New from Lisa Hendey: A Prayer Calendar for Catholic Moms

Lisa Hendey's Prayer Calendar for Catholic Moms -f

Space on my desk is precious real estate, only to be granted to the things that really need to be there: computer, planner, Post-It notes, a box of tissues, a mini-storage unit for clips and stickers, and a mug of pencils, pens and markers. I’m trying to keep my office neat. But I’ve added a perpetual calendar next to the Our Lady of Fatima figurine who stands by: Lisa Hendey’s new Catholic Mom’s Desk Calendar.

Flipping to the correct date, I found my very favorite psalm waiting for me, along with a beautiful prayer by Lisa.

CMdeskcalendar
Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

As you can see from the photo above, the color scheme is a calming blue, tone-on-tone. I’ve chosen almost that exact shade for more than one room in my home. The serene colors invite the reader to slow down, quiet down, and enter into a moment of prayer.

You don’t have to have a desk to display this prayer calendar. You could keep it on your nightstand, bureau, or even the kitchen counter (though I fear that if I tried that in my tiny kitchen, it would be splattered with marinara sauce in short order).

I have plenty of calendars in my office. I display two months of the calendar at a time, because I need to see that much for work. I have a Google calendar on my computer. And I have a planner on my desk. But this calendar is different. It’s not part of yet another to-do list for my family, my household, or my job. This calendar reminds me that “only one thing is necessary,” as Jesus told St. Martha, and I need to embrace that.

Here’s a sneak peek at January’s calendar entries! Note that this is a spiral-bound perpetual calendar, not a book as pictured below, but you can get a good look at what the beautiful pages look like.

Each day begins with a quote from Scripture, a saint, a pope, or the Catechism, followed by a brief prayer related to that reading.

Place this calendar where you’ll be sure to see it each day, and enter into a quiet moment of prayer in the midst of your busy life.

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Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz
This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

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Tech Talk: Prayer and Social Media

I’ve been a regular at Eucharistic Adoration for just over two years, and it’s taken me this long to find a way to use the time as a prayer intercessor for others.

For too long, I’d gone to the Adoration Chapel with an agenda and a tote bag: a spiritual book (or three) to read, a rosary, a journal, and my iPad so I could pray Liturgy of the Hours. It was getting to the point where Adoration was another task to check off my list, a quiet hour to read a book I’d promised to review. Check, check, check.

Checking off tasks is not what Adoration is supposed to be about.

I’d been noticing for a while that my friend Allison Gingras would share on Facebook that she was heading to Adoration, and offer to pray for any special intentions people posted. I knew she wouldn’t mind if I adopted her idea, so I created a graphic with a photo from our Adoration Chapel and shared it on Facebook for the first time in late February.

adoration-today

The response was tremendous. Over 40 likes. Over 35 comments. And a whole host of messages with private intentions. And I wasn’t just hearing from Catholics. I filled 2 index cards, both sides, with intentions posted in under 3 hours.

People are hungry for that intercessory prayer. People carry secret burdens and don’t always know how to ask for help, or even prayer over their situation. It’s a comfort to know that someone else is holding them up in prayer.

I took those two index cards and my rosary to the chapel. I always pray the Franciscan Crown rosary, and it’s a good thing it has 7 decades, because at one bead per intention I needed all those prayers to cover my list, plus my family and one general prayer for any late-breaking intentions (I wasn’t checking Facebook in the chapel.)

Later that day I got an email from one of the deacons at our parish, who’s my friend on Facebook. He wanted to let me know that he and his wife were going to begin inviting their Facebook friends to share intentions, to be prayed for during their Adoration hour.

He also said that this is a great way to evangelize. I hadn’t thought about that, but it’s true. Originally I’d hesitated to mention on Facebook that I was going to Adoration–but this has shown me that it’s something needed and appreciated.

I created a rosary prayer intentions printable to use each week to list intentions: my own, as well as those of my friends on Facebook. It’s also a Franciscan Crown Rosary tutorial. Download this printable and set it up for your “intentional rosary.”

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Of Prayer, Twitter and Red Minivans

Yesterday I was tagged in a tweet with an emergency prayer request.

twitter-prayer-request

After promising to pray that Emergency Novena for Christine’s friend, I messaged her to ask what color car her friend drives.

That may seem like a weird question, but I use visual prayer cues for special intentions. When I see a car that resembles one belonging to someone I know and love, that’s a reminder to me to pray for that person.

Christine told me that her friend drives a red minivan.

This morning at Mass, I remembered her friend in prayer, then resolved to turn off the radio on my way home and pray that day’s Emergency Novena.

After Mass, I got into my car, turned off the radio, and prepared to leave my parking space. The car in front of me moved away, revealing that the car parked in front of it was a red minivan.

A couple of miles later, I saw another one.

In your kindness, when you see a red minivan, say a special prayer for Christine’s friend. If you commit to doing this, I’m quite sure that God will make sure you see plenty of those cars.

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Photo copyright 2016 Lisa M. Hendey. Title added by author. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

#WorthRevisit: Chapel Rosary

Wrapping up the Month of the Rosary with a look back at May of this year, when I borrowed a rosary at the Adoration Chapel.

I was running a minute or two late for my Holy Hour yesterday, and as I approached the church driveway I realized I’d left my pocket rosary behind when I changed my clothes.

Worse, I’d tossed my wallet into my “Adoration tote” along with my journal, earbuds and a spiritual book or three–so I didn’t have the rosary I keep in my handbag.

I can count on my fingers in a pinch; after all, God gave me ten of them, but our Adoration chapel has a few rosaries on a hook near the entrance. I decided to use one of those to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Red rosary breviary C
Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Using a chapel rosary (or any rosary belonging to someone else) brings to mind a unique connection that is made through prayer.

What other hands had held that rosary, fingering the beads, counting off prayer intentions, wiping away tears?

What other hearts had prayed the prayers, there in the chapel, laying bare their most secret and fervent desires of the soul?

Was the last person to lift this rosary off that hook a stranger? A friend? A neighbor? My husband?

So many prayers have been prayed on this rosary, in this chapel.

I prayed one extra Memorare for those who have prayed here before me, for those who pray here with me, and for those who will pray here after me.

We are all connected, united, brought together by our prayers on a single string of beads.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Avoidance, Elections and a Call to Prayer

It’s getting to be that time of year again. I’d really like autumn, if it weren’t for the fact that November’s approach means Election Day is coming.

This season brings out the worst in everyone, and it’s complicated this year by the clear evidence that there’s just no one I can support, in good conscience, for the presidential election.

There is no political debate anymore; it’s just a bunch of people shouting their opinons on the airwaves and social media, like I’m doing right now. Everyone shouts. Nobody listens.

More and more, I’m coming to appreciate and admire Lisa Hendey’s stance at CatholicMom.com. We’re not covering the elections there. It gets too ugly too fast, and that’s not what we’re about.

I’ve dipped my toe into discussions on Facebook and immediately wished I’d kept my mouth shut (or sat on my fingers). Not because I regret what I said, but because I don’t want to be pulled into an online political debate that’s anything but a real debate.

I have friends who’ve sworn off social media until mid-November. That’s not an option for me, but I’m hiding certain posts in the hope that Facebook will get the idea that I just don’t want to see this stuff.

I’m done retweeting political stuff. I’m done “liking” and interacting in any way with Facebook posts about the election–even the ones that say, like I am right now, just how much they hate the whole process and the fact that decisions have to be made between alternatives that are awful in equal but different ways.

That’s going to take some self-control on my part. But I am hoping I can stick to this, because my own peace is at stake. I shouldn’t be getting on Facebook or Twitter and then feeling like my next stop should be the confessional.

No one’s vote is going to be changed by anything anyone says on Facebook or Twitter.

I’m going to try praying instead. Prayer can change hearts. Prayer can do things that retweeting and “liking” and spouting off on social media can’t do.

Right about now, I think it’s time to call upon St. Michael the Archangel and the Holy Spirit to protect our nation and to guide us in wise choices when Election Day comes along in 4 short weeks.

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Via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

 

 

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

For the One in this Room Who Needs It Most

I learned the Morning Offering my sophomore year in high school. (It was only my 5th year in a Catholic school, so I still had a long way to go to catch up on things like that.)

The room was quiet. Heads were bowed, eyes were closed and hands were folded as we sat at our desks for morning prayers before beginning class.

My homeroom teacher, Sr. Lucille Marie, would add at the end of the prayer, “And for the one in this room who needs it most today.”

Sometimes, the silence would be broken as a student (or several) whispered, “Me.”

All these years later, I still remember those whispers.

I remember those girls who projected all the confidence in the world every other minute of the day, but who let down their shields for that one moment when they could anonymously admit that they were in need of prayer.

You don’t have to be in a classroom to pray this prayer. You can pray it for the people in your home. You can pray it for the people standing in line with you at the supermarket. You can pray it for people driving ahead of you and behind you on the highway.

Where two or three are gathered, you can pray this prayer:

For the one in this room who needs it most, I pray.

God knows what they need. He can take it from there.

"For the one in this room who needs it most" at Franciscanmom.com
Image via Pixabay (2016), CCO Public Domain. Text added in PicMonkey.

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

"Write 31 Days" logo from write31days.com. (@franciscanmom)
Logo via Write31Days.com. All rights reserved.

The Chapel Rosary

I was running a minute or two late for my Holy Hour yesterday, and as I approached the church driveway I realized I’d left my pocket rosary behind when I changed my clothes.

Worse, I’d tossed my wallet into my “Adoration tote” along with my journal, earbuds and a spiritual book or three–so I didn’t have the rosary I keep in my handbag.

I can count on my fingers in a pinch; after all, God gave me ten of them, but our Adoration chapel has a few rosaries on a hook near the entrance. I decided to use one of those to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Using a chapel rosary (or any rosary belonging to someone else) brings to mind a unique connection that is made through prayer.

What other hands had held that rosary, fingering the beads, counting off prayer intentions, wiping away tears?

What other hearts had prayed the prayers, there in the chapel, laying bare their most secret and fervent desires of the soul?

Was the last person to lift this rosary off that hook a stranger? A friend? A neighbor? My husband?

So many prayers have been prayed on this rosary, in this chapel.

I prayed one extra Memorare for those who have prayed here before me, for those who pray here with me, and for those who will pray here after me.

We are all connected, united, brought together by our prayers on a single string of beads.

Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

#WorthRevisit: Pray the Franciscan Crown Rosary

Since the month of May is a time when we honor the Blessed Mother, I’m looking back at a CatholicMom.com post explaining my favorite Franciscan way to pray the Rosary.

Here’s a how-to for my favorite variation of the Rosary:  the Franciscan Crown.

It’s got that name because, according to legend, the Blessed Mother asked an aspiring Franciscan friar to weave her a crown of prayers.

While the Dominicans are credited with the creation of the Rosary, Franciscans also have a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother:

In his devotion to the Mother of Christ, the Franciscan, who is united with and transformed into Christ, makes Mary his own Mother. How can it be otherwise, for it was Mary who begot Christ, and hence it is Mary who has given the True Life to the Franciscan. Mary is our Mother because she is the Mother of the Head of the Mystical Body, of which we are members — she is the one Mother of the One Christ. Thus Francis “embraced the Mother of Jesus with an indescribable love, because she made the Lord of Majesty our brother.”

My favorite "pocket Rosary." Durable. Washable. And with a Franciscan touch!
My favorite “pocket Rosary.” Durable. Washable. And with a Franciscan touch! Get yours at Mary Devotions, an Etsy shop.

The Franciscan Crown is a 7-decade Rosary. If you don’t have a 7-decade set, use your regular Rosary and just backtrack a bit. Unlike the regular Rosary, you start at the medal and end at the cross.

For each decade, pray 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and 1 Gloria.

Here are the meditations for each decade:

  1. The first Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Annunciation. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Your word.” May I become your humble servant, Lord.
  2. The second Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Visitation. “Rising up, Mary went into the hill country and saluted her cousin Elizabeth. Grant us true love of neighbor, Lord.
  3. The third Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Birth of Jesus and the Adoration of the Magi. “She brought forth her first-born son…and laid him in a manger.” Give us true poverty of spirit, Lord.
  4. The fourth Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Presentation and Purification. “They carried him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord…as it is written in the law of the Lord.” Help me obey all just laws.
  5. The fifth Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. “Not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem seeking him.” May I never lose you through serious sin, Lord.
  6. The sixth Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Resurrection of Jesus. “The Lord is not here; He is risen.” May we share your glory, Lord.
  7. The seventh Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at her Assumption into Heaven and her Coronation. “A woman clothed with the sun; upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” Mary, may we share your crown of eternal life.
After you have prayed the seven decades, pray two more Hail Marys to make a total of 72–honoring the 72 years of Mary’s life (according to legend). Then, for the intentions of the Holy Father, pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Gloria.
You don’t have to be a Franciscan to pray this beautiful devotion.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Prayer Should be Free

Yesterday my friend, Liturgy of the Hours expert Daria Sockey gave me a heads-up that my favorite Liturgy of the Hours app was being removed from the App Store and Google Play Store because of copyright issues with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

We have been a ministry dedicated to bringing the Liturgy of the Hours to everyone everywhere for many years. We grew out of an RCIA Committee to become facilitators of thousands of people who pray together. I have dedicated more than 10 years in God’s service to this work. In that zeal to serve and naivety we acquired some permissions, but we are missing some key ones. —Dane Falkner, producer of Divine Office

Daria kindly gave me permission to share her article on the subject at CatholicMom.com, encouraging readers to purchase the app at a discounted price before it would be removed from the stores today.

And then, overnight, the app was pulled from the stores early; it appears that pressure was brought to bear by the USCCB.

I’m all for giving credit where credit is due and for obtaining permission before using text or images that belong to other people.

But the USCCB’s policy of requiring complicated permissions on their translation of Biblical texts is absolutely ridiculous and counterproductive. Divine Office’s app and website are there to help people pray.

This is not the first time this has happened; see Matthew Warner’s comments on Daria Sockey’s original post on this subject.

The USCCB and LEV need a serious wakeup call when it comes to this stuff. They are literally requiring you to pay them money in order for you to share the bible, catechism and other liturgical texts with people FOR FREE. It’s insane and the definition of scandal. They are literally SELLING CHURCH TEACHING. This is not like selling a book or some material (where clearly the physical item and those who produce, market and distribute deserve just compensation). But even if I want to take the most basic and essential church teachings, do ALL of the work myself to share it with somebody, give it to people FOR FREE…the USCCB and LEV STILL demand somebody pay them huge amounts of money (royalties), all for helping them do the work of the Church! It’s insane and we should be ashamed. Bishops should be outraged the the organization that represents them is going around threatening to sue the good guys and implementing policies that don’t stop the bad guys. —Matthew Warner

What can you do to help save DivineOffice.org?

Daria has some good ideas. I’ve summarized them here, but go to her blog for full information.

  • register as a user on their website (it’s FREE) while you still can
  • respectfully write to your Bishop and to Bishop Serratelli (of the Paterson, NJ diocese)
  • donate to DivineOffice.org to help with the legal expenses they will undoubtedly incur as they fight to keep their site open and their app available

And please spread the word. I’ve seen hashtags #prayershouldbefree and #freetheword and #savedivineoffice — and the USCCB is on Twitter @USCCB. Find Divine Office on Twitter @DivineOffice.

Divine Office for FI prayer should be free

When a prayer becomes a stumbling block

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In our parish’s Perpetual Adoration Chapel there are some prayer booklets. Adorers are asked to begin their Holy Hour with these prayers so that there is a continuous unity of prayer flowing through the chapel. The booklet is several typed pages and contains prayers such as the Divine Praises, a prayer for priests, a specific prayer for each priest who has served our parish during its history, prayers for deceased Adorers, and so on. It takes only a few minutes to pray these prayers and then your time in the Chapel is your own, to pray or meditate as you wish.

The language in some of these prayers is more flowery than my no-nonsense nature normally goes for, but that’s no big deal. For me, the problem comes in the words of the Prayer for the Holy Father (specifically the words I include here in bold):

Lord God, we thank you for the gift of Francis as Pope for our times. You have called him to this office at a very critical time in salvation history. We ask through the intercession of the Blessed Mother that you shower him with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in full measure. Strengthen, protect, console and guide him in his efforts to defend the truths of the Catholic Faith against her enemies. May he always be the Sovereign Pontiff you are calling him to be, and may he work unceasingly to foster the restoration of the Church to her former glory.

We pledge our complete fidelity to our Holy Father when he proclaims the traditional teachings of Holy Mother Church. Grant us an unwavering faith that will persevere until the end in the midst of whatever darkness or persecution may befall us. We offer this prayer from the safe and secure refuge of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen.

To me, this prayer reads like someone has an axe to grind. Is there a claim in it that the Holy Father is not always proclaiming the “traditional teachings” of the Church?

As to “former glory,” that’s extremely subjective. What qualifies as “glory”? Hasn’t the Church nearly always undergone times of persecution, scandal, mismanagement and lukewarm faith? What is this “glory”? Should we seek glory in this world–even for the Church?

I feel like this prayer is a veiled criticism of the Pope and a wish for a throwback to some unspecified time in history that, in this prayer-writer’s nostalgic view, is somehow superior to our own.

So I’ve stopped using that prayer booklet. Instead, I begin my Holy Hour with the Divine Praises and the Angelus (since my hour begins at noon–it’s Angelus time!)

What do you think of this prayer? Am I reading too much into it?