Messages to Inspire and Call Us to Action
Grand Knight's Message:
Vivat Jesus - Dennis Yanchycki
We are called to serve in a busy world
Its seems nowadays we are pulled in many different directions at one. As a result we are constantly prioritizing our time. Work and family obviously take priority, with whatever time left being used for various activities such as hobbies, vacation, home maintenance, watching TV, resting, church, Knights Activities etc. It is sometimes very difficult to fit it all in.
As Knights of Columbus we play a very important role as the right arm of the church and leaders in our christian community. While it is easy to take a back seat in larger centres, in the small communities in which we live, there unfortunately is not that luxury, but the need is just as great.
One of our council's biggest struggles is attendance at meetings. It seems we always have something else going on at the same time. My appeal to you is to honestly ask yourself if whatever else you are doing is more important than your obligation as a Knight. I am not saying it is or isn't - that is not for me to judge. While it would be unreasonable to expect every Knight to attend every meeting, it would greatly help our cause if each Knight increased their attendance.
The sad reality is our council is just barely at the minimum level to retain council status. This is a difficult challenge in itself as there are very few potential new members to draw. What we can do however is "punch more than our weight" - if all Parkland members could increase attendance at meetings and help support our initiatives, we can achieve so much!
We are currently without a very much needed Financial Secretary. Without this position filled our council cannot function. On top of this, some other key positions also need filling.
So my ask to you is to ponder the question: "Is there more I can do for the Knights of Columbus Parkland Council?" Whether it be to take the position of Financial Secretary or one of the other Council positions, or simply to attend one additional meeting or event per hear - every bit helps!
See you at our meeting on October 5,
Grand Knight, Parkland Council #6815
Charity = Community Outreach
I am so very proud of our Council and Church Community for the support given in two recent events sponsored by our council.
First of all, our recent 40 Cans for Lent campaign held in the following churches: St. Alphonsus - Minnedosa, St. Judes - Erickson, and Sacred Heart - Elphinstone, raised close to 300 pounds for two local food banks, located in Minnedosa and Erickson. Well done!!!
Secondly, the 2nd Annual Charity Garage Sale and Flea Market at Elphinstone Community Hall on April 22, which was hosted this year by our council. I would like to specifically recognize and thank brothers Ivan Braschuk, Steve Dmeterko, Pete Dziver, Alan Kopeechuk, Joey Nachonachny, Terry Yanchycki, Walter Yanchycki and Council Chaplain Fr. Emil for your help in setting up and running the sale, as well as cleaning up afterwards. This event would also simply not be possible without additional help provided by non Knights, Kelly Dziver, Lil Kilunick, Irene Kopeechuk, Sandy Mason, Rick and Belinda Nowell, Calvin Yanchycki, Diane Yanchycki, Eleanor Yanchycki, and Frances Yanchycki. A huge thank you to all these people as well as everyone who donated items for both the garage sale and the baking table and who attended the event. Thanks to your efforts, we raised close to $2500!!! Equally important is that it helped strengthen ties between the Parkland Knights of Columbus and our community.
It is important that we continue to be involved in the community to increase awareness of our council and its important initiatives. With summer fair season coming up, we need to switch focus to revamping our parade float with is in much need of improvement. I plan to discuss this further at our next meeting.
See you on May 4,
Grand Knight, Parkland Council #6815
Merry Ukrainian Christmas & Happy New Year!
As we start the new year, its a good time for us Knights to take stock of our accomplishments last year and what more we can to for our council and community.
We had what I would call a moderately successful Keep Christ in Christmas Colouring Contest but I am sure there are children out there that we know that we could have invited to participate in the contest - myself included! It is important, especially given the reluctance of our schools to promote this contest. How else are we to get the word out. Our Substance Abuse contest is now underway and I encourage all of you to invite children you know to participate.
I attended Mass at St. Anne's Parish while in Saskatoon just before christmas and at the entrance came across a simple but effective 3D Nativity Scene that the Knights there were selling, shown in the photo above. I thought what a great idea. I was able to source the pattern and at our next meeting I would like to discuss the concept of a Keep Christ in Christmas in every yard campaign. This is not only something we can get involved in building but could help families make their own.
I would also like to discuss rebuilding our float this spring so that it is bigger and better this summer.
See you at the meeting,
Grand Knight, Parkland Council #6815
Hark the Herald, Angels Sing!
We are now into the joyous Christmas season!!! On Sunday December 4th the Knights, along with family and friends will be singing Christmas Carols at the Senior's homes in Minnedosa at 1:30pm, Erickson at 2:45pm, and Sandy Lake at 4:00pm. Everyone is welcome to join us and help with the singing, be it at one location or all 3. It is a wonderful event and so enjoyable seeing the looks of appreciation on the faces of these residents.
Our last meeting had a very full slate. It started with a service for deceased knights which had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather. We then had a first degree initiation of 2 new knights. Welcome Ian Braschuk and Michael Usick to the brotherhood. We also would like to extend a warm welcome to Ed Harrison who transferred to our council from Winnipeg. It is wonderful to see membership numbers increasing for the first time in awhile.
As Christmas time approaches it is important to help spread the joy of the season. I ask that each of you look for an opportunity to do one thing that you would not normally do to help bring the joy of Christ's birth into a stranger's life. It could be either to join us in caroling on the 4th or some other act of kindness that you may choose. Christmas is a time of giving and with Charity as one of our founding principles, it is important for us as Knights to lead the way.
Grand Knight - Parkland Council #6815
November is a month to Remember and be Thankful!
On Remembrance Day Parkland Council will once again be presenting a wreath at ceremonies held in Erickson, Minnedosa, and Sandy Lake to recognize and express gratitude for the countless individuals who made the supreme sacrifice and continue to protect our freedom and rights. Please try to attend one of these services if you can.
On November 29th at 7pm at St. Alphonsus Church in Minnedosa, we will be holding a remembrance service for all deceased Knights. All family and friends are encouraged to attend this service.
I has been decided the Knights will hold a fundraising Garage Sale and Flea Market at Elphinstone Hall on April 22, 2017. We wanted to confirm this well in advance to allow sufficient time to collect donated items for the sale. Please be on the lookout for potential items that can be donated - smaller items can be stored in the Sacred Heart church basement. Contact me if you require storage for any larger items that you can't hold onto until the sale.
We will once again be carolling at the Sr. Homes in Erickson, Minnedosa and Sandy Lake on Dec 4th. Please encourage all family members to join us in carolling - the more voices the better! This event is greatly appreciated by the residents and helps re-enforce the message of the true meaning of Christmas.
After only a few months as Grand Knight I am really encouraged by the support and fellowship in our council. It would however be great if more of our members regularly attended meetings. I realize we all have busy days but please try to make the time to attend. There is so much great work we can do as the Right Arm of the Church but we need everyone's help and ideas to make this happen.
God Bless You,
Grand Knight - Parkland Council #6815
Harvest Time is a Time to Share
Whether a farmer or gardener, this is the time of year that we get to reap the benefits of our harvest.
As Knights, it is also an opportunity to share some of these bounties with the less fortunate. This week, on behalf of our Council, I had the pleasure of dropping off 240lbs of potatoes at the Minnedosa Food Bank. These potatoes were kindly made available to our council by John Domaschuk on the condition that we harvest them. The food bank as usual were very appreciative of our donation. As a council we also get credit based on the total weight of food donated towards the Drive for Christmas campaign run by Supreme, and as I understand it they will compensate us financially for this once we hit a certain amount. Therefore, if you have any extra vegetables from your garden that you can donate, please bring it to our next meeting and I will ensure it gets to the Food Bank.
Also a reminder that our next meeting is on Thursday, October 6 at St. Judes starting with Mass at 6:30.
I hope to see everyone there as there is much to discuss as we plan out the next year.
Finally, I am happy to announce that on October 6, Brother Knight Walter Kiliwnik and his wife Anne will be celebrating their 65th Wedding Anniversary. God has truly blessed them with a long and happy marriage. Please join me in congratulating Walter and Anne!!!!
My Dear Brother Knights:
First of all, I would like to thank you for placing your trust in me as your Grand Knight for the coming year. I must tell you I had considerable reservations about accepting the position, mainly over concerns about the future viability of our council.
As you know, our membership has been bordering at or just below the minimum requirement to retain council status for some time now. Given the average age of our members, there is a sad but very real reality that we must make a focused effort to turn things around or our council will not exist in the coming years.
Much like my predecessors at this position I see that this is not an easy fix, and I would like to say that I have the utmost respect for their past efforts to overcome this challenge. What I do believe is that we need to work together as a team to do everything possible to address this. If there is anyone you know who qualifies to become a Knight, please don’t hesitate to approach him now about joining.
At the same time, I am very excited about the opportunities we have in front of us. In speaking with a few of you in the past couple of months, you shared some exciting ideas on how we can become more involved in the community, including new ideas on how to raise funds, but also more importantly on how we can have some FUN along the way!
Our recent participation in the parades both in Minnedosa and Sandy Lake is a good example of this. Ok, the driving rain in Minnedosa was a bit hard to take, but we made the best of it and it proved that Knights are tough! …and the smiles on the kids that we tossed candies to made it all worthwhile! At Sandy Lake our float featured a live band lead by Brother Marc in full 4th degree regalia as well as several of our Knights who tossed candies to the kids. We were then asked by the Sandy Lake Western Days committee to perform at the Borscht lunch following the parade. In return our Council received a donation of $100.00 along with a request that we come back to entertain next year!
Our next council meeting is September 8 at St. Judes with mass at 6:30pm followed by the installation of officers. I humbly request that you make every effort to attend this meeting. Family members are also encouraged to attend the mass and Installation of Officers.
Our new District Deputy Alan Kozmicki and District Warden Emile Sabourin will be in attendance and it is a great opportunity to get a new group council photo taken. You are welcome to wear your blazer and tie for the photo, although that is not a requirement – having you in the photo is the most important thing. I also want to dedicate a portion of the meeting for discussion and feedback on what we collectively want to accomplish in the next year so that we can start planning and budget accordingly. It is important that you share not only your thoughts and ideas, but also your concerns and what it would take to make you more excited about being a Knight.
As a member of the Knights of Columbus and as Steward of our church, please also try your best to allow time in your schedule to regularly attend our one meeting a month. If you have decided not to attend our meetings for whatever reason, either you feel you are too busy or as a result of a past disagreement – please reconsider – look at this as a fresh start. Your attendance is very important and as Christians we must practice what we believe or what is the point! We are only fooling ourselves.
I am looking forward to seeing you on Sept 8th. Our council’s future is in your hands.
What Is God’s Greatest Attribute?
When we speak of God, we can never really
explain who He really is by using human words or ideas. The best description of God that we can give
is that He is indescribable. But even so, we can get some partial idea
or some glimpse of who He is by some of the characteristics that Scripture
attributes to God. Unfortunately, many
people have not read the whole Bible but have only heard or read certain
portions. From this, many get an
incomplete idea about God. Many people
see God as being and angry and strict God ready to punish them for their bad
behaviour when they hear or read passages like this: He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all
the rivers …The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves
1:2-6 People who have this fearful perspective
of God, tend to say, “God is punishing me” when they are confronted with
illness or misfortune. The truth is that God does not punish people in this
way. Scripture says that God does not do
evil things to anyone: Let no one say when he is
tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God … tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured
and enticed by his own desire. Then
desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown
brings forth death—James 1:13-15 Instead, the evil that falls upon people
usually originates from their own bad behaviour or bad habits or other people’s
bad behaviour or bad habits. The
“punishment” they receive is built into the bad behaviour. For instance, many people who overeat, smoke
cigarettes, or abuse alcohol or drugs, know that it is bad for their
health. When they develop health
problems they tend to blame God and say “Why is God doing this to me,” when in
reality, it is they themselves that caused this evil to befall them as well as
others (e.g., most of us contribute to air and water pollution). In the meantime, God, like a concerned
parent, has always been warning his people not to do things that will harm
them. God’s commandments and other rules
are the main way that God protects his people. It is up to each person to listen and obey God’s warnings and advice. If more people listened
closely or read Scripture closely, they would come to realize that Scripture
says that God is gentle and loving: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest. Take my
yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and
lowly in heart, and you will find rest
for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and
my burden is light"—Matthew 11:28-30 Although God is all powerful His greatest
characteristic or attribute is that He is tender hearted. Whatever power God possesses is directed to
protecting and nurturing the ones He loves. Those who know Him and love Him should feel that they can run to Him for
protection just like a little toddler who runs behind his or her mother and
grabs on to her skirt. As powerful as God is, “tenderness” is
perhaps the best word that describes His overall character. Anyone who believes in God yet fears Him, has
an immature belief. They should learn to
replace that fear with faith and trust in God instead, and have an overall
secure feeling knowing that God loves them in a very tender way. We are all sinners. But God heals us with an abundance of grace, mercy, and tenderness. —Pope Francis
Our Mission as Individuals Is to Work Within a Church Community
to Spread the Gospel of Christ
As Christians, we want to be especially sure that we are living our lives according to God’s will. In order to do that’ we should have a correct understanding of what God’s will is for us, which is nothing less than this: That we should share, in an intimate way, in the divine life of the Trinity, now, and for all eternity. Jesus stated this in a very exact way when He prayed to His Father:
I pray also for those who will believe in me ... that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us—John 17:20-21
Jesus has made it possible for people to share in the divine life of the Trinity through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. Through Baptism, we are made a part of the Body of Christ. Once in Christ’s Body, we have access to God’s graces through the power of the Holy Spirit who was given to us more fully at our Confirmation (i.e., seven gifts of the Holy Spirit). These graces nourish us and help us to grow in “God-likeness,” and lead us to eternal life. The Holy Eucharist especially allows us to be in intimate contact with Jesus to the point where Jesus actually “dwells” within us.
Also, according to the above quote, in order to have an intimate relationship with Christ we are called to also have close loving relationships with all human beings. God created us to live in relationship with each other the same way that the Holy Trinity lives in intimate relationship. Christ also wants us to understand that each member of His Body has something unique to offer for the good of the whole Body, and that all parts are dependant on one another:
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness—Romans 12:4-8
In fact we should especially see all members of our parish as being “family,” and as such, we should always work for the betterment of all our family members:
[Christ] died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up—1 Thessalonians 5:10-11
As part of understanding of what God’s will is for us, we have to remember that before Christ left this world, He commissioned His apostles to continue to do the work which He started, which was to proclaim His Gospel to the whole world
He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation—Mark 16:15
Therefore, as members of Christ’s Body, each one of us is personally responsible for proclaiming Christ’s Gospel. And, as we have seen from the above discourse, the way which Christ wants to see this work being done is in the context of a Church community. In fact, everything we do in our life should be within the “Body of Christ.” As such we should measure our life and the life of our Church community based on our effectiveness in spreading the Gospel of Christ to others—Fr. Emil
First God - then others - then me.
The above is a good catch-phrase to keep in mind in order to test ourselves from time-to-time to be sure that we are living in a true loving relationship with God and with others, and to make sure that we are living all other aspects of our life in the best possible way.
Jesus told us very plainly when he gave us His Two Greatest Commandments, that the best way we can show our love for God is to put God first in our lives and to love others:
“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’”—Matthew 22:37-39
Not only are we to love others, but we are to care for others to the point where we put others ahead of ourselves:
“You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many”—Matthew 10:42-45
In fact, those who live selfishly or who have no concern for others are not really living according to God’s law of love and are fooling themselves if they think they have a true love-bond with God:
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters—1 John 4:20-21
Jesus said, in a very straightforward way, that when the Day of Judgment comes, many will be judged according to this criterion of loving one’s neighbour:
Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me … for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life”—Matthew 25:41-46
God wants us to really learn the way of love. And the way God chose to teach us about true love is for us to care for others. Only by learning to care about others, can we learn to love like God loves, which is the greatest kind of love there is. And, if we want to reach our full potential as human beings, we have to learn how to live according to this “law of love.” —Fr. Emil
Being Thankful Requires a Certain Presence of Mind
As we were growing up, most of us were taught to have good manners, and especially how to say “please” and “thank you.” Most of us may remember getting birthday presents from our in-laws when we were small and getting so exited that we began opening the packages as soon as they were in our hands. It was then that parents would correct us by saying, “What do we say when someone gives you a gift”? And we would sheepishly turn to the person who gave us the present and say in a quiet embarrassed voice: “thank you.” All we could see at that moment was the gift and not the person giving it to us. We did not have the PRESENCE OF MIND to remember to take the time to express our appreciation to the person giving us the gift.
It seems now that—in what we call the “developed world”—most people, who say they believe in God, are so wrapped up in all the material wealth surrounding them that, basically, they forget that all that we have on this earth comes from God—they see the “gift” but forget about the “giver.” And even though most of them were taught that they should gives thanks to God, it seems that it skips their mind right until the time of something like Thanksgiving Day, when they come to the realization that a whole year went buy without them giving due thanks to God. Somehow, rather than learning how to be MINDFUL of God, they learned how to be UNMINDFUL of Him.
Jesus showed us the best way to be mindful of God is to give praise and thanks to God on a daily basis. Before Jesus asked anything of God He first thanked God for all God had done for Him.
For example, just before Jesus performed the miracle with the five loves and two fish, He gave thanks to His Father:
Jesus took the loaves, AND WHEN HE HAD GIVEN THANKS, He distributed them to those that were seated—(John 6:11)
And at the Last Supper, Jesus gave thanks to His Father just before distributing the wine, and then again, just before distributing the bread:
Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks He said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves” ... Then He took a loaf of bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body....” (Luke 22:17 & 19)
So we see that Jesus was MINDFUL that He had to give His Father—who is the source of all things—the respect and thankfulness that was due to Him.
Let us imitate Jesus, and always have the PRESENCE OF MIND to express our thanks to God every day of our life.
Chaplain - Parkland Council #6815
As a Member of Christ’s Church, You Have a Mission to Fulfill
From time-to-time, it is a good exercise for individuals and Church communities to examine how well they are doing in regards to the mission that Christ gave them to fulfill.
Specifically, each Church community should examine how well they are living up to the Christ’s directive of spreading the Gospel throughout the world.
And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”—Mark 16:15
The primary focus of each Church community should be centered on this directive. Every activity that the Church does—worship services, fundraising, parochial schools, charitable works—should add up to this primary goal of spreading the good news of Christ’s Gospel near and far.
Another way of saying this is that each member of the Church is called to bring others to Christ. The best way attract people to Christ, and to the Christian way of life, is by being a good model Christian. What you truly believe in, is revealed more by your actions than in what you say. People mostly base their decisions about the authenticity of your beliefs and your character not on what you say but on how you act (your works”).
A beautiful example of how a Church community can impress and influence those around it through its works, comes from around the year 197 AD. Tertullian, a Church writer, wrote a letter to the provincial governors of the Roman Empire in North Africa (who were persecuting Christians at that time) in order to explain who Christians were, and to demonstrate that Christians were not a threat to the Roman Empire. This letter gives us an illustration of the Christian community of that time:
We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force ... We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation. We assemble to read our sacred writings ... On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are, as it were, piety’s deposit fund. For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons ... But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. “See,” they say, “how they love one another.”
It is by works like these that the surrounding pagan communities came to admire the Christian way of life. Let us similarly continue to bring others to Christ by being the best Christians that we can be, inspiring others by being good Christian role models through our Church communities and individually.
Chaplain - Parkland Council #6815
Make the Most of Your Freedoms & Opportunities
In most democracies in the world today, more people have more freedoms now than at any other time in history. As well—as a direct result of this great freedom—people have the greatest opportunity for achieving “success” in their lives than ever before. Most people would translate “success” as acquiring enough money, possessions, and personal independence so that they can live
their life in “comfort.”
This is all well and good if a comfortable life is the greatest thing that humankind thinks that it can aspire to. Christians know that the greatest thing humankind can aspire to, goes beyond just this physical world—that there is in fact a God, and there is a place called heaven, and that God has intended that humankind live in this heaven with Him for eternity.
Therefore, a “successful” life for Christians has more to do with attaining eternal life with God in heaven than it does with attaining a comfortable life here on earth. In fact, focusing too much on achieving worldly success could “poison” the life of a Christian. Worldly concerns could poison the minds and hearts of Christians to such a degree that they would become too dull in their thinking to be able, or continue to be able, to perceive true reality—which is, that God exists and that we are His children.
Scripture repeatedly warns us that people in this condition can unwittingly fall back into slavery and in effect squander their gift of freedom that God has given them. Scripture clearly warns us,
that we should not let the things of this world hold mastery over us:
People are slaves to whatever masters them.
2 Peter 2:19
Scripture continually reminds us that there is more to life than just simply trying to live a comfortable life:
Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence.
The Bible tells us that we definitely have choices that we can freely make in this life; what we choose is what we will get: We can either choose to build ourselves a comfortable life here on earth or we can build towards eternal life with God in heaven. It is important that we set our priorities straight:
Do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well--Luke 12:29-31
Chaplain - Parkland Council #6815
New Years Resolutions
Many people want their lives to be a “success,” but have the wrong idea of what success is. They have to be mindful of the fact that being successful in the wrong thing is also a definition of failure.
In order to make the best of your time in this New Year and other years to come, you need to base your resolutions on good, solid principles. In other words, in order to build something of good quality you first need to build a good foundation. Christians know the best thing they can “build” their life on is God. For Christians, the starting point for making any kind of New Year’s resolutions would be to remember that it is not about telling God what your plans are and how you want your life to go, rather it is about asking what the will of God is and endeavoring to follow God’s will to the best of your ability:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time ... Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is—Ephesians 5:15-17
Only buy living your life according to the will of God will you have the best possible outcome for your life:
Do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' … your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you—Matthew 6:31-33
Therefore whenever you find yourself making New Year’s or “life” resolutions remember that it is always about trying to understand the will of God and then orienting your year or your life accordingly. The simple rule is:
SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Wishing everyone a happy and blessed New Year!
Chaplain - Parkland Council #6815
Keep Christ in Christmas
Let us make a special effort this Christmas to have Christ first and foremost on our minds during our Christmas festivities at home. Between preparing Christmas dinner, all the small talk with family and friends, watching sports on TV, and playing with all the Christmas toys, it seems that Christ hardly gets mentioned. Therefore, let us make a special effort to do things like: read Bible stories to our children singChristmas carols, include a scripture reading when you say grace and/or include a special Christmastime prayer.
In order to do some of these things it is best that you have everything ready ahead of time. So, find your Bible and mark the pages you will read a day or few days before; prepare ahead of time the special Christmas mealtime prayer you will recite; if your grandchildren are coming and you don’t have a children’s Bible story book then buy one and make “kid’s Bible story-time” a part of yourChristmas tradition; or get your children a Bible-story coloring book and, while they are coloring, explain some of the stories to them.
If we all take the time to plan special Christ focused activities during for the Christmas holidays, the more likely we will be able to develop some nice Christmas family traditions that will help bring our families closer to each other and closer to Christ—and isn’t that what the meaning of Christmas is all about!
To help you along, I have included some prayers and Scripture readings that you can use as part of your family Christmas “tradition.” You can simply use these this Christmas or prepare your own. Keep this bulletin in a special place so that you can use it in subsequent years to remind yourself to prepare your families’ “keep Christ inChristmas” program ahead of time.
A Sample “Keep Christ in Christmas” Program:
(1) Sing a carol and/or
(2) Recite “Our Father” followed by a special Christmastime prayer (the person leading the prayer, or all who are present, can recite this prayer)
(3) Have someone read a Scripture passage (preferably one of the younger members in the family)
(4) The person leading the prayer can then give the mealtime blessing.
Special Christmastime prayer:
All creation rejoices in you, O Mary, full of grace,
the assembly of angels and the human race.
O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise, the glory of virgins,
from whom God was incarnate and became a child, our God before the ages.
He made your body a throne, and your womb he made more spacious than the heavens.
All of creation rejoices in you,
Mary, full of grace, glory to you!
(from Liturgy of St. Basil)
Honest Heartfelt Prayer
Many people nowadays say that they can’t seem to find enough time in the day to be able to stop and pray, and yet, prayer is the greatest help that we can ever have in our lives.
Prayer, when it is done in harmony with our sacramental life, is the greatest thing that we can do to for the betterment of our lives. The best way we can live our life here on earth is to live a life of holiness—In other words, to live our life according to God’s way. Prayer is the best “tool” that we can possibly have to teach and guide us in our endeavor to live a holy life.
How does prayer do this? The number one way it does this, is by telling us the truth about ourselves. It brings us “face to face” with ourselves by making us look into the mirror of truth. Prayer calls us to be truthful to ourselves by teaching us not to hide away from ourselves. We are forced to look into the mirror of truth and, by looking closely at the reflection, to face the facts about ourselves. Just like a teenager who is shocked when he or she walks by a mirror and finds a pimple, so to, we might be shocked at what we find on closer examination when we look into the “mirror.”
I think that when most people casually look in the mirror they basically see a good person. But I think that if we look more closely into the mirror, we will find that we all have some imperfections—some greater, some smaller.
What imperfections do you see when you look into the mirror? Is this mirror showing you that you are: Not judgmental? A little judgmental? Very Judgmental?—That you are: truthful or not so truthful?—That you are: a little impatient or very impatient?—That you are: Angry at others? Angry at yourself? Angry at God?—That you are: generous or not so generous in helping the poor and needy?—That you are not so loving to your neighbor as you think your are?
The list of things to check is big, and it is very hard to be perfect in every little detail. God knows we can’t be perfect, but, nevertheless, He wants us to do our best. As long as we are trying, God will help us—All we have to do is ask for His help.
The most important thing to remember about prayer is that we should face the truth and not hide the truth from ourselves by denying that there is anything wrong with us. This is not the kind of prayer that God wants to hear from us rather, God wants to hear us speak to him in a humble and honest manner:
"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner. 'I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’" (Lk 18:10-14)
Even though the Pharisee was a good “church” goer and gave big donations, he did not pray to God from his heart. God does not want us to give Him gifts and sacrifices just to appease Him or in order to justify how good we are. Rather, He wants us to pray with an honest heart—a “humble and contrite heart” just as the tax collector did:
For in sacrifice You take no delight,
Burnt offering You would refuse,
My sacrifice a contrite spirit.
A humbled contrite heart You will not spurn.
Fr. Emil - Parkland Council Chaplain
Immorality Works Just Like Pollution
Immorality works much like pollution. All too often, people do not realize there is a pollution problem until it’s too late. Now, slowly, society is realizing that the pollution it creates can kill things like lakes and rivers and even destroy all life on earth.
People now realize that the pollution that they create can come back and hurt them. For example: water pollution can give them cancer; and air pollution can cause asthma and emphysema. Similarly, immorality has the same potential to “choke” and eventually destroy society as pollution does.
Unfortunately, at this time in history, many people still do not see that immoral behavior does not help to make a good and free society. Instead, immorality actually “pollutes” society, so that, eventually, everyone is negatively affected in one way or another.
People get fooled into the liberal way of thinking that says: “let them do whatever they want—it’s a free country—it doesn’t harm you in any way—so “mind your own business.” But, in reality, this kind of freedom actually gives off bad by-products. Just like air pollution or any other kind of pollution, bad things are not neutral, they do not have a “zero sum” effect on our society or on our “environment”; sooner or later, the pollution they cause has the potential to completely destroy society and the world as we know it.
Just look at what “mind your own business” sexual freedom has done:
In 1968 Pope Paul VI predicted that the use of contraceptives would have serious negative effects on society.
Today, just 48 years later, contraception—and the sexual “freedom” that it promised—has resulted in: millions of broken homes; millions of abortions; the impoverishment of women; millions of out-of-wedlock births; AIDS and all other kinds of venereal disease being passed on to innocent spouses and children; and worsening relations between men and women.
So we see that, contraception (a moral and spiritual pollutant), while claiming to offer greater freedoms to men and women, has instead—just like environmental pollution—slowly but surely, harmed society as a whole.
In America—the “land of freedom”—today, the divorce rate has gone up from 1 in 35 to about 1 in 8; each year billions of dollars are spent each year combating sexually transmitted diseases; and there are over 2.0 million abortions each year—That’s just in America alone!
Altogether, the social ills caused by the “mind your own businesses, I’m not hurting anyone” sexual revolution, has cost the American government over 5 trillion dollars in the last 48 years.
The results are very clear for those who want to see, immoral behavior is no different than environmental pollution; it has a negative effect on society and no one can really get away from the pollution it causes—and, it has the potential to destroy the whole world.
And the only real way to save the world is to lead everyone to Christ.
Fr. Emil - Parkland Council Chaplain