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Family, Faith, Francis - Mercy!
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Parent Newsletter

Dear Kevin

Happy February!  We are constantly looking for ways we can better assist parents in nurturing their children's Catholic faith. Over the years we have updated our teaching materials to a spiral approach focused on forming discipleship, and in the last few years moving toward a DVD-based small group discussion format in our 7th and 8th Grade-levels.  We have held Alpha Courses, Bible studies, and Family Sessions to better equip parents to fulfill their role as their child's primary catechist on the Catholic way of life.  We have tried  to accommodate families' busy schedules by offering 3 different days at different times for our children's sessions. Still there are families who struggle to keep all of their commitments to various activities during the school year. Accordingly, we will be presenting another option for families with busy schedules during the school year, or for children who may fare better participating in RE sessions when things slow down during the summer.  
 
We will be piloting a 2-Week Summer Intensive this summer for children in Grades 3, 4, and 5 beginning on June 13th. The sessions will be Monday - Friday from 9:00am - Noon.  One of the requirements will be a commitment to attend 2 family faith formation events during the following year.  
 In the near future, we will be emailing more requirements and details with a poll to gauge interest.  

With the focus on love this month, use Valentine’s Day to make a love connection. You can use it as a jumpstart to better understand what makes your kids feel loved. Perception and reception of love isn’t the same for everyone, so how you communicate is important. And even though your children are your children, they may feel most loved in different ways than you. You can deepen your connection and improve your relationship with each child by investigating what the child’s primary love language is. Dr. Gary Chapman paved the way to this understanding with his work and insight into what he’s identified as The 5 Love Languages. Chapman defines the Love Languages in the following ways: Physical Touch- cuddling, hugs, holding hands, high fives, and pats on the back; Quality Time -  any activity done together that allows for focused time in conversation free from distractions competing for your attention;  Acts of Service - helping your kids with their tasks, such as chores, homework, and any challenges that cause stress; Receiving Gift - giving your children very personal gifts that demonstrate how well you know them; Words of Affirmation -  complimenting, encouraging, and using terms of endearment that express the value and qualities you see in your children. 


Have a February filled with love and mercy!

Kevin Cody, DRE
630-257-2371

FIRST RECONCILIATION CELEBRATION

On Saturday, January 16th, we were able to celebrate God’s love & mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation just before the cold snap hit!  The nice weather most likely contributed to an upbeat atmopshere for the 49 second graders and their families at 2 services.  We had family members from out of town who commented on how beautiful the services were.  We thank the liturgy coordinators Sharon Kostes & Paul Malak for making sure that everything went smoothly.  Thank you to our catechists: Mrs. Teri Lerch, Mrs. Rosemary Christine, Mrs. Vivian Brueckmann, Mrs. Patti Loisi; their aides: Ms. Dana Lepczinski, Mr. Austin Maple, and Mr. Chris Ihde.  We appreciate Joe Martorano and his music that set the tone of the day.
1ST & 2ND GRADE FAMILY SESSIONS

Parents joined their children last week to learn more about God’s love and mercy for us, and our call to share that love & mercy with others,. They heard a cartoon version of Pope Francis explain the Year of Mercy, and the Works of Mercy.  2nd Graders, who recently celebrated their First Reconciliation, shared how receiving God’s mercy in the sacrament was a good experience for them.  They played some games related to the theme, and created their own Mercy Tree.  Looking at the Works of Mercy broken down to (1) Corporal Acts of Mercy and (2) Spiritual Acts of Mercy, each family wrote down works of mercy that would promise to perform in wrapping paper booklets that were hung on their tree. More photos can be found on the St. Alphonsus Religious Education Facebook page.
 
FEBRUARY 2016
RE CALENDAR
YEAR OF MERCY 
IN 60 SECONDS

Explaining the Jubilee Year of Mercy Lego-style.

BEST LENT EVER
Lent begins a week from Wednesday... so, it's time to start thinking about how to make this Lent special. Are you searching for a deeper sense of purpose? A clearer understanding of God’s plan for your life? What matters most and what matters least? Then it’s time to rediscover Jesus by going on a daily journey with Matthew Kelly.
FORGIVENESS
LENTEN AFTERNOON OF REFLECTION
The Women's Club is sponsoring this event where you will get to a chance to taste and see! You will be sampling some foods from biblical times. 
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POPE FRANCIS SAYS....
LIVE YOUR FAITH THIS LENT
~  Lent is a time of conversion and a time to deepen one's faith, demonstrating and sharing it through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

The root of all sin is thinking that one is god, something often expressed in a total preoccupation for accumulating money and power. And just as individuals can be tempted to think they have no need of God, social and political systems can run the same risk, ignoring both God and the real needs of human beings.

~ Love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness. It is the only response to the longings that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches.
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