Summers are Therapeutic!

by Martine Bacci-Siegel

Summer is here and the importance of some time to step away can’t be understated.   Stress, over time, has several negative effects on our well being. Some examples are our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even the ability to avoid injury.   When we are stressed we become tired and start making poor decisions, lose our short term memory and be less fun to be with, ultimately becoming more isolated, lonely and in some cases depressed.

When it comes to the family and relationships vacations are a huge plus. Researchers at Purdue University concluded that family vacations greatly enhance family bonding, communication and solidarity. Shared family memories beyond everyday life experiences (work, school, etc…) promote positive long lasting ties. Here are some helpful tips for planning that family get-a-away.

PLAN AHEAD: Make sure you know what’s available at your destination ensuring all agree on an itinerary. While it may sometimes be stressful all deciding on a destination, ensuring everyone is on the same page well ahead of time, not only gives everyone something to look forward to early on, but also prevents headaches later on.

DON’T FEEL GUILTY: For checking your email while on vacation.   Nothing adds more stress to the last days of a vacation than thinking about the endless emails that may await your return. A good idea is to allot a small portion of your day to sneak a peek at your phone or laptop.

MAKE VACATION A TRUE ADVENTURE: Make no mistake; lying on the beach for a few hours is certainly in order if that is what will relax you the most, but new research shows that an active vacation involving new experiences can be very beneficial to your mental health. If possible, stray outside of that resort, hotel or cruise ship a bit. It will build new bonding experiences.

TAKE PLENTY OF PICUTRES: Long gone are the days of packing several rolls of film in our suitcases. Our smart phones can hold hundreds (if not thousands of pictures). Looking back on your memories will provide many moments of reflection with friends and family when life’s daily stressors take hold.

But most importantly have fun!

 

Upcoming Marriage Encounter Information Weekends – July 8/9 @ St Patrick and July 15/16 at St. Gabriel

Join us at all masses at St. Patrick the weekend of July 8 and 9 or at St. Gabriel the weekend of July 15 and 16 for more information or to sign up for the upcoming Marriage Encounter Weekend on August 19th and 20th, 2017!

 

Journey Of Hope Divorce Care Program – New Sessions Begin August 2017!

“Divorce is a detour, not a dead-end.” b07d40d2b19e99fd1f7a110ca9a5bcb4

Do you know someone who is struggling with the pain of divorce? The “Journey of Hope” program is a proven means of providing hope and healing through the teachings and the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

A new 15 week session of the program is beginning on August 3, 2017 at St. Joseph Parish in Bardstown, KY. Meetings will be held in the Maloney Room on Thursdays from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM weekly.

To register, see the weekly topic schedule or for further information, please check out https://www.archlou.org/journeyofhope , email us at family@archlou.org or call Henry at (502) 349-2922.

Even if you might not be able to attend every week for the complete series, please consider coming as your schedule permits – the program is of amazing help either way!

A Father’s Courageous Love – the Last Letter of St. Thomas More

by Ed Harpring

Picture5“Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in his merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God’s grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty. In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God.”

St. Thomas More wrote this to his daughter Margaret from his cell in the Tower of London.  He was unjustly imprisoned by King Henry VIII.  Soon after writing this letter, Thomas More was beheaded for refusing to acknowledge Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

 In an era where manly virtue and heroism is sorely lacking, it is refreshing to recall the noble and courageous sentiments of St. Thomas More to his beloved daughter, Margaret.  Even in the face of harsh treatment, imprisonment and ultimately the undeserved sentence of death, St. Thomas More never wavered in his stance for tenets of his Catholic faith.

Exemplifying what fatherhood is all about; St. Thomas was more concerned about the welfare of his daughter and family than his impending sentence of death.

“Farewell, my dear child, and pray for me, and I shall for you, and for all your friends, that we may merrily meet in heaven.”

Thomas More had 4 children and was regarded as a affectionate father.  Thomas More was a devoted family man.  He was a writer and an intellectual of his time and he wanted to make sure his children were well educated, especially in the Catholic faith.  He regularly wrote letters to his children whenever he was away on legal or government business, and always encouraged his children to write to him as well.

More was known to have a jovial and dry sense of humor.  Like many of the great saints at their time of death, extraordinary grace engulfed St. Thomas More.  His fears were gone, he was ready to meet his Savior and he even had the last laugh as he merrily faced his executioner.  “He laid his head down on the chopping block but pulled his beard aside, telling the hangman, ‘I pray you let me lay my beard over the block lest ye should cut it.’”  As legend, he purportedly quipped, “This hath not offended the king.”

St. Thomas More is a man for our times, as well, not only a role model for fathers but as a martyr and defender of religious freedom.  Sir Thomas More died on July 7, 1535.  He is memorialized on June 22 along with St. John Fisher, bishop, cardinal and martyr, who also died during the English Reformation for refusing to acknowledge Henry as Head of the Church of England.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is holding its annual Fortnight for Freedom, a special time for prayer, education, and action.  The Fortnight includes the 14 days from June 21 – the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of religious persecution – to July 4, Independence Day.  The theme for 2017 is “Freedom for Mission.”  We encourage you to hold firm, to stand fast, and to insist upon what belongs to you by right as Catholics and Americans.  Our country deserves the best we have to offer, including our resistance to violations of our first freedom.  https://www.archlou.org/fortnight/

A special Fortnight for Freedom Mass will be held in Louisville on Friday, June 23, 5:00 p.m. at the Little Sisters of the Poor (15 Audubon Plaza Drive, Louisville, KY 40217).

Prayer of Saint Thomas More

O God Our Creator,  From your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. 

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.  Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedom when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome – for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us – this great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen

 

Copyright ©2012, USCCB, Washington, DC  All rights reserved.

 

“What’s A Father To Do?”

by Martine Bacci Siegel

As Father’s day approaches we’re reminded that active participation by dads is good for everyone.  The kids become healthier adults.  The fathers come to a fuller and more complex maturity.  The mothers have a reliable co-parent to share the responsibilities and challenges as well as the accomplishments of parenting.  How does this idea of “involved father” translate to daily life?  Current research points to the following practical guidelines for responsible fatherhood. Picture4

  • Embrace your responsibility. Once you are a father, you are a father for life.  The knowledge of fatherhood changes a man.  It can be a source of pride and maturity or a source of shame and regret.  Even if you have good reasons for not being actively involved, acknowledging your paternity is a minimal gift you can provide to your child.  With it come many legal, psychological, and financial benefits.  If you want to be in your child’s life, it also protects your rights to have time with your child should you and the child’s mother have a falling out.
  • Be there. In study after study, kids consistently say they would like to have more time with their dads.  Regardless of whether a dad shares a home with the children and their mother, the kids need dad time.  Working together on a chore or simply hanging out can be as meaningful as attending events or having adventures.  Kids want to know their fathers.  Just as important, they want their fathers to know them.
  • Be there throughout their childhoods. There is no time in a child’s life that doesn’t count.  Research has shown that even infants know and respond to their fathers differently than they do to their mothers.  The bond you make with a baby sets the foundation for a lifetime.  As the kids get older, they’ll need you in different ways but they will always need you.  Insistent toddler, curious preschooler, growing child, prickly adolescent: each age and stage will have its challenges and rewards.  Kids whose parents let them know that they are worth their parents’ time and attention are kids who grow up healthy and strong.  Boys and girls who grow up with attention and approval from their dads as well as their moms tend to be more successful in life.
  • Balance discipline with fun. Some dads make the mistake of being only the disciplinarian.  The kids grow up afraid of their dads and unable to see the man behind the rules.  An equal and opposite mistake is being so focused on fun that you become one of the kids, leaving their mother always to be the heavy.  Kids need to have fathers who know both how to set reasonable, firm limits and how to relax and have a good time.  Give yourself and the kids the stability that comes with clear limits and the good memories that come with play.
  • Be a role model of adult manhood. Both boys and girls need you as a role model for what it means to be adult and male.  Make no mistake: The kids are observing you every minute.  They are taking in how you treat others, how you manage stress and frustrations, how you fulfill your obligations, and whether you carry yourself with dignity.  Consciously or not, the boys will become like you.  The girls will look for a man very much like you.  Give them an idea of manhood (and relationships) you can be proud of.

What matters most is for fathers to be committed to their children and involved with them over time.  When fathers take that responsibility seriously, their children are more likely to do well and the fathers have few regrets.

“Intentional Fatherhood”

by Deacon Stephen Bowling

Have I ever mentioned to you one of my favorite websites The Art of Manliness?  Seriously it is a must read for all dad’s in the world as well as all men who want to be the very best that they can be. Picture1

Started by a young gentleman named Brett McKay along with his wife Kate and several other contributors in 2008, this constantly updated website is devoted to teaching virtues, integrity, morals, health, literature, philosophy, social skills and tons of practical advice for daily living that folks of all ages and backgrounds can appreciate.  I read it daily and encourage everyone I can to do the same.  The articles (and podcasts) are awesome, not just for men but for women too; virtue, you see, is something of which we can never hear enough.

As you might suspect, one of the most talked about subjects on this website is that of fatherhood, the subject of this month’s newsletter.  There are literally dozens of practical and thought-filled articles relating to it on the site, but one article in particular recently caught my eye.  The article was entitled “Fathering with Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture.”

Picture2In the article, Brett seeks out parents of the families whom he admires for having a tight family bond: the parents were happy, the kids were all well-adjusted and generally did the right thing and everyone in the family seemed to genuinely love, respect, and care about each other.  He makes it a point to ask them what their “secret” is to creating such a tight family bond and they all pretty much say the same thing: they’re all intentional about creating and fostering a positive family culture.

The article spends a significant amount of time explaining what a family culture is, and how one arises in all families in one form or another, whether intentionally shaped or not.  Brett concludes that three ingredients are always necessary in order to create a positive family culture:  values, norms and traditions.  As Brett defines them, they are:

  • Values give a family an overarching purpose and guide as to how each family member acts and behaves in different situations. Positive family values could include kindness, mutual support, respect, sacrifice, hard work, fun, and service.
  • Norms are the spoken and unspoken rules of how a family operates; they represent your values in action. Norms guide how family members interact with one another and with the outside world.
  • Traditions are a set of behaviors and routines that provide a family a sense of identity and purpose. They provide cohesion to the nuclear family and connection to extended family.

Picture3Brett is very clear that the specifics of all of these may vary greatly from family to family, but certain aspects concerning these are always present in families to admire: these are positive and deliberate.

I encourage you to read the entire article HERE to go deeper with what makes a good Family Culture . . . and make Brett’s blog a regular read if you can.  I think you will find it enlightening, inspiring and full of great content for everyone’s enjoyment.

“The Fullness of Love in the Face of Loss”

by Michelle Herberger

Pregnancy is often a time filled with hope and expectation. The new life growing in the womb is a sign that life continues and there is promise for the future. It is no wonder that couples look forward to their ultrasounds where they get a glimpse of their growing miracle.

However, for some, that ultrasound is the beginning of a devastating loss, one for which they were ill-prepared and one where support seems limited. Adding to the shock and pain of adverse fetal diagnoses is the frequent recommendation to terminate the pregnancy.

Organizations such as Be Not Afraid offer concrete help and support to couples who learn their unborn child has little to no chance of surviving outside the womb. Couples can make a birth plan, get support from others who have experienced a similar pregnancy, and plan ways to create memories of their baby immediately following the birth. There is also support following the death of the baby.

Although no amount of support can take away the pain of this tragic loss, there is a way to embrace and celebrate the gift of your child for the brief time you have him or her with you. For more information about resources available to you, in addition to the support you may receive in your parish, please contact the Family Ministries Office for accompaniment in these very difficult situations.