• Address: 161 9th Street Idaho Falls ID 83404
  • Phone: (208) 522-7781
  • Fax: (208) 522-7782
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Faith Formation

Holy Rosary Catholic School is dedicated to the faith formation of it's children. On this page you will find events and activities that demonstrate the things we do to help students  reach their God-given potential.

Faith formation activities and games:

http://www.ewtn.com/ewtnkids/index.asp


 

Holy Rosary Families - Weekly Faith Formation Lesson

May 24, 20016

In this space this year, we have explored the richness and depth of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.  It is hoped that these articles have been informative and a bit challenging.  We are always called to grow in our faith; to dig deeper into its truths and express those truths more boldly with our lives. It is one way to be increasingly transformed into the likeness of God.

                Next year this space will be devoted to Catholic Q & A.  If you have a question about God or the faith, you will be able to submit it via email and I will do my best to answer it.

May God bless you with a relaxing and enjoyable summer!  -Mary Roybal

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May 17, 2016

                The first and last lines of the creed are like bookends.  In the first we profess faith in God the creator; in the last we look forward to “life everlasting,” the eternal happiness we will have when we go to live with Him.  Everything in between is about getting from creation to heaven. 

                Upon death, souls immediately undergo their particular judgment.  Those who refused the love and mercy of God, by rejecting Him through unbelief or unrepentant mortal sin, will spend eternity separated from Him in hell.  Those who die in the friendship of God, that is, the state of grace,  but are not yet perfectly purified, will go to purgatory to achieve the holiness they need to enter and live in heaven.  Those souls who love God perfectly at death will go straight into the communion of life and love with the Trinity.

                While “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” what heaven is like, we know that at the end of time, the kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Our souls will be reunited with our bodies. The good each person has done or failed to do will be revealed in the last judgment.  God will be glorified in His saints, and marveled at by all who have believed.  And the entire universe will be renewed and re-established in Christ.  This is the “new heavens and the new earth” spoken of in scripture, where God will dwell among humankind.  It will be the place in which we will be happy beyond all our desires, forever!  

(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1020-1060)

Family discussion: What do you think will be the most wonderful thing in the “new heavens and new earth?”

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May 10, 2016

    Our God created us as human persons, body and soul.  Jesus Christ redeemed all persons, body and soul.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies persons, body and soul.  In eternity, we will live in heaven, God willing, body and soul.  Death is separation of the soul from the body.  Upon death our souls will be judged and we will take our place in heaven (perhaps by way of purgatory) or hell.  There we will await the last day, the end of the world, when our bodies will be resurrected and reunited with our souls. All the dead will rise, either to everlasting life or to judgment. We will again be complete persons, body and soul.

     Already in our earthly lives, we participate in the resurrection of Christ. Through baptism we are buried and raised to new life with Him. In the Eucharist His glorified body becomes one with our mortal bodies, and we become members of Christ.  We “seek the things that are above” and “glorify God in (our) bodies.”  As we die, we complete our incorporation into Jesus’ redeeming act on the cross.  When we receive our immortal bodies, we will be completely incorporated into his resurrection.

       The dignity of the human person, of which Pope Saint John Paul II was strong advocate, has its basis in the resurrection of the body.  Our souls and bodies have a glorious destiny. Therefore we are to take care of our souls and bodies, and treat all human beings with compassion and respect.

 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 988-1019, 1 Thess. 4:16, Col. 2:12, 3:1, 1Cor. 6:13-15, 19-20)

 Family Activity: pick one way for all your family members to take better care of your bodies!

 

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May 3, 2016

“I believe in …the forgiveness of sins..”  On the day of the resurrection, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  Jesus clearly gave the apostles the authority and power to forgive sins.  In Jesus’ name, by the power of the Holy Spirit, His disciples were able to do many of the signs He had done.  Therefore, it is not surprising that they were also able to forgive sins.

                Today, the successors of the apostles, our bishops and priests, are the instrument through which God forgives sin.  Initially and chiefly, this happens in the sacrament of Baptism, which eradicates original sin and any offences previously committed.  But baptism does not free us from the weakness of our human nature.  It is necessary, then, that there exists a way for sins committed after baptism to be forgiven.  God’s great gifts of forgiveness and mercy are available to us always, up to our dying day, through the sacrament of reconciliation. Provided we are sincerely repentant, the church can grant us absolution no matter how large or serious the sin. In this way, our relationship with God and the church are restored.

                Additionally, the practice of regular confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is strongly recommended by the Church.  It helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, be healed by Christ, and progress in the life of the Holy Spirit.  By frequently receiving the mercy of God, we are prompted to be merciful to others.  Let us often make use of this wonderful gift of the Father!  (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 976-987, 1458)

  Family activity: go to Reconciliation as a family this week!

Thursday 6-7pm @ Holy Rosary, Saturday 330-430 @ Christ the King

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April 26, 2016

“I believe in…the Holy Catholic Church.”  It’s such a short line in the Apostle’s Creed, but it contains so much.  The word “church” can mean the liturgical assembly, the local community, or the whole universal community of believers.  It refers both to the visible structure of the People of God, and the spiritual means by which the divine life is communicated to mankind.  It can be both physical and spiritual, because it is the mystical body of Christ. We abide in Jesus, and He abides in us. And just as God used the humanity of Jesus to fulfill His plan of salvation, so He uses the physical nature of the church to communicate truth and grace to all people.  He uses the sensible sacraments to share His life with us. He uses the hierarchy of clergy to interpret scripture and teach us.  And He uses us, the lay people, to shine the light of Christ into the world. 

                The Holy Spirit continually sanctifies the church.  He could sanctify it once and be done, if it were not for the fact that the church is made up of weak and imperfect people.  It is a great mystery that God entrusts His kingdom to human beings!  He gives us the grace to be a holy church.  But because we are human, we will at times act in ways that are definitely not holy.  We mess up by sinning. We fail to love our neighbors.   But the Holy Spirit just comes again and again with more and more grace.  He keeps the church holy, in spite of us. And He keeps us holy through the church.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 748-780)

 

Family activity: this week, introduce yourselves to someone in the church you haven’t met before.

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April 19, 2016

The Holy Spirit was the last of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity to be revealed to humankind.  However, the workings of the Holy Spirit can be seen from the beginning of time.  Genesis 1:2 says “the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” as the earth was created.  When we say that man was created in the “image and likeness” of God, the “likeness” is the very life of God, the Holy Spirit. Adam and Eve forfeited this likeness when they fell from grace, but beginning with Abraham, God promised to restore it.  Appearing as a cloud, the Holy Spirit both revealed the Word of God and concealed Him in His shadow.  God gave the law to point man to Christ, and to enkindle in him the desire for the Holy Spirit, without Whom the law cannot be kept.  During the exile, God’s people were purified by the Holy Spirit. And through prophets like Isaiah, the Holy Spirit promised the coming of the Messiah.  By being filled with the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord.  The Holy Spirit fulfills the promise of the Father when the Blessed Virgin Mary became the mother of Jesus. Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto the apostles that they could heal and preach. Finally, beginning at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes to His church to make present the mystery of Christ and bring mankind into communion with God.  He sure is a busy Fellow! (Catechism of the Catholic Church 702-747)

 Family Discussion: Where have you seen the Holy Spirit at work today?

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April 26, 2016

      “I believe in…the Holy Catholic Church.”  It’s such a short line in the Apostle’s Creed, but it contains so much.  The word “church” can mean the liturgical assembly, the local community, or the whole universal community of believers.  It refers both to the visible structure of the People of God, and the spiritual means by which the divine life is communicated to mankind.  It can be both physical and spiritual, because it is the mystical body of Christ. We abide in Jesus, and He abides in us. And just as God used the humanity of Jesus to fulfill His plan of salvation, so He uses the physical nature of the church to communicate truth and grace to all people.  He uses the sensible sacraments to share His life with us. He uses the hierarchy of clergy to interpret scripture and teach us.  And He uses us, the lay people, to shine the light of Christ into the world. 

    The Holy Spirit continually sanctifies the church.  He could sanctify it once and be done, if it were not for the fact that the church is made up of weak and imperfect people.  It is a great mystery that God entrusts His kingdom to human beings!  He gives us the grace to be a holy church.  But because we are human, we will at times act in ways that are definitely not holy.  We mess up by sinning. We fail to love our neighbors.   But the Holy Spirit just comes again and again with more and more grace.  He keeps the church holy, in spite of us. And He keeps us holy through the church.

(Catechism of the Catholic Church # 748-780)

Family activity: this week, introduce yourselves to someone in the church you haven’t met before.

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April 12, 2016

     As we get to know a person, we consider both who the person is and what the person does.  While these are not exactly the same thing, each will affect the other, and reveal the other. The better we know a person, the more we understand his actions.  And the more we see his actions, the better we know the person.  So it is with the Holy Spirit.  Theology teaches us about Who He is, and economy teaches us about what He does.  Together, the knowledge of theology and economy of God help us grow in our relationship with Him.

     So, Who is the Holy Spirit?  He is not an impersonal force, or energy.  He is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  Jesus reveals that He is a Person by giving Him the name “Paraclete,” literally, “one who is called to one’s side.”  He also called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Truth.” He promised to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles after He returned to the Father.  

     What is the Holy Spirit?  He is consubstantial with, or, of the same substance and nature as, the Father and the Son.  This means He is God, as both the Father and Jesus are God.  Just as the Son (the Second Person of the Trinity) proceeds from the Father, so the Spirit (the Third Person) proceeds from the Father and the Son.  And so we adore and glorify Him as we do the Father and the Son. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 236, 243-248,683-686)

     Family Activity: This evening, pray as a family to the Holy Spirit

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April 19, 2016

     The Holy Spirit was the last of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity to be revealed to humankind.  However, the workings of the Holy Spirit can be seen from the beginning of time.  Genesis 1:2 says “the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” as the earth was created.  When we say that man was created in the “image and likeness” of God, the “likeness” is the very life of God, the Holy Spirit. Adam and Eve forfeited this likeness when they fell from grace, but beginning with Abraham, God promised to restore it.  Appearing as a cloud, the Holy Spirit both revealed the Word of God and concealed Him in His shadow.  God gave the law to point man to Christ, and to enkindle in him the desire for the Holy Spirit, without Whom the law cannot be kept.  During the exile, God’s people were purified by the Holy Spirit. And through prophets like Isaiah, the Holy Spirit promised the coming of the Messiah.  By being filled with the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord.  The Holy Spirit fulfills the promise of the Father when the Blessed Virgin Mary became the mother of Jesus. Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto the apostles that they could heal and preach. Finally, beginning at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes to His church to make present the mystery of Christ and bring mankind into communion with God.  He sure is a busy Fellow! (Catechism of the Catholic Church 702-747)

Family Discussion: Where have you seen the Holy Spirit at work today?

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April 5, 2016

    At the end of time, Jesus Christ will return to earth, to fulfill His reign as Lord and King “with power and great glory.”  The kingdom of God is already present on earth in real but imperfect holiness in the church.  When Christ comes, the kingdom will permeate the “new heavens and the new earth” with justice, love, and peace. But first there will be a final time of trial, in which we will follow our Lord in His death and resurrection.  Then, Jesus will come again and God’s triumph over evil will be complete and permanent.   Our time of waiting and watching will be over. 

     On this “last day” we all will be judged by Jesus; the conduct of each person and the secrets of hearts will be brought to light. This is known as the Last Judgment.  Our belief in God and our love of neighbor will reveal the extent to which we were open to grace and divine love.  Jesus earned the right to judge us by His suffering and death on the cross.  Yet He came not to judge, but to save us and give us His life.  Therefore, we will really be judged by ourselves:  Our Lord will render to each of us according to our works, and according to our acceptance or refusal of grace. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 668-682)

    Family activity: look in the newspaper, online, or on TV for examples of how the kingdom of God is present in the world. Is the reign of God complete and perfect yet? How can you tell?  How will things be different when the kingdom IS fulfilled and perfect?

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March 29, 2016

   Jesus Christ ascended bodily into heaven forty days after His resurrection from the dead.  He is seated at the right hand of the Father; that is, He reigns now over all creation.  His kingdom is in heaven, to be sure, but it is also here, on earth, now, in His church.  We belong to His glorious kingdom!  Of course, because we live here on earth we struggle with temptations, imperfections, and sin. This is a reality for us as individuals and for the church as a whole. Our sanctity is real but imperfect. But, never fear! As Pope Francis likes to remind us:

            Jesus Christ loves us!

            Jesus Christ died for us!

            Jesus Christ is here with us all the time!

     This is the heart of the gospel, the kerygma.  It is well to read, re-read, and ponder these words. Substitute the word “me” for “us” and say the words aloud.  Let them sink in. These words are powerful. They are at the core of who we are as Christians. They allow us to face our fears. They teach us about our dignity as sons and daughters of God. They help us to see others as our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

    At school today we were reminded of this wonderful truth. Please talk with your children about it tonight. Pray with it before bedtime. Repeat it in the morning.  It makes all the difference in the world!

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March 15, 2016

 The number forty has special significance in the Bible. It indicates a time of preparation for something big. After Jesus rose from the dead in His glorified body, He spent forty days on earth. During this time, He appeared often to his disciples, eating with them and teaching them. He said He would send the promise of the Father and they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. When the forty days were completed, Jesus “was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:6-11) His humanity was taken into divine glory. This was big!

Jesus goes before us and leads us into the Father’s glorious kingdom. He is “seated at the right hand of the Father,” that is, He reigns over His everlasting kingdom, and “all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” This is the kingdom to which His apostles bore witness, and the kingdom to which we belong and must bear witness.

As the eternal high priest, Jesus is constantly making intercession for us in the heavenly liturgy. When we attend mass, we participate in this heavenly liturgy. We may see Father Raul or Father Javier on the altar, but really it is Jesus offering Himself to the Father on our behalf through them. We say that Father is acting in persona christi, in the person of Christ. Jesus Himself is the one sending the “permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”

(CCC 659-667, 1548)

Family activity: go outside and look at the clouds. Think about Jesus interceding for us in heaven. Talk to Him about your needs.

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March 8, 2016

We are halfway through Lent!  Whether you are thinking “halfway already!” or only halfway!,” it’s a good time to reflect on the season.  How am I doing with my prayer, fasting, and almsgiving?  If all is going well with our sacrifices, we may already be experiencing many blessings. Praise God!  If we are slipping, or maybe haven’t yet started, let’s ask God to help us with a new start. Either way, let’s recognize our dependence on His love and strength to begin, continue, or increase our Lenten observance.  Most importantly, we need to acknowledge our sinfulness, our failures, and our weaknesses.  We must turn these over to God, ask His forgiveness, and live a more abundant life in His mercy and love. The church helps us to do this by means of the precepts of the church. These are obligations we have as Catholics that guarantee that we are doing the “indispensable minimum” in the spirit of prayer and moral effort for the growth in love of God and neighbor. The precepts are five:

Attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation

Confess your sins at least once a year

Humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season

Keep the days of fasting and abstinence established by the church

Help provide for the needs of the church

We are required to keep the precepts as we are required to keep the commandments.  The parish penance service is tomorrow, March 9, at 7pm at Christ the King Church. Let us all take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to “grow in love of God and neighbor.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2041-2043)

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March 1, 2016

    “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”  So says Saint Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians.  The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the basis of our faith in Him.  Had Jesus not risen, we would be free to regard Him as a good man, a great teacher, or even a prophet sent by God.  But by rising from the dead He provided the proof of His divinity.  We can know for certain that Jesus is God.

    “But,” one might say, “Lazarus was raised from the dead. And he’s not God!”  Good point.  The difference is in the resurrected bodies of Jesus and Lazarus.  That of Lazarus was the same as it had been before he died. That of Jesus is glorified. It is a body, to be sure. He ate with His disciples and let them touch Him to show that He wasn’t a ghost.  But His body is no longer constrained by space and time. He suddenly appeared to people out of nowhere.  He appeared in different forms so that he was not recognizable.  He no longer feels pain, hunger, or thirst. And His resurrected body will never die again. It has been incorporated into the Blessed Trinity and is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

   Family activity: Play “What if?” Take turns telling what you would do first if you had a glorified body like Jesus has.

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 February 23, 2016

   As we pray, fast and give alms during Lent, we are preparing to enter into the paschal mystery of Christ during Holy Week.  The suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus are historical events that happened two thousand years ago.  However, God is not bound by time, so those events are made present to us today.  At every mass we are there in the upper room, at Calvary and at the empty tomb. But as we celebrate the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, and then Easter, the liturgy reveals that we are powerfully taken into the very mystery of our redemption.

   In order to fully experience Holy Week in this way, we can prepare by making time for prayer every day: not merely “saying our prayers,” but spending quiet time in conversation with our Lord through the reading of scripture.  The passion narratives in the gospels give us a lot to talk to God about.  We can express our compassion for Jesus in His suffering. We can relate our trials and hardships to His. We can ask God how our lives can better reflect the immense love our Savior poured out for us on the cross.  And thank Him for the amazing gift of everlasting life! 

   Making time for this kind of prayer may be difficult.  We may have to limit or eliminate other activities in order to do it. But it’s worth it! After meditating on the gospels this way, our participation in the paschal mystery during Holy Week will be an experience that will transform our lives for Christ. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1163-1171, 2705-2708)

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February 16, 2016

            In the course of the liturgical year, the church unfolds the entire mystery of Christ, making our Lord’s powers and merits present in every age.  We have begun the season of Lent, which prepares us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery: Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.  Through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we “repent, and believe in the gospel.” In scripture, the word “repent” is “metanoia.” Literally, this means a changing of one’s mind.  As we learn more about Christ, and love Him more, we will see the disconnect between our faith and our day-to-day lives.  Here is where we must change our minds about how we spend our time, money and energy.  Our Lenten observance should help us do just that.  For example, fasting from chocolate or soda should lead us to look to Jesus when we are needing a pick-me up.  His love works better, and it’s free, so we can put the money we saved in the rice bowl!  Turning off the computer frees up more time for prayer.  In working with the poor we see the face of Christ.  By the end of Lent, we will have changed our minds and our lives. We will be closer to our Lord.

            Abstinence means refraining from meat and meat products, and is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age and older. Days of abstinence are Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays in Lent.  Fasting is to be observed by all Catholics from the ages of 18 to 59 on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This means eating one full meal that day. Two smaller meals may be taken, but together they should not equal one full meal. Liquids may be taken between meals.  Those not bound by fasting or abstinence due to age or ill health are urged to practice other forms of self-denial, and parents and pastors are encouraged to promote this practice in their children.

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February 10, 2016

Michelle Griffith will be teaching another bible class for all Holy Rosary Parents.  The first class is from "The Life of Antony" written by St. Athanasius and the remaining classes would be from "Understanding the Scriptures", a bible study developed by Scott Hahn.

    When:  Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30am

Feb. 16  St. Antony of the Desert

Feb. 23  Basic introduction to the Bible

Mar. 1   Basic introduction to the Old Testament

Mar. 15  The Creation of the World

Mar. 22  The Early World

Mar. 29  Abraham Our Father

April 5    The Patriarchs

April 19  The Exodus

April 26  The Law

May 3     The Rise of the Kingdom

    Where:  Our Lady of Guadalupe Room (in the Parish Office)

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STATIONS OF THE CROSS

   Holy Rosary School will be hosting the Stations of the Cross for our parish February 19, 7 p.m. at Holy Rosary Church.  Families from our school are needed to read the stations, process through the stations with cross and candles, and lead the singing.  Please prayerfully consider extending mercy to our parish through this opportunity to serve!  Sign- up sheet is at the school office.

THROAT BLESSING

    In honor of Saint Blaise, and to ask his intercession, there will be a blessing of throats at the Communion Service on February 3rd.  Blaise was an Armenian bishop who was martyred in the 4th century. Legend has it that he miraculously cured a young boy who was choking on a fish bone.  Please join us this day as we ask for protection from illnesses of the throat!

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January 26, 2016

    There are volumes written on the subject of prayer.  But the heart of all sound teaching on prayer is not a set of words or a methodology; it is a Person.  Jesus Christ is the personification of prayer.  He demonstrates the importance of talking with God as He prays in solitude before decisive moments in His ministry. He teaches us to pray with the boldness of the importunate friend (Lk 11:5-13), the patience of the widow (Lk 18:1-8), and the humility of the tax collector (Lk 18:9-14). 

    The most important thing Jesus teaches us about prayer is filial trust. He shows us that first, we must do God’s will.  We give ourselves over to God by seeking His kingdom, reconciling with our brother, and praying for our enemies.  Then we can learn to pray in faith, knowing that God has the best plan for us.  We can present our adoration, offerings, and petitions with the trust of a child.  God may answer “yes,” “not yet,” or “I have a better idea,” and we will know that that is the best answer.  Further, when our prayer is united with that of Jesus, we are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, which brings us into the communion of love which is the Blessed Trinity.  In this, our joy is made full!  (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2598-2616)

          Family Activity: Identify an area of your family life that is a challenge right now. Together, pray “Lord, Thy will be done about ____________.”

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January 19, 2016

          Jesus said, “I came that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn 10:10)  While on earth, Jesus worked “mighty works and wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22) that were life-giving.  He cured the sick and the lame, gave sight to the blind, and even raised people from the dead.  In doing so, He manifested the love and mercy of God by providing physical healings.  But these healings also accomplished the greater, deeper task of showing that the kingdom was present in Jesus and attesting that He was the promised Messiah.  A miracle is something only God can do. Jesus worked miracles; therefore He must be God. 

          It follows then, that Jesus has the authority to rebuke the Pharisees, to cast out demons, and teach the people. He has the power to forgive sins, and restore man’s relationship with the Father. He can say “No man comes to the Father but by Me” (Jn 14:6) and we must believe it. And by His most magnificent miracle of all, His rising from the dead, He promises eternal life to His followers and makes good on that promise.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church 547-550)

          In our family prayer time, let us remember to thank Jesus for all the ways in which He shares His life with us.

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January 12, 2016

     With the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord this past Sunday, we bring the Christmas season to a close and enter Ordinary Time.  Having pondered the Incarnation and the Person of Jesus, we now take a closer look at His life.  Jesus reveals the Father to us in His person, teaches us how to live in the Kingdom, and shares the Divine Life with us.  And He does all this through the mysteries of the Incarnation, and through His death and resurrection. The catechism clarifies this for us: “All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day He when He was taken up into Heaven, is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter.”  Jesus says, “He who sees Me has seen the Father” because He is the Second Person of the Trinity made man.  He can say “Sell all you have, give to the poor, and follow Me” because He gave His all for us on the cross.  He promises us eternal life through His resurrection from the dead.

    We are hearing the Gospel of Luke proclaimed at mass on Sundays this year.  For our family activity, let’s read the gospel together at home, a little bit each evening.  As we re-read the familiar stories of the life of Christ, we can gain new understanding and insight by looking at them in the context of the mysteries of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.

            (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 512-570)

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January 5, 2016

             For the next few weeks we will be studying the person of Jesus.  To begin, remember that NATURE refers to what something is, and PERSON refers to who someone is.  God has one nature, which is divine, and 3 persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the second person of the Blessed Trinity Who became man. He is one person with two natures: divine and human.  Not that He is a “confused mixture” of the two; rather He became truly man while remaining truly God.  This is one of the core mysteries of our faith, the Incarnation.  As God, He retained His glory and perfections. As man, He has a human soul with a human will and a human intellect.

            Jesus says: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:5).   As truth, He reveals the Father and the kingdom to us. He is the way by showing us how to live a life of holiness. By gaining sanctifying grace for us by dying on the cross, He is the Life.  He communicates that life to us through the sacraments He instituted. The life of grace is what allows us to enter, and remain in, His kingdom.  (CCC  456-483, 654, 1996-2000).

            Family activity: Take turns thinking of something Jesus did or said while on earth. In this action or teaching, was Jesus the Way, the Truth, or the Life?

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Prayers for lighting the Advent Wreath

3rd week: Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving. We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

 4th week: Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan. Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces his glory and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  AMEN.

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December 15, 2015

            Last Friday, the students witnessed a live nativity as part of our Advent retreat.  Each character in the scene provided a reminder of an aspect of our relationship with Jesus.  Let’s use our nativity scenes at home in the same way.   For example, Saint Joseph made many sacrifices for the Blessed Mother and baby Jesus; what sacrifices am I willing to make for God?  The Virgin Mary said Yes to God even though she couldn’t fully comprehend what would be required of her; are we willing say yes to God even when it means we won’t be totally in control of the situation?  Are we as excited to be with Jesus in prayer and in the sacraments as the shepherds were to see Him in the stable?  Do we shine like the star of Bethlehem with the love of Christ?  How about the camel? Are we ready to bear others’ burdens when there is (seemingly) nothing in it for us?  The wise men and the innkeeper have lessons for us, too.  Let’s take some time to meditate with our crèches as we approach the birthday of our Savior.  It will provide us with insight and perhaps help us make some new year’s resolutions.  Merry Christmas!

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December 8, 2015

             During the season of Advent, we contemplate more deeply the mystery if the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Because it is a mystery, we will not fully understand it in this life, but meditating upon the person of Jesus helps us to better know, love, and serve Him, and grow in our relationship with Him. Carve out a few minutes each day to contemplate one of the aspects of the incarnation listed below.  First, pray to God that He open your mind and heart to His love and his truth. Then, read one of the statements. Read it again carefully, to absorb the meaning. Think about the implications of the statement: how does this affect what I believe about Jesus? How does it affect how I pray and attend mass? How does it affect how I treat my neighbor, who is a reflection of Jesus?  How will this make a difference in my life?

  • Jesus is God the Son, the second person of the Blessed Trinity
  • Jesus is fully God and fully man
  • Jesus became man to save me by reconciling me with God
  • Jesus became man  so that I might know God’s love
  • Jesus became man to be my model of holiness
  • Jesus became man so that I can partake of the divine nature
  • Jesus has a human soul, a human will, and a human body as I do
  • The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from any stain of sin in order that she would be the vessel through which Christ entered the world (the Immaculate Conception)

(CCC 422-511)

Family Activity: Keep up with your Jesse Tree! If you are missing any ornaments, we have extras!

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November 17, 2015

           At its core, the Old Testament of the Bible prophecies, prepares for, and prefigures Christ.  It relates the story of God’s saving love for creation from the beginning of time to roughly 100 B.C.  Beginning with the account of creation, Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, and the promise of a redeemer, the scriptures illustrate God’s increasing revelation of Himself and mankind’s continual quest for salvation. In the Old Testament God reveals Himself in things like a cloud, or a burning bush, so that He remains partially concealed.  Humanity, while striving for God, cannot attain eternal life. The people are always looking forward, looking for more.          

          The characters and events of the Old Testament are “types” or prefigurements of Christ and His church.  They reveal God in ways that are fully understood only in light of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.  As an example we can see Moses leading the people from slavery in Egypt as Christ rescuing us from a life of sin. The passing through the Red Sea is a prelude to our passing through the waters of Baptism to the new life of the Christian. Finally, the arrival in the promised land prefigures our entering into the eternal kingdom of heaven.  Pretty cool stuff! The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. (CCC 121-123, 128-130, 707-710)

          Family activity: the children will bring home their Jesse Trees this Friday. This activity traces the ancestry of Jesus through the Old Testament. The activity begins on the first Sunday of Advent (November 29). Prepare now by hanging the Jesse Tree in a prominent place in your home, and getting your Bibles handy!

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November 10, 2015

             In last week’s reflection we referred to the church on earth as “the church militant.”  The spiritual and moral life is indeed a battle! But why is this? Why isn’t the world, which was created good by God, a paradise filled with saints?

            The answer lies in mankind’s freedom.  God created us free: to love Him or not. For if we are not free to reject God, we are not free to accept Him either.  So it was with Adam and Eve. While the account in Genesis uses figurative language, the essence of it is that our first parents chose to obey the devil, and “be like gods” themselves, knowing good and evil.  They committed the first sin, which we call original sin. By failing to trust that God’s plan for them was truly the best plan for them, they ruptured their relationship with Him and rejected His gift of sanctifying grace.  Death, physical and spiritual, entered the world.

            Adam and Eve were initially given grace not just for themselves but for all of mankind.  When they rejected grace, they rejected it for all mankind.  So we are born without sanctifying grace, in a state of original sin. But of course God’s love and mercy are infinitely greater than any inherited or actual sin!  As soon as Adam and Eve were found out, God cursed the serpent and promised Christ Jesus, Who would superabundantly atone for their sin and the worldwide sin that ensued from it.  When we are baptized into Christ, original sin is erased and we are established in the love and life the Trinity.

            Now you’re asking: if we are established in grace through baptism, why is the spiritual life still a struggle? Unfortunately, our human nature is still wounded by the effects of original sin, like a person who has recovered from a disease may still be weakened or disabled because of it.  These effects are ignorance, suffering and death, and the inclination to sin, called concupiscence. They make holiness more difficult, but remember, God’s love and power are ours for the asking, and we “can do all things in Christ Who strengthens us!” (CCC 385-421, Gen. 3:1-24, Phil 4:13)

            For reflection: in what areas of my life am I not trusting that God’s plan for me is the best plan for me?

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October 27, 2015

     God is so good, and so generous!  Last week we saw that He infuses His own divine life, that is sanctifying grace, into us at Baptism.  By sanctifying grace we are made children of God and partakers of eternal life.  But God also gives us other graces throughout our lives:

  • Actual graces help us in specific situations.  The initial grace that prepares us to receive God by arousing in us the desire to live with Him is an actual grace.  Another actual grace would be the help God gives us to resist a temptation, or to respond to the call of God in our lives.
  • Sacramental graces are specific to the sacraments in which they are received. For example, the forgiveness of sin is a grace specific to the sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • Special graces, or Charisms, are graces intended for the common good of the church.  They may be extraordinary, as in the gift of healing, or more common, as in the gift of teaching.

          By reflecting on the blessings God has placed in our lives, we are able to see His grace at work in us and in others.  This, in turn, increases our faith in the love and generosity of our gracious God! (CCC 1996-2005)

          For family discussion: What actual graces have we experienced today?

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October 20, 2015

        Pope Saint John Paul II often spoke of the dignity of the human person.  It makes one wonder, “What’s so special about me? Why do I deserve to be treated with such respect?  Sometimes I don’t  feel very dignified!”

    The human person is the pinnacle of God’s creation!  The animals have bodies, as we do.  The angels have spirit, as we do.  But only we humans have both body and spirit.  Only we are made in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26)  Our souls make us like God in that we can reason with our intellect, choose with our free will, and know with our memory. Our bodies are like God in that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on flesh at the incarnation, and became Jesus. Such is the dignity of the human person. But wait! There’s more!

    Not only do we share in God’s image and likeness in our person, we share in His very life by the infusion of sanctifying grace we receive in Baptism. This freely given gift of God makes us His adopted children, members of the church, and heirs to heaven. Sanctifying grace introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life, and makes it possible for us to live according to God’s call and share in eternal life. (CCC 355-379, 1996-2005)

          For family discussion: How does having a body and a soul affect the way I can relate to God? How does this make me the same as/ different from the angels and animals?

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 September 29, 2015

 I believe in God, the Father Almighty.  The first Person of the Blessed Trinity is God the Father. Many religions call on God as Father, as He is the origin and creator of the universe. He is the Supreme Being, the transcendent authority of all. As Father, God showers on us His goodness and loving care.   But Jesus reveals God as Father in a new way: in His relationship to the Son (Mt 11:27), Who is eternally begotten of the Father. And God is Father in the filial adoption that He gives us: we are adopted as His children in His only Son through Baptism.

God is omnipotent: almighty, all-powerful. Nothing is impossible for God. His power is universal, in that it extends to all creation. It is loving, in that God acts in accordance with His will, intellect and wisdom, which are all directed to our good. His power is manifest in His mercy and forgiveness. God’s power is mysterious, in that it is often displayed in apparent weakness. The crucifixion may look like Jesus was powerless, but through it He conquered evil forever.

Our faith is strengthened in knowing that nothing is impossible for God. We can believe all the great and marvelous things God has revealed by knowing that He can accomplish that which is far beyond our ability to comprehend. (CCC 268-278, 2782)

For family discussion: In what ways have we seen the Father’s loving power working in our lives today?

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September 15, 2015

This week we are learning about the first two words of the Creed: “I believe.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says, “Whoever says ‘I believe’ says ‘I pledge myself to what we believe.”  If we are going to pledge, or promise fidelity to something, we’d better have evidence that the thing is true.  Where is the evidence for God?

  • In the order of the universe. All of the physical world points to a Creator, one Who put all things in motion and keeps them in an orderly co-existence. (see Rom. 1: 19-20)
  • In the beauty of the universe.  That things are beautiful, not merely functional, and that we perceive that beauty, speaks of a Beautiful One who created them.
  • In the human person. There are things about us that cannot be explained by our physical existence: “openness to truth and beauty, sense of moral goodness, longings for the infinite and happiness.” These are evidence of our souls, which “can have their origins only in God.”

While our faculties can lead us to believe in the existence of God, we can have an intimate relationship with Him only through His revelation of Himself and the gift of grace by which we are open to that revelation. (CCC 31-35, 185)

For family discussion: How does knowing about God and knowing God impact how we live our lives? Does it make a difference in our priorities and behaviors?

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Faith Formation for Parents!

Sept. 8, 2015

                 We have GREAT things planned for faith formation at Holy Rosary School this year.  Along with the catechesis provided by our wonderful teachers, we are going to be studying the truths found in the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds.  As we discuss a point from the creed each week, we will provide in this space a “grown-up” version of our lesson. In this way, we parents will have a refresher course in our faith, to help us in our role as the primary educators of our children. 

                The word “creed” is shorthand for “profession of faith” It comes from the Latin credo, usually the first word in the profession. It means “I believe.”  The creeds are summaries of all that we believe as Christians. To say Credo is to pledge oneself to the teachings of the church. To say it with faith is to enter into communion with the Trinity and the whole church.

                The Apostle’s creed is the “oldest Roman catechism” which Saint Ambrose called “the creed of the Roman Church.” It is a faithful summary of the apostle’s faith.  The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (Nicene for short) resulted from the first two ecumenical councils of the church in the years 325 and 381. It is more explicit and detailed. It is the normative creed for use in the Mass. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 185-197)

                Also happening now in faith formation: join us for the novena (nine-day prayer) for the new school year that our school and parish will begin today.  Also, please continue praying for the upcoming World Meeting of Families. In the next few weeks we will be learning about God’s plan for families, and how we can live His life of love in our families.