Thursday, November 29, 2012

Most and Least Christian States

A friend sent me a link from a Rhode Island online newspaper reporting the controversy with their
 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in their state capital.  
Apparently, Governor Lincoln Chaffee is under pressure to call their tree a 
" Holiday tree" and not a "Christmas Tree."  

This is not a new problem for the smallest state in the US. 
 Last year, protesters interrupted the ceremony demanding it be called a "Christmas tree. "  
Good for the people of Rhode Island!  
It is a Christmas tree.  
Always was and will continue to be a Christmas tree.

At the bottom of this online article is a slide show that ranks the numbers of Christians in each state.
Here is the link so you can see where your state in ranked.  The Huffington Post.


Rhode Island is ranked at 13 out of 50 in having the most Christians.
My state of Illinois is at 18 out of 50 states.
The state with the most Christians is Utah.
The state with the least is Maine.

Check out the link to see where your state ranks HERE.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prayer in the Public Square

After shopping at a local Italian food deli this morning, I experienced the most pleasant surprise.  
Through a speaker in the parking lot, they were playing a song.  
Not just any song but The Lord's Prayer.  
In song.  
In the public parking lot.  
Completely amazing.  
I stood transfixed with a big smile on my face.

Here is the Youtube video of Anrea Bocelli's Our Father in song.  It was his version they were playing.

May God abundantly bless Caputo & Sons Fruit Market & Deli!  
I hope everyone who shopped their this morning heard this song and their hearts were changed.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Flower Petal Rosary Review

Monica from Arma Dei Shoppe and Equipping Catholic Families had asked me to review one of her Cathletics Kits called Spiritual Bouquet of Prayer Petal Flowers.  I blogged about it over at Community of Catholic Bloggers today but I think the word needs to get out... so I'm blogging about it here too.  

Monica is famous for creating engaging and hands-on activities for children to learn about their Catholic Faith.  This particular prayer craft has 3 prayers/activities in it.  You can use it to teach the rosary, make a rosary garland or use the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  When you purchase the kit, Monica will send it to you by mail or as a PDF printable version.  I received it as a PDF file and printed the templates out on white cardstock and then made color copies of the Flower Petal Rosary.  I cut out all of the pieces to make our flower and then brought it to use with my first graders in religious education.

I opted to use it as a game format to informally test my students on their prayers.  I'm well aware that it's easy to recite prayers in a group but a different matter when saying it aloud on your own.  I thought this was the perfect way to do this in a non-threatening way.  Turns out, it worked beautifully for my assessment.  Here is how I used it:

  • Informed students that we were going to pray one decade of the rosary together yet each student would have an opportunity to lead 2 Hail Mary's.  (My class size is very small!)
  • Instructed students that they could either recite the prayer by memory or use the petal as prompting.  Each petal has the Hail Mary printed on it.
  • Students sat in a circle and I placed the stem with the mysteries down in the center, explaining the first decade of the Joyful Mysteries~ The Annunciation.
  • I then placed the circle with the Our Father on it and we recited it together.
  • Then one by one, each student placed their petal around the circle and led a Hail Mary Prayer.
  • As a group, we prayed the Glory Be and Fatima Prayer together.
Here are a few photos of our prayer circle:

This Cathletics kit is a fun method to teach children the basic prayers in our Catholic Faith.  It can be used again and again or it can be made into a wall display for a perpetual reminder.  Perfect for at home use or in the classroom.  Anyone who wants to teach a child how to pray the rosary would love this!  Check out Monica's blog HERE or her shoppe HERE.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Nod from Mother Teresa

Today as I was listening to Moody Bible Institute on the radio, one of the hosts quoted Mother Teresa.  It jolted me.  Yes, it was a fabulous and powerful quote but I was more surprised to hear them mention her.  I'm wary of listening to this station for their anti-Catholic statements but sadly, I cannot get a clear reception for Relevant Radio or EWTN Radio.  Not in my car or my house.  So, I do listen to either K-Love or Moody Radio instead of secular stations.
Back to Mother Teresa.  Here is her quote:
"A person does not die from hunger because God did not provide them with what they need. 
                                    They die from hunger because YOU and I do not provide them with what they need."
Makes me want to run out and donate to my local food pantry.  Recently, my sister told me of an act of love and charity that her friend does each winter.  She brings her boys to a local grocery market to buy lunch supplies.  They bring it all back home, prepare the sandwiches and then pack them up.  Then they take their food supply on the train into the city and go to the last stop.  Her, and her boys, then hand out the premade sandwiches to the beggars who approach them with this message, "God loves you and so do we."  An incredible witness this is to her young boys that all lives are special in the eyes of God, none more deserving than the other.  She is doing a wonderful job at raising her boys to live the gospel.
 "If  you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday."  Isaiah 58:10

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grace By Max Lucado

I had the opportunity to review Grace ~ More Than We Deserve Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado.  I was given a complimentary copy of the book from BookSneeze for my honest review.  Grace is his most recent book, released in 2012 and I found it to be an easy to read, thoughtful, inspiring book that explores God's grace in our lives.  Max Lucado is a well known author and minister from the state of Texas who has devoted his life to spreading the Gospel.  What a consolation to be reminded that "God has enough grace to pardon every sin, solve every dilemma, wipe every tear and answer every question.  It's more than we deserve and greater than we imagine."   Max challenges the reader to search his/her own soul to see if "we've been changed by grace" or "shaped by grace."  He uses scripture, quotes from famous saints and theologians to show the reader, where grace has touched them.  Many inspirational nuggets of truth can be found here.  Some of them seem to leap off the page like this one, "trust God's hold on you more than your hold on God." Simple yet so powerful.

Our society desperately needs to hear this message.  The word "grace" is so overused that it's true meaning gets lost in everyday life.  Max Lucado endeavors to call attention to it's true meaning.  He calls it "God's best idea.  His decision to ravage a people by love, to rescue passionately, and to restore justly."  Why does God do it?  Because he loves us and wants to be Our Father.  Nothing we do can merit it.  As children of God, we are incredibly fortunate and blessed to be so loved.  God's grace is what makes Satan tremble.  We don't deserve it yet he loves us, and lavishes it out upon us. Truly Amazing.  This is why you should read Max's book and then pass it on to a friend.  Our families need to hear this, our friends and neighbors need to hear this, we all need to learn more about the Grace of God.  This book will change you.

The last section of the book includes a Reader's Guide by Kate Etue.  It can be used as a tool to deepen your understanding of grace.  Many thought provoking questions about our own motives and actions can be explored.  Then she includes a prayer and an activity to explore grace in your day to day life.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Blessed Mother Blasphemed

I received a disturbing email from America Needs Fatima that an art gallery in London, England, has an offensive painting of The Annunciation done by Richard Hamilton.  He calls this work "the Passage of the Angel to the Virgin."  What makes it offensive is that he portrays St. Gabriel and Mary naked.  Both of them are naked.  You can see it HERE.

It's unbelievably disturbing that this artist would take such an event in all of mankind, and desecrate it by painting them naked.  It's a mockery and a shame.  I went through ANF website to sign a protest for this National Art Gallery in the UK to remove this painting.  It's only there from October 2012 until January 2013.  Please contact them to let them know how wrong it is.  This isn't art.