Friday, November 30, 2012

Day of the Little Candles

Lanterns in Quimbaya, Quindio Colombia
The Day of the Little Candles or Día de las Velitas is a custom practiced all over Colombia in honor of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The way each state in Colombia celebrates the Day of the Little Candles varies according to the region. 

Lanterns in Quinchia, Risaralda Colombia
We feel extremely blessed that our Aupair- Angie from Colombia, also a member of the Children's Rosary, has offered to share this custom with us here in West Hartford, CT USA.  The picture of Our Lady depicted in a lantern was taken in Angie's hometown of Quinchía, Risaralda Colombia.  Festivities start in her hometown on November 29, with the Aurora Rosary (called like this because it is done at 5:30am), and from every night until December 7th (the night before the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception).  On the evening of December 7th, lanterns are put in front of homes and in the streets with candles inside.  There are processions to honor the Immaculate Conception.  They carry a statue of the Virgin Mary through the streets finishing at the Church where they end by saying the rosary.  

Each of the nine days a different group of people is in charge of the novena, for example the first day the butchers are in charge of it, the second day traders, etc. The last day (by tradition) corresponds to all drivers of any type of transportation.

Angie has been with our family for 11 months and not only has been a tremendous help with the children  but also prays three rosaries with the children daily. She has been such a blessing to our family as my disability prevents me from helping the children with many things. 

Below is step by step instructions on how to make one of these lanterns to be used on the Day of the Little Candles.  
Choose a template or model with figures that you like, whether the Virgin Mary, flowers, Christmas figures etc.
Then proceed to draw the figure
The figure is carefully cut
Use colored tissue paper and paste it into the spaces left in the lantern
Stick the ends to form the lantern

Finally, the lantern is ready to put the candle inside and light our homes
The Children's Rosary feels honored and blessed to be able to join in this Colombian tradition to Honor Our Lady's Immaculate Conception.  Check back after December 7th for pictures of the candle lighting to be held  in West Hartford CT USA!

Día de las Velitas

Faroles en Quimbaya, Quindio
El día de las velitas es una tradición originaria de Colombia y es una de las más observada. Se celebra el 7 de diciembre, en la víspera de la Inmaculada Concepción.
Faroles en Quinchia, Risaralda
Dicha tradición comenzó el 8 de diciembre de 1984, con la declaración de la bula Ineffabilis Deus del Papa Pio IX:
“…la Virgen María fue la mas bendita, desde el primer momento de su concepción, por una gracia y un privilegio singular por nuestro Señor Todopoderoso…” (Catechism of the Catholic Faith, 491).
 Esta se costumbre se lleva  cabo en toda Colombia, variando de acuerdo al departamento. En mi pueblo natal, Quinchia (Risaralda), inicia el 29 de noviembre con el rosario “de la Aurora” (llamado así porque se hace a las 5:30 am), y a partir de todas las noches hasta el 7 de diciembre, se realizan procesiones en nombre de la Inmaculada Concepción, llevando a cuestas la Virgen María por las calles hasta llegar a la iglesia, donde se realiza la respectiva novena.
Cada día un grupo diferente de personas está a cargo de la novena, por ejemplo el primer día lo hacen los carniceros, el segundo los comerciantes, etc. El último día (por tradición) le corresponde a todos los conductores de cualquier tipo de transporte.
He estado en los Estados Unidos por 11 meses y durante ese tiempo me uni al grupo de Children's Rosary. Los niños estaban emocionados por aprender acerca de las tradiciones que celebramos en Colombia en honor a la Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción.  Quiero compartir con ustedes está tradición tan especial, explicando paso a paso cómo hacer los faroles para dicha noche:
Se elige un molde o modelo con figuras que sean del agrado de la persona, ya sea la Virgen María, flores, figuras navideñas, etc.
Luego se procede a hacerse el trazado respecto de la figura.
Se corta cuidadosamente la figura.
Se utiliza papel de colores y se pega en los espacios que se dejaron en el farol.
Se pegan los extremos para formar el farol.
Y de esta manera, el farol está listo para poner la vela adentro e iluminar nuestros hogares.
Revisen el blog después del 7 de diciembre para ver las fotos del alumbramiento de las velas en honor a la fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción. Los faroles se encenderán en West Hartford CT EE.UU. por los miembros de Children's Rosary.

Celebración del día de las velitas en Estados Unidos

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Immaculate Conception Novena

 In anticipation of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) consider saying this novena from November 29th through December 7th.The following is the same prayer being said during the Novena at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.
La Purísima Inmaculada Concepción
by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1678, now in Museo del Prado, Spain.

Immaculate Conception Novena 

Father, You prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy mother of Your Son. You let her share beforehand in the salvation Christ would bring by His death, and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.

Help us by her prayers to live in Your presence without sin. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

(NCCB, Sacramentary, December 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, (p. 752-753).

Church Teaching on the Immaculate Conception:

“Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, 'full of grace' through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin”. (Catechism of the Catholic Faith, 491).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Litany to St. Joseph

Litany of Saint Joseph

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

God our Father in heaven
have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world
have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit
have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God
have mercy on us

Holy Mary
pray for us

Saint Joseph
pray for us
Noble son of the House of David
pray for us
Light of patriarchs
pray for us
Husband of the Mother of God
pray for us
Guardian of the Virgin
pray for us
Foster father of the Son of God
pray for us
Faithful guardian of Christ
pray for us
Head of the holy family
pray for us

Joseph, chaste and just
pray for us
Joseph, prudent and brave
pray for us
Joseph, obedient and loyal
pray for us
Pattern of patience
pray for us
Lover of poverty
pray for us
Model of workers
pray for us
Example of parents
pray for us
Guardian of virgins
pray for us
Pillar of family life
pray for us
Comfort of the troubled
pray for us
Hope of the sick
pray for us
Patron of the dying
pray for us
Terror of evil spirits
pray for us
Protector of the Church
pray for us
Lamb of God, you take away 
the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away
the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away 
the sins of the world
have mercy on us

V. God made him master of his household
R. And put him in charge of all that he owned.

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
in your infinite wisdom and love 
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

Things with my health haven't been all that good as of late.  As I have a genetic condition that results in joint dislocations leaving my house and interacting with folks is as one person put it, "living dangerously".  Sometimes injuries happen in the places you would never suspect such as last night at a healing service.  For someone like me the prospect of folks I don't know touching me is of significant concern with my joint instability.  However,  I recognize the wonderful benefits of healing prayers and love to attend this Monthly Mass.   After a couple of accidental injuries with my hands and neck last night I left trying to focus on the beautiful Mass and not my aching joints.  A friend stopped and talked to me as we were leaving. He had just come back from leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land the day before.  He was clearly tired from the travel and jet lag.  I mentioned my declining hands and joints and the loss of my medical provider.  He prayed over me for a few minutes and then told me he would keep me in his prayers.  A poor night sleep followed but something wonderful happened.  When I woke up I went to the computer and there was a message from my friend Scott who I had seen the night before.  He told me that after he left the Mass he went to adoration for one hour and prayed for me and then planned to offer his bread and water fast for me today.  As I knew how tired Scott was when he left the Mass at 9:15PM I knew how hard it must have been for him to stay awake at adoration.  The kindness and sacrifice that he made out of charity humbled me.  Walking to Mass this morning I looked down at my pieta prayer book.  On the back cover I had written something a priest had said 3 weeks ago, "We get by with a little help from our friends".  How true were these words.  When one is feeling really low the simplest act of kindness or offer of prayers has the ability to lighten the weight of whatever we are carrying.  Each time someone has written to me these past few days and offered prayers there is a such a deep gratitude which wells in my heart.  As our lives ebb and flow I think we all find ourselves one day in need of a prayer or word of support.  When those prayers come, oh how beautiful they are..

It is true, we do get by with the help of our friends and after all our best Friend is Jesus.  Today I spoke to Our Lord in just that way.  As my Best Friend, I asked for His support through this time of uncertainty.  One beautiful blessing He has given me this day is a keener awarenss of the gifts I am being given through the love, support and prayers of so many.

May I thank you with all my heart.

Magnificat Prayer

Antiphon- Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the Sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?

My soul doth magnify the Lord, 
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 
Because He that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him.  
He hath shown might in His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.  
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.  
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. 
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy: As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:46-55)

Antiphon-Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the Sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?

V. O Mary conceived without sin.
R. pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

Angelus Prayer

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fuit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary...
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary...
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beeech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made know by the message of an angel, may be His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Test of Faith

There are times in ones life when everything which feels certain for the future falls away and one trembles at what stands before them.  It is at such moments when fear seems to cover you like a blanket and you struggle to see  beyond the tears. For every person it is a different thing which brings them to their knees.  Such a time has come for me.  

As I have written in the past, 6 years ago I was diagnosed with a genetic condition while I was pregnant with my son, Asher.  The geneticist said that pregnancy was not recommended and I would see a steep decline in my joints and function post-partum.  The geneticist was right and unfortunately the decline I experienced seemed permanent.  In all the years since my son was born I only held him once as my joints became so unstable that joint dislocations became common.  One of my physical therapists who has treated me for 16 years has been a linchpin in my treatment.  He is able to diagnose the many levels of joint displacements that I suffer from on a regular basis.  There was a time when he was unable to treat me for several months due to his busy schedule and without his treatment one dislocation led to more and as time went on it was not just my wrists which had displacements it was my elbow and then my shoulder.  The shoulder became restricted in its motion and I could barely put on a shirt due to my inability to move my arm. Sleeping for more than two hours was difficult and usually my arms were propped on pillows as I could no longer straighten them. 

This past year seemed to be a blessed time when my team of doctors all seemed to be complementing each other beautifully and although I had significant limitations and frequent injuries my condition was being managed and I was relatively stable.  This week I received some disturbing news.  The physical therapist who has been treating me for 16 years has taken a new position with a sports team which means I may not be able to have further treatment with him in the future.  As he has had to cancel my last two appointments over the past 6 weeks there has already been a decline in my hands.  The thought that no longer will there be a person to go to who can diagnose and treat these injuries is a reality which for me is hard to imagine.  Having lived through times when my physical therapist was unavailable and the decline which usually follows the future seemed all but clear that pain and further dependance on my husband for basic functions lay ahead.  My husband and I cried together this week knowing what the loss of this person in my life would mean to us.  

As my husband and I are still young looking ahead to further disability and pain is a hard place to be.  

As this all comes in the middle of so many blessings with the children’s rosary there is a certainty in my heart that none of this is an accident.  There is a strong part of me that feels this is part of the plan, a plan I cannot see from my small place here on earth.  However, knowing this seemed to clash against the strong emotions of fear that seem to take hold of me.  On Thursday morning after getting the news Wednesday night I found myself among dear friends for the rosary after Mass.  Sharing with these dear friends in Christ the situation, I was met with compassion and tenderness and an outpouring of love.  Those there immediately began praying for me in the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Tears poured down my face.  Looking across the chapel at the Divine Mercy Picture of Jesus all seemed blurry with tears.  I then thought of Our Lord on the Cross.  Might his eyes have been full of tears and the crowd blurry through them.  In that moment there was a realization that when the future seems blurry to us and we have the awareness that we have no control over our very existance is that not when we are held most tightly to the aching heart of Jesus.  Joined together in suffering, are we not brought with lightening speed into his arms.  There is a heart to heart prayer that occurs between a soul and Our Lord from such a low place. 

Today after communion the priest said these word’s "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends".  How can one doubt Our Lord’s love for us when He gave the ultimate gift..His own life.  He is Our Best Friend and as such I am reminded that I must have faith through this terrifying time.  I don’t know what the future holds.  I pray that the Lord will sustain my hands so I can continue updating this blog and working on the new Children's Rosary book.  May I humbly ask those reading this to say a Hail Mary for me so that I will have the strength to keep up the work of the Children’s Rosary with all of you.  Thank you Friends for your support.  Please know that I offer up prayers for all of you each day.

God Bless you All!
Your Friend in Christ,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Children's Rosary Tomorrrow in West Hartford CT

Children's Rosary Tomorrow at St. Thomas Apostle Church in West Hartford CT USA
St. Thomas Apostle Church

The children will be assembling tomorrow November 11th at 9:45 AM EST for a joint rosary with the Knights of Columbus.  Once a year the Knights of Columbus hold a rosary in honor of veterans.  As the time of their rosary prayer overlapped with the Children's Rosary meeting time we agreed that it would be a blessing to combine efforts this month.

Please consider joining us in prayer from your home.  We always pray for all the members of the Children's Rosary and all their intentions each month.  In a special way we will be thanking Our Lady for her blessings and intercession this past month.  The Children's Rosary continues to grow and more children's rosary groups continue to form.

God Bless you all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Through the Suffering Our Lady is Here for Us

Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East coast of the United States last week.  Looking back at the devastation I came upon this striking photo:

Breezy Point NY (AP Photo)
In Breezy Point NY a fire burned over 80 homes and buildings to the ground.  However, despite this blanket of destruction Our Lady's statue remains.  She is a reminder that no matter how much suffering we have endured Our Blessed Mother stands with her arms outstretched to hold us and console us as she did for her Son.

These homes that were destroyed were in a largely Catholic neighborhood made up of Irish-Americans, many of whom are firefighters and police officers.  After the hurricane brought destruction many walked in wet clothes and made their way from shelters to attend Church at St. Thomas More Parish.  Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who visited the parish after the storm, said to the people "God is never closer to us than when we suffer or struggle".

Even though many lost all their earthly possessions Marie Mahoney whose home was largely destroyed was quoted as saying "God was watching, he kept us safe".

Among the rubble of these homes there can be found a mother:  Our Blessed Mother.  She stands just as she is depicted in the statue.  She is gathering all her children close to her especially those who are in pain and suffering.  She is taking her mantle and spreading it over her children to keep them warm in her love.  She is taking those trembling hands and leading them to her Son.  For it is in her Son that the weary and burdened will find rest.

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Children's Rosary in Waterbury CT USA

A new Children's Rosary is forming at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury Connecticut.  

The first meeting of this group with be on December 8th: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  This is such a wonderful grace that a Children's Rosary should meet for the first time in a Basilica named after this beautiful Feast of Our Lady.  It is our hope that these beautiful children who will come together in prayer of the Holy Rosary will be a precious gift to Our Blessed Mother on her Feast day.  

May Our Lady who was conceived without original sin intercede for our children before her Son asking that their innocence and purity be safe guarded from the harshness of the world. Amen

How to Start a Children's Rosary
What is the Children's Rosary
How the Children's Rosary Began
Find a Children's Rosary Near You
Next Children's Rosary

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Children's Rosary Tomorrow in Friday Harbor, WA

The children's rosary at St. Francis Church will hold their second children's rosary tomorrow, November 4th.  This new group met for the first time on the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary on October 7th 2012.  Friday Harbor is part of the San Juan Islands of Washington State, USA.

This wonderful new group meets monthly at 10AM PST on the first Sunday of the month. One unique thing about the children's rosary group at St. Francis Church is that some of the members speak Spanish and others speak English so the rosary is said in both languages with decades alternating between the two languages.

Consider uniting your prayers to those of these small children tomorrow morning.

Thank you Blessed Mother for bringing these children together in prayer of the Holy Rosary.  Under your guidance may they progress in holiness and Dear Mother please guard their purity and innocence.  Amen

Those of you reading this post please consider beginning a children's rosary in your Parish.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What is a Plenary Indulgence?

A plenary indulgence is removal of all of the temporal punishment due to sin. (Catechism 1471)

How Does one Obtain a Plenary Indulgence?

According to the Enchiridion of Indulgences 1968:
To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even to venial sin, be absent.
The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; nevertheless it is fitting that Communion be received and the prayers for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff be said the same day the work is performed.
The condition of praying for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless the individual faithful are free to recite any other prayer according to their own piety and devotion toward the Supreme Pontiff.
If this disposition is in any way less than complete, or if the Prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will only be partial, except for the provisions contained in No. 11 for those who are "impeded."
Plenary Indulgence Available on All Souls Day:
As today is November 2nd, I thought I would include this special plenary indulgence only available on November 2nd:
According to the Enchiridion of Indulgences, a plenary indulgence applicable only to the dead can be acquired in all churches and public oratories -- and in semipublic oratories by those who have the right to use them --on November 2.
In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, according to Norm 16 of the same Apostolic Constitution, that "one Our Father and the Creed be recited."
Indulgences Available to those who use with Devotion a Blessed Object:
The faithful who use with devotion an object, piety (crucifix, cross, rosary, scapular or medal) properly blessed by any priest, can acquire a partial indulgence.
It is desirable to obtain a blessing of the object from a bishop or the Pope.
If this object of piety is blessed by the Supreme Pontiff or any bishop, the faithful who use it devoutly can also acquire a plenary indulgence on the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith using any legitimate formula.(Enchiridion of Indulgences 1968)