Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Come See Me at the Zoo!

by Shannon

"...Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them."
– Luke 2:19-20

Happy Feast Day of Mary, the Mother of God!

We visited another beautiful parish in our archdiocese for Mass today, but we also checked in at our parish so I could shoot some pictures before the Christmas decorations come down in a few days. We're very blessed to worship in such a timelessly beautiful church.

Á la Catholic Icing, Jennifer Fulwiler and Brandon Vogt, our family is choosing a patron saint for 2013. I've been trying to think up great ways to celebrate the Year of Faith, and this one is a clear winner. Since this is our first year trying out this devotion, and I tend to overwhelm us with new traditions to try with the arrival of each liturgical season, we chose an easy one: St. Francis of Assisi.

I called him "easy" not because his life is simple to emulate (Which saint's is?), but rather because there are abundant opportunities to connect with him, which will make our devotion more difficult to forget.

We conveniently already own a St. Francis statue, a St. Francis icon, two framed copies of The Prayer of St. Francis, the first two volumes of The Adventures of Loupio for Cruncher (a fictional story about a little boy who is friends with St. Francis, illustrated in graphic-novel style). We (opportunly) bought Cruncher a family zoo membership for Christmas, which ties in so nicely with St. Francis' connections to animals and the environment. There are loads of literature, movies and music inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, not to mention St. Clare of Assisi and other saints who were Franciscans or Poor Clares. It is additionally helpful that his feast day of Oct. 4 happens to fall on a Friday this year. We'll probably plan a big Italian meal, as he is a patron of Italy. I would love, love, LOVE to do some sort of pilgrimage relating to him, but Italy and San Francisco are out of the question. Please let me know if you have any ideas.

We also chose him because, despite his popularity, we've surprisingly never included him in our family litany of saints. I really wanted to choose someone we could add to our arsenal, so to speak. I'm really excited about all of the prayer, teaching and learning opportunities a devotion with St. Francis will provide us this year. I'll try to keep everyone updated on how it goes.

If you're interested in connecting with a new saint, perpetual nerd Jennifer Fulwiler programmed the Saint's Name Generator. I gave it a spin, and it shot out St. Raymond Nonnatus, whom we already have a statue of in our home, plus we ask for St. Raymond's intercession for one of our godsons whose middle name is "Ray." A schoolteacher friend clicked "Find a Saint for Me!" and was ironically connected with St. Jerome, patron of schoolchildren! Give it a whirl.

Here's to a blessed 2013 for you and all your loved ones!

Edit: I discovered another St. Francis find in our house! The Little Flowers of St. Francis by Raphael Brown. We are EXTREMELY lucky to have a local used and new bookstore owned by two parishoners. Their Catholic section is Ah. May. Zing. Guess I know what I'm reading next...

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