“Pray” It Forward

Written By, Kathleen Gallagher McKiernan May 12, 2022

In our world of constant information overload, we are bombarded with opportunities to be on the giving or receiving end of information and ideas. If we think about it, we are the potential recipients of so much information- the good info that helps us learn, the bad info that can distract us or lead us away from our goals, and lastly, the ugly information that can lead us astray toward sin. Lately, it seems that the world has gone a bit crazy and in the past few years, we have had an awful lot to deal with. Today, we can use technology and the information it provides us as a positive tool to help us  draw closer to Christ.

Let’s take movies as one form of technology that can be utilized to help draw us closer to Christ. Recently, my husband and I, along with my mother, saw the movie “Fr. Stu”. It was about a young man who was a former high school football player, boxer, and longtime agnostic, who after surviving a motorcycle accident and questioning his purpose in life, realizes he was given a second chance in life to serve others, and ultimately believes that he’s meant to be a Catholic priest.  His life as a priest focused on serving others. He channeled the suffering and challenges faced with his debilitating disease as a way to draw closer to Christ by offering his sufferings as Christ did and using his life to glorify God. He was a “witness of suffering”, which we can exemplify in our own lives when we go through any trial or even a loss of a loved one. If we carry our crosses and sufferings as Christ did, we will feel God’s love and His strength will see us through our times of suffering and loss.

Fr. Stu followed the way of St. Therese, the Little Flower, in seeing that “it’s all in the little things”. It’s the day-to-day sacrifices, not the big things. Pope Francis has said, “To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.” And Fr. Stu asked ‘What can I do this moment, that’s small and simple to make me a saint and to help me help other people see that they should be called to sainthood?’”  We are all called to be saints. How then, should we live our lives in pursuit of being saintly? Prayer is a common theme seen throughout the lives of the saints. If we take a minute each day to “Pray it Forward” and simply pray for someone who may be needing God’s grace and strength more than us, we are in essence, living our faith and generously sharing our love as Christians.

Talking technology again, actor Mark Wahlberg who portrayed Fr. Stu in the movie, has recently been promoting the Hallow App- A Catholic prayer and meditation app. How encouraging it is to see technology being used in a way that helps us deepen our relationship with Christ. Using technology to help us keep a prayer routine is great.  “Pray” it Forward is a term where we can consciously pray for someone other than ourselves, to serve others and ultimately help us grow in our spiritual lives. Those who are suffering from the loss of a loved one might feel a sense of purpose by serving others in prayer. Praying is one of the simple things we can all do to pull us even closer to God. And, instead of focusing on praying for our own needs, we can “pray it forward” and focus on praying for others.

This past month, we at Catholic Cemeteries Association have used technology to promote a strong prayer routine in praying the Rosary. With our CCAirwaves podcasts, you can pray the Rosary along with us at any time of the day or night. Praying the full Rosary step by step usually takes about 15 – 25 minutes, but remember, you can simply pray one decade (an Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, a Glory Be) if that’s all the time you have. Soon, the CCAirwaves library will have podcast recordings of all the Mysteries of the Rosary so that you can pray along each day of the week with the appropriate mysteries.

If you’re looking to “Pray it Forward” by adding the Rosary to your prayer routine, consider the following times for prayer:

  • If you take daily walks, consider adding the Rosary to your routine. You can say the prayers with the Hallow App, or listen to CCAirwaves and carry your rosary beads as you walk.
  • Pray the Rosary on your commute; listen and pray along as you start or end your day at work.
  • Pray as you prepare dinner.
  • Set aside quiet time and pray as you get ready for the day or prepare to fall asleep.

For those of us who are suffering the loss of a loved one, struggling with grief, or carrying other crosses in our lives, placing our intentions on serving others and “Praying it Forward”, will allow us to strengthen our faith and be saintly examples of Christ’s love alive in our world.

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

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By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio – articles – email ) | Apr 12, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

A World In Need of Prayer

Throughout my life, the Feast Day of St. Patrick has been such a culturally rich experience for my family. The day began with Mass amid family and friends, usually followed by the parade and parties where Irish step dancing and uplifting music filled the air. I am thinking of these cultural and family traditions and I realize that when we are missing someone we’ve lost, those days are even more difficult to endure. Yes, the memories bring us comfort, and our faith brings comfort as we celebrate the belief that they have achieved the reward of eternal life in heaven. However, we remain here with God’s work left for us. Somehow, those special days are never the same. We learn to accept the new normal of a celebration without the people we love, the ones who made us love those holidays so much in the first place. We carry on the traditions and keep the love of these traditions alive so that the memories continue.

As we journey through this particular Lent, we are living amid a world engulfed in conflict. We think of all who are suffering in Ukraine, on the other side of our world, in Europe. The reality of the loss of life that has occurred, and the struggle that the refugees are enduring to merely survive each hour of the day seems absolutely surreal in the year 2022. There is also suffering and grief for so many others around the world, in other countries, because of hate and evil among us. The thoughts of missing my loved ones on a holiday pale in comparison and have been totally put in the back of my mind because of the gravity of the situation. What culture and traditions are being destroyed in their country? There is no normal to death or grief, that we know. However, grief that is caused by hate and evil is simply harder to endure.

As the world around them crumbles, I wonder when the children, mothers, fathers, relatives, and friends will feel the comfort of their culture and traditions alive again? Their love for religious or cultural holidays, similar to my love of St. Patrick’s Day, will never be erased. Those traditions unique to their beloved country, Ukraine, must be celebrated again.

We need to pray for God’s intercession and help. The people of the world need to pray for peace as the Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, implored us to do. We believe that love will always win over hate and that God is always with us.

In the words of St. Patrick, we pray for our world, especially for those in Ukraine, and we remember that we are all children of God.

God of All

Our God is the God of all,

The God of heaven and earth,

Of the sea and of the rivers;

The God of the sun and of the moon and of all the stars;

The God of the lofty mountains and of the lowly valleys.

He has His dwelling around heaven and earth, and sea, and all that in them is.

He inspires all, He gives life to all, He dominates all, He supports all.

He lights the light of the sun.

He furnishes the light of the night.

He has made springs in dry land . . .

He is the God of heaven and earth, of sea and rivers, of sun, moon and stars,

of the lofty mountain and the lowly valley,

the God above heaven,

and in heaven,

and under heaven.

-St Patrick 

May God hold us in the palm of His hand…

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

Marketing and Communications Manager

To Jesus, Through Mary- Finding Comfort, Healing and Peace in the Rosary

“The rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort.”

-Pope John Paul II

The Rosary is a prayer for finding peace and comfort in times of sadness or distress, however, it is also a continuous source of strength and healing in our routine, daily lives. Throughout my life, I have always remembered having a rosary nearby. Usually, resting on my nightstand or tucked away in a beautiful, zippered pouch inside my purse or drawer. I may not have always prayed the rosary each day, but I remember the peace and comfort of seeing it and holding it in my hands as a child. I received a rosary as a gift on my First Holy Communion and another when I received the sacrament of Confirmation. Throughout my childhood, I was blessed to be taught the praying of the rosary, mainly by my mother and grandmothers. I knew the men in my family to pray it as well. In fact, my father carried his rosary in a tattered black zippered pouch in his pocket every day. Throughout my childhood, I may not have always understood the many reasons that we pray the rosary, but I knew the intense peace I felt as I prayed in unison with fellow church members, students or family. I felt the natural calming effect that the repetition of Hail Marys had on my mind. I could almost feel the Holy Spirit allowing God’s mercy and grace to flow within me.

As I grew older and was blessed to be a member of the Notre Dame community in high school, I found that the rosary was a way to “pray to Jesus through Mary”. While praying and thinking about each of the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries, we journey closer to God spiritually. While praying the rosary, I felt the protection of Jesus, watching over me and guiding me throughout the difficulties of young adulthood. Later in life, as a mother of my own children, I related to this concept because Mary, the mother of Jesus, who held Him as a baby, loved and nurtured Him throughout His childhood, supported Him in His ministry, and ultimately, endured the pain as a witness to His death on the Cross, helped us to see His life from the close perspective that motherhood provides.  She suffered through His difficult moments of strife, as any mother suffers when her child hurts. Like any mother, she also rejoiced in His successes. In His Resurrection, she witnessed firsthand, His triumph over sin and death and His gift of redemption.

One of the greatest joys in my earlier career in education has been teaching the praying of The Most Holy Rosary to young children. I witnessed firsthand, the calming effect that the prayers brought to even the most energetic child. Traditionally, we recited the rosary together in church before or after mass, or during specific times of difficulties, such as on 9/11 or if a loved one was sick or had passed. The recitation of the Rosary has a calming and soothing effect on all of us, whether young or old. At times of loss, we especially feel the strength given to mourners when friends and family recite the Rosary together during the Order of Christian Funerals or before the funeral liturgy at the wake.  It is through Mary and the Most Holy Rosary that we journey together, recalling the events of Christ’s life and allowing our hearts and our minds to be drawn closer to Him, comforted and protected by His love.

Join us in prayer, this month of The Most Holy Rosary, and beyond, as we welcome the Legion of Mary on our CCAirwaves podcast. Remember the month of October is also Respect Life Month. I invite you to listen in to our Rosary Podcast and join in prayer for the intention that all life will remain sacred, in all aspects, from conception to natural death.

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

Marketing and Communications Manager

One Nation Under God: Reflections on the 4th of July

The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day in the U.S. is arguably the most important day in this great country’s history. On this day we celebrate with fireworks, barbeques, parades, friends and family. We honor the bravest men and women who fought for our freedom over 240 years ago and those who are fighting to protect our freedom today. On the 4th of July one can’t help but enjoy the sound of rhythmic music, children playing, and the thunderous fireworks which light up the sky with contours and colors that compel us to stop what we are doing and be thankful for what we have.

While we stop to embrace everything we are thankful for it is ever so important that we also turn to the One who is most responsible for our freedom. God Almighty has granted us with true blessings of freedom both in heaven and on earth. In fact, John Adams, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence praises the Most High when he so elegantly wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

John Adam’s faith in The Lord was made extremely evident here. He was one of the first of many to turn to God with thanks and praise when the newfound relief of freedom settled in over our great country. Celebrating 242 years of freedom by the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we remember and praise those who have bestowed this great amenity to our united nation. Lastly, thank you to all of our veterans and current servicemen and thanks be to The Lord! Let freedom ring!

4th of July blog pic

Prayer for America

Dear God, we thank you for the bountiful blessings you have bestowed on us. Guide us in being good stewards of these gifts. Let us care for all of your beautiful creation, from the redwood forests to the gulfstream waters. Make us instruments of your peace in order to put an end to rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. Help us to love and care for all of our neighbors -locally and globally- so that we might be truly crowned with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. Amen.

Prayer source: https://www.pinterest.com/source/franciscanmissionservice.org/
Post written by: Antonio Vuyancih

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