Youth Ministry Memories 2021
Sundays Theme: Conversion and Reparation
"Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.” (Joel 2:12014) We watched a short clip of “The 13th Day,” and discussed different penances we could do to repair for all the ways that God is offended. We prayed the prayer of reparation that the Angel of Fatima taught the children: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You! Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.” As we go out into the world, may all who encounter us experience the love of Christ and be drawn to join us in our path to heaven!
Join us this Saturday at Coral Ridge Mall at noon for ice skating and shopping as we grow in fellowship and have fun together as a parish family (bring friends too and we can invite them to our weekly youth group events)! For pictures of this event and our other youth activities check out of parish pintrest page: https://www.pinterest.com/fortmadholyfamilyym/holy-family-youth-group/
Sundays Theme: Life Giving Sacrifice
"For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son." (John 3:16) In this Easter season we remember the price Jesus paid to open the doors for heaven for us with grateful hearts. We pondered our Blessed Mothers words in Fatima: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” In the same apparition, Our Lady added: "When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: 'O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.' We connected this theme with the Marian consecration and great Saints who have made life-giving sacrifices who were devoted to Our Lady (St Maximilian Kolbe):
Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we consecrate ourselves, in an act of total entrustment to the Lord. By You we will be led to Christ. By Him and with Him we will be led to the Father. We will walk in the light of faith, and we will do everything so that the world may believe that Jesus Christ is the One sent by the Father. With Him we wish to carry His Love and Salvation to the ends of the earth. Under the protection of your Immaculate Heart, we will be one People with Christ. We will be witnesses of His Resurrection. By Him we will be led to the Father, for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, Whom we adore, praise and bless forever.
Sundays Theme: Merciful Savior
We discussed the divine mercy of Jesus in sacrificing Himself on the cross for us and how we could not merit this on our own, since the offense of Adam and Eve in the garden was against our Divine infinite God it was necessary to have infinite reparation that only Jesus, fully God and fully man could offer because he is the second person of the trinity consubstantially united to the Father. Our offerings and prayers are limited, being finite creatures. However since Jesus a Divine and human nature in his one Divine person, He could make this sacrifice and open the doors to heaven for us. We connected this to the diary of St Maria Faustina: “Secretary of My most profound mystery, know that yours is an exclusive intimacy with Me. Your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me. I therefore want you to devote all your free moments to writing” (Diary, 1693). “My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls (...). If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fountain overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as the King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them (...). Oh, how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love! (...). They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces” (Diary, 367). “Tell sinners that no one shall escape My Hand; if they run away from My Merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands. Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart... When will it beat for Me? Write that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church. And if they bring all My graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want.” (Diary, 1728).
Sundays Theme: Christ Has Risen!
We discussed the hope of the Resurrection and how Our Blessed Mother showed heaven to the children and how Jesus opened the doors to heaven for us with His sacrifice on the cross. Donna shared her testimony on how Jesus touched your heart in your encounter with His love. Jesus meets us where we are at like he did 2000 years ago to the apostles and first disciples. May our hearts be open to this encounter so our hearts can be set on fire with the love of God! We connected this theme with Sacred Scripture passages from our bibles, reviewing the passages and discussing ways to live this out. We discussed the different encounters Jesus had with his apostles after his Resurrection, reflecting on the scripture passage: “Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer* these things and enter into his glory?”( Luke 24:22-27)
Also next Sunday join us on our diocesean facebook page for our hold onto love event this Sunday at 7pm! Thank you everyone who helped with our easter egg hunt, for more pictures see our facebook and pintrest page!
Sundays Theme: Holy Week
As we prepare for Holy Week, let us accompany Jesus on his way of the cross the 26th at 5:30pm at Ss. Mary & Joseph Church for stations of the cross led by the youth! Join us April 3rd at 3pm for our Easter Egg hunt, youth group has been having a fun time planning and setting up for this event and all the activities and games: our egg hop (like our cupcake walk), egg toss, raffle and prizes! To deepen our prayer life we reflected on the scripture passage: “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Mt 6:5-15)
Sundays Theme: Prayer
We have also been discussing queen Esters prayer from the old testament and how her intercession saved her race. When Jesus prayed and interceded to God on our behalf, he opened the gates of heaven for us by His sacrifice on the cross, offering salvation to the human race! We connected this to our lives- God has given us the gift and task of uniting our sacrifices and difficulties with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the conversion of sinners and salvation of souls. This shows us the importance of prayer and faith especially in our lenten journey and how we can prepare for Holy Week. We connected this topic with the 13th Day, a movie about Our Lady of Fatima and the shepherd children Jacinta, Francesco, and Lucia. She implored the children to pray because “many souls go to hell because they have nobody to pray and offer sacrifices for them.” May we respond to her petition of daily praying the rosary for the conversion of sinners and peace! We then connected it to Sacred Scripture and pondered how to concretely enflesh this in our daily lives. "Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?" (Words of the Blessed Mother to shepherd children in Fatima Portugal, 1917)
Sundays Theme: Sacrificial Love
Sundays Theme: Crucified Love
Save the date the 26th at 5:30pm, the youth are meeting that Friday to lead the stations of the cross. We continued to discuss the theme of suffering in the life of Jesus and how he showed authentic love through suffering. We connected various scripture passages with this theme. Faith information: Making Lent Crucifixes and meditating on the Scripture passages of Our Lord’s passion John 19:25-27 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.26 When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. Ephesians 4:29 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Sundays Theme: The Word of God on Suffering
In previous discussions there was an interest in Church history and the Sacred Scriptures so this Lenten Season we will be going deeper into the Scripture passages to learn how to face the sufferings we encounter and how to persevere in our Lenten resolutions. We are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. St Therese of Lisiuex struggled with the concept of how to love as Jesus loved her because she knew that a finite creature could not love as an infinite God who is Love and Mercy itself. She was able to understand in a deep way the immensity of God’s love for us. In her book Story of a Soul, she solved this problem with reflecting the love Jesus and allowing Him to love through her. She decided to love Jesus with His own love and give this love to all those she encountered. Each day her capacity to love expanded through small acts of service for the good of her neighbor. She would seek out those who made her life difficult to be patient with them and help them to see their dignity and value in God’s eyes. We can do these small acts of love in our life every day and they will add up as they did in the lives of the Saints. Big acts of love may seem to be beyond our reach, but as long as we commit to doing small acts of love every day, our hearts will be prepared for bigger opportunities of generosity. By relying on the grace of God, the sacraments, and maintaining a good prayer life every day, we will have everything needed to fulfill our unique mission and become perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
Sundays Theme: You are the Light of the World
In this culture of death the rights of innocent babies are trampled upon, we need to be a voice for those without a voice, to protect the dignity and rights of each person. By doing good public service projects, we will let our light shine before all people. By remaining enthusiastic for the Kingdom of God and sharing our relationship with Jesus with others, we will be the salt that has not lost its flavor. Matthew 5: 13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
When we do good works, we should not become proud and boastful, but do everything for the glory of God with humility as Jesus teaches us in the scripture. By having our time of prayer every day (and coming to our youth group Holy Hour 7pm Friday), we will be able to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. This will sustain our apostolic work of evangelizing and reaching out to those who do not know the love of Christ. They have a right to learn about him, that should not be taken away by anybody. If the Apostles and Saint decided not to share the good news of the Gospel, we would not be able to enjoy the personal relationship we now have with Jesus Christ. Not everybody accepted the message of the Saints and Apostles. That did not stop them from spiritually nourishing our souls that were starving for truth, the objective truth of Divine Revelation. We should do the same for the good of our brothers and sisters, so they have an opportunity to live life to the fullest, to receive the living God at Mass, and rejoice in the Kingdom of heaven which begins here on earth for the blessed pure of heart and poor in spirit.
Sundays Theme: Presentation in the Temple
This Sunday we will be making valentines day cards for the homebound, thank you everyone who helped to make pro-life signs for our drive for life!!! Mary and Joseph were obedient to the instructions God gave the Jews to have their firstborn presented to the Temple. Simeon prophesied about the piercing of the Blessed Mother's heart on Calvary, when she was spiritually pierced with her Son by the soldiers lance on the cross. Luke 2: 22-40 “And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons: And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple.
And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.”
Sundays Theme: They Left Their Nets and Followed Christ
Thank you everyone who helped to make pro-life signs for our drive for life!!! We connected the theme of this scripture passage in the gospel to the theme of leaving behind the things of this world to be better disciples of Christ. We can do an examination of conscience, asking ourselves what “nets” do we need to leave behind in our lives to better follow Jesus? What attachments do we still have that prevent us from fulfilling all that God is asking of us? Jesus calls the first Apostles to a radical life and vocation. This can be seen today with those called to the Priesthood and religious life, leaving father and mother to follow Christ more closely. Not everyone is called to this type of life, but it is important that whatever Jesus calls us to, it was what our hearts were made for and what will bring us to the fullness of happiness. We can see this from the young rich man who was called to sell everything, give it to the poor and follow Christ. He went away sad because he did not say “yes” to Jesus’s invitation to a deeper, undivided relationship.
Matthew 4: 12-23 “And when Jesus had heard that John was delivered up, he retired into Galilee: And leaving the city Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capharnaum on the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; That it might be fulfilled which was said by Isaias the prophet: Land of Zabulon and land of Nephthalim, the way of the sea beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people that sat in darkness, hath seen great light: and to them that sat in the region of the shadow of death, light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers). And he saith to them: Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And they immediately leaving their nets, followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and he called them. And they forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom: and healing all manner of sickness and every infirmity, among the people.”
Sundays Theme: Lamb of God
In the catechism it states that 536: “The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God's suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". Already he is anticipating the "baptism" of his bloody death. Already he is coming to "fulfill all righteousness", that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father's will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. The Father's voice responds to the Son's acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son. The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to "rest on him". Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism "the heavens were opened" - the heavens that Adam's sin had closed - and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.”
John 1: 29-34 “The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world. This is he, of whom I said: After me there cometh a man, who is preferred before me: because he was before me. And I knew him not, but that he may be made manifest in Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John gave testimony, saying: I saw the Spirit coming down, as a dove from heaven, and he remained upon him. And I knew him not; but he who sent me to baptize with water, said to me: He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon him, he it is that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God.” Join us Sunday's at 11:30am for our faith formation meeting at McAleer Hall!
Join us this Saturday is our drive for life! Due to the continued need to social dis-tance, this year’s Right to Life March will be a little different. The route will begin at the usual spot of 10th and Avenue F, gathering at 10:15 AM on Saturday, January 23rd. Since McAleer Hall is still closed to public events, the route will be driven, rather than walked, and will end at 5th and Avenue G. This year is a great op-portunity for those who usually can’t participate due to walking/mobility challenges to join in. Everyone is invited to warm up the car and join in this year’s ‘march’ on January 23rd. Hope to see you there!
Sundays Theme: Baptism of Jesus
This feast day marks the end of the Christmas season in our liturgical calendar. We discussed this topic with the catechism of the Catholic Church: “St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.196 "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.197 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being "the friend of the bridegroom", whom he points out as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world".198 Going before Jesus "in the spirit and power of Elijah", John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.” (523) The baptism of Jesus marks a new baptism, we do not only receive the baptism of conversion that St John the baptist gave, but a new life in Christ!
Matthew 3: 13-17 “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan, unto John, to be baptized by him. But John stayed him, saying: I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfill all justice. Then he suffered him. And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him. And behold a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus' public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan. John preaches "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins". A crowd of sinners - tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes- come to be baptized by him. "Then Jesus appears." The Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, "This is my beloved Son." This is the manifestation ("Epiphany") of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God. Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. The Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father's beloved son in the Son. (CCC, 535-537)
Sundays Theme: Epiphany of the Lord
Matthew 2: 1-12 “When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet: And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; And sending them into Bethlehem, said:
Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore him. Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.” We connected the theme of this scripture passage to the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Jesus is our King, Prophet, and High Priest. The gifts of the Magi reflect on this with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We played Christmas Kahoot to grow in our knowledge of our faith!
Sundays Theme: Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Matthew 1: 18-24 “Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Spirit. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.”
We had a great time at our last meeting celebrating the birthday of Jesus! Join us Sunday's at 11:30am for our faith formation meeting at McAleer Hall (this week we will be meeting in Saints Mary and Joseph Church to help take down Christmas decorations- come and get your service hours and show your love for our parish family!) The Hold On To Love webpage is now active on our Diocesean website! We have the link to it on our facebook, Instagram and Twitter group pages for our youth https://www.facebook.com/groups/2170022139902019 Join us online this Sunday January 10th at 7pm for our livestream event on our youth facebook page! This month’s sub-theme of “Love Breaks Through.”
Sundays Theme: Prepare the Way of the Lord
St John the Baptist fulfilled his mission to prepare the hearts of the Isrealites for the coming of Jesus. He preached in the desert, eating locust and honey, wearing itchy camel's hair for clothes. He lived a life of penance and endured hardships for the sake of Christ, even to death by being beheaded because King Herod liked his daughters dancing. We each have our unique missions to prepare the way for Jesus. We can turn the hearts of those we meet to Christ by example, prayer, word, and deed. Through our service, love, kindness, and perseverance, we can be the hands of Jesus and show others how good it is to live as Christ showed us! In this time of advent, let us prepare the hearts of all we meet like the Blessed Mother so that we can all have a deeper encounter of the love of God.
We had a great time at our last meeting! Join us Sundays at 11:30am for our faith formation meeting at McAleer Hall or using Zoom: (email [email protected] for the password). Christmas time is a time to do acts of love for others, remembering the love of Christ and showing that love to others by word and deed (giving gifts, discussing the love of God and service). We are planning on helping set up Christmas decorations at Saint Mary and Joseph Church this week after the 10:30am Mass and making more Jesse Tree ornaments afterward, come and join us for fun, faith formation and fellowship!!
Sundays Theme: Immaculate Conception
Yesterday we celebrated that God gave Our Blessed Mother Mary the gift of an immaculate conception, meaning that she was conceived without the mark of original sin. The rest of us inherited the mark of original sin from Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God in the garden of Eden, this is one reason why it is so important to have infants baptized because it erases the mark of original sin and helps the child live life to the fullest, with the freedom of the children of God. From all eternity, God knew His plan for the Blessed Virgin (because of the the attributes of God is that He is all-knowing) and so He knew her role and her responses (much like we would know the responses of someone from our favorite movie) and God prepared her for this role with the gifts and graces necessary to carry out her mission.
We had a great time at our last meeting! The youth group is planning a trip to Coralville mall for ice skating and Christmas shopping Saturday December 12th, we will have 2 groups so if you do not like ice skating then come and enjoy looking for gifts for your loved ones! Christmas time is a time to do acts of love for others, remembering the love of Christ and showing that love to others by word and deed (giving gifts, discussing the love of God and service). There will be plenty of good discounts at that time and remember we have our book store next to Sacred Heart that have excellent Christmas gifts too! We will meet at Coralville Mall by the entrance of the ice rink at noon and are planning on leaving around 2pm so we will have plenty of time to go to the 4pm Mass at Sacred Heart for those of you who are planning on attending that Mass. Come and join us for fun, faith formation and fellowship!!
Sundays Theme: Fidelity
As we begin our Advent Season, we remember the importance of preparing for the coming of Christ as we reflect on the scripture passage of the parable of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. If we hold on to the “oil” of charity and fidelity to Jesus’ teachings, we will be like the wise vigilant virgins who were eagerly awaiting the bridegroom’s arrival. Our faith tells us that Jesus will come again, if not during our lifetime then at the moment of death we will see Him face to face. It is good to remember this so that we live as beloved children of God, making choices of love instead of selfishness. How we live now will effect our eternity (either eternal joy in heaven or eternal suffering in hell). This motivates us to live as the Saints did, expanding our capacity to love so that we can store up treasures in the Kingdom of Heaven and have a greater capacity to glorify God.
Sundays Theme: Trust in God
“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:26) We cannot love both God and money, we should always put God first, work hard and trust in God’s divine providence as he encourages us in this scripture verse.
We will continue to make Christmas cards for those in nursing homes, they have been lonely since COVID began and a personalized card with a bible verse will uplift their spirits! We will also be helping Father decorate the rectory November 29th, come and join us- Father is providing pizza!
Sundays Theme: Vocation Week
There are different vocations God can call us to and the importance of listening to God’s invitation because the path he calls us down will lead us to the fullness of joy. St Therese of Lisieux described the different vocations like various types of wildflowers, each one is unique and makes the Church beautiful. The different types of vocations that we discussed last week were Priesthood, Monk/Brother, Sister/Consecrated Virgin, Marriage). In Jeremiah 29:11 God told the prophet “for I know well the plans I have for you.” From all eternity God has loving plans for your life and we should not be afraid to open our hearts to Jesus as St John Paul II would say, so that we can become fully realized and live life more abundantly with the freedom of the children of God. We also played a vocations kahoot and discussed other resources such as “And You Are Christ’s” by Thomas Dubay, explaining the vows that Religious take.
Sundays Theme: Discerning Vocations
We had a great time at our last meeting! We spoke on the different vocations God can call us to and the importance of listening to God’s invitation because the path he calls us down will lead us to the fullness of joy. God is our loving Father who made our hearts, he knows what will ultimately make us the most happy (Priesthood, Monk/Brother, Sister/Consecrated Virgin, Marriage) even if we think one path will make us happy because most people go down it, we may discover after a time of prayer, visiting different communities and discernment that we enjoy more another path that God is leading us down. Many people ask us what our plans are for the future, but we should be asking what God’s plans are for our lives. Jesus says “my sheep hear my voice” (Jn 10:27), Saint Mother Teresa said that Jesus speaks in the silence of our hearts, so coming to our youth group Holy Hour at 7pm every Friday is a great opportunity to silence ourselves and tell God “speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
Sundays Theme: Evangelization
We connected the theme to our mission to go out and make disciples of all nations no matter what the cost. By relying on Gods grace and the Holy Spirit, we will be strengthened like the first apostles who went out after pentecost. Before the Holy Spirit came they locked themselves in the upper room because they were afraid of being crucified like Jesus, but after they opened their hearts and were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were strengthened and given gifts and graces to fulfill all that God asked of them through Jesus.
LK 12:8-12 Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God... When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say." Even when we face persecutions during evangelization, we should not lose hope because “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Cor. 2:9) Jesus always keeps his promises and has promised great rewards in the Kingdom of heaven for those who are faithful to His word and teaching. The Holy Spirit will speak through us if we are docile and listen to His voice in our hearts like the Saints. It may take us years of practice, but it is worth it if we want to advance in the spiritual life as we reflect the words of Jesus to St Faustina “the cause of your falls is that you rely too much on yourself and too little on me.” (Diary, 1488)
Join us November 2nd at 5:15pm at Sacred Heart Cemetery to pray a divine mercy chaplet for the faithful departed and discuss all souls day. Our next monthly service project is November 29th, join us at the Saint Mary and Joseph Church rectory to decorate for Christmas after the 10:30am Mass!