Flooding

What suffering the waters can cause, especially to the poor.  The family who lost a father when, while working to rescue a stranded motorist below, the bridge he was on with his tractor collapsed.  While so sad for that family, God will surely receive that man with joy as he gave his life for another, and in that  screams the words of the Gospel.  God’s gift to us this Lent of His Son for our sake also comes to life in the death of that good farmer.

Another scene brought me to an aspect of the rescue missions which I don’t consider often.  One of our Sisters, whose family lives up north, has a brother who is on the volunteer rescue crew.  A day after an area had been evacuated, the crew headed back into the flood waters in a boat to rescue a man and his 85-year-old mother.  After completing the unpredictable rescue (have you navigated a boat through terrain made for cars and trucks all covered in water?) he commented that the men on that rescue trip were fathers to eleven children.  Her brother wasn’t real pleased with the challenges caused by the pair’s refusal to evacuate when the call was made that they needed to go.  I could see myself in that initial reluctance to leave.  I see more fully, it is not just about me.  May those men be blessed for their selfless efforts to assist those in crisis.

The Jones’, who have children in our school, have two Raising Canes stores, one in Norfolk and one in Fremont. Both were inaccessible and were on an “island”, though not flooded themselves. They served and provided food gratis to the National Guard, First Responders, rescue workers and shelters until they ran out of food at the Fremont store Monday. They are collecting emergency relief supplies at all their locations for the Salvation Army which will use the goods here in Nebraska. They also have a fund raiser tonight from 5 pm to 9 pm at all locations, 15% of proceeds go to the flood victims. From the Fremont store they had seven employees who were evacuated from their homes with flood damage to two.

The final vignette:  one of our Sister’s extended family has an illustration of the surpassing dignity of the human person.  It requires a bit of backstory.  They owned a lot on a sand pit lake where they wanted to build a garage to keep their “water toys.”  A bedroom and kitchen in the loft seemed wise so an overnight stay might be possible, and it gave a spot to shower after the fun…well, as plans proceeded, finally the dad said, “Hey, wait a minute, the house keeps getting bigger and my garage smaller!”  Anyway they have a beautiful home there now that they and their many grandchildren enjoy regularly.  A week ago I heard the water was at the threshold…then…the baby was born whom their son and his wife hope to adopt after years of being childless.  In the last week, we have had many updates on the baby, requests for prayers or the little guy, his birth mom and his parents…not a word about the water at the threshold.  At the threshold of life, property doesn’t matter nearly as much.

The Holy Spirit is flooding our souls with grace this Lent.  Lord, help me to receive well all the grace my little soul can handle, and help those who are suffering with a flood of Your grace as well.

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Lenten Children

What does Jesus want from His children during Lent?  The answer is actually the same for any season of the year:  our love!  Jesus delights in us and any means that we take to draw closer to Him is welcomed and blessed.  This includes ways that we love Him as God as well as loving Him in our neighbor.

Some beautiful Lenten practices in our classrooms are helping the children, and their teachers, draw closer to Jesus this Lent.

WIN_20190311_10_04_13_ProFirst graders in Mrs. Nealon’s and Mrs. Kanost’s classes are excited to write positive notes to one another.  Each child has a special box on their desk to receive the notes.  They have a checklist with everyone’s name on it.  Each week, they make sure that they have written a note to every other child in the class.  But, they have to wait until Friday to read them!  They are learning the virtue of patience as well as how to find the good in one another and build each other up.

Third graders in Mrs. Svoboda’s class are doing a practice called, “For You, Jesus.”  They have a classroom jar with special practices in it.  Each day, they pull out a strip of paper and offer together that sacrifice, prayer or kind deed.  Purple strips = sacrifices (fasting), white strips = prayers and gray strips = kind deeds (almsgiving).  This is helping them to support one another as well as helping them to be accountable for their practices.

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IMG_3650Preschoolers are filling in a bean jar.  Whenever Mrs. Moser or Mrs. Schnabel hear kind words or see unselfish or generous acts they put a brown bean into the jar.  At Easter the brown beans will “resurrect” and become jelly beans for the students to enjoy!

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Students in 4th, 5th and 6th grade are choosing to kneel when they pray in the classroom throughout their day.  In addition, some classrooms have chosen practices like silent lunch one day a week, not complaining about homework, praying Stations of the Cross as a class, praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet and making a visit to Jesus in church after recess.

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Kindergartners are sacrificing, thinking of others first and being kind, thus building a crown of thorns for Jesus.   By showing their love for Him they are reflecting on how He carried the cross for us and wore His crown of thorns out of love.

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Students in 4th and 8th grades are also taking time each week to reflect on Bible passages, journal and discuss Lenten topics.

It’s beautiful to see the many creative ways teachers and students are using this time of Lent to grow in faith and love.  I pray you and your families are finding this Lent fruitful as well!  God bless you!

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Ashes

Reminders that there is more to life than what we have here, good though it is!

I especially love ashes on the little ones.  They provide such a poignant reminder that even though life is still fresh and new in them, there is more to come in the next life, much more.

Do you have your resolutions solidified?  Bravo if you do, if not, may I share a few ideas.  They are not mine, at least not all of them.  You sure wouldn’t want to pick too many of them, but there are some with potential for grace.  Do any seem good for you?  I’ll sprinkle a some pictures of our beloved children along with a few of their teachers in the midst of suggestions to soften the blow!

Before we move on to the list, let me close with a question a little girl asked years ago.  She was considering some of the big sacrifices she heard adults talking about, and she said, “Sister, is there anything too little that I would do that God wouldn’t care about, because I’m just a kid and I can’t do big things.”

“No, beloved daughter of our Father, nothing is too small.  He cares about everything,” now, if I could just listen to myself.

1. Go to Mass every day.

2. Pray the Rosary every day.

3. Go to Confession every Friday or once a week.

4. Pray the Family Rosary every day or once a week.

5. Pray in silence 20 minutes a day.

6. Make a Eucharistic visit every day.

7. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (at 3:00 PM) every day.

8. Fast on bread and water once a week.   

9. Read a spiritual book.

10. Tithe to your local parish.

11. Give a donation to charity instead of buying something for you.

12. Get out of bed right away in the morning and pray “Jesus, I love you!” in the first waking seconds of the day.

13. Listen to Catholic CDs.

14. Do something major to improve your marriage.

15. Volunteer: at your child’s school, homeless shelter

16. Visit a home for the elderly.

17. Read a Gospel or all four Gospels.

18. Memorize ten favorite Bible verses.

19.  Take a holy hour in your parish. 

20. Share a holy book with a friend.

21.  Do an act of kindness for another at home or at work each day. 

22. Give up something you absolutely love, crave, or spend time on, or that annoys the people you love, including:

o   your cellphone (or, texting, shopping online, Face-book, etc. online)

o   television or your favorite television show

o   television before a certain hour

o   television AFTER a certain hour

o   coffee (yes, coffee)

o   caffeine in any form

o   diet soda

o   donuts

o   hamburgers

o   pizza (yes, pizza)

o   chocolate

o   anything with chocolate flavor

o   all snacks or desserts

o   movies, Netflix, movie rentals

o   the Internet

o   March Madness

o   following your favorite sports team

o   video games

o   celebrity magazines

o   golf (an objectively grave moral evil) (only kidding)

o   booze (yes, booze)

o   watching golf on TV

o   a destructive, irresistible “friendship”

o   doubt that some very small goodness matters, it does!

o   foul language

o   picking your nose

o   not grooming properly

o   sports radio

o   satellite radio

o   music radio

o   talk radio

o   restaurants

o   eating lunch outside of work

o   driving when you could walk

o   sleeping in late on the weekends

o   hitting the Snooze Button in the morning

o   fast food drive-throughs

o   shopping for clothes or food

o   soap operas

o   working on cars

o   working in your shop

o   fishing, hunting, four-wheeling, skateboarding

o   some of your “alone” time doing any hobby

o   your absolute favorite, passionate hobby (aha, you just fainted!)

o   nagging your husband (you know who you are)

o   criticizing your wife (she knows who you are)

o   interrupting others

o   knitting, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku

o   knitting? (you addicts understand)

o   cigarettes

o   cigars, gum, and “phony candy” breath mints

o   cookies

o   chips

o   cellphone calls in your car on the drive home

o   Bluetooth headset (more difficult than you think)

o   fantasy football, basketball, or baseball

o   ice cream

o   betting on March Madness

o   gossiping at work—say something nice instead

o   stealing “little stuff” from your employer, including time online

o   relations with your spouse (on certain days or weeks)

o   thinking about yourself when you wake up or go to sleep (pray instead)

o   thinking about yourself when you drive (pray instead)

o   buying anything you don’t need

IMG_5056Or stated the other way you could add:

o   cooking breakfast for your kids

o   stopping by your neighbors to say hello  

o   smiling when you arrive at the office

o   eating your vegetables (even you adults)

o   exercise

o   visit or call your “not close by” relatives

Come Holy Spirit!  Help me find the right one for me!

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Chinese Acrobats – Win, Win, Win

“Are you sure you want to have them come for only ten people?”  One scoffer said.

“Really? It’s a day off,” said another.

“Oh, come on friends, they are already here and can come a bit later in the morning, let’s have them come!” was my take on the situation.  Sometimes principals win.

Precautions included trying not to make a mess of the floors and the gym with wet shoes.  I wanted to keep peace with the custodial staff.  I wish I had taken a picture of the “boot pile”.  It wasn’t really a pile, they were generally lined up very nicely, but there sure were a lot of them.  If you could take your boots off you did so and used the main stairwell, if you needed to keep your boots on you went to the elevator steps.  We were trying to keep the socks dry on the main stairs as well as the stairs.  It was interesting to observe that the pink boots seemed more orderly than the black boots in general.   It is amazing what little things can cause joy, getting to go to the assembly in your socks, was the start of the circus feel.  I could tell it had begun earlier as some families came in delighted at the unexpected outing.

The Chinese Acrobats and Greg their manager were phenomenal.  I’m still sore from watching what they did with and to their bodies.  They also kept more hula hoops going that I’ve ever seen!

Their sense of balance and counterbalance amazed all.

Win #1 – Over 300 people came and enjoyed.  The bleachers were full, the floor had a good number and some even watched through the windows upstairs!

Win #2 – I was delighted to hear they were glad to come perform.  I apologized to Greg their manager for bringing them out on a cold messy day.  He said they were glad to come!  Days on the road with no performances get really long and boring!  I love it when our blessing is also their blessing!

Win #3 – Instructional time in school is very important.  Teachers were also glad that we were able to enjoy the show on the day off and they can have a little more time for teaching.  I love the fact that our teachers take their role seriously and want to preserve the class time so our kids can learn. 

Three wins plus a snow day – God be praised.

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“Jesus is the Frozen Son of God”

In the kindergarten classroom children labored to haul in the empty fishing nets as though they had been there all night long.  Oh, did they look tired as they acted out the scene, then Jesus asked them to cast out their nets again, and then came the big catch.  As they processed the Gospel scene, Mrs. Colson asked the children why it turned out differently this time. 

“Jesus made the fish,” one fellow said.

“Jesus works miracles,” another added.

“Jesus is God,” said an enthusiastic voice.

And then, “Jesus is the Frozen Son of God.”  Mrs. Colson and I did a very fine job suppressing laughter as we looked at one another with puzzled expressions.  Mrs. Colson tried a couple probing questions, and twice more clear as a bell he said, “Jesus is the Frozen Son of God.”  Well, I reckon it is awfully cold out….but I don’t quite get that one.  As all good kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Colson began weaving her way back to where she needed the lesson to go.  Meanwhile I had a few moments to try coming at it from a kindergartner angle…..sounds like…let me think.

“CHOSEN Son of God”.  OK, yes, I blurted it out and we nodded and moved on.  I’m not sure whether the child was intending to say, “Frozen” or there’s always a strong possibility of a speech issue.  The “ch” sound is a seven year old sound; as I recall, many of these children are still 5.  No wonder he didn’t have it quite right.  In his mind he may have been saying “Chosen”.  Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and enjoy solving the little riddle before us.

 Just today I was recalling the story to a couple who is touring the school. Brian had a similar story which was just as delightful. He told of a group of preschoolers acting out the nativity story.  The three kings brought up their gifts. The first brought his gift and proclaimed, “Gold!”

The second exclaimed “Myrrh!” as the gift was presented. 

The third laid his gift at the manger saying “Frank sent this!”

 Don’t you love the little ones!  Some of us are blessed with five year olds, year after year!  God be praised.

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St. Peter School – New Graphic Flier

As we look to preschool and kindergarten signup, Sister Mary Angela and Brenda Shields flew with this task to help promote our school!  Well done!  Thank you!  – SMMichael

St. Peter Info flier2019 final

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Reverse Road Rage

Recently I was on 50th Street approaching Old Cheney from the south.  I braked to slow down and absolutely nothing happened; I did not slow down, but rather slid into the intersection amid oncoming traffic.  Two very fine drivers skillfully and successfully maneuvered around me, and left me THANKING GOD PROFUSELY.  I thanked Him for making them good drivers, protecting the likes of me, and preserving me from the many inconveniences that come with getting a car fixed.  I thanked Him over and over again.  After telling a few others about the incident and thanking Him again, it occurred to me, without that mishap many acts of thanks for pretty normal things would have gone undone.  Gratitude helps me remember God’s sovereignty, His Providence, my fragile nature and it makes me more civil.  Later when someone turned in front of me, my comment was, “Yes, me too, buddy.  God bless you.”  The civility society needs begins with me, and with you and with each of us.  Its roots are in Christianity and knowing we are sons and daughters of a Loving Father.  Lord help me see that in every child and adult I meet today.

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