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Sometimes there’s a little less water in the flower vase and a little more water in the crayon tray.

In the heat of the noon day sun, my five-year old, looking debonair in his chocolate fondue mustache, sighed and said, “Mama? I love Pentecost.”

At Mass today, Monsignor Zimmer invited us to look back and trace the tell-tale signs of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. I looked around me in the pew and I was surrounded by wiggly, distracted little people and thought, “Well, if that isn’t the Holy Spirit at work…”

Because I think if it were entirely up to me, my life would not be as rich and beautiful as it actually is when I’m looking at it properly. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being involved. Please help open my heart to you and fill me with the fire of your love.

Happy Birthday, Church!

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Pretty plate

How to celebrate the Church’s birthday when a) you’ve forgotten to buy fruit for a Pentecost Chocolate Fondue Extravaganza and b) everyone is worn out and under the weather? You could take out the pretty plates and the colourful tablecloth and prepare someone’s favourite lunch. For us it happened to be tuna salad and potato chips. It was either that or Kraft Dinner, which just didn’t seem festive enough. The kids had brought home a colouring page from St. Clement that had the Fruit of the Holy Spirit inscribed on some fruit and we had a discussion about how God the Holy Spirit did not bring fruit, among other things. Come, Holy Spirit!

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Baroncelli Polyptych (detail), Giotto

Continuing on the theme of being the last Catholic to discover all sorts of neat Catholic things: did you know that a prayer called the Regina Coeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through Pentecost Sunday?

Regina Coeli
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom thou didst merit to bear in your womb, alleluia.
Has risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.
O God, who through the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
gave rejoicing to the world,
grant, we pray, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary,
we may obtain the joy of everlasting life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

My three-year old and I tried it out a few days ago after lunch. I told him to say the “Alleluia!” part whenever I pointed to him. He couldn’t keep a straight face, which meant neither could I. We persevered through our giggles, got to the end, and managed to say the Regina Coeli for the First. Time. Ever. It was such great fun that he thought the moment warranted a high five. I thought so, too.

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The kids woke up to a fancy table with all their Baptismal candles in fancy candle holders, along with the promise of pancakes. The house didn’t burn down and much fun was had by all. Sure, they were all still singing Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom on repeat, but I’m sure that’ll fade before the Easter season is over. Happy Easter, everyone!

My husband’s family has a neat little tradition of taking the balance of their Easter chocolate (or a great deal of it anyway), melting them, and having Pentecost Chocolate Fondue Extravaganza. We tried it this year, and despite our lack of fancy fondue equipment, it was a hit. We even found ourselves talking about the Holy Spirit! Fancy that.


We melted the chocolate using short, nervous stints in the microwave. Be careful not to burn it!


Everyone got to have a little bowl of fruit and marshmallows, plus their own little ramekin of melted chocolate.


Pentecost-inspired chocolate-covered fruit success!


Cadbury Not-so-Mini-looking Eggs

My husband came home from the grocery store looking very pleased with himself. Easter chocolates were on clearance and he bought more than a few “family”-sized bags. Was he worried that the four bags of goodies from Grandma and Grandpa’s house weren’t going to last the fifty days of Easter? Or were the combined one-two punch of the words chocolate and sale too much to resist? In any case, I didn’t give him my usual do-we-really-need-a-CASE-of-whatever-you’re-currently-holding look. A) I’ve come to learn that my husband is a pantry-stocking expert, b) Easter is a time for earnest celebrating. Jesus is risen! Alleluia! Bring on the chocolate!

Well, maybe not quite bring on the chocolate. Maybe judiciously parcel out the chocolate. Say, five Mini Eggs at a time.

“It’s STILL Easter!” my kids squealed with delight, pleasantly suprised that they were being handed FIVE crunchy little chocolate eggs after lunch.
“What’s Easter?” asked the ever-quizzing mom.
“Jesus is not dead anymore!” yelled the two-year old.
“Jesus is alive again!” screamed the three-year old.
“Can I have another egg?” someone whispered, wondering just how far to take this wonderful season.
“You mean, please may I have another egg.”
“Please may I have another egg?”
“Sure. Daddy bought lots.”

Happy Easter, readers!


The Resurrection of Christ, Bartolome Esteban Murillo

I wish you all a wonderful Easter! It is a great privilege to be able to share this blog with you. It’s so wonderful, week after week, to see our parish filled with wiggly little kids. It’s so wonderful to quietly watch everyone’s kids getting bigger. You may not know it, it might not feel like it, but your family is a loud and powerful witness of God’s love. God bless!

This morning we were making Easter cards, and I thought I may have seen a pine tree decorated with circles on someone’s card. I may have been wrong. It may have been Easter eggs on a triangular bed of greens. So I asked.

“What is that?”
“A Christmas tree.”
“Oh.”

Sigh.

Children have a very important role in the Passover seder. Traditionally the youngest child is prompted to ask questions about the Passover seder, beginning with the words, Mah Nishtana HaLeila HaZeh (Why is this night different from all other nights?).
– “Passover”, Wikipedia

At No Frills, there is a clearance bin filled with Easter stuff. Which is cool since the Church celebrates Easter all the way to Pentecost Sunday — fifty days of festivities! Fifty days is probably how long it will take us to do justice to the amount of chocolate my children have collectively received. After forty Lenten days of little or no desserts, they are revelling in the regular distribution of chocolate eggs at the end of each meal. While (or ideally, before) their mouths are stuffed with chocolate, I take a cue from the beautiful role of little Jewish children during the Passover and ask “Why are we having so many good things to eat these days?” “Easter!” “And what is Easter?” “When Jesus rose!”

And now back to the chocolate eggs.

Meanwhile, at the dinner table tonight: “Why are we having such nice dessert today?” “Because it’s Jesus’ birthday!” Sigh.

I find that our kids are generally more engaged during an event if we talk about what is about to happen before hand. Today during snack, we were chatting about how tonight we would be at St. Clements to celebrate Jesus’ last supper before he died. Snack time is a good time for chatting. Car rides work really well, too.

I find that, these days, the conversation always goes to why Jesus was crucified. We’ve been talking about how some people just didn’t like what Jesus had to say. What did Jesus have to say? That He was the Son of God. So they killed him? Yup. But then after… He ROSE. My three year old smiles triumphantly. And THAT’S why we have a big party on Easter.

What is this?

Here a volunteer parishoner at St. Clement shares her personal experiences as her young family tries to keep the Catholic faith alive in their homes, living out the promises of their Baptism. Thank you for stopping in and be sure to share some of your stories as well!

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