From Our Friends at North Kent Connect:

We Can’t Do It Without You

Spread some cheer during these winter months by volunteering at North Kent Connect! Here are some ways you can help:

  1. Do you like to cook OR are you really great at ordering takeout? Provide meals for our volunteer tax preparers. They spend all day or stay late into the evening to provide free tax preparation for our low-income neighbors. Don’t let them do taxes on an empty stomach – sign up here to bring a meal.
  2. Do you love hands-on ways to feed people in our community? Pack or distribute Senior Pantry and Federal Commodities food bags! These bags are filled to the brim with dry goods, canned food, meat, dairy, and other items for seniors and our clients. These are the perfect volunteer opportunities for groups who are looking to give back.

    Prepare Senior Pantry Bags any time during the day on:

    • Tuesday, March 13
    • WednesdayMarch 14
    • Tuesday, April 17
    • WednesdayApril 18
    • Tuesday, May 15
    • WednesdayMay 16

     Distribute Senior Pantry bags (9:30 am – 1:00 pm) on:

    • Thursday, March 15
    • ThursdayApril 19
    • ThursdayMay 17

    Prepare Federal Commodities Bags any time during the day on:

    • Monday, March 19
    • Tuesday, March 20
    • WednesdayMarch 21

    Distribute Federal Commodities (8:30 am – 3:00 pm) on:

    • Thursday, March 22

Need More Information?

For more information on volunteering, contact Community Engagement Coordinator Cassie LaMacchia via email or at (616) 866-3478. Thank you!

 

Join Pope Francis to Pray & Fast For Worldwide Peace

Pope Francis is asking all men and women of goodwill, regardless of their religious denomination, to join him in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace Feb. 23 for the war-torn countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, of South Sudan and the world.

Addressing crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus Feb. 4, the Pope said that “Faced with the tragic protracted situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23rd, the Friday of the First Week of Lent”. (Vatican News)
The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, is encouraging Catholics across the nation to join with Pope Francis on Feb. 23, for this special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace.

Take Action

What can I do for peace? Three ways to respond:
  1. Learn about the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Read this statement from the USCCB President.
  2. Pray for peace using this Prayer for the Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the whole world or one of these prayers for peace.
  3. Share what you’ve learned with others. Spread the word on Facebook or Twitter. Invite your parish to use these Prayers of the Faithful for the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23.  Gather your community for prayer for peace using the Scriptural Rosary for Justice and PeaceChaplet of Divine MercyLitany of the Holy Name of JesusLitany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or Holy Hour for Peace. Give to Catholic Relief Services. . . to support their peacebuilding work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and other countries.

Got Confidence?

  • Are you beset by worries about making ends meet?
  • Do you ever wake up in the morning dreading to get out of bed and face the trials of the day?
  • Do you sometimes feel that your world is coming apart and you’re falling into a black hole of hopelessness?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please remember –

YOU’RE ONLY HUMAN!

All of us have moments when our self-assurance fails us. We need to look to Jesus and Mary for help. The Book of Confidence is full of genuine comfort and inspiration. Therefore, it provides the help you need to find true peace in these troubled times.

When you read this book that draws on Holy Scripture and writings of the Saints, Jesus will speak gently to your heart. As a result, just when you think that things cannot get any worse, you’ll find the strength you need in the consoling truths that Father Thomas de Saint-Laurent presents in his book on confidence.

Order yours today. Only $9.95! Call (888) 317-5571

FREE SHIPPING – Mention Code: 151BOC

The book is offered by The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). The American TFP is an organization of lay Catholic Americans concerned about the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization. See their bi-monthly current publication Crusade Magazine here or issues from 2017 here

Crusade Magazine seeks to educate the public on the issues that affect them most. They apply the Church’s inexhaustible teachings to national and international events, culture, history and more. It also illustrates the seldom-perceived relationship that exists between the Faith and every aspect of life, including politics, ambiences, customs and civilizations.

Common issues dealt with include: abortion, homosexual agenda, blasphemy and escalating persecution against the Church. Furthermore, each issue contains a progress report on activities carried out by the American TFP’s America Needs Fatima campaign to spread Our Lady’s Fatima message.

NOTICE: Assumption does not receive any financial gain whatsoever for featuring this information. We’re simply sharing information we feel may be helpful to some people.

CRS Encounter: Iraq – Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Jesus reminds us that we are all made in God’s image and likeness. That means that every human being has a special value and a purpose. We need to care for each other so we can be the people God calls us to be.

Encounter Majd

 

Eight-year-old Majd thought his family was going on a picnic. His mother, Lamya, said they would be back home in a week. But when ISIS attacked their home in northern Iraq, the family fled for good.

“What worried me the most were the kids,” Lamya says. “Our life was stable and we were doing well; we had a very big house. Our children had everything they needed. But when we fled, I was not able to bring anything for them—not even food.”

Fortunately, the family found an apartment to rent with other displaced families. It is much smaller than the home they had, but it’s safer. The children enrolled in a CRS-sponsored school, where the routine provides hope, stability and a sense of belonging. “Education is very important,” says Lamya, especially in Iraqi culture.

Lamya received training from CRS and became a teacher at the school. Now she has hope for the future. “I really love children, so when I go to class I feel like I am with my family,” she says.

Her son, Majd, also loves going to school. “Majd is so motivated to go to school. He just wants it to be morning so he can go,” Lamya says. “He is relaxed, having fun and more confident.” For Majd, school means a normal life—now and in the future.

 

Preparing For Lent

Sometimes, there’s no better way to prepare for Lent than to spend a little time with Fr. Mike Schmitz!

By Ascension Presents. Go to their website to see more videos like this! Have a blessed Lent!

Boy Scouts Isn’t Just for Boys Anymore!

Assumption has very active Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops. But did you know the Scouts aren’t just boys in the troops anymore? Take a look at this video from Fox 17 News! Do you recognize any of these adorable faces?

Meatless Meals a Struggle?

Lent 2018 is quickly approaching! For Catholics, that means eating no meat on Ash Wednesday, February 14th (which is not only a day of abstinence but fasting as well). The Fridays of Lent for the next 6 weeks are days of abstaining from eating meat. If you don’t go to the Knights of Columbus fish fry at Assumption or another local fish fry on Fridays, what do you serve your family at home for meatless meals?

Of course there’s always fish. The Gorton Fisherman makes sure the options are plentiful at the local grocery stores. But what if you’re on a special diet that doesn’t allow for fried, battered fish? Or carbs for that matter? Do you struggle to find something the whole family will like? Make fish-stick Fridays a thing of the past!

Meatless Meals from Around The World

If you feel really adventurous, try a recipe from Catholic Relief Services! They have six years worth of recipes of meatless meals from around the world. In addition, they have suggestions as to saving money that you can then put in the Rice Bowl.

Try a recipe from a country such as Columbia, Lesotho, Tanzania and many more! Make it a family event by looking up the country and learning about it’s people, culture and history. Perhaps you can find a recipe from your family’s heritage. If you do make one of these recipes, please let us know in the comments below and be sure to share a picture! Click here to access the CRS recipes.

Share Your Ideas and Recipes!

What are some meatless recipes you serve your family during the Lenten season? Please share below in the comments so our Parish Family can get some new ideas to avoid fish-stick Fridays!

 

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services

Lent and Catholic Relief Service’s Rice Bowl

The Feature Image:  Teacher Joseph Andrise, 29, from Notre Dame de Lamerci de Robillard school, in Nord Department, Haiti, and her students of first grade eat cassava bread with peanut butter that is given as a morning snack. Many children come to school without eating. This gives them energy to stay awake and learn. Donations to the CRS Rice Bowl helps to make a difference.

Catholic Relief Services in partnership with the diocesan office of the Catholic Education Commission, are implementing the program Haiti Reads. Every student receives a new workbook to practice reading and writing. This is a big change from before, when students had to copy notes from the board.

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services

Read a letter from Bishop Walkowiak here.

 

Your Lenten Gifts Change Lives

Did you know that by sacrificing $1 a day for 40 days of Lent, you help provide:

1 MONTH OF FOOD for a family

2 YEARS OF SEED for a farmer

1 EMERGENCY KIT for refugees

75% of your CRS Rice Bowl donation supports Catholic Relieve Services programs around the world.

25% helps alleviate hunger and poverty in our local Diocese of Grand Rapids!

  • Catholics in the U.S. touch more than 120 million lives through CRS programs.
  • Motivated by the example of Jesus Christ, CRS reaches communities in 112 countries.
  • CRS Rice Bowl helps families reflect on and respond to global issues like hunger, migration and poverty.

Companions on the Journey

PRAY to encounter Christ in your life and in every member of our human family.

FAST to encounter the obstacles that keep you from serving God and your neighbor.

GIVE to encounter God’s love, and share it with our brothers and sisters in need.

Rice Bowls Available in the Church Narthex

Please stop by the table in the Church Narthex to pick up your family’s Rice Bowl beginning after all Masses the weekend of February 10th and 11th. They will remain there until they’re all gone!

Help Your Children Understand What the Rice Bowl is!

Please share this video with your children!

More info to come throughout all of Lent! Stay tuned…

Enjoy Paczki Before Observing Lent

If you’re not familiar with paczki (plural, pronounced ‘POONCH-kee’), here’s some interesting facts. The singular is paczek (pronounced ‘POON-check’). Don’t order just one “paczki” as that’s the plural. Order one paczek. If you happen to make a mistake, don’t worry. How are you to know if you’re not Polish? Indeed, one thing’s for sure: if you don’t enjoy a paczek or two before Lent, you’re missing out!

In any event, whether it’s one or many, paczki are Polish pastries that are inextricably linked with Fat Tuesday celebrations. People not of Polish heritage compare it to a jelly-filled donut. But it’s not comparable at all. And I’m Polish so I know! Why is it not close? Because authentic Polish paczki are made with extremely rich dough, literally made of everything rich found in the Polish pantry. Catholic religious law forbade the consumption of lard, sugar and eggs during the Lenten fasting season. Paczki is the result of cleaning out the Polish pantry and indulging before Lent which generally begins the Thursday before Lent.

Enjoy Paczki from a Bakery

Before you stop just anywhere to buy paczki, make sure you know if the bakery uses an authentic paczki recipe or if they simply use their donut recipe for the dough. Last year I excitedly made a stop at a new bakery and was not happy to find a “donut” paczki. It makes a difference! A true, authentic paczki is super rich and delicious. Eating one brings a body joy. Eating more than one at a time makes you sick! That’s why Polish people start the Thursday before Ash Wednesday so they have a few days to eat more than one!

If you can’t find authentic paczki, why not try making your own?

Authentic Recipe

My Polish Busia made wonderful paczki. Most recipes are similar and this one is very close to my Busia’s. Any way you look at it, paczki are good, and all that is good comes from God. Whip up this recipe, try a homemade paczek, start a new family tradition and have a blessed Lent!

 Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 2 pkgs. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2-3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly (Busia used 1/2 butter, 1/2 lard)
  • oil for frying (preferably lard but canola works if lard isn’t available)
  • any fruit jam (optional for filling)
Directions

Scald milk and allow to cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast into lukewarm milk. Dissolve yeast in milk and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed and let stand for about 30 minutes or until bubbles form.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy. Add sugar, salt, vanilla and nutmeg and continue to whisk to combine well.

Grease a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Add the sugar/egg mixture to the dough mixture and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon. Add melted butter and continue to stir. Gradually combine remaining flour until a slightly sticky but soft dough comes together. Flour your hands, knead the dough a few times and form into a ball.

Place dough in prepared mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).

Punch down dough. Roll to a 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out dough rounds using a round cutter. Or you can use an upside down drinking glass. Just dip the rim in flour after each cut if it sticks. Place onto a wax-paper (or parchment) lined cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 minutes in a warm place.

Heat a deep skillet with 1 1/2-inches of oil to about 350 degrees F. Place 3-4 paczki in the skillet at a time and fry until dark, golden brown on each side. Use tongs to flip only once! It’s important to let them get dark in color to make sure they cook all the way through. Gently place on paper towel-lined plate to drain the oil. Repeat the process for remaining paczki.

Sweetening the Paczki

After they drain on paper towel, dip into granulated or powdered sugar. My Busia would put the sugar in a brown paper bag. Then she’d add the paczki a couple at a time and shake until well coated. This way they get sugar on all sides equally. Using a piping bag, fill paczki from the side with fruit jam of choice, if using. Stewed prunes are the traditional filling, but raspberry, blueberry, cherry and more taste great, too. Enjoy!

Polish Hints

Frying hints:

Test the temperature of the fat by dropping in a cube of bread, about one inch in size. If it browns in one minute, the fat is hot enough. This is a good general rule to remember when frying any uncooked food. Be sure, above all, that the fat does not smoke. That means it’s too hot.

Prior to cooking:

Add a tablespoon of cold water to the cold fat . This keeps it from burning easily and insures a nice browning of the food. Fat may be used over and over again, if clarified after each use and stored properly.

To clarify oil:

Let the fat cool and add a few slices of raw potato. Heat slowly until the potato is well browned. Strain through several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Store in a tightly closed container in a cool, dark place. When re-using, fry a quartered apple in the fat to remove any flavor prior to use.

St. Bakhita

Watch Bakhita for FREE on FORMED.org!
St. Bakhita

Today, February 8th, is the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita and also the International Day of Prayer for the Victims of Human Trafficking. This beautiful and powerful film tells her story.

The Story of Josephine Bakhita

Watch this video St. Bakhita, the Patron Saint of Sudan for FREE on FORMED.org! Don’t have an account set up yet? It’s easy. Go to the FORMED post which takes you through the simple steps.

A Prayer For Victims Of Human Trafficking

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration has designated February 8th as an annual day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking.  On this day, let each of us pray for the emotional, physical and spiritual healing of victims, and make a personal commitment to work against human trafficking.

A Prayer for the End of Human Trafficking
As shared by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.

God of freedom, beauty and truth
we believe that your deepest desire,
your most powerful energy,
is that all creation might know abundant life.

We raise our voices in anguished prayer
for our sisters and brothers,
women and girls, men and boys,
who are modern day slaves;
They are your beloved daughters and sons,
exploited sexually or forced to work
because of human violence and greed.

Fill us with your holy anger and your sacred passion
that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice;
that traffickers will come to repentance and conversion;
that all of us might live in such a way
that others are not made to pay the price
for our comfort and convenience.

Hasten the coming of the day when all people
and our precious Earth itself
will be treated, not as a commodity,
but as radiant images of your freedom, beauty and truth.
Amen. May it be so.