Why Be Catholic and Not Just Christian?
Let Fr. Mike Schmitz from Ascension Presents share the answers to the question, “Why Be Catholic and Not Just Christian?” in this video!
Here are Four Ways to Implement Our Lady’s Peace Plan from Heaven!
Introducing the first installment in a short series about the Peace Plan from Heaven. For the next two weeks, we will share four steps. These steps show how you can begin putting the Plan into action. Even more importantly is how you can implement these steps into your everyday lives. Finally, the series will end with special prayers given by the Angel at Fatima! So let’s begin our journey into the Peace Plan from Heaven…
Implementing – Step 1 of 4:
Next installment – Step 2 0f 4 coming soon!
Read about 3 Saintly Teenagers Who Can Inspire Young People Today
Think you’re not old enough to make a difference? Do you think you’re not old enough to be saintly? Age has nothing to do with success. Read these short stories about saintly teenagers who lived their faith to the end! And be inspired to do the same…
The list includes a “computer geek,” “popular girl,” and “smart kid.”
When reading the lives of the saints, it can sometimes be discouraging. Why? Because we’re not able to find anyone who is even remotely like us. It can seem as though only old priests, nuns and monks can be saints. Its almost as if you have to be a gray-haired religious to be holy.
However, this is nowhere near the truth. Pope Francis clearly points this out in his exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate.
To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.
Young people especially are capable of becoming saints, though we often think that is impossible. Their zeal and energy, if pointed in the right direction, can change the world.
Meet 3 Amazing Teenagers
Here is a short list of three teenagers who prove that holiness is possible for everyone, and how God uses their gifts and talents for his greater glory.
Bl. Chiara Badano
Badano was a popular girl in her class with lots of friends. She frequently played sports, sang, danced and stayed out late with friends. Bl. Chiara was paralyzed at 17 and offered everything to God, saying, “For you, Jesus, if you want it, I want it too!” She died of cancer at 18 with the words, “Goodbye. Be happy because I’m happy.”
Servant of God Carlo Acutis
Acutis loved computers and used them to spread the faith. One of his most significant computer ventures was cataloguing all the Eucharistic miracles of the world. He said, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of Heaven.” He died of leukemia at age 15.
Servant of God Anna Zelíková
Zelíková was a simple teenager who loved Jesus dearly. She wrote, “true beauty is hidden in faithfulness in little things. I always desired to do great and heroic deeds of love, but when I saw that I was unable, I was grieved by it. Now I find great heroism precisely in little things, so that now I haven’t the slightest regret whether I can do something or not.” She died of tuberculosis at age 17.
This weekend, you are invited to Take a Closer Look. After each Mass, representatives of the Care for the House of the Lord steering committee will offer guided tours so that you can view the areas included in the project and learn what the professionals have recommended.
Most families have recently completed filing their 2017 income tax returns. This is the perfect time to review the level of charitable contributions you have made, compared to your income. Each of us has been blessed with unique talents and financial gifts. One expression of an ultimate financial goal is to contribute 10% of our income from our first fruits, to the needs of others to justly share our resources with the church and those who need our help. Five percent is a goal for support of the parish, one percent for CSA and four percent to other charitable causes.
Did you know? Median Catholic household income in the U.S. is about the same as median Protestant household. If U.S. Catholic households simply gave at the same rate as their Protestant friends (not necessarily tithing, but 2.2 to 2.5% of their income) each U.S. Catholic parish would see its annual collection revenues double.
Please prayerfully consider what your response will be to this year’s CSA/Care for the House of the Lord appeal. Gifts of all “shapes and sizes” will be needed. Be as generous as you can! The gift range chart below, illustrates the types of gifts necessary to achieve the financial goal. The timing and scope of the project will be determined after all commitments have been received. The project will be debt free. Let’s gather as a community of faithful and complete the whole project as soon as possible!
Gifts Needed Above and Beyond Your CSA Contribution
|Gift Range||# Gifts Required||Cumulative Total|
Mary’s Peace Plan from Heaven
When our Blessed Mother appeared to the children at Fatima, she gave them the Peace Plan from Heaven. The requests of the Peace Plan include:
- penance and reparation
- the daily recitation of the Rosary
- the five First Saturday Devotions
- consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Putting the Peace Plan into action is our only hope for our future. So how do we put it into action? Let’s break it down…
Penance and Reparation
By penance, our Lady explains that men must amend their lives. How? Give up their easy lives of sin, ask pardon for their sins and make reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Why? Because both are so grievously offended by the sins of men.
By reparation, Our Lady means 4 steps. 1) Offering sacrifice to atone for our sins. 2) Fulfilling our daily duties to the best of our abilities. 3) Accepting the responsibilities of our state in life. 4) Obeying the Commandments of God.
Especially relevant is the sacrifice Our Lord requires of each of us, most notably is that sacrifice necessary to avoid sin and the occasion of sin as well as to accept with submission all the suffering sent to us. Everything we do, we can offer it as a sacrifice, and in offering it to God, we should say this prayer:
O my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Daily Rosary
Our Lady pleaded and insisted that men must say the daily Rosary. Reparation holds back the had of God from striking the world in just punishment for its many crimes. The Rosary is like a sword or weapon the Mother of God can use to cut down heresy and the forces of evil. It is most powerful. And many times it has saved the world from situations as bad as, if not worse than, the ones facing us today.
In addition, the Blessed Mother encourages and recommends The Family Rosary. “The family that prays together stays together”. Threats continually bombard families with breakup on all sides.
The Five First Saturday Devotions
This devotion consists of 4 parts. 1) Going to Confession. 2) Receiving Holy Communion. 3) Reciting 5 decades of the Rosary. 4) Spending 15 minutes with Our Lady meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. Complete all with the intention of making reparation to her.
Why? Because the Mediatrix of All Graces promises, at the hour of death, all graces necessary for salvation to those who faithfully practice this devotion for the First Saturday of any five consecutive months. (NOTE: The Confession may be made under the usual condition of 8 days before or after Holy Communion, provided the person is not in the state of mortal sin when he receives Holy Communion.) Due to the graces we receive, it seems like all people will make this devotion an especially relevant part of their lives!
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
This consecration is the least understood but one of the most important parts of the message of Fatima. Our Lady is looking for people willing to become cells of prayer and sacrifice through consecration to her.
Personal consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can take many forms. It can be done simply by reciting with sincerity the Act of Consecration. This consecration can be renewed each day merely by saying the morning offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, the act itself should be repeated on all important feast days of the Blessed Mother. More important than reciting the act is to live up to the conditions which it sets forth. Most noteworthy by fulfilling Our Lady’s requests at Fatima. In consecrating oneself to Mary, a Christian fulfills four goals. Christians pay her homage. You place yourself in her service. One places himself under her protection. And you strive to imitate her virtues.
Best Form of Consecration
For the average layman, it’s best to wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Therefore, Sister Lucia states that all Catholics need to hear the call to wear the Brown Scapular as part of the Fatima message. She says, “The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable.” A person who wears this Scapular declares that he or she belongs to Mary. In return, the Mother of God promises eternal life to those who die wearing this mantle. In 1251, when she gave the Scapular to St. Simon Stock and thereby to the world, the Queen of Heaven stated, “Whoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.” Consequently, wearing the Scapular serves as a constant reminder of one’s personal consecration to Mary and of the necessity of imitating her virtues and heeding her requests.
Her Immaculate Heart Will Triumph
At Fatima, Our Lady’s promises reveal that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph, Russia will be converted and God will grant some time of peace to the world. That final triumph can come soon if enough people will still grant Her requests from Fatima. It depends upon how many of us are willing to follow Our Lady’s “peace plan from Heaven.” Are you willing?
The Group Rosary Brings Forth Numerous Graces!
Group Rosary prayer is the best way to pray the Rosary. In Sacred Scripture, Our Lord says: “For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” –Matthew 18:20
This verse is often quoted to show the power of group prayer. This certainly includes praying in a group Rosary but is not exclusive to the Rosary. Furthermore, many popes have encouraged group Rosaries.
Group Rosaries are Powerful
To further demonstrate that the group recitation of the Rosary is indeed powerful are the words of Blessed Pope Pius IX, “Give me one million families praying the Rosary and the world is saved.”
He also said, “If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, in your country, assemble every evening to recite the Rosary.” This theme of families, groups, countries and even armies praying together is carried forward by the words of Pope St. Pius X. He said, “Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”
Clearly these Pontiffs were encouraging, no beseeching, people to pray the Rosary together in groups. The Rosary is not only efficacious for personal spiritual growth and special graces. The Rosary is also powerful enough to end war and even save the world!
Please join our voices together in a Group Rosary every Saturday and Sunday:
5:00pm before the 5:30pm Masses Saturday and Sunday evenings
8:30am before the 9:00am Mass Sunday morning
All ages (from infant to adult) are encouraged to join as it’s never too early and it’s never too late to start praying the Rosary! If you’ve forgotten how to pray the Rosary, the Group Rosary recitations are the best way to re-learn. Fall in love with the Rosary all over again. Please join us.
Care for the House of the Lord
This year, we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the construction of our “new” church, which was formally dedicated by Bishop Joseph M. Breitenbeck and Fr. John Porter on February 2, 1988. I am grateful to earlier generations who faithfully cared for the original church until our community outgrew the little white church across the street, and to the families who sacrificed to create the worship space that we enjoy today. We are blessed with a beautiful place to worship and now it is our time to come together and do our part to maintain our House of the Lord. I am excited to share with you that this year we will be combining the 2018 Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) with a project called Care for the House of the Lord. The project will restore the interior finishes to their original condition with quality, commercial-grade materials that will endure for the next generation. The scope of the project includes:
- Rebuilding the floor under the altar area, which has lost some of its integrity.
- Removing wallpaper on the east and west walls (adjacent to the rose windows) and repairing two structural cracks.
- Repainting the center of the church ceiling, east and west walls, chapel, sacristy, narthex, cry room, usher/scrip room, and restrooms.
- Addressing the main entrance doors and exterior metal lintels (above doors/windows) which show signs of early rust.
- Refinishing of the pew cap rails, backs and ends.
- Reupholster pews, kneelers (qty. 61) and freestanding chairs/kneelers (qty. 80).
- Removal and disposal of old carpeting.
- De-installation of pews, while replacing the carpeting, maintaining integrity of the original floor bolt system.
- Installation of an inductive hearing assistance system (Hearing Loop System).
- Installation of new carpeting in the church, chapel, sacristy, cry room, and usher/scrip room.
- Additional items may be considered as parishioner input is gathered.
The total estimated cost of the project is $233,000, including a 15% contingency.
The Care for the House of the Lord project will be combined with the So Faith May Flourish 2018 CSA Campaign. Essentially, all contributions to the combined effort will be processed as CSA gifts and once our parish CSA goal is achieved, all additional funds will be returned to Assumption to support our parish project. In other words, to secure the future of our church building, you will be asked to include the Care for the House of the Lord project in addition to your annual CSA gift.
Our 2018 CSA Goal $131,631
Care for the House of the Lord Estimate $233,000
Combined Campaign Total $364,631
Thank you for help in the worthy effort to maintain our home here at Assumption.
Our Lady’s 15 Promises to Those Who Pray Her Rosary
At the Family Night Out on Wednesday, we heard about the Rosary and why we should pray it every day. But with only 15 minutes, that’s just not enough time share all the special information about the Rosary. So each week, we’ll feature an article about the Rosary for you to read here. Beginning with Our Lady’s 15 promises to those who pray Her Rosary:
1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
[A signal grace may be a simple sign in daily life that answers a question made in prayer or points towards God’s will. For example, seeing a rose after finishing a novena to St. Therese of Lisieux could be considered a signal grace. Signal graces are often subtle or seemingly coincidental.]
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means!
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
[In other words, anyone who faithfully prays the Rosary and asks for Mary’s intercession will be saved from hell.]
6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.
[An unprovided death means dying while not in a state of grace (that is, in dying with unconfessed mortal sin in the soul). The Blessed Mother promises that anyone who regularly prays the Rosary, and earnestly tries to live according to God’s will, will be spiritually prepared when their time of death comes.]
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
[Our Lady ensures that the soul will receive sanctifying grace through the Sacraments prior to its departure from the body.]
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my Sons, and brothers of my Only Son Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
[By this the Blessed Mother means that a devotion to the Rosary is a good indication that the devotee is on the path to Heaven.]
It is amazing to realize how much grace and heavenly help we can receive by an act so simple as praying the Rosary regularly. It only takes 15 minutes to pray! Set aside time alone, with your family or with some friends to start the habit of reciting a daily Rosary. If you don’t think you have time, try praying on the way to work in the morning. You will surely notice the grace it brings to your life, as promised by Our Lady!
Understanding Holy Week in 4 Minutes!
Understanding Holy Week in just 4 minutes? It’s a great start! Holy Week is quickly approaching, the most sacred week in our Church’s year. Do you know why it’s so holy and sacred? Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink, sit back and take 4 minutes to watch this enlightening video. Enter into Holy Week with a whole new understanding of why this week is “Holy”!
Don’t Stop Understanding Holy Week!
This video took just 4 minutes. Obviously, there’s so much more to know and understand about Holy Week. 4 minutes simply can’t do it justice. Why not take some time to visit a Catholic website to learn more (simply Google “Catholic Information Websites” to find excellent sources)? Or take some time to visit a Catholic store such as The Angelus (located on Diamond across the street from St. Isidore Church in Grand Rapids). Another great source is Michigan Church Supply located on the first floor at Cathedral Square downtown on the corner of Wealthy and Division Streets in Grand Rapids. Not sure what you’re looking for? Someone is always there to help and make suggestions for you.
No matter our age, there is so much to continually learn about the Catholic Faith. Don’t ever stop learning as it takes more than a life-time to know all there is to know about our beliefs!