Local Catholics offer suggestions on how to observe the Year of Faith

By | January 2, 2013

Theresa Young of Sacred Heart Parish in Shawano explained that she is choosing to recite the Litany of the Saints and has even weaved this prayer with pilgrimages to local sites. The Litany of Saints she uses was issued by Bishop David Ricken in his June 2011 pastoral letter, “Parishes: Called to be Holy, Fully Engaged, Fully Alive.”1231CNS-YOFweb2

“The first petition is ‘Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us.’ So off to the daily Mass at the shrine, a place we have visited many times through the years,” wrote Young. Other pilgrimages followed: the Shrine of St. Joseph at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere and to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

Young then did some research and found information for each saint included in the litany. “We had copies made and took them to our parish school so the teaching staff could use them in their classrooms,” she said. “We have also collected holy cards of as many of the saints in the litany as we could find.”

Copies of the litany have also been sent to friends around the diocese, added Young.

“St. John Vianney … felt that every Catholic who knows how to read ought to read something about one saint or another every day,” said Young. “How else do we prove that we believe in the communion of saints?”

Mary Sedlacek, faith formation administrator at St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Green Bay, said parishioners in the Family Faith Formation Program were asked to sign a Year of Faith Covenant and to choose ways they would try to live out the Year of Faith. The parish also started a vocation chalice initiative, where a chalice goes home with an individual, couple or family each week to pray for an increase in vocations.

Sedlacek said that families in the Faith Formation Program were asked to submit ways to observe the Year of Faith. About 40 submissions were received, including the following:

• Participate in a prayer chain.

• Pray and then bless each other before bed every night.

• Sit down for dinner and pray as a family.

• Pray every night as a family.

• Read a Bible story and then discuss its meaning.

• Sign up for one week to bring home the vocations chalice and pray the daily prayer included.

• Share a positive thought each day so that we as family start to look for and see the positive instead of focusing on negatives.

• Visit nursing homes and share a story and a smile.

• Have a family game night.

• Volunteer to help less fortunate in the community.

• Have a family Bible study night.

• Do acts of kindness as a family.

Jeanne Wills Kaczorowski, also a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Shawano, offered a few suggestions for parishes.

“One idea I have is to introduce one saint each week by including an insert in the bulletin, explaining his/her life and what each did to become a saint,” she wrote. “In addition, maybe once a month, we would involve the youth at Mass by dressing up and portraying the saints who were featured each week during that month. This could be incorporated into the homily or introduced after the Mass, where the youth would then be in the gathering space for all to see and talk with them about who they represent. The youth would learn more about the saints, as would the adults.”

Dave and Mary Poch of Sacred Heart Parish offered eight suggestions:

• Pray the rosary weekly at church.

• Attend Mass during the week as well as on Sunday.

• Read Scripture during the week.

• Attend eucharistic adoration in your parish or start offering it.

• Use some of the Latin songs at Mass for a greater sense of its sacredness.

• Offer a parish Bible study or “Catholicism” series.

• Practice tithing.

• Invite your parish priest to dinner and let him know of your support.

Since only two parishes will be awarded DVDs, four more are still available. Readers should submit their entries via email to: [email protected] or mail to 1825 Riverside Drive, PO Box 23825, Green Bay, WI 54305. Mark entries “Year of Faith.”

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