Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cry Room Chronicles LXIX

Lent has started! I need to get back on the ball for this blog series. We went to our usual 9 a.m. Mass though Jacob did not go for his usual pre-Mass potty break. Lucy almost went to children's liturgy but changed her mind at the last second. We were all in the church for the whole Mass.

Things went pretty well. Jacob did plenty of singing, praying, and responding. I was proud of him. Lucy was well behaved--no shoes came off, no walks in the aisle, no wrestling. She even talked quietly during the Mass. Mommy did a great job keeping Lucy distracted.

The kids put their coins in the collection basket and did the sign of peace with no problems. Lucy wanted to walk up at communion time but changed her mind halfway up the aisle. That was fine with me, I don't mind carrying her. We didn't light candles after Mass but did go for snack time.

Snack time was fairly uneventful. We didn't see any of the regular people we hang out with. We sat by ourselves. Jacob just wandered around, he didn't want a cookie or a drink! Lucy had a little chocolate rice crispy muffin that had two candies that looked like little eggs. It looked like a little nest. Very cute!

Father's homily was mostly taken over by the announcement of our Lenten project, raising money for the Presentation Sisters in Pemba, Zambia. They want to provide permanent housing for eight families.  The families currently live in mud huts that collapse during the rainy season. The huts are rebuilt at the end of the season. The sisters want to build houses that won't need rebuilding. The goal is £15,000. We'll have to bring some extra money next week!

Check out this fun activity from the kids' activity page at church:

Please don't draw on your monitor!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cry Room Chronicles LXVIII

This week we had the usual routine, going to the 9 a.m. Mass. The children were a little reluctant. Lucy was especially uncooperative in getting dressed and out the door. Even so, we managed to arrive before Mass started.

Jacob wanted to go potty so I took him across the street. As we were coming out of the potty, the children started filing in for children's liturgy. Jacob wanted to go to children's liturgy. I waited a little bit but there was no sign of Mommy and Lucy. Jacob went into the pre-school room and I told him to wait while I went for Lucy. I crossed the street and went back into the church. With a quick look from the back I spotted the rest of my family. I went up and we asked Lucy if she wanted to go. She said yes, so Mommy took her across the street. Here's what happened according to guest blogger Mommy:

M:  The teacher tried something new for the preschool class this week.  Instead of reading a children's bible book to the class, she told a story.  The story was about Jesus healing a leper.  She asked Jacob if he would like to stand next to her and act as Jesus for the story.  He declined, saying he was too shy, but then as she started to tell the story, he gradually edged closer and closer to her, taking tiny steps, until he was right next to her.  Then he said "I can be Jesus for a few minutes."  She started the story by explaining to the children that Jesus loves everyone. One day Jesus was out walking when a man with leprosy came to Jesus.  At this point, the teacher explained that leprosy was a skin disease that made people feel "really poorly."  Everyone thought the man should go away and not bother Jesus, but Jesus said "Bring him to me."  The teacher told Jacob to say that line, which he did, in appropriately loud tones.  Then Jacob was instructed to hold his arm out and say "Be healed!"  Again, Jacob complied enthusiastically.  I was really impressed with the teacher's ability to include the children in the lesson and was sure it would be very memorable, especially for Jacob.   After the story, the teacher asked the children to give a round of applause to Jacob for being Jesus today.  Jacob loved that, and especially asked me to include it in this blog writeup.

After the story, the children did their usual bout of coloring while waiting for the signal to return to church.  Lucy was very enthusiastic about coloring and really wanted to show her picture to Daddy (in church).  I was barely able to restrain her from returning to church early.  The kids attached their papers to a small bulletin board and several children (including Jacob) carried the board into church.  At the front of church the priest was waiting and asked the children what they learned today.  Jacob, as the one standing in front, was in the spokeschild role.  He froze and looked to me for help.  I whispered "Jesus and the leper."  Jacob leaned confidently into the priest's outstretched microphone and said "Jesus and the leopard."  Ah well.
Exciting times! They came back after the offertory was collected. The children behaved mostly during the Mass. Lucy took her shoes off again and kept popping up and down. At least she was quiet. She was extra-squirmy during the Lord's Prayer, so I picked her up. A first she was unenthusiastic about the sign of peace. After two or three handshakes, she wanted to shake everyone's hands around us.

We lit candles at the end of Mass. Lucy prayed for me; I didn't hear what Jacob prayed for. Then we headed across the street for tea and treats. We had good fun there. One of the ladies we met a few weeks ago called me over to their table and we had a nice chat about this and that. Next week is "half term" so all the kids are out of school and lots of adults take time off to do things with them. It was a very good day at church.

Father began his sermon talking about Jack London and the Superbowl. London has a quote about life: "The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” Once a coach used this line to inspire his American football team to go out and win. We all should not just be in life, but be a part of life. Do something to connect with others and to improve the world. This is the same lesson in today's gospel, where Jesus cures a leper and tells him to go and show himself to the temple priests. He can be declared clean and return to society. Father encouraged us to live life, not just to exist or coast along.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cry Room Chronicles LXVII

Today we went to the 9 a.m. Mass. We were up and breakfasted early enough to go to the 8 a.m. Mass at the other church but we had signed up to provide the treats after Mass, so we had to go to 9 a.m. Mass to deliver our goods. We made brownies and pumpkin bread. We drove off and dropped the goodies across the street. Jacob took the opportunity to go to the loo. We walked back to the church where the procession at the beginning of Mass was just starting.

Since my wife took the children last week to children's liturgy, it was my turn to walk across the street. We went straight to the preschooler room. Lucy sat in my lap and Jacob sat right next to me. The lady lit a candle, said a short prayer, then read a book about the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Jacob sat up front to listen. Lucy stayed with me and starting singing to herself. I went into "shushing" mode for quite a while. Lucy was almost quiet but the rest of the children were respectfully silent, so I felt a little mortified. Then the coloring started. The assistant (the lady's son) handed out Good Samaritan coloring pages to everyone. Jacob politely refuse and wandered around a bit. Lucy did some coloring with various markers and then wanted to leave. Jacob was across the room and took a while getting back to us, mostly because children were strewn about the floor coloring their pages. By the time he returned to us it was time for everyone to leave.

We headed back to the church and found the pew where mommy sat all alone. Lucy was pretty fussy still. She took off her jacket and her shoes. She then stood on the pew, which wasn't too bad. She started stomping on the pew, which was bad. I went back into "shushing" mode. She calmed down for the sign of peace. She also clung a bit to mommy.

Jacob was quite good in the church. He was quiet and prayerful, saying the Our Father well. He even sang along with mommy for one of the hymns. We did not light candles after Mass but headed straight over to see how popular our treats were.

Tea and treats was very popular this week, though I suppose we can't take credit as no one but us knew about the brownies and bread. I did hear one small boy say, "I think that's toffee on top of the brownies." It was actually a cream cheese topping swirled in just before baking. It was tasty, though not so much as toffee would have been. Maybe next time. Our children both had brownies. We parents refrained since we had sampled them the night before to make sure they came out okay. We had a good time though we didn't chat with anyone new this week.

I completely missed the sermon this week. I wasn't even able to read the readings for today, so I will go do that now. See you again next week!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cry Room Chronicles LXVI

Last week we were in Portugal. We made it to Mass but it was in Portuguese so the homily was undiscernable to us. The priest had a lively way of speaking but we couldn't pick up on the meaning. I should be posting in the other blog soon with pictures and more details of our visit to Portugal.

This week we were back to our usual 9:00 a.m. Mass in town. Getting there was a little tricky because this morning was exceptionally windy. Father apologised at the beginning of Mass because the boiler light kept getting blown out by the wind. Church was a little chilly. Also the sexton couldn't get out of his house--the front door was stuck--so a lot of pre-Mass preparations didn't happen. We didn't notice anything amiss other than the temperature.

Lucy was quite a handful even before Mass started and wound up going to the children's liturgy across the street with Mommy. Jacob also wanted to go, so I was left for the first half of Mass by myself.

They all came back right after the collection, so they missed out on putting money in the baskets. Lucy became squirmy and noisy again. I took her out to the vestibule. I can't blame her since she has a cold that we all have had and are still having. She kept saying she was hungry and wanted a snack. We hadn't packed anything (usually we don't) so I could offer her no comfort. At one point she thought she could be quiet enough to go back in with Mommy, but she was still pretty fussy. We did get to say the Our Father together and the sign of peace went well.

After Mass neither child wanted to light candles but both wanted to go across the street for tea and treats. Since we didn't stay an extra 5 or 10 minutes in church we were able to sit at tables. We met friends from before Christmas and chatted with them for a while. It was quite pleasant. We eventually braved the wind outside to get back home.

Father's homily was about preparing for the coming of the kingdom of God, just as we did a month ago during Advent. Even though we are still in the traditional Christmas season (which lasts till Candlemas on February 2), we need to be ever vigilant in our preparations for the coming of the Lord and our entry into His kingdom.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cry Room Chronicles LXV

Today is the Epiphany of the Lord. We went to our usual 9 a.m. Mass. We arrived with no problems. Jacob has fallen out of the habit of going to the loo before Mass, so we went straight into church.

Jacob did a great job at church. He was patient and often knelt when we did and said prayers along with everyone else. He enthusiastically shook hands with everyone around him during the sign of peace. I don't know about the offering because Lucy and I were out of the pew then.

Lucy was a bit to handle. She is becoming more and more contrary these days. She didn't want to keep her shoes on. She didn't want to color. She didn't want to sit quietly. She started talking more during the homily. I had to take her out midway through. Unfortunately, I found the vestibule a little distracting. There's too much interesting information posted by the doors leaving the church. Then all the kids came back from Children's Liturgy across the street, adding a little commotion. Every now and again I'd ask if Lucy was ready to go back into the church. She said, "I'm still too loud" even though she wasn't saying anything until I asked. Unfortunately she still was shoeless which meant I held her the whole time. We returned to the pew with Jacob and Mommy after the consecration.

After that, things went smoothly.  At the end of Mass, Lucy did not want to light a candle, so Jacob and I went and did our best. Jacob prayed for me! When we left the church, Lucy wanted to go across the street to tea and treats. That was fun though very crowded. We had to stand and eat. We chatted with a few people and headed on our way.

Father's homily centered around the three magi. They were willing to follow the star guiding them to Israel. They were adventurous and open to new things, unlike the "temple sitters" who heard about this new-born king but did not join them on the way to Bethlehem. May we always be ready and open to the call of the Lord, even when it takes us outside our comfortable environs and into the unknown.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles LXIV

Whoops, I wish I could say that I haven't posted a Chronicle in a few weeks because we have been deep in prayer. Alas, it is not true. At least we haven't been missing Mass, only missing posting.

This Sunday is the fourth in Advent, which means Christmas is next week! The church is slowly becoming more decorated for the feast of Christmas. All the candles are lit on the Advent wreath and the tree off on the side has more and more ornaments on it. During the children's liturgy, the kids make ornaments if they are so inclined. After Mass they are hung on the tree.

We arrived just in time for Mass. Things were going really well until the Kyrie. Jacob was caught off guard and couldn't find the song in his hymnal before we were done singing. He became very upset. He decided he wanted to go to the children's liturgy across the street. When Lucy saw Jacob and Mommy leaving, she raced after them.

They didn't stay too long. The homily was only half over when they returned to our pew. Jacob showed me the cut out angels he was given. He explained that he did not want to color them and he decided to come back so they went out of the room and back across the street. He explained it in an even longer run-on sentence. We've wound up using his angel to top our Christmas tree.

For the rest of Mass, Jacob did pray along with some of the other prayers. Lucy spent a lot of time out of the pew, but only standing in the aisle, not roaming around the church. She did want to give a different coin to the collection than the one I gave her. She found something in Mommy's purse (with Mommy's help).

At the end of Mass we lit candles as usual. Both children said they were praying for me. We had to dodge around the aforementioned Christmas tree and the two or three kids who were hanging all the new ornaments.

As we were leaving, we saw a lot of children up front practicing for next week's children's Mass. At tea and treats after Mass, two people told me that the Children's vigil Mass is quite an experience and that we should arrive early to get a seat. Also, if Jacob and Lucy want to dress up as shepherds or angels or whatnot, they could join in at the last minute if they want. When asked, neither expressed much interest. I think Mom was a little disappointed.

Father's homily drew out the contrast between the current spectacle of Christmas preparations and the quiet entrance of Our Lord and Savior into our world, unnoticed in a stable in a small town in Judea. So much of our culture is centered around worshiping mammon by holiday spending and greed and gorging. He hoped that we'd find the peace, the salvation that Jesus came to offer us.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Here's pictures of Jacob and Lucy dressed up last week for church. Hopefully they'll look even better next week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles LXIII

We made it back late from our trip to Belgium (if I may be allowed to use such language on a family blog) and could not make it to any morning Masses. We wound up at the 6 p.m. Mass at St. Roberts.

The Mass went well. Lucy only took her shoes off once and only wandered into the aisle of the church and out of reach once. Of course, she then proceeded to lift her shirt up to her face several times. Mommy had to hold her to keep her from showing so much skin.

Jacob was very well behaved except for a minor meltdown when we finished singing the gospel alleluia before he could get his hymn book open to the page he thought was correct. Some soothing from Mommy made him better. He was great at saying responses, even the responses for the Psalm. I was amazed and delighted.

The other new thing (though we didn't know it was new) was a small children's choir that led the hymns for Mass. The pianist played for the first time in public and she did show the nervous shyness of a teenager suddenly put in the limelight. She did well as did the other children.

We lit candles over by St. Joseph since the candles on the right side (by Mary) were all out and we didn't see any way to start a fire to light a candle. The children prayed for their parents.

In lieu of a sermon, Father read a letter from the Bishop that has completely slipped from my mind as I am writing, for which I am rightly ashamed. Hopefully I will get more from next week.

Advent has started (Father wished us a happy new year, and explained it is the liturgical new year for the church). We will be getting out our Advent wreath for dinner and start singing "O come, O come, Emmanuel" at evening meals. We have an Advent calendar that will also become part of the evening ritual come December 1. If we don't do the calendar at breakfast...we'll get back to you on that.