CHRISTIAN. Like frozen treats on a 100-degree day, summer is melting away. That means it s time to get back into old routines and start some new ones.

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1 parenng September 2014 CHRISTIAN kids St. Margaret Mary Religious Education News & Views Hopefully, the start of your new school year has gone smoothly. Now we re gearing up for the start of a new year of Religious Education. Our year begins with the Saturday classes on September 6th. All families who have registered children should have already received their schedule letter. Please call the Religious Education Office at if you did not receive your letter. If you have not, as yet, registered your child(ren), there is limited space in classes. Call the RE Office to check for availability. God bless, Sue Davey How to Thrive in a New Routine POWERSOURCE ASK GOD: 1. To ease the back-to-school transition for your family. 2. To protect your children as they tackle new subjects and face new challenges. 3. To help your children use their new routines to share Jesus with other people. Like frozen treats on a 100-degree day, summer is melting away. That means it s time to get back into old routines and start some new ones. Experts say routines offer kids stability and help them develop selfdiscipline. Knowing what to expect and what s expected can make family interactions smoother, too. Follow these tips to make the most of September s opportunities to hit the reset button: Have a family meeting before the school year begins. Review schedules and brainstorm new approaches to easier mornings, healthier eating, more productive studying, and so on. Focus on just one or two goals at a time, rather than tackling everything at once. When a new habit is in place, then move on to the next goal. Prepare for changes to your daily routine by practicing before school begins. Create simple checklists as visual reminders for getting ready. Empower kids to make decisions. Encourage them (in age-appropriate ways) to adapt their routines whenever unexpected situations arise. Build spiritual practices into your family s daily routine. This allows faith development to occur while children are growing in other ways during the new school year. See the next page for a variety of ideas you can try.

2 Add Jesus Into Your Routines When busy schedules resume, Jesus is often left out of the mix. Particularly during the school year, it may be easiest for your family to try to regularly attend Mass at the same time each weekend. That way, kids know when they are expected to be ready to go to Mass. It becomes part of their routine, just as their Religious Ed. Class becomes part of their weekly routine. A few simple ideas for keeping Jesus at the forefront can pay big faith dividends for your children and your entire family. Give these tips a try this fall and use them to spark ideas of your own: TEACHABLE MOMENTS Backward Olympics Gather your family outdoors and conduct some silly Scipmylo games (that s Olympics spelled backward!). For example: Take turns trying to say the alphabet backward. Run a relay race or obstacle course backward. Toss water balloons to a partner while facing away from him or her. At the end of the games, gather together and ask: What change did you experience in these games? What was the most challenging for you, and why? How was this experience like the changes you experience in life? Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Then ask: Feed your family spiritually. When you set the breakfast table the night before school, include kid-friendly devotional materials. Children who like to read or look at pictures while eating can do so or can be read to briefly. Keep talking to each other and to God. Real, deep conversations can suffer when families get busy. So carve out time to reconnect, whether it s at the end of each day or at the beginning of each weekend. Share your joys and struggles, and take time to pray for one another. Also make prayer a regular part of mealtime and bedtime routines. This reminds children that God is an always-present, unchanging help every day and in all situations. Expand your family s faith outreach. Explore places where you might be able to volunteer as a family. In our area, Feed My Starving Children is a great example of just such a place. Watch for kid-friendly service opportunities during the year - like the Harvest Sunday Food Collection here at SMMP. Schedule a regular faith booster. Incorporate a midweek faith activity into your family schedule by setting aside time one day per week to talk about faith-related issues and to pray together. Move on up! As children move up to new Religious Ed. classes this fall, help their faith blossom with individual challenges. For example, older kids can spend a few minutes a day reading through a particular book of the Bible. If you re looking to purchase a Bible, we recommend the Breakthrough Bible. Younger children can learn about a simple Scripture passage each week. Explore children s strengths, talents, and gifts. A new school year offers a variety of excellent opportunities for kids to try new things. Different sports and activities let children discover what they enjoy and how wonderfully God made them. Point out what developing talents and traits you observe in your kids. And encourage them to thank God for the gifts they have been given. How does God help you handle change? How can God help you with the new school year ahead? Close in prayer: Dear God, thanks for being our constant, unchanging help during all of life s changes. In Jesus name, amen. If we want to have real meaning and fulfilment, as you want and as you deserve, I say to each one of you, 'Put on faith', and your life will take on a new flavor, it will have a compass to show you the way; 'Put on hope' and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark, but luminous; 'Put on love', and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful, because you will find many friends to journey with you. Jesus is the one who brings God to us and us to God. 'Put on Christ!' in your life, and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust; 'Put on Christ' and you will see the wings of hope spreading and letting you journey with joy towards the future; 'Put on Christ' and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life. Pope Francis, World Youth Day, Rio, 2013

3 MEDIA MADNESS MOVIE Title: The Maze Runner Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery Rating: PG-13 Cast: Dylan O Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter Synopsis: A boy named Thomas wakes up remembering only his name. Trapped in The Glade with other teenage survivalists, Thomas must use clues to piece together his past. Our Take: This film, based on James Dashner s popular 2009 book, continues the dystopian trend made popular by The Hunger Games. Because of the theme and some sci-fi violence, exercise caution especially with younger children. MUSIC Title: Brave Author: Moriah Peters Synopsis: This 21-year-old Christian singer began writing songs at age 13. Although initially self-conscious about her voice, Peters was determined to serve God through a music career. Because of her wholesome image, she didn t make it far on American Idol. Our Take: On her second album, Peters sings about relying on God during times of fear and social persecution. The Footprints in the Sand poem inspired her single You Carry Me, which Peters calls a reminder to look back on the difficult times God has brought us through. That s a powerful message for young listeners and for families. CULTURE & TRENDS Effects of Helicopter Parenting Long-term studies are now weighing in on this overly involved parenting style. Despite parents good intentions, kids often suffer when their parents constantly intervene. When parental involvement is excessive, experts say, it hinders children from developing necessary skills, strengths, and coping strategies. (vitals.nbcnews.com) QUICK STATS Games, Sites & Apps Tomodachi Life In this Nintendo 3DS life -simulation game, a player watches Mii characters interact. It s been compared to Animal Crossing but doesn t have a typical game-like structure. Rated E for Everybody Art Games kids.albrightknox.org/ loader.html This interactive artbased site lets kids create masterpieces of their own. They can design cards, paint in a studio, and play several art-related games. Recommended for ages 4 to 12. SpeakaZoo With this free app, children can take care of 20 original creatures in four habitats. The animals actually talk to children, who can interact with them on screen. Recommended for ages 4 to 6. This page is designed to help educate parents and isn t meant to endorse any movie, music, or product. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions about what your children watch, read, listen to, and play. What Age Restrictions? 78% of parents think it s acceptable for a child to violate minimum-age restrictions for online sites and services. And 76% of parents say their child joined Facebook when he or she was younger than 13, the site s minimum-age requirement. (firstmonday.org) Obesity Denial New government statistics reveal that 42% of children classified as obese consider themselves to be the right weight. Another study shows their parents are often in the dark, too. Almost 30% of parents who hear from a doctor that their child is obese or overweight don t perceive the weight to be a health problem. (npr.org; washingtonpost.com)

4 September SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY 1 Labor Day *Opening Sat Classes, Gr 1-5 *Children s Liturgy of the Word 5 pm Mass 7 *Parish Picnic *Opening Sun Classes, Pre- School & Kind. *Children s Liturgy of the Word 9 & 10:45 am Masses 8 *Opening Mon Classes, Gr K-8 9 *Opening Tue Classes, Gr K-5 10 *Opening Wed Classes, Gr K Gr 1-5 Classes 14 PS3- K Classes Gr K-5 Classes Gr 1-5 Classes Catechetical Sunday Weekend 21 PS3- K Classes Catechetical Sunday Weekend 28 PS3- K Classes Gr K-5 Classes First Day of Autumn 30 Gr K-5 Classes 24 Protecting God s Children Wkshp; 6:30-9:30 pm; Upper Room Gr 1-5 Classes

5 PRAY for a FAITH-FILLED YEAR! Blessed are you, Lord God, Creator of body and mind and heart; you have sent the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge to guide your people in all their ways. At the beginning of this new Religious Education year, we implore your mercy: bless the students and their parents, the catechists and staff of St. Margaret Mary, that together we may grow in faith, hope and love as we learn from you and each other how to follow your Son, Jesus. Expand the horizons of our minds, that we may grow in wisdom, understanding and knowledge; deepen our commitment to seek the truth of your ways; and enliven our faith to reach out to those in need. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. Live with Open Hearts & Open Arms Bringing our Missional Directives to the Family Dinner Table One of our parish theme missional directives calls us to cultivate the virtues and practices of prayer and contemplation. As school activities begin to multiply and demands of work and other obligations begin to mount, how can we cultivate these virtues in our families? A simple way to hit the pause button on your frenzied life is by adding prayerful contemplation to your family dinner gathering. I know, you re saying to yourself, You have got to be kidding! But if you begin small, you may find that over time, your family may warm to the practice. Begin by taking 30 seconds before or after your meal-time prayer to invite your family to silence. At first there may be resistance and the silence may be imperfect; but over time even the youngest children will get the hang of it. This communal moment of silence can give your family a chance to pause and focus. Over time you might even be able to sit in silent contemplation for one whole minute! September Sunday Gospel Reflections Sept 7, 2014 Matthew 18:15-20 Jesus teaches his disciples how to settle disputes in the Church. Conflict and disagreements are a natural part of life. However, we can use the model that Jesus presents in today s Gospel to resolve conflicts within our own family and our community. The key is to treat each other with love and respect and also to bear in mind the message of hope at the conclusion of this reading that Jesus is ever-present and that decisions made after prayerful consideration are decisions guided by God. Sept 14, 2014 John 3: As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Often accomplishments and achievements are symbolized by the presentation of trophies, medals, ribbons or certificates. The cross is the symbol of God s victory over death. Jesus died on the cross, but because of his Resurrection, the cross has become for us, not a symbol of defeat, but a symbol of victory. The cross is a reminder to exalt, to praise God for loving us so much that he gave us his only son, Jesus Christ. Sept 21, 2014 Matthew 20:1-16 In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus teaches about God s generous mercy. The workers in this parable sound very much like squabbling children, comparing what they have each been given and making complaints if they believe someone has received more. Especially among children, there is a tendency to equate love with gifts and material things. This tendency can devolve into a spirit of entitlement which runs counter to the spirit of gratitude. Any effort we make to overcome this tendency, to keep love from being entwined with gifts and possessions, will enable our children to accept completely the love that God gives freely and generously to all. Sept 28, 2014 Matthew 21:28-32 Jesus poses a question to the chief priests and elders hoping they will understand that repentance and conversion lead to the Kingdom of God. Jesus uses the example of the son who at first refuses to do his father s bidding, but has a change of heart and, in the end, does as he is asked, as compared to the other son who agrees to do as he is told, but does not follow through and do it. Jesus faults the religious leaders for not allowing the message of repentance to change their hearts and actions. Jesus wants us to do more than pay lip service to the Gospel; he wants us to be transformed by his word. Children s Liturgy of the Word Begins September 6/7 Most of you are probably familiar with Children s Liturgy of the Word but in case you re not during the school year at the 5 pm Mass on Saturdays and the 9 & 10:45 am Masses on Sundays, children in Grades K-3 are invited to leave the assembly to listen to the readings proclaimed from the Children s Lectionary and learn about what those readings mean for their lives. After the opening prayer, the Presider will invite the children to gather in the center aisle where the adult Leader will meet them and accompany them to the Upper Room. The children return to the Church after the homily to sit with their parents for the remainder of Mass. There is no registration necessary for your children to participate. Just a note that if your children are too young to participate in Children s Liturgy of the Word, we do offer childcare for toddlers & preschoolers in Rm 16 (on the upper level) during the 9 & 10:45 am Sunday Masses.

6 Come to the Parish Picnic Sunday, September 7th, Noon to 5 pm We re All Set to Begin the Year of Religious Education! First of all, a BIG thank you to those who have volunteered to be Catechists or child-care providers or office helpers or substitute catechists for this year. We couldn t do it without you!!! New volunteers should note that attendance at a Protecting God s Children class is a requirement. We are offering a class here at SMMP on Wednesday, September 24th,from 6:30-9:30 pm in the Upper Room. You may also take a class at any other location that is convenient for you. Register for any class by going to Click on Registration. If you ve already taken a class, just provide us with a copy of your certificate. We kick off the year with our Saturday classes (Gr 1-5) on Sept. 6th; Sunday classes (Pre-School & Kindergarten) on Sept. 7th; Monday classes (Gr K-8) on Sept. 8th; Tuesday classes (Gr K-5) on Sept. 9th; and Wednesday classes (Gr K-8) on Sept. 10th. Parents should have received a schedule letter in the mail letting you know where we have placed your children. However, as we were able to open additional classes, we may have moved your child to a 2nd class offered at the same time. Check our class assignment lists that will be posted on the 1st day. If you have not as yet registered, there is limited availability in some, but not all, classes. Call the Religious Ed. Office at to check. We re looking forward to a fun and faith-filled year! Every year, the Men s Club of St. Margaret Mary hosts our picnic. Bring your whole family for an afternoon of food and fun including a video game truck, bingo, a magician, a silent auction, a raffle, carnival games, pony rides, inflatable amusements, face painting and more! For more information about the picnic itself call the Parish Office at Hope to see lots of you there! Donations are still being accepted for the silent auction and for raffle prizes. If you would like to make a donation, contact Jeff Krebs at If you would like to volunteer, send an to Pope Francis Top 10 Secrets to Happiness 1. Live and let live or a similar expression in Rome: Move forward and let others do the same. 2. Be giving of yourself to others. 3. Proceed calmly in life; cultivate the ability to move with kindness and humility. 4. Have a healthy sense of leisure. 5. Sunday is for family. 6. Be part of the culture that recognizes the dignity of the human person. It s not enough to give food. Dignity is given when you can bring food home from one s own labor. 7. Respect and take care of nature. 8. Let go of negativity. 9. Don t proselytize; respect other s beliefs. The church will grow through dialogue. 10. Work for peace.

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