This Technology Debacle is a Mystery?

OK, I know Jason is not God.  Nevertheless there are similarities between how we had to trust Jason and how I need to trust God.  Jason was here for a couple days and was frequently in the inner bowels of that mysterious little closet holding our computer servers.  He usually came out with a pleasant look on his face which perplexed me a bit.  I’m used to having a clue about what people are up to.  Even in things like auto work with all its computerized parts, usually I am only removed a few steps from some sort of understanding.  Not in this.  He and Mrs. Noble have used more words I’ve never heard before in the past few days than I remember in recent history.  Though I really don’t get it, I trust they are making progress.  And you know what, just before lunch they told us we are almost restored to where we should be.

God does things in each of our lives.  I don’t get it sometimes, He goes into the depths of my life and adjusts things.  Sometimes I don’t like it, I don’t know what he is doing.  He comes out of making adjustments in my life with some sort of look of love on His face, and I am perplexed.  He uses events that I don’t understand.  Though I don’t get it I trust He is making progress.  Sometimes He reveals what He was up to, other times I will need to wait to understand.  In the end, He will not just restore, He will far surpass anything I could imagine.

Thanks, Jason, for the reminder to trust in the Lord.  Mary sure had to trust during that original Advent.  Some things don’t change.  Jesus I trust in You, help us to do so well.

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A Very Odd Advent Blessing?

Ransomware virus, here, big and bad.  When the tech expert, says, “Oh wow, I need to call the supervisor of the network support group at the office.”  You know you have trouble.  I hope you don’t ever see this screen:

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God has blessings in store with every challenge.  (If the wrong person reads that right now I might find a shoe in my mouth.  We do have shoes all over the place as St. Nick will be filling them soon.  I hope they all stay on the floor.)  Sometimes it takes a while for the blessings to come and the graces to take hold, but I am seeing them already.

First, yesterday I asked Mrs. Noble, our network manager, how she was feeling about the whole issue.  She said, “We are doing what we can and I sure can’t solve it so I’m doing OK.  We have fed them the information they need and they are working on it, so what else can I do?”

“Bravo, Mrs. Noble, so let’s be at peace.”  We can have a technology challenge and be a nervous wreck, or we can have a tech challenge and be at peace.  Either way we have the challenge.”  Secondly, God is reminding us that we can do without the ease of communication for a while.  Third, I am thankful for those guys who are digging down to the “Disaster Recovery” software that they built into our system to help in such situations.

We are putting a lot more steps in the hallway to get things to the places they need to go, but it is working most of the time anyway.  If you sent an email to school that your child needed to be picked up in a different place, we will need some patience from you and we will need it here too.  We haven’t lost anyone yet, and don’t plan to start now, but it may take a little while longer than normal to do the old tasks, for which we have to resurrect the old procedures.

For today, please go to our website to see the newsletter.  Internet still works, but not email so we can post it there.  There will be no email notification with the newsletter, just go to the website at saintpeterslincoln.com/school.html  and you will get the info as usual.  Christmas program info and other timely info can be found there.  Thanks for taking the extra step needed to get to the information.

Blessed Advent to all.  Our Lady Undoer of Knots, pray for us!

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CKs Become Legit

Fr. Bernardo’s calendar for Sunday Nov. 26th at 2:00 said, “CKs Become Legit.”  For those newer to our school, CK means Christ the King.  Our official title is School Sisters of Christ the King, or CK for short.  The “legit” part is technically known as “Canonical Establishment as a Religious Community of Diocesan Right.”  The pictures are a lot more fun than the words!  We’ve been working toward this for 41 years, so it was a big deal for us!

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Entrance procession into the Cathedral.

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We professed our vows together.  Here are the words that bind us to our KING!

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Here Sister Mary Ruth is lying on the floor of the Cathedral as a sign of dying to the world and all that may keep her from Christ so she can live for Him alone.

 

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Below she professes her vows into the hands of Mother Joan Paul, a representative of the Lord.”

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Right after we came out of the Cathedral after the Liturgy, we are in the process of lining up for a photo.  Note the look on the faces!

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Below are the program and the first paragraph of the prayer for the newly-professed that the Bishop reads.  That first line has provided fodder for hours of meditation for me both before and since the event.  “Father in heaven, our desire to serve you is itself your gift and our perseverance needs your guiding hand….”

Praise the Lord with us, please.  Our Father loves to shower graces upon all of us, His Church.  What a fine opportunity for Him to do so.  May we receive His blessings well!  Here’s a view from heaven.

CRC out front

For more pictures see our facebook page.

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Violeta Update

We’ve been filling you in relatively frequently, but mom’s with sick kids have them on their minds, so too, we here at school are a lot like moms: Violeta is on our mind.

Two days ago Violeta’s condition was grave.  She was put on a ventilator and her kidney function was compromised.  Her dad confirmed the report that yesterday was a much better day when he came by to pick up Violeta’s older sister.  He said she had a kidney stone lodged in the tube that led out of her kidney and nothing could get out.  She is unable to tolerate surgery due to the cancer treatment, so they put a small tube around the stone that successfully allowed her kidney to drain.

Violeta's kidneyAfter that the doctor said, the recovery will be up to Violeta.  Yesterday she became more responsive, her kidney function improved and she is breathing mostly on her own.  Her dad was so pleased, and so grateful for her turn toward recovery and for our prayers.

He said one other thing that struck me.  I asked if Maria had the baby, Rosa Maria, in Omaha or if the baby was here in Lincoln with him.  He said the baby is here with him.  Maria’s parents are here and help with the baby through the day.  He said, “When I wake up at night to feed her, I am just so grateful that we have her and for the prayers from you all here and so many people.”  That’s a dad open to God’s grace and goodness in the middle of the night, night after night, in the midst of sacrifice that has become a part of normal life.  May God bless him, Violeta, Maria and all their family.  Let us continue to keep them in our prayers.

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Whose Child is This?

Did your child ever get lost in a store?  If so, do you remember the sense of panic in your heart when you turned around and saw he/she was nowhere in sight?  After frantically looking through the aisles you likely went to a store employee and had your child paged on the intercom.  Many times, it ends up that the child is oblivious to all this and is simply enjoying a toy or item that they discovered somewhere.  But your feeling of relief and joy in finding him/her knows no bounds!

When it comes to our children, it’s always personal.  After all, they are our very flesh and blood.  We brought them into this world and are responsible for them.  They belong to us…or do they?saints line-up

This week is National Vocation Awareness Week.  A week in which we promote and encourage consideration of the calling that God has for many of His children to become priests, religious brothers or sisters.  At such times, it is easy as parents to think, “Oh, that’s great!  We need priests and Sisters.  I support vocations and love having Sisters in our school.”  But sometimes, it doesn’t strike home that God could be calling your son or daughter to dedicate his/her life totally to Him.  If He does so, how will your heart respond?  It’s not unusual for parents to feel like they are “losing” their child who is following a religious vocation.  After all, he/she won’t be able to be there for every family gathering, you may not get to see or talk to him/her as frequently, and, worst of all, there won’t be grandchildren to spoil! 🙂

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But the reality is, no matter what vocation your child is called to follow, you will need to let go.  After all, even married children sometimes move far away and you seldom see grandchildren.  The key is to look at your child and ask yourself, “Whose child is this?”  Deep in your heart you know the answer is, “God’s.”  You have been given a huge gift and responsibility in raising and forming your child, but ultimately, he/she does not belong to you.  And part of your role is to help your child realize this also.  The other key factor – actually, the most important one – is to remember that the vocation to which God calls your child is the one that will be the most fulfilling.

A very special “vocation” event to which you could bring your child is coming up the end of this month.  On Sunday, Nov. 26, the Solemnity of Christ the King, our entire Community of the School Sisters of Christ the King will be raised to the status of a religious institute of the Diocese of Lincoln.  This step is once-in-a-lifetime for a religious community and will be celebrated with a 2:00 p.m. Mass offered by Bishop Conley at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, during which each of the Sisters will proclaim her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.  (This Mass fulfills your Sunday obligation.) There will be a reception afterward as well.  I guarantee, you will never experience a ceremony like this again!

School Sisters of Christ the King

So, as parents, you can begin even now, no matter what the age of your child, to prepare him/her to respond to the vocation to which God is calling.  I came across this “ABCs of Fostering Vocations” which has very practical ideas (I especially like A, F, J, O, S and W):

A: Answer your children’s questions about priesthood or Religious life; never discourage them or ridicule them if they bring it up.

Ask your child to identify a talent which he or she has, and imagine together what work or ministry God might want someone to do with that type of talent. Also talk about what good things can be done with the talent right now. For instance, singing talent could be used to sing a baby brother or sister to sleep. Talent at soccer could be used to help someone on the team who needs extra practice.

B: Bring your family to the next ordination Mass or prayer vigil for religious.

C: Challenge teens and young adults to consider a Church-related vocation. Tell them about the gifts in ministry you see in them. Encourage them to participate in at least one special vocation event (ordination, vocation retreat, religious profession,  etc.).

Cultivate an attitude of service by responding as a family to the needs of others. Seek out those in need and find ways to care for them.

D: Discuss your own vocation to family life, explaining that God calls some people to priesthood or religious life, some to marriage, and some to life as single laypeople. You can talk about vocations firsthand!

E: Encourage your children to be involved in the liturgical life of the parish as servers, lectors, musicians, etc. (and see to it that they get there on time).

Explore the feelings you might experience should one of your children choose to give his or her life to Church ministry and discuss with your spouse your feelings and reactions if one of your children decided to become a priest or nun.

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F: Find opportunities to affirm the gifts and talents of your children, and help them relate their gifts to various career and life choices (including priesthood and religious life).

G: Guide your junior high child to pray that he or she might discover and use the gifts God has given.

H: Have a priest come and bless your home. Have your younger children make a cross to hang in each bedroom in your home.

I: Include the diocesan vocation prayer in your personal and family prayer, especially on Wednesdays. Invite a priest, brother or sister to dinner or to an outing with your family.

J: Join together in prayer as a family; include a short vocations prayer when you pray before meals (especially on Wednesday).

K: Keep an eye open for TV shows and movies that present Gospel-centered role models. Watch them with your children and engage in a discussion.

L: Let your children see their Baptism pictures. Have the children make and send a card or note to the priest who baptized them promising him they will pray for them.

Let your children notice an attitude of openness to God’s will in you.

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M: Make time for teenagers in your life: your children and their friends, nieces and nephews, babysitters, etc.

N: Name the gifts of each family member on their birthday. Express gratitude for these gifts.

O: On the date of your child’s baptism, talk about the life of the saint for whom the child is named (or the saint’s day it is). There is plenty of information about the background of saints on the Internet. The saints are people from all walks of life who tried to make a positive difference in the world–a goal as real today as it was for the saints.

P: Pray for the seminarians of the diocese by name if you can find out their names; you may want to “spiritually adopt” one of them.

Q: Quiz your children and discuss with them stories of calls in Scripture (e.g. Mary’s response to God in Luke 1:26-39, Jesus’ calling the Apostles in Mt 4:18-22, etc.).

R: Remember in prayer by name those who minister to your family and include in your family prayers petitions for those called to priesthood and consecrated life.

S: Set aside a “family time” each week for kids to talk about what is happening in lives. Let them share about their day.

Share the story of your own vocational choice with your children. Celebrate the occasion of your wedding anniversary as you share the story of your vocation to married life.

Support and participate in any school or parish vocation activities.

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T: Talk about your family’s ethnic or cultural heritage at supper, while driving in the car, or at some other time when family members are all together. Pass along memories of cultural aspects of holiday and other celebrations that you remember.

Talk positively and enthusiastically about the priests, sisters, brothers, and deacons in your parish and share with your children the stories of the priests or sisters who have inspired you and how (e.g. priest at your wedding, or baptized your children, priests or religious from school, etc.).

Tell your children why you chose your particular profession. Who helped you form your decision?

U: Use books and videos to familiarize your children with saints who are priests or vowed religious. Use these lives of the saints as a springboard for discussion on these lifestyles.

Utilize opportunities to share your vocation as parents: what you value, how you came to that decision, and the importance of faith in your life.

V: Visit Churches and Shrines while on vacation and offer prayers together as a family.

W: Witness to your own vocation by telling stories about how you fell in love. Let the children see the love and care that parents have for each other.

XYZ: The end of the alphabet, but certainly not the end of ways or ideas to foster vocations at home!

May God bless you in your vocation as parents and the in the future vocation of your child!

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Violeta’s Miracle?

Maria, Violeta’s mom, came into my office with Mr. May.  He said, “Maria has a story for you.”

She began in her broken English, pausing frequently to find the right word.  Occasionally, I guessed at the next word, until she said, “Just wait, you listen.”  I shut up and listened.

She continued slowly, “In January, when I found out I was expecting, I thought, ‘Oh, Lord, I have three girls, how can we manage another baby?’ and I cried for three months.  Then in March, we found out Violeta had leukemia, and I cried for two more months.  Then the doctors were trying to figure things out and who might be the best match for treating Violeta……and guess what……even though the baby was not born yet, the baby is the best match.  Rosa Maria is the best match!  So when she was born…”  There was a very long pause….

At his point the Holy Spirit is buzzing every bone in my body, and I can’t stay quiet and I said, “They saved the umbilical cord blood rich in stem cells and will use it for the transplant!”  Her smile and tears confirmed the blessing.  We smiled, laughed and hugged all at the same time.  Maria continued, “I said to the Lord, ‘Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

Lord, thank you for using two crosses to bless one another, and thank you for reminding us to trust in You.  Thank you for Violeta and Maria Rosa, who is now about two months old.   Her stem cells were given to Violeta on Monday, October 23rd, after the chemotherapy in which all her potentially diseased blood cells were killed.  I just spoke to Maria and she said, “Right now Violeta isn’t feeling well, but the doctors say it is all good.  We have to be very careful she does not get sick, but it is all perfect.”  (This story is retold with Maria’s permission.)  Violeta will not be back to school for a long time yet, but the road to recovery is unfolding.  Let’s thank God for His goodness!

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Fun Fatima Friday!

That was the response of a child when during Friday’s homily Father Danek asked what was going on special today.  I hadn’t named it that, but, oh, does it fit!

The day began with special events even before Mass.  The Bishop sent Miraculous Medals for all the children, which we strung on Blue Cord and distributed to the children with the recommendation to “Love your Mother” or “Listen to your Mother”.

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Special events continued with the Living Rosary.  The third graders always do it well, but this was particularly beautiful.  Not only did we pray the rosary, but with visuals of each bead and meditations articulately read with a precision of which Mary’s Blue Army would be proud.  The crowd knelt and sat alternately with each decade as directed by the third graders, making it particularly good for the kids who should not be expected to stay in one spot for too long.  I hope they enjoyed it half as much as I did.

We do the Living Rosary annually, but we don’t always follow it with a helium balloon Rosary launch!  What do you think a helium balloon Rosary will look like?  No idea?  Me, either.  It was gorgeous.  Kudos to the committee who farmed the job out to the right group!  In the hallway by the music room as the kids were lining up, we were popping the water balloons which hold it down while waiting for the carriers.  We asked any children named Jacinta, Lucia, Francisco or Mary to help carry out the Rosary.  (We also recruited a few student council members at the last minute when we needed a couple more students, lest those of you who know them think we don’t know their names.)

Our kids are used to the honor guard line-up from our Eucharistic Processions.   This one was different in one big way.

No need for silence this time.  We told the kids to give a cheer for Mary and her Rosary as the Rosary went by.  They then followed in line as the end of the line came by and we all got to the new parking lot.  It was delightful to hear the children’s exclamations as the rosary bobbed through the lines.  Wasn’t the cross on the end particularly well done?  Its scale, color and variation on shape compared to the beads gave it just what was needed.

Once all were in place, we sang the Hail Holy Queen and let ‘er go!  A countdown seemed just the way to go to help everyone be sure to focus on the launch.  Here’s a two minute video of the launch and a few more pictures.

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After the launch we came inside to enjoy excerpts of the movie, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.  Made in the 50s, the movie has some humorous scenes, as well as some that helped us understand the children and what it was like in the grotto that day.  Sister Mary Angela carefully selected the scenes so the story could be followed and enjoyed.  Of course you have to have a little popcorn if you have a movie.

In honor of the Miracle of the Sun we followed up with ice cream SUNdaes.  We had to send the Sun Chips home with the kids lest we make some of them ill from too much indulgence.  Our Lady’s message has a good deal to do with penance in life, but Lent is coming, (lest you think we were just partying and not listening to what Mary had to say.)

Now that’s a Catholic School celebration done well if I’ve ever been part of one!  There was enjoyment for body, mind and soul!  Special kudos to those who contributed to the fundraiser Messages 4 Mary, and for the parents who helped with the process and the event.  It was a witness to community also!  God be praised in the event and for His goodness in making it possible, complete with good weather and a Catholic School full of kids to enjoy it all.  I can just picture our Blessed Mother smiling upon us all.

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