Monday, October 28, 2013

All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve

    This Friday we celebrate All Saints Day as a way to honor the people who lived for God.  On this day, we take time to remember past Christians and what they did to spread the gospel, and how some of them died for their faith.

     About seven hundred thirty years after Christ, Pope Gregory III, moved All Saints Day from May to November 1.  Why? He wanted people to forget about a Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”), as well as other similar festivals. The Celts were people that lived mostly in what is now Ireland, Britain and northern France long ago, even before Christ. 

     Because November 1 was set aside to honor those who lived for God, the evening before this holiday, October 31 became known as All Hallows Eve.  Over time some phrases became shortened, which is what happened to All Hallows Eve.  By the 1700s, the phrase had been shortened to Halloween.  

     Today, the ancient celebration of Halloween continues with its rituals and customs, and is enjoyed by both old and young throughout the world.  Today’s celebrations include haunted houses, fall festivals and parties.  Though many transformations have occurred with Halloween, many similarities in rituals and celebrations have roots from long ago.

~ Cheryl Kreifeldt

Monday, October 21, 2013

St. Michael's News Connection - Week of October 20th

Musings on Mercy, Mission, and Merit

Pope Francis has frequently focused on our call to mercy and its significance in our lives as a people of faith.  We are charged with the mission of developing and practicing a deeper understanding of mercy.  We are not to remain as recipients or beneficiaries of mercy. Rather, we are also called to be extensions of God’s mercy – a mercy not merited, but which is freely given.  Mercy requires action on our part.  Our response to mercy must be mercy expressed, mercy lived.

Mercy is multi-faceted.  It is experienced in the simple, but unequivocally powerful words, “I forgive you.”  It also thrives in the compassionate response to the needs of others, and the realization we are dependent upon God and one another.

Sunday was Mission Sunday – a time to recall that we are not only to share our faith, but our wealth of blessings, as well, whether it is with our brothers and sisters in the Philippines who have recently suffered from the ravages of an earthquake, those in Haiti still recovering from a previous hurricane, or those in our local community.

Gratitude is one more aspect of mercy. And though we may never be able to adequately compensate anyone for any mercies bestowed upon us, it is important to make a sincere effort to thank those who have shown mercy.

 So to all of you who have shared -
      Through your financial contributions to missionary activities and to our local church,
         through your talent as a volunteer committed to our parish life,
            through your prayer,

I simply say, with heartfelt poetic license in mind, “Merci!”

Jim Gase

Office of Social Ministries and Development

Monday, October 14, 2013

Disciples of Jesus - Disciples of Service

What role do we play as disciples of Jesus, who, "came not to be served but to serve"?

The definition of a disciple (from my teacher's edition of the Religious Education 2nd grade lesson plan) is "someone who follows Jesus".

So, Like Jesus whom we follow, we need not be served but serve. When we choose to help others we unite ourselves with Christ...we become true disciples.

What a great example our current Pope is of service and discipleship. Pope Francis clearly speaks with his actions. He rides the public bus, he cooks his own food, he reaches out to the poor and has a special rapport with children. This is a man who serves God with his life!

We are his flock? Do we hear the call to service?

From our service and discipleship will flow everlasting goodness and joy.

Where can I be of service this week? In my community? In my church? In my family?

-Janice Griffing

St Michael's News Connection - Week of October 13th