Getting Involved at Your Local Parish: Don’t Be Nervous

I believe that there are a lot of individuals who want to belong in their Church community or parish but some are hesitant. So why would they be hesitant to get more involved? Getting involved at your local parish should be easy right? Based on my own experience, it’s not that easy. People get really nervous about things when they don’t know what to expect. I was afraid of not belonging when I wanted to start helping out more at my local parish. I was scared that no one would accept me and I would not know anyone in the ministry to talk to. This is normal, but sometimes leaving your comfort zone to doing something new can be amazing. I started helping out with my parish’s catechism program for children, and I love it! I’ve met so many amazing people.

If you are having the same fears I did, try reading this blog post from HDYDI: Find Your Church Ministry. If I read it before I got into the Church Ministry, it would have helped me decide to join in sooner. I found her post easy to relate to.

If your desire is to serve God, he will pour his blessings down on you and open opportunities for you to be exactly where you want to be.

Why the Church is So Vital to Faith

A post from Why I Am Catholic titled “Because the Church is the Port in the Storm,” inspired me today. The eloquently-written post by Frank Weathers reminded me of just how important the role of the Catholic Church is in my life.

People who profess they are Christians, but do not attend Mass or believe in the value of a place of gathering to worship are not new to most of us. Nowadays, more and more people are belittling the importance of membership saying something along the lines of: “I don’t see the need to be a member of the church. I think all that matters to God is that I believe in him and treat other people right.”

Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:25, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” This verse alone ought to tell us that the Church is not something that is of little value. I’m willing to admit that it has flaws because humans run it, and all humans are inherently flawed in one way or another. However, one thing that must never be forgotten is the fact that Jesus started the Church and loves it so much that he died for it.

God gave us a place to worship so that we may receive the blessing of fellowship–fellowship that strengthens our faith and draws us nearer to him. As it says in Hebrews 10:24–25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Thoughts About The “Cry-Room” at Church

A few days ago, I shared my thoughts about how I admire parents who take their children to Mass. Today I would like to share my thoughts about the “cry-room” (also known as the family room) that most churches provide for mothers or families with young children. My thoughts were inspired by one mother’s experience on taking her kids to Mass alone. (If you want to read about it, here it is: “I Took the Kids to Mass Today!“)

There is no doubt that churches have put up the “cry-room room” with the best intentions–that is, to make sure that worshipers get to hear Mass undisturbed. However, I believe that parents shouldn’t be forced (by anyone) to use the room if they think their kids can handle sitting with the general audience. Of course, they are kids and there certainly will be some minor hiccups from time to time, but I think that as long as a child stays put and doesn’t throw fits, there is no need to use the “cry-room”.

Furthermore, I think that parents ought to train their child to behave well during Mass rather than choose to have them stay in the family room–where no one really gets anything out of the Mass. It is important that we teach our children the right things early on, instead of having them do what they want all the time. It isn’t fun to have to correct their wrong behaviors, but it is the right thing to do.  Lastly, if you happen to sit beside a mother with her kids in the general audience some time soon, please don’t ask them to sit in the “cry-room” and deprive them of the chance to enjoy and worship the Lord fully.

Have You Ever Been to a Dedication Mass?

Have you ever been to a Dedication Mass? If you haven’t then the article I just read about why attending a Dedication Mass should be on your bucket list is one that you should check out.

If you don’t know what a Dedication Mass is the post also goes into great detail about what went on at this particular Dedication Mass. A few of the author’s favorite moments included the deposition of the relics, the anointing of the altar and walls, the covering of the altar and the placement of the flowers. Dedication Masses are longer than the average Mass, but the author and her family found time to enjoy this special Mass. Learn all about their experience in the post!

Latin Mass: A New Trend in the Catholic Church

Apparently it is pretty cool to be a traditionalist in the Catholic Church. I was unaware of this until a read an article on Economist the other day. They have reported that there is a Traditionalist Avant-Garde occurring in the Catholic Church. This is in regards to more people advocating a Latin Mass, something the Catholic Church moved away from about 50 years ago. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has seen a huge jump in membership within the last few years. The total of Latin masses in any given week is up from about 26 in 2007 to 157 in 2012. These are encouraging numbers.

So the new trend is Latin Mass, and honestly whatever is getting people to attend is cool with me. What do you think about a revival of Latin Mass?

The Sacrament of Baptism: The Importance of a Christening Gown

The day of your child’s Christening is a truly beautiful and memorable day for any parent. They will be welcomed as part of the Church and absolved of their original sin. The sacrament of Baptism is extremely important, and a lot of your family will likely be in attendance for the ceremony. Choosing a lovely Christening gown for your child’s Baptism ceremony is really meaningful. There are many options to go with for this joyous occasion.

A recent post on Caffeinated Catholic Mama titled, “Choosing and Preserving a Christening Gown”, could be really useful if you need guidance on this matter. The article talks about how you could use an old family heirloom as part of the Christening gown. You could also buy a new Christening gown and preserve it so that it becomes a family heirloom! I think establishing a tradition if none exists, or following an old family tradition is really important for sacraments like Baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations. A family Christening gown is just one tradition that you can start or continue, and every family is unique.

What special traditions does your family have for Baptisms?

The Eucharist: The Meaning of God’s Gift to All Catholics

Catholics receive the Eucharist when they go up to the alter to receive the bread and wine. This is a representation of the Last Supper when Jesus said the bread was his body and the wine was his blood and extended them to his disciples.

The Importance of the Eucharist to Catholics

Receiving the bread and wine during communion is an important part of being a Catholic. It reminds us that we are part of God’s life. We are much like the disciples that sat with Jesus on that sacred Last Supper day.

Why We Need the Eucharist

But why do we need this reminder every time we go to Mass? We need it because without taking in the body and blood of Jesus, we tend to succumb to the demands of life and forget what we really need to concentrate on.

As human beings, we are naturally drawn to material possessions. We work so we can afford to live a lifestyle that is much more than we need. We stress about things that are not what God wants us to stress about. We fail to do what God wants us to do in our life, which is to follow Him.

When we go to church, we take time to reflect on our life. We put God back into our life and remember what we haven’t done in accordance to Him. We then think of what we can do in the coming days to follow His path. We correct our lives and bring back the true meaning of life.

The Eucharist is the final confirmation that we have God inside of us. When we leave the church, the body and blood we received remains with us. God remains with us. Being able to take our reflections and the symbolism of the bread and wine gives us what we need to follow the scriptures.

Human beings are not perfect. We may try our hardest to do what is right in accordance with God but we make mistakes and we succumb to temptations. God knows this…He cares for us though. As long as we actively try to improve our life and do what is right by Him he forgives us for our faults. He sees the good in us. He sees our soul.

Many people stay away from church because of the guilt they feel from not doing what they should do but what these people need is the Eucharist. They need the reminder that they have God with them always and even though they haven’t been doing the best lately, they can always change their path when God is with them.

How to Bring the Meaning of Eucharist into Your Life

The next time you receive the Eucharist, remember how you are taking in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Feel Him inside of you, caring for you and loving you. Having someone with you at all times whom only wants the best for you can make you live a deeper spiritual life.

All Souls Day is Today: History and Meaning

Today the Catholic Church celebrates All Souls Day. All Souls Day celebrates the souls waiting in purgatory to someday join the ranks for heaven. I found an information packed post on A Catholic View today that explains All Souls Day very well.

If you or anybody you know wants to learn about the history or meaning of All Souls Day check out the post here: All Souls Day

East London Churches Offer Continuous Help to Homeless

According to an article found on Christian Today:

Twelve churches in Tower Hamlets have clubbed together to open a rolling night shelter for homeless people in the East London borough.

The GrowTH project is offering homeless people a safe and warm place to sleep seven days a week until the end of February.

Participating churches are taking it in turns to open their doors to guests from 7.30pm and provide a hot dinner in the evening and breakfast the following morning.

Tower Hamlets, a borough of London, boasts famous sites such as Brick Lane, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the up-and-coming Canary Wharf.  However, it is also plagued by poverty, higher crime rates, and homelessness.  The British band Pulp (famous for their mid-90’s hit “Common People”) once wrote a song about a section of Tower Hamlets, in which they sing “It smelled as if someone had died/The living room was full of flies/just like Heaven/If it didn’t look like Hell…”

Pulp wasn’t far off.  I actually lived in Tower Hamlets briefly, as a student abroad, and while it has its own distinct charm, the borough is definitely in need of some serious help.

For information on how to help, click here.

Vatican Apostolic Library set to re-open

“The Vatican Apostolic Library will be reopened again this month after three years of reconstruction. As its director explained to Vatican Radio, it aims to be a cultural aid, to offer a glimpse of the “great truth of the world of God.”

Vatican Radio interviewed the library’s prefect, Msgr. Cesare Pasini about the grand reopening set to take place on Sept. 20.

Noting a series of initiatives scheduled to mark the reopening of the library this fall, the prefect also spoke of the value of the library to all people.

He said that by reopening the library, “we not only show scholars and the world what we have done … but we remodel ourselves on this fundamental spirit, on our mission, so that we don’t just make it a place to consult books.”

The library, which allows scholars from all walks and creeds to study its volumes, has an aspect of universality and cultural preservation because it conserves materials “for today and tomorrow,” he said.

Msrg. Pasini also promotes culture by allowing works to be “used, seriously studied and then probed to find any further fragment of truth.

“There are many truths,” he said, “historic truths, truths that make investigations into the reality of things, and these little truths form part of the great truth of the world of God.”

In an article he wrote for last Sunday’s edition of the L’Osservatore Romano, Msgr. Pasini described some of the 15,000 letters and e-mails his office has received hoping for the prompt conclusion to the restoration work and describing the library’s importance to studies. Responding to the interest, he said that in looking around the now “silent and shining” library, he has seen that “only the friendly presence of our scholars is lacking.” He added, “may they know that they are warmly awaited.”

Archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives, Cardinal Raffaele Farina, will present the renovated, restored and restructured library in an on-site press conference next Monday.” – “Vatican Library Prepares to Reopen After Three Years of Restoration”, EWTN

This article from EWTN was a cool one to read about. The Vatican’s library has been closed for quite some time now, and it seems like the reopening will be a great success with scholars and Catholic enthusiasts from all over. After three years the library will hopefully be much better and more updated. This should make the great library and even greater place to research information and topics on the Catholic Church. This was very exciting to hear about!