Scripture Study

Church of the Holy Spirit: Acts Part 1

Tuesdays, Sept 15 to Oct 20
10:30a.m. to noon or 6:30 to 8:00p.m.
Meets at St. Stephen School

Great Scripture Study to start the year!
No experience needed. This action packed book is full of adventure and interesting characters. It invites us to look at our own lives and see how the Holy Spirit is still at work in forming us and the Church today.

Suggested donation for materials is $20.00
For more info call Amy at 810 300-0417.

LIFElines from Lucy

Last week’s second reading; Ephesians 5:21-32, always seems to create a stir. I thought I would take a minute to hopefully shed some light on the subject. I think sometimes we mistake the word submission for the word oppression. There is a big difference. To submit means to willingly do what others want. Oppression means tyrannical power or power that is used unfairly. When St Paul asks wives to be submissive to their husbands, he is asking that we lovingly serve our husbands as Jesus serves his church. What is wrong is when husbands oppress their wives to get what they want with no avail to their wife. In most liturgical cycles, the emphasis seems to fall mostly on the wives, but in year “B”, it clearly defines the role of the husband. To treat their wife with the dignity and nurturing one would their own body; to present his wife in splendor, holy and without blemish. What I have realized in my 32 years of marriage is that when both partners do their part to uplift and respect the other, the family lives in harmony willing to sacrifice for the other.

Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages talks about filling ones ‘love tank’. We all have a love tank and there are five different ways that that tank can be filled. Once you learn how your partner’s tank gets filled, life becomes much easier. The 5 languages are: Words of affirmation, quality time, Receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. So let me give you an example; Bill was feeling bad because his home life was stressed and he and his wife Mary were growing apart. To make Mary feel loved, he decided to bring her roses. Mary thought they were beautiful, put them in a vase and after thanking her husband asked him how he forgot that today was trash day. Bill was deflated. The next day, Bill brought home for Mary a sparkling diamond necklace. Again Mary said thank you and asks if you could remember to put his dished in the dishwasher when he was done eating. Perplexed and running out of ideas, Bill proceeded to put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher but noticed that the dishwasher was full of clean dishes. So as he pondered how to please Mary, he began to empty the dishwasher then put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Later that night, Mary walked into where Bill was sitting and thanked him profusely for taking the time to empty the dishwasher for her. She couldn’t thank him enough and told him how much she appreciated him. You see, Mary s love tank was filled by acts of service, and all the gifts in the world were not going to make her happy. Meanwhile, Bill’s love tank was filled by all the endearing words that Mary showered on him. His love language was words of affirmation. So the moral to the story is; love and respect each other and submission is a pleasure, not a chore.

Other great books include: The DNA of Relationships by DR. Gary Smalley and Finding the Hero in your Husband; surrendering the Way God intended by Dr. Julianna Slattery
If you get a chance to read any of these books, drop me a line and let me know how you liked them moc.l1440920813iamg@1440920813ssabe1440920813sycul1440920813 By the way, they are great wedding gifts!

Oh, and The 5 Love Languages is great for any relationship. There is also, The 5 Love Languages for Children.

Keep movin’ in the Spirit!

May We Always Receive Jesus in A Worthy Manner

We heard much about the teaching on the Eucharist from Jesus the previous five weekends (not including this one). Last weekend we heard from the end of the Bread of Life Discourse in John 6 that even some of Jesus’ disciples left because of their lack of belief. What I don’t want to question you about is your belief in the Eucharist. No one knows your heart and my heart better than God. But what I do want to bring to your attention as a spiritual father and as a brother in Christ is a reminder that if we come forward to receive Holy Communion and thus receive Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, that we do so in a worthy manner. We shouldn’t hastily come forward to receive the Eucharist without an examination of conscience. That is the purpose of the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass when ALL of us acknowledge our sins before a loving and merciful God and either recite the “Lord Have Mercy” or say “I confess to Almighty God…” What may complement that action and be helpful for our spiritual lives is to also do a review of life during the week, sometime before Mass. Why? The reason is that if we come forward to receive Jesus in the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, we can do great harm to our souls. St. Paul says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Cor. 11:27-32).

What then is mortal sin? According to the definition of it in the Catechism, it is “a grave infraction of the law of God that destroys the divine life in the soul of the sinner (sanctifying grace), constituting a turn away from God.” For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must be present: 1). grave matter (i.e. adultery, murder, blasphemy), 2) full knowledge (of the evil of the act), and 3). full or deliberate consent of the will (Catechism: 1855, 1857). If one or two of these conditions are met, it is not a mortal sin. But if all three conditions are met, we are in a state of mortal sin and should refrain from receiving Holy Communion until we have gone to Confession. You may say that I am embarrassed to sit down in my pew while everyone else goes up to receive. Well, God may be humbling you. However, people who are in a state of mortal sin, may feel more comfortable praying from the pew, as suggested by my seminary professor, if everyone else in a state of grace either got up all at once from their pews or got up when they were ready and came forward to receive VS. coming up row-by-row in an orderly fashion. I am not advocating the former at this time. But this would be something that would need serious discussion and much prayer.

What if I am in doubt? Then I would recommend not to come forward until you have gone to confession. My high school principal used to say in regards to the uniform dress code…”When in doubt, don’t wear it.” Likewise, when in doubt, don’t do it. Not being able to receive Jesus one weekend (assuming you go to confession sometime the following week) isn’t a bad thing. Actually, it’s a very good thing because you respect and honor the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This may be news to you, but Catholics are only required to receive the Eucharist at least once per year. What do I mean? While there are five precepts in the Church (minimums in the spirit of prayer and moral effort for the purpose of growth in love of God and neighbor), the third precept states: “You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy” (Catechism 2042). So Catholics are only required to receive the Eucharist at a minimum of only once per year at least during the Easter season but recommended to go much more, provided we aren’t in mortal sin.

Receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood isn’t a “free-for-all.” He is holy, and receiving him is a sacred experience. If you got ill from food poisoning, and knew the food that got you sick from and where it was located, you certainly would not go back to eat more of it, would you? Of course not, since it would make you even more ill. Rather, you would go to the doctor, to the store to get medication or maybe even to the hospital, depending on how ill you were, in order to be healed. If we are in a state of mortal sin, then we are spiritually ill, which may even be manifested physically, and we need to encounter Jesus, the Divine Physician in the confessional. The priest is the spiritual doctor, which Jesus works through, to bring you the healing you need through the forgiveness of sins. After you have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation you have been restored to a state of grace that allows you the opportunity to once again receive Jesus in the Eucharist to be spiritually nourished and strengthened. Jesus, thank you for the gift of yourself to us in the Eucharist. Help us always receive you worthily. Amen. Further Reading: Catechism: 1415, 1854-1861, 1874

In The Life, Power and Love of Jesus in the Eucharist,
Fr. Jeff

Faith Formation News – August 23, 2015

Peace be with you!

In the Gospel of Mark Chapter 6 verses 30 & 31 Jesus asks his disciples to “rest a little”… The apostles returned to Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and what they had taught. He said to them “Come by yourselves to an out-of-the-way place and rest a little”.

We at Holy Trinity Faith Formation hope that you have been able to rest a while with the Lord this summer!

But really shouldn’t our goal be to rest with the Lord each day at least for a bit? Do we take the time to slow down our activities and our minds and turn our thoughts to Jesus? Offering Adoration and Thanks and then praying for the grace to follow Him each day! Does this seem to get harder with the constant movement and busyness of today’s culture?

The Faith Formation Commission at Holy Trinity thinks that “Resting in the Lord” is a good theme to base our classes on this year.

Our Faith formation classes will begin again on September 16th. The schedules have been sent to the registered families.

If you have not yet registered, now is the time! Please call my office and join us on Wednesday evenings for grades Kindergarten through Confirmation!

We also offer “Stepping Up to Jesus” classes for any child who may not have started their faith formation classes yet or have missed some years since their last involvement! All are welcome!

Our monthly Family Formation (Adults and children) Nights (on hiatus due to Christ Life) will return once again and we are excited to offer our “Adoring Jesus” program this year!

So mark your calendars! September 16th will be here before you know it! We are looking forward to seeing and working with our families as we “Rest in the Lord” once again on Wednesday evenings! J

God’s peace!!
Karen Clor – Director of Religious Education/Holy Trinity Parish
moc.o1440920813ohay@1440920813erneh1440920813petst1440920813s1440920813 – 810-985-9069

Photos from National Night Out

On Tuesday, August 4th, Holy Trinity Parish collaborated with five other churches and Literacy and Beyond (which is based at First Congregational) to host NNO 2015 at First Congregational Church. First Congregational, First Presbyterian, Grace Episcopal, St. Martin Lutheran and Our Savior Lutheran all contributed to this Olde Town neighborhood community event which featured food, fun, inflatables, face painting, games, and prizes. Twenty-eight Holy Trinity volunteers were cooking or serving food, calling bingo numbers, donating and distributing prizes, and doing whatever was needed to help out. The husband of one particular volunteer couple (who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, by the way) was busy spinning records and serving as Master of Ceremony. Thanks to all who came to be part of the celebration.
To view pictures from National Night Out, go to
https://flic.kr/s/aHskhDM5tj

Christian Service Commission

Catholic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is having a pilgrimage to the Holy Land November 9 – 18, 2015.
Daily Mass at the Holy Sights. Visit Jerusalem , Nazareth , Galilee, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea and more! Includes 3 Meals Daily. Air from Detroit . $3,649.00. For a flyer of more info call Cathie or Mike Milano at 1-800-773-2660.

Our Sacred Earth Continues

By Sr. Gloria

Now we are called to think of our earth with a much more profound and total and sacred vision! How about that! We are grateful to Pope Francis for widening our view, and for calling us to some form of positive and healing action that each of us can try to embrace.

Notice that he posted on Twitter: “We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family.”

Other writers have hinted at these truths in the past. The astronaut Winston Scott wrote: “…From up there, it looks finite and it looks fragile and it really looks like just a tiny little place on which we live in a vast expanse of space. It gave me the feeling of really wanting us all to take care of the Earth. I got more of a sense of Earth as home, a place where we live. And of course you want to take care of your home. You want it clean. You want it safe.”

The document called The Earth Charter stated this some time ago: “We stand at a crucial moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise.”

Sister Elizabeth Johnson in her book Women, Earth, Creator, Spirit said: “If we accept the premise that creation is God’s voice, and if we listen to that voice as a matter of conscience, we must acknowledge that from its polluted streams, radioactive soil, and deforested landscapes, the voice of God is crying out in pain.”

It’s interesting that some years ago, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote: “All social justice issues have ecological implications….The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor are one.”

That insight hasn’t been lost, as Pope Francis recently wrote: “We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

The writer Wangeri Maathai wrote: “In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”

The writer Rachel Carlson puts it simply: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

The Native Americans said it all, long ago:

Everything on Earth is borrowed….
There is no ‘Mine’ or ‘Yours’….there is only ‘Ours.’
Even Time is borrowed.
We kill over a Plot of Land,
that belongs only to our Mother Earth.
All you have is what you came with…
and what you leave with ….Your Spirit.

Eucharistic Ministry at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital

From Fr. Brian:

Now that the tabernacle has been removed from the chapel in the hospital, our parish is going to help support the Eucharistic Ministry of the hospital by providing the Holy Eucharist to the volunteers. Of course, the hospital could always use more volunteers. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer at the hospital as a Eucharistic Minister, you can contact Rosemary Hunger, Senior Services Coordinator/Coordinator of Volunteers at St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron at (810) 987-1035.

Modesty

In the early morning before we go to school, to work, or perhaps even in retirement, while half-awake, we make our way over to the closet dreary-eyed and ask ourselves the question, “What should I wear today?” Well you may not have to ask yourself this question if you wear a uniform. I can relate, since I wear a uniform. Priests have uniforms called “clerics.” When we wake up, we say, “black or black?” However, many of us do ask this question, and whether or not we wear uniforms, maybe we all need to take time to think about what we wear, especially to Church. Does what we wear to Church reflect our faith in any way? Is father going to tell us what to wear, or ask us to get a new wardrobe? No and No. But I challenge you to think and pray about it. Three points I would I like to bring up in this article are as follows:

  1. Respectable and appropriate dress attire
  2. “Come as you are.”
  3. Wear your “Sunday Best.”

All of these ideas of thinking about what to wear for church leads to one word – modesty. What is it? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says “modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve when there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet” (CCC 2522).

Media advertising through TV, billboards and the Internet are not advocates of modesty. Rather, they are anti-modest and thus help to promote immodesty. The Catechism confirms this. “It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things” (CCC 2523). What is one way to oppose the Goliath of secular media advertising? Use the slingshot of modesty. It “inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies” (CCC 2523).

First, modesty involves respectable and appropriate dress attire. Are men expected to wear tuxedos and feel like they’re in straight jackets, while women should wear bridal outfits every time you come to church? Hardly. But it is summer and obviously there are less layers to be worn than in the frigid winters. I understand there are exceptions, including the one this past weekend at the parish picnic, which many of you and I were blessed to attend. But when the warmth and hot summers are here, we still take precaution not only with sunscreen but with what we wear too. A woman already knows that her skirt shouldn’t be too short and that her top shouldn’t be too low which aids a man’s modesty of eyes and inspires him to have greater respect and honor for a woman. I’m not a woman and will not go any further, so I will leave it to you women and the experts to fill in the rest of the story… As a man, I challenge you guys to wear some type of slacks like khakis or dockers with an ironed, short-sleeved, buttoned down shirt, for example. Guys, our shirts should be clean and not sloppily hang out. Our pants shouldn’t be falling off of our underwear, and our pant legs shouldn’t drag on the ground. Also, our shoes may need a shine every once in a while. When we do things like this we show respect and honor not only to ourselves but also to others and God.

Second, I have heard the phrase said before, “Come as you are.” While God loves us for who we are, he also challenges us on a daily basis to grow deeper with Him and become holier on a daily basis with His grace, and I believe this can involve what we wear and how we dress too, whether it be to church or any other place we go. When we wake up in the morning and go to work, does our boss say, “Come as you are?” If you came in your pajamas, the boss would make you march right out the door until you came back and proved you looked presentable or at least came back in uniform. If you’re unemployed and looking for a job, would the interviewer imply or explicitly say, “Come as you are?” No. You would dress your best. One slogan I’ve heard is “Dress for Success!” If your bride-to-be is waiting for you at the altar at your wedding, would she say to you, her future husband who just finished his softball game, “Come as you are”…in your dirty, stinky, baseball uniform? No. She would make you get cleaned up and have you put on a tuxedo for the most important day of your lives. If that’s the case, then what do we do for God? I think with the high expectations of our bride, boss and job interviewer, couldn’t we do better for God, who we owe our very life? Do we give God our very least, or do we have the mentality and spirituality to give God our “first fruits” and our very best, which leads me to the last point.

Third, let’s give God our best by dressing in our “Sunday best.” This seems to be something we have lost in our Catholic Churches over the past few decades partially due to the craziness and busyness of our schedules in the modern world along with the mentality to lower morals and standards. Dressing in our “Sunday Best” was very much a part of the ordinary life of Catholics and the faith lives of previous generations as it still is in some Protestant and evangelical communities, Baptists, Mormons and even Jehovah Witnesses, who are down the street from St. Stephen. Maybe we need to bring a little bit of that back. Growing up, my dad would often wear a blue blazer or dress jacket to church especially when he lectored. You may say, what if I’m poor? My response would be, “so was Jesus and so are many people today.” That doesn’t mean you can’t dress in your “Sunday Best.” Everyone’s “Sunday Best” is different and we need not compare nor judge. But dressing in our “Sunday Best” will restore some of that honor and respect we have lost in our churches over the years. Maybe this is a good time to think and pray about it, and make a small improvement, if needed. Wear the best that you have, because we want to give God our best. When we give God our best, we do it with sincere, contrite and pure hearts.

In sum, the Catechism states: “purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person” (CCC 2533). May we all be challenged to become more pure of heart like Jesus and Mary through our modesty of dress. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8)

Jennifer Fulwiler, a Catholic writer and mom of six kids wrote on this topic in her article, “How Changing What I Wear Changed My Approach to Mass.” She said, “What I wear has a direct impact on my ability to focus on God during the Mass…I found that I paid more attention to God and less attention to myself now that I was dressed well…on the occasions that I do make the small sacrifices necessary to transform the way I look on the outside, I find that it transforms me on the inside as well” (http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/how-changing-what-i-wear-changed-my-approach-to-mass). May we be inspired to dress in our “Sunday Best,” no matter how rich or poor we are, so that the way we look on the outside may transform us on the inside too.

In The Spirit of Modesty Through Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Jeff Allan

Further Reading: 1. Bible: Read 2 Sam. 11-12 – “David lusts for Bathsheba,” Daniel 13 – “Susanna,” Zec. 3:3-7 – “Joshua’s filthy garments” and Mt. 22:1-14 – “The Wedding Garment” 2. Catechism of the Catholic Church: CCC 2521-2524, 2533 3. Video and article: “How My Family Dresses for Mass”- http://brandonvogt.com/video-family-dresses-mass/