APRIL 2016 edition of The Domestic Church publication
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Spiritual Gardening and Family Life

Spring is in the air, and my family is already enjoying the warmer days and gentle breezes as we see new springtime growth popping up everywhere! Along with spring comes the gardening season. Our spring days are often filled with weeding, planting, watering, and more outdoor activities.

What is your favorite part of springtime gardening? For my family and me, our favorite part is carefully choosing the flowers and plants (both the annuals that my family will replace each season and the perennials (like tulips and daffodils) that we can look forward to seeing again, as they return from their winter slumber, year after year.

Working in the garden with your family – or even just planting a few new plants or flowers in pots for your front porch – is the perfect opportunity to introduce some lessons to your children about spiritual growth, and engage them in a conversation about spiritual gardening.

Think about it. A growing plant is a very clear picture of how Christians grow in Christ. Jesus loved using nature and gardening illustrations in His parables… I think He would delight at these educational lessons for our children! So gather some simple gardening supplies and spend an afternoon teaching and planting.
What three things does a plant need to grow and thrive? Water, sunlight, and soil, of course! Use this object lesson to relate these three key items for success to the ingredients we need to have growth in our Christian life and don’t forget to warn your children about the “weeds”!

Spiritual Gardening Necessity #1: Soil
Plants need a good foundation of soil to start their growth.
For Christians, our “soil,” our foundation, is Christ. Christ nurtures us and supports us. He gives us a place to extend our roots in safety.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine; neither can you, unless you abide in me”. – John 15:4

Just like a plant needs nutrient rich soil to thrive, Christ gives his children every possible nutrient we would ever need: Peace, Love, Encouragement & Wisdom… and His supplies are unlimited!

Spiritual Gardening Necessity #2: Sunlight
What else do plants need to grow? Sunlight!

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105
The Bible (the Word of God) is our sunlight. Plants grow towards the light. They long for the warmth and strength that only sunlight can give. As children of God, we should also lean towards the light, His Word, for guidance, and strength. It can give us warmth and comfort in times of struggle, and lead us on the clear path in times of doubt. The Bible is a source of many things we need in our Christian life.

Spiritual Gardening Necessity #3: Water
Last but not least, plants need water to sustain them.
I like to think of that much-needed water as fellowship with fellow believers. God didn’t intend for us to grow alone, but to be there to encourage each other in Christ.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” 
(Matthew 18:20-22)

Fellow believers are meant to come together, loving one another and supporting each other as we grow. Fellowship can be refreshing to a soul, just like water to a plant. It can help us perk up on a particularly draining day or quench a thirst. Water can be a vessel for the nutrients we need to grow.

Don’t Forget the Weeds!!!
Now that we’ve talked about the essentials, don’t forget to warn your children about the “weeds” that can sprout up in our gardens, both in real life and in our spiritual life. Weeds come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. The worst weed in our spiritual gardens, Satan, can sometimes be easy to spot, while other weeds, like wayward friends or feelings of bitterness and anger, can be hard to keep away.

Weeds choke plants, creating an atmosphere where growth can be impossible. Weeds work in our lives much the same way. They distract us from Christ as we pour all our vital nutrients into them instead of our Christian growth. Weeds can crush smaller, weaker plants easily.

Encourage your children to strengthen themselves with good soil (Christ), sunlight from above (His Word), and refreshing water (fellowship with fellow believers), so they may find themselves with strong roots that dig into their foundation, and a close spiritual walk with our heavenly Father.

Have you started spring gardening? How are you making sure your children’s faith is growing on the inside while new life is budding on the outside?
Resource: Spiritual Gardening: A growing in Christ Lesson

“The Church is a family of families, constantly enriched by the lives of all those domestic churches.”

-Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia/The Joy of Love

Discovering Our Deepest Desire for Couples...JUNE 3 and 4

What is at the root of this deepest desire to know your spouse? This deep desire, at its very root, is not simply about seeing another person more deeply but, ultimately, it is how we discover our Creator, for whom all of us long for the most. Find out how to enrich and strengthen marriages (yours included...)

(D.O.D.D.) is about strengthening marriages, and about becoming Marriage-Building parishes that provide marriage support and encouragement to all married couples. The title of the D.O.D.D. curriculum comes from St. Augustine who said, “The deepest desire of every human heart is to be seen and to see another in this same way.” This golden thread that runs throughout the program is the impetus that drives home the importance of strengthening our marital commitment to our spouse.This time is intended for married couples, parish staff, priests, deacons and wives, and all those who work with married couples.

DATE: June 3 - 4, 2016
LOCATION: Transformations Retreat Center (3427 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048)
COST: $30 per person or $50 per couple (Both names are required: husband and wife)

NOTE: Ticket price includes materials and Saturday lunch
or REGISTRATION for PRIESTS: Call Jane Bodway at 269-903-0147

QUESTIONS: Call Jane Bodway at 269-903-0147


Am I leading my children in wisdom, love and truth? 

Are you a widower? Widowed Men's Fellowship
Join other widowed men for a time of fellowship and discussion... we gather you are welcome to participate anytime...
DATES: 2nd Wednesday of each month: April 13, May 11, June 8
TIME: 4 to 5:30 pm
LOCATION: Diocesan Pastoral Center
215 N. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo

Questions? Please call Fr. Don Klingler at 269-254-8138 or Socorro at 269-903-0199

We will be publishing the names of the winners in an exclusive Domestic Church issue...Stay tuned!!!

The Domestic Church Newsletter SPANISH edition is now available! A wonderful resource for Spanish-speaking (reading) families. To subscribe please contact Socorro at 269-903-0199 or via e-mail

Joy Filled Marriage Weekends for the Engaged for 2016
 Joy-Filled Marriage - A marriage preparation weekend for engaged couples. The Joy-Filled Marriage is a comprehensive marriage preparation program rooted in virtues as well as the Theology of the Body. The program incorporates rich Catholic theology with sound psychology.

2016 Joy-Filled Marriage Weekend Dates - 2016:

May 14-15 (CLOSED)

July 16-17

September 24-25

November 12-13

PLEASE REGISTER EARLY in order to guarantee your place!

LOCATION: Transformations Retreat Center at 3427 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048 (directions). To register for a weekend, please visit our website here: or contact Socorro at: via phone at: 269-903-0199
"Widowed Friends" Support Group
for men and women who have lost a spouse...

"Widowed Friends" Support Group for Men and Women 
widowed men and women - are invited to gather on the 4th Wednesday of each month:
DATES: Wednesday, April 27, May 25
: Diocesan Pastoral Center - 215 N. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo
TIME: 4 - 5:30 pm
Questions? Fr. Don Klingler at 269-254-8138 or Socorro at 269-903-0199

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