Friday, May 28, 2010

"Father's" Day

For several years now, my family has made Father's Day cards for our local spiritual fathers, our parish priests. These greetings come from a card pattern in which the front is a shirt and tie like this:

We use black construction paper and instead of folding each collar tab at an angle, we fold them straight toward the middle and glue a white tab of paper in between them. Then we glue black buttons down the center. Using a white piece of paper attached inside, we write our message.

As this Year of the Priest comes to a close, this project provides a nice way to let our priests know how much we appreciate all they do for us.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Good Read

As I reread the goal of the Catholic Etsy Artists Guild, these lines jump off the page:

"We may or may not produce art with Catholic themes but are expressing our God given creativity through our art...[We] provide beauty and craftmaship in a world where commerce has lowered its standards and artistic value has been cheapened."

Recently, I have had the opportunity to read Mary Gildersleeve's In His Image: Nurturing Creativity in the Heart of Your Home. Mrs. Gildersleeve's thesis states, and rightly so, that we have a natural desire and indeed an obligation to develop our own creativity in order that we may reflect to others The Creator in whose image and likeness we were made. Although we cannot create in God's terms, which is making something out of nothing, we can and should take the gifts and materials which He provides us and use them to bring beauty to the world.

In His Image is an excellent explanation of this concept, one that can renew in us a desire to reveal God's beauty through our arts and crafts.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Crowning

May Crowning Our Lady of Fatima Peg Doll by StAnnesPixies

Yesterday was the first of May, a month in Catholic tradition we dedicate to the Blessed Mother. The children in my house look forward to May Crowning all year-- especially my little girl, Gianna, who as eldest girl gets to place the crown of flowers on Our Lady's head. It was a gorgeous spring day, and we always say that Mary must make the tulips that bloom around her statue grow taller and more lovely year after year!

A May Crowning can be done at any time during the month of May. Don't think that if you missed the first of the month, you've missed your chance! It needn't be long or complicated. The Saints tell us that Jesus appreciates even simple acts of love offered for His Holy Mother! A simple "Hail Mary" and a homemade crown, offered with love is very beautiful. If you don't have a statue of Our Mother, placing a wreath or vase of flowers next to a picture is a wonderful substitute. Tradition teaches that Jesus Himself crowned Mary the Queen of Heaven after her Assumption. If we as believers seek to follow Christ in all things, then surely love for His Mother would be part of the deal! For more information and an awesome May Crowning hymn, please visit the following link:

Another ancient and lovely devotion to Our Lady is the growing of a Mary Garden. May is the perfect time to start this tradition. Not only is it Mary's month, but spring is in full swing! Mary Gardens got their start in the Middle Ages, and for a long time seemed to be forgotten by all but a few faithful gardeners. We can be happy that this beautiful devotion is making a comeback in a big way! For information about which plants are traditionally chosen, and tips on how to get started, please see the following links:

Once you are ready to plant your Mary Garden, here is a traditional Blessing of the Fields and Gardens for your family to pray:

O God, from the very beginning of time
you commanded the earth to bring forth vegetation
and fruit of every kind.
You provide the sower with seed and give bread to eat.
Grant, we pray, that this land,
enriched by your bounty and cultivated by human hands,
may be fertile with abundant growth.
Then your people, enriched by the gifts of your goodness,
will praise you unceasingly now and for ages unending.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.