"Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest" (Matthew 21:9).
When the people of Jerusalem used the word "hosanna," they were using an ancient Hebrew shout of elation that meant "Pray, save us."
With these words the Church enters the holiest of weeks, remembering the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Holy Week is the culmination of the liturgical year.
It begins with Palm Sunday, as we carry palms in remembrance of Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Next, we listen to the Passion according to Luke and witness how Christ was handed over for crucifixion.
Easter Triduum is the proper name for the three days that precedes Easter Sunday. It marks the most significant events of Holy Week.
On Holy Thursday we remember the night Jesus was handed over. It was the night that He established the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist - when He would live among us forever.
With Good Friday, we reflect and touch upon the mystery of Christ's cross. It was the piece of wood that would become the tree of life.
Easter Vigil is when we light the paschal candle and rejoice in how light had triumphed over darkness; life triumphs over death. This is the night that the catechumens for whom the Church has prayed throughout Lent come to share in the glory of His resurrection.
The holy days are an invitation to participate in Christ's life!
My family and I will heed this invitation by keeping life very simple and our hearts and minds as close to Our Savior as we can.
May you and your families each experience a very blessed and fruitful holy week!
Tuesday, we packed in a field trip to the Dallas Arboretum, and as always, the Dallas Blooms did not let us down!
For you folks up north who are sick and tired of winter, I thought I'd share a little bit of sunshine!
Five other families were able to join us.
(The pyramid had a slide on it for the kids to play on :)
(Gorgeous weather for a picnic lunch!)
(Some of our buddies.)
I came home from the Confirmation retreat with a chest cold brewing. I felt awful the night before this field trip, but I was the coordinator and had all the money to get in. So I convinced myself that plenty of OTC drugs would get me through it!
Then mother nature arrived the morning of...one week early. Lovely.
So when I developed a fever by Tuesday night, I made sure to get to the doctor. Thank goodness for antibiotics!
Tonight, however, I had Tamiflu on the dinner menu. Yup. A few of my kids, who appeared perfectly healthy 48 hours ago, suddenly started dropping like flies.
And apparently, both Influenza A and Influenza B are being represented. (So far, the baby does not show signs of it, and the doctor was good enough to give preventative doses to those who aren't sick - yet.)
I told the pediatrician today that I would have preferred Strep. He agreed.
BTW, Stan the man is the sickest. Please say a little prayer for him. He has Type A, the worse of the two. It is known to present all symptoms and rather severely. In which case, that has proven true with my little guy.
So, I guess this means there will be no more adventures on our spring break. Hopefully, we will all be healthy in time for Easter??
Just feeling very frustrated, sad, shocked. And trying to find more compassion at the same time.
Out of about 90 Confirmation candidates, I'd say (with a heavy heart) that only 30% of the candidates (age 8th grade - 12th grade) actually wanted to be there....knew why they were there...desired a closeness with Our Lord.
Based on their actions, the others HAD! NO! CLUE!
They gave the impression that it was a total joke to them. A free meal. A chance to get away from their home life. A chance to spend time with their peers.
So, I ask myself why is this sacrament given away on a silver platter? Why shouldn't it be earned through growth in faith, maturity, understanding?
It may not be given away, but it sure as hell feels that way.
It feels that way especially when I have spent more than 13 years teaching my daughter her faith....investing myself in her faith as her primary teacher because I am her mother and it is my duty.
And I'm not talking about home school vs traditional school
I am talking about investing in our child's soul.
She has earned her right to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
At the same time, she is mandated to attend one Confirmation class a month.
Okay. Fine. If they just want her to have face time with the class.
Yet, her teacher has that audacity to tell me he wishes my daughter would come each week to experience "the real world"!!!!
The "real world"??? By whose flippin standards I dare ask??? After what I witnessed this weekend?
No, thank you, sir.
Last Saturday evening, you could have knocked me over with a feather when a parent/ chaperone said to me ::
"Why aren't there more than two priests here for reconciliation? They should let deacons give absolution in times like this."
What the hell?
I couldn't respond to that parent. I was SHOCKED at her suggestion.
Shoot! Why not bring in the damn mayor of the town we were staying in and let him just throw out a few absolutions while we are at it...for crying out loud!
(I pray that parent is not a catechist at church.)
Trying to be compassionate now... I know it isn't the kids' fault.
I completely and utterly realize that the parents of those teens have failed their children MISERABLY by not bringing them to Mass...not bringing them to faith formation class...not bringing them to receive the sacraments....not studying their faith...not practicing their faith. At all!
Some kids had never heard the rosary - ever. How terribly sad.
Some kids had not been to confession since their First Holy Communion - 10 years. How scary.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your child about God. To have that child know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world.
At the same time, these were High Schoolers. When are they mandated to take on responsibility?
I say it's time to put the big girl panties on! Take responsibility for your actions.
The team that presented the retreat did a good job. They worked hard. They remained compassionate toward this group.
It was much harder for me. I was too sickened and saddened by what I witnessed.
Irreverence. Disrespect. Clueless. Laziness. I could go on and on.
I'm still struggling with it....as though you cannot tell.
And then there is hope. Praise God for hope!
I witnessed (just a handful) of young men and women who were so in love with God. Their actions showed the rest of the group what was written on their hearts. I will pray that these candidates will remain strong and true to their faith, and that maybe, they'll bring some of the others into a deeper relationship with Christ.
I will pray for all the candidates, of course. I will pray for their families.
I pray that the sacramental grace they will be receiving will be used, and these candidates will grow in their faith, eventually.
And most importantly, I need to pray for more understanding and compassion on my part. I know I have certainly lost track of it since this weekend, and that I must keep representing Christ the way He would want me to.
Last week we packed our lunches and drove to Waco, Texas for a (way cool) field trip to see an active, archaeological dig site.
(Education center/ ticket center.)
The dig site is in that climate controlled building you see in the above picture. Right under the bridge is a ravine in which the first bone was discovered.
The rocks in the next picture mark the the spot where the two teenagers, Paul and Eddie, found that first bone while searching for arrowheads.
Over the course of 20 years, scientists have (so far) uncovered the remains of 24 Colombian mammoths becoming the second largest site in the world!
The largest "mammoth" site is in Siberia. BUT! Those are all Woolly mammoths. This site is all Colombian mammoths. This makes Waco, Texas the largest Colombian mammoth site in the world.
68,000 years ago, this area of Texas was grasslands/plains. There was no "ice" in this area during the Ice Age since the perma frost went only as far south as Kansas.
Colombian mammoths (as depicted in this artist's painting, are NOT the same as the Woolly mammoths found in the northern hemisphere. So, if you are thinking Ice Age, the movie, these a guys and gals are not the same.
An Asian elephant is larger than the Woolly mammoth.
An African elephant is larger than the Asian elephant.
And the Colombian mammoth is 3 feet taller than the African elephant - at the shoulder!!
At the shoulder, Colombian mammoths (bulls) are 14 ft tall. Females are 12 ft tall at the shoulder.
Our guide, who was a wealth of knowledge, told us that scientists can only "guess" what the skin and fur (if any) would have looked like.
See, it is much warmer down here than up in where the Woolly mammoth have been discovered, complete. There was no snow and ice to perfectly entomb a Colombian mammoth. The heat and sun decayed most of the animal. The bones are "sub" fossilized. Extremely fragile.
Therefore, they've never discovered the skin/fur of the Colombian mammoth.
At this point, Miss Clementine started making a bit of noise so I had to move on with her. I missed about 1/2 of the presentation. However, I did manage to take some photos of the dig site.
This next photo is of the camel bones found.
This "camel" is not like the modern day camel that we see. It looks more like a llama-type animal. Llamas are used in farming in South American and in Texas today.
Scientists believe a fast flood wiped the heard out. There were NO human remains or artifacts in that area.
What about a wild beast, like a saber-tooth? Well, they were known to attack mammoths that were alone, not in a heard.
Another important find...the females mammoths were in a somewhat circular pattern with the babies in the middle. A sign of protection.
Finally, from the layers of the sediment...they found at least three, possibly five major flood levels.
This trip was incredible!! My teens admitted that when I first informed them we were going to see the mammoths, they were not too thrilled. After the tour though, they thought it was very cool. I had some happy campers driving home :)
More information on the Waco Mammoth Site can be found here.
(Shamrock shake recipe found here. Green & White straws found here.)
Life had suddenly grown incredibly hectic last week before the Confirmation retreat. Haven't really been up to date on anyone's blogs let alone my own. ( I hope to catch up reading, but sometimes it's hard, isn't it?)
Hoping to get a good night sleep tonight and a slower paced "vacation" this coming week.
Leaving you with one of my all time Irish faves ::
~ May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and the rains fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. ~ ~ Patty ~