Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Divine Mercy & Beatification Watch Party!

I am so excited for Divine Mercy Sunday!
~I have fallen in love with this devotion over the last couple of years and my love just keeps growing...What a blessing and ocean of grace that mercy and love are the hallmarks of our Christian Catholic faith~
"True mercy is always a bilateral reality, a two-way street: As we give it, we also receive it." ~Pope John Paul II Encyclical letter: Dives in Misericordia~

As most of the faithful already know, this year is EXTRA special with the Beatification of the man who instituted Divine Mercy Sunday...Pope John Paul II.  We already have our EWTN timers set at our house and just learned of a few other sources to view this historical event.  You can also watch it live online via Vatican Youtube sources or even Facebook! (Resources listed below)
We are having our own "Beatification Watch Party" at our house!
~We are looking forward to a celebration in honor of Blessed JPII and Divine Mercy~
Here are some easy candles to make for your celebration.
Candle holder and candles can be found at the Dollar Tree.  Just tie on a Divine Mercy medal with red, blue, or white ribbon.
I placed these stickers of JPII on the back of the candle and gave a few for gifts:
(I'm wondering if some of my friends are getting tired of receiving my candle gifts!?)
This one has a colored Divine Mercy medal and a silver oxidized JPII medal:
I also placed stickers on these mini glass jars (front and back).  This Rosary Card site has great stickers for both Divine Mercy and JPII.
We planned to whip up some treats for our Beatification Watch Party, of course!
We attended our parish Divine Mercy service and settled in to watch church history unfold before our eyes.  This year we made the same cupcakes we made for Mardis Gras, this time using red, white, and blue! ( I think these would also be great for 4th of July or Memorial Day)
They are also posted over at Catholic Cuisine!
I found some little Divine Mercy plastic figures at our local Catholic Bookstore for the toppers.
I also made a Rays of Mercy Fruit Platter that I posted details over at Catholic Cuisine.  There are only 2 rays but I added the white bananas since the pale blue ray is often seen mixed with white. Once again, I'm thinking this would also make a good 4th of July sparkler platter!
It was so easy to make!
"Let the rays of grace enter your soul; they bring with them light, warmth, and life."
Diary of St. Faustina~1486
Last year we made this cake:
"I am mercy itself; therefore I ask you to offer Me your misery and this very helplessness of yours and, in this way, you will delight My Heart." Jesus~Diary of St. Faustina (1775)

Social Networking Resources:
Pope 2 You has links to Vatican Youtube, Facebook info, Iphone App, and more!
Special Vatican site resources
This is the Vatican Media link, combining all media efforts for the Vatican.
If you have Facebook, this page has been set up for JPII
Free Divine Mercy Iphone Application
Vatican YouTube
Vatican Twitter Info.

Grow in Divine Mercy Devotion:
Consoling the Heart of Jesus
Diary of Saint Maria Faustinsa Kowalska

Great Divine Mercy craft ideas and free printables for kids at Catholic Icing
Divine Mercy food ideas at Catholic Cuisine

The Official Prayer for John Paul II's Intercession

O Blessed Trinity,
We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for
allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the Cross of
Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of
Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd and has
shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we
implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints.
With ecclesiastical approval CARDINAL CAMILLO RUINI
the Holy Father's Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome

Friday, April 29, 2011

Salvation History Over Laundry

This was a sweet conversation that I had with my 3 year old yesterday, out-of-the-blue, in the middle of doing laundry of all things.  It just proves that our littlest ones are listening with big gigantic ears to all that is going on around them!

Angel Princess:  "Mommy, did you know that Jesus died on the Cross?"
Me:  "Yes I did."
Angel Princess:  "That was sad."
Me: "Yes it was."
Angel Princess:  "But then Jesus came alive again and came out of the tomb!"
Me:  "Yes He did."
Angel Princess:  "Then, we were SO happy!"
Me: "Yes we were."
Angel Princess: "Now we can go to heaven and be happy with God."
Mommy:  "Yes, isn't that great?"
Angel Princess: "Yea, that makes me SO happy."

So there you have it, out of the mouth of a babe.  I had no idea where she was going with her initial question, nor would I have dreamed she would have picked up on all of that!  I think it sums up the last part of our salvation history, sweet and simple!  Alleluia, He has risen indeed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Holy Week Blessings~2011

+Holy Week+
At the Foot of the Cross, all 6 candles got burned during Holy Week and we eagerly waited for Easter to arrive!

I know that going backwards is not always as fun as moving forward... But I really want to write this post for my records and memory keeping.  My blog has become my brian!
So here goes our Holy Week in reveiw...We made it through the desert!  
Actually we were no where near the desert.  It was a simple, quiet (but busy) liturgical week of reflection and delving deeper into our faith, seeking to be closer to Jesus at the foot of the Cross.
What was the most fruitful part of our Holy Week?
Next to the amazing grace of the DIY reading retreat that I made with dear husband and oldest son, this Encounter The Cross study was probably the most fruitful part of our Holy Week, as a whole family.  We used the book and made our own presentation to place in an easel binder.  We would reflect on one of the last words (phrases) of Christ per day and then sit down as a family each evening to discuss it.  There were great reflection questions and prayers in the book that helped guide our meaningful study.  We waited until our toddler was in bed but all other ages (7 to 44) enjoyed and participated. I will try to make the presentation pages available for free printing on my blog next year.
What was the most fun?
Making our own "Crossed Arms in Prayer" Pretzels was the project that reaped the most fun by far!  We learned about this tradition several years ago but just never took the time to do it.  Our kids LOVED it...They mostly loved the process:  Reading the story, kneading the dough, and watching the pretzels rise to little puffed arms crossed in prayer.
Side Note: This Seton book has the pretzel story and many other great Lenten stories, including the Alpha and the Omega that we read about for our Paschal Candle making.
Everyone wanted to take a turn stirring!
We discovered that kneading the dough is a lot of work...Praise God for Bakers!
Army Dude turned out to be the "Master" pretzel baker!
We learned that the key to a good pretzel is PATIENCE, mostly in the kneading.
We made one for a family friend...Gift tag courtesy of Lacy at Catholic Icing.
Master Baker with his prize!
~A hidden "gift" is discovered~
Mom's favorite Holy Week craft?
The Paschal Candle!
~We made 2~
{One for downstairs and one for upstairs to use in our school room}
~Here is the 2nd one~
We used the tutorial from Our Domestic Church and read about the different symbols at Catholic Culture and Fisheaters.  Catholic Icing also has other ideas for doing this yourself. I found these wonderful stickers at Rosary Card.  They incorporated many of the Easter symbols all in one sticker. (Paschal lamb, crown of thorns, grapes, chalice, Eucharist, dove, etc.)
I didn't use a beeswax candle this time around but maybe next year. These glass candles are just too cost effective to pass up.  I love that you can get them just about anywhere to include the grocery store!  I got mine at the Dollar Tree, of course. These were our other supplies, to include a glue gun, my favorite tool.
The children learned so much about the Paschal Candle that it made our Easter Vigil extra special.  We knew exactly what was going on when Father T. pressed the 5 incense spears into our parish Paschal Candle, representing the 5 wounds of Christ.  We watched intently as he lit it for the first time from the outdoor fire pit and brought it into the church, the first "light" of Easter!  Then we gloried in the blessing of the candle during the liturgy as Father T. and Deacon T. dipped it into the baptismal waters.  Finally, it was an Easter grace to see all the Catechumens receive their special candles lit from that big and beautiful Paschal Candle.
  Our paschal candle study of the Easter symbols tied perfectly into First Communion preparation.  We had fun making these yummy
Lamb of God Rice Krispy Treats!
These were really easy using cookie cutters.  We also marked these crosses with the 5 wounds of Christ.
Jessica from Shower of Roses has a neat post on Easter symbols to make candy.  We cut out a chalice and host {free hand} to remember Christ's institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday.  With Princess making her First Communion in 11 short days from now, she got to decorate this one!  What an extra blessing to concentrate and focus on this blessed Sacrament during our Holy Week...God's perfect timing and she is ready!
What brought the most tears?
I sat during Holy Thursday evening Adoration and bawled my eyes out while reading this book.  Maybe it's just me in my hormonal state of life...but it moved me deeply.
Best whole family time?
Good Friday!
Our local Walk For Life was a beautiful event, as usual.
It was the first time we have participated as a total family unit!  In the past we have been fractured due to dear husband's work schedule or young babies that we weren't brave enough to tow.  It was a blessing to have us all together.
The 3 boys...
followed by Dad and the 2 girls.
 Our walk ended at a nearby parish "Live" Stations of the Cross.  This was another "first" and definitely on our list for next year.  No photos to share but it was amazing!  We ended our day with a quiet evening of meditation and prayer.
+These Grilled Cross Cheese Sandwiches were dinner for Good Friday+

Served with Tomato Basil Christ's Blood Soup
This Good Friday meal was adopted and adapted from JOYfilled family.
+Some photos of our Good Friday reflection+

"Mother, what you bore urges me to say a loving thank you.
You endured suffering not for Him alone---
Yes, for Him in the first place---
but also for me.
If only I could walk like you through life, 
a thanksgiving gift in return.
My path leads homeward to the Father where you are at home,
where your divine Son reigns in glory, 
where the Holy Spirit fills every vast void,
including empty human hearts, where love and joy have no end.
Let each step lead me there."
+From Mary's Way of the Cross+

Before the crucified love of God, we bow in wonder and prayer.
Our Resurrection Pots have grown in perfect time!
I linked up here!

Equipping Catholic Families

Alleluia From Head To Foot!

Happy Easter...
From Our House To Yours!
What joy to light our paschal candle!
I just love how Christians used to (and may still do in some places) greet one another during the Easter season with these words:  "Christ is risen!"  The response is: "He has risen indeed!"
What an opportunity to reJOYce and reflect on the overwhelming love that God has shown us through Jesus' death and resurrection, encouraging us to become as St. Augustine expressed, "alleluias from head to foot!"
We brought out our "Alleluia" on Easter morning.
This year we went to Easter Vigil to joyfully welcome one of our youth group teens (and many others) into the church... Alleluias were abundant!  I just love the Easter Vigil...It's like God reigning triumphant right before our eyes!
Sadly though, in the hurry to get out the door, I missed getting a family photo AND other photos of everyone in their "Easter best"(sigh)  I DID get a group photo of all the kids squished on one little couch at Grandpa and Grandma's house on Holy Saturday...They looked like a bunch of Easter chicks piled on top of eachother!
Then we got up early so we could pack up and drive to my sister's for our Easter Sunday family gathering.  {I think I was the only one still rubbing my eyes} Before we left, our sacrifices turned into jelly beans, guarded by our Paschal Lamb reminding us of Christ who paid the ultimate price out of ultimate love.
There's always an "eggstraordinary egg hunt" at my sister's. This year Army Dude found one of the Alleluia eggs!
OH the excitement of a good egg hunt...
Don't you love that age doesn't seem to matter when it comes to this fun tradition?  I enjoy watching the innocent fun and discovery going on, especially from sweet Grandpas who help out!
I was in charge of the desserts this Easter for 2 separate family gatherings.  We are definitely making this one again... It's a Resurrection Tomb Cake!
This was an extremely easy Wine Bundt Cake.  I just cut it in half (after it cooled) and turned it upside down for a tomb.  A sprinkling of powdered sugar is the final touch.  The cookies posed as stones to reveal the empty tomb. We used the characters from our Resurrection Set for effect! I have posted the recipe and instructions over at Catholic Cuisine.  
These were our Alleluia Cupcakes...Christ is risen-He has risen indeed!
I found these little cupcake toppers at a local Wilton store.  The nests were edible but the crosses were not.
Here's wishing you Alleluias from head to foot all through the Easter season, the most important celebration in the life of the Church!

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