Celebrating Saint Joseph this Father’s Day

Fathers play an essential role in the lives of their children. Not only are fathers traditionally known for their protective and providing nature, but they are also responsible (along with mothers!) for instilling a certain set of values within their children and guiding them through the twists and turns of life. For this reason, we understand that the role of “father” goes beyond traditional norms. A father can be anyone willing to support, teach, and love those around them. This world’s best example of a non-traditional father is Saint Joseph. As the adopted father to Jesus Christ, Saint Joseph is proof to us all that fatherhood extends beyond biological boundaries.

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Although we don’t know much about the life of Saint Joseph, we are told a few things about him in the Bible. We know he comes from a long line of faithful servants, with a lineage connecting him with King David. We know that he married the Virgin Mary, and that he supported her through the tremulous Nativity narrative and beyond. Most of all, we know that he was a father figure to Jesus Christ. We know that he loved Jesus as much as any father could love his son. He worried with Mary when Jesus was lost in the temple as a child; he taught Jesus the family trade of carpentry; and he ensured that Jesus was raised in a faith-filled environment. Just as Joseph surely taught Jesus the skills He needed for this world, so too did Joseph teach and exemplify skills Christ would need in the spiritual world. Joseph continuously listened to the voice of God. He made sacrifices for his family, and stopped at nothing to make sure God’s will was followed. Just as Joseph delivered his family out of the hands of King Herod, Jesus would lead the human family away from sin and destruction. This courage and complete faith in God’s will is surely a trait Jesus first saw in his parents. While Joseph was not alive to see Jesus preach and complete his mission here on Earth, today we understand the influence Joseph had on Christ, thereby impacting us Christians to this day.

On this Father’s day, let us honor all of our fathers, traditional or not, and the sacrifices they have made. May we also pray for new or future fathers, that they may find the same strength and courage Joseph possessed to lead their families closer to God. If you find yourself mourning this Father’s Day, under any circumstance, take comfort in knowing Christ felt a similar loss when Joseph died. Above all, say a prayer this Father’s Day and lift your intentions, worries, and hopes up to the Lord.

A Father’s Day Prayer

“Let us praise those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. Let us praise those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become a good father.

Let us praise those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support. Let us pray for those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children.

Let us praise those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children’s lives. Let us praise those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing.

Let us praise those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their step children’s love and respect. Let us praise those fathers who have lost a child to death, and continue to hold the child in their heart.

Let us praise those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own.

Let us praise those men who have “fathered” us in their role as mentors and guides.

Let us praise those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children.

And let us praise those fathers who have died, but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us. Amen.” -Kirk Loadman

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Fr. Gene Wilson: A Local Leader of Faith

Cleveland is lucky to be home to many influential African American leaders. Spanning across many generations, organizations, and industries, these leaders have helped shaped our region. Reverend Gene Wilson, CPPS. was one of these great leaders. As the first African American to be ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Cleveland, his story is one of true devotion to Christ. Keep reading to learn more about this remarkable man.

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Wilson was born in Charleston, West Virginia on May 18, 1928. Soon after he was born his parents, Luther Lee and Hilda Wilson, decided to move to Cleveland. While Wilson traveled to several different states throughout his career, Cleveland would always remain to be his home town. At the age of 22, Wilson entered into the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. By the age of 30, Wilson had earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s College in Rennsselaer, Indiana and was ordained a priest on May 28th of that same year.

After his ordination, Wilson devoted himself to parish ministry at St. Adalbert Church in Cleveland. Following a few years of service, Wilson decided to further his education and moved to Washington, D.C. where he attended Catholic University and received master’s degrees in Library Science and Spirituality. After a brief time working as a librarian, he returned to parish ministry. This time, he visited parishes around the country—mainly in California. While on the West Coast, Wilson took part in the formation of the Province of the Pacific, and is credited for his work in entering new cultural communities in the area. After several years of this missionary work, Wilson returned to Ohio at the age of 78 and served as a senior associate pastor of St. Mark Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, he was known for presiding at healing masses and bringing the Black Consciousness movement to his parish. In 2009 he began ministry at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue, Ohio, which is sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Sadly, Reverend Wilson passed away at the age of 88 on March 30, 2017 in Cleveland, OH. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland (Section 92, Lot 1301C, Grave 2).

Reverend Gene Wilson was known for his cheerful and joyful attitude, and his deep dedication to Christ and the Holy spirit. As the first African American to be ordained a priest in the Diocese of Cleveland, he helped pave the way for countless other men pursuing the priesthood. His life proves to us all what a large impact an individual can make on their community.

Information from: http://cpps-preciousblood.org/2017/03/fr-gene-wilson-c-pp-s-1928-2017/

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Saint Hannah: An Example of Faithful Trust and Prayer

Sometimes God places us in unpredictable and confusing situations. Blessed with the sacrament of marriage at young age, Hannah had no idea that she would experience trouble conceiving. As one of the select handful of saints featured in the Bible, Hannah’s story is one of true faith and devotion to God.

After being married to Elkanah, the couple soon learned that Hannah was unable to bear children. As result, Elkanah took a second wife named Peninnah. Peninnah and Elkanah had several children together. Despite his relations with Peninnah, Elkanah remained devoted to Hannah. One day, Hannah became so upset over her inability to conceive a child that she began to pray and weep openly, begging God to give her a child. She vowed that if God gifted her with a son that she would ensure her son dedicated his life to God’s work.

Sure enough, Hannah soon conceived a son whom she named Samuel, which literally translates to “God Heard.” Samuel would become the high priest who would crown both King Saul and Kind David, who contributed greatly to the narrative of Christianity.

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Saint Hannah with her son, Samuel

Saint Hannah continues to be the patron saint of married couples without children, and couples who struggle with infertility. While miracles like hers are rare, Hannah’s story reminds us yet again of the awesome and all-powerful will of God. His plan is far more than we can ever comprehend, and His timing is always perfect. If you find yourself in a similar situation as Hannah, or in an equally difficult situation, turn to her example of complete openness and dependence on God. Take a look at Hannah’s prayer below. Instead of praying it exactly, insert your own name, your own intentions, and your own desires. God may surprise you with His answer.

“O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child I will give him to the Lord …” (1 Samuel 1:11)

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Saint Gerard: A Life of Unexpected Lessons

Saints are interesting people to learn about. Not only are their stories quite inspirational in nature, but their patronages have their own interesting origins. A quick Google search will reveal that the patron saint of pregnant women is, in fact, a man. While some people may find this rather curious, a closer look at Saint Gerard’s story reveals much more about this unexpected pairing. Keep reading to learn more!

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Gerard was born on April 6, 1726 in a small Italian town near Naples. He was the youngest of five children, and his father was a tailor. Gerard was only 12 years old when his father died, and this obviously put the family in great financial stress. In an effort to help with the family expenses, Gerard took on an apprenticeship to learn about the tailoring trade. After four years of hard work, he began to work more fully. As he started to earn steady wages, he split his earnings– giving half to his family and half as a church offering for the souls in purgatory.

As Gerard started to mature, he tried to join a local Capuchin order but was denied entry due to his poor health. Instead, he joined the congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and carried on his mission as a lay person. Most of Gerard’s missionary work involved spreading God’s word to the poor. He was very close to those on the outskirts of society and was often seen with those otherwise rejected by the public. He gained a local reputation, as his dedication to God was quite clearly evidenced by his good works.

Despite his good works, Gerard was still subject to persecution. When he was in his mid-twenties, he was subject to an awful rumor. A woman claimed to have romantic relations with him in an effort to tarnish his reputation. Amidst this awful allegation, Gerard did not grow angry but remained silent and turned to God instead. His prayers were answered, as the woman soon rebuked her own accusations thereby restoring Gerard’s reputation. It’s for this reason that Gerard is the patron of those who are falsely accused.

This was not the only time Gerard was known to invoke divine intervention. Several miracles and divine acts are attributed to him including the gift of bilocation, the ability to read souls, walking on water, and even multiplying bread to give to the poor. However, one of his most notable miracles resulted in the patronage he holds for mothers, expecting mothers, and childbirth.

Gerard was said to carry a handkerchief that was of great sentimental value to him. No one knows exactly why Gerard was so attached to the handkerchief, but speculation is that it belonged to his father. Regardless, Gerard took this handkerchief with him everywhere. One night Gerard was visiting a friend who had several daughters. As he went to leave for the evening, he dropped his handkerchief without realizing. One daughter picked it up and went to return it to Gerard. However, instead of taking it, Gerard simply said “Keep it, you may need it one day.” Years later, that daughter was in the middle of giving birth when several complications occurred. She called for the handkerchief to be brought to her, and upon receiving it she was able to complete her delivery of a perfectly healthy child. Gerard is still called on by expectant mothers, and those who wish to become pregnant so that they may have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Gerard spent his life serving others. Sadly, he passed away at the young age of 29 in October of 1755. He was beatified in 1893 and was canonized in 1904. Saint Gerard’s story is one of unexpected lessons. He showed us that sometimes being turned away from certain opportunities can lead to even greater ones; that the truth will always prevail over deception; that small acts of kindness can make a world of difference; and that no dire situation is beyond the divine power of Christ.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

 

Saint Catherine of Siena: A Story of Devotion and Bravery

Saint Catherine of Siena is one of the most well-known Catholic saints. This is largely due to the amount she accomplished during her short time on earth, as well as her contributions to the Catholic faith that are still being recognized to this day. Her story is one of true sacrifice, devotion, and bravery. Keep reading to learn more about Saint Catherine and her powerful faith.

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Catherine was born on March 25, 1347 in Siena, Italy. The Black Death was sweeping through Italy, creating very dangerous conditions for newborn children. Catherine had a twin sister, but sadly the newborn died shortly after being born. Catherine was raised by her mother and father, who earned a living dying cloth. Growing up, Catherine was a happy child. So happy, in fact, that her family nicknamed her Euphrosyne, which is Greek for “joy.” While living a relatively care-free life in her early years, at the age of five Catherine received her first vision from God. Her writings indicate that she saw Christ, Mary and the Apostles gathered around a banquet table. It was at that moment that Catherine decided to devote her life to Christ.

Catherine spent the next few years at home, where she was extremely devoted to serving her family. When asked how she served them so fully, she explained that she considered her father to be Christ, her mother to be Mary, and her siblings to be the apostles. She also practiced asceticism, or the act of denying earthly desire to enter into deeper spiritual enlightenment. Catherine lived like this for years, until her parents tried to arrange her marriage when she was 16 years old. Completely opposed to the marriage, Catherine did everything she could to dissuade her parents. This included entering into a heavy fast and even cutting her hair to make herself less attractive. Eventually her parents gave in and allowed Catherine to join the Third Order of Saint Dominic as a tertiary. Taking simple vows, Catherine stayed at home with her family, where she lived in silence and isolation. In the rare instances when she would visit the public, she was known for giving away her clothing and food, often at the cost of her own well-being.

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When Catherine was 21, she entered into what she described as a “mystical marriage” with Christ. This was a turning point for Catherine, for after her spiritual marriage to Christ, she devoted her life to serving the public and broke her pattern of isolation. Catherine began to gather a following due to her good works and eventually she found herself called to intercede in the rocky political climate in Siena. She was a strong advocate for reform within the clergy and peace within the Church. She worked closely with Pope Gregory XI to make changes that would better the church as a whole. Pope Gregory and Catherine worked closely together for several years. (It was during this time, at the age of 23, that Catherine received her first stigmata.) Pope Gregory even called on her to help negotiate peace between Florence and Rome in 1378. That same year, Pope Gregory died during riots associated with the conflict. Catherine herself was almost killed, but this didn’t stop her from pursuing peace. Eventually peace was established and she was able to return home to Siena.

When Pope Urban VI was elected to the papacy, Catherine served on his court and continued to take an active stance in local politics. However, the remaining years of Catherine’s life were ones of great hardship. While she was known for fasting throughout her life, she began to fast even more extremely, even against the advice of her family and spiritual adviser. It became so severe, that by 1380 she could not swallow food or water. In the same year, she also suffered from a major stroke and was unable to use her legs. On April 29, 1380 at the young age of 33, Catherine passed away. In 1461 Catherine was declared a Saint. In 1970 and 1999 respectively, Catherine was named a Doctor of the Church and a patron Saint of Europe and Italy.

Today Saint Catherine holds several patronages including nursing, illness, fire prevention, still born children, and miscarriages. While Saint Catherine never had the experience of carrying or birthing a child during her short life, she was no stranger to the pain that losing a child can bring. Her own twin died shortly after being born, and she lost another sister due to complications during child birth. Today, many men and women pray to Catherine of Siena for a healthy pregnancy and the avoidance of a miscarriage. Take a look at the prayer below, and say it for you or someone you know that is going through similar struggles.

Humble Virgin and Doctor of the Church, in thirty-three years you achieved great perfection and became the counselor of Popes. You know the temptations of mothers today as well as the dangers that await unborn infants. Intercede for me that I may avoid miscarriage and bring forth a healthy baby who will become a true child of God.   

Amen.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Easter Traditions Around the World

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Easter is the most important Christian holiday celebrated around the world. With traditions stemming back centuries, it is also one of the oldest. In America, Easter is celebrated through family gatherings, Easter egg hunts, and delicious desserts to just name a few. In other countries, however, traditions include a variety of unique customs all celebrating one common theme; the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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People from all around the world visit the Holy Land during Easter weekend. At sunrise on Holy Saturday people gather around the Garden Tomb, the location believed to be the site of Jesus’ resurrection. Priests and monks in white robes recite the liturgy and burn incense which rises above the tomb. Another tradition is the Twelve Stations of the Cross where locals and travelers alike follow Jesus’ journey to Golgotha where He was crucified. A large crowd is generally in attendance and some people even carry their own cross to pay homage to the pain of Christ. One of the most significant traditions in Israel takes place at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Holy Saturday. All the lights in the city are turned off until the Holy Torch is lit. Everyone in attendance lights their own candle off the Holy Torch and the whole area is illuminated. This custom is often celebrated during Easter Vigil services here in the United States as well.
Australia
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In Australia many traditions are celebrated during Easter weekend and the week anticipating it. One internationally popular theme regarding the Easter holiday is rabbits. In Australia, however, the rabbit is perceived as a pest that damages local crops. Instead, the Australians use the bilby, a marsupial that resembles a mouse-like rabbit. The bilby serves as an Easter mascot much like the rabbit does for Americans. One popular tradition is egg knocking. This game consists of two people holding eggs and tapping on them until one cracks. One of the most popular Australian Easter treats is the hot cross bun. This pastry is a spiced sweet bun filled with raisins and topped with a sugary glaze and white cross. The treat is typically eaten on good Friday. One of the most popular events during Easter time in Australia is the Sydney Royal Easter Show: a two-week event that brings almost a million visitors each year. The festival hosts events such as sheep shearing, wood chopping, and show animal competitions.
France
Easter in France is celebrated through a variety of different activities and events. Unlike most other countries around the world, the Easter bunny is not as prevalent. Rather than the Easter bunny bringing treats to kids, in France it is believed that the cloches volantes or “flying bells” delivers the treats. All the church bells in France are thought to sprout wings and fly to the Vatican where they are blessed by the Pope. The church bells then return on Easter Sunday with treats for children, especially chocolate eggs. One of the oldest French Easter traditions takes place in Bessieres on Easter Monday when a huge omelet is made with over 15,000 eggs and 40 cooks. Another popular tradition is an egg rolling competition where raw eggs are rolled down a slope. The eggs are used to symbolize the stone being rolled away from Jesus’ tomb.
Italy
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The most popular Easter celebration in Italy is a 350-year-old tradition called the Scoppio Del Carro or “explosion of the cart.” An elaborate ancient cart is filled with fireworks in front of the Duomo, Florence’s gothic cathedral. The fireworks are then lit off to celebrate Easter and it is used to symbolize a sign of peace and a good year ahead. Another Italian tradition is called the celebration of the Pasquetta, or “little Easter.” This event takes place the day after Easter and involves many games and activities for families to participate in. One popular event is the Ruzzolone, a competition that involves rolling wheels of ruzzola cheese around the village.
Germany
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Germany shares a lot of the same Easter traditions and symbols that we do in America, though most have adapted into different customs. One of the oldest German traditions is blowing eggs. Rather than dying the eggs, Germans poke a tiny hole and blow the contents of the egg out. After being left out to dry they are carefully painted by children and adults. Once dried these eggs are then hung up on trees outside or on branches brought into homes. Along with egg painting, Easter fires are another German tradition. It is believed to be a tradition of fertility where the ashes from the fire scatter over the fields and fertilize the land.

Post written by Mike Freiberg

St. Patrick: A Story of Conversion and Conviction

Saint Patrick is one of the few saints to have a widely accepted holiday held in their honor. As one of the patron saints of Ireland, this powerful missionary has become a symbol for the nation and the people who hail from it. Known by many names and titles such as the “Apostle of Ireland” and the “Enlightener of Ireland”, Saint Patrick’s influence on Irish culture has spanned centuries. This influence is so strong, that even those who are not ethnically Irish still choose to celebrate his feast day on March 17th. Keep reading to learn more about this notable saint.

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Saint Patrick holding a shamrock

While records regarding St. Patrick’s birth and death dates are unclear, it’s widely accepted that he lived during the 5th century. He was born in Roman, Britain. His family was rooted in a deep Catholic faith, with Patrick’s father being a deacon and his grandfather a priest. This trait was not immediately expressed by Patrick, however, as during his youth he denied the Catholic faith. When he was 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates. He was brought to the Irish country side as a slave and worked as a shepherd and animal care taker. He would remain a slave for six years. During this time, Patrick began to reconnect with his Catholic faith. He spent more and more time in prayer, and eventually was able to form a strong relationship with God. One day, Patrick received a message from God saying he would be traveling home soon. Sure enough, Patrick was soon able to escape captivity and made it home to his family in Britain. Now a man in his early 20’s, Patrick had changed. He decided to enter into religious life and pursue a life dedicated to serving Christ.

Patrick became a priest, and a Bishop after that. One day shortly after his ordination, a messenger angel came to him with a letter that read “The Voice of the Irish”. After receiving this message, Patrick knew that he was being called to minister to the people of Ireland. Upon his arrival, Saint Patrick was treated poorly due to his status as a foreigner. He was routinely beaten, robbed, and in some cases even imprisoned. However, this adversity did not prevent him from conducting thousands of baptisms and conversions. Christianity began to spread throughout Ireland, as well as the notoriety and fame of Saint Patrick. It was during this time that many of the legends surrounding Saint Patrick occurred.

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Saint Patrick performing a baptism

First, it’s said that Saint Patrick used a shamrock to explain the holy trinity. As a plant with three connected clovers, the metaphor became quite clear: three parts to one equal body. This metaphor is still one that is used today to explain the trinity. Another legend regarding Saint Patrick is his banishment of the snakes in Ireland. Legend states that during one of his 40 day fasts, St. Patrick was attacked by a group of snakes. As a result, Saint Patrick chased the snakes into the sea and thereby banished them from Ireland altogether. This is widely believed, as Ireland is still known as a country with no native snakes. These are just two examples of the countless legends, landmarks, and artifacts that are connected to the life of Saint Patrick.

As previously mentioned, Saint Patrick’s actual birth and death dates or not known, but many believe that he died at some point during the 5th century on March 17th, which would later become his feast day. By the 7th century, Patrick became known as a Catholic saint and is still celebrated to this day. Saint Patrick’s story is one of true inspiration. Sometimes the situations we find most discouraging or difficult are the ones most beneficial to our spiritual life. By trusting and listening to God, every situation can be made into an opportunity to spread the word of Christ to the world.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

A Prayer for Inner Strength

Losing a loved one leaves you emotionally and physically exhausted. Your body and soul are weakened, making what used to be routine tasks hard to accomplish. The small things that you used to laugh at now become major obstacles to overcome, leaving you incredibly overwhelmed. The important thing to remember is that feelings like this are normal, and their intensity will pass with time. However, whether you’ve lost someone five days ago or fifteen years ago, you are bound to have days when you need a little extra encouragement and strength. These are the days when you must rely on God. We are told in scripture that “God is our refuge and our strength” (Psalm 46:1). When you find yourself in need of extra strength or support call on God to assist you throughout your day. Use the prayer below to start an ongoing dialogue with the Lord. He is always there waiting to be called upon.

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PRAYER FOR INNER STRENGTH

Lord Jesus Christ,
I’m upset and disturbed,
and I pray that You will grant me
the grace of inner Peace.
As You commanded the storm winds at sea to be calm,
command the storms in my life to be calmed.
Give me the patience I need
to cope with the burdens and anxieties of my life.
Grant me the strength to better deal with my problems,
and the understanding to be more tolerant
and kind to others.
Teach me to seek after Your will
which alone brings peace of mind
and peace of heart.

Amen.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski
Prayer Source: Catholicdoors.com

The Fourth Sunday of Advent- CELEBRATION

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Well, it’s finally here. Christmas is only a few short days away and we will soon be trading in our purple and pink Advent wreath for the white Christmas candle. As we celebrate this last week of Advent, we celebrate the arrival of Christ—he’s finally here! Sometimes, the last candle of the advent wreath is referred to as the candle of love—the love of God in the form of His son Jesus, the love that Jesus spread throughout the world, and the love that we all share for each other. As we end this Advent season, let us remember what the Christmas holiday is truly about, Christ and His love for mankind. If you have some extra time today, say the prayer below and reflect on His never ending love of you.

PRAYER FOR LOVING OTHERS

Lord, make me an instrument of your love.

May I see each circumstance in my life

as an opportunity to grow in your love.

May I see my environment

as a place to grow in your love.

May I then take this love to other people…

When I am tempted to become impatient,

help me to be patient.

When I am tempted to become unkind,

help me to be kind.

When I am tempted to become jealous,

help me to be tolerant.

When I am tempted to become boastful or proud,

help me give you the glory.

When I am tempted to be rude or selfish,

give me the gift of gentleness.

When I am tempted to take offense,

help me to let go.

When I am tempted to become angry with someone,

give me the gift of forgiveness.

When I am tempted to become resentful,

give me your power to love.

Lord, grant that I may take no pleasure in criticizing others,

but that I may see good in them, as you do.

When I begin to concentrate on the faults and failures of others,

give me courage to praise their accomplishments.

Help me be loyal to those you give me to love.

Help me to believe in them,

even when they do not believe in themselves.

To expect the best from them,

but accept the best they can give.

May I always defend them,

as you always defend me.

All gifts and powers come from you.

All will come to an end.

With one important exception, the gift of love!!!

Lord, when I was a child,

I thought like a child,

I acted like a child,

and I reasoned like a child.

Now that I have become an adult,

I release my childish ways.

Amen.

 

Prayer gathered from catholicdoors.com 
Post written by Katie Karpinski

The Origins of Saint Nicholas

The story of St. Nicholas has been discussed and passed down for many years. He is arguably the most famous saint throughout Christian churches worldwide. He is most commonly known for his anonymous gifts to children late at night, which is how the story of Santa Claus originally was conceived. However, there is a deep history regarding this ancient saint. Although St. Nicholas is regarded as being a generous and loving figure in the Catholic Church, little is known about his personal life and where he originally came from.

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With that being said, there are many legends and stories attributed to St. Nick. It is believed that Nicholas was born in 280 AD in Patara, an early city in Asia Minor. Passed down stories tell us that Nicholas was from a very rich family and inherited a large sum of money when his parents died. He did not keep any of the money and instead gave it away to the less fortunate, especially children. Nicholas became a priest and continued his charitable efforts throughout his life.

One of the most popular stories of St. Nicholas is about a father who had no dowry money for his three daughters on their wedding days. It is believed that the girls would have been killed if there was no money for their husbands. The girls left out stockings to dry by the fire and Nicholas took it upon himself to drop bags of gold into them. Ever since, children have been putting their stockings up by the fire on Christmas Eve in hopes of St. Nick leaving them special gifts.

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Nicholas, who was still very young at the time, had earned a prominent reputation of sympathy and compassion. In 303 AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered all Roman citizens to worship him as a God. This became problematic throughout the area because Christians were to only believe in one God. Diocletian ordered that all Christians who do not follow the order be imprisoned. Nicholas was one who resisted, and as a result, he was imprisoned for more than five years. Throughout this hardship, he still held to his beliefs. Nicholas was later released and became Bishop of Myra. He continued his charitable acts up until his death on December 6, 343.

Since his passing, Nicholas has become a famous Christian figure all around the globe. By 800, he was officially named a saint by the Eastern Catholic Church. By the 1400’s more than 200 chapels and monasteries were named in his honor. Every year on December 6th, St. Nick’s feast day, churches around the world dedicate services in his name and pass down the stories surrounding his fame.

Post written by Mike Freiberg