Handling Mother’s Day: Comfort and Prayers for the Bereaved

 

handling mothers day prayers and comfort for the bereaved.jpgAs we approach Mother’s Day, many of us will be reminded of our mothers and the place they hold in our hearts. Whether our mother is still with us or has passed from this world, Mother’s Day is a special time to celebrate these women and the immense impact they have on our lives. It goes without saying that those who have lost their mother may experience added grief on this day. However, there are other groups of people who also experience additional pain or grief during this time: those who don’t have (or never had) a relationship with their mother, those who are unable to have children, couples who have suffered from miscarriage or stillborn children and all other special circumstances.

This Mother’s Day, be aware of your own emotions as well as those of others. If you find that Mother’s Day mass is too hard or painful to attend, spend the day worshiping from home. If you know someone is struggling with any of the situations listed above, or an equally difficult situation, make an effort to let them know you’re thinking about and praying for them. Wherever, however, and with whomever you celebrate this Mother’s Day, remember that Christ is with you and that His plan is far greater than the highs and the lows of our lives here on earth.

Take a look at the prayer below and share with others.

Dear God,
Thank you for the gift of motherhood. Thank you for the blessing it is to be called “Mom.” Thank you for the good plans you have in store for those who still wait to be a Mom. Thank you for the numerous spiritual children you have given to so many “spiritual moms” and mentors. We pray that you would fill this day with favor and grace as we honor Moms all around our nation.
We ask for comfort for those who are grieving loss and heartache, especially on this day. We ask for strength for those who wait for children to come back home. We ask for healing for those who have been hurt by relationships that were intended to be loving and nurturing. We ask for faith for those who will someday be Moms, who find themselves on a journey that seems so hard. We ask for great encouragement and grace to cover those who have made a brave and loving choice for adoption. We ask for incredible provision and care over every single parent mom who works so hard on behalf of her children. We ask that you would remind many of those who, though they do not have “physical” children, have the gift of being amazing hope-bringers to many spiritual children they’ve been blessed to nurture through these years.
God, thank you, for the gift of life. Thank you that your heart is for us, and that you are with us, in all our unique journeys and pathways. Thank you that you are Sovereign over every part of our lives.  Thank you that your ways are perfect and you make our footsteps secure.
Today we pray for refreshing, for joy, for grace, for wisdom, for great peace…for all moms, for moms to be, and for women who nurture and lead.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen. (source) 
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

fourth sunday of advent

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

O Come All Ye Faithful- A Modern Call to Action

Well underway into the 2017 Christmas season, I’m sure we’ve all heard our favorite carols being sung. While some of our favorites might be silly— does anyone actually want a hippopotamus for Christmas? Imagine the mess! There are some Christmas songs that actually have a deeper meaning and help us as Catholics enter more deeply into this joyful season. Last week we featured “Silent Night”, and how its humble origins provide a reminder to us all that God calls us each to greatness. This week we are looking at another classic carol: “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Written in 1841 by Frederick Oakeley, the song has stood the test of time and is still a very popular tune. Aside from the catchy melody, the lyrics of “O Come All Ye Faithful” are, perhaps, what has led to the song’s success. The clear call to action to come praise and worship the Lord is made clear in the first few lines:

O come, all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of Angels!

O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Whereas secular Christmas music may revolve around gifts and the material elements of the season, this song reminds us all of what we’re truly celebrating: Christ coming down to Earth. May this song serve as a reminder to us all to spend this season praising God and thanking Him for the greatest gift of all: His son Jesus Christ. Listen to the full song below and reflect on the coming of Christ this season.

 

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

The Third Sunday of Advent- JOY

3 advent

 

Often, when we need to emphasize something or mark it as important, we use a red pen or highlight it, right? Well this third week of Advent is no exception! Instead of the usual purple candle, we celebrate this week with a notable pink candle. Why pink, you may ask? Because pink is the liturgical color for joy! It is during the third week of Advent that we celebrate the joy of Christ’s coming. Much like the shepherds in the field, we hear that Christ is coming soon and are overwhelmed with joy!

As you enter into this third week of Advent, reflect on the joy of this season and count the blessings in your own life.

FUN FACT: The third Advent candle is often referred to as the “Shepherd Candle”

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Silent Night- A Beloved Christmas Carol

We’ve all heard the classic Christmas carol “Silent Night.” Whether it’s on the radio, in the background of a movie, or sung at Mass, the song is one of the most popular Christmas carols to date. But why? Why has this song, which is so simple and so humble, made such a large impact in not just the Christian world, but also in the secular world? Let’s take a closer look at the song and its origins to find out.

Silent Night

Silent Night was written by Joseph Mohr in 1816. He was a young priest living in Austria who had written the lyrics down in the form of a poem one evening. It wasn’t until 1818 when Mohr would show the lyrics to his friend Franz Gruber, who happened to be a musician-schoolteacher, that a melody accompanying lyrics began to take form. It was Christmas Eve of that same year that the song was performed for the first time. After this first performance, word of the song spread rapidly, growing in popularity along the way. In fact, the Strasser Family, a traveling family of folk singers (similar to the Trapp family singers as seen in The Sound of Music) incorporated the song into their routine. By 1832 the notes had been tweaked to create the melody that we all know and love today.

While there is certainly more history surrounding this beloved song, the true significance of the song comes from the lyrics and creation itself. Mohr and Gruber were by no means famous. They were humble people who lived ordinary lives. They didn’t expect for their simple song to be as popular as it ended up being. They didn’t expect fame or recognition for their efforts. They simply sought a way to better praise and worship the Lord during the season of Advent. Isn’t that something we should all strive for?

Take a moment to listen to this carol. Really listen to the words, think about the message Mohr and Gruber so carefully expressed to the world. Think of what seemingly ordinary acts God is calling you to do. You might be surprised with His answer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T4WB2zfmps

Post written by Katie Karpinski

The Second Sunday of Advent- PREPARATION

Second Sunday of Advent

As we enter the second week of Advent, we enter into a spirit of preparation. We are not merely anticipating the coming of Christ, but are actively readying ourselves for His arrival. In the readings this week we hear from the prophet Isiah who declares:

“In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” -Isaiah 40:3 – 5

We are the desert. We are supposed to be preparing the way of the Lord. This time of Advent is a chance for us all to clean ourselves up and make ready for the arrival of Christ!

While there may be talk of cleaning the house, buying gifts, and gathering food, what’s even more important is that we prepare our hearts and minds for Christ’s arrival. This second week of Advent is a great time to do an examination of conscious. Prepare your soul by confessing your sins and spend some time alone with Christ to reflect on what you can be doing to better welcome Him into your heart.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

Emmanuel: God’s Eternal Presence

Emmanuel God's Eternal Presence

During the Christmas season, the word “Emmanuel” is certainly repeated often. Whether it’s during a Mass reading, written on a holiday card, or in the lyrics of a popular Christmas song, we are constantly reminded of Emmanuel. But what exactly does this word mean? To some, the word is synonymous with Jesus Christ, for others Emmanuel is the hope of Christ, or a feeling of anticipation. However, the actual meaning of Emmanuel stems much deeper than either of these theories. Emmanuel actually translates to “God is with us.”

You see, Emmanuel isn’t just a name or phrase: it is a promise. God is with us.

Many of us will be missing cherished loved ones this holiday season. It’s common for those who are grieving to experience an increased sense of loneliness during the holidays. Treasured memories of our loved ones will be vivid in our minds, and the traditions that once were so meaningful may be hard to bear. This is normal, but we must take heart and remember the promise of Emmanuel: God is with us. He is always with us. Even in our most lonely and desperate times, God is close to us. If you find yourself in a state of isolation, reach out to God and ask for His comfort and healing.

It is also important during this time of grief to attend Mass. While God is always with you, attending Mass is a unique opportunity to grow in physical closeness to Christ through the Eucharist. Receiving the blessed sacrament assures that God will live inside you, yet another reminder of His never ending love. Also, it is during the Mass that the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. Certain portions of the Mass are even dedicated to the souls of those who have died and the saints currently in Heaven. By taking an active part in the Mass, you not only grow closer to Christ, but you have the chance to pray and reconnect with your dearly departed loved ones.

To anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one this season, you are not alone. God is with you.

~~~

Join us on December 17th for our Sunday Grief Support Group. This month’s topic will be “God’s Eternal Presence.”

In a warm, comfortable, and supportive environment, you’ll find a warm fellowship of people with similar grief experiences.
Come. Listen. Be in the presence of those who understand. Available at the following locations:

Holy Cross Cemetery, Akron
Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park
St. Joseph Cemetery, Avon

NO RESERVATIONS NECESSARY. Please join us.

More information available at https://www.clecem.org/Events/Calendar.aspx

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

Five Things You Should Do During Advent

Well, we are officially entering into the busiest month of the year: December. Department stores have been advertising Christmas deals since Halloween, and The Hallmark Channel has already begun their countdown to Christmas. It seems as if the whole world is preparing for this universal holiday. However, so much of this season gets lost in the material world. You see, Christmas isn’t about gifts, or food, or even friends and family. Christmas is about Christ coming to this world. This act of love is the cornerstone of the Catholic faith. Alongside Easter, Christmas is so significant that we even have a special liturgical season to prepare His arrival.  As Catholics, we call this period of preparation and anticipation Advent. Celebrating Advent and truly entering into a spirit of honor and hope is a great way for us all to grow closer to Christ and ready ourselves for the wonderful season and holiday that is Christmas! Keep reading to learn more about 5 things you should do during advent.

5 Things You should do during advent

Get an Advent Wreath

While a seemingly minor gesture, displaying an Advent wreath serves as a visual reminder of the preparatory season. By lighting the candles each week and reflecting on their specific meanings, you can better focus your prayers and intentions to enter more fully into praise and worship. Even more so, fire is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. By lighting your Advent Wreath candles you are inviting the Holy Spirit into your life, allowing Him to work through you and offer you even more blessings!

Be charitable

We all know Christmas as a holiday of giving. Be it with friends, family, or coworkers, there is a natural expectation to give and receive gifts around the holidays. While there’s no specific attribution to this custom, this “giving tradition” is actually in honor of Jesus Christ Himself. Since He lives in all of us, we are taught to see Christ in each other—which is why we exchange gifts for His birthday! However, we are not called to see Christ in only our friends and family, we are called to see Christ in every single person we encounter. This means being charitable and giving to those less fortunate. Whether it’s donating clothes, volunteering at the soup kitchen, or donating your time at a local nursing home, try and find a way to give back.

Start a daily devotional

Advent is a great time to pick up a new spiritual habit. You can use these four weeks as a time to grow Closer to Christ by reading His Word and familiarizing yourself with scripture. Whether it’s doing the daily Mass readings or finding a special Advent-themed devotional, reading scripture each day will help you enter into the anticipatory spirit!

Go to confession

When we have a guest over to our house, it’s customary to clean and make ready everything right? So why not do the same to get ready for the arrival of Christ? Sin dirties our souls; it weighs us down and makes us spiritually “unclean.” By going to confession and offering your sins up to the Lord, you are preparing your spiritual home for His arrival. By preparing your soul you can enter more fully into the hopeful, joyful, and faithful spirit of Christmas! Find out when your local parish offers Confessions—you won’t regret it.

Spend time with Christ

The most important thing you can do this Advent season is to spend time with Christ. He is the true reason we celebrate this holiday! As you reflect back on the past year, thank God for the blessings. Talk to Him about any heartache you experienced, or any challenges you faced. Share with Him your favorite memories and then be still and listen to Him speak to you. What is He asking you to do in your life? Where will this next year take you? These questions can only be answered by spending quality time with Christ. By taking this time of Advent to grow closer to Him, you can enter the Christmas holiday and New Year reinvigorated and renewed!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

The First Sunday of Advent- HOPE

 

First Sunday of Advent.jpg

The first week of Advent begins the liturgical countdown to Christmas. Whereas most of society may start celebrating the sacred holiday immediately after Halloween, Catholics have a very purposeful and meaningful perspective on anticipating the coming of Christ. This first week of Advent, we celebrate with a spirit of hope: the hope that God provides through His son, Jesus Christ. During this first week of Advent, the daily Mass readings revolve heavily around prophecies of Christ’s coming. This year we hear from the prophet Daniel who states:

“One like a son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
He received dominion, glory, and kingship;
nations and peoples of every language serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.” -Daniel 7:13-14 

You see, even thousands of years later we are all still anticipating the birth of Christ. We still celebrate His coming and the hope it brings to our world. What’s even more significant is that we notice and appreciate the faithfulness of God. The prophets were given this promise of hope in Jesus Christ. As we know, God always delivers on His promises and as a result the world was given a true Savior. Let this first week of Advent be one of thankfulness and appreciation. Our God is faithful and fills us with hope!

**Fun fact: the first Advent candle is referred to as the Prophecy Candle, or the Candle of Hope**