liturgical celebrations

Wonderful St Joseph

It is the Feast of St Joseph, husband of Our Lady and foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a feast!!! 🙂

As each year of rich liturgical feasts and celebrations role by, I get more and more enthusiastic with incorporating them into our family life! Now the children are older and therefore more able to understand and participate, I have great joy planning for each big feast. I am also dutifully reminded by Sunshine and Master Luke about what I have done in the years past… just in case I forget 🙂

Last year I came across a truly beautiful Italian tradition for celebrating the Feast of St Joseph… A St Joseph Altar. Below are a few links to give you the history and also a peek at what others have done (not to mention a link to my last minute attempt last year! :))

History of St Joseph Altar

Shower of Roses 2013 St Joseph Altar

Our humble attempt at a St Joseph Altar 2013

Therefore I am REALLY buzzing with excitement about tomorrow! 🙂

This is what we have planned to celebrate the wonderful, humble man who was given the precious role as head of the Holy Family.

ACTIVITIES:

– A simple family altar set up with pictures of St Joseph, Holy Family and candles

St Joseph picture

This is my latest edition to our holy pictures collection 🙂 I LOVE the added gold highlights

– Family morning Rosary (Joyful Mysteries to meditate on the role of St Joseph)

– A St Joseph Mini Lapbook – I use a simple manila folder and the children cut, paste, fill out and colour to their age and stage :). I have put this together myself, so the link for the PDF is highlighted if you would like to download it. If you do, please make sure you link back here if shared. Thanks 🙂  St Joseph Mini Lapbook

– Sort the Order colouring in activity and pinned timeline – I have quite a lot of BRILLIANT Catholic colouring in books that I photocopy on a regular basis for my kids. I have sourced a range of pictures depicting scenes from the life of St Joseph. The kids will have to order them as a timeline correctly and after colouring them in (if we have time :)) they will pin them along a string chronologically above the family altar. Below are the three I have used for St Joseph.

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Colouring Book about the Rosary - St Joseph Coloring Books

Colouring Book about the Rosary – St Joseph Coloring Books

Communion of Saints Coloring Book - Holy Imitation series

Communion of Saints Coloring Book – Holy Imitation series

St Joseph Altar

Our parish is having a sung Latin Mass tomorrow evening at 6pm to celebrate the Feast. St Joseph has a very special place in the hearts of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (the order who look after our Parish). It is worth reading why… CLICK HERE!

Following the Mass we are going to have a shared feast to celebrate. We will decorate a St Joseph Altar and share in some of the traditional foods that are found in Italy on this feast. The kids and I are going to be VERY busy baking, cooking and crafting our contributions tomorrow!

Here is our MENU we are creating (Catholic Cuisine by the way is a WONDERFUL site to check out for feast days!)

Pasta Milanese

– Honey Pasta

– Lentil Soup

Zeppole

St Joseph Bread

Fig biscuits – thanks Catholic Icing for this clever way of recreating the original 🙂

Frittelle di San Giuseppe

Yum, yum, yum!!!! 🙂 The house will smell wonderful and our hearts will be lifted up in thanksgiving…. I very much look forward to tomorrow!

One last thing 🙂

I have recently painted a picture of St Joseph (below) and have limited edition prints for sale on my Etsy store. Here is the link if you would like to check it out 🙂 ETSY STORE – RUTH GREEN

St Joseph - original painting by Ruth Green 2013

St Joseph – original painting by Ruth Green 2013

May your own feast of St Joseph be truly blessed!!!

Ruth xxx

 

“Stand fast in the faith” – St Perpetua

Today is the traditional feast ((tomorrow the new) of Sts Perpetua and Felicity,

early martyrs of the Church in Carthage.

perpetuafelThese two heroic young women, both mothers,  were put to death in the arena for their belief in Christ and refusal to pay homage to the Emperor. Perpetua,a Roman noble and Felicity her slave, are two of my most favorite martyrs. Curly Sue has Felicity has a middle name, so today I decided would be a special day to remember their courageous display of faith, and in the spirit of Lent, discuss suffering and sacrifice.

stperpetua

Almost 3 years ago, I came across a preview for an animated film on their matyrdom, released by Catholic Heroes of the Faith. In the few seconds of the preview I was brought to tears…. sobs actually! The animation is simple, but the intense story of faith, suffering and triumph coupled with a powerful soundtrack spurred me on to buy it then and there. However, when hubby and I watched the DVD ourselves, we were so greatly moved that it was put to one side until the children were a little older (6, 4, 2 at that stage).

Buy_Perpetua

So today was the day that the long awaited DVD was brought out 🙂

What is brilliant about this production from Catholic Heroes of the Faith, is that it contains on the DVD an entire series of well planned out lessons and activities to go along with the movie.

This morning we read about Jesus telling His disciples to go out and spread the good news to all nations. This was illustrated by a big ball of plain, uncoloured playdough symbolising the earth. A hole for Jesus was poked in the ball and 4 big drops of red food colouring were added. We discussed how only a few people knew about the good news at the time of Jesus’ ressurection. I gently squeezed the “earth” and the food colouring started to spread. The instant reaction from the kids showed they understood the point of the exercise! We placed the playdough “earth” inside a clear snaplock bag (to keep their fingers clean from red colouring!) and they all had a turn “spreading the good news”. We then had a discussion about the red food colouring. Why red? I loved how they immediately talked about the blood of Jesus and it lead beautifully into a discussion about martyrdom and the power of the blood of the martyrs (we followed this by reading the account of Stephen’s martyrdom in the book of Acts).

The next exercise from the DVD was a series of sheets teaching them about the early christians and their need for secrecy. They were introduced to IXTHUS, the sign of the fish and the word “Catechumen”.

The much anticipated DVD had us ALL in tears and the mood afterwards was quite sombre. I gave them all cuddles and reiterated that the ending was actually happy, as they had achieved sainthood and eternal life in Heaven. Some sunshine and fresh air was needed and then they quietly chose one of the 4 colouring sheets provided on the DVD (the girls chose the saints rising to heaven with the angels, while Master Luke chose the martyrdom scene!). This quiet time with peaceful music playing helped them process a little more and Sunshine afterwards came to me and said “Mum. I don’t feel discouraged by that story…. in fact I feel really inspired to be more like them and to be brave and to be a Saint!!!”. I think it will take a lot more gentle discussions and time to let it all sink in, but WOW what a way to celebrate their feast! 🙂

Here is the link to the Catholic Heroes of the Faith site. There is a preview for the movie on there and I thoroughly recommend checking it out!

Hope your Lent has started with a whoosh and a roar :)….. now to ask God for the grace to continue!!!!

Blessings

Ruth xxx

 

 

A little is enough when done with great love!

The prospect of going from our winter into a mid-west American winter and missing most of our summer, is certainly not the most pleasant of thoughts…. BUT… on winter days like today when the temperature is a “balmy” 12 degrees, my french doors are open to the deck, washing is outside (what a thought!)  and I can relax about Fuzz and mud… I say THANK YOU GOD!!! 🙂

Sunshine the bookworm… can’t put the book down even to eat her afternoon tea!

Fuzz eyeing up Master Luke’s fruit kebab 🙂

After a few weeks of VERY wet weather, the sunshine is delectable! I’m so sure my exhausted and at times ratty children were due to lack of Vitamin D and the general “pick me up” that is fresh air!

I have heard it mentioned often amongst bloggers, facebookers and general social media gurus, that being a mum is especially hard today as their is SO much advice being given and so many mums out there who seem to be doing a better job than yourself. I too am prone to this comparison game, particularly in the area of home making and the faith formation of my children. At the beginning of the year at a Catholic family camp, a wonderful friend of mine and I were giving a talk on motherhood and we brought this topic up. A friend of ours said to me something along the lines of… “But who says you should be these things? Why do YOU feel like you should compare?”.

I felt humbled… as indeed in the grand scheme of things, why should I compare myself? Why should any of us feel as if there is a certain list of achievements or comestic attributes we should tick off before we can hold our chins up as parents and home makers… as women?

I can only answer this question for myself…

It is because I know perfection in Jesus Christ and I know perfection in motherhood through Our Lady…

Do I measure up?

NO

I am like a sieve, ugly and full of holes next to a perfectly carved wooden bowl, glossy and radiant…

This is what I see, but what God sees is so different. I am a growing tree, it’s branches spread, bearing beautiful fruit and weathering many storms. One day, He will fashion from me a vessel, truly worthy of Himself… but for now I must not compare but do what I can, when I can and ALL IN LOVE! 🙂

So to celebrate the Queenship of Mary (22nd August) I pinned heaps of ideas on Pinterest, dreamed up a whole week of activities and devotions, got all sure of my ability to give my children the best foundation of faith…. and then watched as my plans crumbled. Busy days, swimming lessons, teething toddlers, bad sleeps, driving over 250km around town, dishes, washing and more washing… ate away at my time and energy. Tuesday night came along and I knew that once again I was going to “fail” at providing an enriched experience of Catholic tradition for my children…

… then God intervened…

11:30pm I am struck with the simple, wonderful thought…

“Do the children see what you haven’t done or do they see what you have?”

I jumped out of bed, ran to the school room…. looked for gold paper…. none…. sparkly purple foam? that’ll do Ruth, that’ll do! Blue material… blue material… where can I find blue material? Blue paper! I’ll use paper…. grab the rosary beads, our beautiful Mary statue, family prayer candle…. BALLOONS! I have blue balloons left over from Curly Sue’s birthday!

I soon had our breakfast table decorated with a simple centre piece, Mary crowned in sparkly purple foam surrounded by rosary beads. Each chair had a blue balloon and the best part was the peace which I felt :). I had done SOMETHING…. maybe not what I would have liked… but something 🙂

I was greeted in the morning by genuine, pure delight from Curly Sue and Master Luke!

“Mary’s crown is so beautiful mummy!” – Master Luke

“Boo balloons mum just like Mary’s boo!” – Curly Sue

 Happy, babbling noises from Xavier as he gave Mary cuddles and took her crown on and off!

I have certainly learnt a valuable lesson this week!

To sign of this post I want to leave you with three images of the crowning of Mary that my kids chose themselves 🙂

Master Luke chose this one because “It just jumped out at me and said YES!”

Sunshine chose this one because “I like the way she is drawn rising up to heaven”

(more the assumption…but that was last week so it still counts! :))

Curly Sue chose this one because “she has a really big cape!”

Mary Queen of Heaven… pray for us!

Blessings!

Ruth