Archive for Eucharistic Adoration

What we’ve been up to…..

Things have been quite busy here. Between all of our school work and household chores, we have been fund raising for DD15 to go on a trip. She is leaving on Wednesday for the National Catholic Youth Conference. She is quite excited. I am happy that she is excited, but I am also a little nervous about the travel. The last time she traveled without me she was in an auto accident and it took her all summer to recuperate from it. I guess she is statistically less like to have any issues this time, but I am a mom, after all.
We participated in the making of several “drive thru dinners.”

We also participated in several bake sales, an M&M’s mini change fundraiser, a Knights of Columbus “tootsie roll drive,” a couple of pancake breakfasts, a craft fair, “Celebrate Ludlow,” a Tupperware fundraiser, and one day of “rent a teen.” There was also a fundraiser which included putting plastic flamingos on people’s lawns. We only did this once as it seemed a little like participating in graffiti to me. We had to raise about $1000. We paid a little bit out of pocket toward that goal in the form of the initial deposit.
We have worked toward this goal for the last eight months.
I am sure that the next several days will be wonderful for DD. She will be surrounded by 20,000 other young Catholics. They will celebrate the Holy Mass together and participate in Eucharistic adoration. She will be immersed in her faith. I pray that this trip draws her closer to our Lord.

Dear Lord,
Thank You for the opportunity for DD. She is excited. Please keep her safe as she travels. Please draw her closer to You and to Your Sacred Heart. May Your truth be all that she seeks. Please be with the other pilgrims on the journey. May all of their hearts be touched by Your love and grace. There are a couple of young people who desperately need You to touch their lives, Lord. It is obvious in what they say and how they act that they are searching. Touch them particularly, please.
Mother Mary, please lay your mantle over the pilgrims and keep them safe from harm.
Amen.

A New School Year

We officially began our new school year with First Friday Mass and Adoration last wee, but out “classes” didn’t begin until today. We started the morning with breakfast out at a local diner and prayer for a successful day and year. We had a few hiccups throughout the day, but all in all in went well. I think that we may ask St. Benedict to be our patron this year. Our first lesson in Latin included the motto of the Benedictines, “Ora et labora.”

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the day. Please help us to continue to have good attitudes and to do our best.
Amen.

St. Benedict, ora pro nobis.

Getting Ready

The new school year is fast approaching. The one thing that I do consistently to begin the school year is First Friday Mass and adoration. Every year I have grand plans for what we will accomplish and I plan the first couple of months and somewhere around December or January I tend to slack off. I look at the goals I have set and realize that I have set the bar too high. It is not necessarily too high for my children, but it is too high for me. I need to be able to keep up if the plan is going to work.
I know that I tend toward laziness. I have no doubt that we will use all the different curricula. My doubt lies in the ancillary things that I would like to add, all the crafts and fun stuff. Things like Facebook and solitaire on my computer are more of a temptation than curriculum planning and correcting the work that is done. I know that it is a lack of discipline on my part that causes these things to be a distraction.
I have found some great planning resources online that I hope will help me to stay the course this year. There is a free downloadable Student Planner here. and a Curriculum Planner as well.
Sanctus Simplicitus has a Catholic planner available. There are sample pages to download.
As is usual for us, we will use an eclectic variety of curricula. I have looked at “boxed” curricula and none of it has ever really fit. The math book might be ok, but the speller was atrocious, or the language arts were great but the history was tedious and boring. I have amassed a variety of resources over the years that I like and that seem to work well for us.
For arithmetic I like Systematic Mathematics. This year dear son (age 11) has moved out of the Practical Arithmetics books and will be using Establishing the Basics. He will be using God’s Marvelous Works books one and two from Rod and Staff for science this year, as well as several small unit studies for science. Rod and Staff does not actually sell their books online. They can be purchased online at a couple of different vendors. The books I am using are used by Seton for fifth and sixth grades. We will be getting through both this year. At some point in the first half of the year, we will be dissecting an owl pellet. I am looking forward to this, although I am not certain that dear son is.
Dear son will use Following Christ from the Faith and Life series for religion this year. We will also focus on learning the changes to the Mass that will be instituted during Advent this year.
For history we will be using a combination of resources. We have History Links: Ancient Greece, the MODG syllabus for seventh grade, and Connecting with History Volume II. Dear son will also be starting Latin with Latina Christiana I from Memoria Press. This should tie in nicely with our study of Ancient Rome. We will begin the year with a study of Ancient Greece. Since our history studies include a great deal of reading of both non-fiction and historical fiction, our literature studies will focus on these books.
Both Dear son and dear daughter will be using Grammarlogues for grammar study. Dear daughter will continue her studies of history with the renaissance using Connecting With History Volume III and a Renaissance lapbook from In the Hands of a Child.
Dear daughter will be studying consumer math this year using this and this. She really struggled with Algebra last year, so I thought a break for something practical and useful for the “real world” might be a nice change for her. She will also begin studying Spanish, use the Ark and the Dove from Lepanto Press for religion.
For science dear daughter will be studying Anatomy and Physiology this year. She will be using Human Anatomy and Physiology books one and two from Simple Schooling. We also have selections from the Kaplan Medical Anatomy Coloring Book that she will use in conjunction with the A&P text. Last year she studied Biology. Given her math struggles, I figured we would save Chemistry until next year.

Dear Lord,
Please help us to keep our focus on You and Your will for the future. Please keep me, in particular, on Your path so that I may the guide to my children that You would have me be.
Amen.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

We have reached the end of our homeschool “year.” This means taking a break from formal schooling for a couple of months.
Our homeschool support group just wrapped up the 3rd New England Catholic Homeschool Conference. This confeerence came into being after several of us traveled to the CHAPLET conference in Berlin, NJ five years ago. It is hard to believe that it has been five years. There is a HUGE homeschool conference that lasts several days here in Massachusetts where we live, but it is not a Catholic conference. It is a Christian conference, but there are no Catholic vendors. As Catholics, we longed to have a venue where we could begin with prayer in the way Catholics do, “In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We longed for history books that did not paint Catholics as evil, or ignore Catholic contributions entirely. We wanted to see and touch the Catholic curricula before we bought it. New Jersey was the closest Catholic conference, so we went. It was a long drive.
I don’t travel well. I have severe motion sickness when I travel by any means. Short rides are usually fine, but long ones, not so much. We were blessed to have a place to stay with the sister of one of the dear friends with I whom I was traveling. Their hospitality was so wonderful. I think I was a bit green when we arrived. My girlfriend’s niece was so solicitous. She brought us a snack and tea. Her father offered us wine. The other friend with whom I traveled has a sister who lives in New Jersey, as well. She lived in Massachusetts for years before moving there, though, and we missed her. We called her and she came to see us with her newest baby.
In the morning we had coffee and breakfast before setting out for the day long conference. We were too late for the opening Mass, but we were on time to hear all the talks. Rob Evans, the Donut Man, talked about his conversion to Catholicism and shared a couple of songs with us. His talk is the one I recall most clearly. There were two other talks that I attended, but their content has slipped my mind. We browsed the vendor hall. We met the leaders of the group that runs the conference. We gathered ideas and contact information. On the way home, we discussed what we liked and disliked. We wondered if we could do something similar. We wondered if God was calling us to put together a conference.
After we returned, we called other homeschool friends and we had meetings to discuss the feasibility. We tried to find a venue. Our diocese had precious few places available, those they did have were either too expensive, not available to a homeschool group, or not really appropriate for what we had in mind. We contacted a few folks at the Diocesan level and the leaders of our group went and met with some folks to discuss the idea. I was not one of the “leaders” at that point. It was another year before that happened, and it was really a bit by default. We had more meetings. People fell away from the group for one reason or another. There were many life changes that occurred.
We finally located a venue that was in a decent location and was affordable. We set a date. We contacted vendors. All the while we continued to pray. In June of 2009, we held that first conference. We dedicated it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was small, but it was successful. We were grateful to Seton Home Study for taking a chance on our fledgling conference.
In 2010, we had to change venues due to “pastoral planning” and the closing of many churches in our diocese. We were blessed to be able to use St. Stanislaus School, an active, local, Catholic school as the new venue. It was handicapped accessible and air conditioned. It was a win-win situation. We paid for the use of the school and their Parent group provided food to raise money for the school.
This year, we also used St. Stanislaus School. Our conference was later, though, and there were fewer vendors who could or would travel to our conference. One of the larger vendors was to come from California and they decided it would be fiscally irresponsible to fly out. We had some new vendors this year, though. We also had fewer advance registrations. We had numerous registrations at the door, but our total number of attendees was still down from the last two years. We still had wonderful talks and information. I have no doubt that God brought those people who needed most what it offered.
This year’s conference was bittersweet. We have had numerous changes in the core group that has worked on the conference since its inception, and fewer people seem willing to step up to help. It is simply not feasible for our group to try to put together this conference again next year. Through prayer and discussion, we approached another homeschool group to possibly take over the conference and move it toward the Boston area. In exploring this idea, we approached the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. This college has been a huge supporter of the conference the last three years. The president of the college, Dr. William Fahey, was our keynote speaker at the first conference.
Our contact at Thomas More is a young man named Mark Schwerdt. It became clear to us in conversation that God was calling the conference to another place. It is God’s conference, after all. The support of the college means that the conference can continue to serve Catholic Homeschoolers with authentically Catholic books. It also means that we who have worked on it to this point can back away a little and pray for the conference to be successful. We can ask God to bless those who are taking over the running of the conference, and to bless those vendors who have supported Catholic homeschoolers in our area. Prayer is the most powerful “work” we can do for the conference.
Other changes are happening in my family. My dear 15 year old daughter is spending the summer babysitting. She has one week when she will attend Srodowisko at Quiet Waters. She will be working on reading and math with two of the girls for whom she is caring. She will be the “teacher” for the summer.
My dear 11 year old son will be attending Montfort camp for the first time this year. It is an overnight camp, not a day camp, and they are not allowed to call home. That may be more difficult for me than for him. His best friend will also be attending camp. I hope they are still best friends at the end of the week.

Dear Lord,
So many changes all at once. My children are growing up and turning into fine young people. Please help me to loosen the apron strings where they should be loosened and to know when to still hold tight.
Amen.

Greccio

Greccio is a town in Italy. In the year 1223 St. Francis was led to create a live nativity scene in a cave in the hills outside of Greccio. This past Sunday evening, the San Damiano group and the Morningstar Family prayer group of St. Stanislaus Basilica presented “Greccio in Chicopee.” It was a beautiful tribute to the birth of Our Lord. The group worked very hard to put together this reflection, and after the procession outside to the stable, everyone returned to the church for Eucharistic Adoration. There are photos here. I am grateful to know most of the young people involved in this endeavor. They love Our Lord and seek to evangelize the world.

Dear Lord,
Please accept the gift of the Greccio in Chicopee as loving worship to you. Please bless the young people who worked so long and hard on it with the knowledge of Your loving presence in the Eucharist and in each of their lives. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in such a lovely representation of Your coming.
Amen