Monday, February 11, 2013

A really big day in Rome (and an unexpected book review)

It almost feels redundant to call it an historic event during a week when we touted yet another "historic" weather event and storm. Just don't know what else to call a move by the Pope that has not happened in more than six centuries...so a really big day in Rome it is. For me, it came upon waking up after I spent the night reading late...a novel with some real life issues. Sons of Cain by Val Bianco. The book, if you have not read it is an exciting novel about real life secret service type catholics who are charged with protecting the Catholic Church from an attack, both internal and external. I love that it is an exciting Randy Alcorn-type novel that allows us a peek at the supernatural fight that is going on around us, along with the real physical battle. Yes, the good guys win. There are casualties, though, it is nice to see that God will win in the end, and in fact, He already has. But also, He will win some of the skirmishes...sometimes directly helping. We don't always have that awareness.

So I know it is a novel, but some of the issues that were brought up could be pulled right off the new pages. An idealistic American president with an agenda...wanting to go down in the history books for passing legislation for the American Health Care System; all this despite common knowledge that the tax base cannot sustain the cost of universal health care. The president and administration pushing an agenda that will have to incorporate increased use of and acceptance of state/doctor assisted suicide...at the end of life and whenever else it would be convenient. We can only afford universal health care if we don't waste too much of it on old people and chronic illness for undeserving individuals. And really, who is deserving. All touted as a Good; thinking people will want to take charge of their own end and will want to protect their wealth for their children. The book also explores how life-time politicians--politicians who make a business of well, politics, and hand it down to their children, raised in the life style and with the same leanings and mindset--keep the country mired in the same direction. It also examines a system of government where the people who toil in it can legislate lucrative job opportunities and then fill the positions (the book examines Senators with medical experience working themselves into high paying jobs in its administration--much like in real life, the officials who develop vaccines and then take government jobs to mandate them for all children thus increasing their wealth, regardless of consequences.) It explores, briefly, the tendency of the country to accept a new value and then once it becomes mainstream, open the door to similar horrors that don't seem so horrific anymore. Having lived through 40 years of Roe v. Wade, it is easy to see how this can happen, and the book refers to Abortion style of acceptance opening the door to the euthanasia. There is a model, and why not use it for everything. Finally, it is nice to see, albeit in a novel, the clear influence of Evil in what can be seen as current issues. Yes people, there is Evil and there is an orchestrator of it. Evil, personified in the Devil. He lives and He has an agenda. He may even use a president, or other influential people to forward his agenda...

So with this fictional book forefront in my mind, it was with fear that I woke up to the news that our beloved Pope Benedict was resigning for health reasons. Raised with enough knowledge of Fatima and its predictions, any new Pope is looked at with anxious eyes. With an Historic resignation, I read with much anxiety, not so much about what will we address a retired pope as...Cardinal Ratzinger? Is it legal for him to do this? From who does he get permission and who has to accept his letter of resignation? as I did the blog posts and articles about why he decided to resign. His health. His inability, in his assessment, to handle the rigors of the job during this time and with the, sigh, historic decisions he must make. I accept that, and with millions of other catholics, I will be praying that the Lord has raised up a strong, young man of God to carry on the office of Peter. Who will keep us Catholic. Who will promote love and dignity in our lives and interactions in a world that seems to want to equate "right" with whatever feels "right" right now...that looks at a long time not as 40 years but as 2000. I want a Pope who can determine the will of God and have the strength to keep us on His path and not just swing us more to the middle, as the Times would have us go. And I would offer one last prayer...a prayer that was typed out in Bianco's book at least twice,

St. Michael fine art print can be found at www.aquinasandmore.com catholic goods

"St. Michael the Archangel, Defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell, Satan, and all other evil spirits who prowl about the earth seeking the ruin of souls...amen"

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's Just You and Me, Lord (a book review with a giveaway...)

So, I am having some difficulties here. Perennially sunny in spirit and mood, I have begun having very dark days. Since banning conventional medicine even for my chronic Multiple Sclerosis, I hesitated to contact a doctor and have been treating naturally, based on my homemade diagnosis...perimenopause. I suppose I will eventually see a doc, but my fermented cod liver oil and other health store supplements seem to be helping. Still, it was a tough month or so while everything kicked in. My daughter had begun laughing every time I started to cry, to the point that I was increasingly embarrassed and that would make me cry again...sigh. And as much as I would just love to blame it on my "old lady" hormones, there has been an awful lot to cry about lately...one senseless shooting after another, fiscal cliff and $7 a gallon milk prices...the price of gas. It is enough to put me over the edge any way you look at it. Then there was my long overdue reconciling with my health diagnosis. Last summer I embarked on my new career, teaching. I love teaching and learning how to do it...I was energized. I had begun to feel unappreciated at home, despite our adoptions, and was looking, like many women, outside the home for more appreciation. Only halfway through my program, I began substituting in our school district. It was then that reality sunk in...I really don't have the ability to teach. Oh, I might have the knowledge and even the desire, but I don't have the stamina.

Yes, I know that it was a big order to think that while raising a family with 11 children, I would still find the time and energy to work outside the home. Even if I didn't have MS, it would be difficult. However, the reality that my professional life was dead coupled with some dissatisfaction with parenting 11 children most of whom are somewhere on the spectrum, made the depression that much more intense and overwhelming. Is this really all there is, Lord?

'Its Just You and Me, Lord' Blog hop

In the middle of all of that, I received an invitation to read this book , Its Just You & Me, Lord and review it for the official blog hop. No disrespect to the author, Marion Stroud, but I wouldn't have gone looking for it. I was beyond looking for solutions and was firmly entrenched in despair; quite comfortably settled there, in fact. But since it came looking for me, I eagerly dove in hoping to at least be distracted. Thank-you, Ms. Stroud...what a treasure you have written. The book contains many prayers and reflections that women with various life circumstances would find interesting. I devoured it in two days.


According to the publisher,"It’s Just You and Me, Lord' offers heartfelt prayers to inspire and encourage women no matter where they are in life’s journey. Addressing common issues and providing practical prayers, Scripture, and quotes, author Marion Stroud encourages women to express honest and heartfelt communication with God." The book did all that for me, and more. Because it breaks down the issues women face at different stages of life, I was able to read the whole book in one fell swoop, and still have the ability to easily find prayers and inspiration for whatever age or stage is currently troubling me at that time. With children ranging in age from 6 to 19 and life issues that cover everything from early parenting years to caring for aging parents to downsizing in the workplace and in our homes, it is a treasure that touches on many difficult but real issues women face everyday; issues I face every day. It also brings home the answer for all of it...it really is just you and me, Lord. And that really is enough. Thank-you, Ms. Stroud for writing such a timely and inspiring book. If you would like a chance to win a copy of 'It's Just You and Me, Lord,' the publishers have supplied a copy for me to raffle off...Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. You may also earn a chance for following my blog and one for liking my Dwell in Glory facebook page...just follow the link here: Dwell in Glory facebook page. I will leave the raffle open through the New Year, in case the holidays keep people from participating, and will close this give away on January 6th, 2013! Good luck! I have been provided free of charge, a copy of "It's Just You and Me, Lord" free of charge, however the opinions of this book are my own.

Approved Publishers Excerpt from the book, Its Just You and Me, Lord...


Contents

Introduction

A Woman Within

Summer Suns Are Glowing

Will the Real Me Please Stand?

A Different Kind of Fast

Rest

What’s in a Name?

Hide-and-Seek

Free Indeed

How Big Is Your God?

Wholehearted

All Change . . .

Dreams and Visions

Just an Ordinary Day

Pierced Ears

Cultivating My Inner Garden

A Woman and Marriage

Becoming One

The Gift of Words

The Walled Garden

The Other Woman

I Thought He Was THE One

One Day My Prince Will Come—Won’t He?

Loving through the Dark Days

A Woman and Her Children

A Child’s Eye View

Night Watch

On the Outside

Steps of Faith

Blended Families

The Gift of Laughter

Screens

The Trouble Tree

Lean on Me

Lost and Found

A Different Kind of Prodigal

Someone Special

Not What I’d Have Chosen

A Woman and Her Friends

Friends Near and Far

You Never Bothered to Tell Me

For Your Ears Only

Fine Feathers

Grey Days

Speaking of the Unspeakable

If You Want to Walk on Water . . .

Will Someone Please Carry Me?

Love in Action

A Woman at Work

Monday Morning Musings

It Wasn’t on the List

Reaching My Limit

Teachers

Housework

Butterflies

The Enemy Within

Why, Lord, Why?

A Woman and Her Family of Faith

What a Privilege

Belonging

Mystery Worshipper

As It Was in the Beginning

Boundaries

A Christmas Prayer

Just Another Man?

A Woman and the Wider World

The Enemy Within

Have You Given Some Thought to Your Food?

Man Down!

The Suitcase

Looking on the Outside

The Return

Something Beautiful for God?

It’s Not Our Business

Sunlight and Shadows

A Woman Growing Older

Roots and Wings

The Crowning Years

The Past Is a Foreign Country

Prayers in the Night

Seize the Day

Downsizing

A Life Complete

Will the Real Me Please Stand?

I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 NLT

She wants to live for once. But doesn’t know quite what that means. Wonders if she’s ever done it. If she ever will.

Alice Walker

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10

#

“I’m sorry, I don’t know your name,” she said.
“I always think of you as David’s mother.”
“Are you the dentist’s wife?” the nurse inquired,
advancing on me,
ready to take a sample of my blood.
“I think he’s wonderful!”

“I was expecting a real ‘earth-mother’ type
when I was told you had so many children,”
she murmured cheerfully,
waiting for a chance to introduce me
to the noisy group
of coffee-drinking women,
“but actually, you look quite elegant!”

Dear Lord, these people know me
only through my association
with someone else.
And really, I can’t blame them.
For there are days when I stop and wonder
who this woman really is,
whom I see daily in the mirror.
I am amazed at times
to think that she is me.

I’m usually too busy, Lord,
to think about
these challenging life questions.
But today,
when I have been reminded
that you intend your children
to have life in all its fullness,
I really need to ask you what you meant,
when you voiced such an all-encompassing remark
to your disciples.

I have to say,
if you were meaning “lots to do,”
then I’ve received your gift already.
My days are packed
and stretch into the night,
while I whirl around
cooking, cleaning, checking details,
and doing all the rest that must be done
to keep a family headed
in the right direction.

And yet somehow I can’t believe
that this is all my life is meant to be about.
If you have made me
unique and special,
as your Word tells me that you have,
numbering my days,
counting every hair and catching every tear,
blessing me with gifts,
and giving me a purpose to fulfill
in your economy,
then surely there is more to life
than what I do for other people.

Please help me, Lord.
Enable me to find that sacred space
where I can meet with you.
Then you can gently take apart
the many layered Russian doll
that often seems to represent my life,
and show me who the “real me” is,
so that I can embrace
all that I am, and all you have for me
with joy and thankfulness.

At any moment an unsatisfying life may become once more a grand adventure, if we will surrender it to God. The adventure of faith is exciting, difficult and exacting, but full of new discoveries, fresh turns and sudden surprises.

Paul Tournier

 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Didn't We Do This Last Year?

About a million, childless years ago, Shawn and I spent the Christmas holidays with my brother in CA. Alix had a CD he played that had parodies of Christmas songs...One that stuck in my head that week, and obviously,  a million years later, was a spoof of "Do You Hear What I Hear?"--"Didn't I Get This Last Year"...It pops into my head at the strangest time, though usually more with, "Didn't we do this last year..." Almost everything we do is familiar, because we do it over and over again.

The popular media hyped a storm, correctly it would appear, as being a massive, never before seen "perfect storm." The storm lived up to the hype, and my family in the Northeast can attest, it ain't been easy. My heart bleeds for them. A week without power, the house blowing around them, gasoline scarce, food running out, and its getting colder...

News stories began to appear like this; very depressing. Yes, it was a once in a generation storm. Another article this week said severe storms may be the new norm? Now, I may be old, but I can remember right off hand several disasters that have taken our country down in just the past few years. FEMA is working overtime. I remember scenes like this during Katrina. Hurricane season in TX every year since I have moved here including 2 years ago when Houston went for a week I think without power.  All so sad, all so depressing...all so avoidable?


With our country a trillion dollars in debt, I am not so sure that I am happy that my tax dollars will go towards rebuilding in areas of the country that repeatedly get clobbered in once in a generation storms every few years--didn't we do that last year? I am inspired to see fellow Americans pull together and help victims of this storm...people they don't know. I fear for the people who have to rebuild and am thankful that I am not one. But I really question whether this is enough for us to go further into debt as a country. Is FEMA the only answer, or even a good answer? What did we used to do before we let the government jump in to protect us every time the wind blows? Isn't the onus on us to build smarter and better...safer. And to prepare more, including building up our savings to cushion us in times like this?

 

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Party Line...



Nothing Personal, but my party believes...

"Yes, I believe in equality for all races, but my husband's best friend was stabbed by a black man and he died when he received an HIV tainted blood transfusion, so you can see how my husband hates all black men..."

No, I really can't. I relate that conversation that took place years ago just to illustrate a point. Yes, that man can hate the black man who stabbed his friend and eventually led to his death, but I think that you would have to really, really stretch to make the leap that that could reasonably cause you to hate all blacks. But we sometimes stretch to make that leap or ones similar to it.

Likewise, we can stretch to believe that birth control, or abortion, or gay rights, or cheap student loans are the most important issue of the 2012 election. Or we might think that the election isn't important at all. But it is. I have, without apology, voted single issue for every year I have voted. I voted for the babies. I won't argue that, because frankly, my mind cannot be changed, and I suppose yours cannot either. I pray that hearts will change and let Jesus do the work. But for the first time I have considered that maybe, my single issue, would have to be expanded...None of it really matters if we don't have our constitutional protections firmly in place and the continued ability to make that choice.  In light of that, I have tried to look at other issues. That too, is exhausting, because it seems that everyone has a pet issue. In an attempt to find harmony, I have tried to look at some points of agreement. Neither party has all the answers. Partisan politics may have out-lived its usefulness...but it's what we are stuck with for right now. However, there are a few things that we should all agree with: preserving our rights and supporting our boys in the military.

Not only do millions of our children don a uniform each year and vow to defend each and every American, they do so often at great sacrifice and often without a firm understanding of why they are fighting. I like to think they are fighting for all of us to have our opinion and the ability to cling to it, even if, for example, that opinion is to hate all blacks because of a very narrow excuse...special interest excuse, if you will. Everyone has a moment, or a person, or situation that is dear to their heart because of his or her own situation. But that doesn't make it the most important thing. I got a request to sign a petition regarding an 18 year old boy scout who was denied his final project badge or pin because he was gay. Was he surprised by that? Is it in the rules? If that is the Boy Scout rules, he should have quit before it was a problem for him...somewhat shortsighted. Would I be upset if it was my son? Yeah, but I would have tried to find out the rules before having my son invest years of his life into it. If it was still important to him, he could live without the pin. If it wasn't, no loss. I like to think I would have more important things to think about than whether or not he could get his pin, for example, life expectancy of gay men. I would hate the lifestyle my son chose to embrace and the pain his decisions would likely lead to. I would never hate my son, gays in general, the Boy Scouts, or even the people who choose to believe that this is one of the most important issues of our time. But it is a narrow issue. As long as we have the choice to agree, disagree, sign a change.org petition or not....well, that's what matters.

So 2012 is an election year. Most people are already tired of it. Wish people would start posting jokes again instead of mini campaign posters. Who cares about which party wins...they are all funded by BigPharma and Agribusiness anyway, so either candidates are going to have the same results...Apathy is the danger. Just vote and care, because it is the American way. If we don't believe in the process, the choice can and will be taken from us. Teach your children the right to vote is just as important as a Boy Scout pin. And if all playing fields are level, I say vote for the one who supports our constitutional rights and didn't go on campaigning while our embassies, flags, and citizens burned in Libya....

 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Following Without Hesitation

from Today's Mass Reading from EWTN Matthew 9:9-13

9As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
10And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
12But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
13Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

It should have been a tough call. From the looks of it, Matthew had a pretty good life going on. Jesus said, "Matthew, come follow me!" Matthew didn't ask questions, he just followed. I imagine his friends, fellow tax collectors, frowned on his new relationship. Certainly, Jesus' observers took exception to his new friend. While it is uncertain, tradition suggests he was martyred for Christ so it was not a choice without any eventual and immediate consequences. Had he continued on his initial path, Matthew would have enjoyed a much more profitable and pain-free life--by the world's standards. We certainly have been blessed by Matthew's ability to recognize what God wanted him to do and to do so without hesitation. I am sure Matthew concurs that it was the right choice.


     To always be so certain when the road is difficult; Saying Goodbye to Bishop Vann




On my way to Mass this morning, I heard about our local Bishop, Bishop Vann, and his immediate transfer to lead the people of the Diocese of Orange County in California. It is with a heavy heart I see him go. He is a personal favorite in our family. A pastoral Bishop, my baby girls learned how to properly communicate with a bishop by watching him walk the halls of our church. OK, maybe not properly, I may never be able to see Bishop Vann without thinking of my baby practicing, over and over again, "Good afternoon, My Tushie." Also, a strong advocate of all life, we will miss his undying work on behalf of the unborn.

However, I can see how the Holy Father found him a good choice. He communicates fluently in Spanish--sometimes switching back and forth between the two languages in the same mass...even the same paragraph! Like Ft. Worth, Orange County has a huge Hispanic population. Our church, if not our country, needs to acknowledge the impact that the largely Catholic Hispanic population brings to our country.  

While I am sad to see Bishop Vann go, I am sure Bishop Vann is not completely happy with the decision either, leaving the comfort of the familiar and comfortable is never easy, I am happy he continues to follow the will of God and the Holy father without hesitation. I am encouraged by it. I have struggled with our relocation to Texas from the familiarity of Pennsylvania. I struggle with the loss of the community we grew up with and began raising our children in. I question whether people are meant to move about the country toward opportunity or for the will of God, or if it is right to stay with family for the sake of family. In times of uncertainty, I always cling to home. I face fear, which is obviously not of the Lord, and hesitate in setting down roots. I understand that we are to live in the moment, but its hard to embrace my life if I am not sure this is where we belong. Is the only thing that ties us to TX Shawn's job and is that enough? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. You can reply here, or right at the Dwell in Glory Facebook page...Please "Like" us while you are there!!

So, on this feast of St. Matthew, I pray for our beloved Bishop Vann, who goes with the prayers of all the faithful in the Diocese of Ft. Worth. God Bless you...



Catholic Bloggers Network linking at Catholic Bloggers Network...please read along and share!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Off With Her Head...

Lessons learned from John the baptist...

John the Baptist was kind of a laughing stock. As the songs go, he walked around in rags, ate bugs, and yelled to whoever would listen, and even some who wouldn't listen, the moral truths of the time they were living in. It made him wildly unpopular...so much so that the queen had her daughter ask the king for his head on a platter. A sad demise for a man who only loved God and tried to get the people to listen to the truth.

A gay activist in Toronto taunts parent's at a Catholic school telling them if they opt their children out of sexual rights "education" they are attacking "Inclusivity" and contributing to a hateful environment.  In Libya, our soldiers and our diplomats are being killed. In fact the Middle East is in turmoil. Is there a connection? I am afraid to blog. I have lost my words. I am so tired of fighting my friends, family...my kids for being so different from everyone they know.

It isn't easy going against the popular culture.

Yesterday, I took Mariah to a dentist appointment. Armed with my recently acquired knowledge that fluoride is bad for us, I didn't allow her usual fluoride rinse and talked with the hygienist when she wanted to change my mind. I told her I was reading about this now and trying to educate myself, but nothing I had read suggested to me that it is effective in preventing cavities and further, if there was a chance it might hurt her, I would hold off until the next six month check up and we could revisit the issue. She understood and told me that she loves fluoride and wishes everyone would understand it like her, but she understood my reluctance. Not so Mariah. She berated me on the way home for being so rude. The familiar complaint, "why do we have to be so different." was starting to wear on me. I know that it not unusual for teens to feel this way about their parents, but as a mom to 11 adopted children, largely minority children, in a very white neighborhood, and Catholic to boot, I realize that there is some truth to the complaint.

Why we must persevere...

Sept. 11th this year I forgot...why was there a flag outside the children wanted to know. They did not experience the horror of that morning 11 years ago when our country watched our towers fall down, clung together in horror with friends and family, and talked about where our loved ones were. Were they OK? It is just a story to them. Even the ones who lived it were too young to really remember. While in the business of everyday life, I forgot...But I will never really forget. The horror was brought home anew later that afternoon when I heard that protesters had killed our Libyan diplomat and several marines. Because we had allowed a film to be made that was disrespectful to their Islamic leaders. Really...And we apologized for that movie, thank you Mrs. Clinton. But really...Some things are just wrong. I don't hate people who are gay. I may not agree with them, but to tell our Catholic parents that to not allow their children...their children to hear propaganda for gay marriage is wrong. Our church has some absolutes and it is unchanging. The same truth's that John the Baptist was preaching against are still as wrong today as they were 2000 years ago. God doesn't change his mind with the "times." Sometimes saying it will make me unpopular. And not exposing our children to that activism is not promoting hate. What the gay activist chose to forget is that in most families, we teach love not hate and that includes people who are gay. And Muslims. And telling Muslims that it is not OK to kill people to get because they don't like what we say is not right and is not not promoting an atmosphere of hate but it is necessary. We need to say it is not right. Not saying it doesn't make it any less true. And it makes us look weak. Life is not full of grey areas. There are moral absolutes...

So my children's discomfort at not being like everyone else might cause some discomfort. Hey, getting un-friended on facebook is uncomfortable, too. But, unlike John the Baptist, who told it like it is, I probably won't lose my actual head. I hope he is smiling down on me right now, in heaven, whole and basking in  glory with Jesus as a good and faithful servant. I persevere so that I might one day be able to join them.

We must never forget and we must always do and say what is right, regardless of who disagrees with us...even if, maybe especially, if it is hard.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Do I Really Have to Eat the Body of Christ?

First Eucharist Gifts



This walnut wall cross has a medal relief of a chalice cut-out. Makes a great First Communion gift.


I had a day this year when we almost had to run out of Mass. I whispered to my youngest son, who was having an extraordinarily good Mass day, "Just think Ant, soon the whole family will be able to go up for Communion and share the Body of Christ." The look of absolute horror on his face...hmm, maybe I need to prepare him a little better. When I first began teaching elementary Religious Ed, I had grade K. I was loving it, until I had to tell them about Communion. The comments were strange and difficult to handle...how do you make a 5 year old understand Transubstantiation when adults can't really explain it. "It's a divine mystery" doesn't get you very far when you are talking to 5 year old about potentially eating anything unfamiliar, let alone a PERSON...I can't even get mine to eat peas! So I began instruction on my own earlier, at the beginning of the year. If I could get it in before it was "the lesson," I might have a chance.
We began with talking about families, and how we share with our families at meals, especially the dinner table. Eventually, I was able to make them see the connection between the altar at church and the family table. Also, one of our first lessons was always about Adam and Eve and the gates of Heaven being closed. Sin is a tremendous part of Eucharist, as is the redemption of the cross. I think we don't tell our children, or even our big people enough about sin or frequent use the sacrament of Reconciliation. Eventually, I could share with them that Jesus died on the cross, he gave his body as a gift to us all to re-open the gates of Heaven. We celebrate that each week, at least, in the sacrament of Eucharist, and celebrate the gift of Jesus every week when we are old enough, through the sacrament. When they make the connection, and kids always do...I tell them it's a miracle that only a priest can perform, each week, through his Holy Office...and I tell them the name, "transubstantiation." It's a big word, but I don't expect them to spell it :o) I want them to have pride in their Catholicism. Yes, all Christians can know Jesus, but only Catholics can receive him in the Holy Mass...yeah, Us!! Catholics are very blessed!

A valuable aid for helping children prepare for First Holy Communion.

Aquinas carries many educational books for children to help prepare them for their sacraments...this book on the 10 Commandments has a mini examination of conscience.



This year, our family was indeed blessed to have 2 elementary children receive First Holy Communion, as well as 4 older children come into the church at Easter during the vigil. We had to give much thought to Communion Gifts. My husband and I believe in giving traditional gifts for Sacraments and at other holidays. This was no exception. We bought several rosaries as well as prayer books. Aquinas and More has many such gifts, including First Communion bibles, for both girls and boys. They can even be engraved with the child's name.


A beautiful vinyl over paper flexible cover gift edition specially designed for a girl's First Holy Communion. Pages are edged in pink.

 




They also have a huge selection of rosaries, like this...

This black glass-bead rosary has a pewter crucifix and chalice/host center. The rosary is 17in. long and comes in a round plastic rosary box with a picture of Christ giving Holy Communion to a young boy.


The card comes with a 5/8in. pewter medal on an 18in. chain which has a chalice and host and the words "Body of Christ, Amen" on the front. On the back are the words "My First Holy Communion."This card depicts Christ giving Communion to a young boy. On the back of the card is the following prayer:

My Lord Jesus Christ, I firmly believe that I am about to receive, in Communion, Your Body, Your Blood, Your Soul, and Your Divinity.

I believe it because You have said it, and I am ready to give my life to maintain this truth




Thinking outside the box is always a good idea, especially if you are buying for a friend who may have received these special gifts from family members. Medals, such as this St. Anne's medal are always appropriate, especially if you use the child's name as a guide.

This beautiful laminated hold card shows St. Anne with the Child Mary at her knee. On the back is the following prayer:

Glorious St. Anne, filled with compassion for those who invoke thee, and with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at thy feet and humbly beg of thee to take the present affair which I recommend to thee under thy special protection.

Vouchsafe to recommend it to thy Daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and lay it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all, obtain for me the grace of one day beholding my God face to face, and with thee and Mary and all the Saints, praising and blessing Him for all eternity.

Good St. Anne, mother of Her who is our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope, pray to her for us, and obtain our request. Amen




Aquinas and More also has fine jewelry, such as this Rosary bracelet and wow, I love this jasper stone First Communion Rosary!

Present this gorgeous and unique rosary to a first communicant as a keepsake of their first Eucharist and a motivation to constantly pray

This 5-decade First Communion rosary has white pearl beads and a Celtic crucifix. Beads measure approximately 4mm. Overall rosary length is 17in.




In case you are still having to catch up on some items for First Communion prep (not that I would know anything about that!!) look at these banners!! Aquinas and More even has banner class kits and information about Communion prep to make it as easy as possible!!

Isn't that banner beautiful?


And if you waited until the last minute and don't know what to get, I hear from my kids, a ball is always appropriate, so just punt...I mean kick! How about this St. Christopher soccer medal!

This hand engraved New England pewter 1in. X 5/8in. oval St. Christopher Medal, inscribed with the words, "Protect us", depicts a soccer player and comes with a 24in. stainless chain.



While Aquinas and More can help with all your gift giving needs, your prayers and support are all that is necessary for your special little ones inition into the church! Congratulations!