to pray for?

I came to realize much later in life that Joe was simply living his humble life, in the limelight, giving grace to God for his gifts, his family, and likely all of us who needed his prayers.

Today’s role models could take a cue from Joe and impress a generation. 

Thanks, Joe – you’ll be missed.

Tim Potrikus, LPi Vice President Custom Services

March 24 – Holy Thursday

Posted on March 24, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

holyThursdayToday’s Scripture

“Do this in remembrance of me,” (1Cor 11:24 ).

Daily Lent Reflection

The surprising sequence of taking, blessing, breaking and sharing of Jesus’ life was underlined by a momentous act of service: the washing of disciples’ feet! Interestingly, the only memorial worthy of Jesus is us mirroring this – taking, blessing, breaking and sharing life as it comes to us, whilst making an effort to ‘wash’ each other’s ‘feet’ – even if such acts are incomprehensible at the moment.

Daily Lent Challenge

Today I ask what will help me give thanks for everything my life includes? What parts of my life do I need to break open so I can share more generously? How am I called to ‘wash’ other people’s ‘feet’?

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

March 23 – Wednesday of Holy Week

Posted on March 23, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

godListensToday’s Scripture

“For the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains,” (Psa 69:33 ).

Daily Lent Reflection

We are all limited and needy and yet we all pretend that we are not. This learned attitude often leaks into our prayer as well. And so it is often only in times of hardship or suffering that we hit the truth of our own reality which is precisely where God is waiting to meet us! It takes courage to face our own inadequacy when we feel vulnerable – but it is the only way to establish a life-giving connection with the truth.

Daily Lent Challenge

Today I ask myself what my limitations are. What do I really need? Is this different from what I want? Where is God in all of that?

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

March 22 – Tuesday of Holy Week

Posted on March 22, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

lightOfNationsToday’s Scripture

“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth,” (Isa 49:6 ).

Daily Lent Reflection

God is fond of light. Creation includes separation of light from darkness, and our own lives are marked by the same strife. However, we often do not feel very ‘enlightening’ to those closest to us, never mind the nations! In those moments, it is good to remember this promise: “I will make you the light…’ God will do it…if we let God fan into flame that spark of divine life in us. Amazing things happen when we do: we become bearers of God’s healing, well beyond the boundaries of our tiny lives.

Daily Lent Challenge

Today I ask myself how I can allow God to work in me – and through me – even more? What is my particular mission to others?

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

March 21 – Monday of Holy Week

Posted on March 21, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

beautifulLoveToday’s Gospel

“Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil,” (John 12:3 ).

Daily Lent Reflection

This gesture can seem wasteful – extravagant and over the top. And yet, this gesture of profound generosity transforms the entire atmosphere. Something priceless is released in this wasteful act of outrageous intimacy: a beautiful scent of love and care that perfumes the whole house. Not dissimilar is Jesus pouring out his life into our (sometimes not the cleanest) existence and filling it with exquisite aroma.

Daily Lent Challenge

Today I ask myself what is my most precious commodity? Is it time, or is it something else? What stops me from ‘wasting’ it on Jesus? On others?

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark