Friday, September 30, 2016

September 29: How We Celebrated Michaelmas/Feast of the Archangels



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September 29 is the Feast of the Archangels, or Michaelmas.   The Archangels are Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael. We started celebrating this special feast day last year and I'm still learning more about it! What is Michaelmas? I'll let Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas answer that here.


Like last year, we celebrated this feast with readings, food and a craft.

In the morning I set up our kitchen table with books, statues and the symbolic food we were going to eat for the day.

The book on the stand is Saints and Angels, then on the left is An Alphabet of Angels.  The book that is opened is Treasure Box book #18 and then on the far right is Angels for Kids that I recently won from Catholic Child on Catholic Child's Facebook pageAngels for Kids has a chapter titled "The Archangels" which gives interesting information about each of the Archangels.


Right after breakfast we made an Archangel craft while I read from our book collection.  I printed off  free Archangel printables at Catholic Sistas. We turned the printables into "stained glass" projects using tissue paper scraps. We then tied the prayers to each Archangel and then I typed out what each name meant.  Here are photos from our project.


Since we had a busy evening with my son's homeschool soccer game and my daughter's gymnastics class, we had an "angelic" lunch, not dinner. On the menu we had angel hair pasta with alfredo sauce and angel food cake with "clouds" (homemade whipped cream) and blackberries.  Blackberries are symbolic of Michaelmas as explained with this recipe for Michaelmas Blackberry Cobbler at Catholic Cuisine.


I printed the Archangel printable on our cake from Happy Saints and saved it from last year's celebration.

I found this graphic on Catholic Link's Facebook page which I think is beautiful!


If you would like to see more ways to celebrate the feast of the Archangels be sure to visit:

Peanut Butter and Grace's post titled 7 Ways to Celebrate the Feast of the Angels.

Catholic Mommy Blogs posted other  ways to incorporate the Feast of the Archangels into your meal.

Catholic Icing posted Celebrate Michaelmas-St. Michael and all the Archangels! with a list of fun ideas.

Saintly Seasons has 2016 Catholic Children's Calendar Coloring Book that includes a page of the Archangels.

Life, Love & Sacred Heart has a free St. Michael the Archangel printable prayer card.

A PRAYER TO
SAINT MICHAEL, GABRIEL AND RAPHAEL, ARCHANGELS



Heavenly King, You have given us archangels 
to assist us during our pilgrimage on earth. 
Saint Michael is our protector; 
I ask him to come to my aid, 
fight for all my loved ones, 
and protect us from danger. 
Saint Gabriel is a messenger of the Good News; 
I ask him to help me 
clearly hear Your voice 
and to teach me the truth. 
Saint Raphael is the healing angel; 
I ask him to take my need for healing 
and that of everyone I know, 
lift it up to Your throne of grace 
and deliver back to us the gift of recovery. 
Help us, O Lord, 
to realize more fully the reality of the archangels 
and their desire to serve us. 

Holy angels, 
pray for us. 

Amen. 

In October there are several feast days that can be celebrated.  Here are some we have celebrated in the past.

Coming up is:

October 1 (St. Therese of Lisieux)
October 2 (Guardian Angels)
October 4 (St. Francis of Assisi)
October 7 (Our Lady of the Rosary)
October 13 (Our Lady of Fatima)
October 22 (St. John Paul II)








Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Defend Life Lesson From Culture of Life Studies Program


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October is annually observed as Respect Life Month in Catholic Churches across the United States.

Of course, this does not mean that October is the only month to defend life.  Respecting all life, from conception to natural death, is imperative and necessary each and every day, no matter the calendar month.  We are blessed that there are wonderful ministries such as Life Chain Sunday, Priests for Life, 40 Days for Life and Culture of Life Studies Program that bring to light the beauty and dignity of each human life so that truth can be taught to thwart the lies and deceit of the "culture of death".

I was first introduced to the Culture of Life Studies Program from fellow bloggers.

So what is American Life League's Culture of Life Studies Program?

"With our culture waging open war against marriage, the family, preborn children, and the disabled, there has never been a greater need for an educational program that teaches students the truth about the value of all human beings, the sacredness of the sacrament of marriage, and the necessity of the family as the building block of society. American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program strives to build a culture of life by helping students to understand the value of every human being and by inspiring a new generation of young people who will defend preborn children, respect all human beings from creation to death, and speak the truth with confidence in defense of the innocent."

Last year my family and I enjoyed doing a "Ladybug Warriors" lesson as part of Culture of Life Studies Program.

Since October, Respect Life Month, is about here my children and I worked on another lesson titled The Beauty of the Developing Human Being: A Defend Life Lesson for Grades 7-8 this past week.  I was given this program in exchange for this review. Though the target age is Grades 7-8, I was able to adapt this lesson for my younger and older children so everyone of all ages can learn something valuable.

As a homeschool mom, I really liked how easy it was to teach this program and it's flexible enough to implement as much or as little as you want in a homeschool or traditional classroom setting.  The lessons can be spread out over four days (or four 50-minute class periods) to complete. We completed the poster activity in four days and we plan on continuing to use the links and many resources contained in the Instructor Guide throughout the month of October.

Each lesson has a warm-up activity which includes brief discussion questions, lecture and discussion with links to worksheets that students can fill out and then there is an activity for reinforcement which has printables of the different stages of life from conception to birth.  We have a family friend who is 6 weeks pregnant so this lesson was very relevant for our family and it was great to be able to discuss how the preborn baby grows and develops inside the womb of our family friend.  

Here are some photos of our family enjoying this beautiful, pro-life lesson:

I placed these posters in page protectors and placed them in the binder where I have the Instructor Guide.  That way, my children can always reference this lesson, their artwork and the wealth of information this program provides.

I extended the lesson and I showed my children the model of a 11-12 week old preborn baby with information about the baby's development.


Did you know that on Week 4 the baby's heart has begun to beat and eyes, ears and lungs begin to form?

Did you know on Week 8 every organ is present, but immature. The baby begins spontaneous movement and is the size of a thumb?

Did you know on Week 12 the baby frequently touches his face with his newly formed hands?

Do you know how wonderfully made you are and God knit you in your mother's womb? (Psalm 139)

We also read a few books about the beautiful miracle of life this week: 

The Miracle of Me 
Angel in the Waters
On the Night You Were Born


Here is an inside peek at Angel in the Waters (which is also a great break to read for the Feast Day of the Guardian Angels celebrated on October 2).


The Beauty of the Developing Human Being Defend Life Lesson created by Culture of Life Studies Progam is a meaningful and wonderful way to teach children in a homeschool or classroom setting the beauty and wonder of each unborn child and how loving and defending life brings much joy, peace and hope!

I have a Pinterest Pro-Life board called "L.I.F.E. = Life Is For Everyone" that I created awhile ago, where I have been collecting pro-life posts.  Please check it out and repin away to help spread the message of life to all the world!

Prayer to End Abortion
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!


I'll close with another prayer from Day 1 in the Instructor Guide:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of life. 
Help us to always treasure the sacredness of every human being's life. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 
Amen. 




Saturday, September 24, 2016

September 21: Feast Day of Saint Matthew



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On September 21, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Matthew.  Saint Matthew was a tax collector who was not liked by many and his fellow Jews were shocked to see Jesus calling Saint Matthew to follow Him.

Compared to other feast day celebrations that we have enjoyed, St. Matthew's feast day was very simple, but I hope meaningful and memorable for my children.

In the morning during our Couch Catechism time before we started our homeschool day, I read about St. Matthew from the Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, Vol. 2: July-December.

I LOVE this book so much and have learned so much about the Saints lives along with my children!  Seriously, it is the best kid-friendly Saint book that I have found so far and we have been reading from Vol. One or Vol. Two daily for several years now.

We also read about St. Matthew from the book Saints and Angels: Popular Stories of Familiar Saints.


While I was reading from the Saints and Angels book, my children had some chocolate coins that I bought at the party store 15 for $1.  I also placed the Saint Matthew peg doll on the table that I received at the Saint peg doll exchange that I participated in November 2015.


Easy, fun and frugal feast day celebration!

St. Matthew, pray for us!
 
Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 15: Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows


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Today, September 15, is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.  What is the devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady?

I'll let CatholicCulture.org explain about this memorial:

"This feast is dedicated to the spiritual martyrdom of Mary, Mother of God, and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son, Jesus. In her suffering as co-redeemer, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance. May the numerous tears of the Mother of God be conducive to our salvation; with which tears Thou, O God, art able to wash away the sins of the whole world.
As Mary stood at the foot of the Cross on which Jesus hung, the sword of sorrow Simeon had foretold pierced her soul. Below are the seven sorrows of Mary:"
  1. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
  2. The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
  3. Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
  4. Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
  5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
  6. The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
  7. The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
There is so much to ponder when thinking about the grief and sorrow our Blessed Mother endured while being a mother to Jesus. We can look to Mary to show us how to endure suffering with great faith, hope and love. I enjoyed reading the Blessed Is She devotion for today's Mass readings.

For the first time last year, we did the Seven Sorrows of Mary Activity for Children from Catholic All Year.  We did this same activity today and it was a blessing to spend time with my children reading about the Seven Sorrows of Mary.


We first read from the book, Mary: The Mother of Jesus, (that is opened in above photo).  There was a page about Mary's sorrow.


Then using the Catholic All Year printable (that I laminated last year), we read each of the Seven Sorrows and the scripture that went with each one. After each one, my children ate one lemon candy that was sour-ish.  (Note to self: next year I think I'll use sour Skittles because my children said they are more sour than Lemonheads.)


I really like the ideas that Martianne had for the Seven Sorrows of Mary explained on her Plans to Honor Our Lady of Sorrows through Art, Music, and a Poet-Tea.  I enjoyed telling my children from her post that "the Sorrows of Mary have inspired many poems and songs through the years, perhaps the most famous of which the Stabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping), a 13th century hymn, which has been revised a number of times and which the children may be most familiar from the Lenten season.  One version of the hymn was composed by someone we've already studied a bit about - a Baroque composer who the children might remember as a red-haired priest.  Vivaldi!"

We listened to a few minutes of  Antonio Vivaldi "Stabat mater, RV 621" 



I also enjoyed reading Fr. Steve Grunow reflection on the Seven Sorrows of Mary as he explains how it dramatically displays the Incarnation in Why Our Lady of Sorrows? 


 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September 14: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: Simple Paint Project



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This morning during our Couch Catechism time before we started our homeschool day, we read about today's feast day, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the finding of the Cross on which Jesus died.  We read from my favorite daily Saint book for children (and adults), Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, Vol. 2 (July-December).  During the months of January through June, we read from Saints for Younger Readers for Every Day, Vol. 1.

Today I read the post, 10 Quotes to Help You Meditate on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, with my children.  There are beautiful quotes from Sacred Scripture and holy Saints.

I wanted to do a quick activity to celebrate this feast day and I was happy to see Jen's post Exaltation of the Holy Cross that had a brief explanation about this feast day and directions for a simple, yet beautiful paint project!  So I thought I would give it a try with my crew!  My 3 year old spent the most time on her project and she was very focused and happy about her creation.


I used the following supplies:
* White cardstock paper
* Washable paints (I used Crayola Washable Paints)
* Foam brushes
* Blue painter's tape

Here are some photos of the project which are in order of the steps...


1) After you gather your supplies, make a cross with the blue tape on the white cardstock paper.
2) Then use foam brushes to paint over the tape and white space. 

3) Let paint dry, then peel off the cross carefully.  (Some of the tape tore small sections of the paper, but they still turned out nicely, I think)

4) Happy (and one serious) artists with their crosses...

"We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world."



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 8: Happy Birthday to Mary, our Blessed Mother!



Last week on September 8, our family and homeschool group celebrated the Nativity of our Blessed Mother, or Mary's birthday!  We don't actually know the exact date of Mary's birthday, but September 8 was chosen by the Church as her birthday because 9 months prior on December 8, the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Mary was conceived without Original Sin.

As we have done for several years now, we celebrate Mary's birthday with a doughnut rosary which is eaten after we say a decade of the rosary and sing "Happy Birthday to Mary".  A friend also brought some blue cupcakes to represent the "Our Father" prayers on top of the doughnuts.  Several families met at a local park this year for the celebration after we attended daily Mass.


In years' past our homeschool group made our edible rosaries for this celebration out of small and large cupcakes as in 2009:

 



It was in 2011 that our homeschool group started using doughnuts for Mary's birthday celebration and we have been keeping this tradition going because it's so simple, fun, meaningful and memorable! 

 

This was our 2012 doughnut rosary:


 In 2013 our homeschool group moms got fancy and had birthday cakes for Mary too! 

 


Here are a few Marian posts I found that I thought were helpful and insightful and were worth sharing: 


And I love this list of the 26 Names of Mary with explanations that are used in the Litany of Mary, a powerful prayer written in the Middle Ages. 

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us! 


Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Has Passed? Remembering 9.11.01 with Memories, Photos, Books and BOATLIFT


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I've posted my memories of 9.11.01 about what I was doing on that shocking, sad, overwhelming and tragic day in our history.  It's hard to believe it has been 15 years since 9.11.01.


I plan to read again the book, The Little Chapel That Stood, to my 5 children.  It has become our annual tradition to remember 9.11.  It is a beautifully written and illustrated book that I highly recommend for anyone with young children.  Here is the product description from Amazon:

Product Description

St. Paul's Chapel, dwarfed by the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center right across the street, stood strong after the "giants around it had come to a fall" in 9-11. Not a pane of glass had been broken. On 9-11 St.Pauls became a service dept immediately. Firemen hung their shoes on the old iron fence as they "pulled on their boots and raced to the Towers, climbing melting steel to flaming showers. Oh, what gallant men did we lose who never came back to get their shoes."
This historic chapel was built in 1766. When George Washington was inaugurated the first president in New York City, he walked down Broadway to St. Paul's to offer his prayers for the new nation. Alexander Hamilton lies buried in the churchyard nearby.

Inside the book cover I have these two pictures taped that were taken when my boyfriend, now husband, went to New York to visit my grandparents in August 1993.   My grandparents lived in Bronx, NY, but Anthony and I went into the city and made it up to the top of the Twin Towers.
   


Who knew that 8 years later on 9.11.01 these pictures would give me such a strange and sad feeling??  And that 23 years later I would be showing my children these photos with such a heavy heart? 




Here are a few more books that I haven't purchased (yet), but they look like they would be good to read to my family.

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman

September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right  by Masterson Elementary Students

The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story by Cheryl Somers Aubin

America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell (Actual Times) by Don Brown 

You might have seen this "BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience" video on the internet or social media already, but these 12 minutes are worth watching for the first time or again.



                        
We remember and pray today for all the lives that were lost on 9/11 in the air and on the ground in NY, PA, and at the Pentagon.  We especially remember and pray for the victim's families and friends whose lives have been directly affected and have never been the same.  I can't imagine how so many must feel....

I  found this "Where was My God on 911? on the The Drew Mariani Show Facebook page that K.S. submitted in the comments. Thanks for sharing this K.S.! I've never seen it before now and it says so much! 


Where was My God on 911?...........
How many of us have heard that question "Where was your GOD when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was attacked?" Well I know where my GOD was the morning of September 11, 2001, and He was very busy!
He was trying to discourage anyone from taking these flights. Those four flights together held over 1000 passengers and there were only 266 aboard.
He was on 4 commercial flights giving terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the family members who were called by a loved one on one of the hijacked planes said that passengers were screaming in the background. On one of the flights he was giving strength to passengers to try to overtake the hijackers.
He was busy trying to create obstacles for employees at the World Trade Center. After all, only around 20,000 were at the towers when the first jet hit. Since the buildings held over 50,000 workers, this was a Miracle in itself. How many of the people who were employed at the World Trade Center told the media that they were late for work or they had traffic delays.
He was holding up 2-110 story buildings so that 2/3 of the workers could get out. I was so amazed that the top of the towers didn't topple when the jets impacted. And when they did fall, they fell inward. GOD didn't allow them to topple over, as many more lives would have been lost.
And when the buildings went down, my GOD picked up almost 6,000 of his children and carried them home with him. Reassuring his frighten children that the worst was over and the best was yet to come.
He sat down and cried that 19 of His "misguided" children [terrorists] could have some much hate in their hearts. That they didn't choose Him, but another god that doesn't exist, and now they are lost forever.
He sent his children that are best trained for this disaster and had them save the few that were still alive, but unable to help themselves. And then sent many others to help in anyway they were needed.
He still isn't finished though, he held the love ones that were left behind in his arms. He comforts them daily. His other children are given the strength to reach out to them and help them in any way they can.
And I believe he will continue to help us in what is to come. He will give the people in charge of this great nation the strength and the wisdom to do the right thing. He would never leave us in our time of need.
So when anyone asks, "Where was your GOD on September 11", you can say "everywhere"! And yes, although this is without a doubt the worst thing I have seen in my life, I see God's miracles in every bit of it. I keep praying for those who don't believe in GOD, every chance I have. I can't imagine going through such a difficult time and not believing in GOD...
Life would be hopeless.
[Author Unknown]



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