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Opportunities to grow in faith abound in September

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Staff Report

This time of year is ripe with opportunity.  Events around the world and in our daily lives coincide with the church’s liturgical calendar to offer many chances to grow in faith. Here are suggested Family Life activities for September.

Sept. 8: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today is a day for the family to wear blue in honor of our Blessed Mother. Gather the family together and decorate the house or family table with special flowers, or create decorations for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pray for all mothers, perhaps family members who have mothers dealing with illness or difficult situations. Read Matthew 1:1-16 and reflect on the heritage of Jesus Christ, and then reflect on our own heritage.

Sept. 14: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Wear red to Mass this morning and reflect on our salvation through the cross. There is a story that when St. Helena found the Holy Cross, basil grew over the hill where she made the discovery. In Greece, some of the faithful are given sprigs of basil by their local priest. Today is a good day to have the family prepare dinner with basil. Margarita pizza is an easy pizza to make with basil. Additionally, have a family member report about St. Helena and her quest of finding the relics of Jesus. Weather permitting, find an outdoor Way of the Cross, or simply read the Way of the Cross in the backyard and contemplate the power of the cross.

Sept. 23: Though not a Catholic feast, today is the Autumnal Equinox. Have the family reflect on the summer, and prepare a thanksgiving for our summer blessings. Have each family member share two or three moments they enjoyed over the summer. A closing prayer may be: “Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for the bountiful days of summer, enjoying your sunshine and summertime fun. As the daylight begins to wane, we ask you for a good night’s rest. Let us look at the beauty of the autumn leaves and revel in the colors. As we see our breath in the cool mornings and evenings, we thank you for the breath of life you have given us. As we witness the birds of the air traveling south ward, let that be a reminder to follow you. Thank you for the seasons and beauty you have bestowed on us. Amen.”

Throughout September: Friday Night Lights: Friday evenings bring us excitement and fun, especially during the football season. Before heading out to the game, have the family assemble and pray for those traveling to and from the games and those participating that the Lord keep them safe. This also an opportunity to carve out First Friday traditions: attend Mass as a family, have special prayers for the needs of our community, fast for peace, or simply take a half-hour unplugged and spend silence with the Lord.

Oktoberfest: Did you know that Old St. Mary’s Parish at 123 E. 13th St. in Cincinnati has a Mass in German at 11:00 a.m. every Sunday? If you’re headed to Oktoberfest, start the day at Old. St. Mary’s.

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