New applications for the Academy of St. Matthias are now being accepted. Please go to http://mytads.com/a/stmatthiasmd. The deadline to apply for financial aid is February 20, 2017. The financial aid application is on the website listed above. Questions? Please call the school office at 301-577-9412.
Since the erratic winter months are upon us, perhaps we could look at the topic of the “winter blues”.
Cold gray days, the snow, and the bleak scenes in nature have a way of affecting our mood and emotional lives. This is especially so when we are also facing personal tragedies, health crises, or the loss of loved ones.
The truth is that experiencing the holiday season (now thankfully over) and the bleakness of the winter months does not necessarily have to be a major problem for us. There are some things we can do to lighten our spirits and cope a little better. Here are a few suggestions that can brighten the days and offset the sad, lonely feelings that want to envelope us at this time.
- Start with your thinking. A positive approach to a new day helps. Decide early on that there will be something happening today that will make it a “good day”. Look for that something! Expect it! Pray for its blessings!
- Have an agenda for each day that will hold promising events, enjoyable encounters with others, or places to go, etc. Many or even one will do.
- Reach out in love and caring to others. A kind word said during a telephone call, a smile or a warm greeting given to a person met, or a listening ear offered to someone in need, can make the caring happen. As we give in love, love will be received and our spirits, no doubt, will be lifted.
- Take some time to reflect not only upon what has been lost and is being grieved, but also upon whom and what we still have left in our lives. This can bring a measure of happiness and peace.
- At the end of the day be thankful for at least one “happening” that brightened the day and brought warmth to your heart. Be grateful and treasure it.
So, let the winter months come! Believe that some happiness can be found, despite whatever may be happening out of doors.
We invite you to help your parish save money by giving up your offertory envelopes this Lent! Enrolling with Faith Direct will provide St. Matthias the Apostle with consistent support and simplify your giving without the wasteful envelopes. Visit www.faithdirect.net and use our church code: MD41. Thank you for your continued support of our parish family.
God bless you,
The Parish Social Life Committee invites all members of our parish ministries to a reception as we celebrate the contributions of our volunteers. Join us for food, fun, and fellowship on Sunday, February 26, 2017, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM in the Hughes Center. Please RSVP to Pat Ford on later than Wednesday, February 22nd at 301-459-4814 x 201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having dinner with St Mary’s new Pastor, Fr. Evelio, tonite. He is a marvelous priest!
Today’s First Penance Service has not come about by happenstance. My sincere gratitude to Ms. Catherine Tolnay and all those who have instructed the youngsters who are well prepared. Let me share a 1st Confession story. A friend who has five children takes them to Confession once a month. When his youngest child, a lovely daughter, came back to the pew to be with her father, she knelt down in prayer. Dad was impressed until he sensed that his daughter was starting to cry. “What’s the matter?” She replied, “It’s what Father said to me.” “Tell me” Dad said. “She replied, “Well, he told me to say two Hail Mary prayers for my penance. (sob, sob) “What is wrong with that? You know the Hail Mary.” “Yes, she said, but I only know one Hail Mary and he said to say two!!!!!!
Today 30 of our young people will be making their 1st Penance or Reconciliation. It is a Pastor’s hope and prayer that this will be the first of many encounters for these youngster with the Mercy of God.
We ask that you keep Unchenna Nwokeafor, our African Choir director, and his wife Laura, in your prayers. Their three month old son, Ogemdi, died earlier this week. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this difficult time.
Grief Brief # 5
The holidays have come and gone, and hopefully, your experience of them was pleasant and gratifying. Being in the presence of family and friends is heart-warming for most grieving persons. It is hoped that you came to enjoy some new traditions that were different, but totally satisfying to all who participated in the holiday celebrations with you.
Now we face the winter months of January to March with their cold, snowy, or dreary days. The changes that have occurred in nature can easily add to the sad or lonely feelings we may be experiencing. Time in-doors during the cold or inclement weather affords us the opportunity to spend some quiet time looking at where we have come in our grief journey or how we are moving forward with our lives. Do we find ourselves having more energy to engage in meaningful activities like exercise, get-togethers with friends, sincere efforts at maintaining health and well-being, as well as engaging in hobbies or pastimes we have enjoyed in the past? These may have been a part of our lives before we were consumed with care-giving activities or the loss itself. Do something nice or something fun that will help in coping with any of the restrictions that Winter places upon us.
It is important to remember that your deceased loved ones would not desire that you remain trapped in the sadness of grief. They would rather wish that you explore ways to live a happy and fulfilling life in the days to come. So, choose to take the winter months to gather new insights and into discovering what can brighten the days and weeks of this new year that is unfolding.
In last month’s grief note we addressed up-coming holidays and how to prepare for them. Well, we have already experienced the 1st of the series. Hopefully, it went better than expected.
Coming on the heels of Thanksgiving are Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza, with New Year’s Day not far behind them. I do hope that none of you succumbed to aloneness and isolation during Thanksgiving and that pattern not be repeated for the holidays to come.
Christmas can be most stressful because of the consumerism that pervades our society. Buying gifts, decorating the home, preparing a suitable feast are all the expected activities. Spare yourself all of these efforts by keeping them as simple as possible. Accept the assistance of family members and friends. Be open to invitations that come your way, but set time limits as to how long you will participate. Also, give yourself the freedom to not accept invitations to gatherings if that is what you need to do this year. Remember, don’t isolate!
Spend some quiet time alone on a given holiday, remembering the wonderful experiences you enjoyed when your loved one was much a part of your life. The rest of your day could be spent with others, if that is what is feasible for you. At a holiday gathering do mention the name of your deceased loved one, either during the prayer shared before the meal or during a toast that is made. Be the initiator of these activities. Don’t hesitate to start a discussion, with the group that has gathered, about holidays past. This is when enjoyable, even funny events happened with your deceased loved one as a part of them. This will lighten everyone’s spirits and will provide younger members of the family a better insight into the person of their deceased loved one.
I wish you love, peace, and joy during the holidays that are ahead of us. May they be peace-filled and marked with loving memories – new ones and old ones, as well.