Adult Faith Formation Items

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Liturgical Year: Saint Anthony of Padua

Last modified on 2017-05-22 19:34:25 GMT.

Saint Anthony of Padua

Saint of the Day for June 13

Saint Anthony was born Fernando Martins in Lisbon, Portugal. He was born into a wealthy family and by the age of fifteen asked to be sent to the Abbey of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, the then capital of Portugal. During his time in the Abbey, he learned theology and Latin.

The gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Anthony’s life. Over and over again, God called him to something new in his plan. Every time Anthony responded with renewed zeal and self-sacrificing to serve his Lord Jesus more completely.

His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians in Lisbon, giving up a future of wealth and power to be a servant of God. Later, when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the Portuguese city where he was stationed, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest to Jesus himself: those who die for the Good News.

So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. But an illness prevented him from achieving that goal. He went to Italy and was stationed in a small hermitage where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks.

The call of God came again at an ordination where no one was prepared to speak. The humble and obedient Anthony hesitantly accepted the task. The years of searching for Jesus in prayer, of reading sacred Scripture and of serving him in poverty, chastity and obedience had prepared Anthony to allow the Spirit to use his talents. Anthony’s sermon was astounding to those who expected an unprepared speech and knew not the Spirit’s power to give people words.

Recognized as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars. Soon he was called from that post to preach to the Albigensians in France, using his profound knowledge of Scripture and theology to convert and reassure those who had been misled by their denial of Christ’s divinity and of the sacraments..

After he led the friars in northern Italy for three years, he made his headquarters in the city of Padua. He resumed his preaching and began writing sermon notes to help other preachers.

Anthony should be the patron of those who find their lives completely uprooted and set in a new and unexpected direction. Like all saints, he is a perfect example of turning one’s life completely over to Christ. God did with Anthony as God pleased—and what God pleased was a life of spiritual power and brilliance that still attracts admiration today. He whom popular devotion has nominated as finder of lost objects found himself by losing himself totally to the providence of God.

Saint Anthony of Padua is the Patron Saint of: Lost items; Poor; Travelers.

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Source:  https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-anthony-of-padua/

Editor: Evan Macklin

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Liturgical Year: Ascension Day & Pentecost

Last modified on 2017-05-22 19:28:36 GMT.


Ascension Day – Thursday, May 25, 2017
 Holy Day of Obligation in  The Diocese of Erie

Ascension Day is the Christian celebration of Jesus rising into Heaven after He had spent 40 days on Earth after the Resurrection. Ascension Day is celebrated forty days after Easter Sunday on Ascension Thursday. This date is also ten days before the celebration of the Pentecost.

(Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis)

Pentecost in the United States – June 4, 2017

Pentecost is a Christian holy day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible. It is also known as Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday.

As recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, it was on the 50th day after Easter that the apostles were praying together and the Holy Spirit descended on them. They received the “gift of tongues” – the ability to speak in other languages – and immediately began to preach about Jesus Christ to Jewish people from all over the world who flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot.

Christian Pentecost became not only a commemoration of the Holy Spirit’s visit but also marks the birth of the Christian Church. Although it is not certain when Pentecost began to be observed by Christians, it may have been early as the first century. Whitsuntide, also referred to as Whitsun in modern times, is the period beginning with the Saturday before Whitsunday and ending the following Saturday.

According to church tradition, Pentecost is always about seven weeks after Easter Sunday, or 50 days after Easter, including Easter Day.

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Come, Holy Spirit

English

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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The symbols of Pentecost are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, wind, the breath of God and a dove.

Source: http://www.catholic.org/lent/pentecost.php

Editor: Evan Macklin

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Liturgical year: Our Lady of Fatima

Last modified on 2017-05-22 19:34:39 GMT.

Our Lady of Fatima

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children (“The Three Seers”) near the town of Fatima, Portugal between May 13 and October 13, 1917. Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that She had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century. Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war and bloody violence, She promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if Her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.

“If My requests are granted … there will be peace”

Our Lady of Fatima explained to the children that war is a punishment for sin and warned that God would further castigate the world for its disobedience to his Will by means of war, hunger, and the persecution of the Church, the Holy Father and the Catholic Faithful.  God’s Mother prophesied that Russia would be God’s chosen “instrument of chastisement,” spreading the “errors” of atheism and materialism across the earth, fomenting wars, annihilating nations and persecuting the Faithful everywhere.

“If My requests are not granted, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will suffer much and various nations will be annihilated.”

In all Her appearances at Fatima, the Blessed Mother repeatedly emphasized the necessity of praying the Rosary daily, of wearing the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and of performing acts of reparation and sacrifice. To prevent the terrible chastisement at the hands of Russia and to convert “that poor nation”, Our Lady requested the solemn public Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and all the Catholic bishops of the world. She also asked that the Faithful practice a new devotion of reparation on the first Saturday of five consecutive months (“The Five First Saturdays”)

On May 13’th 2017 Pope Francis canonized the two Portuguese children who saw Mary.

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Sources: http://www.fatima.org/essentials/facts/story1.asp

Editor: Evan Macklin

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Saints – April & May

Last modified on 2017-04-24 19:24:09 GMT.

St. Catherine of Siena

Feast Day: April 29’th

St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her mother was 40 when she was born. Her father was a cloth dyer.

At the age of 16, Catherine’s sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. Catherine’s parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a replacement, but Catherine opposed this. She began fasting and cut her hair short to mar her appearance.

Her parents attempted to resist this move, to avoid marriage, but they were unsuccessful. Her fasting and her devotion to her family, convinced them to relent and allow her to live as she pleased. Catherine once explained that she regarded her father as a representation of Jesus and her mother as Our Lady, and her brothers as the apostles, which helped her to serve them with humility.

Despite Catherine’s religious nature, she did not choose to enter a convent and instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to associate with a religious society while living at home.

Fellow Dominican sisters taught St. Catherine how to read. Meanwhile, she lived quietly, isolated within her family home.

St. Catherine developed a habit of giving things away and she continually gave away her family’s food and clothing to people in need. She never asked permission to give these things away, and she quietly put up with their criticisms.

Something changed her when she was 21. She described an experience she referred to as her “mystical marriage to Christ.” There are debates over whether or not St. Catherine was given a ring with some claiming she was given a bejeweled ring, and other claiming the ring was made of Jesus’s skin. St. Catherine herself started the rumor of the latter in her writings, but she was known to often claim the ring itself was invisible.

Such mystical experiences change people, and St. Catherine was no exception. In her vision, she was told to reenter public life and to help the poor and sick. She immediately rejoined her family and went into public to help people in need.

She often visited hospitals and homes where the poor and sick were found. Her activities quickly attracted followers who helped her in her mission to serve the poor and sick.

St. Catherine was drawn further into the world as she worked, and eventually she began to travel, calling for reform of the Church and for people to confess and to love God totally. She became involved in politics, and was key in working to keep city states loyal to the Pope. She was also credited with helping to start a crusade to the Holy Land. On one occasion, she visited a condemned political prisoner and was credited with saving his soul, which she saw being taken up to heaven at the moment of his death.

St. Catherine allegedly was given the stigmata, but like her ring, it was visible only to herself. She took Bl. Raymond of Capua has her confessor and spiritual director.

From 1375 onwards, St. Catherine began dictating letters to scribes. She petitioned for peace and was instrumental in persuading the Pope in Avignon to return to Rome.

She became involved in the fractured politics of her time, but was instrumental in restoring the Papacy to Rome and in brokering peace deals during a time of factional conflict and war between the Italian city states.

She also established a monastery for women in 1377 outside of Siena. She is credited with composing over 400 letters, her Dialogue, which is her definitive work, and her prayers. These works are so influential that St. Catherine would later be declared a Doctor of the Church. She is one of the most influential and popular saints in the Church.

By 1380, the 33-year-old mystic had become ill, possibly because of her habit of extreme fasting. Her confessor, Raymond, ordered her to eat, but she replied that she found it difficult to do so, and that possibly she was ill.

In January of 1380, her illness accelerated her inability to eat and drink. Within weeks, she was unable to use her legs. She died on April 29, following a stroke just a week prior.

St. Catherine’s feast day is April 29, she is the patroness against fire, illness, the United States, Italy, miscarriages, people ridiculed for their faith, sexual temptation, and nurses.

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St. Mark

Feast day: April 25’th

John Mark, later known simply as Mark, was a Jew by birth. He was the son of that Mary who was proprietress of the Cenacle or “upper room” which served as the meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). He was still a youth at the time of the Savior’s death. In his description of the young man who was present when Jesus was seized and who fled from the rabble leaving behind his “linen cloth,” the second Evangelist might possibly have stamped the mark of his own identity.

During the years that followed, the rapidly maturing youth witnessed the growth of the infant Church in his mother’s Upper Room and became acquainted with its traditions. This knowledge he put to excellent use when compiling his Gospel. Later, we find Mark acting as a companion to his cousin Barnabas and Saul on their return journey to Antioch and on their first missionary journey. But Mark was too immature for the hardships of this type of work and therefore left them at Perge in Pamphylia to return home.

As the two apostles were preparing for their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin with him. Paul, however, objected. Thereupon the two cousins undertook a missionary journey to Cyprus. Time healed the strained relations between Paul and Mark, and during the former’s first Roman captivity (61-63), Mark rendered Paul valuable service (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24), and the Apostle learned to appreciate him. When in chains the second time Paul requested Mark’s presence (2 Tim. 4:11).

An intimate friendship existed between Mark and Peter; he played the role of Peter’s companion, disciple, and interpreter. According to the common patristic opinion, Mark was present at Peter’s preaching in Rome and wrote his Gospel under the influence of the prince of the apostles. This explains why incidents which involve Peter are described with telling detail (e.g., the great day at Capharnaum, 1:14f)). Little is known of Mark’s later life. It is certain that he died a martyr’s death as bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a worthy tomb was erected in St. Mark’s Cathedral.

The Gospel of St. Mark, the shortest of the four, is, above all, a Roman Gospel. It originated in Rome and is addressed to Roman, or shall we say, to Western Christianity. Another high merit is its chronological presentation of the life of Christ. For we should be deeply interested in the historical sequence of the events in our blessed Savior’s life.

Mark was a skilled painter of word pictures. With one stroke he frequently enhances a familiar scene, shedding upon it new light. His Gospel is the “Gospel of Peter,” for he wrote it under the direction and with the aid of the prince of the apostles. “The Evangelist Mark is represented as a lion because he begins his Gospel in the wilderness, `The voice of one crying in the desert: Make ready the way of the Lord,’ or because he presents the Lord as the unconquered King.”

Patron: Against impenitence; attorneys; barristers; captives; Egypt; glaziers; imprisoned people; insect bites; lions; notaries; prisoners; scrofulous diseases; stained glass workers; struma; Diocese of Venice, Florida; Venice, Italy.

Symbols: Winged lion; fig tree; pen; book and scroll; club; barren fig tree; scroll with words Pax Tibi; winged and nimbed lion; lion.

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St James (The Lesser) / St. Philip

Feast Day: May 3rd 

This observance celebrates the lives of Saint Philip and James the Lesser, two of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Philip is the patron saint of hat makers and pastry chefs.  He is also the patron saint of Luxembourg and Uruguay. He is famous for being one of Jesus’ first disciples.  James, sometimes called James the Lesser, is known as the writer of the epistle of James in the Bible.  He was bishop of Jerusalem in the early church.

The mother of St James, Mary was either a sister or a close relative of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for that reason, according to Jewish custom, he was sometimes called the brother of Jesus.

The Roman Catholic feast day of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles, is held May 3.  It honors James, traditionally considered to be the brother of Jesus, and Philip, considered by scripture to be one of Jesus’ earliest disciples (John: 1:43).

St James the Lesser is the patron saint of hat makers, the dying and also one of the patron saints of Uruguay.

Philip teaches us … to let ourselves be won over by Jesus, to be with him and also to invite others to share in this indispensable company; and in seeing, finding God, to find true life. – St. Benedict XVI.

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National Day of Prayer

Day: May 4’th

Many Christians are unaware that they live in a nation that has a law in place requiring our President proclaim a National Day of Prayer each year on the first Thursday in May.

The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals. (Public Law 105-225)

The origins of National Day of Prayer date back to 1787, when Benjamin Franklin asked President George Washington to open each day with prayer, and to realize that prayer is deeply intertwined in the fabric of the United States.  However, it was not until February 1952 during the Korean War that Reverend Billy Graham petitioned support of Representative Percy Priest to observe a national day of prayer. On April 17, 1952 President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming National Day of Prayer, to encourage Americans to turn to God in prayer and meditation.

As citizens and residents of the United States and as believers in Christ Jesus, we not only have a spiritual responsibility according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2 to pray, but a civic duty as well to heed our President’s call to stand in the gap for our nation. Who but God’s people have the ability to enter into the very throne room of Heaven with prayers and petitions.

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Resources:

http://www.bigccatholics.com/2016/04/april-25th-feast-of-saint-mark.html

http://www.catholic.org/saints

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/theme_and_verse

http://www.wincalendar.com/National-Day-of-Prayer

Editor: Evan Macklin

 

 

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Holy Week + Easter Sunday

Last modified on 2017-04-03 19:29:57 GMT.

Holy Week refers to the week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. For Catholics, it is the most sacred week of the year. There are specific traditions that are celebrated during the week, both in the Masses that are celebrated in church, and in homes of faithful Catholics.

The First Day of Holy Week

Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, commemorates the day that Jesus returned to Jerusalem after his 40 days in the desert, which is celebrated by Catholics as Lent. As he rode into town, Jesus was welcomed by throngs of people who laid palms at his feet in his honor. In the church, palms are typically available at the Palm Sunday Masses, and parishioners carry them and wave them during the Mass. The palms are taken home and kept on display throughout the week. Often children are encouraged to weave them into crosses to represent the connection between the palms of Palm Sunday and Jesus’ death on the cross later in the week.

Holy Thursday

The liturgical colors worn in the Catholic Church for Holy Week are red, symbolizing the blood shed by Jesus’ death on the cross. The entire week is a period of sober reflection for Catholics. Holy Thursday is the day that celebrates the Last Supper, when Jesus held Passover with his disciples. Some Catholics may even eat a meal that resembles traditional Passover fare, such as lamb, unleavened bread and haroset salad. The emphasis at the Mass is on humility; the priests wash the feet of their parishioners, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. The Mass on Thursday is the last Mass celebrated until Easter.

Good Friday

Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus on the Cross, and the worship is focused on remembering the pain and sadness of his death. There is usually a formal Veneration of the Cross, and some churches will use the Stations of the Cross as part of their worship; this refers to the 14 steps that detail Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, and subsequent trial and crucifixion. Communion is not usually offered on Good Friday because communion is a celebration, and Good Friday is a day of mourning. Good Friday is a day of fasting for Catholics, and no meat is allowed to be eaten.

Holy Saturday is the official end of Holy Week. It is a time of waiting, and no Mass is offered on this day. However, the celebration for Easter typically begins after sundown on Holy Saturday with the Easter Vigil. The faithful gather outside the church, typically in darkness, and then proceed in to light a new fire. New members of the Catholic Church are baptized at the Vigil, and present members are called to renew their baptismal promises. The next day is Easter Sunday, which marks the first day of the Easter Season, a period of hope and renewal in the Catholic Church.

Easter Vigil: Rite of Initiation – Candidates

On the First Sunday of Lent, we joined 100+   other people and their sponsors at St Peter’s Cathedral in Erie where Bishop Persico in the Rite of Election welcomed catechumens (unbaptized) and candidates (baptized Christians) to the period of Purification (season of Lent).   This is a  final time of preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist,  celebrated in most of our diocesan parishes at Easter Vigil, April 15th.

Please keep in your prayers our candidates – Edna Gibson and Gale Kocis as they continue to listen to God in their hearts.  We are keeping them in our prayers & look forward to their Easter celebration!
At the Vatican:

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Easter

Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on Sunday, and marks the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent, the last day of the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday), and is the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year.

As we know from the Gospels, Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion, which would be Sunday. His resurrection marks the triumph of good over evil, sin and death. It is the singular event which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the dead.

Since Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to humankind, it is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar.

In the Gospels, the precise details of the Easter narrative vary slightly, but none of these variances are critical to the main story. In fact, it is argued that the variances are simply matters of style and not substance. Despite the variances, the key aspects of the Easter story all match. Above all, they agree that the tomb of Christ was indeed empty, which is the most essential fact.

The Easter date is movable and always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Easter in the Roman Catholic Church is always on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.

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Resources: Classroom Articles by Pam Lobley

www.catholic.org

Edited by: Evan Macklin

04/3/17