Teacher Appreciation Week

The first full week of May brings Teacher Appreciation Week. Since it’s towards the end of the school year, it is a great time to reminisce and think about all the things that your teacher or teachers have done for their students. It does not matter if they are their grade school teacher, religious education teacher or an extra-curricular teacher. They all bring something to the classroom.

Parochial School Teacher

 Catholic school teachers are amazing! Not only do they work long hours, come up with lesson plans, grade papers, and other things that all teachers do, but they also help prepare students to become adults in the Catholic Church. They help to prepare them for their First Communion and Confirmation, and teach them lessons about the Catholic religion. In many schools they play multiple parts and wear many hats. That is why we appreciate all Catholic school teachers!

Religious Education Teachers

What would we do without RE teachers? With numerous Catholic schools combining or closing, sometimes all we have is Religious Education for our students. We would be lost without our RE teachers then. They help students understand the readings, teach them prayers and help them receive their sacraments each year. Often RE teachers are volunteers from the parish who may not have any teaching experience; they just enjoy teaching young people about being Catholic and the church. We’d be lost without these teachers!

Extra-Curricular Teachers

Whether it is art, music, gym or an after school sport, extra-curricular teachers take additional time out of their day to help students grow into young adults. They teach them additional lessons like team work, camaraderie, goals and so much more. These are the teachers who help shape their students and encourage them to keep striving for more and to never give up. Thank you to all the extra-curricular teachers out there!

Do you have a Catholic school or Religious Education program? Parish Giving has Tuition Simplified and online registration forms to make signing up and paying even easier! Contact us to find out more information – info@parishgiving.org or 866-307-7140.

May Day

Happy May Day! May 1st around the world is celebrated as May Day. It is a prominent holiday celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere, but mostly in European countries and North America. Think typical spring festivals like singing, traditional dances and maypoles! The holiday dates back over millennia ago, and has many different origin and traditions! Let’s explore some!

Two of my favorite traditions originate in Scotland! The young, unwed women in Edinburgh trek up to the top of Arthur’s Seat to wash their faces with the morning dew on the grass. This helps to keep their youthful beauty! In Saint Andrew the university students go to the beach the night of April 30th so that when the sunrises May Day they run into the North Sea.

In England there are many celebrations, and even have a May Queen. There is a maypole, along with numerous dances that date back to the 14th Century. Oxford, Durham, Cornwall and numerous other English towns participate in these festivals! If you are visiting a medieval town around this time of the year in England, be sure to participate! Maybe you will even be named the May Queen!

Many women’s colleges in the US participated in May Day festivities. Two that still continues the traditions are Bryn Mawr College and Brenau University. At Bryn Mawr they sing the Dar Williams song “As Cool As I Am” for the May Day celebration which happens the Sunday after classes end in. They also gather for the “May Hole” celebration which is a feminist answer to the maypole. At Brenau University they celebrate a student from each state for their May Day festivities. They celebrate it a bit earlier in April due to exams being in May!

Since May Day has been around for over a millennia, it is often seen as a Pagan holiday. It is also closely associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Catholic faith since the 18th Century. You will often see Mary adorned with flowers during the May crowning, which occurs in May.   

As you can see May Day is a popular holiday around the globe. Join some of the festivities, or create your own! Attend a May crowning mass, be your own May Queen, or create a maypole with some friends! The possibilities are endless!

Really Cool Reasons to use PG

As you probably remember, we have a 10 Really Cool Reasons to use Parish Giving blog already. We thought why not update it to make it more relevant for our readers! Over the past year we’ve grown (but just the right amount!) and expanded in our marketplace! Take a look and see what’s new!

10. You call, we answer! If you give us a call, you will be greeted by a friendly voice! Whether it is about an event for social media to paying tuition online, we are here to help you! If you have to leave a message, you can be sure that one of us will give you a call back as soon as we can!

9. Use us for our social media! If your parish uses Parish Giving for online giving, we will advertise any church event for you! Just give us the details, and we will create a post online and advertise it at least once a week! Extra online traffic means more people knowing about the event! We are currently on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Check us out today!

8. Our forms! What better way to sign up for church events than with online forms? Everything is in one place, and no need to wait in line with a check. Now you can just enter all of your details in the form, put in your bank details or credit/debit card, and you are done. You will receive an email confirmation so you know everything is complete. If you do not receive an email, just call and we’ll happily assist!

As a side note, if you work for the parish office, the online forms help keep you organized too! No more large piles of paper! Instead we have easy to locate spreadsheets!

7. You have options. Who said you have to have your account automatically debited each week? We allow one time transactions as well so you can have control on how much you want to give and how often.

6. Auto debited each week. At the same time, you can have the same amount taken out each week. You do not even have to think about it, we take care of it for you. Since many of your other bills (think mortgage/rent, car payment, etc.) are automatically taken out, why not just have one less to worry about giving to?

5. We are either in your area, or coming to your area! You may think that because we are located in New Jersey that we only service local areas like Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. Well that’s not true! We have customers as far west as California, as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Florida and everywhere in between!

4. We love Catholic Schools! One of our online forms is to pay school tuition online. Our selling point for parents – we have zero late fees! We understand that sometimes things come up, and that it is a sacrifice for each family to pay their child’s tuition each month. We have children in Catholic schools so we understand what parents are going through.

3. We’re a GREAT team! Because we are the perfect size, we have many hats. All are customer service oriented, while others specialize in marketing, creative and tech. If you have a question, one of us has the answer!

2. Customized forms. We are able to create an online form for whatever you need one for. Have a CYO team starting? We can create one. Want to host a beef and beer? We have forms for that. Have a centennial celebration? We got you covered! Just let us know and we can customize any form for whatever you need.

1. Giving to your parish is cool! Plain and simple.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

*Originally this blog post was supposed to be about events during Holy week. With the news yesterday about the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, it seemed more appropriate to write about the tragedy. Notre-Dame is not only one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, but it is also an important site for Catholic’s and Christian’s alike. Let’s give it the attention it deserves.

My first time in Paris was when I was 20 years old. I went with EF Tours – a company that provides tours geared towards students at a reasonable cost. I went with my French class and some fashion students from the college I was attending at the time. It was my first time out of the country and I was excited beyond words. It was a couple of months after the Sex and the City finale so we all had Carrie Bradshaw on our minds – eat at a patisserie, visit museums and see all the sites! The list of sites included the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and of course, Notre-Dame. Check, check and check!

Upon hearing on the news yesterday that the Spire at Notre-Dame was on fire, all I could think about were the priceless artifacts and priceless memories I had in Paris. When you are not certain of how the fire would turn out, you always imagine the worst and then are thankful that you can always say, “at least I was there”. The news has given us hope that all is not lost.

Many ponder, “What makes Notre-Dame so important?” It’s the priceless artifacts, the countless pieces of artwork, the beautiful stain glassed windows, and the heritage of not only the French, but of Catholic’s as well.  It has stood where it is for over 800 years, a fete not easily achieved because of two world wars and the French Revolution. It truly signifies French beauty and history.

The roof and part of the interior were made of wood, which diminished in the fire. Already millions of Euros have been pledged to rebuild the cathedral. Since it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is an international appeal for funds to help restore it. If you’d like to make a donations visit Heritage Foundation. All donations are tax deductible and there are no added fees.

Let’s try to keep this Heritage site alive and try to rebuild what was destroyed for future generations. We do not want to “remember when”, but rather “let’s revisit” Notre-Dame in Paris.

Autism Awareness Month

Since April is World Autism Month, we thought we’d share an article with permission from Saint Isaac Jogues in Marlton, NJ. It was originally published in the Trenton Monitor and after reading it we decided to reach out to the church. Here is some information they provided along with the link to the article. Enjoy!

The  Parishes of St. Isaac Jogues and St. John Neumann Special Needs Inclusion Mass

In an effort to minister to the needs of our families who have children and other family members who may be dealing with physical, emotional and mental challenges and to create a welcoming environment at our parish liturgical celebrations, the Special Needs Inclusion Mass will be celebrated on the second Saturday of each month at the Vigil liturgies at  St. Isaac Jogues and St. John Neumann parishes.

The next Special Needs Inclusion Mass will be celebrated at St. John Neumann on Saturday, May 11th  at 4:30 pm.

The Special Needs Inclusion Mass celebrated at the Church of St. Isaac Jogues will be on June 8th  at 5 pm.

The liturgy celebrated makes simple, approved modifications to make it possible for families with a  physical, emotional or mentally challenged member to come and pray at liturgy together. We are grateful to Shannon Rizzo for introducing the idea and working with the parishes to make it a reality. We are grateful to her family for their support and encouragement. This is Shannon’s Gold Project for Scouts.

Check out the article here!

Easter Traditions of the Catholic Church

It’s hard to believe, but it’s finally April! I was down the shore this past weekend, and all the flowers were lining the streets and outside of shops. The air was so fragrant that all you could think about is how nice Easter is going to be this year. Easter flowers are just one tradition in the church – there are so many others that are celebrated. Here are just a few Easter traditions of the Catholic Church.

Veiled Images

Starting Palm Sunday many churches use purple cloth to cover religious artwork within the church. All but the Stations of the Cross and stained glass windows are covered. Some parishes even remove all images and works of art all together from the church. This lasts until Easter masses when they are uncovered, except for the crucifixes which are uncovered on Good Friday.

Washing of Feet

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world in the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot to hand him over. So during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. The he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with a towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” John 13 1-7.

This tradition of the washing of the feet takes place every Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday). Since 1955 usually twelve people are asked prior to mass to have their feet washed. They sit in a specified area and the priest and ministers come around and pour water on their feet and then dry them.

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross is a Good Friday custom that the church is very active with. It depicts fourteen different pictures or scenes from the gospel. It starts with Pilate condemns Jesus to die, and ends with Jesus being placed in the tomb. Often churches present a live version of the Stations with youth groups acting out the scenes.

Check out our blog next week to see some of these events at some of our parishes! You can also locate what is going on at your church through its weekly bulletin! It’s the busy season for the Catholic church, and there is something happening during Holy Week at a church near you!   

Holy Week and Our Easter Traditions

Easter is always an exciting time of the year. Since it is later than usual, we are expecting warmer weather, plenty of sunshine, beautiful flowers and lots of Easter dresses and suits on the little ones! We also are looking forward to our traditions whether new or old. Here are some of our favorite Easter traditions from Parish Giving.

Berkeley Sweet Shop

This has been a tradition in my family since before I was born. Every Palm Sunday we go to Seaside Heights just for our Easter candy from the Berkeley Sweet Shop. We enjoy a leisurely walk up and down the boardwalk, take in the ocean views and reminisce of years past. Just thinking about it makes me excited for this Palm Sunday!

Warner’s Candy

Heather goes to this candy shop every Palm Sunday (I’m starting to see a pattern here). It is a small, family owned shop that makes delicious chocolates. It’s located in Bensalem, so if you are in the area then be sure to check them out! You may even see Heather there buying her Easter candy!

Spors Garden Center

This is a great place to pick up Easter flowers. Heather goes here to pick up flowers for her mom every year. She even picks some up for herself! Since they all have bulbs, she plants them in a flower bed so she can enjoy them all Spring! They have hyacinths, daffodils and so much more to choose from!

Heather isn’t the only one who picks up Easter flowers for her mom! Alexander also picks up flowers for his mother. It’s such a nice gesture to pick something up that smells nice and adds a pop of color to your yard!

Dandelion soup and Pineapple Stuffing

I wasn’t familiar with either one of these dishes until I met Jill. These are both apart of her family Easter tradition. Having pineapple stuffing with your ham is a staple in many families at Parish Giving and John Patrick. Together they are the perfect sweet and savory dishes for dinner.

Dandelion soup is also another tradition in Jill’s family. They have been serving it as a course at Easter dinner for as long as she can remember. It is a simple dish that doesn’t require a lot of fuss. Plus it takes care of all the dandelions growing in your lawn!

Egg Hunt

This is a tradition we all share. It doesn’t matter your age; you still enjoy a good, old-fashioned Easter egg hunt. It doesn’t matter if there is chocolate or money in the eggs, all that matters is that you are having fun finding them!

Now that you’ve read about our Easter traditions we have to ask – what are your Easter traditions?

Spring into Savings!

Happy First Day of Spring! Our geese friends Jay and P. are outside honking, we’re taking our allergy medicine each morning because the trees are starting to blossom, and the grey winter sky is starting to turn into a happy blue! Finally, spring is here! That means it is time to spring into savings with Parish Giving! Large Parish, small parish, it doesn’t matter!  You can pick and choose online solutions that work for you.  Continue reading to find out how!

Our Online Forms

Our online forms save your time and energy! How often have you looked through stacks and stacks of paper, or spreadsheet after spreadsheet looking for someone’s payment or demographic information? Although it has worked for a while, why not try our online forms? If you do not like them, then you can go back to your older version. I can almost guarantee that you won’t though!

Religious Education Registration and Payment Solutions

Our Religious Education online registration and payment solutions will allow you to spend more time on your mission of education!  There are two options to pick from:  an online form or a module.  The form is easy!  You decide what registration information you want on the form and we create it.  Your families click on the form link to register and pay.  The module is simplified!  You provide your student information and we upload it into the module where you can assign tuition and classes.  Your families will receive an email to register and pay.

School Tuition Registration and Payment

If you are like me, you have most of your monthly bills automatically taken from your account. I have it set up on my calendar how much comes out on which day so I can account for it beforehand. With certain bills, I like to be able to pay them when I have money. This includes school tuition.

As we all know paying for a parochial school education is a sacrifice a family makes for their children. Sometimes we miscalculate and are off by a couple of dollars from our monthly payment. That usually means a hefty fine if you are late by a day or two waiting for your paycheck. Parish Giving simply does not believe in those extra fees for families. If you need that extra day or two to pay your tuition, we will not charge you an additional fee. It just makes sense.

Another service we provide is not charging for insufficient funds. This is unique to Parish Giving! We know that sometimes you can be off by a dollar or twenty when managing your checkbook, so we do not see the point in punishing you for human error. Instead we charge a flat fee for each family (not per person!) and reach out to families if a payment does not go through. We stay on top of it for both the school and family!

Our Weekly E-Giving

Sometimes we forget our church envelope at home. It happens. That means you have to then mail in your envelope to the church. A stamp now costs $0.55! Why not try Parish Giving’s electronic giving instead? Save the cost of a stamp, and save yourself some time by setting it up to be automatically debited each week.

As you can see Parish Giving is all about Spring and Savings! Give Parish Giving a try and see how much time and money you can save!

Saint Patrick’s Day

The day is approaching in which everyone is Irish! To some Saint Patrick’s Day is about parties and enjoying life to the fullest. To others it is a day to celebrate Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and numerous other countries. This week’s blog is dedicated to Saint Patrick and how he is perceived in different places around the world.

Ireland

Of course we have to start with the country Saint Patrick is most associated with. When I was in undergrad I went with my school on a trip to Ireland, England, Wales and France. Our tour director had us take an unplanned trip to Rock of Cashel while there.

Rock of Cashel is by a cave where Saint Patrick banned Satan from entering. In the 12th Century a Cathedral was built there. As you can see from my picture, we visited when they were preserving the structure. We were still able to see the importance of this cathedral to the Irish.

Rock of Cashel in 2012

Northern Ireland

This is the burial place of Saint Patrick. He is buried at Down Cathedral which is located in the town of Downpatrick. He was most likely buried there because he is regarded as the first bishop of the Diocese of Armagh.

Down Cathedral is also part of the Church of Ireland. To be seen as a Saint of both the Catholic Church and Church of Ireland is a pretty special honor.

United States

Everyone may not be Irish here, but people love to celebrate one of our favorite Saint’s. Cities have grand parades and turn everything from rivers to their drinks green. We also enjoy a good Shamrock Shake!

I’ve experienced New York City’s parade accidentally once – and yes that can happen. It runs up 5th Avenue, and if you are there the wrong Saturday you too can be stuck in it. If Saint Patrick’s Day is on a Sunday like this year, the parade will be on Saturday the 16th. They even have mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral that morning, but you have to purchase a ticket first!

Chicago is known to dye the Chicago River green in celebration! This draws on average 400,000 spectators each year. Then again, their annual parade helps draw in the tourists as well!

Many small towns across the globe have different festivities this weekend. Since Saint Patrick’s day is a Sunday this year, that means there will be less traffic going to work Monday morning (hopefully!). Just keep in mind that Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland. You can donate an offering to your parish in honor of Saint Patrick, and you can do so by using Parish Giving! Give us a call or email if you have any questions!      

Fun Facts about Daylight Saving Time

It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year! Daylight Saving Time! This means winter is ending, and spring is about to begin. The days are longer, we have more sunshine and the winter cobwebs are being swept away. Parish Giving thought since we’re all dusting our cobwebs away that we’d share some fun facts about Daylight Saving! Here are just a few!

Fun Fact #1

We can all thank Ben Franklin – Yes, it’s true. When he was living in France, he noticed how the sun was up at 6am. He thought to himself that if you are up with the sun, and go to bed earlier at night, that you would be saving more energy and save money on candles. I suppose this is another spin on Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Fun Fact #2

Your state is not required to follow Daylight Saving Time – Arizona and Hawaii are two states that do not follow it.

Fun Fact #3

Arizona doesn’t follow Daylight Saving due to extreme heat. They want to preserve the cooler evening hours so people can enjoy time outdoors.

Fun Fact #4

But the Hopi Reservation which is surrounding by the Navajo Nation observes Daylight Saving Time. Always a loophole!

Fun Fact #5

The English first thought of Daylight Saving Time, but the German’s were the ones who implemented it.

Do you have any fun facts about Daylight Saving Time? Feel free to share them with us!