March for Life brings over 700,000 people together to speak for all life! All Life is a Gift!

The March For Life was a huge success!! With over 700,000 people in attendance, it has been recognized as one of the largest groups to come together for the March for Life.

Every year people from all over the nation come together in Washington, D.C. to march in solidarity for the right to life and the dignity of all human life. The March processes down Constitution Street and ends in front of the Supreme Court building.

Many students from The High School of Saint Thomas More participated and marched down Constitution Street in D.C. in union with other Pro-life supporters and in defense of the dignity of all human life.

Keep all those who marched as well as those whose lives are in danger of termination in your prayers today and pray that we will someday see the day when the March for Life is no longer needed.

Praise God for all human life!!!

Light One Candle For Life

image of hand holding a tealight candle in handBeing in proximity of a church for all my adult life, when the “lights went out” with electricity outages over the years, candles were always around to provide sufficient light for me to avoid stumbling and get the essential things done. The light of even one candle is so valuable when darkness surrounds us.

Back on January 22, 1973, the “lights went out” on our American society. On that date abortion became legal in our entire country. Since then our nation has groped in darkness. Lighting one candle could bring hope and lead us toward respecting the sanctity of human life.

Biology is clear that at conception a unique organism comes into existence. Since this new life possesses human DNA and is the offspring of human parents, it can only legitimately be described as human life. As far as observable science is concerned, human life begins at conception.

The American Medical Association contends that human life exists even at the earliest stages of gestation. The AMA held this position since the 1850’s. All science has done since then is show us more and more clearly that these are living human beings, at every stage of development.

However, their official position today is: “The Principles of Medical Ethics of the AMA do not prohibit a physician from performing an abortion in accordance with good medical practice and under circumstances that do not violate the law.” (III, IV)

What changed? The only change has been a moral one. God is no longer a part of AMA thinking and human life no longer has any intrinsic value. We live in darkness.

As Christians, we are not to curse the darkness, nor are we to be content to live in darkness. We are to light a candle. We are to bring the light of truth and life back into our society. We are to stand up and proclaim the infinite worth of every human being.

There are plenty of ways to light our candles. First, we could pray for our legislators that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and courage to defend human life at every stage—from conception to natural death. Many times God’s inspiration will come first through the human means of making our values known to our political representatives. Lighting a candle may mean for you to write a letter or send an email or make a phone call to your local legislator.

Another way to light a candle is to support our parish’s Pro-Life activities. There are many ways for you to get involved. Spreading awareness of the sanctity of life will bring light into our world. Lighting a candle may lead you to be an agent of healing for those who had abortions. The Project Rachel Ministry provides ways toward healing and forgiveness.

Human beings are like snowflakes. No two are the same. We are unique. We are one of a kind. Let’s do what we can to bring the light of every human life into our world.

Fr. Dave

 

It’s Not Too Late!!

New Year ResolutionDid you forget to make your New Year’s Resolution? It’s alright. It’s not too late to make a good resolution. Don’t let the new year begin without making a greater commitment toward becoming the best you can be.

Losing weight, getting organized, exercising more, eating healthier, and managing finances better are some of the most common resolutions. These will most likely lead to a better you. But what about making spiritual New Year’s resolutions?

How about making a resolution to live in the present moment? Let go of the obsession to live in the past or worrying about the future. God is present to you now. Live one moment at a time.

How about being thankful for all the blessings in your life every day? Make a point to count your blessings every day. Write them down in a “blessing journal.” Every day thank God for all the good in your life.

How about cultivating the skill of deep listening? Remember that there are still many things you can learn about life, and from those you least expect. Remember, too, God is speaking in the silence of your heart. Make a commitment to enter the silence.

How about practicing a reverence for all life? Consciously take time every day to see something new about life around you. Remind yourself from Whom life comes from.

How about giving more to receive more? There is true power found in the act of sharing. Sharing of yourself makes your life count for more than just your own existence. Sharing of yourself touches others, and can change the world—therefore, you will receive the benefit of living in a better world.

How about becoming a better steward? Keep in mind that your parish church, Holy Cross, and the universal Church are counting on you to use well your time, talent, and treasure for the building up of the Mystical Body of Christ, of which you are a part.

How about sharing your faith with someone? We are called to be evangelists—that is, proclaimers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Make a point to be bold enough to speak about your Catholic faith when an occasion arises. Invite someone to church or to one of our parish functions.

A year has 365 days. Only a few have ticked off already. There still is time to make a good New Year’s resolution that will not only benefit you, but also your church. Commit yourself to growing closer to the Lord our God. Fulfill this resolution and 2015 will be a holier year.

Fr. Dave.

 

Experiencing Christmas

Holy Cross Nativity 2Eyes, ears, noses, tongues, hands are all involved in “catching the Christmas spirit.” Christmas time above all other times of the year entices all our senses. We see twinkling lights, hear Christmas songs, smell beautiful scents of pine trees and sweet things being baked, taste holiday goodies, and feel the warmth and love of the season.

One of the most beautiful Christmas traditions is setting up a crèche during the Advent-Christmas season. A crèche is a model of the scene of the first Christmas in the stable at Bethlehem. The word crèche is from the French word for manger. A crèche appeals to our senses the real meaning of Christmas.

St. Francis of Assisi had a special devotion to the Child Jesus, and he is credited with creating the first nativity scene on Christmas Eve of the year 1223. It is believed that St. Francis was first inspired by this idea after visiting the historical place of Christ’s birth on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Later he told a friend why he desired to create the first nativity scene in his town. He said: “I want to do something that will recall the memory of that child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with bodily eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and ass stood by.”

St. Francis set up an empty manger inside a cave, and even included a live ox and donkey beside the manger just as it was on that first Christmas night. Through these visual aids he wanted everyone to impress more deeply into their understanding how Christ came into the world in such poverty and simplicity.

In his biography of Francis, Saint Bonaventure described what happened that night: “The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. Francis stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy…”

The Christmas crèche is a beautiful way to bring the true spirit
of Christmas into your home. Hopefully, all homes of our parishioners have a crèche to go along with all the rest of the decorations at this time of year. Hopefully the story of the first nativity scene will inspire you to not look at your nativity set just as a pretty Christmas decoration, but as a tool of meditation on the humility, simplicity, and poverty of Christ that he took on out of his boundless love for us.

Gathering around the crèche is an easy way to promote family devotion and prayer. Nothing needs to be complicated—just a moment as a family being together looking at the Baby who came to bring all people together. Maybe sing a Christmas hymn (Silent Night would be more appropriate than Jingle Bells); or, have the family’s bedtime snack around the crèche. Little ones will want to handle and move around the statues of the crèche. That’s alright too.

By His Incarnation, Jesus uses all human senses for us to come to know God the Father. Let us use our senses then, to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel Christmas this year.

Fr. Dave

The Jesse Tree…. Do You Have One?

Jesse Tree‘Tis the season for decorations! At this time of year, practically everyone decorates trees in their living rooms! We do have the long tradition of having a “Christmas Tree” in our homes. But how about putting another tree up as well? How about having an Advent Tree?

The Advent tree is also called the Jesse tree. It’s named that, because there are several references in the Bible to Jesus coming from the stem of Jesse, and growing out of its roots. Jesse was the father of David, the great king of Israel.

Having a Jesse Tree in your home is a great way to teach youngsters about Bible history. The Jesse tree reminds us of the genealogy of Christ, how as a human he is a descendant of David and Jesse, coming after them, and yet as God he came before anyone else, including David and Jesse.

Basically an Advent or Jesse Tree is just an evergreen branch or small tree—sometimes even a bare branch. During the season of Advent biblical symbols are gradually added to the tree, symbols that tell the story of God’s redemptive plan for the world and reveal the strong ties between the Old and New Testaments.

The idea for this “family tree” comes from Isaiah’s prophecy: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” —Isaiah 11:1

Long before Jesus’ birth, the chosen people already knew that he would come from David’s family. David was the greatest of Israel’s kings. And the people eagerly anticipated the coming of this second and greater David.

This emphasis on the lineage of the Messiah continued in the New Testament Church. The early Christians often referred to Jesus’ roots in their attempts to convince others that he was the Messiah. “Look,” they would say, “he was born of Jesse’s family, of the house of David—just as the prophets said. He was born in Bethlehem, just as they promised. So he must be the Messiah.”

The idea of the Jesse Tree is to put symbolic ornaments on it as the days of Advent tick by. The more common symbols used on the Jesse Tree are: an apple to symbolize Adam and Eve and the first sin. During Advent we remember that God sent Jesus to free us from our sins. The second symbol is an ark or a rainbow. When we see the rainbow or hear the story of the flood, we are reminded that God loved the world enough to give us a new start and that God keeps his promises. The third symbol is a tent. This refers to Abraham, and how God called him to actually begin His plan of salvation history. Other symbols include: Jacob and a Ladder, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Moses and the Ten Commandments, David and a Crown, and many more leading up to the birth of Jesus.

The Jesse Tree is a good way to make our time of Advent more meaningful, as we recall the characters and events in salvation history, and how everything in God’s plan leads up to His Son Jesus Christ. So, go ahead, put a second tree up in your living room.

Fr. Dave

 

NOTE: You can create your own set of symbols for your Jesse Tree by searching online. But here are a couple of links to get your creative synapses firing. Have fun!

http://healthy-family.org/free-jesse-tree-advent-patterns/

http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/make-your-own-advent-jesse-tree-ornaments-in-the-microwave/

http://www.clubhousejr.com/crafts/the-jesse-tree.aspx