Sunday, February 8, 2015

Consecrated Life



At the Italian fundraiser dinner last night a 7th grade girl from the public school came up to me and asked," I am a Christian so why can't I wear what is on your head? Why must it be only the Catholics who get to wear that?  I think all Christians should be able to wear that!"  So I replied to her, "This is called a veil. I am allowed to wear it because I am a religious Sister in the Roman Catholic faith. I am a member of the Consecrated Life."  Then she said, "Oh!!!"  She understood then.  But I am sure to many people when they see me in my black and white and with a black veil on my head they are as puzzled as she is as - Who is that?  With so few religious Sisters in the United States these days compared to the 1950's when almost all Catholic Schools were staffed by Religious Sisters, many people do not encounter a religious Sister.

 

 


Sunday, February 8, Sr. Joellen and I held an open house at our convent for both parishes-Our Lady of the Mountains and St. Andrew's Parish and also families attending All Saints Catholic School. About 50 people came between 4:00-6:00pm to see our convent. One of the 1st grade girls who attends All Saints Catholic School told her mom as she was ready to ring our doorbell, " Mom, be ready to see lots of Green Bay Packer items because Sr. Carol is a Packer fan!"  I had to smile and laugh when the mom told me this and she said, "It is true! As soon as we walk in the door there is a Packer bear!"

Pope Francis has declared this year the Year of the Consecrated Life. With the focus this year on the men and women who have professed vows to a religious order, the spotlight is on us-Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

We are an apostolic religious order with our Motherhouse in Manitowoc, Wisconsin about 40 miles outside of Green Bay. A Motherhouse is where young women go who have a desire to be a religious sister and it is also our home. We serve in many states but during the summertime and when we retire we come home to our Motherhouse.
 

As young women discern whether God is calling them to religious life here is a prayer attributed to St. Basil of Caesarea (ca. 329-379) that can be used for discerning one's calling in life.

Prayer for Discernment
Steer the ship of my life, good Lord, to your quiet harbor,
where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict.


Show me the course I should take. Renew in me the gift of discernment,
so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go.

And give me the strength and the courage
to choose the right course, even when the sea is rough
and the waves are high, knowing that through
enduring hardship and danger we shall find comfort and peace.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Nativity Sets

Tis the season for the Christ Child to be under the Christmas Tree, in a stable underneath the altar, in a classroom or live on the school stage. Have you ever really looked at the figures in a Nativity Set?  Do you see the expressions and wonder what they are thinking if they were alive or what the artist's or sculptor's intent was when he created the expressions or positions? Let us take a look at some of these Nativity Figures.

This King is looking with reverence toward the Baby Jesus and a sort of twinkle in his eye-"Yes, we have at last found the newborn King. "

On his knees, he is looking intently at the Baby Jesus and in awe of the simplicity of the king's birth and in wonderment as how He will rule.

I come  bearing gold for the newborn King. He is still riding his camel, following the Star in the East and searching with his eyes so intently to find this King.

A very simple stable with a very tiny baby surrounded by His loving parents-Mary and Joseph. The angel is proud to tell the Good News to all she can.


The tiniest, hand-carved wooden babe, lying in a wooden manger-arms outstretched to tell the world-The Newborn King is here. Scripture has been fulfilled.  The Christmas cards around the babe tell the complete story.

The Peruvian Nativity Set is precious and small - just like the Baby Jesus that first Christmas Night when he came to surprise the world.

Baby Jesus here, in front of the altar, is larger than His parents-probably to show the big job God the Father has given to Him to do on Earth. He came to fulfill the Scriptures.


Mary and Joseph acting out on Christmas Eve in church why we all gather together in crowds on Christmas Eve. We have come to tell you the story of that First Christmas in the Little Town of Bethlehem. Where the Drummer Boy came to give Jesus what he had-the gift of song and playing the drums.
 




At Midnight Mass, we hear how Mary gave birth in a stable with Joseph at her side. And she named Him Jesus, as the angel told her to.



The ox and donkey witnessed the birth of this new King and gave Him the warmth He needed on that cold Christmas Eve.

With Joseph giving the first light to the newborn King who would bring Light to all the world as He grew in wisdom.

May we all take time to give thanks to Mary and Joseph for their Big Yes to God the Father and may we too give our Yes to God when He calls out to us by name.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Our Teens Step Up!



A lot of people complain about teenagers these days but I have to compliment ours. We sponsored a car wash to benefit one of our parents who has cancer. The teens in our school came forth and worked hard from 8:30am - 12:15pm.

So many cars were lined up we were kept quite busy and we never even had time to take a break and eat one of the delicious donuts provided by one of our sponsors.


We raised over $2,000 for our mom with cancer.
We were suppose to end at noon but the cars kept coming along with the  money. I finally said, "Take the signs down!! Quit advertising"  Many of us had to go someplace else in the afternoon.

One student asked if he could tell cars who get in line after we had our cut off time that we aren't washing any more cars.  I told him, to go for it!  He was great at the job. He let two more cars who had a presale ticket through. When the 3rd car came, with no presale ticket and he told them no to doing "just one more car" he responded with, "We already did two just one more car requests." Good response!

The second time recently when our teens came through to help others was when they assisted St. Vincent de Paul Society in our parish with preparing the Thanksgiving boxes - 156 of them.
 



All the students in school brought food to the parish hall for the baskets. It was great to see the small children's expressions when they saw all the food collected.

7th and 8th graders assisted the St. Vincent de Paul volunteers in preparing the boxes in all ways.


May these teens continue to be of service as they grow into adulthood.  It was a great way to begin the Advent Season.

During this Advent season I encourage you to go to our Motherhouse website fscc-calledtobe.org and listen to the Advent song "Awake The Voice" by Krista Detor.  As you listen to her beautiful voice, picture Mary and Joseph as they prepare for the birth of their child.

Have a very holy Advent Season!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Burning of All Saints Catholic School Mortgage!


September 30th, 2009 a mortgage was taken out through the Catholic Order of Foresters by Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista and it was finally paid off on October 20, 2014 and the burning of the mortgage happened on November 16, 2014!

Here is the story with a happy ending!

There was a need for additional classrooms at All Saints Catholic School, which is the parish school for Our Lady of the Mountains Parish. Fr. Brazaskas, pastor at the time, took out a mortgage for $486,000 to complete the school building project. It was a 13 year mortgage through Catholic Order of Foresters.

The last three years, Sr. Caro,l as principal and Fr.Ariel Lustan, as pastor, worked very hard to pay off the mortgage so that a new project could be started-the raising of funds for the building of a parish rectory. All these years Our Lady of the Mountains Parish had no permanent rectory for their priest. A house has been rented or the pastor owned his own home.

At last, seeing that the mortgage was paid off funds were raised to build a parish rectory and the rectory is almost neared completion. It was time to celebrate as a school and as a parish.

It was the third Sunday of the month so it was the school choir's turn to sing at the 9:30am Mass and do the Sunday's readings.



As the last song was announced, the altar servers led the procession followed by the school choir singing, Give Thanks to the Lord, as they processed out of church to the courtyard, where a small fire pit was set up to burn the school mortgage.


Passing out the parts for the burning ceremony.

Giving the details of how the mortgage came about and how it was paid off in 5 years. 

Today we gather to celebrate a milestone in our parish and school.
We come today to celebrate the good works God has worked through all of us.

 Candles were given to the pastor, Fr. Mike, two students, a parent, Parish Council President and Sr. Carol Seidl, the Principal.

Little by little it burned away!


Smiles appeared as it turned to ashes!
Debt free at last! Give thanks and praise to the Lord, our God.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Salute to Our Veterans!

 


One truly knows the meaning of Veterans' Day when you are in an Army city. Sierra Vista is home to Fort Huachuca, an Army Fort where currently hundreds of young Army recruits come for basic training. They also offer classes for officers to be.

Veterans Day here started off with a parade at 9:00am. All branches of the military were represented. It was a beautiful site of patriotism both by the participants in the parade and those viewing it on the sidelines. Makes you proud to say - " I am an American in the United States of America!"


Let me take you to the parade!  Be sure to stand and cheer for those who defend us and have defended us.

 Our flag is being carried through the parade and very proudly!

 The Knights of Columbus show their support in all their color. Many are veterans.

Army Band from Fort Huachuca.
 
Some of the Army men currently defending our country.
More ROTC recruits. Every high school in the area has such a program.

Candy and flags were passed out along the parade route.



 Fort Huachuca is home to the Buffalo Soldier. Many rode horses and still do.
 After the parade, Sister Joellen and I went to visit the Southern AZ Veterans Memorial Cemetery, which is very close to both of our parishes.

 Our flag flies proudly in front of the Huachucan Mountains behind the cemetery.
 Columbarium-many sections-beautifully done.
 The Roadrunner-State Bird of AZ - came to pay his respects as well on this Veterans' Day. For this roadrunner did not run from us but stayed close by our veterans.








 Each grave had a U.S. Flag. They have a special ceremony to place the flag at each grave.
 

 


Laid to rest near the mountains that surround the city of Sierra Vista.
 
After viewing the large columbarium and cemetery, we went to the other side of the cemetery and saw the carillon bells installed to play for all the fallen soldiers.


 
 Another cemetery was off to the side and all the stones were white. In reading the plaque, all of these soldiers died serving our country and their names remain unknown. Many were from the Civil War.


 Cemetery of the unknown Soldiers

 


 I was surprised to see this tombstone.






This plaque is for the soldiers who are known but missing in action here in Cochise County.
 Benches can be found throughout the cemeteries looking like this.





 A vivid reminder of how our servicemen and women are willing to give their life for our country. I was told this is still done today in the battlefield when someone is killed in action. Their gun, boots and helmet are used to make this military cross.
May God bless all of our Veterans - both living and deceased!
God bless America!