Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Year Of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting

Please join us for a special Year of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting!  We are just hours away from entering Lent.  Some have shared that there is a feeling that this Lent is special.  There is a desire in one's heart to do something more for Our Lord. Indeed, it is special.  We are within an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.  We are making our way toward the Cross, the source of Mercy. The Rosary and Our Lady both lead us to the foot of the Cross.  This year something remarkable also will happen.  The Annunciation, which traditionally falls on March 25th, is also the day Good Friday is celebrated.  The Catholic Church transfers celebration of the Annunciation to April 4th this year.  Yet, 9 months from March 25th is Christmas so even though celebration of the Annunciation is transferred, one is aware of the wonderful connection of these dates. Indeed it is a recognition of the moment Our Lord said, "Not as I will but as you will" (Matthew 26:39) and Our Blessed Mother said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy will"(Luke 1:38).  What if we, in our humility, could come before the Cross this year and say, "Thy will be done," with our whole heart...allowing all the ties of this world to be stripped away and say, "Yes," to all God has planned for each of us? 
The words of a famous song come to mind, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  Yes, may this year be something very special for each of us. Let it begin with each of us.  Recently, I heard a Rabbi speak about the time when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.  The Rabbi explained that unlike the English language, some languages have a separate word for you singular and you plural.  When God gave the Ten Commandments he chose to use you singular.  His directive was specific to each of us.  Likewise, in reading the life of St. Francis of Assisi one sees that it was only when St. Francis embraced the leper did the Lord begin to bring him a great many people to help with his Apostolic work.  Indeed, it would seem the Lord waits for us to embrace our leper or in another terms open our heart to His will completely which is guided in all things by love.  Once we achieve this, many things in our lives which seemed "stuck" become "unstuck".  
To help us all come before Our Lord on Good Friday this year with a completely open heart, we would like to invite you to participate in a 9 day novena of prayer and fasting from March 17th through March 25th.  The Novena will kick off on the evening of March 16th when the Children's Rosary will host the Relics of the Passion.  Included in this special Year of Mercy Tour of the Relics of the Passion is a piece of the True Cross.  The relics will be coming to a Church named after St. Helena, the person who is credited as discovering the True Cross.  For all those who would like to participate in this Year of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting you are invited to send your name to be placed at the foot of the Cross on March 16th during the visit of the relics.  We will pray and offer up all those names during the evening of prayer.  We are inviting all those in the vicinity of St. Helena Church in West Hartford, CT USA to join us that evening at 7PM EST.  For those who live far away unify prayers with us. We would like to have as many children involved with hosting the Relics of the Passion as possible on the evening of March 16th.
Novena March 17-25 
1) Pray one Rosary each day meditating on the life of Christ
2) Fast for 9 days

We feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to begin our fast at the cross and end with the cross.  
While some may be able to do a bread and water fast for the nine days, others may find the Lord calling them to some other sacrifice.  The Lord will ask something of each of us.  For children, some may be drawn to a level of fasting but careful discernment should be taken with their parents to help find a special sacrifice to give to Our Lord.
This past Sunday, the Pastor of our Parish stated, "without risk there is no faith.  The level of risk is proportional to ones faith". Indeed to venture out into the deep as Peter did is a risk, but when we do so for the Lord what will we find in our nets?  Let this be the Lent when we give Our Lord everything.  Let us fast and pray that we may say Thy Will Be Done on Good Friday and like never before join Our Lord at the Cross and bask in His Mercy.
If you would like to participate in the Year of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting and have your name placed before the relic of the True Cross on March 16th please email Blythe Kaufman at blythe.kaufman@gmail to give your name.
Please also email Blythe Kaufman if you have a child who would like to help with the Relics of the Passion Visit on March 16th at St. Helena Church in West Hartford CT.  The event will begin at 7PM.  Children involved will be asked to come at 6:15 PM.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Renewal of Family Prayer

A Mass was offered yesterday for Renewal of Family Prayer through the Capuchin Missions.  This is something we do on the first Saturday of every month. The children also pray for renewal of family prayer in their prayer groups. In addition, over 780 individual 9 day novenas have been said by members oft the Children's Rosary to different saints also asking for renewal of family prayer.  Why so much attention and prayer for this topic?  

The Children's Rosary is not an intercessory prayer group, meaning its purpose is not to purely pray for intentions, rather it is a prayer group for children which helps support their prayer lives. Yet one cannot ignore the importance of prayer in the family.  Saints throughout history have championed prayer in the family.  The famous saying coined by Servant of God Fr. Patrick Peyton summaries it so beautifully, "The Family that stays together prays together".  And so to keep and strengthen our families we pray for them. We hope that the prayer the children experience in their prayer groups will blossom into a richer prayer life in their homes.  Many members of the Children's Rosary have shared how this is happening in their families.

Recently, we have begun to experience some of these graces in our own family prayer.  It began one night by chance.  My husband was reading the Bible, as we do each night.  We had reached the Psalms.  On this particular night, there was something that caught my attention and I asked my husband to repeat it as I very much liked the verse. Then an idea came, maybe I should ask the kids and my husband if there was something they liked in the reading.  We found that it took several re-readings of the psalm that first night for everyone to find a favorite part.  

As the nights continued, we began to ready the children before prayer telling them, listen very carefully for the part that "speaks to you".  Our middle son and I found having a pen and paper ready to quickly take down our favorite part made things much easier.  Our daughter found that she liked to try and listen extra hard and remember just a phrase.  Not only would we ask the children to say their favorite part of the reading but also explain why it was their favorite.  May I humbly share some of what our children found 
One of our children chose some of these quotes over several nights
"Leave all to the Lord. Be patient and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 37:5,7). To this he said, sometimes you do not feel anything when you pray but you must wait things will happen.  "Give up anger... Shun evil and do good.  For the Lord loves what is right" (Psalm 37: 8,27,28).  As parents it was interesting to hear such selections chosen as favorites.  Yet we could see his selections mirroring some of the recent decisions he had been making.  Instead of losing his temper he had been choosing another path.  There was a new willingness to try harder for the good.  For this we all have been so grateful.

Our younger son found Psalm 31:10 spoke to him, "Have Mercy on me for I am in distress". He said, when you are faithful to prayer and offer sufferings, God is always happy to help you.  

This new evolution in our family prayer comes after at least 5 years of praying together as a family.  It is interesting it took so much time for us to find this way of discovering Scripture in a new way.  Something else interesting began to happen, our eleven year old son began to take a notebook to Mass with him and began taking notes during the readings and homily. He liked having notes from both family prayer and Mass.  The first weekend he began to do this the homily perfectly mirrored what we were experiencing.  The priest was talking about Scripture: that we must read, listen and respond.  Before we were simply reading Scripture in our family.  Now the kids (and yes us parents too),  are listening and responding with how it is moving in our hearts.  

Indeed no matter what our starting point is with prayer in our family, Our Lord can make it better and for this we pray and offer Masses.  It is our hope that we may have holy families where prayer feeds us and serves as a unifying force to keep us together.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:
How to Start a Children's Rosary
Star of the Sea
"Take Up and Read"

Friday, February 5, 2016

"Many Things Can Wait but Children Cannot, for Them We Cannot Answer Tomorrow; Their Name is Today"

The son of one of our Children's
Rosary group leaders
Ambassador Liberata Mulamula of Tanzania recently spoke these words when speaking of the children of Tanzania during a visit to the United States.  She was quoting author Gabriella Mistral.  

"Many things can wait but children cannot, for them we cannot answer tomorrow; their name is Today!"

Indeed time goes by very quickly.  One cannot stop the clock.  Looking at my own children I see them growing up so quickly.  They have a short time to be children.  Such is a precious time.  To delay sharing the faith with them is to lose that moment.  

Today a storm hit our town somewhat unexpectedly.  Yesterday, it was 50 degrees and we were enjoying the unseasonable warmth.  Today everything is covered in a blanket of snow.  Our Blessed Mother who stands at the door of the Church was covered in snow this morning.  The wind driving the snow hard against her.  

We cannot know how quickly things will change.  A warm day can on a dime change into a treacherous winter storm as we saw in the last 24 hours.  Do not delay ones good intentions.  Let us not think of tomorrow but rather think of the names of our children as Today.  Parents, grandparents look at your children and see this as a wonderful opportunity to share your faith.  Let this be a legacy you pass on.  A beautiful way to do this is to begin or join a Children's Rosary prayer group.  By making this time to spend with them and coming before Our Blessed Mother, we by our very presence show how important prayer is in our lives.  Our children need food and clothing...yes but they also need to know God.  As the Scriptures tells us: "Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on....Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:25, 33) As parents and grandparents, we hope our children will be provided for when we are no longer there to watch out for them.  Put them in the hands of Our Lord and His mother and we have only to trust completely.
Friday February 5th (First Friday)
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Butanpura Pakistan 6AM local time

Children's Rosary at St. Mary's School in Orange TX 7:05 AM CT
Children's Rosary at St. Mary's School in Pontiac, IL 9AM CT

Children's Rosary at St. Mary's Church in Pine Bluff Wisconsin10 AM CT
Children's Rosary at St. Augustine Church in Iba Estate Lagos, Nigeria 1PM ET

Children's Rosary at St. Peter Church in Musa Dughal Pakistan 2PM local time
Children's Rosary at Immaculate Conception Church in Fairbanks Alaska 3:30 PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Parish in Adrain, Michigan 5PM
Children's Rosary in Shendam Diocese, Plateau State Nigeria 6PM local timeChildren's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Butanpura Pakistan 9PM local 
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Ashraf Town Pakistan 6PM local time

Children's Rosary at St. Luke's Parish in Ogallala, Nebraska
Saturday February 6 (First Saturday)
Children's Rosary in Cebu Philippines meets each Saturday.

Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Butanpura Pakistan 6AM local time
Children's Rosary at St. Mary's Church in Corvallis, Oregon 9AM PT

Children's Rosary at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Harare, Zimbabwe 9AM local timeChildren's Rosary at St. Agnes Church in Naples FL 9:30 AM ET
Children's Rosary at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Sharon, MA 9:30 AM ET

Children's Rosary at Our Lady of LaSalette Parish in Sulphur, Louisiana 9:30 AM CT
Children's Rosary at S. Michael the Archangel Parish held in the Kibera Slum in Langatta Nairobi, Kenya to meet at 10 AM local time
Children's Rosary at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Rushden, Northants England 10 AM ET
Children's Rosary at Holy Family Parish in Syracuse, NY to meet at 10 AM ET at the Daughters of St. Mary Chapel
Children's Rosary at St. Bridget Church in Cheshire, CT 12:30 PM ET

Children's Rosary at St. Peter Church in Musa Dughal, Pakistan 2PM local time
Children's Rosary at Sacred Heart Church in Middleboro, MA 2PM ET
Children's Rosary at the Daughter's of Charity Convent Bridgeport CT 2PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Gregory the Great Parish in Bristol, CT 2:15 PM ET 
Children's Rosary at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Tacloban City Philippines 3PM local time
Children's Rosary at St. Thomas Becket Church in Cheshire, CT 3PM ET
Children's Rosary at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, CT 3:30 PM ET

Children's Rosary at St. Peter's Church in Higganum, CT 4PM ET 
Children's Rosary at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Natchitoches, Louisiana 4:30 ET 
Children's Rosary at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Shrub Oak NY 4:45 PM ET
Children's Rosary at our Lady of Fatima Parish in Hartford, CT 5PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Richmond, Virginia 4PM

Children's Rosary at Immaculate Conception Church in North Delta British Columbia Canada at 4PM PTChildren's Rosary at Mary Queen of the Universe Parish Comstock, TX 5:15 CT
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Ashraf town Pakistan meets 6PM local time

Sunday February 7th
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Butanpura Pakistan 6 AM local time
Children's Rosary at Our Lady and St. Patrick Church in Nottingham, England 9AM local time
Children's Rosary at Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Nairobi, Kenya 6AM ET

Children's Rosary at St Thomas Church in Thomaston, CT 11 AM ET
Children's Rosary at Holy Trinity Church in Harlan, Kentucky 11:30 AM
Children's Rosary at St. Augustine Church in Iba Estate Lagos, Nigeria 1PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Bernard Church in Mount Lebanon, PA at 2PM ET

Children's Rosary at St. Peter's Church in Musa Dughal Pakistan 2PM local time
Children's Rosary at the Daughter's of Charity Convent in Bridgeport CT 2PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Joachim Parish in Madera California 5:30 PM ET
Children's Rosary at Assumption Church in Umoja, Kenya 2PM local time

Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Ashraf Town Pakistan 6PM local time

Monday February 8th
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Butanpura Pakistan 6AM local time

Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Wakefield, MA 9:30 AM ET
Children's Rosary at Our Lady of Grace Home for Children in Meru, Kenya 10 AM ET
Children's Rosary at Holy Trinity Academy in Shenandoah, PA 12:20 PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Augustine Church in Iba Estate Lagos, Nigeria 1PM ET
Children's Rosary at Holy Family Church in Gladstone, Michigan 4:30 PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. John the Evangelist Church in Mahopac, New York 4:30 PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother in Avondale, PA 6PM ET


Tuesday February 9th
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Butanpura Pakistan 6AM local time
Children's Rosary at Sacred Heart School Queensland Australia 8AM local time
Children's Rosary at St. Augustine Church in Iba Estate Lagos Nigeria 1PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Peter Church in Musa Dughal Pakistan 2PM local time
Children's Rosary at Holy Redeemer Parish in Menominee Michigan 6PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Ashraf Town Pakistan
Wednesday February 10th
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Butanpura Pakistan 6AM local time

Children's Rosary at St. Keirans School in Queensland, Australia 8AM local time
Children's Rosary at St. Augustine Church in Iba Estate Lagos, Nigeria 1PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Peter Church in Musa Dughal Pakistan 2PM local time
Children's Rosary at St. Gregory the Great School in Bluffton, South Carolina 3PM ET
Children's Rosary at St. Joseph Church in Ashraf Town Pakistan 6PM local time
Children's Rosary at St. Paul's Church in Fenton Missouri 7PM
Other Posts You May Enjoy:
Nothing is Impossible with God
Satan's Most Worn Tool
How to Start a Children's Rosary

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mass Offered Today for Seminarians

A Mass was offered today for all seminarians that they will grow in holiness and lead us all in love.  Every month we have a Mass offered for this intention.  As our seminarians will be the future shepherds and our children are the future flock it seemed a beautiful way for the children to help. 
We would like to continue featuring a different seminarian each month.  Inviting them to share something of themselves.  A beautiful sharing of faith and love of Our Lord.
Br. Smith's renewal of vows on 8.15.2014
Shrine of Divine Mercy, Stockbridge MA

This month we would like to feature Br. David Smith MIC. He is in his third year of vows and is currently taking classes at the Seminary in Washington D.C., in the Seminary of the Dominican Friars. Br. Smith is originally from Southern California, USA.

Br. Smith shares, "I felt called to the Priesthood because I did hear the call of the Lord after going on some Pilgrimage trips to Israel and to Poland with Divine Mercy.  I was growing in prayer and going to Mass daily and Adoration from time to time outside work.  I also wanted to contribute more to the Church and give of myself to serve God within the Church.  Working in the world is good which is needed, but I felt that through the call and a personal inner desire to serve Christ more fully by giving myself more fully to God".

Br. Smith goes on to share, "I love the Blessed Mother, and I do pray for the poor souls in purgatory.  I am willing to help out where the need is greatest in the Church, and I have grown to understand the message of Divine Mercy more fully as well."

A favorite quote:
"One cannot contemplate Mary without being attracted by Christ, and one cannot look at Christ without immediately perceiving the presence of Mary". Pope Benedict XVI (Quote courtesy of "Under the Mantle of Mary" by Father Don Calloway.

Br. Smith has a love of the Rosary. He shares, "Praying the Rosary is powerful because we can all use the power of prayer especially when we call on the Blessed Mother to intercede for us. Also, when praying the Rosary it is beautiful to meditate and think about the life of Christ as we pray each mystery in Christ's life."  Br. Smith asks the children to "continue to keep us seminarians and religious in your prayers".

A special thank you to Br. Smith for sharing of himself and his faith with the children.  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Top 10 Favorite Posts from 2015

Children's Rosary held at Blessed Sacrament Day VI
St. Benedictine Monastery of Thien Tam in Texas
This past year was full of blessings for the Children's Rosary.  As many may just be discovering the Children's Rosary we would like to share some of the journey this past year. We have seen new Children's Rosary groups forming in different parts of the United States and also other countries such as Angola, Ecuador, Pakistan, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.

Our trip to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia USA in September was a wonderful highlight.   We were able to pray in a special way for all the members of the Children's Rosary during Our Holy Father's visit.  Eight children were able to travel to Philadelphia and share news of this prayer group movement with many pilgrims at our Children's Rosary booth.  We continue to pray that the seeds sown there will grow and bring bountiful fruit.
Children's Rosary held at the Shrine of Divine
Mercy on Grandparent's Day 2015

We also had our Official release of our song video: "Rosary Children" and later in the year the Release of our Children's Rosary DVD!  In July EWTN announced that they would begin airing the Children's Rosary as part of their monthly programming.  This has been a tremendous blessing as many have been able to see a glimpse into a Children's Rosary prayer group. 

The Children's Rosary also participated in several new events this year which we hope will become annual traditions. The Children's Rosary was invited this past year to participate in the Global Rosary Relay for Priests on  the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Many children unified prayers with Shrines across the globe praying for our priests.  Pope Francis also conveyed an Apostolic blessing to all who participated in the event. 

The Children's Rosary was also invited to join the Catholic Grandparents Association at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA for Grandparents Day.  The children kneeling before the altar led all present in a Children's Rosary.  
In June, the Vietnamese community welcomed the Children's Rosary to Blessed Sacrament Day at the Benedictine Monastery of Thien Tam in Kerens, Texas.   

In August we received good news from the IRS that the Children's Rosary had received tax exempt status.   Thank you all who have made donations!

One of the most precious gifts this year were all the groups who celebrated their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year anniversaries.  With many new groups forming, it is easy to focus on the "new" groups but one must never forget the faithfulness in prayer that so many children and group leaders carry in their hearts.  The world may question why such sacrifices are needed.  When obstacles present themselves and hard times come there are a thousand reasons to give up.  Yet despite all this, groups continue to meet.  This faithfulness creates the grace that allows this prayer group movement to continue to spread... to reach deeper and further.  It is for this reason that postings continue.  For it is in sharing the blessings that are coming that we see the fruits of so much sacrifice.  These graces we are not owed, yet Our Lord in His goodness showers them down upon us.  We must not hide our light but share it and so the posts continue.

The list below of posts are my favorites. In some cases they represent events, or blessings and others struggles we have passed through.  I humbly thank you all for joining us on this journey. Thank you for your prayers, Masses offered, sacrifices made with the goal of bringing our little ones to prayer and in doing so help to strengthen not only the faith of our children but also our families and parishes. 

Here are the top 10 posts of 2015:

Hear From the Children
We Took You With Us to the Papal Mass
The Skies in Alaska are Filled With Voices of Children Praying
Tears of Joy
Mary Will You Be My Travel Agent?
Little Hands Rescue Jesus and Mary
Satan's Most Worn Tool
Sacrament of Mercy
Why Does Our Lord Choose to Work through the Humble?
Surprise on the Feast of St. Nicholas

Honorable mentions
Avenue of Grace
If You Forgive Someone You Can Become a Saint
Anything is Possible With God
River of Hope
Going Out to Pray with the Poor