Sunday, January 27, 2013

Catholic Schools-Raise the Standards

It is Catholic Schools Week again and we kicked it off on Sunday with our school families attending the 9:30am parish Mass at Our Lady of the Mountains Church.
The school choir sang and led the congregation in singing. They have come a long ways since the choir was formed in the Fall of 2011.

The addition of a blazer and tie to the school uniform this Fall has added  a distinguished look to our students and you can tell the difference too in them when they have it on.

One of our 6th grade students sang the psalm response and also read the long 2nd reading. She did an outstanding job with both tasks she volunteered for. You couldn't even tell she was a little nervous.
And it was her first time singing the response and the church was packed today.

Fr. Ariel gave an excellent homily and the beauty that lies outside the window behind the altar always adds to our prayerful reflection.

Now, I am just waiting for the deer and horses to walk by.......................

I have to admit that Lent is just around the corner for us and I am not eagerly waiting for it as  Fr. A will be pulling the "iron curtain" to put us in the Lenten mood and to add to our Lenten sacrifices.  The heavy brown curtain will be pulled over our beautiful birds' eye view of God's talent with nature for more than 40 days as it doesn't even get open for Sundays which aren't part of the Lenten season. (When we were kids we got to eat our candy during the Sundays of Lent (after attending Stations of course) that we had saved up all week.)
  What joy it is on Easter morning to see the resurrection of the mountains and clouds outside this beautiful window once again. (and none too soon for most of us).

Because of the flu season hitting our area hard, the pastor asked that we not hold hands at the Our Father or shake hands at the sign of peace. We were to do the peace sign but my students came up with their own anti-flu peace sign. Take a look and do try it!

After Mass the students served donuts, coffee and juice to the parishioners to thank them for their strong support of our school.

Some students gave tours of our school which we opened up to all along with our
 "Storytelling Laboratory" Book Fair.

Sales were great today-it will be open all week.We hope to earn enough points to get a Smart Board or two for our school.
Come on in and get a good book for you and a friend-no danger awaits you here.

 Even the pastor of our school was treated to an elegant breakfast for Catholic Schools Week after the 7:30am Mass. Such generous and caring parishioners! Nothing was missing from this 5 STAR Breakfast!

The day ended with our heavy "snow-like" clouds rolling down the mountains by school. They looked like a giant snow avalanche ready to roll us over in God's cloud of wonder and love.

Perhaps the clouds will do the following for us this winter season..................
If you attended Catholic School growing up, be sure to say a prayer for your teachers, the pastor and your parents who made the sacrifice to do so. Catholic Schools - passing on the Catholic faith to tomorrow's leaders of our Catholic Church.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sledding on Mount Lemmon

It was in the 60 degrees on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Tucson. It was a fantastic day to have off of school. I celebrated by going with some friends to Mount Lemmon-part of the Catalina Mountains. Mt. Lemmon is located right outside of Tucson, about 7,000 feet elevation.
Mount Lemmon - part of the Catalina Mountains-outside Tucson, AZ

It is named for Sara Allen Plummer Allen, the first woman to climb it in the late 1800s. Lots of snow and just perfect for a day of sledding, which I haven't done in years, but one doesn't lose the touch-it's all in the steering and staying on the sled all the way to the bottom.
Here is the beginning of the climb up Mt. Lemmon.

Looking back down at the Tucson area.

Still warm and dry here. No sight of snow yet.

But further up and around another curve or two and SNOW!!!!

 Now, do I remember the tricks to staying on the sled, avoiding the bumps and flying off, and escaping the trees?
Here I am before I am wet with snow. The first climb up. 
Notice I don't even have my mittens on yet as the cold Wisconsin cold is not here-but the wet snow for packing for snowballs and making the snow icy on top for fast sledding is.

The climb up the hill.  

FLYING DOWN-I did miss the tree!

Landed at the bottom in a few branches but not bad. Each slide down I made it farther. It's like riding a bike- you don't forget how to do it. 
As kids ( 7 of us in our family) we would always walk to Kolbeck's Hill with our friends in the neighborhood and sled and tobaggon for hours. We were very cold and snowpants, and mittens were always wet at the end. But lots of fun and memories!
Climbing back up for another trip down!

After several snowball fights, touch football in the snow and many trips down the hill my feet were thoroughly wet and cold. Time to move on up the mountain to Ski Valley and the little town up here-Summerhaven.
The ski lift in Ski Valley was very active today. No sign of snow melting here.

Then further up to the only town on Mt. Lemmon-Summerhaven. I am sure it is beautiful and peaceful in the summer but the winter beauty of this little town snuggled into the mountain side was just as outstanding. I could picture Santa and his elves living here.

We made a stop at the Cookie Cabin.

They have the largest cookie ever so we got one fudge brownie cookie and shared-only fingers needed. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of it because it was just eaten too fast. Everyone was hungry after all of our fun in the snow.
The Cookie Cabin and the gift shop next door to it were both burnt down in the 1990's fire up here but they were quickly rebuilt as business is very brisk.
Here are some interesting signs I read while at the Cookie Cabin waiting for our fudge brownie to be baked.

After the cookie it was time to head back down the hill to the city of Tucson. Here is the climb down.

This is worth another trip back up-during Spring or summer for a picnic among the beautiful green trees. A chance to escape the desert for awhile. If you get a chance -take a trip up Mt. Lemmon during any of the four seasons. You won't ever forget its beauty!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Our Lady of the Mountains Rectory Project

Sunday, we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. Our pastor, Rev. Ariel Lustan, did a power point presentation for his homily. He used the word RICE since it is a staple in the Philippines and Korea and we have many from these countries in our parish. He used the acronym to explain what Baptism does for us.
E for empowerment led into the 2nd part of his homily which was:
He was empowering the people to take on the challenge of building a rectory. Our parish has been in existence for 21 years and still no rectory for the priest. Fr. Ariel lives in a rented house.

After Mass I drove to where the rectory would be built once the money is raised. Come on along on the ride with me.
We go behind church and the parish hall passing our columbarium.
You can see the mountains already which surround us on all sides.
I turn right onto Yaqui Street----
and it appears you are going to drive off into the mountains, as the road does end in a little ways. But instead I take the first right onto...
where the rectory will be built and this will be the new address of our parish priest. So far there is only one house on this road. The church owns the land all the way behind the church and playground so right now it is undeveloped.
Here is the site for the proposed rectory...
As you can see it looks down upon the church. Just a quick walk to Mass :):):)
Here is the view from up here:
I would love to live here amidst the mountains, coyotes, deer, javelinas and so on. I know there is enough land to put a second building here-a convent-why not? :):):)

I drove back down and looked at the property from the school playground. As I was getting ready to take some pictures I met one of our neighbors walking her rescue horse from Montana and her two dachshunds.

This is usually a daily walk for them. I still laugh when I go to the mailbox and see lots of hoof prints all over the dirt. Pony express picking up the mail always -as many other horses are ridden to our school mailbox.
Here is the view from the school playground looking up at the proposed site for the new rectory.

I attended the 5:00pm Mass also that Sunday and this is the view we looked out on once Fr. Ariel finished his homily.

Perfect site for a house of prayer and a parish rectory. 

Blessings upon all the donors who will be working hard to make the 
Our Lady of the Mountains Rectory a reality.