Vacation Bible School - In EGYPT!

Do you have any travel plans this summer? Maybe going up north or to visit family out of town? Well the kids in our parish, and throughout our area, have the opportunity to go on a great trip this summer: back in time the land of Egypt in Bible times at Vacation Bible School – Egypt: Joseph's Journey from Prison to Palace!  

 

Kids will have a chance experience what it would be like to live in ancient Egypt, and meet Joseph himself and follow his journey from prison to the palace of the Pharaoh!  Along with Joseph they will  learn that God gives us everything we need. They will sing and dance to great songs, have tasty snacks, play games like an Egyptian and experience what would have been in an Egyptian marketplace with cool crafts and activities! 

 


VBS will be Monday thru Friday June 27-July 1, 9:00am -12:00 pm and held at Holy Spirit Parish, 1035 N. River Rd.  The cost is $20 per child and $50 maximum per family.  Kids in preschool thru 6th grade (in the fall) are invited to participate -  and we mean all kids, so please, invite your friends, family and neighbors! 

  

Fill out a registration form and return it to Amy, drop it off at the parish office, or drop it in the collection basket! 

Spring Faith Formation Happenings!

Faith formation has wrapped up for the year and our last few weeks were very eventful!  

 Our students with Bishop CIstone and Sr. Chris

Our students with Bishop CIstone and Sr. Chris

On April 28, two of our 2nd grade students were confirmed by Bishop Cistone at the Cathedral. In Confirmation, the second of the Sacraments of Initiation, one is filled with the presence and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In his homily, the bishop used the recent Disney movie "Inside Out" to illustrate that the Sacraments are the 'core memories' of our faith lives – the events in our lives that make us who we are as Catholics. He urged the students, and their families to remember this and stay close to the Church and the Sacraments always.  The following weekend our students completed their sacraments of initiation by receiving their First Eucharist at our Saturday and Sunday Masses. Congratulations to Ethan and Aubrey!    

 

At one of our last Wednesday faith formation classes students showed their bible knowledge by putting on plays of several different bible stories, like Jesus calling the disciples and Noah's ark. The students really enjoyed getting to dress up and perform! 

 

May 11 was the final faith formation session of the school year. As is our tradition from the past few years, we celebrated the end of a great year with a May Crowning honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. We began with a procession from the Ed Center to the backyard of the rectory where we planted flowers – some we've been growing from seeds! - around the statue of Our Lady and then crowned the statue during a small prayer service.  After that, we headed back to the ed center to celebrate with ice cream sundaes!  

 One of our youngest students crowning Mary.

One of our youngest students crowning Mary.

 

 Everyone worked together to plant and water flowers!

Everyone worked together to plant and water flowers!

 Several family members joined in our celebration and helped with the gardening. Thank you!

Several family members joined in our celebration and helped with the gardening. Thank you!

Thank you to all faith formation catechists, parents, and students whose dedication to faith formation made for an awesome year! We learned tons about Jesus, bible stories, our church, and helping others, just to name a few things! 
 
 

Catholic Apologetics

Some recent studies have shown that Catholics are the religious group the least likely to talk about their faith. We are more likely even than atheists to avoid talking about religion, and the least likely group, by far, to persuade others to change their mind about religion.  

Well, we have been working to change that here! Over the last 5 weeks a group has been meeting to learn about apologetics. No, not how to apologize for their faith, but rather how to explain it! According to Catholic Encyclopedia, apologetics is the theological science which has for its purpose the explanation and defense of the Christian religion. Basically, it means to know your faith well enough, in some key areas, that you can easily discus it with others.  

We know we are called to spread the Gospel. However, it is pretty common for Catholics to feel unsure when talking about their faith. Learning more can give one more confidence to answer questions friends or family may pose and or speak up when the discussion turns to religion.    

In the last few weeks, we mainly covered questions that are commonly asked of Catholics by those from Evangelical Protestants communities or those who might be skeptical about God and religion in general. We talked about things like the Bible and Tradition, how the Church is set up and it's teaching authority, our beliefs about Mary and the saints, and what makes the Mass different from non-Catholic worship services. These sessions included presentation and discussion, some research in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as various videos. You can check out some of them below! 

When was the word "Catholic" first used? 

The Rock of St. Peter 

Sophia SketchPad: The Eucharist 

Aren't All Churches the Same? 

Adult Faith Formation will begin again in the fall – watch the bulletin for what's happening! 

 

Happy Easter!

I know, I know, Easter was almost a month ago. But us Catholics can never just celebrate things for a day – we have the whole Easter Season to celebrate!  

On Easter and during this season we hear the Good News that Christ is risen from the dead. We hear how the women going to the tomb found it empty and returned to tell the apostles the news, and how the apostles, in turn eventually spread this news throughout the world. We know it's not just any news, but the Good News, thebest news – the message of the Gospel.   

While we are still celebrating, I wanted to let you know about the great group of kids we welcomed into the Church this Easter! 

At the Easter Vigil five young ladies were fully initiated into the Catholic Church with the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Four younger children were baptized also and two young men were Confirmed and received Eucharist for the first time as well. 

This is good news, too! 

It is the most fundamental mission of the Church to spread the Gospel and welcome people into a relationship with Christ and the family of God through baptism, and strengthen these bonds with the other Sacraments of Initiation. When our parish celebrates these occasions we are not simply observing another's happy milestone. Rather, our community is witnessing an accomplishment in our mission as Church! And even more, we are witnessing the action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people entering the Church and through it reminded that the Spirit is still active in our parish and our personal lives, too. 

So, as we keep in mind the joy of the Easter Season, be sure to welcome and congratulate Nadia, Aliyana, Raven, Elicia, Cheyenne, Gabeiela, Jaedynn, Olivia, Julian, Raymond, and James! 

These new Catholics are excited and happy to be part of our parish; we can encourage them and help them to learn and grow in Christ –and that’s all very good news.

The Pope, Congress, and Monday Night at St. John Paul II

The Pope was here! 

If you turned on the news at all last week, you know that Pope Francis was visiting the US, in a whirlwind trip to Washington DC, New York City, and finally Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. Pope Francis, through his addresses, homilies, and actions in our country has offered us a lot to reflect on - a message of hope, mercy, love, and the vital role of families, and a beautiful example for all Catholics and all Americans.  

One address the Pope gave was to none other than a joint session of the US Congress on Thursday morning. It was an epic address as you can watch for yourself here: 

 

In it he lays out some ideals for our nation using four great Americans as examples. Two we know well, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the other two, probably less so: Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. 

These two were both Catholics and both lived during the 20th century. Pope Francis sees them as good examples for us all, and many others in the church consider them each to have been very holy individuals, though they did very different things in their lives. Merton was a contemplative monk in Kentucky and Day was a social justice activist, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. They have two important things in common however. 

Both believed in the "Universal Call to Holiness."  This is the idea that all Catholics, regardless of their state in life, are called to be holy, to become saints. It is not a goal only for priests or nuns to be holy, but for all people in the church. Beyond just believing in this ideal though, both strove for it intently and helped and encouraged others to do the same.  

Secondly, both understood the difficulty of the ideal and are credible (and maybe relate-able!) witnesses to the struggle for holiness since they did not live their whole lives as "good Catholics." Early in life Thomas Merton was something of a playboy and an intellectual atheist. Dorothy Day was a Communist and had a child out of wedlock. Both only turned their lives around after great conversion experiences and entering the Catholic Church.

Inspiring as this may be, why is this relevant to us now? That's where Monday night comes in! September 28 our fall adult faith formation session begins and it's all about how we are all called to be saints, and how we can actually do it. The program is called Untold Blessings and is a video series presented by Bishop Robert Barron.  The program description states:

"Our ultimate goal is to be a saint. It is our greatest calling and what is desired for us by our Creator.

Bishop Robert Barron paints a beautiful and mysterious image of what it takes to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He lays out three intriguing paths to holiness: 

1. Finding the Center 
2. Knowing You’re A Sinner 
3. Realizing Your Life is Not About You 

He also shares practical approaches to enhance the journey along these three paths."   

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So, really, one of Pope Francis' messages was that you should join us Mondays at 7:00 pm  at the Parish Office Center to learn how to live out this Call to Holiness and become a saint! 

It starts this week, but feel free to come next week if you can't make it right away. Call the office (755-0828) if you have any questions!

 

(Bishop Barron is also a big fan of Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day. You can bet they will make an appearance in this series, too!)