Summer offers perfect time to visit
Today, we live in a noisy, mile-a-minute world. The idea of a cloistered community of contemplative nuns in the rural Arizona desert may be difficult for some of us to grasp at first. If you look a little closer, though, you’ll find a beautiful sanctuary where the commotion of daily life is replaced by a deliberate focus on Christ at the center of everything.
When you take a closer look at Día de Los Muertos, though, you’ll find that this holiday that seems centered around death is actually a celebration of life.
Would you be surprised to learn that for the first time in U.S. history, the vast majority of Americans don’t make adequate plans for the burial of their deceased loved ones?
When we lose a loved one, it never crosses our minds that the cemetery would not be able to accommodate our needs. We assume that burial space will be available whenever we require it. However, in some of the older corners of our country and around the world, some historic cemeteries have reached capacity.
For those who have recently lost a loved one, this time of year it seems there is nowhere to hide from our grief. Though we may busy ourselves with the many activities of the holiday season, at one point or another, we’ll come face-to-face with a memory that makes our loss feel fresh again.
When you’ve lost a loved one, memories can cause joy and pain in equal measure. During the holiday season, this can be especially true as we think back upon happy celebrations together while feeling the void the absence of someone dear leaves at this special time of year.
I never imagined the stress and difficulty a family could face when called upon to collectively arrange a proper Catholic funeral and burial. When I lost my father unexpectedly five years ago, I realized how complicated the process can be. My personal experience motivates me to educate the faithful to understand the tremendous gift you give yourself and your loved ones when you preplan your Catholic funeral and burial.
This time of year, we retell one of the most important stories about our Catholic faith: the story of the birth of Jesus. As we read each year in the scripture, Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to register for the census. Upon their arrival, Mary went into labor. In the throes of childbirth with nowhere to go, she and Joseph found themselves in a cold stable with the animals during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.
In 1878, five intrepid Benedictine sisters traveled to the plains of North Dakota to establish St. Mary’s Academy, which served 21 boarders and 80 students in three tightly packed classrooms their first year.