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Give Hope

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The first week of Advent asks us  to ponder the virtue of hope. Are you looking for a way to give hope in preparation for Jesus? Try this.

In the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta:
Jesus wants us to prepare the way for his coming, for there are so many blocks in the way of his becoming all in all for us. Give him whatever he takes and take from him whatever he gives with a big smile.
Be a cause of joy to others.
Speak well of everybody
Smile at all you meet.
Deliberately make three acts of loving kindness every day.
Confess any sin against charity.
If you offend anyone - even a small child - ask forgiveness before going to bed.
Read about, meditate on, and speak of this love.

Everyday Discipleship

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While I am now an empty nester, I remember very clearly when my children were in grade school. I was teaching fourth grade and working really hard at being a "good mom". I had great role models in my mother and my grandmother, for what it looks like to blend work and home. While both these things were my vocation, I was always wanting to do more in the church. I wanted to lector, be a Eucharistic minister, serve the poor in the various meal programs, and the list goes on and on. There was only so much of me to go around! My children needed me first, the children I served needed me second, and then I had to choose.

In sharing my frustration with one of my co-workers a long time ago, he wisely reminded me that I was being a disciple in raising my family. I was being a disciple by teaching my children, and the children I taught, to know, love, and serve Jesus. I was being a disciple by doing what I could with the time I had. He reminded me that when my life changed, so would how I served God's people.

Being a disciple also meant that I needed to take time to feed my soul - a person cannot give what they do not have. I now look at it as I need to be Martha but also Mary.

Our catechism says that as followers of Jesus, our goal is to know, love, and serve Him. How are you doing that? What is an obstacle you face? What is St. Dominic doing to help you? What would you need from your Church to assist you, if anything? I look forward to learning.

History of Halloween

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Halloween is based on the Celtic festival Samhain, a celebration in ancient Britain and Ireland that marked the end of summer and the beginning of the new year on November 1. It was believed that during Samhain the souls of those who had died that year traveled to the otherworld. The thought of souls wandering about the earth was unsettling, so many would build bonfires and do other things to keep them away. In the 8th century CE, the Roman Catholic Church moved All Saints’ Day, a day celebrating the church’s Saints, to November 1.

This meant that All Hallows’ Eve (or Halloween) fell on October 31. A traditional practice to ward off the souls would be to carve scary faces into potatoes and turnips. When immigrants brought the tradition to the United States, the pumpkin seemed a more appropriate canvas ( For a similar reason, costumes, or disguises, were worn so as not to distract the souls from their eternal destination by seeing their loved ones (

How was trick or treat connected to religion? Poor people would visit the houses of wealthier families and receive pastries called “soul cakes” in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of the homeowners’ dead relatives. Known as "souling," the practice was later taken up by children, who would go from door to door asking for gifts such as food or money (

However, let's not forget the feast day itself. Our practice of honoring those who have joined the heavenly ranks before us originates in the Book of Maccabees. When the Israelites fell in battle, Judas Maccabees orders that his soldiers pray for those who died. The practice is further corroborated in 1 Corinthians and in Ephesians. The dead play an important role in our understanding of the body of Christ. "Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others...We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the head...Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments" The communion of Saints is the Church. We are all saints! (CCC# 947). Don't forget about this wonderful collection of people who can have great intercessory power when joining us in our joys and sorrows. St. Dominic, pray for us!

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