Tag Archives: Catholicism

Hey, what are you doing in my soul?

On rare occurrences, a phrase strikes me as so true that it seems like it flowed  right out of my soul, or straight from God’s heart to mine, where it fits like home.  The Litany of Trust has more than just a few such lines.  We, as CKs, used the litany of trust as the novena prayer for our recent retreat for young women discerning important life matters.

For me, each of the lines is cause for a long meditation. As it is Lent, if the Litany does the same for you, I wonder if there is a place for it in your Lenten practices too.

LITANY OF TRUST

From the belief that I have to earn Your love,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that I am unlovable,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the false security that I have what it takes,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From all suspicion of Your words and promises,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your Will,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From anxiety about the future,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From resentment, or excessive preoccupation with the past,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From restless self-seeking of the present moment,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From disbelief in Your love and presence in the midst of suffering and trial,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being asked to give more than I have,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of what love demands,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From discouragement,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

 That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That you are with me in my suffering,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my sufferings, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your plan is better than anything else,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You always hear me and, in Your goodness, always respond to me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You provide the grace to forgive myself and others,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my life is a gift,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will teach me to trust You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You are my Lord and my God,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That I am Your beloved one,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Sister Faustina Maria, SV

I have worked with Sister Faustina Maria on a few occasions.  She is not a Saint from long ago, but a young Sister filled with life in the Sisters of Life in New York City.  God bless her, clearly this Litany is the fruit of prayer!  Thank you for your willingness to share the fruit of prayer, Sister.  It seems appropriate to close with the Church’s symbol for trust and hope, the ANCHOR.  It helps us stay firmly grounded amidst the storms of life.

anchr

Blessed Lent to you all!

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Mother Teresa and the Playground?

I doubt that Mother Teresa would build a playground like ours. It is clearly a first world playground. Having said that, there are certainly a number of things about the playground of which she would have wholeheartedly approved.mother teresa

First and foremost, Mother Teresa would approve of loving and taking good care of children.  She would promote a culture which values life and has a deep-seated desire to do good for The Father’s children.  I pray that is the essence of our playground.IMG_3522

Though it’s only Wednesday there have been several things this week in the construction process in which Mother Teresa would have delighted. We had a mat construction crew here which originated out of New York State. They were very hard-working men whose job was more complicated than it originally appeared. The chalk lines reminded me of the process for laying ceramic tile.  The tiles were all a little bigger than the space between the lines to allow for contraction of the tiles in the winter and expansion in the summer.  The men were of Hispanic origin, Arturo was the foreman. He was a delightful man with a heart for people. We checked on his daily progress. It was not uncommon for the perimeter of the playground to be lined with youthful observers who were always welcomed.

Saturday’s “community build” was a blessing.  Kurt Daberkow recommended the day and made remote plans for it from the early meetings.  When I asked him on Sunday evening how it went as we looked at the equipment, his response was adamant: It was a true example of teamwork.  He said the foreman from Miracle really knew what he was doing, and had no issue with keeping 40 capable workers profitably occupied.  The Knights of Columbus teamed up with many of our parents to complete the project by 6 pm.  Thanks for working together well, reminding me of the Kingdom where we will all be working together to praise the Lord!

Mother Teresa, in union with the Church, promotes the dignity of the human person as we are all created by God in His image and likeness. Can you imagine those men’s job?  How hard to be on the road so much, away from home.  From here they go to Chicago, then Indianapolis, then back here Saturday to seal our tiles.  A little kindness seemed in order. On Monday one of our parents brought some sandwiches and about 45 second graders took them lunch. Four carried the card table.  A child or two took each chair.  Five kids transported sandwiches.  Five more carried chips.  Four kids were the beverage cart with bottled water.  Five kids took napkins (OK here we were scraping for jobs). One had the trash bag. Several held the doors along the way.  In the end we were only a couple jobs short of having something for everyone to do.  By the time the last ones got out there the first group had the table and chair set up nicely in the shade and soon everything was set.

IMG_3518

The gentlemen were thrilled with lunch.  We were going to get a picture.  Arturo wanted a picture also to send to his family. It was a good day. IMG_3520

Later another group took him cookies and a drink. We wanted to get everyone we could in the act.  We witnessed to kindness.  Mother Teresa did that every day many times.IMG_3492

During one of the recesses one of the workmen was headed to the trailer to get some supplies when the soccer ball came his way. We didn’t know we had a soccer player among our workers. He enjoyed those few minutes of dribbling the ball around with the kids.  Sister Mary Angela was out there for that scene and she said his smile couldn’t have been broader.FullSizeRender

Mrs. Seigrist took advantage of the opportunity to practice Spanish.  She went out with several groups and prayed with the children and the men.  Sometimes the children needed a script which she had readily provided.  The kids had an opportunity to ask a couple questions.  It was also fun for the children to listen in to a short lively and meaningful conversation between Mrs. Seigrist and the workers.

I think mother Teresa would’ve also enjoyed the blessing of the playground. The gathering was prayerful, invoking the Father’s goodness on the project, along with thanking the many donors for their help. We blessed the playground as the last tiles are being installed so that the blessing could be there before the play began.  “Run the race so as to win….”, the reader proclaimed…..Father Townsend used the asperges to sprinkle us with the blessing that reminded us of the Polish broom. There was no broom but we were thoroughly blessed. When we arrived for the blessing the workmen were busy finishing up. As we began, they, too, made the sign of the cross and a couple of them knelt down joining us in the blessing. The unity of our faith was evident.

After the blessing, as the workers were preparing to leave, Arturo asked if he could pray in the church for a few minutes.  I said, “of course, that’s what the church is there for! ”  I had one last item to retrieve and said I would meet him back there.  A few minutes later I went over to church and saw one man kneeling at the communion rail praying. He had on a bright orange shirt; Arturo’s shirt was black both days. I got the feeling that the chief always wore a black shirt. Wondering if that was him, I went up to the front of the church where I could see and knelt down to pray until he finished. He stayed there quite some time and when he left I met him in the vestibule thanked him again and gave him the information.  With heartfelt gratitude Arturo spoke of what a blessing it was to work at our church and school. The kindness we had given was obviously recognized and received with gratitude. God be praised in the simple giving and receiving among His people!  Yes, Mother Teresa would be pleased.IMG_3525signature with links

 

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Top Three Reasons I’m Glad to be Back

It is a joy for me to be returning to St. Peter School this year!  Having been at several schools in my Religious Life, can I tell you want makes our school unique, “It’s like coming home.”  Here are my top three:

  1. The family atmosphere of the teachers and staff struck me immediately as I returned to the opening meetings. I remember well from my previous years here, the beautiful rapport and the caring for one another.  I saw it again displayed at our open faculty meeting as we shared about summer experiences and prayer intentions came up.  There was a genuine concern and reaching out to those in need.
  2. A second highlight of our school is the beautiful respect shown by the students and reinforced by the teachers. When walking down the hall, a class will stop to let you pass.  Children hold doors for one another and for adults.  The junior high has students who hold the church doors for everyone and another student who has a hymnal ready to hand Father as he walks up the aisle to begin Mass.  Older boys being gentlemen letting girls precede them in the Communion line.  Such signs of respect and other-centeredness are skills/virtues that do not come naturally – especially in our culture!  The teachers and staff work together to promote this atmosphere and to instill this reverence for others in a way that is exceptional.
  3. Leadership is instilled in the children. I’ve had two opportunities to meet with new volunteers to the school.  But instead of me giving a tour, there are trained “tour guides” in each of the classrooms who can be called upon to show the adult the parts of our school and answer questions.  It is beautiful to see such initiative!  Again, this reflects highly of the leadership of the administration, teachers and staff who have taken time to prepare the children for this role so that they can grow in confidence and initiative.

Such a family atmosphere in St. Peter School reflects the beauty of family life and, ultimately, the beauty of the life we will have someday with the Blessed Trinity.  Your children are learning self-discipline, respect and reverence for those around them, and feel a sense of belonging.  Someday, they will be embraced by God’s love for all eternity and be in a relationship of love with all the saints.  It’s a gift to be a part of such an environment and I look forward to the abundance of graces the Lord has in store for all of us this year.

Finally, I look forward to meeting you for the first time, or again if I have taught your children in the past.  Please forgive me for being slow with names, however, as there are a lot more of your names  to remember than there is of mine!  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and your children at St. Peter’s!

God bless you!

Sister Mary Angela

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Impersonator Pictures

Catholic Schools Week – Tuesday we focused on those who give service, both in honoring our staff, and the children could dress as someone who gives service, either a Saint or a service professional.  What creativity some displayed!  While there were many that were unique, I’d like to highlight three of my favorites.

Starting with the youngest, there was the Mr. May impersonator.  The glasses and the tie were the clincher along with the name tag, jacket and smiling face.  You just had to laugh.  The size contrast of the individuals added to the fun.

service professions 3

I’d like to quote a faculty member about the Mrs. Decker look alike:  “She nailed it, starting with the curl on her hair, her striped shirt tucked into black slacks with a belt, accompanied by shiny black flats.  Oh, and she didn’t forget to wear glasses and a cross necklace.”

service professions 1

Then there was the true classic.  A 1940’s nurse provided a blast from the past.  The young woman when interviewed said, “You can take off the cap and the stethoscope and you have a blue candy stripper dress.  I hope to volunteer at the hospital sometime in the future.”

service professions 2

Thanks for contributing to the enjoyment of education.  God bless.

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Spanish – Speaking the Lingo in Real Life

Our SFA gave a fleece to the teachers a few years ago.  Today I took a fleece to those who were not here when we did the original gift, one of whom was Miss Winter.  She was teaching 5th grade and so I asked her to leave for a minute and go out of the room beyond ear shot.  I asked the children if they could tell her we have a fleece for her using only Spanish.  At first they thought they couldn’t, but then someone found jacket on their vocabulary sheet, and they all knew blue, azure.  It became clear that the communication was possible.  So back she came and away they went.  We were mispronouncing the Spanish word for jacket, but with a few hand gestures the communication came off well.  Blue, helped as did San Pedro….Here’s the class with Miss Winter and her fleece.  Sometimes the enjoyment of education surpasses our anticipation, and sometimes the education we are instilling far surpasses our own.  (It is a bit embarrassing to say the kids here know more Spanish than I do.  But the measure of a good education is not calibrated to my education or yours, but that which we are capable of accomplishing.  We aim to give the kids our best, and all that we can.)  Thanks, fifth graders and Miss Winter for a delightful educational encounter, both in giving and in communicating.

looking at the fleece

looking at the fleece

Miss Winter and the 5th graders

Miss Winter and the 5th graders

In Christ’s Love,

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What is THAT? …..Does it really matter who wins? YES!

A Post Hole Digger

While we are in Lincoln, the number of adults who correctly identify the tool above is surprising!  It is a post hole digger.  Clearly such knowledge is not necessary for salvation, but rather reflects the agricultural experience that is often not too far down the line in many of our families.  Identifying the item is an easy trivia question for country kids with a strong work ethic.  Have you ever operated one of them when building a fence, it is the embodiment of hard work!  (Do you recall the scene from “The Ultimate Gift”, where the fellow fails on the first round of fence building, but not round two!)

In the ongoing effort to engage the children, the students in 8B will have the opportunity to operate a post hole digger.  We will be installing four tetherball poles next week (provided the weather cooperates) on our playground and the students in 8B will be helping as part of their reward for their participation in Fit for Peter, which is 100%, I might add.  Well done, 8B!   When the children help install the poles, they not only get to learn to use a new tool, but understand and hopefully appreciate the playground equipment a little more and will help us keep it in good shape.  (Tom Sawyer has nothing on us!)  With 28 of them and four holes we won’t work too hard.

We have a few weekly awards coming for participating in Fit for Peter.  Does it really matter who wins.  To the kids it does, and to us as adults and as a parish, when participation is good everyone wins.  So yes it does matter who wins, especially when we all do through a successful fund raiser.  In the meantime, we work toward creative reinforcement of their participation, especially now with the wellness committee putting a crimp on the ice cream!

Back to the post hole diggers….at the last SFA Board meeting the post hole digger from the Motherhouse was in the corner, and I was delightfully surprised when two of the six adults sitting at the table said, “Do you need another one, you can borrow ours?”  One would think Lincoln is more or less a big city.  People from the city don’t have post hole diggers.  We surely have a delightfully diverse lot here!

Waiting for the party to begin!

Waiting for the party to begin!

St. Joseph, pray for us.

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Barbarian Meets St. Peter’s Fifth Grader

Barbarian meets St. Peters 5th grade girl

OK, she wasn’t a fifth grader here, but she could have been, nor was he a barbarian (The rest of the story is true.) It was Saturday night and at the family reunion a generally unchurched fellow found himself mixing with a Catholic family, much like many of our families.  The ten-year old who was “all boy” heard that some of those gathered for the weekend would be going to Mass on Sunday morning; he was welcomed to come along.  “Mass, what’s that?” he asked.

“Well, it’s ‘church’; we go to pray and learn about Jesus,” was the response from the mom present.

“You have to sit very still for a whole hour,” the little girl chimed in, thinking this would be nearly impossible.

“I think I’ll pass,” the little fellow said.

The next morning, the five minute warning went up, “You have a few minutes to finish up whatever you are doing so you can get ready for church.”

The little fellow says, “I’m going, too, I love Jesus and you can always learn a little more about Him,” and off they went.

New evangelization takes many forms, let’s not miss our chance, even though we mess up occasionally (which I do regularly).  Thanks be to God we get to start again.

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The Gift of a Life, or Two

Last Friday on the Feast of Mary Our Queen, a major Feast of the CKs in addition to being Sister Regina Marie’s Patronal Feast, I sent a few pictures to the staff and some friends.  As both of our Sisters who made perpetual profession about three weeks ago, Sister Mary Gabriel and Sister Regina Marie, served here last year, I’d like to share the pictures with you, too.

I must add, how beautiful to see the great support and numbers of school families who came to the ceremony at the Cathedral.  Thank you for sharing in our joy, supporting our sisters and community, and praying for us.

SMGa profession

Sister Mary Gabriel receiving the sign of peace from the Bishop.

Prostration

The sisters lie in the sanctuary of the Cathedral, symbolic of death to self, necessary for the vowed life.  We all pray the Litany of the Saints for them while they are there, dying and praying for us.

SRM Signing

Sister Regina Marie signing the official register on the altar of sacrifice.  The altar is intentionally used as the place of signature as they lay down their life for Jesus, His Church, and His people.  The only other thing the altar is used for is offering the Mass.

SMGa Parents

Sister Mary Gabriel giving her parents the sign of peace.  Humanity doesn’t get much happier than this!  One teacher said she covered up Sister and asked her daughter whose parents these are.  She figured it out in short order!

For more pictures visit our community Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/schoolsisters.christking

May the Lord bless these Sisters and all of us as we make use of the grace of our vocation.  May the children be open and find the road the Lord calls them to follow to Him.

In Christ’s Love,

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Sister Mary Michael, CK

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Run with the (Bulls) Children

We had a glorious celebration of First Communion on Saturday at both 10:00 and 1:00.  After Mass the children processed out of the church and over to the front hall of school.  Sister Regina Marie prayed a short prayer of thanksgiving with them and then they left the front doors of the school with such enthusiasm.  After the 10:00 Mass and prayer, it felt like a wave of joy exuding from the front doors of the building.  The energy and excitement reminded me in some small way of what I have read about the mass of humanity that enthusiastically (if somewhat misplaced) runs ahead of the wild bulls Pamplona.  Jesus is the driving force behind these children, and He is second to none.

After the 1:00 Mass when the second half of the children were finished and about to burst from joy, we were gathered briefly in the front hall to pray once again.  I noticed Sister Mary Gabriel snapping a few pictures.  I said, “Hey Sister, let’s get a shot as they come out,” she handed me the camera and in 15 seconds the idea went from conception to fruition, and these shots were taken as fast as the camera could go as the children emerged.  I had no idea exactly who we were getting in the photos, but took as many as I could in those few seconds.  Hopefully you find the pictures as delightful as we did when we looked.  Thank you Lord, for allowing us to capturing such spontaneous joy!  May this be the beginning of a life long journey with Jesus in this the most Blessed of the Sacraments!

Post Communion

Post Communion exit

Post Communion Run

Post Communion Joy

In Christ’s Love,

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Spontaneity

Sacred Heart in Rose Petals

Sacred Heart in Rose Petals

Spontaneity – I can hardly spell the word, but I really like it.  The children pictured and a few others helped this morning as we built a Sacred Heart just outside the church.  Why, because He is.  A few people were looking up the feast of the day and asking about Mother Cabrini and her devotion to the Sacred Heart.  No that’s not it, she didn’t have extraordinary devotion to the Sacred Heart, that we know of anyway.  We had petals from well over 100 roses that had spent themselves helping us pray for the poor souls.  So we gathered them and waited for the first calm day….this morning there was no wind so, off to work we went.  In about ten minutes we put together a little symbol of our love, or should I say His.  Let me close with a few examples of exception “refrigerator art” given to me by the children recently.

Sacred Heart ISacred Heart IISacred Heart III

Blessings to you.

Sister Mary Michael, CK

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