Year of the Family — 2014 - 2015

In conjunction with the 
Diocese of St. Paul
the St. Paul Cathedral Parish
is celebrating the Year of the Family
October 2014 to October 2015.





            Through the intercession of St. Paul and St. Kateri may Christian spirit and authentic love reign in our families.  May the family be a path to sanctity for parents and children.  With God’s grace, may each member of the family learn to face in a Christian way the difficulties that are part and parcel of life.


What is a Novena?

            A novena is a prayer repeated for nine consecutive days to ask God to grant a specific request or for help with a particular situation.  You can say the novena prayer by yourself or with others and you can include reading and reflection.  Novenas can be prayed throughout the year and are often used in preparation for a special event.  A novena is usually linked to a specific devotion (a saint or liturgical celebration).  There will usually be a place within the prayer to insert your personal petition.  It is important to remember, that a novena is not a magic formula.  A novena is a form of prayer.  It is one way we can enter into conversation with God.

Day 2






     MARRIAGE IS to help married people sanctify themselves and others.  Those who are called to the married state will, with the grace of God, find within their state everything they need to be holy.  To sanctify the home, day after day, creating with affection an authentic family atmosphere: that is the goal


Prayer to St. Kateri (scroll down)



     Lord, help us understand that we can sanctify ourselves by fulfilling our conjugal and family duties (toward our spouse, parents, sons and daughters) with love.  Help us realize that, step by step, we can attain the Christian ideal of holiness and that, day by day, we can increasingly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ by imitating his love and practicing the other Christian virtues.


Holy Family, pray for us!


Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be… 

Day 4



The LOVE of



     THE SECRET of married happiness lies in everyday things, not in daydreams.  It lies in finding the hidden joy of coming home in the evening, in affectionate relations with their children, in the everyday work in which the whole family cooperates, in good humor in the face of difficulties.  If a marriage is to preserve its initial charm and beauty, both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles and also with ingenuity.


Prayer to St. Kateri  (scroll down)



     Grant us the grace of never slipping into routine in the way we behave towards others.  Help us show our love through our joy and courtesy, taking care of the things of the home and safeguarding the time we set aside for the family.  May we spouses treat one another as we did when we were engaged. 

Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…

Day 6







     ANYONE WHO THINKS that love ends when the worries and difficulties that life brings with it begin, has a poor idea of marriage.  It is precisely then that love grows strong.  Torrents of worries and difficulties are incapable of drowning true love because people who sacrifice themselves generously together are brought closer together by their sacrifices.  We are never a hundred per cent right.  In fact one can say that in matters like these, which are usually so debatable, the surer we are of being completely right, the more doubtful it is that we really are.  Following this line of reasoning makes it easier to correct oneself later on and if necessary to ask pardon, which is the best way of ending a quarrel.  In this way peace and love are regained.

Prayer to St. Kateri (scroll down)


     Lord, help us avoid any negative criticism or offensive words concerning our relatives and, in general, shun all attitudes, words and omissions that could hurt others and open wounds that are difficult to heal

Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…


                             Day 8





     PARENTS ARE  the first persons responsible for the education of their children, in human as well as in spiritual matters.  They need prudence, understanding, a capacity to love and a concern for giving good example.  Imposing things by force, in an authoritarian manner, is not the right way to teach.  The ideal attitude of parents lies in being their children’s guardians, in providing age appropriate boundaries and being the constant loving support that children can turn to at all ages.


Prayer to St. Kateri  (scroll down)




     Lord, grant us the grace of giving ourselves unstintingly to the integral formation of the children you have entrusted to us.  Help us realize that absolutely nothing can replace our daily example, perseverance and effort to help them become upright adults and genuine Christians. 

Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…


Prayer to St. Paul


St. Paul, we seek your intercession in:


(mention your intention here)



who taught the whole world

through the preaching

of the blessed Apostle Paul,

draw us, and our families nearer to you

by the example of his conversion.

Make us witnesses to your truth

through our Lord, Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.


Prayer to St. Kateri


Saint Kateri, we come to seek your intercession in our present need:


(mention your intention here)


We admire the virtues

which adorned your soul:

love of God and neighbor,

humility, obedience, patience,

purity and the spirit of sacrifice. 

Help us to imitate your example in our life.  

Through the goodness and mercy of God, 

who has blessed you with so many graces 

which led you to the true faith

and to a high degree of holiness,

pray to God for us and help us. 



April    2015 

10 Top Quotes from Pope Francis

1. A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just. 

(March 13, 2013, First Angelus Address)

2. Whenever food is thrown out, it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry!        (June 5, 2013, General Audience)

3. If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? 

(July 28, 2013, Press Conference, World Youth Day, Brazil)

4. Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow.  You have to trust God.                  (September 30, 2013, America Magazine)

5. May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman.                 (September 21, 2014, Address to Civil Authorities in Albania)

6. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.  There is a limit.  Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits. 

(January 15, 2015, Inflight Press Conference to the Philippines and Sri Lanka)

7. Open our eyes and our hearts and give us the courage to say:  War, never again!  All is destroyed with war! 

(July 13, 2013, Angelus Address)

8. We cannot be part-time Christians!  We should seek to live our faith at every moment of every day.                      (May 16, 2013, Twitter)

9. Love is the measure of faith.                             (May 16, 2013, Twitter)

10. When we meet a person truly in need, do we see the face of God?                                                               (November 22, 2014, Twitter)

March    2015 

I've learned …..

...that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

...that when you're in love, it shows.

...that just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.

...that a child asleep in my arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

...that being kind is more important than being right.

...that I should never say no to a gift from a child.

...that I can always pray for someone even when I lack the strength to help him.

...that everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

...that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

...that the simple walks I had with my father did wonders for me later in life.

...that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

...that I should be glad that God does not give me everything we ask for.

...that money does not buy class.

...that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

...that under one’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

...that the Lord did not do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

...that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

...that when I plan to get even, I only continue to hurt myself.

...that love, not time, heals all wounds.

...that for me to grow as a person I need people smarter than myself.

...that everyone I meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

...that there's nothing sweeter than feeling a baby’s breath on my cheek.

...that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

...that life is tough, but I'm tougher.

...that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

...that whenever I harbour bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere else.

...that I ought to tell someone that I love them before they pass away.

...that my words should be soft and tender, lest I may have to eat them.

...that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve my looks.

...that I cannot choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

...that when your newborn grandchild holds your little finger, you're hooked for life.

...that while we seek the mountain top, happiness and growth occurs as we climb it.

...that it is best to give advice when it is requested or in a life threatening situation.

...that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

 What have you learned?  

Create you own list.  

Share and Compare.

 The Holy Family Icon

Bishop Paul Terrio has gifted each parish throughout the diocese with the commissioned portrait or painting (icon) of the Holy Family for the World Meeting for Families with Pope Francis in September 2015 in Philadelphia.

The picture consists of 5, and not the traditional 3 persons of the Holy Family, because Jesus’ grandparents are concluded.  This is clearly a message for today’s families.  Other details in the scene of the painting can also lead to discussion and commentary.

Bishop Paul has decided to gift each parish with a copy of this painting.  Families can take the painting home for a few days and pray before it and they can talk together about the picture and what it means for us today.

To purchase a copy of the icon for your home, visit:

World Meeting of Families Prayer

in Philadelphia 2015

– —– – –—– ­– –— – —– – –— – –— –


God and Father of us all,

     in Jesus, your Son and our Savior,

     you have made us

     your sons and daughters

     in the family of the Church.


May your grace and love

     help our families

     in every part of the world

     be united to one another

     in fidelity to the Gospel.


May the example of the Holy Family,

     with the aid of your Holy Spirit,

     guide all families,

     especially those most troubled,

     to be homes of communion and prayer

     and to always seek your truth

     and live in your love.


Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

February    2015 

Pope Francis’s 10 Tips for a Happier Life

1.)    “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”

2.)    “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

3.)    “Proceed calmly” in life.”  The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.

4.)    A healthy sense of leisure.  “Consumerism has brought us anxiety”,  Parents need to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.

5.)    Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family.”

6.)    Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide.

7.)    Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have.” — “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”

8.)    Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down.’”  “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

9.)    Don’t proselytise; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing.”

10.)    Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,”  and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

CHRISTMAS 2014,    JANUARY    2015 

The 12 Days of Christmas

         There is one Christmas Carol that has baffled many people. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

         From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

         It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

·               The Partridge in a Pear Tree is Jesus Christ.

·               Two Turtle Doves are the Old and New Testaments

·               Three French Hens stand for faith, hope and love.

·               The Four Calling Birds are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

·               The Five Golden Rings recall the Torah or Law, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.

·               The Six Geese a-Laying stand for the six days of creation.

·               Seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit —  wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).

·               The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.

·               Nine Ladies Dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit — Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

·               The Ten Lords a-Leaping are the ten commandments.

·               The eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.

·               The Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolize the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed and the twelve apostles.


Saints for Christmas

Holy Innocents —  Feast Day —  December 28


         Herod “the Great,” the king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother and his sister’s two husbands, to name only a few.


         Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was “greatly troubled” when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of “the newborn king of the Jews,” whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also “do him homage.” They found Jesus, offered him their gifts and, warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Joseph and Mary took Jesus and escaped into Egypt.


         Herod became furious and “ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.” The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children...” (Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob (Israel). She is pictured as weeping at the place where the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into captivity.


         The Holy Innocents are few, in comparison to the genocide and abortions of our day. But even if there had been only one, we recognize the greatest treasure God put on the earth — a human person, destined for eternity and graced by Jesus’ death and resurrection.


         "Purify us as we serve these, your mysteries, by which you grant justification even to those who lack understanding."

(taken from the Prayer Over the Gifts, Feast of the Holy Innocents).

DECEMBER    2014 

Teaching Kids the Five Finger Prayer

Thumb — (People who are Close to You) 

     These are your close friends and family, often the first you think about when you pray. Give thanks to God and ask his protection on your parents, siblings, friends, and classmates.

Pointer — (People who Point the Way) 

     These are leaders in your life, such as teachers and priests.   Offer God your thanksgiving for them and ask him to help them in their important work.

Tall Finger — (People in Authority) 

     The big people in the world need prayer too.    Ask God to give wisdom to our government, the armed forces and police.

Ring Finger — (People who are Weak) 

     This is your weakest finger. We should remember others who are sick, those who live in poverty, or are treated badly.   Pray that Jesus would give them new strength.

Little Finger — (Your own Needs) 

     God wants to hear your needs too, especially when you put others first. Pray for your own growth in mind, body, and spirit.




Angelus domini”   ‘the angel of the Lord’

(a Devotion Commemorating the Incarnation, prayed before meals)

V.   The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

R.   And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
    Hail Mary …..

V.   Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

R.   Be it done unto me according to your word.
    Hail Mary …..

V.   And the Word was made Flesh.

R.   And dwelt among us.
    Hail Mary …..

V.   Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

R.   That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray:

          Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross be brought to the glory of his resurrection.

          Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

NOVEMBER    2014 

A Family Recipe for November




Molasses Cookies

•  4 cups all-purpose flour

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

• 2 teaspoons ground ginger

• 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves

• 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

• 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening

• 3 1/2 cups sugar

• 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

• 2 large eggs

• Preheat oven to 325°F. and lightly grease 2 large baking sheets.

• In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.

• In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, shortening, and 3 cups sugar until light and fluffy and beat in molasses.

• Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture and combine well.

• In a small shallow bowl put remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Form dough into 2-inch balls and roll in sugar.

• On baking sheets arrange balls about 4 inches apart and flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

• Bake cookies in batches in middle of the oven 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. (Cookies should be soft.)

• Transfer cookies with a metal spatula to racks to cool.

A Saint for November

Saint Cecelia   (Feast Day - November 22)

            All we know about Cecelia comes from a fifth-century legend that has no historical evidence to support it. Except that two young men featured in the story, Valerian and Tiburtius, were known to have been martyred in the third century and buried in the catacombs. However, no catacomb grave or contemporary writer validates the fascinating tale of St. Cecelia.

            The story of Cecelia charms and inspires us. Cecelia, a patrician maiden, dedicated her virginity to Christ, but her father betrothed her to Valerian, a young pagan. Forced into marriage, Cecelia determined to keep her commitment. According to the legend:

            As the wedding day approached, she fasted for two or three days. On her nuptial day she wore a hair shirt next to her flesh, concealed by her gown of cloth of gold. She sang in her heart to God alone, saying, “O Lord, let my heart and my body be undefiled.” That night, when with her spouse she sought the secret silences of the bridal chamber, she spoke to him as follows: “O sweetest and most loving youth, there is a secret that I may confess to you, if only you will swear to guard it faithfully.” Then Valerian swore that no necessity would make him betray it in any way. Then she said: “I have for my lover an angel of God, who guards my body with exceeding zeal! If he sees you but lightly touch me for sordid love, he will smite you, and you will lose the fair flower of your youth. But if he knows that you love me with a pure love, he will love you as he loves me, and will show you his glory!”

            Then Valerian, guided by the will of God, said: “If you will have me believe you, show me the angel! If I find that he is really an angel, I shall do as you ask me!”

            We might wonder if bad breath from fasting and the stink of the hair shirt might not have been enough to protect Cecelia from Valerian’s touch. However, the youth followed Cecelia’s directions and sought baptism from Pope Urban I. Upon his return Valerian saw Cecelia’s angel, who crowned both of them with floral wreaths. Then Valerian’s brother, Tiburtius, was also converted. The two new Christians were soon beheaded for burying the bodies of those who had been martyred.

            Cecelia herself was condemned for refusing to worship the gods. An attempt to suffocate her in her own bathroom failed. So a soldier was ordered to behead her, but he bungled the job. Cecelia lay dying for three days, during which she bequeathed her property to the church.

Prayer and Forms of Prayer

God is always with us. He wants us to talk to him and to listen to him. In prayer we raise our hearts and minds to God. We are able to speak to and listen to God because, through the Holy Spirit, God teaches us how to pray.

~ ~ We Pray in Many Ways ~ ~

Because prayer is so important, the Church teaches us to pray often and in many ways. Sometimes we bless or adore God (prayer of blessing and adoration). Other times we ask God for something for ourselves (prayer of petition). Sometimes we pray for others (prayer of intercession). We also thank God in prayer (prayer of thanksgiving). Finally, we can also praise God (prayer of praise). We can pray silently or aloud. We can pray alone or with others. Praying with others is called communal prayer.

~ ~ We Meditate and Contemplate ~ ~

One way to pray is to meditate. To meditate is to think about God. We try to keep our attention and focus on God. In meditation we may use Scripture, prayer books, or icons, which are religious images, to help us concentrate and to spark our imagination.

Another way to pray is to contemplate. This means that we rest quietly in God’s presence.

~ ~ We Get Ready to Pray ~ ~

We live in a very busy, noisy, and fast-paced world. Sometimes, because of this, we have difficulty concentrating. In order to meditate or reflect, we need to prepare ourselves.

We can get ready for meditation by resting our bodies in a comfortable position. Sitting with our backs straight and both feet on the floor is one comfortable position. We can close our eyes, fold our hands comfortably in front of us, and silently take a deep breath and then let it out slowly. We can establish a rhythm by slowly counting to three while breathing in and slowly counting to three while breathing out. Concentrating on our breathing helps us to quiet our thoughts.

~ ~ We Avoid Distractions ~ ~

If we become distracted by thinking about something, such as the day at school or work, we can just go back to thinking about our breathing. 

After a little practice we will be able to avoid distractions, pray with our imagination, and spend time with God or Jesus in our hearts.

 the TABLESPOON Prayer
 T = Thanks:  What am I thankful for today?
  B = Bless:  Who do I want God to bless today?
  S = Sorry:  What am I sorry for doing for today?
  P = Please:  What grace or special gift do I need today?
 A TABLESPOON can be passed around the table at mealtime.
As each member of the family holds the TABLESPOON, they can share their answers.

The following prayers, articles and ideas 
will provide your family 
with some concrete activities 
to celebrate your family
and to encourage your family 
throughout this year.

Day 1






     IT IS IMPORTANT for each couple to acquire a clear sense of the dignity of their vocation.  They should realize that God calls them to love Him among other ways through their human love; that they have been chosen from all eternity to cooperate with God’s creative power in bearing and educating their children. The Lord asks them to give an example of all the Christian virtues through their family life.


Prayer to St. Paul (scroll down)



     Lord, show us the greatness of Christian marriage.  Help us appreciate it as a divine vocation – a personal, loving call from you – with a mission that is entrusted to us in this world: to establish a Christian family that is holy and stable, in the words of Pope John Paul II, the “first and vital cell of society” and of the Church. 

Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…

Day 3






     SOMETIMES we speak of love as if it were an impulse to self-satisfaction or a mere means to selfish fulfilment of one’s own personality.  But that’s not love.  True love means going out of oneself, giving oneself.  Love brings joy, but a joy whose roots are in the shape of a cross.  As long as we are on  earth and have not yet arrived at the fullness of the future life, we can never have true love without sacrifice and pain.

Prayer to St. Paul (scroll down)



     Lord my God, free us from egoism and from considering marriage as a way to fulfil our selfish ambitions, such as “the right to be happy”.  May we see this as deceitful, turning marriage into a means of pursuing satisfaction, pleasure and personal dreams, instead of realizing what it really is: a vocation of love, of the sort of true love that — as Jesus teaches — finds greater joy in giving than in receiving.

Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…

Day 5






     EVERY CHRISTIAN HOME should be a haven of peace and serenity.  In spite of the small frustrations of daily life, an atmosphere of profound and sincere affection should reign there together with a deep-rooted calmness, which is the result of authentic faith that is put into practice.  What really makes a person unhappy and even destroys a whole society is the frenzied search for well-being and the attempt to eliminate, at all costs, all difficulties and hardships.  Each situation brings its own grace.  Each one is a special call from God, a new opportunity to work and to give the divine testimony of Charity.


Prayer to St. Paul (scroll down)




     Lord, help us to cover with a smile, for love of God and others, our tiredness or our impatience with their shortcomings or small annoying mistakes. 



Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…

Day 7





     OUR LORD SANCTIFIES and blesses the mutual love of husband and wife.  He foresees not only a union of souls but a union of bodies as well.  He has wanted to use love to bring new human beings into the world and to increase the body of the Church.  You share in the creative power of God:  that is why human love is holy, good and noble.  It is a gladness of heart that God – in his loving providence – wants others freely to give.  Each child that God grants you is a wonderful blessing from him: don’t be afraid of children!


Prayer to St. Paul (Scroll down)



     Lord, make us thankful to you every day for the marvelous gift of children. Help us show our gratitude by putting great care into their Christian formation and their material
well being.   Lord, if you have not granted us children, let this not diminish in us the holy ideal of fatherhood and motherhood.  We can dedicate ourselves to others in many ways.



Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…


Day 9



GOD in the HOME

     THERE IS PERHAPS no better model for a Christian couple than that of the Christian families of apostolic times.  Families who lived in union with Christ and who made him known to others.  Small Christian communities that were centers for the spreading of the Gospel and its message.  Families no different from other families of those times, but living with a new spirit, which spread to all those who were in contact with them.  This is what the first Christians were, and this is what we have to be: sowers of peace and joy, the peace and joy that Jesus has brought to us.


Prayer to St. Paul  (scroll down)



     Lord, help our children notice the joy and constancy with which we attend Mass, receive Holy Communion, pray the Rosary. May they realize that we pray in this way out of love, not as an obligation or formality.  With the help of your grace, Lord, may we never tire of praying for one another and for our children, especially when they encounter serious moral or spiritual difficulties or have dangerous habits or companions.


Holy Family, pray for us!

Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, Glory Be…

Prayer for the

World Meeting of Families 

in Philadelphia, 2015


God and Father of us all,

in Jesus, your Son and our Savior,

you have made us

your sons and daughters

in the family of the Church.


May your grace and love

help our families

in every part of the world

be united to one another

in fidelity to the Gospel.


May the example of the Holy Family,

with the aid of your Holy Spirit,

guide all families,

especially those most troubled,

to be homes

of communion and prayer

and to always seek your truth

and live in your love.


Through Christ our Lord.




Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

St. Paul, pray for us!

St. Kateri, pray for us!

April    2015 

A Saint for April

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha  

Feast Day April 17


            Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks”, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in Ossernenon (today Auriesville, New York) to a Catholic Algonquin mother and a Mohawk Chief.  When she was four years old, her parents and brother died of smallpox.  Kateri was also affected by the disease, which left her almost blind and badly scarred her face.  She was taken in by her aunts and uncle, who was strongly opposed to Christianity. 

            When she was 10 years old, her village moved to Caughnawaga (today Fonda, New York).  In 1667, her village was visited by the Jesuit missionaries Fathers Fremin, Bruyas and Pierron.  From them, she received her first knowledge of Christianity.  When Kateri turned 18, Father Jacques de Lamberville arrived to take charge of the mission in her village.  Despite his misgivings, her uncle allowed her to be baptized as long as she remained in the village.  Following her Baptism, Kateri lived a pious and faith-filled life, spending hours in prayer and fashioning crosses out of twigs.  She also refused to marry, believing that she was married to God and that no man could take God’s place in her heart.  Her beliefs were met with ridicule, hostility and threats. Thus, two years after her Baptism, she fled to St. Francis Xavier Mission, a Christian Mohawk village in Kahnawake, Quebec. 

There, she received her first Communion on Christmas Day 1677.  She also made a vow of perpetual virginity on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1679.  In Kahnawake, Kateri was known for her faith and holiness.  She taught prayers to children, cared for the elderly and the sick, and would often attend mass at sunrise and sunset.

            Kateri’s health deteriorated in the last years of her life.  She died of tuberculosis on April 17, 1680, shortly before her 24th birthday, and was buried at St. Francis Xavier Mission.  Her final words were: “Jesos Konoronkwa” (“Jesus, I love you”).  Witnesses report that within minutes of her death, the smallpox scars vanished from her face, which then radiated with beauty.  

            It is believed that since Kateri's death many miracles have been performed through her intercession, with the sick being cured and many prayers being answered. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012, in Rome. She is the secondary patron of the Diocese of St. Paul. She became “the first native North American to be raised to the glory of the altars”.


March    2015 


(it is never too late to begin your Lenten Observance)

The Usuals:

·       Limit your television time.

·       Give up eating snacks between meals.

·       Give up or limit soda or coffee.

·       Spend more time with family.

·       Do an extra chore each day.


·       Attend Mass on a weekday (every day if possible).

·       Pray the rosary each day, alone or with your family.

·       Learn to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

·       Make a commitment to attend Eucharistic Adoration regularly.

·       Pray the Jesus Prayer throughout the day.

For Those Addicted to Popular Culture:

·       Give up or limit watching sports on television.

·       Listen to only classical music for the next 40 days.

·       Drive to work in silence each day.

·       Read a work of classic literature.

·       Read a story to a child.

·       Sit in fifteen minutes of silence each day.

For Those Who Need to Be More Grateful:

·       Each week write a thank-you note to your parents.

·       Write a poem of praise for each person in your family.

·       Find the psalms of thanksgiving or praise in the Bible and pray them.

·       At each evening meal share one thing for which you are grateful.

·       Make a point of saying “Thank You” a certain number of times per day.

·       Help your children write thank you letters to their teachers.

For Those With Lives Out of Balance:

·       Go for a walk each day with a loved one and talk about life and faith.

·       Take the kids to the park each week for some carefree time.

·       Give up fast food and give the money to charity.

·       Exercise each day.

·       Spend at least half an hour each day in meaningful conversation with your spouse.

·      Give up your most unhealthy habit.

 About the Painting:  The Holy Family

(Neilson Carlin, artist)

“What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race.” – John 1:4

As planets find perfect balance and harmony revolving around the sun, so do we find perfect order when we establish Christ at the center of our families. His light illuminates our hearts and minds, and our interactions with others. Consequently, the piece was designed to focus the viewer on the centrality of Christ in the image, and remind us of the necessity of his role as the focal point of our lives. 

From front to back, the figures have been intentionally layered to indicate the proximity of their relationship to Christ. In the extreme foreground, practically walking out of the canvas, stands the infant, his eyes fixed firmly on the viewer, extending a sign of blessing situated in the exact center of the painting. Next to him, the Blessed Mother, with a gaze slightly beyond her son as she looks toward his passion, fully aware of the trial yet to begin for her family for the sake of all families. Just behind stands St. Joseph, gently resting a loving and protective hand on his wife; his hand completes the chain of connection that begins with Christ’s hand, which rests gently on his mother’s. Behind all stand Mary’s mother and father, SS. Ann and Joachim. They, along with Mary and Joseph, all turn in the direction of Christ. With pensive faces, their joy comes not from the removal of suffering with the coming of Our Lord, but from a firm and steadying reliance on Christ as their morning star, guiding them through the storms of life.

Surrounding the figures is an architectural framework loosely mimicking the ciborium over the altar at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul in Philadelphia. This framework contains elements very specific to the time and place of the event for which the piece was commissioned. On the upper left is a depiction of the coat-of-arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia where the 2015 World Meeting of Families will convene. On the upper right is the coat-of-arms of His Holiness, Pope Francis, under whose pontifical aegis the meeting will be guided. On the bottom, a reminder of the year in which the World Meeting of Families will be celebrated. Situated all around are white lilies, a reminder of the purity of the Holy Mother.

Prière pour la Rencontre des Familles

à Philadelphie 2015

– —– – –—– ­– –— – —– – –— – –— –


Dieu et Père de nous tous,
    en Jésus, ton Fils et notre Sauveur,

tu nous as fait
    tes fils et filles
    dans la famille de l’Eglise.


Puisse ta grâce et ton amour aider

    nos familles partout dans le monde
    à être unies les unes aux autres

    en fidélité à ta Parole.


Puisse l’exemple de la Sainte Famille
    avec l’Esprit Saint,
    guider toutes les familles,

    spécialement celles dans le besoin,

    à être des foyers de communion

    et de prière
    et à toujours chercher la vérité

    et vivre dans ton amour.


Avec le Christ notre Seigneur.   Amen.


Jésus, Marie et Joseph, priez pour nous !


February    2015 

Ten Minute Evening Retreat:


Bring with you: a candle and a bible (or the Sunday Missal)

Go into your bedroom and close the door.

Place a lighted candle on the table.

Sit comfortably in a chair and close your eyes.

Take some long slow breaths.  

(Take a deep breath, hold it, breathe out slowly.)

Read the gospel passage slowly and quietly 

(perhaps the Sunday Gospel).

Close your eyes again and, focus on your breathing.

Read the gospel passage again, slowly, but aloud.

Close your eyes again, and focus on your breathing.

Read the gospel passage a third time, slowly and aloud.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer and blow out the candle.

CHRISTMAS 2014,   JANUARY    2015 

Pope Francis' Eight Tips

to Improve Family Life

Pope Francis is not only the 266th Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio is also the oldest of 5 siblings.

1)         "I always give this advice to newlyweds: 'Argue as much as you want. If the plates fly, let them. But never end the day without making peace. Never!”  (October 4, 2013)

2)         "It isn't necessary to call the United Nations to come to one’s home to make peace. A small gesture, a caress, a hello is sufficient! And until tomorrow - and tomorrow one begins again.”  (April 2, 2014)   To learn about forgiveness, there is nothing better than the Scriptures, something that the Pope recommends to improve family life.

3)         "It is not for putting in a shelf, but rather for having it at hand. It is for reading it often, every day, either individually or in groups, husband and wife, parents and children; maybe at night, especially on Sundays. That way, the family can move forward with the light and the power of the Word of God!” (October 5, 2014)   He speaks to engaged couple on the beauty of marriage but is also very sincere with them. To move forward, they must strive. 

4)         "It is a journey full of challenges, difficult at times, and also with its conflicts, but that is life.”  (February 14, 2014)   A life filled with children. The Pope never tires of denouncing a culture that does not favor the family. For this reason, he invited couples to throw themselves into the adventure of parenthood.

5)         "This culture of comfort has, in the last 10 years, convinced us that it's better to not have children! It’s better! You can go explore the world, go on vacation, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be care-free.” ( June 6, 2014)   And when the children are already here, family life can be complicated at times. Pope Francis has asked to reflect on the frantic life that families sometimes experience. 

6)         "When I confess young couples and they talk to me about their children, I always ask one question: 'And do you have time to play with your children?' And many times the father tells me: 'But Father, they are sleeping when I go to work in the morning and when I come back at night they are already asleep in bed.' This is not life.”  (June 16, 2014)   He also has advice for children. Misused technology, he said, has become one of the elements that separates a family.

7)         "Many children and young adults waste so much time on hollow things: Chatting on the internet, playing with the cell phone, seeing soap operas. High tech products are meant to make life simple and to improve the quality of life. But often, they distract us from what's really important.”   (August 6, 2014)   For the Pope, a fundamental pillar of family life are the elderly. They are the future of the people because they are its memory. For this reason, Pope Francis knows the imprint left by grandparents. 

8)         "One of he most beautiful things in the life of a family, of our lives, is to caress a child and to let them be caressed by a grandfather or grandmother.”  (September 28, 2014)   Striving, prayer, forgiveness and dedication are the ingredients that Pope Francis offers to strengthen family life. 

Christmas Recipe: Christmas Morning “Mom Saver”



• 16 slices bread

• sliced ham

• sliced cheese

• 6 eggs

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

• 1/2-1 teaspoon dry mustard

• 1/4 cup minced onion

• 1/4 cup green pepper, finely chopped

• 1 -2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

• 3 cups whole milk

• 1 dash Tabasco sauce (optional)

• 1/4 lb butter, melted

• 1 cup crushed corn flakes

In a 9"X 13" buttered pan, place 8 slices of bread to cover the bottom of the pan.

Add ham layered over bread.

Lay cheese over ham.

Cover with the rest of the bread.

In a bowl beat eggs, salt and pepper.

To egg mixture add dry mustard, onion, green pepper, worcestershire sauce, milk and Tabasco (optional) Pour over bread, cover and let stand in fridge overnight.

In the morning cover with the crushed corn flakes.

Melt 1/4 1b butter and drizzle over the top of the corn flakes.

Bake 1 hour, uncovered, at 350 degrees F.

When baked, let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


To be Read on Christmas Morning:

            In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered.  Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  She gave birth to her firstborn, a son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  An angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”

DECEMBER    2014 

A Saint for December

Saint Nicholas  —  Feast Day —  December 6

            Children all over the world know him and love him.  In Germany, he's Kriss Kringle. In France, he's Père Noel. British children call him Father Christmas. Dutch children call him Sinter Klaus. He's got another name. It's an ancient one that goes back hundreds of years, to the Fourth Century. People called him: St. Nicholas.

            Nicholas lived in a seaside town named Myra, which is in the country we now call Turkey. Ever since he was a small child, Nicholas loved God more than anything. He studied hard, prayed often, and followed Jesus by helping the poor.

            The people of Myra loved Nicholas so much that when their old bishop died, they immediately elected Nicholas to replace him. He served them well for a long time.  Nicholas was loved for one reason. He loved. He loved God and God's people so much that he would do anything for them.

            There was a man living in Myra who was very poor. This man had no wife, but he had three grown daughters who lived with him.  In those days, when a young woman got married, she had to bring money or property with her into the marriage. This is called a dowry. If a woman didn't have a dowry, she would never marry.

This man was so poor that he had no money for his daughters' dowries. And he didn't have enough money to support them either. He believed he had only one choice: to sell his daughters into slavery. 

            Nicholas heard about this terrible situation. Late one night, Nicholas crept to the man's home and threw something through the window. It was a bag of gold —enough to pay the dowry for his oldest daughter. She was able to marry, but her father was still left with a problem. Two, to be exact. What about the two younger daughters? Sadly, he prepared to send them away.

            Nicholas returned one night and again threw a bag of gold through the window. The father wondered who was helping him. Nicholas didn't want the man to know. It is best to help others without letting them know we're helping them. 

            The father had one daughter left and no money for a dowry. He certainly hoped he would be helped again, and he wanted to find out who was doing it. So he locked the windows and watched out the door.  Nicholas still wanted to help, but he didn't want to be seen. So, in the back of the house, far from the father's sight, he dropped the bag of gold for the third daughter right down the chimney

            Stories about St. Nicholas spread from his home in Turkey to Russia. People passed on stories about him to Northern Europe, to Germany, France, and England, and finally to the United States and Canada. The children in every country gave St. Nicholas a name in their own language, and ours is Santa Claus.

Advent Recipe: Jesse Tree Cookies



·    1 cup butter or margarine

·    2/3 cup brown sugar

·    1 egg

·    1 tsp. almond extract

·    1/2 tsp. salt

·    2 1/2 cups flour

·    1 cup oats

§  Blend butter, sugar, egg, extract, salt. 

§  Add flour, mix thoroughly. 

§  Stir in oats. 

§  Chill dough. 

§  Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. 

§  Cut with cookie cutter or freehand. 

§  Bake at 350 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes.

NOVEMBER    2014 


A Family Prayer for November




Praise be to God …

who made us a family.

Praise be to God …

for the love that we share.

Praise be to God …

for sending us Jesus.

Praise be to God …

for teaching us to care.

Help us, Lord Jesus …

fill our lives with your Spirit.

Help us, Lord Jesus …

teach us how to forgive.

Help us, Lord Jesus …

grant us wisdom and patience.

Help us, Lord Jesus …

in your grace may we live.

Come, Holy Spirit …

fill our lives with your gifts.

Come, Holy Spirit …

help us serve other's needs.

Come, Holy Spirit …

teach us faith, hope, and love.

Come, Holy Spirit …

guide our thoughts and our deeds.

Be with us, God …

we ask Mary to help us.

Be with us, God …

we look to Joseph for aid.

Be with us, God …

may we respect one another.

Be with us, God …

may our hope never fade.

Hear us, Lord Jesus

watch over our family.

Hear us, Lord Jesus …

help our faith to grow strong.

Hear us, Lord Jesus …

come and dwell in our hearts.

Hear us, Lord Jesus …

to you we belong.

Spirit, we praise you …

you invite us to know you.

Spirit, we praise you …

may we walk in your light.

Spirit, we praise you …

may we find you in all things.

Spirit, we praise you …

all day and all night.

Teaching Kids the Five Finger Prayer

Thumb (Pray for the people who are closest to you.) 

These are your close friends and family, often the first you think about when you pray. 

Give thanks to God and ask his protection on your parents, siblings, friends, and classmates.

 Pointer (Pray for the people who point the way.) 

These are leaders in your life, such as our parents, teachers and priests. 

Offer God your thanksgiving for them and ask him to help them in their important work.

 Tall Finger (Pray for the people in authority.) 

The big people in the world need prayer too. 

Ask God to give wisdom to our government leaders, military, and police.

 Ring Finger (Pray for the people who are weak.) 

This is your weakest finger. 

We should remember others who are sick, live in poverty, or are treated badly. 

We also remember those who are weak in their faith and in their moral convictions.

Pray that Jesus would give them new strength.

 Little Finger (Pray for your own needs.) 

God wants to hear your needs too, especially when you put others first. 

Pray for your own growth in mind, body, and spirit.

Pray for God's guidance and for the example we can receive from others.