Please join us this month in presenting to Our Lord the following needs:
+ for teens and young adults, that they might exhibit strong Christ-like character in the face of negative peer pressure.
+for an increase of healthy marriages and families.
+for strength in the fight against pornography and premarital sexual temptations.
+for film-makers and web designers, that Christian values would be shared and exemplified.
+for healthy, open and respectful relationships between parents and children.
+for the healing and reconciliation of previously unhealthy parent/child relationships
+that parents of young children would give their children the attention and care that they need to be healthy.
+for protection against Satan’s ploys that demean parental, civic and ecclesial authority.
+for women sorrowed by infertility, those undergoing difficult pregnancies, or those who grieve the death of their children, that they might be comforted.
+that grandparents would be more greatly honored and respected.
+for the continued healing of preemie, Aneal (“ah-nah-yel”) who underwent a ten-hour surgery (7-22-16) to complete an undeveloped digestive system, and his parents.
+for the legal protection of all human life, from natural conception to natural death.
+for the financial needs of Elizabeth Ministry International, generous donors and volunteers.
+for the needs of all who join us in prayer.
Sometimes a simple lunch can be so inspiring! Husband Michael and I were sitting at our kitchen table sharing a left-over shrimp wrap when he commented, “Oh, Today is Grandparents Day!”
Really? I thought Grandparents Day was in September when grandparents would be invited to the grandchildren’s schools. This was July 26. Grandparent’s Day in July??
“It’s Grandparent’s Day! The Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne!”
Oh, yes! Jesus’ grandparents! The ones on his mother’s side!
And of course, my mind went back to our visit to the Shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec City, and the enormous devotion to Sainte Anne that the Canadians, especially in the eastern provinces, have. What an gorgeous edifice, Ste. Anne de Beaupre, and what an delight it was being there! The church is filled with floor-to-ceiling mosaics, wood carvings and paintings. There’s one painting (picture on the left) of a young Mary with her parents, and another of Mary and Joseph with a toddler. There’s Jesus at the visit of the Magi, and, of course, Grandmother Anne is there!
When we also visited Saint Joseph Oratory in Montreal, we saw a stained glass window of Mary and Joseph with Baby Jesus at his circumcision (picture below). Joseph handles the knife (anxiously!); Mary’s eyes are averted, and Grandmother Anne holds the ointment!
Next I found myself thinking of the opportunities that grandparents have, especially in the summertime, to influence the lives of their grandchildren, grand-nieces and nephews. We can call, visit them, and take them out for lunch! (Or, if the grandchildren are younger, babysit and send their parents out for lunch!!) We can take the kids swimming or visit a water park with them! Invite them to visit a museum or a state park with you! Go hiking! Invite them camping with you for a few days! (Tell them about the trips you took with their mom or dad!) Take them to a worthwhile movie (after checking carefully the ratings!!!), and discuss it with them. Invite them to your home for a cookout (inviting friends with children of similar ages), and a movie night and sleep-over. Whatever the kids’ ages, tell them (more!) about Jesus, especially if Jesus isn’t someone who’s generally a part of their family. Take them to church with you. Teach them, if necessary, a few simple prayers, Bible verses and appropriate church behavior. Share your life and your values with them. Depending on their age, read to them, but consider the choice of children’s books that they might be reading as well as those that are excellent reading. The Chronicles of Narnia is great read-aloud material for ages eight and up. Once started, most youngsters will pick up the book by themselves!
Learn who your grandchildren’s friends are, and what is important to them. Light-hearted comments about cleanliness, modesty, and respect for their bodies and the bodies of others go a long way. Depending on their age, of course, topics about forming healthy relationships, drug or alcohol use, videos and internet usage, premarital sex, pornography, human trafficking, and so on, are valuable topics, and might not be the kind of thing that parents talk about, especially with their talk-sensitive teens. (And initiate conversations with “Tell me about….” or “What are your thoughts about…” Don’t use questions that give you a Yes or No answer, as that’s all you’ll get. And silence!) Another thought: As a follow-up to your visit, be sure to share generally, with your son or daughter any significant concerns that you may have involving the safety or wellbeing of their children.
And parents, you might consider inviting your parents to do something fun with their grandchildren! I can’t imagine many grandparents passing up an opportunity to be a significant influence on their children’s children! Besides, grandparents aren’t getting any younger, and neither are the children!
Here’s another thought, and this applies especially to those of us associated with Elizabeth Ministry. There are 740-some registered EM chapters. However, many of the leaders of chapters that were formed fifteen or twenty years ago have moved from chapter leadership over the years as their children matured. Sometimes there is no one to ‘pick up the ball,’ in their particular parish, and the chapter becomes inactive. These “former” Elizabeth Ministers, these more mature parents, can also share their experiences and skills to teach and influence their daughters (and sons!) in the areas of chaste premarital relationships, marriage preparation, NFP, parenting skills, not to mention the dangers and consequences of pornography.
Indeed, we parents and grandparents have many significant skills and opportunities that we can do to contribute to the care and development of the next generation. And, for heaven’s sake, do pray for your grandchildren, nieces and nephews! Sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be a prayer warrior for Elizabeth Ministry! If you haven’t noticed, the battle for the souls and lives of our younger generation is fierce!
Another thought: If you’ve retired, you travel, don’t you? Do you attend a daily Mass? Are you able to share the message of Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health in the parishes that have not yet learned of these important ministries? Call Elizabeth Ministry International (920-766-9380) and speak to Don about the EM/RECLAiM Ambassadors program! Distributing information about RECLAiM and the battle against porn use can have a significant effect in the support of healthy marriages and families!
When my husband and I travel, which we do whenever we’re able, Michael carries the RECLAiM confession cards which find their way from his pocket into the men’s rooms or bulletin boards at gas stations along the way! Statistics show that the information is needed!!
And as always, financial assistance is a major need and concern at Elizabeth Ministry/RECLAiM. Every little bit and big bit helps. As we said, the battle is fierce; we need your help! Pornography is infecting too many individuals and destroying too many marriages! We do need your help!
As you know, Elizabeth and Zachary were models of faith in the life of John the Baptist, as well as for Mary. Anne and Joachim were those who formed Mary’s faith and character, and Mary and Joseph were the primary examples of faith for Jesus, the Son of God. Without these strong parents and grandparents backing them up, how did these children become strong leaders in their own generations?
Happy Grandparents Day! Make it YOUR day, today!