Sunday, April 12, 2015

Welcome to the Church

Holy Saturday was a memorable day for four young people who came into the Catholic Church at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista.. The special  memory began in the church's courtyard with the Holy Saturday fire.
The candidates and catechumens make the fire go stronger by burning their retreat letters. 

 Procession into a dark church with the Paschal Candle-Christ our Light!
 Candidates and Catechumens are presented to Father Mike, our pastor.

 Preparing to be Baptized
 Baptism- you are now a member of the Catholic Church
 Sponsors put their hands on their shoulders for support as they walked with them the whole time during the RCIA program.
They now receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

"Be sealed with the Holy Spirit" 

 They are anointed with the oil of chrism.

You are now a full member in the Catholic Church. 

Fr. Mike is incensing the altar on Holy Saturday Night. 

The next day, the new members of the church returned for the 9:30am Mass on Easter Sunday. 

Fr. Manuel blessing the people with the Holy Water of Holy Saturday Night.

I had the privilege of reading at the Easter Sunday Mass.
The Presentation of the gifts are brought up by one of our school families. 

On Holy Saturday, the Catholic Church really grew as new members throughout the world were brought into the church.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I remember when Sister....................

If you attended a Catholic Grade School or High School you probably have memories and stories to tell about the Sisters you had. I know I do. Well, now that I am a Sister, I know that I have created many stories at each place I have been and that the students are really telling the stories to others like - I had a Sister named Sister Carol and  ......................

Well, here at All Saints Catholic School in Sierra Vista, I know that this last week I created more memories for my students to go home and tell that day and in later years. Thursday, March 26th is a day I won't forget for a long time. It began very early. It was 7:45am and I had opened the gate to school to allow the students in. I was standing on the sidewalk greeting the parents and students as they arrived. Then some 7th and 8th grade girls came running from inside the school to tell me this, "Sister!!! There is a decapitated rat outside the library!!"  "Oh NO!" I exclaimed. I can deal with tarantulas, snakes, scorpions but not a mouse or a rat - ever since I was a little girl. I knew the janitor was gone on a week's vacation so I knew I had to get into action quickly and get rid of the decapitated rat, (only consolation-it was dead).

 I got a garbage can with a lid, the longest handle on a dust pan and a sturdy broom. I approached the library where a crowd of kids was quickly gathering as word spread fast-"There is a DECAPITATED RAT by the library!"  I saw it from a distance and looked at it from different angles but I just couldn't look at it dead on. As I got closer I saw it was a big one about 10"long and very fat. Then a young boy yells out - "You can see the chord-the spinal chord!" That would be right since there was no head. I presumed some large bird, picked it up and bit off the head and then dropped it-on my sidewalk.

At last, the computer teacher heard the commotion and came out to take the broom and dust pan from me. Thank you, Jesus-there is a Good Samaritan left in this world. I had two students carry the covered garbage can to the church side and  locked the gate and came safely back to school. The janitor can get rid of it when he returns from vacation.

Now they say, bad things come in 3's, here is #2 for the same day.
I was selling ice cream at recess on the playground like I do every week to raise money. While I was doing this on Thursday, a "dust devil" or for you not in AZ a mini-cylcone dust storm brewed up. And spun on me. I quickly closed my eyes. When it left the kids shouted, "Sister, you are all covered in dirt." They quickly  brushed the dirt off of me and I spit the dirt out of my mouth. I was just plain itchy, as sand and whatever else went done my neck.

The 3rd bad thing for this Thursday....................

In the afternoon, I took my 4th grade religion class to the school kitchen to make Easter cookies using the Bible. I turned the oven on and the kids realized the oven door doesn't shut tightly so they dutifully without my asking took turns holding the door shut tight. As the students took turns beating the egg whites one of the boys yells out, "Sister! there is a spider on your veil!" I bowed my head and said, " Take it off." "It is crawling towards your hair!" "Take it off!!Just take it off!" I exclaimed. "It's a Daddy Long Legs!"  "Take it off!"  "It is still moving!!" At that point, I knew the kids weren't going to touch it, no mirror in sight and they were wound up so I couldn't leave them unsupervised. I quickly whipped off my veil, took the wooden spoon we used to smash the pecans and hit my veil several times where the spider was and then quickly plopped it back on my head. The students' response with big eyes of awe - "WOW SISTER!! We never saw you take off your veil before." Then a student yells, "There is still a spider leg on your veil." One more time I said, "Please take it off ! " and they did. I believe the spider came from the dust devil storm.

By this time, the cookies were done and we went to put them into the oven only to find a cold oven after the students held it tightly shut for about 45 minutes. So I quickly picked up the pan of cookies and got in my car and drove to the convent to put them in the oven there. BUT the industrial size cookie sheet was too big for my oven so I had to find two more pans to move the cookies too!!  What a Thursday - from a rat to a spider!

Another more calm memory my students might tell in years to come is how Sr. Carol taught them how to prepare the palms for Palm Sunday.

Friday night, Sr. Joellen and I drove an hour east to the city of Douglas where we met with the Sisters who serve in Cochsie County. Here is a picture of the variety of  Sisters in our county. I know we all have created memories for students.

We ended the week with a beautiful AZ sunset-there is peacefulness here!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Turn God Around So I Can Talk To Him, Please!

Children will lead us to God and remind us He is always there for us.

As Principal of a PreSchool-8th grade school, I deal with a wide variety of ages. I get to know them well by teaching Physical Education to them on Tuesdays-4 year olds through 8th grade, taking recess duty and interacting with the ones who get sent to me for behavior problems.

We have one very active four year old who has tons of energy and loves to talk. He comes to see me at least once a week for a time out. The first time he came, I sat him in a chair in the outer office and turned the chair toward the statue of Jesus with children and turned the statue so Jesus was looking right at him.  I told him, "I will set the timer for 5 minutes and during that time I want you to look at Jesus and ask Him to help you to be a better boy." I set the timer  next to Jesus and went to my office where I can see the little guy. He was looking hard at Jesus and I could hear him talking to Jesus. Timer went off and back to class he went.

He came to see me the next week and I said, "Ok, I am setting the timer. You have to be quiet in here till the timer goes off." I put the timer down and went back to my office. Then I heard, "Sister Carol, can you come and turn God around so I can talk to Him please?" I laughed to myself as he was so serious and he was already turned around in his chair ready to see God and talk to Him.  A reminder to all of us-turn to God when you are in trouble.

During the week, we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday with Crazy Hat Day, Crazy Sock Day and Crazy Hair Day. The joy of children enjoying life with something as small and silly as these crazy ways reminds us to enjoy the simple things of life. Don't overlook them as they can  bring us joy.

We also did Read Across America and one little Prek boy said as he opened the book, "Once upon a time"  and we think they don't listen to us grown-ups. They remember more than we think. They imitate us too. We need to watch what we say and do as little eyes are always on us.

Thursday night, it was off to Tucson to the CoWorkers in the Vineyard Convention sponsored by the Diocese of Tucson. It was great to see Pope Francis attending this too.

I bought one of his books -Inspiration from Pope Francis. The section on youth was inspiring for me  as I continue to work with the youth. "Laugh, the Lord loves you. Love others as well. Dreams can enable one to proclaim that it is worth taking a chance on Jesus. Encourage yourselves to dream. Encourage yourselves to walk and even to risk your life for the Lord. "

I kept this in mind as I set up my display of the Consecrated Life at the Knights of Columbus Founders' Day Program at our Parish  - Our Lady of the Mountains.

Upon coming home I saw our first rose of the season in bloom!  Wow! God is all around us.

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.