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FEBRUARY 2015 edition of The Domestic Church publication
Send E-mails to: struchan@diokzoo.org
 
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     The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. The special devotion which proposes the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the model of virtue of all Christian households began in the 17th century. This devotion soon spread and in 1893 Pope Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. The feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society.

     In the words of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, "Nothing truly can be more salutary or efficacious for Christian families to meditate upon than the example of this Holy Family, which embraces the perfection and completeness of all domestic virtues."

     May we celebrate the love of family by giving thanks to God for the gift of each other in the domestic church.

Many blessings,
Socorro

Diligence

Diligence is working hard and doing the best job you possibly can. When you are diligent, you take special care to do things step by step. You think and move carefully to make sure things will turn out right. Being diligent is being industrious, giving all you have to give to whatever you do.

Celebrate National Marriage Week
 
National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14) is a great time to support marriage. As Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family and Youth said in his 2014 letter to all U.S. bishops, National Marriage Week and World Marriage Day (the second Sunday in February) provide opportunities “to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples.”

The annual observance of National Marriage Week encourages diverse groups to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children.

Here are some resources from the For Your Marriage website, that can help you celebrate marriage this week.
 
  • Take a look at the Daily Marriage Tips. Maybe you’ll find a new idea to strengthen your relationship.
  • The website for National Marriage Week also offers helpful ideas for building up your own marriage, recommended reading, supporting marriage in the community and much more. There’s also a listing of marriage-building events throughout the country.

Celebrate Marriage!!!
In honor of World Marriage Day, all married couples are invited to attend
9:00 a.m. Saturday Mass on February 14th, 2015 at
St. Monica Church on 534 W. Kilgore, Kalamazoo
Holy Mass will include a special blessing for married couples.
A reception will follow in the St. Monica Community Building.
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Bring your families and celebrate God's gift of marriage!!!
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For information contact Laura Gifford at 269-903-8871 or kc8jsl@arrl.net

Consecration of the Family to the Holy Family

Lord Jesus Christ, Who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, hallowed domestic life by Your ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Your holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship; Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen — Roman Missal
 

Step-families [1]
Here are some tips for healthy step-families:
 

  1. THE PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP IN A MARRIAGE IS THE COUPLE. Stress of step-parenting is one of the main reasons of divorce in remarriages, therefore it is important to keep the relationship alive. You need “couple-time,” so make an effort to nurture your marriage and plan ahead to manage your time properly. Go on regular dates (with each other) and keep the romance in your relationship.
     
  2. FOSTER RESPECT- Show the same respect for your step-children as you expect from them, be mature and also show respect for the ex-spouses. The influence of the other biological parent has to be acknowledged as affecting the lives of everybody involved, especially the children. Unfortunately, it may not always be a positive influence and this added person in your lives could place extra stress on your marriage. This can have harmful and debilitating effects on your relationship, so it is better to be at peace with the past. Avoid all violent or offensive language and keep a respectful attitude at all times, maintaining open communication with the ex-spouses for the sake of the children and your marriage.
  1. FOSTER UNITY -Consider the step-children as “ours”, not yours or mine. Be aware of your over-protectiveness as a biological parent. Consider any children living apart from the new household as being as much a part of the step-family as those living within and create opportunities to spend quality time together. Family-fun activities will provide the basis for a strong family foundation.
     
  2. FOSTER INDIVIDUALITY-Appreciate the uniqueness of each child in the step-family. Provide a reasonable territorial as well as emotional space for each family member. Be mindful of the different personalities and value systems which are being combined into your step-family situation and do not force anything. Good will and trust are earned with time, patience and love.
     
  3. KNOW THE TERRITORY- Address any financial issues before the marriage to a mutually acceptable term and continue to negotiate with each other as needed. Respect any previous commitments like alimony or child support and most of all, work as a team, confronting the issues at hand instead of confronting each other.
     
  4. FOSTER FLEXIBILITY. Remain open-minded and be willing to try various alternatives. There is more than one way of dealing with issues, so try to see things from a different perspective. Invite the children to be part of the solution and to share their own ideas on how to handle a given situation. Keep in mind that as humans, we all make mistakes; try to be understanding and sympathetic.
     
  5. FOSTER PATIENCE- Love grows slowly, and it doesn't seem to matter if the step-child is 2 or 22 years old. Take the initiative in building communication and consider spending fun-time alone with the step-children or bringing little gifts from time to time to show good will. Many new step-parents are anxious to bond immediately with the step-children but it takes time for real trust and love to develop and grow.
     
  6. LISTEN FULLY- In the morning we talked about the importance of listening in order to foster effective communication. Step-children may still be angry with their parents for getting a divorce or angry at the circumstances if one of the parents died. Their anger could spill over to you just because you're there making listening a real challenge. Listen carefully and think twice before you speak, avoiding any immediate reactions that could hinder your relationship with the children. Listening is a skill that is developed with practice, serenity and tolerance.
     
  7. KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOR- The old adage says that laughter is the best medicine; and so it is. Laughter teaches children to have joy in their life and to take things in perspective, so they can learn from their mistakes. All families are faced with challenges, and step-families are not the exception, but laughter and a good sense of humor can help in dealing with difficulties. Make sure joy finds a place in your new home.
     
  8. BE A PARENT – Act as a parent and avoid taking the “I want to be your pal” attitude with your step-children. Start by discussing your parenting style with your spouse and observe and value what he/she has been accomplishing as a single parent. Responsible parenthood reflects how we integrate God's plan into the lives of the family. As Catholics, we are called to be the first evangelizers of our children. Teaching our children about matters of faith will help us to raise sons and daughters that have a good morality, a respect for God and for others and it will also foster love and strong family values.
The term “Blended Family” does not necessarily have to have a negative connotation. Many blended families have been able to resolve their issues and live a happy and healthy family life, where communication is appreciated and every member of the family is a contributing member to the well-being of the household. Not everything has to blend in a blended family; individuality should be preserved and children, especially adult or older children should maintain their independence. The love of God and the love of the couple should be the starting point for everything; it should be the source of all family interactions. If the couple is able to transmit that love to the children, most of the battles would already be won!

[1]used with permission from Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
Spending Time with the Eternal High Priest

"Adore and visit Jesus, abandoned and forsaken by men in His Sacrament of Love. Man has time for everything except for visits to His Lord and God, Who is waiting and longing for us in the Blessed Sacrament. The streets and places of entertainment are filled with people; the House of God is deserted. Ah! Poor Jesus..." - St. Peter Julian Eymard

5 Things to Know About Eucharistic Adoration
http://www.foundationforpriests.org/ea-5t 
  1. Eucharistic Adoration is the worship of Jesus Himself.
  2. Eucharistic Adoration draws us close to Jesus and allows us to join Him in offering the world to God the Father.
  3. Eucharistic Adoration is a personal encounter with Christ that holds us in His love.
  4. Eucharistic contemplation opens the door to the Holy Spirit and empowers us to be joyful evangelizers.
  5. Priests are in great need of Eucharistic intercession.
Imitation of the Holy Family

The Holy Family models for us what family life should exemplify. It is a school of virtue for both parents and children. There we find God, and learn how to connect with God and with others. The family is where love is freely given without self-interest. It is where we learn to love, to pray and to practice the gift of charity. Pope John Paul II has said, “The family, more than any other human reality, is the place in which the person is loved for himself and in which he learns to live the sincere gift of self” (Nov. 27, 2002).

We should ask ourselves if our own families model that of the Holy Family. We need to be open to God’s grace to value the positive and to accept our mistakes — and to be willing to rectify them. Parenting is a very challenging responsibility and at times errors are made despite the best intentions. Recognizing this, children should trust their parents and never forget that parents want only what is best for them.

Which leads us to what may be the most important family virtue — forgiveness. Living so intimately within the family nucleus naturally gives rise to unpleasant situations where someone is apt to be offended. St. Paul knew this when he told us to “bear with and forgive one another.” The health of our family may depend on how quickly we learn to forgive without harboring feelings of resentment.

No family can thrive and grow without constant work. Even the material details that take time and effort are essential to keeping the family strong. Everyone has to pull together for the good of the family — even to the point of putting ahead of our own needs and ambitions the happiness of other family members, setting aside our own selfish desires.

It is also important to pray as a family, especially the holy rosary. Prayer will help us to intensify our closeness with each other and to learn to forgive.

St. John Paul II wrote, “In the Eucharistic gift of charity the Christian family finds the foundation and soul of its communion and its mission” (Letter on the Family, No. 57). — Excerpted from The Holy Family models what family life should be, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
 
Joy Filled Marriage Weekends for the Engaged
 
 We are excited to announce the 2015 schedule for this new marriage preparation program in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. The weekends in 2015 are March 7 & 8, July 11 & 12, September 19 & 20, and November 14 & 15.
 
To register for any weekend, please visit our website here: www.diokzoo.org/joyfilledmarriage or contact Socorro at: struchan@diokzoo.org or via phone at: 269-903-0199

A chance to win an educational scholarship...

     There is still time to send in your ART, WRITING, MUSIC or VIDEO for the Student Contest, reflecting the theme “The Family Fully Alive”. In Spanish: "La Familia Llena de Vida". Deadline to submit entries has been extended to February 15th, 2015!!!

     This is your chance to have a voice, and show us your stories of family faith as little "Domestic Churches" in your communities...
    
     Tell us your stories of family faith.This is your chance to win one of several prizes including "Educational Scholarships" donated by the Knights of Columbus.
     NOTE: we hope to hear from the youth in our communities...How is your family "fully alive" in the faith? or how do you wish your family to become "fully alive"?

 
For complete contest rules call Socorro at 269-903-0199 or visit:www.diokzoo.org/domesticchurch
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