Thursday, November 10, 2016

What Should We Tell the Children

There is no doubt that this election was a surprise for our nation and was one of the ugliest and longest campaigns in my memory. Many are reeling from the results and are worried about what will happen under a Trump presidency.

As people of faith, we must do exactly that, keep the faith. We must remember that God loves us and provides for each and every one of us, no matter who our president is. We also must remember to pray for those in leadership roles, if we support them, but even if we don't particularly care for them or their opinions, positions or policies.

"Say that silence is dangerous, and teach them how to speak up when something is wrong."

At GIFT last night, one of the moms approached me after the gathering and asked why we hadn't addressed the election. She then shared that her two girls were full of the news because of protracted discussions that they had had at school (a Spanish immersion school, where a majority of the students come from immigrant families). There is a lot of fear and apprehension in our world as evidenced by the protests last night in a number of cities both on the east and west coasts.

That same mom shared the following article with me that I wanted to pass along. I think that if your sons/daughters are nervous about these election results or feeling unsettled in anyway, there are some good reminders.

"Tell them bigotry is not a democratic value, and that it will not be tolerated at your school."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-should-we-tell-the-children_us_5822aa90e4b0334571e0a30b

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Holy Day of Obligation - All Saints Day



Today is a Holy Day of Obligation - it's the Solemnity of All Saints. Today, we celebrate all saints - those who have died and reached heaven, including our relatives and the capital "S" saints - like Francis, Patrick, Mark, Luke, John and Saint Mother Teresa. But, we also celebrate the hope of our own sainthood - as we are all called to be saints. http://www.catholic.org/saints/allsaints/

To celebrate, we'll have Mass today at 7:00 pm at St. Matthias.

We also have a table of the dead (la ofrenda) set up in the back of the Church and invite you to bring photos of your loved ones in remembrance of them. The table will remain in the Church for the entire month of November.

You also should have received an envelope in the mail with spaces for names. If you'd like special people to be remembered during the masses this month, write their names on the envelope and return it to the office (by mail, in the collection or drop it off). You may include a donation, however, it's not necessary.

Also, at Masses this weekend, Nov 5th and 6th, names of all those who have died over the past year will be called and there is an invitation for you to light a candle for them. These candles will be lit at all the Masses during the entire month of November. If you would like a name included, please email Liz liz@stmatthiasparish.org to make sure the name gets listed. 

Hope to see you tonight at Mass!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Welcome to Another Year of Faith Formation at St. Matthias!

Every once in a while, I receive a question like this one "Where can I find materials for a 2 year old to teach them about Jesus & God?" Today, a parishioner was looking for materials to teach her 2 year old grandson about Jesus and God, so she asked for guidance.

First of all, YES! I have to commend grandparents and parents for recognizing that faith is something that needs to be taught, not just caught. This is a well used expression in Church circles to explain what used to happen in Catholic families. Faith was something that permeated every aspect of family life prior to Vatican II and up through the 1960's or so. Church was the center of a families social life, spiritual life, and generally speaking, people knew what the Church taught and what was expected. Partially because things were very dualistic/black and white. - The merits of this can be debated, but that's a different blog post. In this world, faith was caught precisely because it was everywhere, people regularly talked about their faith and belief in God, Catholic statues and other sacramentals were visibly present in homes. In short, children caught the faith.

Now, as societal changes have occurred, people find community in other settings, we have come to realize that faith formation must be taught, intentionally. If we want our kids to learn the faith, we have to make an effort to teach them.

Starting with bible stories is a great place to begin. Kids' imaginations are captured by the epic stories of the Bible, particularly Noah, Moses, Abraham and Isaac and stories about Jesus' miracles and the Last Supper. Small children can be just as "into" bible heroes as they can superheroes.

Find a local Catholic book store. In our area, we have Pauline Books and Media http://pauline.org/Publishing/Contact-Us/ID/6/Redwood-City-California where the Sisters are very knowledgeable and will spend time with you choosing the perfect book for your little one.

Loyola Press, a Jesuit Ministry http://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/family/catholic-kids also has wonderful resources for you to use with your children, many things online for free and others that you can order.

If you like to do activities, check out our St. Matthias Faith Formation Pinterest Board which is organized by month and topic https://www.pinterest.com/smff2013/. 

I know that sometimes children ask questions that we parents, might not be prepared to answer. If this happens in your family, share the question with Kate and I am will try to give you a solid, theological answer - but also one which is based in real world experience.

Welcome to another year of faith formation at St. Matthias!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April GIFT Follow Up Email

April 2016 GIFT Follow Up Email
Kingdom of God: Parables of Jesus
                            
Thank you for attending our April GIFT Gatherings: Kingdom of God: Parables of Jesus. If you were not able to attend the GIFT Gatherings this week, please click the link here  to download the PowerPoint presentation from the event.

Please do Chapter’s 20 & 21 at home. You can find easy to follow home lessons at http://calltofaith.osv.com/parish/for_families/pf_home_lessons/grade_k navigate to your son/daughter’s grade level and choose Chapter’s 20 & 21.

During this session we focused on reading and analyzing some of the parables of Jesus. We looked at the following parables:
·        Parable of the Mustard Seed: Matt 13:31-32
·        Parable of the Yeast: Matt 13:33
·        Three Parables - Treasure, Pearls, Net: Matt 13:44-52
·        Parable of the Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-21
·        The Parable of the Lost Sheep: Luke 15:1-7
·        The Parable of the Lost Coin: Luke 15:8-10
Then focused our discussions on the following questions:
·        Who is Jesus in this parable?
·        What does it teach us about the qualities of God/Jesus?
·        What does this parable teach us about the meaning of the kingdom of God?
·        What does it mean to us today?
The discussion was rich and provided a deeper understanding of these stories which Jesus used to teach his disciples, and us, about the kingdom of God.

Each year, we host our annual Safety Faire for the Safe Environment requirement from the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Preschool through 3rd graders are required to complete the Talking About Touching curriculum. This was covered at the Safety Faire and packets were handed out with lessons for parents to do at home. When the lessons are completed, there is a completion form that you’ll need to send back to me.
For those with 4-12th grade children, they need to complete the online safety course appropriate for their grade level. Those courses can be found at www.shieldthevulnerable.org. Here are the course titles per grade level:


4th grade              Safety Smarts for Kids
5th grade              Block the Bully
6th grade              Be Safe, Stay Safe
7th grade              Bullying – Not Cool
8th grade              Digital Citizenship
9th grade              Teen Safety
10th grade            Dating Abuse
11th grade            Cyber Safety
12th grade            You’re Legal; Now What?




We kicked off a collection, CRS Rice Bowl for Lent. Find more information about the Rice Bowl project, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the work that they do by visiting http://www.crsricebowl.org/. We will collect your Rice Bowls at the May GIFT sessions.

Upcoming Events:
·        MSYM & HSYM – Had to be cancelled this month. My mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly in So. Cal. And my husband and I are travelling to Los Angeles for the funeral.
·        Our Catholicism DVD series continues on Monday nights from 7-8:30 pm until May 23rd. This series is a companion piece to GIFT and designed for adults and older teens. It features prayer, journaling, a spectacular documentary, reflection and discussion and is being led by Deacon Rich. All are welcome to join us.
·        Pancake & Bacon Fundraiser Breakfast for Mission Trip to Ecuador - April 16th - 9am-12 noon - $10 Adults, $8 Seniors, $6 Children
·        Caring for our Common Home: A Parish Response Workshop on April 23rd at St. Anne of the Sunset 9-12:30 pm see Liz for more information
·        First Communion - April 24th at 10:30 am with a reception to follow
·        Confirmation Information Meeting – for all 8th graders or those in high school who have not yet been confirmed - May 25th at 7:00 pm
·        Next GIFT Sessions: May 1 & 4th

Other Resources:
·       Please join st-matthias-gift-families@googlegroups.com if you haven’t already. This is how I will communicate about GIFT going forward.
·        Pinterest –  Family Faith Ideas http://www.pinterest.com/smff2013/
·        Sabrina’s Blog – Do you children ever ask you faith related questions that you are just not sure how to answer? Or do really cool things related to their faith that you want to share with the community? If so, follow the blog http://faqsfaithandquestions.blogspot.com


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Here's a prayer for the Year of Mercy which begins today!

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

Amen.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

GIFT Follow Up Email

November GIFT Follow Up Email
Trinity (Professing our Faith: We Believe in God, We Believe in Jesus Christ, We Believe in the Holy Spirit)
                            
Thank you for attending our November GIFT Gatherings: Trinity. If you were not able to attend the GIFT Gatherings this week, please click the link here  to download the PowerPoint presentation from the event.

In the classes, catechists led the Kindergarten through 5th grade children through Chapter 1 in their books. Please do Chapter’s 5 & 6 at home. You can find easy to follow home lessons at http://calltofaith.osv.com/parish/for_families/pf_home_lessons/grade_k navigate to your son/daughter’s grade level and choose Chapter’s 5 & 6.

At our October GIFT sessions, we handed out the Kindergarten through 5th grade children’s books. We had them available again at the November sessions for those who couldn’t make it in October. There are still a few that have yet to be picked up. If you would like to pick them up, let me know what would work best for you; 1) pick them up from me in the Rectory during the week, or 2) pick them up at Mass either Saturday or Sunday.
We also hosted our annual Safety Faire for the Safe Environment requirement from the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Preschool through 3rd graders are required to complete the Talking About Touching curriculum. This was covered at the Safety Faire and packets were handed out with lessons for parents to do at home. When the lessons are completed, there is a completion form that you’ll need to send back to me.
For those with 4-12th grade children, they need to complete the online safety course appropriate for their grade level. Those courses can be found at www.shieldthevulnerable.org. Here are the course titles per grade level:


4th grade              Safety Smarts for Kids
5th grade              Block the Bully
6th grade              Be Safe, Stay Safe
7th grade              Bullying – Not Cool
8th grade              Digital Citizenship
9th grade              Teen Safety
10th grade            Dating Abuse
11th grade            Cyber Safety
12th grade            You’re Legal; Now What?




Upcoming Events:
·        Middle School Youth Ministry (MSYM) (5-8th Grades) – Nov 11th  from 6-8pm. All Middle School Youth are welcome to attend. Each MSYM meeting begins with dinner.
·        Middle School & High School Youth Ministry (MSYM/HSYM) – Nov 15th from 5-7pm. All High School youth are invited to join us for dinner at Canyon Inn, then back to St. Matthias for dessert and a Ping Pong Tournament.
·        Confirmation Level I Retreat @ St. Matthias on Nov 14th from 10-4:30 pm
·        Confirmation Level II Meeting – Sunday, Nov 22nd from 3-5pm
·        Service Opportunity - Giving Tree Set up – Nov 28th
·        Pope Francis – Encyclical on the Environment Study Group continues on Mondays from 7-8:30 pm and is repeated on Tuesdays from 10-11:30 am in the Upper Room of Fr. Lacey Hall.


Other Resources:
·        Pinterest –  Family Faith Ideas http://www.pinterest.com/smff2013/
·        Sabrina’s Blog – Do you children ever ask you faith related questions that you are just not sure how to answer? Or do really cool things related to their faith that you want to share with the community? If so, follow the blog http://faqsfaithandquestions.blogspot.com


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween: A Holiday from Hell?


Anyone who has questions about the origins or purpose of this holiday - which I love, by the way - should take a look at this article.

I'm currently a Medieval Christianity class at CSUEB and was interested to find out that it was Pope Gregory IV (Gregory IV argued with Louis the Pious of the Carolingian's about his succession from St. Peter. ) who moved the feast day of All Hallows from May 13th to November 1st - after the harvest, so that Rome would be properly provisioned for the pilgrims who would flock to the city.

http://www.massexplained.com/a-holiday-from-hell/?utm_source=Halloween+2015&utm_campaign=Halloween+2015&utm_medium=email

Here's a video by Fr. James Martin which also explains the connection between All Hallows Eve, All Saints and Halloween.