Tuesday, June 20, 2006

June 2006

Dear Friends,

Welcome to June and our second e-letter to the Lilies of Saint Maria. Each month or as often as we can, we will post a free e-letter on our website, Lilies of Saint Maria, for all our visitors to read. Both Bernadette and I, Rebekah, will take turns writing the e-letter. Since Bernadette volunteered to be the author of our first, I am your writer for this month. We will try to include some inspiring words, any news from here or afar, magazine sneak peeks or updates, prayer requests, and/or anything else that we think would spark your interest. To make this letter more convenient to read, it will not only be available to those visiting our site, we will also send it to you via email after you sign up for it HERE.

Our audience is, of course, directed toward Catholic girls and teens, but hey, we invite everyone to share in this new endeavor.

Just a Few Thoughts . . .

Can you believe it is already the beginning of June? You all are probably done with the school year or finishing up your last exams and tests. But before you run off on your family vacation, camp, or other Summer activity, I wanted to give you a little survey and something to think about this season.

Survey Questions
  • Picture yourself at Sunday morning Mass. When you come into the church you make the Sign of the Cross and kneel down in your pew. What are you thinking about?
  • After a couple minutes you return to your seat, what are you thinking about now?
  • What are you thinking about before reciting the Confiteor? (i.e. I confess to You Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters. . .)
  • During the priest's homily?
  • Right before you receive Communion?
  • After Communion?

Perhaps you are thinking one of the following during these times. . .

"I wonder what I should have for breakfast," "I wonder where the family is that usually sits up in front, " "Oh gee, someone has to mow the lawn tomorrow!" "Penney's should have a sale this Saturday. I just have to get those shoes I saw!" or "I think Father's homily is longer than usual today."

Do you recognize any here? Unfortunately, many people do.

My parish priest brought this mind wandering problem up during his homily last week. He gave the example of a wedding reception he went to the night before. He said, "The music at the wedding was so loud we had to yell at the top of our voices in able to communicate with each other."

He went on comparing the blaring music with the distractions we are confronted with during Mass. A wedding is a very special time, everyone is there, Mom and Dad, relatives, and friends. Music shouldn't create a barrier between you and those you love. It is the same way with Mass. Jesus is there, distractions of the mind shouldn't create a barrier between us and Love Itself.

"We should try to leave these distractions at the entrance door!" he said during his homily. "They will be waiting there for us when we leave, believe me!"

Why would we want to fall into this temptation of the mind? Why can't we spend just one hour a week thinking about our Lord, is that too hard for us? If I know you, it certainly is not, right?

During another one of Father's homilies he told the story of his father who could stay glued to a newspaper with outstanding concentration. With kids running through the house, screaming and yelling, his father could sit in the kitchen and be entirely unaware of nothing else but his newspaper. (Personally, I believe all dads have that talent!) This is how we should act in prayer and the time we spend at Mass. Isn't it interesting that we can easily stick to the television, internet, phone, etc. without trouble, but when it comes to talking to the One Who created us, we find it to be difficult and frustrating?

Another point to bring up to you is the importance of actually going to church. Sometimes it is impossible to go to Mass, it could be illness, it could be lack of transportation, bad weather, whatever the case may be. But what about us who can go but do not, all due to not wanting to spend a WHOLE hour doing something that is not as exciting as one of our other activities. The Mass is a sacred time when we remember Christ's sacrifice, it is when we come to receive His Body and Blood - something He told us to do about two thousand years ago.

You may say to yourself again and again when you are returning home from Mass, "I certainly didn't get anything from that. Father's sermon wasn't inspiring, the music wasn't uplifting, those kids in front kept on making noise. . . I absolutely can wait for next Sunday."

Sorry, but it's not the Mass, it's US. WE must become part of the Mass, offer ourselves up as Jesus did. We may feel nor see any returns in participating at Mass and offering ourselves up with Jesus, but they are there nonetheless. How can a person convert a heretic when he himself needs conversion? It is the same for us during Mass. How can we expect change of heart and receive virtue when we do not make the slightest effort to have this happen? And yet, isn't the Mass an Act of Worship! (The Supreme Act of Worship, I should add!) We go to Mass to worship and love our Lord.

Now it is up to you - the next time you go to Mass will you fall into the bad habit of conscientiously thinking about other things rather than what is happening at the moment? Or will you go to Mass with a fresh mind that is open to giving thanks and praise to the One Who sacrificed His Life for you? You make the choice.

Help Us Spread the Word . . .

  • Do you know of any generous Catholic people (or are you one?) who would be willing and able to become Sponsors for our apostolate? This means those people who have the time and means to promote St. Maria's Messenger.
  • Can you be able to reach a large audience of Catholic girls and/or families?
  • Can you be able to tell them about St. Maria's Messenger in its true form – honestly and with sincerity? (No car-salesman pitches.)
  • Can you tell girls through ads, website(s), flyers, etc.?
  • Are you able to do all this with the little we have to offer in return? (Prayers and an ad for your company/work on our website and in our magazine.) Note: We cannot supply sponsors with the money, supplies, and equipment needed to spread the word unless otherwise noted after contacting us.

We greatly look forward to your help in this matter. Please pray about this, do not just brush it aside as another one of "those." Thank you!

Also, another thing almost any one can do for us. Post flyers about our magazine in your Parish Church (permission needed first, of course). Just click HERE and up will pop a page you can print off and then distribute. Using colored paper (or ink) will help the flyer stand out better.

Please Keep In Your Prayers . . .
  • Jacob: He is 16 years old and his heart is in critical condition.
  • Wright Family: A Catholic family of 11, three of whom were in a horrible car crash. One died and the rest are in serious condition.
  • Hanson Family: They are a new Catholic family singing group and would appreciate your prayers.
  • Leo: Health is declining.
  • Virginia: Passed away last year.
  • Sally: Who passed away last week.
  • Al: Who passed away last February.
  • Stephanie's aunt: For her health.
  • Carole: Health and well-being.

If you have any prayer requests please let us know so we can add them to our prayer list!

Saint Maria's Messenger Sneak Peaks or Updates . . .

We have issue themes all set up for our Volume Five that will be coming out this November. What are issue themes? For each issue and every issue of St. Maria's Messenger we try to stay within one subject or topic. In the past we have done magazines devoted to angels, family, St. Maria Goretti, miracles, and so on.

Now, since we have our themes for next season nailed down, we are looking for the content to fill it. We are hoping some of you may help us by bringing one of the following ideas for articles into reality.

  1. Discovering the Soul of America. The past, present, and future of a state. What churches, shrines, festivals, history, landmarks, sights, recipes, events, charities, would you want to show or talk about that are located in your home state? Try to stir in a Catholic view point as many times as you can.
  2. The Strength of the Soul. What virtuous fruits are obtained through sports and recreational fun? Show how sports can be very beneficial to the soul as well as the body. Quote from the saints and popes, maybe use fictional or non-fictional stories to demonstrate the necessity of recreational fun. Perhaps bring to light a Catholic woman athlete or a girl who is a sport fan.
  3. Catholic 101. This article will list many things every Catholic girl should know. Give the statistics of how religious education has dropped over the last few decades, how important it is to learn your Faith, give a quiz listing the most necessary Q and A's , (Baltimore Catechism), give a few tips on how to defend your faith, and list good Catholic websites so our readers can learn more about their Catholic Faith.
  4. Fictional Fun. Do you have an idea for a story that will fit our magazine's standards? Well, sit back, relax, and just have fun with it! We are looking for any sort of story around 1500 words long and that would be intriguing to our readers.
  5. Rosary Know-how. The rosary is a powerful tool against the devil and is often neglected and forgotten by many Catholics today. Bring to light this wonderful gift from God, tell stories of how this prayer has changed hearts, quote from the saints, give it's origin and history, list the indulgences attached, give tips on how to remain in meditation while praying, and give meditations on each mystery of the rosary.
  6. Catholic Authors. Give brief biographies on Catholic authors through the centuries. Possibly some or all of the following: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Augustine, St. Gertrude, St. Thomas Aquinas, Ann Ball, Mary Fayban Windeatt, C. S. Lewis, J. R. Tolkien, G. K. Chesterton, Michael Brown, St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Alphonsus Liguori.
  7. Bookworm Food content. We have to admit it, we are both true bookworms and a lot of our readers are no different. Yet, we are always short on time when it comes to reviewing books. That is why we are always in need of reviews on books that are safe and interesting to our readers. Please try to keep in mind our age range: 10-teen.
  8. Mary, our Mediatrix. Dig deeper into Marian apparitions and find the revelations, hope, facts, history, and lives of the visionaries. Please only write about apparitions that have been approved by the Catholic Church.
SMM Catholic Reporter (home, national, or world news). . .

Home: Please check out www.magiclandfarms.com to find out what we have been up to at our farm. My Papa regularly updates the website, especially the Magicland Farm News section.


VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for June is: "That Christian families may lovingly welcome every child who comes into existence and surround the sick and the aged, who need care and assistance, with affection."

His mission intention is: "That pastors and the Christian faithful may consider inter-religious dialogue and the work of acculturation of the Gospel as a daily service to promote the cause of the evangelization of peoples."

A couple news articles for you . . .

A Few Extras . . .

Here is a website you might be interested in: Click here.

Also check out the message boards on this site: www.phatmass.com. My sister Bernadette regularly is on Vocation Station and she says its an excellent board with many wonderful people.

And one more thing. For those of you who haven't read our Holy Father's first encyclical, here is a link to it from the Vatican's website.

Have a Very Blessed Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

In Jesus and Mother Mary,

Bernadette and Rebekah Fox

Saint Maria's Messenger
A Catholic Magazine for Girls
5426 S. Gordon Ave.
Newaygo, MI 49337