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!      

Preparing for Lent

Waking up this morning and I could smell spring trying to emerge. The birds are out chirping, but the weatherman is still predicting another snow storm. March is on the verge of arriving, but we are still stuck in February. This does mean that Lent is around the corner and we should begin to prepare for it. The only thing is how do we prepare for Lent? Well, I have come up with a couple of ways in which we should begin to prepare for the Easter season.

What does my heart and soul need?

This is a question I ask myself daily. All of our hearts and souls need to be nourished differently. For some, it may be daily meditation, and for others, it may be quietly listening. Either way, it should be able to help us focus on the Lenten message. This year’s message is about heart and soul. Pope Francis reminds us that the other person is a gift, sin blinds us, and the Word is a gift. Keep this in mind when you are listening to your heart and soul.

What about my life makes me happy?

We all have things in our lives that make us unhappy. Why don’t we for once focus on what makes us happy? For instance, we should be happy to have our health, a roof over our head and food on the table. There are plenty of people who would love to have one of the items mentioned. Find something about your life that makes you happy and focus on it. Not only will it make your day better, but the positivity can be contagious.

Stop and listen.

This brings all of the Lenten preparation together. Think about what Pope Francis told us about in his message: Lent is a new beginning… and you should be using it to deepen your faith and friendship with Jesus. He is our gift, helps us refrain from sin, and we should live His word.

The best way to Stop and Listen is to attend mass during Lent with a renewed thirst for Jesus. You are being led on how to love and listen which is what the season is all about. Remember, the most important thing is to attend mass, and you are able to give your offering online with Parish Giving. You just worry about listening and worry less about checks, envelopes, and cash. We can take care of that for you.      

How to Rid Yourself of the Winter Blues

Finally, February is here! The shortest month in days, but the longest in winter; February brings the harshest snowstorms and frigid temps leaving us with cabin fever. The most difficult part is coping with the freezing temps and keeping everyone entertained. Here are some ways you can rid yourself of the winter blues.

Get Out There

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” (Elle Woods, Legally Blonde). One of my favorite movie quotes of all times rings true this time of the year. Yes, many people share the New Year’s Resolution of losing weight and going to the gym, but what you may not realize is that regular exercise DOES make you feel better!

If you are not able to join a gym, consider taking a walk during your lunch hour, or if it’s too cold, take a lap around the building or go up and down flights of stairs. Any type of moving helps with the winter blues, so get out there and take a lap!

Prep your Spring Cleaning

We are all fans of the Marie Kondo show on Netflix here at Parish Giving. She is teaching us how to clean our closets, and clean up our lives. If it doesn’t bring us any joy, we are tossing it. Once your closet is cleaned out, you can dust and donate.

This also applies to items around your house. If you have an old vase collecting dust, or some picture frames without pictures in them, why not put them in a box and donate them to your local Goodwill? Not only are you de-cluttering your life, but you are also helping out those who are not as fortunate.

Eat Healthily

I know, I know… it’s difficult to find good, fresh produce during the middle of winter. Eating healthier will make you feel better. Aim to have either one fruit or one vegetable with each meal. Berries with your breakfast, salad for lunch, and steamed spinach for supper is just an easy way to squeeze in produce. Once spring and summer hit, you’ll be craving seasonal treats like peaches and tomatoes!

Let there be light!

Vitamin D is a necessity. It helps us feel good and feeling good means looking good. With the short winter hours, you may want to invest in a lightbox. You are then able to set the lightbox to act as a sunrise, so you feel as though the sun is rising as you are waking up (as in spring, summer, and fall…).

If this is something that is not in your budget, then try to go outside for a couple of minutes each day. Breathe in the fresh air, and try to do it when the sun is out. Even short bursts of Vitamin D are better than no Vitamin D.

Parish Giving

Yes, Parish Giving is able to help with your winter blues! If you are lucky enough to travel somewhere warm over President’s Day weekend, then remember to use our online giving services to remember your parish. Also, this is not just for when you are on vacation. In case your area is pummeled by snow this month, and your streets are too icy, you can give online and watch mass streaming online. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?!

Just remember, spring is just a few short weeks away and so is Daylight Savings Time! We’ll be waking up with the sunshine soon enough! Keep warm and stay safe for the remainder of winter!

Catholic Schools Week 2019

It’s hard to believe that Catholic Schools Week is upon us once again. This year it is from January 27th to February 2nd. Each day is used to celebrate an important theme for those involved in Catholic education. The themes are vital to CSW (Catholic Schools Week), and to those who in which they represent. Let’s explore some of them and see how they can be celebrated during CSW 2019!

Sunday: Celebrating Your Parish

This seems an appropriate choice for Day 1 and Sunday. What better way to start CSW than to celebrate your schools parish. Students and their families celebrate mass at their schools parish, so many of them will be at church already. A great way for students to celebrate their parish would be to introduce them and inform the other parishioners as to why they advocate for Catholic schools. It’s always nice to hear it from the student’s themselves as to why CSW is important.

Monday: Celebrating Your Community

The stronger the church, the stronger the community; this also applies to the churches school. Our student’s help to build the community and what better way than with service activities. Sometimes having the pupils focus on the community outside of school is the best way to help celebrate the area. Why not visit a retirement center and have a sing-a-long? Or why not host a dance-a-thon or walk-a-thon to help raise money for those in under-served communities. After all, giving back is at the core of Catholic schools.     

Tuesday: Celebrating Your Students

Without the students, there wouldn’t be CSW. Show them how much they are appreciated by allowing them to donate $1 to a cause and allow them to dress down for the day. Why not continue celebrating the students with fun activities like hosting a scavenger hunt, or conduct some fun STEM experiments! Who said that learning can’t be fun?!

Wednesday: Celebrating the Nation

Since CSW is nationwide, it only makes sense to celebrate the nation for making it possible. To know that not only your Catholic school is taking part in CSW, but also schools from California to Idaho to Florida are also celebrating. Some great ways to celebrate on Wednesday is to take notice of the hashtag #CSW19 to see who and where is celebrating.

Thursday: Celebrating Vocations

We often wonder when we hear our calling. This isn’t necessarily for religious vocations, but our life vocation. Thursday can be used as a career day for school children. Have parents come in, as well as religious clergy, to discuss what their career entails. With the different vocations, children are better able to decide what kind of career path they may choose in the future.

Friday: Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers

These are the people who make every week in Catholic schools happen. Why not celebrate them with something extra special: a nice continental breakfast, some gourmet coffee, their students taking the time to write thank you notes as to why they appreciate them, and so on.

Saturday: Celebrating Families

What a great way to wrap up CSW! There are so many ways to celebrate family! Why not have a board game night in the parish auditorium along with a pizza party? A nice family ice cream social is also a great idea.  So long as it includes the whole family, you can’t lose!

As you can see CSW is a celebrated week by all who support Catholic schools. Parish Giving is a huge supporter in Catholic schools; we even offer a tuition service for schools. You can read about all of our services on our website, or contact us by email to see about a meeting! We look forward in hearing from you!

Service for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

As we all know, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this Monday. It is more than just a day off for some; it is a day about service. It is service for your community, service for the homeless, service for the less fortunate. Here are a few ideas if you are able to volunteer your time this coming weekend.

 Hygiene Kits

This is often overlooked by many people. Many homeless men and women (and children) are not able to afford the basic necessities. To the fortunate, going out and purchasing a toothbrush and toothpaste is not a big deal. For some, it is a difficult decision to choose food or hygiene.

What you can do is collect toothbrushes, travel sized toothpastes and mouth washes, wash clothes, small bars of soap, shampoo, and donate them to your local St. Vincent de Paul. They are always in need of these items.

Collect stuffed animals

Do you have some old stuffed animals collecting dust in the attic/basement? Why not donate them to children in need? Many times homeless shelters will accept gently loved stuffed toys, or contact SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies) and start your own stuffed animal drive. Both places will make sure children who are in need of a stuffed animal receive one.

Donate food

Let’s face it, after Thanksgiving and Christmas, food banks tend to take a back seat to other charities. People still have to eat though. This weekend when you are at the grocery store, keep in mind that your local food bank or St. Vincent’s could use some non-perishable food donations. Canned foods, pancake mixes, boxed mac and cheese, peanut butter, jelly… the list goes on. On your way back from the store, you just have to drop it off at your local church in the donation box.

Do a good deed

I’ll never forget when I was walking down the street and saw someone handing out McDonald’s cheeseburgers and fries to homeless people sitting on street corners. He handed them a burger and fry and sat and had a conversation with them while they ate, and continued to do this until he ran out of food. Not only did you give someone a hot meal, but you also gave them a chance to talk to someone who was not judging them for their life choices. Showing that they still matter is the good deed, and the burger and fries is just the bonus!

If you are amongst those who have to work, have bad weather, or have other obligations this weekend, you can always donate using Parish Giving. All you have to do is put your zip code in and see what churches are in the area. There is even a selection for St. Vincent de Paul Society so you can donate to them. A good deed such as this never goes unnoticed.

The Week Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through Parish Giving

Not an employee was frantic, not even a mouse clicking;

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Giving Tuesday!

It all starts with Thanksgiving Eve. People are traveling, visiting family and ready to feast on turkey. Then we celebrate with a large meal on Thanksgiving, and prepare to shop until we drop on Black Friday. Over the past decade or so, Small Business Saturday has helped the mom and pop shop businesses thrive during the holiday season. Next is Cyber Monday where we search for the best deals on line. And last, but not least is Giving Tuesday. It’s a fairly new concept that is paving ways for a different kind of gift giving.

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Travel for the Holiday’s

Thanksgiving is perhaps one of the busiest travel holidays of the year. College students are coming home for the first time since the beginning of the semester, friends and family are flying in from out of town and roads are busier due to the long holiday weekend. Are you one of the millions travelling this Thanksgiving? If you are, Parish Giving is here to help!

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Food Banks and Thanksgiving: The Importance of Giving during the Holiday’s

The holiday’s; it’s a time of the year most of us look forward to. Big dinners, the house is warmed with a turkey in the oven, and your family is gathered around the dining room table giving thanks for their blessings of the past year. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to provide that hot turkey, delicious pies, or even a warm home. That is where Food Banks, Soup Kitchens, and St. Vincent de Paul society comes in. You are provided with either the essentials to help you with your family meal, or a place to eat and enjoy conversation with others in your community.

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