a happy Easter!

Happy Easter! He is risen!

Despite me being a little bit lazy and out of it this past Lent (though, our Pastor gave an excellent homily about this recently and it really encouraged me even in my failures) – Saturday night brought such joy. I didn’t realize how much my soul was longing for Easter until it was upon me.

These past several weeks have been quite full. Work challenges, more big life decisions (and no resolutions as of yet!), finally seeing the grass in our yard before it getting covered in snow again, etc. March always seems to have a consistent air about it, doesn’t it? At least for me, every year that March hits I’m 100% ready for spring and the Easter Alleluia. And yet every year it’s a month that drags on and taunts us. That’s what I get for living in northern climates, I suppose.

Anyway, enough of the dreariness, it’s Easter! In all fairness, we’ve experienced a great amount of peace this winter/Lent. God has been merciful. It’s such an odd thing to say, but I just feel so at home in this Diocese and it’s really hit me in the past month or so. I could say I feel at home in Duluth, but I think it’s actually something more particular to the Duluth Diocese. Not sure how to describe it, but it’s a lovely consolation. So thank you, Jesus.

Now as we head into spring, we’re in a similar situation as we were last year (classic!): do we stay, do we go, what about work? Of course, we’re praying God will provide for us to stay in Duluth (which is not what I had intended when we moved here), even if our life looks a little atypical. But may His will be done! Because as I’ve discovered this year (and all my years…), He values our little leaps of faith and will make it work out for the best (even if it’s not what I had initially wanted).

May you all carry the joy of the Spirit with you this Easter season! Let us rejoice and allow ourselves to hope in the One who makes all things new!

Something to miss

I love living in Duluth. In this moment, it is good that we are here. But lately we’ve been missing Boston hardcore. And I’m so glad we do. It means that despite any hardships we faced, we had a life worth missing.

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Today, I’m thinking of St. Clement’s Shrine in downtown Boston on Boylston Street. I was visiting a friend at her work the other day and somehow the Oblates of the Virgin Mary came up in conversation. They are a phenomenally orthodox order of great & holy Priests, and they work so hard to make the sacraments accessible to all people of the faith in a city that seems to have no faith (perfect example: these men ran into the scenes of the Marathon bombings with sacramental oils, without hesitation).

I mentioned that they have a shrine in the Prudential Mall, and it was just then I realized how unusual that must sound to an outsider. Yes, St. Francis Chapel is in the mall, directly across from Ann Taylor Loft and next to Dunkin’ Donuts. And it is a pure oasis. Such a gift. They hear confessions all day every day, they offer Mass three times a day (Monday-Friday) as well as multiple weekend Masses. They have a little shop with Catholic books, DVD’s, holy cards, etc. All downtown at an intersection of many major T lines.

One of the main reasons Kevin chose to move to Boston for art school as opposed to his other options was the availability of sacraments. And when I think about it, I don’t know a place that can compare to what we had. I bring up St. Clement Shrine because it’s Lent and every Lent since graduating college I’ve spent most of my Lenten season in this Church.

For many years it was right on my commute to/from work. Their 7am Mass worked well for having to be at work around 8-8:30am. Their perpetual adoration meant the doors were always open to visit & sit with our Lord. Their Friday night stations of the cross were always done beautifully, making it worth few extra hours downtown. It was also the place where our young adult group was held (the same group I met Kevin through). No matter what time of day you were in the Shrine – this haven in the midst of Fenway Park, Berklee College of Music, the Prudential Mall, and Kenmore Square – you could always count on seeing a friendly face.

And then there is the Triduum. I’ll admit, it’s going to be tough not experiencing the Triduum at St. Clement’s. While a couple years I ended up elsewhere for the Easter Vigil due to plans with friends, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and much of Holy Saturday were spent in this sacred place. While the Catholic faith is the same everywhere (or at least we hope) and the Mass is still the Mass, I’ll miss entering into the Triduum with the Oblates. I’ll miss the solemn entrance they make on Good Friday, the procession to the upper room after the Liturgy, sitting in our Lord’s presence before emptiness takes His place, walking into the quiet Church on Saturday in anticipation for His return.

Ah, but alas. He does make all things new. So while I will treasure the memories and gifts from those experiences and traditions, I know they will continue on in that Church in unity with my new Parish. The greatness of the universal Church! And I do love our new Parish, so I look forward to participating in all the Lenten activities as well as the holy Triduum.

May your Lenten season be greatly blessed! And go rock those ashes ūüėČ

 

Live the Fast

As Lent is approaching, I’m sure lots of people are racking their brains for what to “give up”. Often, this season sneaks up on us and we feel so unprepared (at least I do!). Now obviously we should all be praying as to how we can grow closer to our Lord through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. But I did want to share a great ministry/business with the blogging world. It’s called “Live the Fast.”

LIVE the FAST

Live the Fast was started by Andy LaVallee, who owns his own bread company just outside of Boston. As it says right on their website, “Live the Fast is a Roman Catholic Apostolate that is centered on renewing the practice of prayer and fasting by providing nutritious fasting breads, educational resources on prayer and fasting and a prayer community that will inspire one to live the fast.”

There is¬†a [slow] growing¬†movement to fast all year round on both Wednesday’s and Friday’s. Why those two days? Wednesday is the day that Jesus was betrayed by Jesus, so therefore we can fast in reparation for all sins. Friday was the day that our Lord died on the cross. I won’t go deeply into the abundant graces of fasting, but in general, it opens up our hearts to¬†the Lord, making room for his work to be done. We can also offer up our fasting for intentions we have.

Now, fasting all year round (sans feasting time, of course) is a big commitment to make. So a great place to start out, if you feel so called, is during Lent. You can order these fasting breads online, and they will be delivered frozen to your doorstep (with a bonus book on fasting). There are a few different kinds of breads per order, it’s super affordable, and they also send out encouraging emails the nights before each fasting day.

Before I was married, a few of my former roommates and I did this one Lent together, and our freezer was literally¬†filled with little rolls…it was a bit amusing. But also encouraging. On the morning of each fasting day, you pop a few rolls into the oven for 15ish minutes, wrap them up for the day (I used foil), and eat one at each meal.

The rules can be as strict or as loose as you need, depending on your situation. Some people eat one roll for breakfast and one for lunch – then have a small dinner after 6pm (no dairy or meat). Some eat three to four rolls throughout the day and that’s it.

I encourage everyone to read up more on this great ministry. If you have any questions, you could certainly ask me, but also feel free to reach out to Live the Fast directly!