Tag - liturgical year

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Ash Wednesday
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Epiphany 2011
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Advent Upon Us
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Epiphany Blessing
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Candle Lighting
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Preparing for Martinmas
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Celebrating the Archangels
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Oh Mary
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Just Because
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Ephiphany Play

Epiphany 2011

Someone recently found my blog through a search for “is it too late for epiphany blessing”. The answer is no! Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas, so it is always January 6th. We may celebrate it in church on the closest Sunday, but I think you can bless your home on either day. Kind of like how Washington’s birthday is February 22, but we observe it on the third Monday of February. You can eat your cherry pie either day. You do make cherry pie for Washington’s birthday, don’t you? That reminds me of a funny story from my childhood. Remind me to tell you sometime when I’m not typing with one hand.

Anyway, here is the link to the Epiphany blessing we use. Just change the last number to reflect the correct year. But you knew that, right?

Epiphany House Blessing

Advent Upon Us

So here we are, on the brink of Advent. This year I’m going to keep it simple, focus on the traditions that are most meaningful to our family and focus on the what Advent is all about.

I say the same thing every year. How about you? I mean it this time. Really.

This year I’m going to try to go easy on myself. I’ve got most of my shopping done and I plan to be finished by the end of the week. Instead of trying to get all the decorating done this weekend, I’m going to pace myself and do it little by little. I think I’ll let the children help, too. They’ll enjoy that. Most of what I put out is mostly for their enjoyment anyway.

I found a good devotional for children called My Little Advent. It is for children K-2nd grade, which is perfect for Bip. But I think that my 4th and 6th graders will be able to get something meaningful from it, too. Couldn’t we all use a reminder to keep a smile on our face while thinking of the happiness of others above ourselves?

I’ve finally figured out a way to do our Jesse Tree and stick to it this year! Remember long, long ago when I hosted a Jesse Tree craft swap? Well, I hate to admit it, but we’ve never actually seen the Jesse Tree through to Christmas. I think it is because the readings, prayers and reflections that accompany each ornament were too long. This year I got the idea from someone else’s blog (sorry, I can’t remember who) to read from a children’s bible story book instead of from the Bible. I think that will be much more manageable.

Will you be making any changes this year to help your Advent be less stressful and more meaningful? What have you let go of over the years, or added, that has made a difference?

Epiphany Blessing

3kingsEven though Epiphany was celebrated in church last Sunday, the original, official date is January 6th.  (Remember back in the day when Epiphany was a holy day and it seemed like we were constantly in church from Dec 25 through January 6?)  So if you haven’t already done your house blessing, it’s not too late!

Epiphany Blessing

All make the Sign of the Cross.

Head of Household: “Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Reader: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things come to be through him, and without him nothing came to be….. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3.14)

Above the entryway to your house, write with chalk:

20 + C + M + B + 10

(This is the initials of the three magi -Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – with the numerals of the new year surrounding them. C, M, B can also be interpreted as the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ bless this house”.)

All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Candle Lighting

How are your holiday preparations going?  I don’t mind saying “holidays” instead of “Christmas” because there are many celebrations at this time of year, which include the Feast of St. Nicholas, St. Lucia Day, the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe and continue through New Year’s Day and Epiphany.

This time of year can be so wonderful, the beauty of the decorations, the thrill of impending presents and the love and joy that abounds everywhere.   But all that happiness and love and togetherness can be very difficult for those of us who have lost a child.

The phrase, “at least we’re all together” rings hollow when a child is missing from the gathering.  All that merriness can be a bunch of bah humbug when your heart is broken.  And all that talk of a child being born – ack, can it get any worse?

This coming Sunday, December 13 is the annual Worldwide Candle Lighting to remember the children who have died.

I would like to invite you all to participate.  At 7 PM local time on December 13, just light a candle and keep it burning for one hour.  In this way, we can create a wave of light for 24 hours to remember the children.

I ask you to do this for me, to remember our Rebecca.  When you do, please say a prayer, not just for me, but for all the families who have been left behind.  Please remember especially, those families who have lost a child this year.  Please also pray for those who do not have a faith to rely on, or who have turned away from God in their grief.  But lastly, please thank the Lord for those children who, though they stayed with us too briefly, brought us immense joy.

Celebrating the Archangels

Last week our homeschool group celebrated Michaelmas, which is now not only the feast of St. Michael, but of all the angels.

I asked Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda if she had any coloring pages of the archangels, and she made a beautiful one of St. Michael just for us! The children thought it was very cool that she made it for us – thank you, Charlotte!  Be sure to visit her blog for more saint coloring pages.  They’re listed in her sidebar and she has St. Gabriel and St. Raphael now, too.

Later we had dessert.  Angel’s food cake, of course!  With whipped cream wings.

And devil’s food cake cupcakes, too!

St. Michael just happens to be our family’s patron saint, so we will also be celebrating his feast day this Monday at home.  One project on our list is this coloring page that Charlotte helped me find, which has both the prayer to St. Michael and a picture to color:  St. Michael.  We’ll also talk about Le Mont St Michel, which is dear to my heart because Philip and I stayed there during our honeymoon.  St. Aubert of Avranches founded the abbey there after being told to do so by Michael the Archangel in a dream.  When he didn’t do it, Michael bore a hole into Aubert’s skull with his finger.   That got his attention enough and he had the abbey built.

Traditional dinner fare for Michaelmas is roast goose, but while the geese are plentiful on base, I’m not up to catching, cleaning and cooking one.  I’m thinking roast chicken instead.

Oh Mary

I know where all the angels and saints in heaven were yesterday. They were crowded into the pew in front of ours as we attended mass for the Assumption of Mary.

We’ve been singing the “Hail Mary” portion of the song “Hail Mary: Gentle Woman” every night for a couple of months now. Very-soon-to-be 3 year old Bip loves this song and never lets us forget to sing it.

When the song was announced during mass, I leaned over and whispered into his ear, “This is the ‘Oh Mary’ song.” He got very excited and when it was time, he sang out in his sweet, clear toddler voice.

“Oh Marweee, full of gwace,
The Lord is wit you.
Bwessed are you ‘moung women,
And bwessed is the fwoot of your womb,
Jesus.

Oh Marwee, Mudder of God…”

His big eyes were lit up and he was smiling. I have no doubt that Our Lady herself, with our own sweet Becca and all the saints and angels came to hear him sing. I’m sure they were smiling, too.

Just Because

I have nothing exciting to post.  We didn’t “celebrate” Leap Day or do anything worth blogging about.  I did have a moment of inappropriate hilarity today at the Stations of the Cross as we started singing “At the Cross Her Station Keeping.”  I was thinking of what Pumpkin Girl said and what I wrote and then “Bohemian Rhapsody” started playing in my head. I choked back a giggle and gave myself a stern look and focused harder.

Honestly, sometimes I’m no better than a kid.  Maybe it was the smell of the carbohydrate heaven soup supper waiting for us in the activity room.

Mostly, though, I wanted to post something on this date since I won’t have a chance for another 4 years.  At that time Bip will be 6, Pumpkin Girl will be 11 and Boo will be 13 – and let’s not even go there.

Ephiphany Play

I hab a code in by nose.

When I was younger, I could handle colds just fine.  They barely slowed me down.  Now they make me so tired.  Like lay down and sleep all day tired.  Or at least sit in bed and look at yarn catalogs while my children bring me lunch.  Which is what happened today.

Anyway, what I really wanted to share was pictures of our homeschool group’s Epiphany play.  The children wrote it themselves and they acted it out after mass on Saturday.  Then we had a pizza party, complete with a Kings Cake.

Here’s the caravan/chorus:

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While not “on stage” the children stayed together off to the side.  They sang Christmas songs in between scenes.

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The Magi study maps and scrolls to figure out what the star is all about.
Our group has only 3 school age boys, so girls played the Three Kings.  That’s Pumpkin Girl as Caspar in the middle.  She had some major issues with having to play a “boy’s” role at first.  But later, when she learned that she was one of the stars of the show and had a lot of lines, she embraced the role.  We were really proud of her, she learned all her lines by herself and really tried to act them, not just say them.

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King Herod and the High King discuss the prophecy of the Messiah.

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The Star of Bethlehem points the way to the Holy Family.  Boo is Joseph and Bip is toddler Jesus.  Because of course, Jesus was no longer a baby when the Magi found him.

These pictures are actually from the dress rehearsal, when I was able to move around and get close to the actors.  During the play, the greenery in the background was lit up with white lights and Bip refused to play Jesus. “Me no want to!” complete with crossed arms and pouty face! We brought a backup baby, our family doll Pumpkin, who at the age of 37 is quite the veteran of many a church Christmas play and didn’t act up a bit.

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