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NOVEMBER edition of The Domestic Church publication
Send E-mails to: struchan@dioceseofkalamazoo.org
 
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November is the month of "Thanksgiving" and Family gatherings. We begin by giving thanks for our parents...who train us in living out the "family beatitudes".
We also remember to constantly pray for our departed loved ones. We celebrate their lives, and honor them by offering Mass intentions, praying the Rosary as a family...and much more... This is a good time to create or begin a new family tradition. What is on your calendar? I always remember you and your family in my daily prayers, too! Socorro


Marriage: Love and Life In The Divine Plan:
A Natural and Spiritual Blessing

“While marriage is a special blessing for Christians because of the grace of Christ, marriage is also a natural blessing and gift for everyone in all times and cultures. It is a source of blessing to the couple, to their families, and to society and includes the wondrous gift of co-creating human life.” – US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Marriage
 
Joy Filled Marriage Preparation Program 2015
 
If you are (or know of) an engaged couple preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church; check out the dates in 2015 when we will be offering retreat weekends in the Joy-Filled Marriage preparation program at Transformations Retreat Center. The dates for 2015 are posted already on the Diocese of Kalamazoo website link here: www.dioceseofkalamazoo.org/domesticchurch (click on the marriage preparation link on the submenu).

To register for a weekend or for more information, please contact Socorro at: struchan@dioceseofkalamazoo.org or via phone at: 269-903-0199
As married couples, the goal is to grow closer together in love and holiness. Yet in today's busy society, with forces and stresses that can undermine both marriage and faith, where can couples find the time to connect not only with one another but with Christ? 
Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just be a Couple
Couple Time is a Must

 
     You need to make some time each day to be a couple instead of parents, employees and whatever other roles you play each day. Your marriage is more important than your children or your career, so you need to start nourishing it. Your marriage must come second (just behind your relationship with God), and it cannot be allowed to slide to any less priority in your everyday life.
 
     Find just 15 minutes each day to sit without distractions and talk to your spouse about your day, your thoughts, your dreams and whatever else you feel like sharing as long as you are engaged in an intimate conversation. And please be sure that your conversation doesn’t revolve around things that need to be done around the house, the children’s school activities or any other “responsible” meeting topics.  This time is for you to talk your individual thoughts and your desires as a couple. Finding this time in your busy schedule might mean waking up 15 minutes earlier and talking before you get out of bed, or turning off the TV 15 minutes early in the evening. Just make that time to connect each day and you will reap major dividends in your marriage.
 
     While 15 minutes per day is a good start, it is even better to schedule a “date night” once every week or two. It doesn’t have to be an expensive or elaborate outing. While it is preferable to get away from the house and all of the “to-do’s” that come with it, you don’t necessarily even have to go out.  Your date night can be as simple as cooking dinner together and sharing a bottle of wine, or just watching a movie together after the children go to bed. The important thing is that you are engaged in your relationship and focused on appreciating each other as a couple for at least a short time each week.

There you have it: spend only 15 minutes being a couple each day, and you’ll feel closer than ever. Throw in a fun “date night” just once per week and you will be on your way to having an awesome marriage, for life.

The Family Beatitudes

Blessed is the family that has made Christ the center of their home-life.

Blessed is the family where the children know that they can
trust and rely on their parents.

Blessed is the family where the husband and wife
openly show love and affection toward each other.

Blessed is the family that worships God both privately and publicly.

Blessed is the family that has a sense of humor and playfulness
in good and not-so-good times.

Blessed is the family where members learn
the meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Blessed is the family that knows how to make the stranger feel welcome.

Blessed is the family where parents take the time to teach their children to pray, think, read and reflect.

The Gift of Listening:
“Can you hear me now?”
 
     A slogan made popular in our day used for the purposes of selling a better phone, is a reminder of the importance of listening to a voice when it is heard clearly. The question remains, however, are we simply interested in 'hearing' one another (with our ears) or do we make an honest attempt to be present and listen (with our heart)?

     In finding our way each day, through the many presentations of sounds and voices we hear, do we remain faithful to the individual vocation we are called to live, and learn to cooperate with others in communicating effectively by listening with our ears, mind and heart?

     It is only when we are comfortable with our own identity (as Christians, spouses, parents, children, etc.) that we can allow others the freedom to be truly themselves, and to feel better, and become more comfortable with us.

     When we listen with heart, we refrain from any agenda or expectations, and in this way we accept people where they are (and not where we believe they should be). This is the only true and honest way of listening where the answer to the question: "Can you hear me now?" might always tend to lead to an affirmative reply because we first - are listening with the heart (...con el corazón en la mano).

 
Family Traditions during Advent
 
     Some "family traditions" [1] are easy to see because they are different from our day to day routine. For example, the way my family "always" opens one Christmas present on Christmas Eve right before preparing to go to Mass at midnight, or the way our family goes out to celebrate the birth of Jesus with an early morning breakfast on December 25th, or the way families always get together for the Thanksgiving dinner celebrations, or the way we celebrate birthdays.
 
     Other family traditions are more "hidden." Not because we can’t see them, but because they are going on all the time and we take them for granted. For example, my father always drove the car although my mother was just as good a driver. My mother always did the "inside chores” together with my sisters and I and my father always took care of the "outside chores” together with my brothers. These family traditions are simply the way our family did things. We rarely talk about these "family traditions" yet they are strict rules for the family, i.e., everybody knows to obey them. We all knew, "never to ask Dad for anything right after he walked in the house from work!"

     During the next few weeks of Advent, let us challenge our families to recognize these family traditions in the light of our faith; in order to grow closer to one another as one family in Christ. Perhaps we can begin the tradition of praying together as a family for 10 to 15 minutes each day (evenings work best when most of us are winding down from homework, meetings and chores). 
 

[1]"Family Traditions" here is not a technical word.  It simply means "the way our family did things."  They could also be called family customs.
     The Diocese of Kalamazoo in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus, invite students grades 4th—12th to submit original art, prose, poetry, musical compositions and videos; all reflecting the theme “The Family Fully Alive”. "La Familia Llena de Vida" (Spanish).

     The work should display their God-given gifts and convey how we are called to live out our mission to love and to honor our little Domestic church (our family).

IMPORTANT: PLEASE send in your entries by December 15th in order to be eligible for prizes...YES! There will be educational scholarships for the top entries in each category.

For complete contest rules visit: www.dioceseofkalamazoo.org/domesticchurch
or connect with Socorro via e-mail at: struchan@dioceseofkalamazoo.org or via phone at (269) 903-0199

Love is Our Mission: The Family fully alive

Called together from all over the world in faithful celebration of the family—the sanctuary of love and life.

World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 | September 22-27, 2015
http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/

 

Daily and Sunday Scripture Readings
http://www.usccb.org/bible

• Watch a video reflection
• Read the daily readings
• Listen to the daily readings podcasts
 
English.  Download from website or iTunes. Daily Readings from NAB.
Subscribe to Daily Readings RSS feed for Free at the link:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings-audio.cfm 


A PDF brochure with more resources is also available by contacting David Reilly – Diocesan Worship – at dreilly@dioceseofkalamazoo.org
 
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