THE HOLY FATHER’S PRAYER INTENTIONS
ENTRUSTED TO HIS WORLDWIDE PRAYER NETWORK FOR THE YEAR 2020

January

Prayer intention for evangelisation – Promotion of World Peace
We pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote peace and justice in the world.

February

Universal prayer intention – Listen to the Migrants’ Cries
We pray that the cries of our migrant brothers and sisters, victims of criminal trafficking, may be heard and considered.

March

Prayer intention for evangelisation – Catholics in China
We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.

April

Universal prayer intention – Freedom from Addiction
We pray that those suffering from addiction may be helped and accompanied.

May

Prayer intention for evangelisation – For Deacons
We pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.

June

Prayer intention for evangelisation – The Way of the Heart
We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

July

Universal prayer intention – Our Families
We pray that today’s families may be accompanied with love, respect and guidance.

August

Universal prayer intention – The Maritime World
We pray for all those who work and live from the sea, among them sailors, fishermen and their families.

September

Universal prayer intention – Respect for the Planet’s Resources
We pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner.

October

Prayer intention for evangelisation – The Laity’s Mission in the Church
We pray that by the virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.

November

Universal prayer intention – Artificial Intelligence
We pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind.

December

Prayer intention for evangelisation – For a life of prayer
We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.

When we’re depressed or feeling blue, this prayer from Padre Pio is a way to reach out

PADRE PIO STATUE

Aletia: Margaret Rose Realy, Obl.OSB | Jan 10, 2018

If you find yourself in a state of darkness, the key is “to reach.”

The small framed unsigned print reads “Reach up as high as you can today, and God will reach down the rest of the way.” It’s my go-to quote for those times when I feel an emotional darkness—depression—coming on. For many of us this darkness is a familiar not-so-good old friend, the Black Dog mentioned by Sir Winston Churchill—or seasonal affective disorder.The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has clinical definitions for depression, and there is as well the spiritual darkness that St. John of the Cross writes about in Dark Night of the Soul. However you’ve come to a depressive state, and for whatever history brought you there, the key in both of those dark times is to reach.

The state of darkness and depression is not a void. It is a space filled with insights that we are momentarily blinded to. When we try to go it alone, we are often too wearied to keep from going under, instead succumbing to the waves of hopelessness.

To reach is not an intuitive movement when psychologically and/or spiritually sinking into depression. Even though we’ve been taught that to despair is to turn our backs to God—which is a sin—there is another element to despairing that is sometimes overlooked. It comes from the Rule of St. Benedict, “In all things may God be glorified.”

The Prayer from Padre Pio

In a recent confession, when I was in a season of depression, the priest gave me a very specific penance. I was to read about Jesus walking on stormy seas, and Peter’s fear in Matthew 14:30-31. Then reflect, specifically, on that moment when Peter is desperately reaching out to Our Lord—that second just before Jesus takes his hand.

It was a dark and doubt-filled moment for Peter, whose faith had faltered. It was also an intuitive response to a person physically drowning — reaching out, trying to grasp at anything to save his life.

Assured that the Lord had taken my hand so I will not drown, I often read this prayer, sometimes three times through!

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have you present so that I do not forget you. You know how easily I abandon you.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need your strength, so that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for you are my life, and without you, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for you are my light, and without you, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear your voice and follow you.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love you very much, and always be in your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if you wish me to be faithful to you.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for you, a nest of love. Amen.
~St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Prayer After Communion

Depression is a battle, and for some of us a lifelong cross to bear. In bearing it as best we can while reaching up and out for help, we are led in to a deeper maturity of faith—which like most virtues, is not easily won.

Did you know Assumption “caters” to butterflies?

Throughout the many flower gardens and beds spread across Assumption Parish’s campus, our Garden Club and the students from Assumption School take care of special plants. There are numerous flowers and plants that were planted specifically to encourage the propagation of butterflies! If you stop for a moment and look at the gardens, chances are you’ll very quickly see a butterfly gently fluttering by.

Take some time to enjoy the beauty of the flowers and plants and, most importantly, the featured guests – the butterflies!

This chubby caterpillar was found in one of the butterfly gardens at Assumption by a Garden Club member. Look at the beautiful colors and lines!

 

See the visitor above? This very hungry caterpillar will soon form a chrysalis. Watch the video below to see the amazing process!

Once the transformation is complete, the newly formed Monarch butterfly will break free from the chrysalis and flutter freely in search of nectar to drink! See this amazing feat here:

Now that you know this amazing process, take some time to visit the Assumption gardens to see the beautiful creatures. God is amazing!

What is Good Friday and why do Catholics go to church on this day? Watch this short, 3-minute video from Catholic Online for a thorough explanation:

 

What is Holy Thursday and why do Catholics celebrate this day with a special Mass? Watch this short, 3 minute video from Catholic Online for a thorough explanation:

The first 48 hours of any movie is the most important. Today, Unplanned (a movie based on a true story about Abby Johnson, the youngest director ever at Planned Parenthood) is opening in theaters. You will not see posters advertising this movie in any theater, but they do have times listed on their websites. Will you please go see this movie to [hopefully] put this in the top 3 this weekend? If you’ve read the book, if you’re pro-life, if you’re pro-choice, if you don’t have an opinion – it doesn’t matter. Every person should see this movie.

Locally, the movie is being shown at the following theaters:

  • Celebration! Cinema North located at 2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids 49525
  • Celebration! Cinema located at RiverTown Crossings Mall at 3728 Rivertown Parkway, Grandville 49418
  • Celebration! Cinema South located at 1506 Eastport Dr, Grand Rapids 49508
  • AMC Grand Rapids located at 3000 Alpine Avenue NW, Walker 49544
  • AMC Holland 8 located at 12270 James St., Holland 49424
  • AMC Classic big Rpaids 4 located at 213 S. Michigan Avenue, Big Rapids 49307-1809

Please be sure to thank these theaters for showing this movie. Other theaters simply chose not to show it.

A Good Read This Lenten Season

Any Kev-Heads out there? If so, then you know the author of Broken Mary. Yes, Kevin Matthews. Early day shock-jock from WLAV-FM in Grand Rapids. But don’t let that stop you from reading this book! Mr. Matthews, a life-long Catholic, takes readers from his early days up to his amazing re-engagement of the Catholic faith. In addition, you may recognize the local names in the book (like a local priest in Grand Rapids!). And this book will inspire you to take a trip over to St. Anthony of Padua Church as well to visit Broken Mary.

But most importantly, Kevin’s message of brokenness, forgiveness, acceptance, renewal, hope and so much more rings true for all. His message is so sincere, so moving, so honest. It’s a beautiful read for this Lenten Season.

Follow Kevin’s Lead

Kevin had been hearing and feeling a thought in his heart to pray the RosarySo he committed to saying the Rosary every day during Lent. He didn’t know how to say the Rosary. But he found an online recording and prayed with it every morning. Here’s an insert from his book discussing his journey:

“There I was, standing in front of this beautiful statue for all those gathering to see, and now it was time to kneel. Earlier that winter, I’d had my knee replaced, that and my MS were going to make kneeling a challenge. What if I don’t finish in front of all these people? Mary, Jesus, please help me to do this.

Soon I was kneeling, with no pain. I closed my eyes and saw no people. I began to pray the Rosary, and the church noise turned to silence. Within forty days, I had learned how to pray the Rosary without prompting, each bead, fingers moving forward, slowly, prayer after prayer after prayer. Then, finally, the Sign of the Cross. On that last day of Lent, my days of just reciting the Rosary were over, because I was beginning to pray.”

Begin to Pray

Will you follow Kevin’s lead? Will you commit to saying the Rosary every day during Lent, so that when Lent is over, you just won’t be reciting the Rosary?

If you’re unable to pray the Rosary every day, will you prayerfully consider coming early to church to pray the Rosary together? You’re invited to pray a Group Rosary at Assumption every Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. before the 5:30 Mass, Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. before the 9:00 Mass and Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. before the 5:30 Mass. Prayer in groups is powerful! And this is a great way to learn how to pray the Rosary if you don’t remember how.

Learn More About Broken Mary

Go to The Broken Mary Project to read all about Kevin’s journey, pray the Rosary with Kevin with his online recordings, order the book and ask for prayer intentions.

By Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic

Why I’m Not Leaving the Church and 3 Things We Can Do to Fix It:

Now more than ever people need to know there is something more to life.

Now more than ever people need to know – really know – that the answer is the Good News Jesus offers.

And that is why now, more than ever, people need us to get back to basics: Pray. Serve the poor. Preach the Gospel.

Will you join me? http://reallifecatholic.com/stay-connected/

Aletia: Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

According to tradition, Mary’s parents were barren until God answered their prayers.

Little is known authoritatively about the Virgin Mary’s early childhood and family. However, an ancient text from the year 145, called The Protoevangelium of Jamesprovides a narrative that many saints have turned to when wanting to learn more about the Virgin Mary.

According to the unknown author, a man named Joachim was saddened at not being able to conceive a child with his wife, Anne. It’s recorded, “Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.”

Similarly, Anne “mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness.” Then Anne “saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as You blessed the womb of Sarah, and gave her a son Isaac.”

The Angel Appears

In the midst of her prayers an angel appeared and said, “the Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth; and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.” At the same time an angel appeared to Joachim, saying, “Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down hence; for, behold, your wife Anne shall conceive.”

The two conceived a child shortly thereafter and then according to the story “her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anne brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? And she said: A girl. And said Anne: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anne was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.”

The account echoes many of the stories in the Old Testament, where couples were barren until they cried out to God. Angels are often the bearers of good news to them, proclaiming that they will bear a child. Yet in this case, instead of a boy, the announcement is a girl who “shall be spoken of in all of the world.”

The Catholic Church’s Beliefs

While the story is not known to be a factual account, the Church does refer to the parents of the Virgin Mary as Joachim and Anne.

Whatever happened, it would have been fitting for her birth to be miraculous, as the Church teaches that the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin in the womb of her mother. The Solemnity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is celebrated annually on December 8, nine months before the Feast of the Birth of Mary on September 8.