The Mass will be offered at St. Peter Church, Main St Danbury, CT at noon on Sat., Feb. 11th. The priests of the Danbury Deanery (the 11 parishes in Danbury) will concelebrate and administer the Sacrament of the Sick to those who wish for healing-physical, emotional, mental or spiritual-during the Mass. Let family members and friends know of this liturgy to be celebrated for them.
The parish will have a Mass in honor of St Brigid of Ireland. The readings, hymns and prayers will be in English and Irish. There will be a short talk during lunch about the life of St Brigid. All are invited to attend the Mass and reception that follows. Location: Main St. Danbury, CT .
Each year, Religious Education (RE) at St Peter Church, Danbury, CT invites people to discern if God is calling them to help in the faith formation of our young parishioners. (Spoiler: If you’ve been baptized, you’ve been called to share your faith.) Perhaps you’re unsure about what to expect or what to do. That’s normal. Maybe you’re worried you won’t know enough about your faith to share it. We can help you.
Let us allay your fears. We don’t expect you to be The Perfect Catechist. That’s not even a thing. We’re looking for parents, grandparents, singles, students, first-time catechists, long-time catechists and former catechists. We’re looking for people willing to learn and prepare, who are committed to guiding our students and who trust that God will provide what they need to be an effective leader.
We know you have doubts and questions, so consider these 8 reasons people are reluctant to step up into this role.
I wouldn’t know what to teach. We provide a week-by-week curriculum outline and a full set of resources to help you. Our texts have complete teacher resources, lesson plans and a robust web site full of suggestions. Our experienced catechists share ideas and lesson plans as well.
I don’t know my faith well enough. At one point, we were all on a journey to learn something – how to read, how to tie our shoes, how to do fractions – and we did it. Your faith is the same; when you practice it more actively, you learn more about it. In fact, this is the thing we hear most often from catechists – their faith grows exponentially when they teach RE.
I don’t have the time. If you attend the 9 a.m. or noon Mass, you’re already here on Sunday mornings. Planning takes only a couple of hours during the week. Chances are you’re already online in the evening; you can surf for lesson ideas then. There are enrichment workshops throughout the year that take place right in the Diocese.
I enjoy having a quiet hour for coffee on Sunday while my kids are in class. We get that. At baptism, you were called to be a witness to Christ’s love in the world. Serving as a catechist allows you to live out this call. Coffee and quiet are beautiful things, but the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the classroom is pretty energizing, too.
I’m afraid to teach by myself. You don’t have to. We place two catechists in every classroom. You can choose how best to teach. Some catechists like to team-teach. We have substitute catechists if you’re on travel.
What if someone asks me a question I can’t answer? You don’t have to know all the answers all the time. We have the people and the resources to help you find the answer so you can bring it back to class the next week.
I’m not “cool” enough to relate to students. Our students have enough “cool” friends. What they need on Sunday morning is a committed Catholic who will learn their name, listen when they speak, involve them in a meaningful lesson, lead them in prayer and guide them on a good path. You probably have life experiences that are more applicable than you realize.
I don’t think I can manage a room of 15 kids. Very few of our catechists are professional teachers, so everyone has concerns about classroom management. We will help you set expectations for your classroom and ensure that students and parents understand what is required for participation in our program.
Open yourself up to a new relationship with God; we’ll help you get there.
Questions? We’d love to talk with you. Call or email: 203-743-1048 or email@example.com.
Starting with my usual prayer time this morning, I saw in the Daily Mass Readings that today (September 15th) was the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Not surprisingly, it follows yesterday’s Exaltation of the Holy Cross or Roodmas as it was called in middle English centuries ago.
I went through the First Reading of Paul’s letter to Timothy in Ephesus (1Tm3: 14-16) which talked about the Church being the pillar and foundation of truth and the Responsorial Psalm after it. Then, I was surprised to see a Sequence in the text with a powerful and moving prayer of lamentation for Mary’s suffering and grief at the foot of the cross. This brought me quickly into the agony she was experiencing at the time. This was followed by the Alleluia which, even though it was only four lines long, was equally piercing. I include these two pieces first now.
At the cross her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length the sword had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed Was that Mother highly blessed Of the sole begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs, She beneath beholds the pangs Of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep, ‘Whelmed in miseries so deep, Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain From partaking in her pain, In that mother’s pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, She beheld her tender Child, All with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of his own nation Saw him hang in desolation Till his spirit forth he sent.
O sweet Mother! font of love, Touch my spirit from above, Make my heart with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt; Make my soul to glow and melt With the love of Christ, my Lord.
Holy Mother, pierce me through, In my heart each wound renew Of my Savior crucified.
Let me share with you his pain, Who for all our sins was slain, Who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with you, Mourning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live.
By the cross with you to stay, There with you to weep and pray, Is all I ask of you to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest! Listen to my fond request: Let me share your grief divine.
Let me to my latest breath, In my body bear the death Of that dying Son of yours.
Wounded with his every wound, Steep my soul till it has swooned In his very Blood away.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh, Lest in flames I burn and die, In his awful judgment day.
Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my defense, Be your cross my victory.
While my body here decays, May my soul your goodness praise, Safe in heaven eternally. Amen.(Alleluia).
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary; without dying you won the Martyr’s crown beneath the Cross of the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Gospel reading was from Jn 19: 25-27 where Jesus gives His mother to the Apostle John’s care. I always look for the connections in the daily Mass readings and realized as I wrote this piece, that the Church which is our pillar and foundation of truth gives us powerful readings as these for the daily Mass helping us to realize and feel what our Blessed Mother experienced and endured for us.
The insightful Daily Meditation in Word Among Us for this day is included below.
DAILY MEDITATION: JOHN 19:25-27
Behold, your mother. (John 19:27)
If you enter St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican through the doors on the right, you won’t go far before you pass by one of the most beautiful, moving sculptures in Western art: Michelangelo’s Pietà. The sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary looking down at the dead body of her son as he is draped over her lap. Her expression is a mixture of sorrow and contemplation, of mourning and acceptance. She isn’t weeping; she is gazing intently, as if she were waiting for something to happen.
This combination of sadness and anticipation is a perfect way to understand today’s memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. By the time we come to this scene in the Gospels, Mary has become intimately familiar with suffering and loss. For a time, she wondered whether Joseph might leave her to raise her child on her own. Then she had to give birth in a cave. Then she and her new family became refugees in the land of Egypt. She also endured a three-day search for her missing son, became a widow at a young age, and had to learn to live alone after Jesus began his public ministry.
So Mary was no stranger to sorrow when she received the lifeless body of her son on Good Friday, and Michelangelo’s sculpture captures this familiarity beautifully. For Mary had learned the secret to sorrow and grief—that it is not permanent. Her near divorce ended with Joseph deeply committed to her and her son. In the cave, she was surrounded by shepherds telling of angelic choirs. When Jesus left to preach and teach, she found a new role in a large family made up of everyone who “does the will of God” (Mark 3:35).
Somehow Mary knew—she believed—that her son’s death on the cross was not the end. So even as she grieved all that he had endured, even as she felt each of his pains as if it were her own, she trusted that God would not leave her and that her grief would eventually turn to joy.
So will yours. And as you wait, you can lean on Mary as your own tender, compassionate Mother.
On our recent trip to visit our daughter in Nevada, I attended Mass at the St Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno, Nevada one Sunday morning in April. I always enjoy visiting other churches to hear Mass and see how they are celebrated. Most churches are in the process of opening up as the pandemic recedes, so I was especially interested in seeing how they were doing this at St. Thomas’s. I noticed that they had pews taped off as usual, but they were taped about 2 feet in which was curious. The cantor came up to the lectern and began giving some directions for the Gloria and then began the opening Easter Hymn “the strife is over“. Tears began to well up in my eyes from a flood of emotions.
I had recently been talking with other friends about the seeming lack of joy in the Easter season following Easter Sunday especially when compared with Christmas season following Christmas Day. One hears a variety of beautiful Christmas hymns before and after Christmas day: O Holy Night, Adeste Fideles, Silent Night and so on. There are many Easter hymns as well but not nearly sung as often. And here I was, over 2000 miles from home hearing the cantor and a congregation singing: “Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia…..the strife is over …….” A beautiful hymn exclaiming that Christ’s suffering on the cross is over and now also the suffering from the pandemic on the way out. Bittersweet joy of Easter, the pandemic and the joy of singing for the first time in 10 months. I could barely sing along with all the feelings going on inside.
The priest started the Mass by asking everyone to greet each other which everyone did. He was especially reverent throughout the Mass and everyone participated in kind. This parish was keeping that Easter joy and what a joy it was to be there. We all need to remember that Christmas happened so that Easter could happen! The Resurrection is Jesus’ triumph over death and makes possible the joy of eternal life with Him. That is certainly a reason to keep that joyous feeling before us! I am still listening to those beautiful Easter hymns. And the warmth and love of that parish surely is boosting my soul all the way to Pentecost!
By the way, this parish brought Communion down to the people in the pews! That is why they left space in the taped off pews. I learn something new every day.
Isaiah is consistently beautiful in his writings whether it be in the Advent/Christmas seasons, or Lent/Easter times. I always love them. The Mass reading this past Tuesday, Is 55:10-11, captures a beautiful reality.
My daily prayer life involves Lectio Divina which is a practice of reading the daily scripture readings and then pondering and being open to listening for what God wants to impart to you. A passage like this is ideal. The meditation for this day (Feb 23) from Word Among Us gives an excellent description of Lectio Divina and commentary on Isaiah’s passage.
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth
making it fertile and fruitful,…
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,..
DAILY MEDITATION: ISAIAH 55:10-11
My word . . . shall not return to me void. (Isaiah 55:11)
Have you ever been inside a greenhouse? Its transparent walls trap heat and humidity, creating a tropical atmosphere—even in the wintertime. The walls also keep out hungry herbivores. It’s no wonder a greenhouse is such a fertile environment!
This may be a good metaphor for the practice of lectio divina, an ancient, prayerful way of reading Scripture. In today’s first reading, we hear about the life-giving power of God’s word. It’s like rain that waters the earth and causes crops to grow and bear fruit. You could say that lectio divina is an especially fertile environment for growth.
In order to experience God’s written word through lectio divina, you need to “wall yourself off” from distractions for a time. This creates space for the four traditional stages of this practice: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.
Reading. Just as fertile soil helps plants grow, the words of Scripture are a rich medium in which we can experience God’s grace. So unhurried reading of a short passage is the first step of lectio divina. This stage usually ends as you pause at a phrase—even a word—that catches your attention.
Meditation. Remember the greenhouse’s clear walls that let in so much light? Similarly, you can invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truths in that phrase or word as you ponder it and turn it over in your mind.
Prayer. Next, bring your reflections before the Lord in the form of a prayerful conversation. Maybe you could thank him for a truth he has revealed. Or ask him whatever questions come into your heart. Then give him room to respond. At this point, the Lord may already be irrigating your soul with peace or joy.
Contemplation. Now be still and open. Allow anything God has said or done to soak in. Let his word take root within you—even if you don’t immediately “feel” anything happening.
And that’s it. But don’t be fooled. Even though it’s structured and simple, lectio divina contains living surprises, like any good greenhouse. You never know at which stage you may encounter the Lord walking through the garden.
I have always enjoyed reading the Scriptures during the Advent season as they are so uplifting and a delight to the soul. Last week in one of the daily readings was the genealogy of Jesus in Mt 1: 1-17. It is one of those readings which is a bit long and has a lot of information but seems pretty boring. Boring if you don’t know the back story behind it all. Once you find that out, a whole new perspective comes into view! Which is why it is so important read the Scriptures and other religious writings outside of what you see and hear at Sunday Mass once a week. There are a wealth of resources in our Church of 2,000 years including the Word Among Us publication, the National Catholic Register newspaper and the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) just to name a few.
Getting back to the genealogy of Jesus, one discovers a big mix of bad apples in the family tree! For example, Jacob, a deceiver and thief; Rahab, a prostitute; King David, a murderer and adulterer; King Manasseh, an idolater and King Ahaz who did everything God had told him not to do!
So, what does this have to do with the title of this blog post (which is a bit edgy)? The inspiration comes from the meditation in Word Among Us for December 17th which is included below.
DAILY MEDITATION: MATTHEW 1:1-17
The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)
A family of liars, adulterers, murderers, fornicators, connivers, and blasphemers. What a miserable lot! And yet the most famous member of this family tree isn’t known for some gross sin or heinous crime. Quite the opposite, in fact. He is God become man, Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Why do you think God chose such a rogues’ gallery of ancestors for his Son? Is this the best he could come up with? Well, in a sense, yes! No matter how good any family may look on paper, they are still fallen, imperfect human beings.
Centuries of biblical history have shown us that God doesn’t usually choose the bravest or the strongest or even the holiest people to fulfill his plan. He chooses ordinary, sinful people. And so Jesus was born into an imperfect line—but a line that was made holy by God’s grace. That wasn’t a problem for God though. He can work with anything. In fact, it delights him to fill us, cracked and leaky vessels though we are, with his love.
Do you feel unworthy of being part of God’s plan? You’re right, you are! We all are. But however spotty our personal history or family tree may be, it doesn’t keep the Lord from offering us a new identity as his sons and daughters. All who are baptized into Christ are grafted into a spotless lineage and given the grace to grow into their new inheritance.
God redeemed a line of misfits and miscreants with his power. And he used this family as an important part of his plan. He is ready to do the same for you. You are more than able to bring Christ into the world, just as David, Solomon, Moses, and all the others did.
So come to the Lord and ask him to show you his plans for you. Does he want you to bring Christ to someone in your life? Will you let him renew your zeal for sharing the good news? Always remember that you are part of a royal line, and nothing is impossible for God!
“Father, help me to take up my role in your plan. Unworthy though I am, let me be your light to the world!”
The new liturgical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent which was November 29th this year. Advent is always one of my favorite times of the year as it is the time to prepare for the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas which begins the Christmas season. The joy and anticipation is readily apparent in the daily Mass readings and the passages from Isaiah and others are especially beautiful. Now is a perfect time to begin a new season for your heart and soul after a very stressful and difficult year.
If you have been away from Mass and Reconciliation, you can return now. Or spend some time in Adoration. Many churches are still having Lessons & Carols in-person (with the usual health precautions) and online. Perhaps creating a new daily prayer habit. Start slow with 15 minutes a day with our Lord, or reading scripture. If something strikes your interest, follow that lead.
The Word Among Us (WAU) is an excellent publication of the daily Mass readings, meditations and spiritual resources. The beautiful meditation today tied the three readings together and follows below:
DAILY MEDITATION: PSALM 23:1-6
I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. (Psalm Response)
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” This popular song shows just how much we associate the holidays with the comforts of home. Even if we can’t be home this Christmas, we probably recall times of anticipation from the past—of stringing lights, wrapping presents, decorating the tree, and gathering around the table. But have you ever thought about how Advent is also a time to anticipate how wonderful it will be to gather in God’s eternal home?
Many of the readings we hear during the Advent season focus on just this theme. Why? Because just as we look forward to Jesus’ coming at Christmas, so the Church invites us to reflect on the day when the Lord will come again in glory and welcome us into heaven. Let’s see how today’s first reading stirs this longing.
Like any good host, Jesus is eager to welcome his guests and feed them. Isaiah envisions a great feast “for all peoples” (25:6). Everything we could possibly desire—Isaiah uses the image of “rich food and choice wines” (25:6)—will be ours because we will be face-to-face with what we have always desired the most, God himself.
On that day, all the guests will gather as one family around this table because God will have removed the “web that is woven over all nations” (Isaiah 25:7). Just imagine—all the strife, conflict, and arguments that we witness today, even in our own families, will no longer exist.
There will be great rejoicing in heaven. God will “wipe away the tears from all faces” and “destroy death forever” (Isaiah 25:8). The disappointments, losses, and pain we have experienced during our lives on earth—all will be healed. Reunited with our loved ones, we will never have to fear being separated from them again.
Who wouldn’t want to be welcomed into this kind of home? This is what awaits you as you prepare to live in the house of Christ, your Lord. So rejoice! This Advent, as you prepare your home for Christmas, remember that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is preparing a place in his home for you.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for inviting me into your home.”