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January 4, 2018

January Psalm Reflections

My mother used to wait to take the Christmas tree down once my siblings and I were back in school because she thought it would make us sad. In truth, she was the one who mourned the passing of the season. I think she needed the time alone to grieve. As a result, January was her least favorite month of the year. Many people seem to concur. With the bright activity of the holidays behind us, the month can seem long, cold, and stark.

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WBAS Topics For Families

December 26, 2017

Celebrating Epiphany: 5 Ways to Mark Three Kings Day

My husband, Ron, and I needed a trip to the mountains. Faced with some major changes in our lives, we needed to clear our heads by getting away from all that was familiar. There is nothing like the alpine air of the Colorado Rockies to do just that. As we wound our way up and down mountain passes, our conversation turned brighter and much more hopeful. The dead ends we seemed to be bumping into at home opened up and revealed themselves as avenues to something new and life-giving. By the end of the day, we had reached a level of clarity around the issues with which we were grappling.

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WBAS Seasonal Feast Days & Holy Days

December 21, 2017

Celebrating Christmas: Incarnational Vision

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8

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WBAS Seasonal Advent & Christmas, WBAS Seasonal Feast Days & Holy Days

December 14, 2017

Prayer for Setting Up the Crèche

Setting up the crèche is a beloved tradition in both homes and parishes. I have seen a number of beautiful Nativity sets over the years. Many of them reflect cultural traditions and customs, thus making the little tableau both accessible and universal. The origin of the crèche is attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi who, in order to both accommodate an overflow crowd in the small town of Greccio, moved the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve outdoors. He set up a manger, filled it with hay and brought two live animals to bring the scene to life.

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WBAS Seasonal Advent & Christmas, WBAS Topics For Families

December 6, 2017

Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Trimming the tree. Baking cookies. Hanging out the stockings. Sending greetings. Welcoming visitors. Wrapping presents. Singing carols…  The list of Christmas activities goes on and on. Some of these traditions have been part of my celebration of the holidays for as long as I can remember. Others, like sending cards, are off and on again activities, depending on my store of time and energy. Some endure year after year because “it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it.”

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WBAS Seasonal Advent & Christmas, WBAS Topics Prayer

November 30, 2017

Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day

Our family first celebrated Saint Nicholas Day about twenty-five years ago. We gathered with a cherished circle of friends for a post-Thanksgiving meal that didn’t have anything to do – or so we thought – with Saint Nicholas. Our hostesses – two Franciscan sisters – gave each child a stocking filled with goodies. We sang carols, told stories, and laughed heartily. After repeating the celebration the following year, complete with stockings, it soon evolved into an annual tradition that began to fall around December 6th, feast of Saint Nicholas.

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WBAS Seasonal Advent & Christmas, WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections

November 21, 2017

Celebrating Advent in the Home

My mother loved all holidays but most especially Christmas. Each year a new decoration was added to the mix in our home – colored lights strung around the lattice windows, holly boughs festooning the stairway bannister, a giant wreath that encircled our entire front door. Her years as a member of a neighborhood garden club resulted in an accumulation of Christmas crafts that ranged from wall hangings of glittering Christmas trees to Santa’s sled, filled with greenery and tiny wrapped packages.

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WBAS Seasonal Advent & Christmas

November 13, 2017

Free Thanksgiving Prayers & Reflections for Catholic Families

As families gather to share a meal and express gratitude for their many blessings this Thanksgiving, they have the opportunity to pray. With these prayers of thanksgiving, printable activities, and reflections, Catholic families can enhance their practice of gratitude.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Topics For Families

November 8, 2017

Thanksgiving and the Grace of Gratitude

“Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks…” (1Thessalonians 5:17). Was Paul for real? Is it even possible to pray without ceasing? To give thanks for everything? I believe he was deeply sincere in writing these words. What’s more, I think he was right on target, especially when it comes to giving thanks for everything in our lives.

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WBAS Topics Holidays, WBAS Topics Prayer

November 1, 2017

How Mercy and Love Can Heal Our Wounded World

“Have mercy!” my grandmother used to exclaim when presented with some kind of shocking news. This was usually accompanied by the clasping of her hands to her heart, as if to protect it from another body blow. There isn’t much better way to express one’s shock and horror at the violence recently leveled with such disregard for human life and decency.

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WBAS Topics For Families, WBAS Topics Virtues & Values

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