May 20:  Today’s celebration of Pentecost is often referred to as “the Birthday of the Church,” in which the Apostles, after receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, march beyond the locked doors of that upper room and fearlessly proceed to teach everything Christ had taught them to all the corners of the earth.

Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and
St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (16:8). It is the 50th day after Easter (if we count both Easter and Pentecost), and it supplants the Jewish feast of Pentecost, which took place 50 days after the Passover celebrated the sealing of the Old Covenant on Mount Sinai.

We’re all given the “Great Commission” to continue the work of the Apostles as we too, are sent forth proclaiming the Good News. May we all work to make that word known to all living creatures! Yes, even those pesky squirrels!

May 13:  I love Mother Church’s Feast of the Ascension!  Sometimes people get confused and might have questions about today’s feast.  I think it’s best described like this:  When my Dad let’s me out in the back yard and I see a squirrel, it’s just my Sheltie instinct to run and chase it.  Inevitably, the squirrel always makes it to the tree just as I’m getting close to it and runs up and hides.  Now, I know that squirrel is somewhere in the tree and I know, even though I don’t see it, that it’s up there watching every move I make.  Well, that’s kinda like Jesus.  We know that He’s up there in the heavens somewhere, even though we don’t see Him and we know He’s watching every move we make, right?  So, I’m guessing that every time you see a squirrel running up a tree you can think of today’s Feast of the Ascension and thank Jesus for watching over us! 

Ps…  He’s more than watching over us.  The cool thing about Jesus is His promise to send the Holy Spirit and that’s our celebration next Sunday for Pentecost!  Oh, I can’t wait till next Sunday!! 

May 6:  I found the following on my Dad’s desk and thought how true this really is.  Thinking my Dad’s friends could learn an awful lot from their canine friends, especially Shelties!!  It read:

      “Did you know that.....If you can start the day without caffeine, if you can get going without pep pills, if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time, if you can take criticism without resentment, if you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him, if you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend, if you can conquer tension without medical help, if you can relax without liquor, if you can sleep without the aid of drugs, ...Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!”
     Isn’t it cool that we have Mother’s Day coming up next weekend?! But I’m thinking it’s even way cooler that we celebrate Mary, our Universal Mother, all month long!! Did you know….  During the month of May Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration.
In this month, too, according to Pope Paul VI, (encyclical on the Month of May) the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance. 
This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. In this way, the Church was able to Christianize the secular feasts which were wont to take place at that time. In the 16th century, books appeared and fostered this devotion. The practice became especially popular among the members of the Jesuit Order — by 1700 it took hold among their students at the Roman College and a bit later it was publicly practiced in the Gesu Church in Rome. From there it spread to the whole Church.
Just something to think about as enter this month. Everyone loves May because the weather is getting so much nicer, the squirrels are all coming of their winter nests, the flowers are starting to grow and new life is abundant almost everywhere you look. I hope your life is filled with this newness this month and all summer long!

April 29:  So, a couple weeks ago I found an article describing proper etiquette that good Catholics would abide by when they are in church.  Well, this is the rest of that list.  I’m reminding the squirrels that these aren’t necessarily rules that Mother Church mandates – they are not DOGma!!!  Just etiquette that’s appreciated when coming to worship.  The rest of these are:

Please be quiet while in church. It’s kinda like the library rule, please be quiet, people are praying.  It’s OK to greet others and acknowledge their presence and the fact you’re glad to see them, but try to keep conversations for afterwards!

If your child cries or is loud don’t be afraid to take them to the cry room (Gathering Space) where there is a monitor to watch the Mass or just to walk in the back of church to quiet the child.  Remember, we always welcome children!

Prepare your offering before Mass. 

No bulletin reading during Mass. Imagine if you invited a guest to your house and before dinner (or during) they decided to read a magazine instead of talking to you. That is what is happening in God’s house when you read the bulletin.

Respect Boundaries others may have. You might want to hold hands to pray, they may not. They might be sick and not want to shake during the sign of peace. These are all OK. 

Bow before receiving Holy Communion. If it is God, then show your respect with a bow of the head. This is an ancient practice that has continued until this day.

Do not receive from the chalice if you are sick

Do not leave early. We should stay to the end of the recession and the hymn. 

Pray after Mass, if you feel called to do so. It is a good custom, though not required, to offer a prayer of thanksgiving after Mass is over. 

Remember, the church is a special place and there should be special rules and ‘etiquettes’ to practice and teach our children.  I hope these provide some reminders of how to act and pray in our special sacred spaces! 

For more of Maggie's musings, see our online bulletin archives.  Maggie's column appears on page 3.